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Paige FTW: The Burden Of Open-world Games

News broke last month that EA had canceled the open-world Star Wars title in development at Visceral Games. This is really too bad, as former Uncharted lead Amy Hennig was attached to the title, and we’ll never quite know how she would have brought that franchise’s sense of fun to Star Wars.

Frankly, it seems that an open-world Star Wars game will never quite come to fruition. It’s a pity, because that particular fictional universe is one of the few large — yet vague — enough to accommodate an open-world concept.

It got me thinking about other universes that would be well suited to the genre. This is not as easy a task as you think — to really qualify, a fictional world has to possess both scope (large, distinct environments; clearly defined events and details that go beyond what a given hero encounters) yet fluidity (a rigid, intricate plot like that of Game of Thrones does not lend itself well to the concept).

Lord of the Rings
Sure, we have the Shadow of Mordor games, but who wants to go all the way to Middle-earth to spend all their time in the grungy grime of Mordor? A less bloodthirsty title that allows you to visit the lost elven cities of The Silmarillion and go questing for the Simarils would be a much more ambitious undertaking.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Having enjoyed the original series very much, I rather thought Aang was probably the least interesting character of the bunch. A game that revolves around a character more akin to Zuko or Katara would be interesting: One bender against the world (and possibly even an empire).

Naruto
Naruto himself commands most of the series’ attention, but there’s a lot of potential here for a title, given the distinct (and troubled) ninja clans inside warring ninja villages, with a bunch of chaotic entities stirring up trouble in between all that chaos. What does life look like for the average ninja who isn’t housing a world-ending deity in their stomach?

(Where’s the Kingdom Hearts III review, you ask? Next week, I tell you. Next week.)

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