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The Case for Open-World Games Not Always Needing Main Narrative Campaigns

Open-world video games have built their own niche over the decades. The genre, which originated with the Grand Theft Auto series and has since expanded to include franchises like Assassin’s Creed, has proven to be an industry leader when it comes to immersive and enjoyable gaming experiences.

Yet, while narrative campaigns are arguably the most popular element of open-world games, it’s often overlooked that they’re not essential. Yes, a story-driven open world game can be incredibly engaging and captivating, but there can also be a lot of enjoyment to be had in open-world games that don’t feature any kind of narrative campaign.

For instance, some of the most well-known open-world games in recent years have been based largely on missions, challenges and activities that the player can take part in. These games may not have any specific story to follow – either being set up in an open-ended world or with procedurally-generated content – but they can still engage the player just as much. Take Forza Horizon for example, where the story is generated as the player’s driving skills increase.

Moreover, doing away with narrative campaigns can give developers the room to focus on creating a great package of gameplay features. Instead of spending all their resources and energy on telling a detailed story, they can provide players with fresh content that does not get repetitive. The Just Cause series is a great example of this, as each game has successfully managed to create a unique sandbox environment filled with different activities and rewards.

Finally, games developed with open-worlds that are free of central narratives can provide replayability value which games with a set story often cannot. Players can engage with and explore the game in a different way each time they play and create their own story, rather than having the same story play out the same way every time. This is something that more narrative-driven games cannot necessarily offer.

In conclusion, while story-driven games will always remain popular, it is important to recognise that narrative campaigns are not a necessity for enjoyable game-play experiences. Open-world games which don’t feature one can provide just as much fun, as well as greater replayability and inclusiveness for players.

The Case for Open-World Games Not Always Needing Main Narrative Campaigns

Open world games have exploded in recent years, and many developers often argue that the most successful games have a strong base narrative. While this is true in many cases, there are a growing number of examples where an open-world game delivers an enjoyable experience without a huge narrative campaign.

In this article, we’ll look at why this is, and examine the advantages and disadvantages of open-world games that are lacking in narrative.

Advantages of Open-World Games Without Main Narrative Campaigns

  • You get more freedom. One of the great advantages of open-world games without a main narrative is the increased freedom of choice for the player. You can tackle any mission you want, explore the environment in whatever way you see fit, and ultimately enjoy a more immersive experience.
  • You won’t be limited to one type of story. One of the main problems with narrative-driven games is that they can often be limited in how much new content is on offer. By taking away the need for a main narrative, developers can be more creative and provide players with a plethora of unique stories to discover.
  • The game will be more replayable. Games without a main narrative campaign often have better replayability than those with a main story. This is because the player isn’t confined to a linear path and can instead enjoy different experiences every time they play.

Disadvantages of Open-World Games Without Main Narrative Campaigns

  • They can feel repetitive. Without a main story to drive the game, players can often find themselves doing the same tasks over and over again. This can lead to a feeling of boredom or lack of motivation to continue playing.
  • They may lack depth. Without a main narrative, some games can suffer from lacking a deeper level of understanding that is normally found in narrative-driven games. This makes them seem shallow and can reduce the overall enjoyment of the game.
  • They may lack motivation. Without a main story driving the game, players can often find themselves lacking the motivation to continue playing. There is no real end goal or sense of progression, making some players feel like they are just going through the motions.


Open world games can still be enjoyable even when they are lacking a main narrative campaign. However, developers should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of such games and ensure that they are providing enough content to keep players engaged and motivated. There is still a place for story-driven games, but open-world games without a main narrative campaign can still be a great way to enjoy an immersive experience with plenty of freedom.

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