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Can open world games work without quest markers?

kiphalfton

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Although not an open world game per se, I think the reason why Zelda Ocarina of Time worked so well is because you had to figure out what it is you had to do to progress the story forward. You weren't shown on a map a mission marker, and it was actually interesting talking to the characters as you never quite knew if it would result in a side quest or not. You kind of just stumbled across it. It was organic. Same for collectibles. There weren't a million of them, and they actually served a purpose (i.e. killing the spiders). Same for items, you had a small set of items and it was actually satisfying when you got a new item as they weren't every five feet and you didn't get overinundanted with a bunch of useless crap.

It may not work for games like GTA, but I definitely think it could work for games like Horizon Zero Dawn or other open world rpg games. Bring back the magic of finding secret areas, don't show them on the map. Don't have 500 weapons, 95% of which suck and ate useless. Don't have 50000 collectible items, that don't contribute to the game in any other way beyond padding the game length. Don't have a bunch of useless fetch quests, that require you to run across the world.
 

Kuranghi

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Well The Pathless has no map but it still has "eagle vision" which shows you where to go, but you could also easily play the game without ever pressing that button. You'd miss secrets that require it though.

Does Breath of the Wild count? It has the map but I don't think it ever puts a marker on it for you, you can do it though. Maybe I'm misremembering though.
 
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kiphalfton

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Exhibit A - Legend of Zelda (NES)

I have never played it, but I have played Link to the Past and in addition to OOT these games seem to do it right. Show a static overarching world map, which serves more so as a point of reference so you understand where you are at in the world.

I'll go one step further, and say to even get rid of the mini map.
 
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That's how older RPGs worked. And even for dungeon based games, the old ass ones had no auto map. It was called memorization or graph paper.

Not sure which game started off quest markers and compass arrows. Was it Bethesda?
 

Tranquil

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That's how older RPGs worked. And even for dungeon based games, the old ass ones had no auto map. It was called memorization or graph paper.

Not sure which game started off quest markers and compass arrows. Was it Bethesda?

If it wasn't them, then they at least popularized it.
 
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Havoc2049

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Yes, old school open world RPGs never had waypoints/quest markers and part of the fun was exploring and figuring out where to go.

While not a RPG, Sea of Thieves is an open world game and there is very little hand holding and you need to figure out clues of where to go on the map to complete missions. It is all part of the fun though and felt like a breath of fresh air compared to all the dumbed downed hand holding in modern game design.
 

Kuranghi

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We need to find the submentals they get for their focus tests then kill and inpersonate them so we can stop excessive handholding from being added. Or rather the initial design decisions taking this into consideration rather than trying to create a "pro HUD mode" after the fact.

I don't really mind markers usually because I know they didnt designed the game with them in mind, but it has gotta pretty egregious as of late. Ghost of Tsushima has the "pro hud mode" but its fucking annoying for some of the missions because they say "search this house for clues" and I walk up to some smashed pots to see if thats a clue and its not, then i walk up to some other smashed item and it IS a clue, so thats rubbish.

So it becomes "just run around the room until you find all the things we put in to examine because I can't read the devs mind", rather than there only being things that you can examine in the room. Well not ONLY those things, but make the examinable things a bit more prominent than anything else and reduce clutter. Its must be really hard but I have faith they can find a way.
 
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Kuranghi

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Didnt Ubisoft try something like Morrowind's "east of the village" in AC: Origins/Odyssey? Where you get a general location and not a hard marker, although that might've still needed the map to work, I didnt try it.
 

cdthree

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When games were a child's hobby kids could pour endless time into this pursuit. Few games were produced in an entire generation and sticking with games and replaying them was a must. A mature audience who grew up with videogames didn't exist during the NES days. Times change. People have less free time to discover a game and such a game would be a niche product with low sales. It's like people wanting to go back before the internet or modern technology. Most people would find playing old rpg games, time consuming, frustrating and not satisfying imho. Old Nintendo style timing games seem to age well, though.
 

Rockondevil

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They can definitely work as they have in the past however I don't believe they'd work as well for the masses these days as they once would've.
Try to get somebody who's only played Skyrim to play Morrowind and watch them immediately get lost.
 

waquzy

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Never heard of it. Just looked up a PCSX2 3440 x 1440 game video, and it looks pretty crisp considering it's a PS2 game.

Has cover mechanics, good over-the-shoulder camera perspective when aiming, and no HUD. Looks ahead of its time.
Indeed, It was ahead of it's time imo. It was the first game that I have ever played that made me feel like I wasn't playing a game....
 
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I always play open world games with no HUD. Use the map for direction though and use landmarks. The more things the game has in it though the harder it is to work without using a map. I think too much would be missed without at least a map.
 

Mithos

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Considering I see people on youtube that can't even follow and find npc's/locations when there are mapmarkers....

I'm not so sure all players today will be able to play without.
 
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Matt_Fox

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We used to make our own maps back in the 80s. Get the graph paper out.

I've still got my folder of old maps somewhere...

 
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nikolino840

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Yes if you don't press A to skip the dialogues...on fallout/elder you can chose to not put the markers
 

Retinoid

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That used to be the norm for old school open world RPGs, so yes. In fact, RPGs were far better when open worlds were designed this way and I hope one day we'll see a shift back to this more organic progression through game worlds. Gothic is still untouchable in this regard even 2 decades later in my opinion. Smaller, denser, and cleverly designed maps should be what game developers strive for.
 
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cireza

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Yes. You could even make a great adventure game where recognizing the landscape, and where you need to go, would be part of the fun. You could have townspeople giving you a simple clue, or a drawing, and then it would be up to you to try to find the place.
 
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That's how older RPGs worked. And even for dungeon based games, the old ass ones had no auto map. It was called memorization or graph paper.

Not sure which game started off quest markers and compass arrows. Was it Bethesda?


I dont think any one dev popularized it. At some point around 2003, i think, we started noticing games being simplified and dumbed down, slowly but surely. They were just trying to apeal to a mass market instead of gamers who knew what they were doing. Underground 1 and 2 had giant glowing arrows pointing you in the right direction
 
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johntown

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I won't play open world games without quest markers. One reason I never finished Morrowind because it is such a hassle to figure out where to go all the time.
 

RoboFu

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Of course they existed before there was map markers.

the original Everquest didn’t have map markers and you had to gather clues for key words to type to certain characters as well.
 

bender

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You should check out a game called “Outward” it’s available on Steam as well as consoles.

A bit low on budget, but a pretty great game overall.


It's been on my wishlist forever. By the time it was discounted the expansion became available so I've been waiting for a complete package.
 

Reizo Ryuu

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Didnt Ubisoft try something like Morrowind's "east of the village" in AC: Origins/Odyssey? Where you get a general location and not a hard marker, although that might've still needed the map to work, I didnt try it.
Yes, you can turn on "hard" markers, but they say you'll have a better experience if you don't; basically you have to listen to the NPC says and then figure out where it is yourself.
Though with enough upgrades, your eagle's range would increase and "hard" mark the target more easily once it's close enough.
 
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harmny

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Yes, you can turn on "hard" markers, but they say you'll have a better experience if you don't; basically you have to listen to the NPC says and then figure out where it is yourself.
Though with enough upgrades, your eagle's range would increase and "hard" mark the target more easily once it's close enough.

it's the other way around. they say you'll have a better experience if you turn them off. or at least they say it's the way they meant the game to be played. the actual "odyssey" experience where you explore locations instead of the classic one.
 
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Reizo Ryuu

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it's the other way around. they say you'll have a better experience if you turn them off. or at least they say it's the way they meant the game to be played. the actual "odyssey" experience where you explore locations instead of the classic one.
Yeah, that's what I said..
 

A.Romero

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Yes, they can exist. Personally I don't like them that much as it often involves spending time going around. I have limited time for gaming so I rather have some quick way to get to the next objective. I prefer games to have an option though. I understand people that like having no quest markers but it's not my thing.
 

brian0057

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Not only can they work, they should be the standard form for open world games.
Quest markers, minimaps, and any other condescending guiding system should be optional.
If you wanna use them? Go ahead. Don't wanna use them? Just keep them off.
 

Fbh

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For sure.
Though I think to have broader appeal and not be relegated to some niche segment, finding some sort of middle ground would be ideal. Something like Breath of the Wild where you still have some markers but exploration and discovery is still encouraged and the game isn't constantly telling you exactly where to go.

When games were a child's hobby kids could pour endless time into this pursuit. Few games were produced in an entire generation and sticking with games and replaying them was a must. A mature audience who grew up with videogames didn't exist during the NES days. Times change. People have less free time to discover a game and such a game would be a niche product with low sales. It's like people wanting to go back before the internet or modern technology. Most people would find playing old rpg games, time consuming, frustrating and not satisfying imho. Old Nintendo style timing games seem to age well, though.

If it's well designed and the world is fun to explore I don't see why people wouldn't play it. If time investment really was a big turnoff these days we should see games getting shorter, but instead the latest Assassins Creed is like 60 hours long for the main story alone .

That's why the entire game needs to be designed around actual exploration and not blind quest marker chasing. It isn't as easy as just making the same tired Ubisoft open world and simply disabling waypoints and quest markers.

Modern open world games have made exploration boring in part by automating traversal to the point the game basically plays itself when you are moving through the world. Not only is the game telling you exactly where to go but you just need to hold down R2/RT (or some other button) and your character will jump, climb, swim and evade everything automatically.
If, instead, games would focus more on things like a fun stamina based climbing mechanic, areas with actual skill based platforming, engaging ways to interact with the world through physics, etc then simply exploring the world and getting to specific locations would already be more fun than in most modern open worlds.
 

RedVIper

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Can they exist? Well obviously yes they did in the past.

Will AAA games do it? Obviously no.

But you can find smaller budget games that do this because they expect their audience to have a three digit IQ.

Anyone who says it's because of "time" unfortunately doesn't achieve the aforementioned expectations, games have gotten exponentially bigger, with pointless empty open worlds, fetch quests and silly items to collect for no good reason.
 
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