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Open World

Quick Definition

Most of the time, games lead the player through a story. This means they are more or less guided from one level to the next, as if they were walking down a hallway with different backdrops. The player is only able to visit the areas of the game that are relevant to their current position in the story.

A game featuring an open world design, however, allows the player to wander around and explore their surroundings. There is often still a story to be told, but that will wait for the player to come to it. In the meantime, the player can freely do whatever they find interesting in the game's world.

In extreme cases, an open world game is known as a sandbox game -- there's no story, and the player is free to play around with total abandon and freedom.