Over at rockpapershotgun today, Jim Rossignol has a post up lamenting the lack of exploration in most of today’s games. He’s a little late to the table, though.

I wrote about that last year in The Joy Of Discovery. I’m not going to repeat myself, so you’ll just have to click the link. But I do agree with Jim that the typical RPG hasn’t much outside the usual “linear story plus side jobs”.

He does have a fondness for Oblivion, which I don’t share. Yes, the outdoors was a huge place, suitable for off-road rambling. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in “Joy”, much of that was repetitious.

Still, that was about the only game in recent times where you could just go nosing around the wilderness to “see what’s there, if anything”. The drawback, of course, is that the larger the amount of terrain, the more likely you’ll start running into the same stuff.

Is it possible to strike a balance? Enough outdoors with room to poke around, but not so much that it becomes boring after awhile? How would that fit in, if at all, with the typical “on the rails” plot?

Avernum 5 is somewhat like that, although most areas aren’t too large, and much of what you come across is related to some task or other. That can cause occasional problems, where you inadvertantly complete a job before getting it, and skunk the whole errand.

Is that why most RPGs are so restricted? Or is it just the “rut mentality” where the main story/side jobs framework is so familiar, no one thinks of changing that?

Ramble On Rambling on rockpapershotgun