5 massive open-world games you should play while waiting for Starfield

Starfield will release in the first half of 2023 (image via Bethesda Softworks)
Starfield will release in the first half of 2023 (image via Bethesda Softworks)

Starfield, likely the most anticipated game of the year after Elden Ring, has been delayed to 2023. It is also Bethesda's first new intellectual property in 25 years. Naturally, the little tablets of Starfield lore that Bethesda has dropped in their dev diaries and mini-featurettes over the last couple of years have given leeway to much fan speculation.

The even larger part of the speculation traffic, however, is gameplay-centric. Compared to how much we know about the broader world-building strokes of the Settled Systems, there is precious little of Starfield's gameplay that the developers have let slip.

Thus far, we only know it to be the next-gen iteration of a gimmick that the first two Elder Scrolls games utilized: massive scale. Fans know that Starfield will be massive, but not to what extent.

As such, here are some of the biggest open-world titles from the last decade that will scratch players' massive map itch until Starfield arrives.

5 open-world games with huge maps to play before Starfield

1) EVE Online


Purely in terms of genre, EVE Online is far from the kind of role-playing game that Bethesda Game Studios is all about. However, if there is one space-based game that matches the projected scale of the world that Starfield wants to convey, it's EVE Online. The game is a strong candidate with over 7,000 star systems to explore.

EVE Online is also a sandbox MMO - which means that instead of a clear-cut objective, players choose their own endgame goals. They can range from something as mundane as routine asteroid mining to building of a major alliance and leading thousands of players in its persistent world server.

2) The Witcher 3


To any seasoned gamer, The Witcher 3 needs little introduction. Arguably, this game became the most milestone release over the last two decades by revolutionizing how we perceive role-playing games. This was also the game that put the studio, CDPR, on the radar as a major player in the AAA game developer's scene.

The reason why The Witcher 3 will sate the Starfield craving, however, is due to its sheer scale. Its explorable area is a gargantuan landmass. Between Skellige, White Orchard, and Velen, the game clocks in at nearly 140 square kilometres. And that's without counting Touissaunt from the Blood and Wine DLC.

3) Red Dead Redemption 2


Compared to The Witcher 3, Red Dead Redemption 2 is only half as big. However, the gorgeous countrysides of New Hanover, Guarma, New Austin, and New Elizabeth offer much more topographical diversity than the wetlands and snow-peaked isles of Redania.

The reason Red Dead Redemption 2 feels bigger than Witcher 3 has to do with its immersion-centric design, a feature it also shares with Bethesda's games. By far, Red Dead Redemption 2 integrates some of the most convincingly realistic facsimiles of real-life activties into its gameplay loop.

The player does not simply engage in exploration and combat, but also truly walks in Arthur Miller's boots, doing things as mundane as eating, tending to his horse, and scrubbing in a hot tub.

4) Death Stranding


The philosophical subject on the back-burner for Starfield is the greater implication that space expansionism holds for mankind. This will eventually extend into a debate about the different ideological leanings a society can have, purely due to circumstances.

On a more individual level, however, space travel itself brings up questions about the frailty of life and the need for a community. Space, after all, can be a lonely place.

Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima's piece de resistance post-Metal Gear Solid, ponders this theme of loneliness, and mankind's innate need to connect with each other.

On a gameplay level, this translates to traversing vast, open, and sublime lands of post-apocalyptic American wildlife using bridges and roads built by other players. The map itself is quite big with over 525 square miles of explorable area, too.

5) Final Fantasy XV


At a cursory glance, a JRPG has a stark difference from what Bethesda role-playing games, including Starfield, are all about. This difference is no longer a diametric opposition, as both types of role-playing games have assimilated elements from one another.

Final Fantasy XV sticks to its 'fantasy' roots, but gives the franchise the fresh modern coat of paint it always needed. Outside of its deep party-based real-time combat and a long campaign, the game also stations a huge world. Its plethora of eye-catching scenic landscapes stretch across a vast 780 square-mile map.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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