There is hardly a single GTA fan that hasn't considered and entertained the thought of an installment in the franchise that combines the major open-world locations of all the games in the series.
It is an extremely appealing thought and one that Rockstar possibly has ambitions being able to accomplish one day. However, the implications and details involved with creating such a massive open-world for GTA are too big to be ignored.
Not just from a technical standpoint, but in terms of narrative and thematic focus, there are several challenges that come into play with an extensive map. Thus, during the development of an open-world game, developers must make key decisions based on the size of the open-world and how it affects the game, which is indeed an extremely tough call to make.
Now, take that pressure and multiply it by 100, and what you have now is the kind of pressure on Rockstar for each GTA game. The pressure on each critical decision is unimaginable, but Rockstar has somehow always delivered it.
GTA 6 Map: What is the ideal map size for a GTA game?
In order to understand better how different kind of maps work for different kind of games, we will be taking a look at three games in particular:
1) Cyberpunk 2077: Small but dense
Cyberpunk 2077 is set for release on December 10th, but CD Projekt Red has been pretty generous with information regarding the upcoming RPG. Cyberpunk 2077's approach to the open-world differs quite a lot from GTA. Yet, it is an interesting case to consider.
While GTA has typically had the approach of 'bigger equals better,' Cyberpunk 2077 is actually opting for a smaller map than that seen in previous CDPR games like The Witcher 3.
This is to pack the map with as much detail as possible and make way for a more dense map. In addition to that, the focus is also on the interiors so that the map is expansive both horizontally and vertically.
This is potentially an idea that Rockstar should be looking into for GTA VI.
2) Red Dead Redemption II: Expansive but bare
Red Dead Redemption II attempts to go for a wholly different tone than the GTA games, and the maps are built specifically in service of that tone. Many have suggested that a GTA map the size of Red Dead Redemption II is ideal, but that might not entirely be the case.
Red Dead Redemption II's map is extremely large but sparse. That does not mean that the game feels empty or lacks interesting things to look at, as more often, the scenery itself provides enough incentive for the player to explore.
However, Red Dead's tone is far more pensive and meditative than the glitz and explosions of GTA, and thus the map will require that sort of energy. The map cannot have large stretches of open-roads and lands without interesting things 'to do,' and not just look at in a GTA game.
3) GTA V: The perfect blend of the two
GTA V presents perhaps Rockstar's magnum opus when it comes to the GTA franchise, expanding upon the state of San Andreas with more topographical diversity and introducing newer areas filled with fascinating details such as the drug-infested Paleto Bay and Sandy Shores.
The size of the map in GTA V feels just about right, and Rockstar would only need to tweak it a bit for the next game in the franchise. Expanding the game world with more interiors and introducing interesting topography should be enough to satisfy the players' needs for an expansive open-world packed with enough content.
The map, at no point, feels small or restrictive and has enough room for the player to truly stretch their legs and explore to their heart's content.Published 09 Nov 2020, 15:13 IST