TGS writes:"I don't know how important a role in gaming history the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 will ultimately play but it seems to me that we will look back on this as being the open world generation. This style of game may have been introduced to the mainstream in the days of the PS2 but it's become incredibly popular during the current console cycle.
Games like Crackdown, Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Faction: Guerrilla have all featured large, expansive playgrounds as have RPGs like Oblivion and Fallout 3. Titles such as inFamous, Prototype and the outings of more traditional characters like Spider-Man and The Hulk have been set in sandbox environments to more effectively showcase the super-powered abilities of their protagonists.
The developers of these games have tried to create worlds without walls. Of course virtually all game spaces are finite; there are always some obstacles or boundaries that prevent you from falling outside the game world into the abyss. Open world games, though, try to give the player realms so vast, so detailed and realistic that they forget they are inside a digital cage.
But the bigger the developers make the worlds, the emptier they can potentially feel, particularly from a narrative point of view. Open world games bring a whole host of problems when it comes to storytelling."