The traditional way to handle open world games is, here's the world, and here are specific missions within that world -- is this the same thing?
DB: The way The Outsider works, it's the choice of what to respond to, who to go to, who to listen to, who to work with, that tends to determine the flow. For example, if the Chinese agent comes up to you and says, "Hey, I can help you," you go, "Cool!" and he may actually give you some guys to help you go in and sort the problem out. And then you realize, 'Wait, what exactly are we doing here?' when they start breaking into the safe and nicking stuff!