Open world games are fun and can be wonderful to explore, but the one thing that keeps an open world game fresh and exciting to play are random events. A lot of open world games today are generally equipped with a random event generator or algorithm to determine a number of random events in games.
Some of you might be wondering what random events are. They are simply different kinds of events that will happen at different times throughout the game world. Usually no two random events are the same. What one player might experience in an area of a game map might not happen to another player in the same area.
Popular open worlds games such as the Grand Theft Auto series are definitely known for this. In the most recent GTA game which is GTA V, I was using the character of Franklin and exploring just outside the city limits of Los Santos in some hilly and mountainous terrain. 3 random NPCs (Non Playable Characters) came riding up to me on atv’s and asked me what I was doing in that particular area. After for some reason determining my character is South American (haha!), they decided I didn’t belong there and pulled out guns and started shooting at me. I unfortunately could not run away fast enough and they managed to kill me. After re-spawning at the nearest hospital in the game, I decided to go back to the same area, fully loaded with weapons, but it was vein as those events and people never repeated.
That is just one of many examples of random stuff happening in an open world game such as GTA. Now the missions do have scripted events that happen no matter what, but how you get to those scripted events or complete those scripted events/missions can be random as well.
I know that there is a mission in GTA V where the character of Franklin has take out a specific set of targets. That is scripted, but how it is done can certainly be random. You might be able to run over one target with a car or decide to take out that target with a sniper rifle, the choice is yours. It just can be random how different players take out those specific set of targets instead of just using one specific method.
Now there are two games by Rockstar that have funny random events happen at any time and wherever you are on the map. What makes these a little different is that they are scripted random events, but they just happen at different times. These were first introduced into the open world western game of Red Dead Redemption for the last generation of systems and were later incorporeated into Grand Theft Auto V.
In Red Dead Redemption, a random event would suddenly pop up as a blue circle on your map not far from where you are at. It is of course your choice to investigate and engage in that random event. The scripted random events range from a random npc asking for help as someone has been kidnapped, looking for something that was stolen, or getting ambushed in an attempted robbery.
I know one time I was in an area of the map where I was exploring a desert like area and a woman came running up to me saying that her carriage had crashed into some trees and that she needed help. I decided to go help her and see what I could do and when I got there, 3 guys came out from behind the carriage with guns pointed at me trying to rob me. I quickly ran and took cover behind some rocks as a major shootout began.
I managed to eventually kill all three of them including the lady who led me into that trap in the first place. After I inspected their bodies and took whatever money and other loot they had on them, I turned around to walk back to my horse when it just seemed out of nowhere a mountain lion came and attacked me! It happened so fast that I just was not able to get my gun out fast enough and needless to say I was killed. Now talk about random! That’s just another example of why I love open world games and the different kinds of random crazy stuff that can happen.
Going back to GTA V, I know there was one time as Franklin where I was out in Blaine County and a blue dot appeared on my mini map so I went to investigate and a guy claimed he just wanted to show me something and when I got closer to him, he tazed my character who then blacked out! The next thing I know, Franklin wakes up on a set of train tracks with nothing on but his boxers and a train coming! I was able to get up just in time right before the train ran me over.
Now as far as open world racing games, there really isn’t much in the way of random events as you are driving from point A to point B. With open world racing games, you decide where point B is, but there generally is challenges and other things in between to keep you busy such as in The Crew. In Test Drive Unlimited (for Xbox 360 and PS3), there would be random computer controlled racers that you could drive up on and flash your high beams at them. This would start a race between you and the computer controlled car to a pre-determined spot on the map that would be the finish line. This would generally be a good and quick way to earn some money to buy more cars.
Now I would call The Crew the spiritual successor to Test Drive Unlimited as a lot of the developers who worked on Test Drive Unlimited also worked on The Crew. The thing that really ties these two games together is that they were always online and you would always run across other random players for multiplayer. Now you could always generate random things with other players as you could race each other, join up and form a racing crew, or just goof around and try funny jumps and stunts to see who could do the best at it.
You could also help out other players in the story missions as most of them would give you the option to have up to 4 other players join in to help you pass a mission. This is really helpful as a lot of the missions can be quite difficult especially if you haven’t leveled up or upgraded your car to an acceptable level to make the missions easier to get through.
These are just some examples of what a random event generator can do to open world games if they are created properly. Believe me there are some free roam games out there where there are just not much happening in the realm of random stuff going on and the large map is just devoid of really anything to do and making the game boring. At least with games such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and the Saints Row series you really have enough challenges, missions, and random events to keep you interested in the game. This is what sets open world games apart from games with a singular path and very few choices on how to beat the game or to play on afterward once it has been beaten.
If you would like to see me engage in some of these random events, sign up for my newsletter for exclusive access to my broadcast channel. I will play games such as The Crew and Grand Theft Auto V so you can see some of these random events in action.