Since the turn of the millennium, 'open world' has become one of the biggest buzzwords in gaming. Whenever something gets announced that promises players the freedom to explore a whole city, continent or world, our ears instantly prick up with anticipation. Open-world titles offer a unique kind of escapism that just can't be replicated by equally competent, yet linear releases, and whilst bigger doesn't always mean better, we still instinctively attribute a lot of value to it. Despite the genre having been around for a while, there's still something magical about being able to say, "I'm just going to go in a straight line in that direction and see what I find", and whether said world is packed with quests, towns and random people to rob and murder, or is just a sprawling empty wasteland with nothing but beautiful scenery, the allure of the open world is always there. As a way of celebrating the expanse of open worlds, here are the ten of the biggest in gaming so far, ranked in order of size in square miles (MMOs not included).
10. Fallout 4 43mi2Squeezing in at the lower end of the list is Bethesda's latest adventure in post-apocalyptic America. The Boston Wasteland is the biggest map in the Fallout series, and yet is notably smaller than the open worlds of recent rival RPGs. But where this world really shines is not in its raw landmass, but in how brimming it is with interesting events, quests, and the sense of adventure whichever way you go. Unlike many open worlds, the Commonwealth doesn't feel like a cut-and-paste job, and even though it is very much a wasteland, feels like a beautiful and lively one, meticulously crafted to reward you for exploration and curiosity. The map also does a great job of contrasting the urban and rural wastelands, and while you can skip across the countryside relatively quickly, working your way through the ruined city area is slow and treacherous. The Boston Wasteland is an excellent example of a decent-sized map designed to feel much larger than it is.