Open worlds, as a sub-genre within video games, can trace its roots all the way back to the early 2000s with the development of titles such as Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto III, and exist in the industry today as arguably the most popular form of gaming title out there.
The ability for a player to freely roam around, immerse themselves in the world and take on every little event and activity away from the main storyline just naturally expands the lifecycle of titles such as the Elder Scrolls, Assassin's Creed or Grand Theft Auto, than a series like Thief, for example.
It also allows for far more ways of getting players to fall in love with a title, with the extra charm that comes from more time invested, more characters met and more tasks completed all doing wonders for certain games' legacies.
However, with so much competition stacked in the genre right now, really nailing the look and feel of an open world title has become more important than ever before. Here are 10 of the titles that nailed this the best and created some of the most vibrant and beautiful open worlds that every player has to experience.
10. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Initially released in 2011 by Bethesda, there's a reason why The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's world is still one of the most recognisable and acclaimed RPG open worlds in gaming history.
Fresh off the success that was Elder Scrolls IV and its setting of the Cyrodiil in the heartlands of Tamriel, Bethesda decided to switch up things by moving the action from the lush plains and forests of the Imperial City to the snowy tundra and mountain ranges of the continent's frozen north in Skyrim.
Bethesda's Creation Engine was specifically redesigned for the development of Skyrim, and the world was built with every intention of pushing the boundaries on what was possible in open world design. Todd Howard wanted a world with a charm and identity that he believed would be more interesting to players than Oblivion, and the end result is a game that has some of the most breathtaking scenery - as well as the opportunity for adventure around almost every corner.
And whilst the frozen tundras and mountain ranges are undoubtedly the face of the game and what players first think of when Skyrim is mentioned, each and every province has its own unique design and theme and feel more like individual countries and a part of their own separate game rather than a part of the same land.