As open-world games continue to evolve, it's becoming increasingly clear that the genre has a permanent spot in the industry.
There's something about the open-ended, free-form nature of these types of games that drive players to want more. Whether it's the unique playfulness of something like Minecraft or the epic crime saga of the Grand Theft Auto series, open-world games are big business, with GTA alone having sold over 150 million copies.
With the new generation of consoles boasting greater processing power and the scope for far larger game maps, games like Arkham Knight and the inevitable new additions to the GTA and Fallout franchises continue to move the genre forward.
As of yet, the promised revolution is still on hold as the new console releases struggle with glitches and under-cooked development, so now is the perfect time to look back at the greatest games the genre has spawned so far. Looking back on the wonderful open-world games of the past, it's certainly interesting to see which ones brought what to the table and how each one changed the genre in its own unique way.
Grand Theft Auto III pioneered so much of what fans have come to expect in an open world title, while games like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion took all those things to a completely new level. So hit the next button, and get into counting down the 15 best open-world games ever made.