Since the original Nintendo Entertainment System launched in the United States in 1985, video games have been growing at a rapid pace. It seemed as if there was a new gaming system every five years, with each one having better graphics and resolution, a larger hard drive, and higher quality games to choose from.
However, if you compare the differences between an original NES and the latest Xbox One, or PS4, it would not be fair. The consoles of today have grown into powerful weapons of video gaming destruction due to how impressive their engines have become thanks to the advancement in technology.
This has given gaming studios a chance to find new ways to grow their fan base. It is no longer about the resolution, or the story; it is about choices. Gamers today love to play games that allow them to explore an open-world and make their own choices about what they are going to do. The days of linear storylines are long gone. The future of gaming is open-world games.
As video game consoles continue to grow in power and size, so do the worlds that live inside these games. The land areas of some of the games today are massive and it is all thanks to the consoles ability to handle the memory needed to run such a game.
Let's take a look at the 25 largest Open-World games by looking at their size, in square miles.
Upon its release for the console, The Elder Scrolls V, which is best known as just Skyrim, was seen as an amazing work of video game art. The scenery is so beautiful, and high-quality, that you can sometimes find yourself getting actually lost in the forest, for hours, just exploring the vast land area.
The gameplay was built around the size of the map, so there are not many details missing from it. It gives the player a real sense of being in the game even when simply roaming around, looking for a place to build a house. Keep in mind that Skyrim is just a piece of an even larger map.
As far as open world video games with large gameplay maps are concerned, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was one of the very first games that truly took advantage of the console it was released on.
Back in 2006, there just was not very many video games that had maps that stretch to nearly 16 square miles while allowing the player a chance to explore the entire map, from inch to inch, and follow a somewhat linear story combined with an array of amazingly complex side stories.
Oblivion will forever be a pioneer in the open world market and it is amazing that it remains in the top 25 nearly 13 years later.
The origins of the online multiplayer battle royale phenomena began in 2013 when Brendan Greene developed a mod for ARMA 2/DayZ which was a Battle Royale game inspired by the Japanese cult classic Battle Royale. The film has only been around since 2000, but it has helped to create an entirely new way to enjoy video games.
But when it comes to land size, and area maps, PlayerUnknown's Battleground is the champion with a 24.7 square mile map that allows players to freely explore while looting any weapons or vehicles they can find until there is only one person left standing.
Due to the nature of the gameplay, Assassin's Creed Rogue has a very large map, about 27.2 square miles, but is not quite the largest in the franchise. The addition of the ship battles have given the Assassin's Creed franchise a reason to expand its gaming area and grow the overall quality of play.
However, because of all their attention to detail, and the ability to upgrade the Morrigan, there need to be some sacrifices or the game would be nearly impossible to run on a console today. That simply means the future of gaming is going to be as bright as the evolution of the gaming console. As they improve, so does the video game.
There are not very many fan bases that are as dedicated to their game as Zelda fans. Every single time a new Zelda game hits the open market, fans of the franchise quickly grab it and explore. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has given those fans a reason for excitement thanks to its very large land area.
The game is so large, the entire map from Skyrim could fit inside of it. The map is nearly 29 square miles, or about the size of Manhattan, New York, and is 100% explorable. In other words, it is not just the map that is large, it is the game. Some games have massive land area maps, but you can only explore a percentage of it. This game allows you to free roam the entire map, corner to corner.
The land area of video games are estimated sizes based on various types of measuring and scaling back and forth between other open-world games. Our numbers are not perfect, or exact. They are guesses drawn from various sources and our own measuring.
That brings us to Red Dead Redemption 2, the prequel to the hit video game Red Dead Redemption, and it's impressively large gaming map that many have estimated to be around 29 square miles. That is much smaller than earlier estimates, before the game his the shelves, that claimed that the map was the largest one ever created by Rockstar. But after measuring it, we come closer to the 29 square miles we listed above, which is a couple square miles less than GTA V.
Although gamers are going to disagree, we have found that the largest game map in the Far Cry franchise belongs to Far Cry 2, with a land size of 31 square miles. The other games in the series come close but are just a few miles short of this one.
To keep things in perspective, if you have the game then take a walk from one end to the other, see how long it takes. It could take close to an hour to walk the entire map, if our measurements are correct, and we believe they most certainly are.
If you are wondering why Rockstar games have found so much success without shoving games in our faces just about every six months, it is because of who they are as a company. They believe in being an original, not a follower. They go out of their way to create a game that can stand alone as a truly unique masterpiece. That is why GTA V is still one of the highest grossing games in the world even after nearly six years since it was released.
The game was built using maps of Los Angeles and Southern California. This helped game designers create a map that covers 31 square miles and includes mountains, skyscrapers, deserts, and an army base that would make even the U.S. Military proud.
In order to truly test the size of this map, you need to get the game and explore. So, after some rigorous testing, we discovered that the time it takes to get from one end of the map to the other, at roughly three times the normal walking speed, it can take close to 20 minutes in real time. Can you imagine that?
The video game evolution has come full circle now. Open-world games are so large in land size that they take you 20 minutes of real time just to walk across the map. If you do not take on any side missions, or follow the main storyline, it takes nearly 20 minutes to do nothing but walking.
The area map for the hit video game Fallout 4 is 43 square miles. Maybe. Of all the games to make our list, this is the only one that has been debated by gamers from all over the internet.
The outdoor wasteland area is nearly four square miles but that is not the only part of the game that should be considered for square mileage because of how many inside and underground areas are also included. Also, there were a couple of DLC packs that expanded the overall gaming area to reach almost 43 square miles.
Since it is in the game, we decided to go with it and consider it part of the total area size of the map.
With Electronic Arts becoming somewhat of a villain in the gaming world today, many people forget that just five years ago, they had created a very underrated open-world game called Dragon Age: Inquisition.
The game was, and still is, one of the hidden gems of EA's video game arsenal. The environment's were beautifully designed and the story itself was very intriguing. BioWare did a wonderful job creating a perfectly underrated game that gives gamers about 45 square mileage of land to roam around and explore.
Thanks to Black Flag, the Assassin's Creed franchise has been able to stick around this long. Although recent releases have been a bit of a disappointment, it was Black Flag that gave gamers something to hope for in the near future. They know that the Assassin's Creed franchise can produce something of high quality like Black Flag.
Besides the open-world setting reaching 55 square miles, the real success behind the game was the ability to become a pirate, set sail, and navigate throughout the open waters as if it were four hundred years ago and Jack Sparrow was out there leading his own crew.
Unlike most other game developers, CD Projekt has one philosophy: to create the best open-world gaming experience a gamer can achieve. They do not focus much on making as much money as possible off a video game so they end up focusing on creating higher quality games instead of simply making junk that they know will please a lot of people.
That idea led to the creation of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the greatest open-world games of all time. The companies attention to quality helped them create something that has become an amazing game. The map size of 84 square miles was not intended from the start, it just happened as they were developing the game.
After multiple postponements, DayZ was finally released for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles last December and it has already received a major update to fix a lot of the bugs that were hindering gamers from truly enjoying the game, which had already become a major success on the PC for nearly five years.
The PC version has won multiple awards, dating back to 2013, and the console version is a really good port, but it is nowhere near the star it was on the PC. That said, the game's area map still measures an outrageous 86.9 square miles, which makes it one of the largest games released on the console in 2019... so far.
One of the reasons why Assassin's Creed Odyssey has a map size of almost 91 square miles is due to the fact that it is a combination of Black Flag and Origins. Since most of the gameplay is geared towards the open water, it has plenty of water on the gaming map. The rest of it is full of massive land areas similar to Origins.
This has turned Odyssey into the largest Assassin's Creed game to date. However, the biggest drawbacks to a map of this size is that the gameplay restricts the ability to freely explore the entire thing right away. It takes time to unlock certain areas before being able to see the true beauty of it all.
It is tough to compete with Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Counter Strike, when they have been around for so many years, getting better and more advanced every single time a new one was released. But British video game developer, Codemasters, decided they would try and get in on the action and created the tactical shooter series, Operation Flashpoint.
The game itself is nothing to brag about, it is somewhat confusing at times and the gameplay is a little underwhelming when there are other franchises out there with exponentially better games. But the only reason this game makes the list is because of the map size, and nothing else.
Thanks to Nintendo's inability to compete with other consoles when it comes to the graphical aspect of gaming, there just aren't very many titles that make our list. That is, except for one.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is the exception with close to 155 square miles of land in the fictional planet of Mira, where gamers can operate an avatar similar to the film, Avatar. The player gets to explore the beautiful countryside of the planet. It is truly one of the most underrated games that you can find in the Open-World gaming market today.
If you have not played this game yet, you really should. It will not take very long for you to realize that you can go exploring the moment you step into the game. Unlike most of the other games with maps of this size, Ghost Recon Wildlands opens its world to the gamer right away. There is no need to unlock sections of the map as you advance throughout the game, it is all yours from the start.
That is the entire purpose of the Ghost Recon franchise. It is a military strategy game that allows the gamer a chance to become a soldier by having to make real decisions or perish. Wildlands is so large, it is not the easiest to explore but it is there if you wanted to.
Video games today are all about realism. That's because gamers love to play something real, something authentic, and something that can let them play in a fake world, but feel as if it is real. That is why racing games today feature the same type of cars you can go out and buy in the real world.
But that was not the case for Burnout Paradise. The game was fictional, the cars were fake, and the map was 200 square miles of a place called Paradise City, a fake place where you can race cars all over the massive area map. It remains one of the greatest arcade racing games of the past 30 years because of its style.
Back in 2001, when Grand Theft Auto III became one of the most popular games in video game history, and long before it was best known as GTA, many gaming studios wanted to grab some of the success that Rockstar Games was feeling.
Due to the massive success of GTA III, companies started creating clones, or similar style games with different characters, and one of them happened to be True Crime: Streets of LA, one of the most underrated GTA clones ever. Instead of being a perfect clone, they decided to add a feature that would make it stand out. So they created a world map that was five times larger than anything GTA has ever built.
Very few games create the world of chaos and insanity that happens in Just Cause 3. The game takes place in Medici, a fictional island on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. When it was first released, Square Enix actually held a contest where they gave away an island to the player that was atop the game's leaderboard after the initial 90 days of release.
They made sure that players were well aware that the major selling point of this game was the sheer size of it. And it is truly grand, covering 400 square miles, completely devouring the full map of GTA V.
In 2011, when Test Drive Unlimited 2 was first released, the size of the game's world map was a big selling point. In fact, it was part of the reason why the game was so popular back then. But the evolution of video gaming has given just about every game studio the ability to create games with large maps.
In other words, the gaming world is growing and the maps will continue to grow, this time, by leaps and bounds. Compare the number of games today that make this list versus games from pre-2011 and you will be truly amazed at the difference in number of titles.
Of all the old school video games still around today, like Mario, Zelda, and Sonic, Final Fantasy remains one of the best when it comes to adaptation. The Final Fantasy video game series has grown up with each release, using new technology and console upgrades as a guide for the madness.
Final Fantasy XV is the culmination of the entire series combined with all the best that gaming has to offer today. It even went as far as to create a land area map that reaches nearly 700 square miles, or roughly the size of Rhode Island. It also has the options of letting you free roam throughout most of it.
When The Crew first came out, one of its biggest selling points was that the game map was one of the largest we have ever seen in video gaming history. So when it first came out, people wanted to test the rumors that the game map was as large as it claimed to be by driving from New York to Los Angeles.
Since this is not real life, there are no speed limits along the way. So many people used their supped up cars, normally going 150 mph for most of the drive, and made the trip to confirm that the map lived up to the rumors. Just about everyone concluded that it did because it took nearly one hour of real life time to make the trip. Imagine playing a video game for an hour, just to drive from one end of the map to the other, not playing the game at all.
It is tough to explain just how impressive the game map from Fuel is unless you have played the post-apocalyptic racing game. You can find yourself playing for hours, and hours, without ever even covering half of the map. There have been many gamers over the years (don't forget that this game came out in 2009,) that have created videos, and gameplay diaries of their attempts at covering the entire map in a vehicle and it has taken so long, most people either gave up about halfway through, or they came to the realization that it was virtually impossible to cover the entire map.
Although the gameplay is not half as good as most of the others on our list, it remains the largest game map we have ever seen on a console game and that means you should give it a chance, and see for yourself.