Lately I’ve been replaying through Bethesda’s epic from last year. Why? Of Course! Skyrim Dawnguard was coming out. My review for the new DLC is coming this week but something dawned (heh…) on me while replaying. Skyrim is a huge game. Definitely not a game where you can just sit down and say, “hey I think I’m going to play some Skyrim!” You need to really think about it. Will you sit down and play it? Will you put in the time again? My first completed game for the fifth entry into the Elder Scrolls universe clocked me out at 56 hours. I’ve seen some people head into the 200 hour range.
What does that go to show? This is a game no matter how much you play it, every time you go through you will find something new. Maybe a cave you passed over before. Perhaps you uncovered a Dwemer ruin but never went in and forgot about it. No matter the reason, it is almost impossible to do 100% of everything in Skyrim in your first playthrough. The same can be said for nearly every single open world game. Grand Theft Auto. Saint’s Row. Batman: Arkham City. The list goes on and on but one thing rings true. These games are not one and done stars. Their reach to gamers can withstand generations of consoles.
I have a buddy who still enjoys going through Vice City on his PSP. He’s on his third saved game and he’s still finding new things. There is a reason why this genre is so lauded by gamers. Not only do they make money when a big subject heads to a sandbox world, but they give gamers the best bang for their buck. Arkham Asylum was once called the best comic book/superhero game. Not only was it beaten out by Arkham City, it outclassed the first game in every aspect. The open world aspect made Arkham City a huge winner. Who wouldn’t want to play as Batman and be able to jump from building to building stopping crime in Arkham?
That’s the key. It is hard to create a new IP, open world game and expect everyone to jump on ship. You could create one hell of a game but gamers won’t be used to the world, character, or have any investment. Great example? Kingdoms of Amalur. It was a great game! It was sad to hear that it did not help the studio out. However, it goes to show you that new IP’s are even riskier when you put in the work and money needed to make an open world game.
When you take an established world and characters that gamers/people are already connected to you’ll find at minimum some success. That is common knowledge.
So why is Skyrim Dawnguard definitive proof that open world games are everlasting? I mentioned earlier in the article that you can’t just say that you want to sit down and play Skyrim. You need to make sure you’re going to invest the time. However, whenever I see the game name Skyrim in my Steam account or Xbox Live “My Games” section, I want to play it. Even before I sat down to give it a real good playthrough beginning last week, I kept thinking “man, I want to play as the Dovahkiin again.”
Skyrim Dawnguard looks amazing and while I haven’t played it yet, the newly released DLC is something that hits my fancy: vampires. Dark, brooding, life stealing, ancient vampires.
DLC for games extends their lives. DLC in open world games not only gives you more to play but more to find, collect, and see. How is that any different? The new lands and content in open world games tend to be huge. Look at Knothole Island or the Shimmering Isles. Now Skyrim Dawnguard brings a whole new realm to Skyrim with new skills, items, a new weapon type, and combat enhancements.
For someone who has a completed save of the game, Skyrim Dawnguard is going to add plenty for them to do. For someone who restarts or is just beginning in the Nord lands, they will find plenty more to do in a world already full of so much. The same can be said for the previous addition to the Elder Scrolls. Oblivion held a lot to do. Before Skyrim, it seemed like the most filled game out there. Shimmering Isles added a whole new set of land and an amazing villain.
Open world games get much more thanks to DLC. Not only do veterans get more content to play with their established heroes, but they also have more of an incentive to replay the game. New players also have much more reasons to finally jump onto the Skyrim train thanks to the amount of content being added.
Just to think, Skyrim Dawnguard is just the beginning.