Open-world games are not new; in fact they’ve been around for some time. The original Legend of Zelda for the NES gave gamers a glimpse of how much fun an open world game can be, and ever since that landmark game developers of open-world games have endeavored to give gamers larger and large worlds to explore.
There will be many open-world games that gamers will be surprised didn’t make this list, such as Grand Theft Auto V or Fallout 4. Those two games have large world maps, but even they are nothing compared to the games that did make this list. Here are 10 games with the largest maps for players to explore.
10 Xenoblade Chronicles X
This sequel managed to improve upon the original Xenoblade Chronicles in every way, but one of the biggest improvements was to the size of the world map. Xenoblade Chronicles X takes place on the planet of Mira. This planet is the new home for humanity after Earth was destroyed and the colony of New Los Angeles was established there.
The world map in Xenoblade Chronicles X is 154 sq. miles, and for the most part resembles the mountainous areas of Colorado. This game is unique among the games on this list in that the player can explore the world in a large mechanized battle-suit.
9 Just Cause 3
The Just Cause series is famous for giving players a huge world to explore, and Just Cause 3 is no exception with a map covering 400 sq. miles. This game takes place on an island in the Mediterranean called Medici. Being a Mediterranean island, it has a mostly rocky, mountainous terrain with sparse vegetation and several small picturesque towns.
The mountainous terrain allows for some great views though, and getting around via parachute is a great game mechanic; though there are also many vehicles on the island the player can “appropriate”. The vehicle list includes attack helicopters and even a wing-suit that is jet-powered.
8 Final Fantasy XV
The Final Fantasy games have always featured unique fantasy worlds. With the fifteenth game Square gave us an enormous world to explore. The game world in Final Fantasy XV is approximately 750 sq. miles in size; however, many areas of the map are separated from other areas with impassible terrain such as mountains.
Although this game has an large world map, it is very sparsely populated and is mostly flat terrain. Still, the world is beautifully designed and contains varied ecosystems ranging from harsh deserts to dense forests. Overall, it provides some nice scenery for a road trip.
7 The Crew
This ambitious online-only game uses the continental U.S. for its world map – all of it. That being said the map is scaled down quite a bit, but still large enough that to drive from coast to coast takes about 45 minutes.
The map is roughly 1900 sq. miles in size and even has most of the major cities to drive through (they are also scaled down in size though). The sequel, The Crew 2, has a map that is roughly the same size, but allows the player to travel by plane. However, traveling by plane definitely makes the game world seem a lot smaller.
Fuel is the second and last driving game to make this list; with a map that is about 7000 sq. miles in size (the size of the map varies wildly depending on the source). This enormous map is also procedurally generated as well so the terrain will vary on different play-throughs.
This game has approximately 10,000 miles worth of roads to explore, and can take as long as three hours to drive across the map. To put the size of the map into perspective, it is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut.
5 The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
If players thought the map in Skyrim was huge they should give Daggerfall a try, because the map in Daggerfall dwarfs the one in Skyrim. The map in Daggerfall is over 63,000 sq. miles in size; which makes it larger than England, or roughly the size of the state of Florida. That is an absolutely enormous area to explore, and there are so many secrets hidden in the countryside that completionists will be playing for hundreds of hours.
If players can get past the very dated graphics they should give Daggerfall a play-through – especially if they enjoyed Oblivion and Skyrim. Daggerfall can still be downloaded for free on the official Elder Scrolls website.
Minecraft has the largest land-based open-world to explore out of any game in this list – by far. The world of Minecraft is approximately 1.5 billion sq. miles. The surface area of the Earth is only 197 million sq. miles; making the world in Minecraft about eight times larger.
With a surface area that big it is a surprising that players ever encounter each other. At any given time there are about one million people playing Minecraft. This means that on average there are about 1500 sq. miles per player. In other words there is plenty of room if players want to make their fortress a little bigger.
3 Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters
The “word map” in Star Control II is the Milky Way Galaxy; however, despite having such a large area there are about 500 stars and 3800 planets to explore. Scattered around this large map are many alien species to encounter. Some of these aliens will be hostile, but there are also many that players can recruit to their cause.
This is perhaps the most underrated game of all time, and has something that many modern games don’t have – really good voice-acting. This game is so beloved that even though it is almost thirty years old there are still people who devote their time to improve the game’s graphics and sound.
Spore was one of those games that failed to live up to the hype, but what it did deliver on was an enormous open-world to explore. The planets in Spore are fairly large, but once a player’s species develops a ship capable of interstellar travel the player might be a little overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the galaxy they now have to explore.
The average galaxy in Spore has about 45,000 stars, with as many as 120,000 planets rotating around them. If a player explored ten planets a day it would take over thirty-five years to explore them all (that’s real world years). Fortunately, it is not necessary to explore the entire galaxy to complete the game. But who in their right mind would turn down the chance to explore this galaxy?
1 No Man’s Sky
The developers of No Man’s Sky weren’t content to give the players a single galaxy to explore, so they included 255 galaxies. There are so many planets to explore in the procedurally generated galaxies that if a player were to visit one planet per second it would take almost 600 billion years to visit them all.
That gives an area to explore for the players that is so vast that it staggers one’s imagination. Granted, there isn’t much to do beyond visiting the numerous planets, but for players that have a desire to explore the unknown, this game will certainly sate their wanderlust.