Many point to Skyrim as a hallmark of open world design, but Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe says that it's the system and resource management that players really find attractive.
Speaking to Gamasutra about his belief that the key to developing games is creating "experiences that speak respectfully and powerfully, using the language of interactivity," he discussed what he thinks makes the chart-topping RPG geat.
"Well, a lot of people look at Skyrim and they say, 'Oh, the graphics' -- or the music or the sound effects -- 'that's what makes it immersive.' And sure, that's true to an extent. It is a combat game, there's fighting, but it's more of a simulation of an experience. So is Twisted Metal, but [Skyrim is] more of a simulation, like, live this character's life," says Jaffe.
"In that game, your brain is engaged in so much stuff that speaks to what we're talking about, which is the language of interactivity," he says.
These in-game interactions and choices may not make for sexy box copy, but they engage the brain, Jaffe argues.
"Walking through the forest, going 'I need to get this shit back to the armorer, so I can sell it, so I can make money, so I can go on this side quest I've been trying to earn enough shit to go on successfully, but I can't go much faster because if I pick up another item, I'm going to be going really slow, and I'm going to get my ass killed going through this forest, getting back to town. How do I deal with that?'"
"If you read the back of the game box, it will promise you that you get to live this great adventure. But in essence, you're really dealing with mechanics -- which is great. And I'm not saying of the box should be like, 'Look! A game of resource management!' You need to live within the world you live in, and appeal to a level that the people can understand."
The full interview, in which Jaffe discusses his ideas about why interactivity is so much more important than story, is live now on Gamasutra.