Open world is a video game that allows gamers to freely move through a virtual world and complete a specific objective. Another name used for the open world is free play or free roam. Most people confuse the sandbox with an open world, but they are entirely different from each other.
The gamers have total freedom of when and how to interact with objects in the game. Also, the players are not restricted by an urgency to complete an objective. They can explore the world around them, unlike some other games, which have a more linear structure in its gameplay.
The main goal of the open world is to provide virtual reality experience and allow gamers to create their character and choose the kind of behavior that suits them in the game. In cases like this, the game has no end or urgency to complete the gameplay.
Even though players have the autonomy, there are limitations due to the rules in which the game was built. The gameplay may or may not depend solely on the player's decision. In some open world video games, the players have full control. But it comes down to the particular requirements and accessibilities of a video game.
There are two terms popularly used in the open-world game development: procedural generation and emergence.
Procedural generation is a term used for a game content that's developed using algorithms, instead of manual generation. Game developers use this method to create new levels and other gaming content. The procedural generation helps to reduce game time development and helps to create a more and bigger world with few resources.
Emergence refers to a sophisticated phenomenon in a video game that results from an interaction of a game mechanism, whether intentional or unintentional. Over the years, video game developers have tried to encourage emergent video gameplay by giving gamers tools to expand the video game through their actions. An example is the interactions between artificial intelligence and physics.
As technology is advancing, open world games will become more immersive, which will allow players to explore and create their own stories, as compared to linear storylines.