The freedom of exploring an open world, venturing about, completing varying tasks to further the narrative is an unparalleled experience. When ‘player choice’ is added to the mix, the decisions they make throughout their adventures suddenly hold weight in the in-game world.
Whether taking the path of sound moral judgment or the lack thereof, choices are what ultimately make games immersive. The options provided in these upcoming games make them stand out amongst the thousands of other open world titles on the market, where the cause and effect related to tough in-game decisions don’t typically matter.
Updated on January 31, 2023, by Branden Lizardi: The freedom to choose how you want to play a game, and having the game change the outcomes accordingly, has been an increasingly popular trend for a handful of years now. More and more games are designed to have your choices matter. We’ve updated the list to include more games to ensure that you don’t miss out on some of the best open world games with influencing decisions,
11 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
While not necessarily decision heavy in terms of narrative, The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild provides you with a bevy of choices regarding how you want to approach completing the game.
Whether it be rushing to fight Calamity Ganon, taking the time to free all of the divine beasts, or simply exploring the vast open-world collecting equipment and whatnot, Breath of the Wild gives you the option to play the game how you want.
Bloodborne offers you a choice in regards to its completion route and ultimate conclusion. Throughout the duration of Bloodborne’s lovecraftian campaign, you can progress through the game in any way you choose, confronting bosses as seen fit and completing areas in a non-linear manner.
Overall, Bloodborne offers you three different endings that are reflected by certain in-game criteria being met. Whether not you choose to pursue obtaining the item that leads to these different endings is completely up to them.
9 Far Cry 4
The fourth entry in Ubisoft’s Far Cry series provides a conclusion that is entirely choice-based. Choosing between the peaceful or vengeful approach is completely up to you, whether it be deciding to complete Ajay’s ultimate quest of scattering his mother’s ashes or carving a path of destruction enacting vengeance against those who wronged him.
Sprinkled throughout the game are some other minor choices that do not necessarily have a huge impact on the overall story of the game. For example, whether or not to side with Amita or Sabal.
8 The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds is an open world space opera developed by Obsidian Entertainment that provides you with a plethora of game-altering choices that impact the overall narrative of the game. At times these dialogue-driven decisions can be extremely difficult, however, The Outer Worlds’ choices mostly reflect whether or not you want to do good or bad in this universe. Therefore, they are largely based on morality.
The dialogue choices you make throughout the campaign, especially towards the end, directly impact how The Outer Worlds closes. What makes this even more exciting is that there are about 20+ endings to discover that are all choice related.
7 Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5 is Rockstar’s modern masterpiece. Although much of GTA 5’s player base loves it for its online shenanigans, what many folks forget is that the single-player mode provides its audience with an end-game choice that is extremely tough. Upon starting the final narrative arc, you are given the choice to kill some very important characters.
Alternatively, you can choose the most difficult end-game route, ultimately saving them. This choice matters to achievement completionists because killing either of the characters removes all missions related to them, making some achievements completely miss-able.
6 Red Dead Redemption 2
Akin to Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar Games made sure that choices played a pivotal role in the narrative of its western blockbuster, Red Dead Redemption 2. Scattered throughout the game are an insane amount of choices that reflect whether Arthur Morgan is honorable or not. Depending on what moral decisions are made, certain missions are unlocked.
Towards the end of the game, you are yet again given another big choice that will determine which of the four endings is triggered. Again, these endings are morality based, so all the decisions you made throughout the game are reflected in the ultimate conclusion.
5 Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey was Ubisoft’s return to form for the AC franchise. After years and years of rehashed story elements and overdone narrative clichés, Ubisoft took the time to craft an open-world epic where you traverse Greece as a legendary mercenary looking for their family.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey utilizes branching questlines where you are prompted with many choices, like whether or not to spare certain characters, and who to side with during the ongoing war. These pivotal decisions are reflected in the nine different endings.
4 NieR: Automata
The NieR franchise has built itself around giving you a choice. NieR: Automata is known for being a continuation of the 4th ending of the first game. The game is set in an open-world where you take control of a giant weapon-wielding battle bot caught up in the middle of an ongoing war.
NieR: Automata is awesome because of the number of endings it has, albeit some of them extremely zany. There are endings that are deemed as “true” endings and others that are absolutely hilarious that can only be triggered based on certain in-game decisions that are made. Not to mention, that on new playthroughs you can pilot different characters with their own decision-based endings.
3 Fable 2
In Fable 2, the literal fate of Albion is given to you. In the end, after finishing the final sequence in the game, you are prompted to make a key decision between sacrifice, love, or wealth. Each choice holds weight in the game world and is reflected in how you are viewed by NPCs. Fable also utilizes a morality system, where your character transmogrifies their appearance based on in-game decisions.
If the path of evil is the path pursued, the hero will sprout horns and take on demon-like features. If you choose to be a do-gooder, they will adorn a halo and be surrounded by an angelic aura. Along with these decisions, you can also cater your playstyle by mastering certain skills, be it a master of will, an accurate sharpshooter, or expert of close-quarters combat.
2 Dragon Age: Inquisition
The folks at Bioware have a history of developing games with gripping narratives and grand circumstances. They also have a tendency to have your relationships with the various NPCs influence the outcome of their games. Dragon Age: Inquisition is a fantastic example of this. Even between rifts breaking holes through the Veil and an ongoing conflict between mages and templars, you still find time to engage in heroism, espionage, and even more-than-casual companionship among your peers.
Whether you’re helping Dorian confront his father or getting enough dirt to blackmail everyone as a high society social event, there are countless ways that your decisions can work in (and against) your favor. They’re not just blips in the grand sceme, either. Characters can live or die based on your choices, so choose carefully.
Ghost of Tsushima Jin Sakai Cover Art
Not only was Ghost of Tsushima one of the best games of last year, but it also provided an incredibly emotionally driven choice based conclusion. Ghost of Tsushima tells the story of Jin Sakai, of the Sakai Clan, enacting vengeance against those who wronged him while attempting to free his homeland from the iron grip of a ruthless tyrant.
Although choice does not play a pivotal role for the entirety of the campaign, the ending of Ghost of Tsushima comes with an incredibly difficult decision that concludes the story in a near-perfect manner. This final decision carries the weight of the entire 25-hour long campaign, capping it off with emotion and extravagance accompanied by an utterly cinematic backdrop.