10 of the biggest open-world video games released in terms of map size

Largest_Open-World_Games

While contemporary gaming enthusiasts sing high praises of open-world games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto V (and rightly so), it is interesting to note that the first open-world video game made its debut 33 years ago, in the form of the ‘Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness‘. Of course, we are not here to talk about quality or history, but rather the sizes of these so-called ‘open worlds’. And, in our quest to fetch the results from the far-flung corners of the internet realm, we were surprised to find that some of the larger open-world games are not actually mainstream successes. So, without further ado, let us check out the ten biggest open-world video games (released) in terms of sheer map size.

*Note 1 – We have decided to exclude the procedurally-generated and randomly generated maps in this list. So, games like Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall or Minecraft are not in the main list.

*Note 2 – Open-world doesn’t always equate to a sandbox experience.

10)  World of Warcraft – before Burning Crusade (80 sq miles or 207 sq km) –

World of Warcraft

The MMORPG to end all MMORPGs, the World of Warcraft is arguably the ‘piece de resistance’ from Blizzard Entertainment. Released back in 2004, the world of Azeroth has since seen four expansions, with the fifth iteration being planned for next week itself. As for the numbers game, WoW has broken a slew of records, with the online game boasting of more than a whopping 100 million accounts.  It also held the record of the highest grossing video game product (as of 2012), with an astronomical $10 billion that equates to over 10 million copies being sold. Given such remarkable figures, it comes as no surprise that the game’s lead designer Ion Hazzikostas has claimed that WoW will stay for 2024!

9) Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (135 sq miles or 350 sq km) –

Operation-flashpoint-dragon-rising

Released in the latter part of 2009, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising was developed by Britain-based Codemasters as a military simulation video game. The setting is focused on the fictional island of Skira, which is contested between American and Chinese forces – fueled by discovery of oil reserves on the isolated landmass. Interestingly, the Skira is actually based on the real-world island of Kiska, which lies at the western end of Alaska. Mirroring the modern world-set conflict, this island was actually contested between the US and Japanese forces during the period of Second World War. In any case, while the game scored relatively high on 70s on Metacritic, the users were not too impressed with its current rating (for PC) standing at just 4.9 out of 10.

8) Star Wars Galaxies (200 sq miles or 518 sq km) –

Star_Wars_Galaxies

An MMORPG from 2003, developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by Lucas Arts, the Star Wars Galaxies was ceremoniously launched with the inclusion of ten planets, including the fan-favorites of Tatooine, Naboo and the moon of Endor. Later expansions brought the Wookie-home world of Kashyyyk and the planet Mustafar into the mix, while also adding ‘space zones’ that were fully navigable – with each boasting of 15 km cubes of virtual volume. Unfortunately, in spite of critical acclaim being showered during its early years, the Star Wars Galaxies’s online servers were officially shut down on December 15, 2011. However, interested players are still left with the option of private emulators, with hard work of communities like Project SWG.

7) Burnout Paradise (200 sq miles or 518 sq km) –

Burnout_Paradise

The Burnout series put developer Criterion Games on the ‘map’ of the racing realm, and the jewel in their crown arguably is 2008’s Burnout Paradise, which was  released as the fifth game of the franchise. Set in the fictional urban setting of the namesake ‘Paradise City’, the open-world allows players to participate in different kinds of races that also includes other types of game modes for online competing. Another noteworthy feature entailed the later free additions of the time-of-day cycle and motorcycles – which were smartly inserted with the software update titled ‘Davis’. Unsurprisingly, the Burnout Paradise still holds strong in Metacritic with an impressive score of 87 (for PC), while user scores also account for a solid average of 7.5.

6) True Crime: Streets of LA (240 sq miles or 622 sq km) –

True Crime_Streets of LA

One of the first games that boasted of expansive open-world after the acclaim and success of Grand Theft Auto III, the True Crime: Streets of LA from 2003 puts you in the shoes of a young detective named Nick Kang. As for the extensive setting, the game world comprises of a painstaking recreation of huge swathes of Los Angeles – that includes most of the San Monica and Beverly Hills neighborhoods, replete with street names, landscape features and landmarks. Interestingly, the player can achieve multiple endings at the game’s finish – with the three different finishing paths being decided by Nick’s Good/Bad cop rating. In any case, the console versions of the True Crime: Streets of LA were well received; with 77 critical Metascore, and user scores that actually average out better at 8.1.

…continued on next page.

50 Comments on "10 of the biggest open-world video games released in terms of map size"

  1. So… Daggerall

  2. Jackalope Animations | January 19, 2017 at 10:55 pm |

    riiight.

  3. Jackalope Animations | January 19, 2017 at 10:55 pm |

    oh boy were you wrong lmao, wow I can’t believe the hype for that game has gone on for 2 years..

    • DarkMarmot | March 2, 2017 at 7:32 pm |

      HA yea it was a vaporware dream out of the gate, ALTHOUGH I did buy it when it went on sale, and then Foundation Update happened and I kinda love it now.

  4. Joseph Michael | January 6, 2017 at 6:50 pm |

    A lot of mention of space exploration games here, but I get the idea that while the coordinates might actually match our galaxy (if relevant), the planets themselves are probably randomly generated unless they were developed for regular quests or a gigantic constantly moving story-line.

  5. lol

  6. Is MS Flight Simulator considered a game?

  7. Miya Jheale | July 29, 2016 at 1:52 am |

    well, since they included SWG’s space zones in there… i’d like to point out that if space is included into this, then EVE would beat the hell out of them all (except for an infinite minecraft-cant beat infinity)

  8. Officer Jaco | July 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm |

    i smoke weed

  9. Space engineers

  10. keaton Abernathy | May 29, 2016 at 5:02 am |

    Actually, there is just a giant blue barrier now.

  11. Fjorg Vanderplög | April 14, 2016 at 9:04 am |

    1/4 of Eastern Europe would be around 1 million – 1.2 million square kilometers
    (no idea what that is in miles).
    That’s the size of Norway, Sweden and Finland combined!
    And those are not exactly your typical small European countries
    (which in general are about 50.000 something square kilometers).
    That’s pretty fucking big actually.
    Travelling from Northern Norway to Southern Sweden by train takes 17+ hours.
    Flying takes almost 3 hours.

  12. Fjorg Vanderplög | April 14, 2016 at 9:00 am |

    1900 square miles / 2000 something square kilometeres.
    Around 40 times GTA V or… 1/5 of Luxembourg.
    Now Luxembourg is really just a rich city state and hardly a country, but still…

  13. Fjorg Vanderplög | April 14, 2016 at 8:55 am |

    Pffft! You can play flight simulators in Google Earth as well.
    That’s also the entire world!

  14. Eve Online, half the universe.

  15. oh yeah!!!!

  16. Like others have said, racing maps shouldn’t be on here, however, games where yo can drive still should be.

  17. Yea, if you see a distant star, you can go there… which is awesome.

  18. Who the hell walked that?

  19. I someday want a clonewars game where i can go anywhere in the Star Wars universe, and if No Man’s Sky is successful, then it can be done. Also, does anyone know when battlefront is going to be, say around 20-25 bucks? I recently took it back to get the division, since the splitscreen wasn’t what i wanted.

  20. They might say it doesn’t count, since i think it generates as you go… however, it is all ‘there’ not like minecraft, so yea, No Man’s Sky SHOULD be the biggest map of a game yet. I someday want a clonewars game where i can go anywhere in the Star Wars universe, and if No Man’s Sky is successful, then it can be done.

  21. Dustin Wallace | March 4, 2016 at 1:29 am |

    So let me get this straight…#1 isn’t the game with the biggest square miles or it’d be Elder Scrolls 2…Why make a list if you can’t even put the top one at the actual top….shit list…

  22. THANK-YOU!

  23. WHY THE FUCK IS NO ONE MENTIONING ARENA!? It easily bests all the other installments

  24. TES: Arena still wins!!!!!!! 6,000,000 square kilometers!!!

  25. The real question is-where is Arena?

  26. He also missed Elder Scrolls Arena. It easily beats the #1. 6 million square kilometers.

    Not bad for a game that old.

  27. Idiots. The Elder Scrolls Arena has the largest map. It easily bests all other games in terms of size. It’s just other than size and story, it isn’t too good.
    “Traveling to a nearby town could take up as much as ten hours in real time. Traveling to another province, several DAYS.” In real life time.

    “The actual game-world is substantially larger than Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim together. The game utilizes randomly generated content to generate a massive world (around 6 million square kilometers), without much effort on the developers’ part. The world has hundreds of towns made with actual design, rather than being random, containing businesses with random names (Examples being “Gold Sword” “Silver Gauntlet” etc.) As well as several hundred dungeons, along with 17 specially designed dungeons that were part of the game’s main quest.”

    • keaton Abernathy | May 29, 2016 at 5:04 am |

      Minecraft is literally about 8 times the size of the planet we live on.

    • Officer Jaco | July 21, 2016 at 1:41 pm |

      The game utilizes randomly generated content to generate a massive world. you said
      it also said in the article that they wont count RANDOMLY GENERATED WORLDS, thats why minecraft and similar stuff isn’t there

  28. Andreas Sonntag | January 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm |

    Actually, the racing games should be in a totally different category because you can’t on every point of the map, as you can’t leave your car and the roads

  29. William Taylor | December 20, 2015 at 6:13 am |

    Yep, 18 quintillion life size and bigger planets!

  30. It’s probably like 5 sq miles

  31. Elite Dangerous has the biggest map I think. Never tried it by myself, but but someone says, it takes about 50 days in real life to travel from side to side if you play about nine hours a day.

  32. burnout paradise has 200 miles of road, its map is not 200 square miles. It definitely isnt 5 times gta 5’s map, or half of just cause 2’s map. It’s map is probably around 20-40 square miles

  33. minecrafts biggest generated world is 10 times the zize of earth

  34. Minecraft? Not really, it just randomly generates new world as you go further, except for the parts of world you already went on.

  35. Currently Elite Dangerous has the biggest open playable space in video game history. Once No Man’s Sky hits the market it will hold this spot.

  36. well know what

    Minecraft is the largest

  37. Skyrim is quite small

  38. What about Star Wars: The Old Republic. It has at least 30 planets. Or Rodina, which has five full scale planets and thousands of asteroids

  39. Space Engineers is bigger, it has size of Solar System.

  40. Av Praneeth | August 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm |

    The Crewwwww!!!!

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