When an open world game is announced, one question comes to mind: How big is the map? The general consensus is that the bigger, the better. With technology advancing more and more each year, it’s easy to wonder how big game maps can actually get.

Arguably the biggest gaming title of 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2, is an open world Western game with an expectedly massive map. According to a recent Q&A discussion with Rockstar Games, the map will be big enough to completely encircle the map of the first Red Dead Redemption game.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 map will encompass the entire map of the first game, and more. Source: Red Dead Redemption Wiki

In recent years, game maps have become bigger, bolder and exponentially more ambitious. Think back to the incredible feat that was the map for No Man’s Sky. When Hello Games announced the game, the revolutionary map size captured the attention of the gaming community. Hello Games promised that the map size was so big it could never be fully discovered.

This was all very impressive until the controversy surrounding the game invalidated the map size.

However, the plight behind the map of No Man’s Sky does pose the question – can gaming maps really be near infinite?

Technology is not the issue here. A powerful console could easily load a map of great size. There is no theoretical limit to how big a game map could be. The issue as to why game maps don’t tend to be revolutionarily big is due to the development process.

This is an understandable hurdle when it comes to making game maps bigger. Time constraints, budgets and other issues that conflict with developers being able to make expansive game maps.

One of the rumours about the next instalment of the Grand Theft Auto series is that the map will encompass the entire map of the United States. This would include all major cities and terrains. But, of course, this is only a rumour.

The map of The Crew featured the entire map of the United States

Yet this rumour could be hypothetically possible and was achieved with the 2014 title, The Crew. The map of the United States that featured in the racing game takes forty minutes to drive from Los Angeles to New York.

From year to year, game maps are getting bigger and bigger. Unilad Gaming posted a video a couple of months ago to demonstrate just how big game maps have become over the years. Check it out below:

There are no signs that the growth of game maps is going to gain momentum any time soon. As consoles and computers get more powerful, the limits of maps will continue to pushed. While many say that game maps could be theoretically infinite, only time will tell just how big game maps will be as developers push to outdo the competition.

Lover of literature and gaming from Melbourne, I’m a massive fan of story-based gaming and how video games are quickly becoming the next great form of storytelling - Anything story-based or a good survival-horror are my absolute favourites. Currently studying Writing and Literature at Swinburne University and hoping to take it into the gaming industry.