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10 Open-World Games Where the Story Is Totally Optional 2022

The gaming industry has seen a plethora of titles with rich, deep and emotionally heavy stories. From the likes of The Last of Us to remakes of God of War, recent releases have really laid on the narrative structure. This can be seen to be a mistake, especially in the RPG genre.

There’s nothing wrong with story-focused RPGs, which is why so many of them are great. But sometimes fans just want to explore things on their own and carve their lives in a bizarre fantasy world. To be honest, what’s the harm in having your own territory?

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild has one of the most amazing stories to ever grace the Zelda title. But with all the incredible places to explore, things to do, weapons to wield, temples to solve, and monsters to mash, Ganon and Hyrule kinda take a back seat at times with dominance. .

BotW is one of those games that has a “ready to try” attitude. There are so many ways to play with physics, weapons, and environments that it only allows for a few liberating and sometimes mindless experiences.

Stardew Valley

This may come as a shock to some, but there’s actually a story hidden beneath all the bits and bobs of this cool RPG. It’s one thing to try to keep a cute little 16-bit city out of the clutches of an all-consuming megacorp, but it can wait until the player takes a break to go fishing.

Players can forage for resources, raid a mine full of monsters, or simply become a social butterfly with the city’s residents. Agricultural life is not the only route to take this title.


A few screenshots and a look at Subnautica’s cover art will give most people the impression that the game is going to be a relaxing adventure similar to games like Endless Ocean and ABZ. However, it will soon become clear that things are not as they seem when players begin the game and are immediately on the wrong end of a shipwreck, leaving them trapped in the middle of an alien ocean.

There are few narrative segments in the game, though much of Subnatica’s runtime is spent freely diving into the depths of the ocean, trying to uncover material while escaping deadly creatures like the aptly named Reapers.

Elden Ring

FromSoftware proves its punishing yet satisfying genre of action RPG works perfectly in an open world format. With mystery and danger, the Elden Ring allows players to forge their own path, with little guidance or a hand holding, making every quest feel like a really exciting and well-earned reward.

Unlike traditional souls games, tossing against a tough boss isn’t the end of the line. You can just search elsewhere and fall down the rabbit hole of breaking down an impenetrable fortress, escaping a treacherous swamp, or shooting down dozens upon dozens of other imposing enemies.

Enhanced quality of life such as free fast travel and friendly checkpointing before boss fights takes some of the stress off, and encourages you to climb your spectral mount and uncover every secret of this incredible world.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3’s gritty fantasy world is as beautiful as it gets. Because of its dense population of supernatural monsters, tyrannical rulers, and (usually) backstabbing civilians, we’d never really want to live in it. The Witcher 3’s Continent keeps you on your toes thanks to the impact of your choice-driven gameplay.

Small choices often come back almost hours later in more significant ways than you’d expect, making every vicious thief, sultry mage, or coward-of-knight attractive. With a compelling main story, dozens of worthwhile sidequests, and boatloads of treasures, The Witcher 3, as well as its phenomenal expansion, manages to make its sprawling setting worth uncovering.

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