May 07 2010

A Size Comparison of Massive Open World Video Game Maps

Published by at 6:00 pm under Images,Video Games

large-video-game-worlds2.jpg

(click to enlarge)

This is a rather cool image that’s answered a question I had recently. Just how big is Just Cause 2’s map?

The picture pits various open world video game maps up against each other in terms of scale. Surprises include just how tiny GTA III’s map is in comparison (didn’t it seem huge at the time?) and how small Oblivion’s world is compared to Just Cause. I thought JC was bigger, but Oblivion always seemed so damn massive to me (probably because you were hoofing it everywhere), but it’s one of the smaller ones here. I also imagined World of Warcraft to be a lot bigger with 10 million players having to squeeze in. But I suppose they have different servers and all that.

Burnout Paradise is a bit of a surprise, but I suppose its less of a big deal if you get to drive around all the time. As for the other maps that were too big to even be pictured? Are those all really open world or are they cheating somehow. 62,000 square miles for Daggerfall? Could you walk the entire thing? I’m also curious as to where Fallout 3’s Wasteland would be on here. Probably about Oblivion-sized or smaller.

Great job though, unknown person who made this, it was a very worthwhile project.





More Unreal Posts


52 responses so far

  • anakrusix

    Wow… You should try and find those “even bigger” to compare to these. Visuals speak more than numbers, lol.

  • normntaz

    The WoW map you have included is only the original game content.

    The Burning Crusade and Lich King Expansions have added quite a bit more.

  • MacGyver1138

    The Daggerfall one seems impossible. I’d be curious to know if it was open-world as well.

  • http://www.milehighnerds.com Warren

    Daggerfall was an Elder Scrolls game that came and it was open world. It played much the same as Oblivion tough there was far less direction and hand holding involved. It’s a pretty classic first person RPG. You can download a full version courtesy of Bethesda on the Daggerfall Wiki: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Daggerfall but it was a DOS game and would probably be a headache to get running.

  • MacGyver1138

    @Warren: Thanks for the info. So do you think the mileage estimate on the picture is about right?

    As for getting the game running, that’s what DOSBox is for!

  • http://www.milehighnerds.com Warren

    @MacGuyver1138: I remember feeling overwhelmed at the size of the game world so it might be an accurate assessment. It may have been easier to create such a massive world back then because repetition wasn’t as noticeable and the NPCs were sprites. It’s also possible Bethesda didn’t know any better and just set out to create as massive a world as possible.

  • Kami

    Wow, Oblivion is tiny O_O

  • Chris

    Daggerfall was suppose to be bigger than the actual sized Britan, and be so large it would be almost impossible to visit in a single day. So i think the estimate is about right. for Oblivion add in the entirity and Shivering Isles, then the mod content.

    Oh, think about Everquest too! with 15 expansions, its gotta be huge.

  • Derick

    Noway this is correct. Noway the burnout map is bigger than the entire WOW map. Also look at the burnout map, I can see boats, buildings, even trees. Now think how big a ship is on WOW, sorry its not matching up. Heck the roads on the burnout map are twice what the road thickness is on any other map.

  • Anakrusix

    @Derick

    The reason maps don’t seem the way they are is because of how it’s traveled. I don’t play WoW but tell me, do you walk? Is there any form of movement other than walking?

    It feels longer and bigger because you walk from point a to point b. It takes longer. In Burnout, you’re zooming from place to place so you don’t realize the scale. And yeah, roads are going to be 2x larger because it’s a racing game, not a mmorpg.

  • Chris

    @Derek
    It can be that small, if you think about how BIG Oblivion feels to what it is, or heck EVE online for that matter. I’m betting if the numbers they used to calculate some of these map numbers were put into relation to the relative 3d space for EVE, its a small map in each system of it.

  • Derick

    @Chres and @Anakrusix

    If you look at the Burnout map at the bottom by “Harbor Town” ther are a couple of ships when you hold the cursor over it it take about two magnifine glasses to cover it. Now when you go to the GTA San Andreas map there is a aircraft carrier that you can cover with one magnifine glass.

    On the WOW map the capital citys only take up a couple of cursors. So according to this an entire city in WOW is equal to a couple of buildings in burnout.

    Some of these maps might be close but I am just saying that I think the Burnout map off, and that the WOW map is smaller than it should be.

    @Anakrusix
    You can fly. The flight speed is about 300% faster than running.

  • http://. Croms

    @Derick

    You may be right, of course, but I would add that these maps are stretched to their relative sizes, rather than being directly IN SCALE.

    Size of roads and boats are not comparable because of this. You’ll also find if you zoom out enough with the road layer on google maps, they remain visable rather than being less than a pixel wide.

    This doesn’t necessarily prove the maps to be correct, however.

  • Marsu
  • Anakrusix

    Yeah… what croms said

  • Chris

    i wonder if they actually put out a “per ft” scale on maps in most games. As the google maps reference came out, there are some that use a similar system to map those games.

    and i love what Marsu posted, even MORE maps to size.

    maybe the poster on this website could investigate futher into exact scale?

  • dutzan

    I agree with Croms, for example if you look at the whole LA area on the GTA san andreas map, it would fit in just a few blocks of the Burnout map. I’m actually very interested in this, as I collect maps from pretty much all games I’ve played with sandbox/large open worlds. Got some pretty big ones too.

    Also, I’m not sure but I think the makers of Test Drive Unlimited recreated the island of O’ahu pretty well, and from my impressions to scale. I do however think the Guild Wars nightfall campaign map is not nearly that big. First of all, the ingame maps, the actual zones you can play in are fairly small areas and the rest of the map is just artistically filled in to give players a sense of immersion in the game. And even so, it would be way smaller than the TDU one.
    Just one look at the scale they have there seeing the 50 mile increment on the second map makes me laugh.

  • Cosilan

    You have forgotten the largest of them all “EVE Online”

  • Pingback: Celebrity Bikini Fails, Wackiest Landline Phones & Wrestling Backflip Fail | djmick: V2

  • Leif

    hey, what about battleground europe?

  • Hank

    “magnifine”?

    noway.

  • Pingback: Una opinión más: Size Comparison of Massive Open World Video Game Maps PIC

  • Thelom

    Wow! Is Daggerfall so big!? And Oblivion so small!?

  • mrd

    to be honest i believe daggerfall, i remember trying to cross the gameworld from one side to another and it was like impossible,i read somewhere that it takes 2 weeks realtime in order to cross from one side to the other,i also remember people playing the game for years on end,just spending there time in one tiny portion of the game. i wonder if someone was to do a elite comparison to these games how it would look ?

  • Zach

    So, not saying their any larger… just curious.. lets get other mmo maps on here. We got Asherons, LOTR, WoW, now do other mmo’s FF11, Dark Age of Camelot, Eve, Anarchy Online, Everquest. you name it… theres plenty more i cant think of off hand…

    As for non mmo games.. whats Red Dead Redemptions map size?
    Crysis? any others?

    Is there a website for this… im very interested in this topic…

    as one of the main selling points for games, for me, are size of the worlds… with new things to see and do.(also FPS’s with tons of levels… that actually connect.. think Red Faction 1) Think about it, we’ve been in alot of awesome worlds, but they have been minute in comparison… and i only wish some of them were bigger…

  • Vtxt

    To help you all understand how Daggerfall manages to be so huge, know that the majority of it is procedurally generated when you start a new game. It is different every time so it is not possible to get an accurate map. Only areas where key plot elements and certain other places are hand crafted, the rest are done by a mathematical equation ran at the start of the game.

  • Pingback: News Roundup: Rocky, Video Games, Terminator, Tarantino

  • Art Vandelay

    What about Mass Effect 1 or 2????? you can go to different planets!!!!

  • capitanbarraco

    the thing is that burnout is a cars game, of course is big, world at warcfrat is online of course is big, oblivion is not that big but is not empty games like just cause most of the things that you see are part of the background… in oblivion everything you see everywere you can go with a lot of dungeons that are bigger inside than in the outside

  • Sigma

    Considering a 300% flying mount is only probably equal to around 45-50 MPH, it isn’t surprising at all if these are accurate. If you were in a car driving around at 100 MPH it would not take long at all to travel between Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff.

    WoW is not really that large in terms of area that you can actually travel through. Relative to actual size (in square miles), a city in Warcraft is probably only about as large as the apartment complex, parking lot and minor landscaping around it I live at (in terms of how long it would take me to walk from one end to the other). Obviously that area would be passed through in a second or so if I was in a car moving that fast.

  • Ben

    Your forgetting world of Warcraft. It is much bigger then Just Cause 2.

  • http://sfs.ee Uha

    Yep..that Burnout map is definetly out of size compared to others. This is not even about walking or driving..this is about the size of the city…n dat city in Burnout is about the size of 1 city in San Andreas

  • I doubt this

    This comparison is way way way way way WAY WAY off…

    I can take the entire first island from GTA 3 (Liberty city) And fit it into 1 city block on that Burnout paradise map… which means this map comparison is way off. Heck I can take the entire Liberty city map, all 3 islands, and all the open water, and fit it into a couple of city blocks of that burnout map.

    So if anyone wondering if this is accurate, hell no. It’s not even close. I’m assuming its taking what developers “claim” their game is. But we all know that just by comparing the GTA map to the Burnout Paradise one that this is completely bogus.

  • 4lex

    for those of you who are wondering what the biggest is, did you consider microsoft flight simulator? that’s the size of the whole world… or even better, minecraft!! that goes on for ever!!!

  • Sub

    Yes, Daggerfall is definitely that big, takes real life days to walk across but thankfully you can fast travel between the thousands of locations straight away without having to find them first.

    And no, its not randomly generated every time you play, everyone plays the same world.

  • Washu

    Frontier Elite was the largest map.

    It was a mostly procedurally generated entire galaxy.

  • Steve

    Elder Scroll (Any of them):

    Size is not everything, otherwise people would still be playing daggerfall all the time.

    Personally if you upped the graphics and interactions, I would take daggerfall over any game on your list. It was truely open ended, like Morrow Wind you could even kill people that were part of the main story line. It trumps any game out there for choices, vast number of skills and directions to take your character, and the number of spells available in the game even.

    The simple fact that it was made almost 2 decades ago, and no game has ever come close to such a feat since, I consider it a legendary game. The newer games (outside of Bethesda) seem to getting more narrow, even Skyrim seems to be somewhat narrow when it comes to dungeons, it is one directional. Though you have open ended exploration still available. Games are getting simpler (Content wise) not more open, and personally I dislike it, I want to pick my own story, otherwise I would read a book. No game should be completable in less than a week of straight fanatical play, and even if you can complete it, you should have other options, choices, ways to do things. So far Bethesda appears to be the only company holding up such great standards in game design with Fallout and Elder Scroll.
    Soap box, what soap box?

  • Evan

    @Sub

    Yes, Daggerfall is procedurally generated when you start a new game. No two characters (Nor any 2 people in RL) have ever had the same Daggerfall map.

  • Sage

    Far Cry 2 Map is incorrect, it only shows half the map.

  • 2MagsLeft

    It says that elder scrolls 2 is almost the width of colorado.
    in Canada terms, the width of alberta plus half of saskatchewan
    I really don’t think thats right.
    Calculated, if it was a square, square root of 62000 is 248, so 248 miles wide.
    That’s wrong.

  • 2MagsLeft

    Oh, so daggerfall is randomly generated. My bad. Sorry. Waste of comment.

  • 2MagsLeft

    Ya know what, ignore me. The internet says that just cause 2 is the biggest
    Lies.

  • 2MagsLeft

    The Test drive unlimited map is larger than the Just Cause 2 map, and too many people were saying that Just Cause 2 is the biggest.
    That one comment above saying that all of GTA 3 could fit in a few city blocks of burnout paradise, Thanks for saying that. I wouldn’t have thought of it. It’s definitely not that big.

  • Ad@m

    Hello people. To end this argument I have to say that an open world racing game game called FUEL (2009) apparently has the largest map of all time. Bigger than Skyrim, bigger than Just Cause 2. It is apparently 5000 Square Miles in size. Just Cause 2 is 400. Yeah. o.O The only problem is…some people say that free ride mode can get a little boring. No traffic, no pedestrians, accelerated day-night cycle, not much action except for races. Just a huge, post-apocalyptic landscape. Nothing to do except race the only other existing people and explore the massive world. It’s also multi-player so you can play online with other people. If you like open world racing games, this one you’ll probably like. FUEL is strictly racing, you cant get out of your car. It has mixed reviews so it’s up to you to decide. It’s also on Steam for $10 so I might buy it. :) If your reading this in 2015 or something, the price will most likely be much lower or Steam will not exist. If the price is higher…don’t buy it. The world is having issues. Yeah :P lol

  • http://plasmafun.blogspot.com Optimus

    To clear up about Daggerfall. It was really that big. I was trying to see how much it takes to reach from one pixel on the map to the next running with the horse and iirc it took me 10 minutes! I have heard that someone from the dev or testing team said they tried to walk from one side of the map to the other and it took 2 weeks.

    But of course the outside was procedurally generated as other people said and I want to add it was weak (but fair for the times). You were seeing a slightly elevated heightmap with polygons, lost in fog. Sometimes if you reached parts of the map where there are supposed to be mountains, the elevation was more rough, texture change to something rocky, but you couldn’t go up and look back and stare the world. There was fog. So there was the same heightmap polygon renderer with fog changing elevation. So, yes you could walk for days on this to reach another far point but it was plain and boring. Unlike Oblivion or Skyrim where the open world is designed at most parts by level designers (only the enemies/loot might be a bit more random) so you have a smaller world than daggerfall but something you would like to walk on foot or on your horse instead of travelling directly from map.

    Still Daggerfall felt like a huge world. You clicked on the map, you ticked/unticked cities/dungeons/graveyards/villages and you saw for each of them hundreds of little dots. Hundreds of villages, dungeons, sacred places. I am not sure if dungeons where generated, the enemies were random but there were 5-6 or more prototype dungeons or rooms you would feel like a deja vu, some dungeons where like others with some rooms removed/changed, so there was a procedural mixed of several dungeon with elements taken from those 5-6 prototype dungeons.

    Daggerfall was impressive. There was this huge world in 1996 with day/night changes, huge worlds, you went into the town and every person had his own name (procedural and you found the same name randomly in another place), you asked him for directions to an inn and there were 6 inns in the city, the dark dragon, the lost beef, the blue gem, etc. In your typical rpg, there is one armory, one weapon maker, one inn, but in daggerfall you saw a big city with maybe 200 buildings and you had to check different weaponsmiths to see who is cheaper or has what you want. Insane! Interesting is that all these parallels in scenario like going to the dark brotherhood, joining the thiefs guild, bitten by werewolf, joining guilds, the strange cult, reading books, buying a house, doing side quests, etc, all complex stuff you see in Oblivion and Skyrim gameplay were always there on Daggerfall (and some were there in Arena too with it’s improved wolfenstein 3d style engine). Pitty the game was full of bugs :P

    I am wondering now how big Arena was and why we don’t have info about this..

  • Eric

    The Burnout Paradise map is tiny and is smaller than all the others on the list with the exception of GTA III. But it is possible that even GTA III is bigger than the whole Paradise City, as Burnout Paradise just isn’t big at all.

    It seems to me that they simply going by what the developers claim it to be, and that isn’t no nowhere near accurate. If you look at the difference between San Andreas and Burnout, and realize that SA is actually much bigger than all of Burnout Paradise, it makes you question the overall validity of this comparison.

    And also even though I have never played Fuel, I somehow refuse to believe the map size of it. In San Andreas it takes roughly 10 minutes to get from one corner of the map to the other in a fast vehicle. If the map size is to believed, then in Fuel it should take you 3 and a half hours from one corner of the map to the other. I am just not buying it.

  • MineCraftJunkie

    All of your arguements are invalid. Minecraft is obviously the biggest, you could walk in a straight line for 5 years and still not find the end(although you would need several Yottabytes of RAM) And yes the map scale on all of these are different, the pictures were expanded and shrunk to the Scale the OP made, its not whats on the map, its how big the map is.

  • MineCraftJunkie

    An edit to my previous comment, the OP made a line 20miles long, and then scaled the game maps down to fit on the line in their respective order of size, effectively making all the maps in the same scale

  • Dude

    The Burnout paradise one seems so wrong,you can easily see trees on it while in Oblivion it has a larger scale even on the very zoomed in map of the Imperial City,which is just the island in the middle of the map.Also,The Elder Scrolls I:Arena was much,much larger than any of these games,even Daggerfall.Just to imagine the sheer size of it Daggerfall was set in a small area around a bay in the Hammerfell and High Rock provinces,which is lore-wise roughly the size of Vvardenfell,the island on which TES 3:Morrowind takes place,(although in reality Morrwind is only about 1% of the size of Daggerfall).Well,Arena had the whole of Tamriel in it,on the same scale as Daggerfall,which means it was well over 1 000 000 square miles.This could only be acomplished because apart from the towns and the 18 main-quest related dungeons it was tile-based and randomly generated,so it was very mundane.

  • green

    The game world of Daggerfall was (almost) completely generated, but only the outside landscape between points of interest was generated randomly and thus always different (it still uses a heightmap as a seed for the generator, so the basic landscape stays the same, too). The dungeons, NPC’s and towns however were generated by Bethesda and always the same, so in theory, you could create a walk-through for every single dungeon out of ~3000.
    Oh, and even though there was a quick travel option, the game still felt big. As there was an unlimited number of quests (generated out of about 200 basic layouts), you could spend so many hours just exploring one of the 44 kingdoms.

  • mike

    wow really is only 80 squuare miles, i dont know why all of u are getting upset over that….wow is garbage, and i have no idea why anyone would ever play it …and to the guy that said fuel has the biggest map of all time…lord of the rings onlines map is 30,000 square miles, thats much much much bigger than fuel

  • Gaines

    Bigger isn’t necessarily better. JC2 was HUGE, but it was also empty as hell.

Categories

Archives