10 Most Biggest Video Games Maps Of All Time
10. Fallout 4 -43mi2
Squeezing in at the lower end of the list is Bethesda’s latest adventure in post-apocalyptic America. The Boston Wasteland is the biggest map in the Fallout series, and yet is notably smaller than the open worlds of recent rival RPGs.
But where this world really shines is not in its raw landmass, but in how brimming it is with interesting events, quests, and the sense of adventure whichever way you go. Unlike many open worlds, the Commonwealth doesn’t feel like a cut-and-paste job, and even though it is very much a wasteland, feels like a beautiful and lively one, meticulously crafted to reward you for exploration and curiosity.
The map also does a great job of contrasting the urban and rural wastelands, and while you can skip across the countryside relatively quickly, working your way through the ruined city area is slow and treacherous. The Boston Wasteland is an excellent example of a decent-sized map designed to feel much larger than it is.
9. Dragon Age: Inquisition – 45mi2
There are no exact measurements for the Dragon Age: Inquisition map available right now, but its approximate size can be worked out by the fact that all of Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 would fit into one of its massive zones – of which there are around 15. When joined together, these zones combine to feel slightly bigger than the 39mi2 Skyrim map, and should take many months to explore fully.
Ferelden is a much more diverse world too, spanning stormy coastlines, murky swamplands, idyllic rolling hills as well as barren desert landscapes. Some people may complain about the lack of spontaneity and random events, and the distinctly ‘zoned’ feel of the world, which is made of many seemingly unconnected hubs accessed by a large map in the war room.
8. Grand Theft Auto V – 49mi2
At a glance, GTA V may not look as impressive as the multi-city map of San Andreas. It is, after all, just one city surrounded by miles upon miles of hillbilly backwaters, woodlands and deserts.
But nostalgia is a funny thing, and the reality is that the GTA V map is around twice the size that of San Andreas, with Los Santos alone being the size of the whole northern desert part of San Andreas’ map. That’s because GTA V is the best attempt yet in video games to accurately mimic the design of a real city, unhindered by the technological limitations which forced San Andreas to use clever design tricks make the world feel far bigger than it was.
The level of detail in GTA V is incredible, and Los Santos is, like its real-life counterpart LA, a sprawl of interweaving freeways, ghettos and beaches. There’s so much going on that you’d happily just while away the hours wandering around and watching the city go about its business without your murderous interventions.Or you can get out into the countryside, take the gondola up Mt. Chiliad, and take in the spectacular landscape within which Los Santos itself looks like a mere speck.
7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 84 mi2
Among the many achievements CD Projekt RED can brag about with the third (and probably final) entry in The Witcher trilogy is the spectacular map size, which is among the biggest and most dramatic in video games.
The Witcher 3 world is split into several different zones, but each of these feels like a richly detailed, self-contained region with its own character and history. Much of the landscape and architecture is inspired by medieval central Europe, mixing up vast open plains, fields, villages and moody, atmospheric forests that stretch for miles.
But of all the beautiful areas in this huge world, the one that most stands out to me is the Skellige Isles – an archipelago filled with rugged mountain ranges, dark pebbled beaches, and a distinctly rougher feel than the rest of the land (which says a lot). The Witcher 3 map is not only huge, but dripping in a deep sense of history and lore, enticing you to explore it for months.
6. Arma 3 – 104mi2
Arma 3’s massive island of Altis sounds absolutely spectacular, and it’s not a half-bad place for sightseeing either – a vast, realistic Greek island filled with pretty rolling hills, arid fields, and tranquil Greek villages.
Colossal though Altis is, it’s also the first example on this list of an open-world ‘wasteland’. Sure, there’s a definite appeal to just bombing around the countryside, aggravating the local cops then fleeing from them, but there are almost no people to interact with, no cars on the roads, and after a few hours it feels like an awfully lonely place.
5. Just Cause 3 – 400mi2
Sticking very much to the blueprint set by its predecessor, Just Cause 3 moves the action over to the fictional mediterranean island of Medici but keeps the map the same size – which is fine, as it really didn’t need any expanding.
True to the series’ tradition, the Medici archipelago is absolutely gorgeous, and is exactly the kind of place you’d happily go on a budget European holiday to (if the idea of supporting a murderous dictatorship doesn’t prick your conscience too much). It’s all azure blue waters, lavender fields and sleepy towns nestled on clifftops, reachable by winding rural roads. Explore other parts of the world and you’ll venture into deserts and snowy mountain ranges, proving that you can have diverse landscapes on a single seamless map.
With that said, most of the pleasures are surface-level, and down on the ground the locals don’t have much personality. But that’s never the intention of Just Cause 3, and the locals’ vapidity means that you won’t feel guilty when you tie them to two buildings using your tethers, then use the new ‘tighten’ button to catapult them into a mountain.
4. Test Drive Unlimited 2 – 618mi2
A game map may not feel quite as colossal when you’re bombing across it at 80mph in a car rather than on foot or horseback, but the satellite-modelled islands of Oahu and Ibiza here are still impressive in their scale – if little else.
Between the two islands, there are nearly 2000 miles of road for you to traverse, but you’re free to go off the beaten track at any point, bounding over the sun-kissed countrysides of both beautiful settings.
3. Fuel – 5,560mi2
How big is too big for an open-world game? This post-apocalyptic open-world racer certainly flirts with answering that question, offering one of the biggest sandboxes in video game history.
At the best of times, the game looks and feels awesome, as you bomb across desolate, ruined fields with burning oil fields in the distance, bounce over undulating sand-dunes on your quad-bike, or weave among the ruined trees of a deforested region. But for all those moments of brilliance, the majority of the world does feel like a cut-and-paste job, and the races and challenges littered around the map just don’t do enough to engage you.
2. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall – 62,000 mi2
Even though each successive Bethesda RPG seems to be getting incrementally bigger than its predecessor by a few measly miles, it’s hard to see any of them reaching the terrifying scale of the second game in the series, Daggerfall.
Sure, the majority of the world was just procedurally-generated wilderness, but you can’t help but be a little bit in awe of it – it really doesn’t look bad for a game of its time either. You could spend hours lost in the auto-generating Dragontail Wilderness, the Ravennian Forest, or in one of the game’s endless number of labyrinthine dungeons – a single one of which could probably fit all of Skyrim inside it (not necessarily a good thing, given how confusing they can be)
1. No Man’s Sky – 264 Planets
It may not be a reality just yet, but the incoming No Man’s Sky is taking video games to places they’ve never been before, procedurally-generating an entire universe for players to explore.
We’re not talking about a hub-based Mass Effect-style universe either. This is a fully seamless universe with galaxies full of gorgeous worlds to visit. In truth, I don’t even know that much about how well this first-person exploration game plays yet, but the gameplay footage showing an ship descending from space.
#10 Most Biggest Video Games Maps Of All Time