In a recent interview with MinnMax, former Bethesda design lead Bruce Nesmith boldly claims that Skyrim is the game responsible for kickstarting the open-world revolution in the gaming industry. According to Nesmith, Skyrim’s massive success has paved the way for the explosion of open-world games we see today. While some may argue that titles like GTA 3 played a significant role in shaping the genre, Nesmith believes that Skyrim offered a unique RPG experience that cannot be overlooked.

During the interview, interviewer Ben Hanson raises an interesting point by suggesting that GTA 3 might have had a more significant impact. Nesmith responds by acknowledging the importance of GTA games but asserts that Skyrim provided a distinct open-world experience, unlike any other. While GTA games broke new ground in terms of open-world gameplay, they did not strive to create the same RPG environment as Skyrim. Nesmith compares GTA 3’s impact to kicking the door down, while Skyrim was the ensuing bull in the china shop, making its mark in the gaming landscape.

The Era of Open-World Games

The timing of Skyrim’s release aligns with the surge in popularity of open-world games. Most of the renowned open-world titles on our list were released after Skyrim, with only a few exceptions such as Skyrim itself, Terraria, and Minecraft in 2011. This period marked a turning point in the prominence of the genre. However, Nesmith acknowledges that earlier games like GTA 3 should not be underestimated, as they played a vital role in shaping the open-world genre.

Pinpointing the exact impact of Skyrim on the landscape of game design is a challenging task. The intricate web of comparisons and inspirations makes it difficult to separate the influences of various titles. For instance, Skyrim built upon the foundation laid by Oblivion and Fallout 3, both of which were released after GTA 3. While it may be challenging to quantify Skyrim’s influence, there is no denying that it remains one of the most renowned and influential open-world RPGs of all time. Even today, Skyrim continues to enjoy a devoted fanbase and remains a staple in many gamers’ libraries.

Skyrim undeniably played a significant role in the open-world revolution, propelling the genre to new heights. While other games like GTA 3 certainly contributed to the development of open-world games, Skyrim’s unique blend of RPG elements and immersive world-building set it apart. The impact of Skyrim can still be felt in the gaming industry today, as the genre continues to thrive and capture the imaginations of players worldwide. Whether you are exploring the vast landscapes of Tamriel for the first time or revisiting it after countless adventures, Skyrim’s influence on the gaming world is undeniable.


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