Exploration in Open-World Videogames: Environment, Items, Locations, Quests, and Combat in The Witcher 3

Nicole E M Vickery, Peta Wyeth

Session: Games and Play - Friday 2022-12-02 09:30-11:00 AEDT
Paper Track
In-Person Presentation


The purpose of this research is to examine how players engage in exploration in videogames. Open-world games are becoming increasingly popular, however, despite this growing popularity, empirical research into how players engage in these spaces is still emerging. By understanding how players will explore, designers can continue to create engaging open-world experiences. A diary study was conducted to examine participants’ gameplay experiences while playing an open-world game. Twelve participants took part in the study by playing The Witcher 3 for two weeks. Through a thematic analysis of participants’ diary entries, five activity themes were found – including exploring quests, items, combat, locations, and interactive environments. The results presented in this paper expands on the emerging research, and provides a deeper understanding of how players engage in exploration in videogames.