Like most things in life, everything has to come to an end at some point, and video game maps are definitely no exception.
Game developers pour countless months and years into designing stunning landscapes to be appreciated by gamers. However, as impressive as these developers are, they aren’t wizards.
To solve this issue of limited playing space, developers are constantly thinking of clever and humorous ways to prevent players from escaping the borders of their maps. So here are 5 of the most creative ways that games stopped you from leaving the map.
ASSASSINS CREED – DESYNCHRONIZATION
The Assassins Creed games are well-known for their massive open-world landscapes that attempt to replicate historic real-life architecture. From ancient Egypt to 19th century London, AC maps are filled to the brim with fascinating structures. Unfortunately, Ubisoft does not have the time or resources to flesh out an entire to-scale map of the country where each game is set.
To get around this obstacle, Ubisoft devised a creative narrative excuse to prevent players from drifting outside these explorable areas: Desynchronization.
For those who have not played any AC games, it is important to note that almost every single game shares a similar narrative thread. This narrative thread is that each historical setting is actually a simulation accessed by the ancestors of those who had relatives living within that specified time period.
Desynchronization borders act as simulation walls preventing the modern-day simulation accessors from drifting too far away from their ancestor’s personal timeline. After all, these are historically accurate simulations, so if legendary assassin Ezio Auditore did not travel all the way to Jamaica, then neither can the player.
Whilst technically not a hard surface preventing players from moving past, players will be welcomed with death (desynchronization) mere seconds are treading beyond the border.
GRAND THEFT AUTO 5 – SHARK ATTACK
Want to stop players from moving beyond the game’s borders? Sharks? Yeah, that’ll do it. Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games came up with this fairly straight-to-the-point workaround for players itching to go beyond the game map in the 5th mainline entry of the GTA franchise.
Anyone who dares to try and escape the confines of San Andreas in GTA 5 will find that the engines of whichever vehicle used to traverse the surrounding ocean will suddenly break down, forcing the player to come to an abrupt stop. But it doesn’t just stop there, instead of using a hard surface wall or sudden instant death, Rockstar opted to include the ferocious carnivores of the sea, sharks, which begin to spawn underwater and circle the player before feasting upon their poor bodies.
If by any chance the player manages to kill the shark using their handy combat knife, they’ll soon be left in despair upon seeing the ridiculously larger version of said shark appear before them. The shark is so big that there isn’t even a death animation for when the player inevitably gets devoured.
The phrase “there’s always a bigger fish” has never been more relevant here.
SEA OF THIEVES – SEA OF BLOOD
Probably the most unsettling entry on this list is developer Rare‘s 2018 online action-adventure game, Sea of Thieves. It would seem that Rare takes pleasure in watching players cower in fear for their lives as they face an inevitable spooky demise.
For any curious pirate who sets out to sail beyond the confines of the game’s sea map, they will soon find that the surrounding water begins to appear a bit more red than usual.
Yep, that’s right, you soon become surrounded by a sea of blood from the fallen pirates who attempted the same thing before you.
In addition to this, the structural integrity of your vessel soon begins to fade, as holes across all the ship walls begin to appear, forcing you and your crewmates to run around like headless chickens trying to board up any damage you find. But really, what’s the point, everyone knows that death isn’t escapable when surrounded by dark clouds and a sea of blood.
If that wasn’t all spooky enough, an eerie chime starts to play as the clouds settle in, presenting you with an even more disparaging atmosphere.
Well, at least there aren’t any flesh-eating sharks to deal with afterwards. Oh wait, there are.
SUNSET OVERDRIVE – “INVISIBLE” WALL
Probably one of the more humorous entries on this list is that of the not-so-invisible “invisible” border from 2014’s Sunset Overdrive.
That’s right, instead of including the standard cliche invisible wall that games are known for, developer Insomniac Games decided to think outside of the box by displaying a physical wall across the map edge that reads “INVISIBLE WALL security provided by Fizzco”.
In the Sunset Overdrive universe, Fizzco is the main city controlling corporation that specialises in snacks and drinks, but also in technology, weaponry and robotics. The fact that the developers opted to name them on the invisible wall adds even more humour to the game’s already ridiculous story.
Sunset overdrive is filled to the brim with on-the-nose references and fourth wall breaks, and this subtle inclusion is sure to get a laugh out of players upon its discovery for the very first time.
The developers could have easily just gone with an actual invisible wall or something similar, so it’s nice to see them go the extra mile to try and put a smile on gamers’ faces when they’re not being chased by ravenous mutants in the city.
MOTORCROSS MADNESS – EXPLODING FLIGHT
Like the previous entry on this list, Motorcross Madness also has a very humourous workaround for players attempting to leave the game map. However, unlike Sunset Overdrive, this entry is less of a fourth-wall-break “I see what you did there” type of comedy and more of a hilariously fun and entertaining “Let’s just make an entire thing out of this” means of stopping players from breaching the game’s border.
You’d be forgiven for not noticing this last stretch obstacle when drifting around the vast empty landscapes that the game has to offer, after all, any player bored enough to wander off from the main game objective (racing) will stumble across the enormously tall 90 degree angled wall that if you’re smart, will lead you to simply turn around and go about your regular business.
What’s that I hear you say? “Challenge accepted”? Well, luckily for you, it is actually possible to overcome this wall if skilled enough. However, the real fun comes when you do this and are greeted with an abrupt explosion which sends your character and bike flying across the map, followed by a comedy whistle as you slowly plummet to the ground.
I know what you’re thinking: all that hard work for nothing? Unfortunately yes. But hey, at least you get a sweet view out of it all.
What other creative ways that games stopped you from leaving the map can you think of? Let me know in the comments!