Yes, this happens. Sometimes we get more to a story, but when was that when it was expanded on the main system and not a DLC or expansion? When was the last time that you were confronted with an additional story in the main game? I reckon that most of us cannot clearly give an example. And when someone pushed a demo of the Unreal Engine v5 to YouTube showing us a broken down version of Riverwood, my mind went 145% on the body and thoughts came to mind. Now in this case it will not apply, because Riverwood is decently fresh in the mind of all gamers, but when they see the new (older looking) Riverwood they should catch on.
What happens when we add a few villages, not unlike Riverwood, off the beaten track, off the caught setting and all storylines by themselves. A setting that some might recognise in Spinalonga Island on Crete. It had its own story, but remains a ghost town even now. So what happens when we find the story, evolve the story in the now, solve the story, the riddles and the curse (or other reason for abandonment) and when we find refugees, traders and other people we could direct them to the empty village. Riverwood had a trader, a smith and an inn. There is no stopping us from adding shops, and it would fit the equation towards building the local economy as well. As I wrote earlier. Too many RPG’s are depending on US to build the economy. Yet what happens when the NPC’s are in a secondary stage that they too become drivers of an economy? What happens when traders build economies, adventurers do, mercenaries do and as such, some places will grow even larger, grow more and grow distinctive. In this we can set markers like you need to have certain ranks in the main quest, and side quests as well as levels of fame before your word is accepted, but at that stage your influence grows too. We need to realise that in RPG games we are NOT the machine, we are a mere cog that fuels the machine, but we are one in many cogs and that has never taken a larger stand in RPG games and that has been overlooked for too long. I do understand that some might state that this was not possible until the PS4pro. I believe that this is not merely that case. Game makers are too often in an iterative mode, we get more of the same (Far Cry, Assassins Creed), there are leaps forward (Fallout and Elder Scrolls), yet I believe that more could be done and I also believe that the PS5 now shows that more is possible. And it will not take long for the streamers to show that they are capable of more. And until these players consider that the main quest is nothing more than an outspoken side quest we will not see the leaps forward that RPG’s are capable of. The fact that I came up with TESVII: Restoration and the fact that I am still finding new ways to grease the system into other directions, directions that TESVI:unknown place might not even touch on is speculative, but not entirely impossible. A stage where we see that RPG makers are for a lot about more of the same (not their fault) is a little troublesome and When I wrote about a new RPG, a generation one that I summarised in ‘Recap to the intro’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/25/recap-to-the-intro/) which I wrote last September and even now I am still gaining more ideas that could grow that IP to larger stations is interesting to say the least. The side quests are merely one setting. Growing a virtual economy is another one, but it all sets the station where we have an RPG game where there are two stations. The station of you the player and you the influencer, both important, yet influencer we can become through skills, through power and through achievement and they all interact to some degree, and it is those influencer sides that give a much larger unknown to the game and how it shapes. We need to do it in that way, so that the system is free to evolve, if we merely have two settings with a clean and a deprived location (A Fable II event) we lose the plot, we will not see the impact of flourishing villages.
I believe that this is the expansive side of gaming, it fuels replayability and optionally dampens grinding. The last part is not a given or a real event, but could be the impact of influencers, it is merely a thought. So when did you see your last creativity on the sliding scale of something you haven’t figured out yet? A station that keeps me busy, why? I can tell you that I can, but for some reason I feel more comfortable with the thought “Because I have to”, and I am not sure why at present.