Given their expansive nature, open-world projects tend to be some of the longest video games in existence. It’s possible to pour hundreds and thousands of hours into a single open-world game without exploring every nook and cranny.

While there are short open-world games out there, Shadow of the Colossus and Mafia immediately come to mind, most entries in the genre require a significant time investment. That’s part of the reason these titles are so popular – they reward commitment with content and immersion.

Updated March 31, 2024 by Mark Sammut: March 2024 produced two notable open-world games in Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Rise of the Ronin, both of which are not lacking in content. However, they just fall short of the longest open-world games, at least when it comes to their main stories (and their HowLongToBeat times are still fluctuating).

The listed times are taken from
. The included range covers from the time required to finish a game’s main story to a completionist playthrough. The former will be used as the primary metric, while the latter will be used in the case of a tie. Also,
only one entry per franchise
, although other games will be mentioned as notes. Finally, a game must have at least a couple of input times to be considered (which is why
Skull & Bones
are not included).

36 No Man’s Sky

31–144 Hours

No Man’s Sky had an incredibly rough launch. When it was first released back in 2016, it was met with ire by much of the community. Players cited the lack of content and a failure to deliver on promises made by the developer as the biggest issues, with a general feeling that the game was unfinished. Thankfully, developers listened to the community and stuck with the project, pouring extra work into creating the game that they envisioned from the start.


No Man’s Sky: Mistakes To Avoid When Building A Base

No Man’s Sky offers a pretty intuitive and entertaining base-building mechanic but it’s easy to make mistakes when crafting your own.

In 2024, No Man’s Sky is much improved and has seen a couple of DLC releases to help pad out its content even further. In fact, there is not so much to do in the sci-fi exploration and action release that deviating from the main story and doing all the side content will take over 100 hours. There is replayability here too.

35 Dysmantle

32–75 Hours

dysmantle key art

November 6, 2020

10tons Ltd.

An indie open-world survival game, Dysmantle establishes a gameplay loop that is irresistibly addictive. Set in a post-apocalyptic world featuring zombies, this title’s bare-bones sound rather unspectacular, but everything comes together quite seamlessly for one main reason: progression is constant and highly enjoyable.

Players spend the majority of their time in Dysmantle destroying everything around them, and each action grants XP points that can then be used to forge better tools to cause even more devastation. It is a cycle that works brilliantly and ensures that grinding never feels pointless. The world is reasonably large too, even if the isometric camera angle makes the map seem smaller than it is.

34 Grand Theft Auto 5

32–84 Hours

Morningwood In GTA 5

Grand Theft Auto 5
September 17, 2013

Rockstar North

Rockstar’s latest adventure was so well-received by the community that it continues to see updates and re-releases on consoles. Grand Theft Auto 5 is one of the largest and most ambitious releases in Rockstar’s franchise, with a main campaign that spans three separate playable characters.

Although the main story is engrossing enough, there are tons of sidequests and stranger-style missions to complete. It’ll take players quite a bit of time and effort to see all there is to see in Los Santos and all the surrounding areas. From there, players can also hop into Grand Theft Auto Online, for even more stories and side-content to tackle.

33 Space Rangers HD: A War Apart

32–173 Hours

Space Rangers HD A War Apart

Space Rangers HD: A War Apart
October 17, 2013

Elemental Games, SNK Games, Katauri Interactive
Action , Simulation , Strategy

Although it certainly shows its age nowadays, Space Rangers 2: Dominators was an impressive sci-fi title when it debuted in 2004. The Russian game blends a surprising number of genres, from trade simulators to shoot ’em ups and RTS. The base game launched with hardly a shortage of content, but 2013’s Space Rangers HD: A War Apart adds even more material to it, expanding this title to enormous lengths.

Space Rangers HD takes place in a universe where evil robots called Dominators are trying to take over everything. The player steps into one of the game’s various civilizations and must set out to complete faction missions, take a few trips to hyperspace, and make enemies and friends along the way. Not everything about Space Rangers HD: A War Apart has aged gracefully, but the game’s open-ended nature is admirable and greatly enhances its replayability, making it one of the longest video games ever.

32 Palworld

35–80 Hours

Palworld base bed area-1

January 19, 2024

Pocket Pair, Inc.

Due to still being in development, Palworld‘s actual length is not set in stone, a fact amplified by the project’s survival mechanics. While not completely devoid of story beats, the game is designed to encourage players to pursue their own goals without too much direction. As such, players will spend most of their time tracking down different Pals to catch and add to their party or use as workers around their bases. Although incorporating standard survival staples, Palworld’s focus gradually shifts to crafting, farming, and combat, especially once players develop a solid routine that ensures they always have their basic needs met.


Palworld: 10 Biggest Pals

Not including Alpha Pals & Lucky Pals, the size variation in Palworld is pretty massive. To prove this, here are some of the biggest Pals in the game.

Early access games are nearly always evolving, with developers using feedback from the community to improve their project’s core ideas as they work towards a full release. Consequently, these titles are usually lacking in a few areas, with story missions being common culprits. While these things apply to Palworld, Pocket Pair’s game is already in a very good state.

31 Outward

35–94 Hours

The player at their camp in Outward

March 26, 2019

Nine Dots

Usually, fantasy RPGs cast players as prominent figures, heroes summoned by the stars to change the course of history. Outward opts for a different take as its protagonist starts off as a common adventurer who is merely trying to pay off a debut, and it takes a while for them to become involved in a more important narrative.

While Outward has plenty of issues such as unsatisfying combat, the game nails its open-world. Players are allowed to explore the map to their hearts’ content, and the game opens up very quickly. Sure, some routes lead to death, but that is to be expected in this sort of fantasy world.

30 Don’t Starve Together

35–254 Hours

Wilson and Willow

Don’t Starve Together
December 15, 2014

Don’t Starve is a popular open-world survival game with a permadeath mechanic; meanwhile, Don’t Starve Together frames many of the same ideas around multiplayer, acting both as a sequel and a standalone experience. As both titles have their positives and are worth owning in their own right, players will need to decide which title is better suited to meet their needs. If someone is specifically looking to play with friends, Don’t Starve Together is their only choice.


Differences Between Don’t Starve And Don’t Starve Together

While Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together are generally the same game, there are key differences that make them two unique experiences.

Don’t Starve Together is the longer of the two projects, although the time required to complete playthroughs will vary greatly since this is one of those games that plays it fast and loose with its story.

29 Conan Exiles

36–118 Hours

Conan Exiles bow attack monster

Conan Exiles is one of those titles that someone can easily sink more than a thousand hours into, however, the survival game comes with such a steep learning curve that it can be really difficult to get into. Conan Exiles does have a story that can be somewhat followed, but the majority of the experience revolves around the basic gameplay loop of scavenging, crafting, building, and interacting with other players.

In some ways, this open-world game is similar to Minecraft, at least when it comes to the sandbox. Conan Exiles has amassed quite a dedicated fan base since its launch, and the game still averages thousands of players on Steam.

28 Fallout: New Vegas – Ultimate Edition

36–146 Hours

The Thorn Entrance From Fallout New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas
October 19, 2010

When it comes to main stories, Fallout: New Vegas is the longest entry in Bethesda’s franchise, although most of the 3D games are similar in length. Obsidian’s spin-off is generally hailed as the best post-Fallout 2 entry, particularly due to its implementation of actions and consequences that make the player’s decisions seem important.

As with most Bethesda games, New Vegas‘ content and longevity go well beyond the base content, at least on PC. These titles are kept alive for years through active modding communities that add a plethora of fresh material, including stuff like quests.

Fallout 4 – Game Of The Year Edition
has a very similar length to
New Vegas
, with its story being roughly 34 hours. However, completionist runs are longer at 224 hours.
allout 76
is similar at 35 hours, with 340 hours for everything.

27 Days Gone

37–65 Hours

a bike stands on a cliff edge alongside his motorcycle

Days Gone got lost in the PS4 exclusive shuffle and garnered a polarizing reception at launch. The zombie open-world game centers around Deacon St. John, a biker who goes on a journey to track down his supposedly deceased wife. A surprisingly character-driven piece, Days Gone‘s lengthy campaign does have some pacing issues and a slow start, but things do pick up after a couple of hours.

Even if the narrative fails to hit the spot with someone, they can at least look forward to driving their bike across a beautiful world while they try to avoid the undead hordes.

26 Elex 2

37–76 Hours

Elex 2 monster

Elex 2
March 1, 2022

Piranha Bytes

Action RPG

Piranha Bytes specializes in open-world games, an endeavor that goes all the way back to 2001’s Gothic. Although typically known for their Eurojank, Piranha’s projects are endearing and ambitious for the company’s size. Gothic 2 is probably the developer’s most famous title, but the Risen and Elex series also have their fans.

Debuting roughly a week after Elden Ring, Elex 2 was utterly overshadowed by FromSoftware’s masterpiece. Now that the Lands Between has been fully explored, RPG fans might want to consider visiting Magalan for a fantasy sci-fi adventure. Elex 2 wastes little time in cutting players loose so that they can explore its world, and the game even hands out a jetpack.

clocks in at 27 hours, along with a completionist time of 91 hours.

25 Dragon’s Dogma

37–102 Hours

Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen combat

Dragon’s Dogma
May 22, 2012

Action RPG

2012’s Dragon’s Dogma is a great action RPG, and Dark Arisen adds roughly 10 hours of awesome content to the base game; however, according to HowLongToBeat, the vanilla version is actually the longer of the two games, at least when it comes to completing the main story. In reality, Dark Arisen might have been a revisit for quite a few players, so they got through the standard quests quicker since they were already familiar with the gameplay.

Capcom drops players in Gransys, a gorgeous open-world densely populated with monsters. While not colossal, the map is expertly crafted to maximize gameplay and combat, the latter of which is fantastic. Dark Arisen introduces Bitterblack Isle, a post-campaign area that significantly ramps up the difficulty and dread. Dragon’s Dogma does not have much in the way of memorable characters or writing, and the game’s storytelling is unlikely to leave much of a lasting impression. However, almost everything else is well above average, and the simple act of exploration is satisfying.

24 Wartales

40–98 Hours

Wartales Galvanize Troops

A survival Medieval RPG that opts against the inclusion of a traditional overarching narrative, Wartales is all about carving a life in a world defined by war and death. As the leaders of a mercenary group, players travel across a dangerous and deadly kingdom in search of jobs, money, and success. Along the way, they will need to make sure they satisfy their party’s financial and health needs, which just generally means earning cash and maintaining a food stock. For the most part, Wartales resists the urge to hand-hold players, granting them plenty of freedom in how they interact with the larger society.

Wartales takes place in a sandbox, and it is fairly open-ended. That said, the map is divided into regions that have different difficulty levels, so it is not like players should just go anywhere (although there is an option to change this system). The campaign’s length will vary depending on someone’s play style, especially if they want to take things slow and really explore everything the game has to offer.

23 Death Stranding

41–113 Hours

Death Stranding's Sam Bridges Riding Down A Highway

Death Stranding
November 8, 2019

Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding is an acquired taste, although nobody can say that the game failed to deliver a huge world. Set in a post-apocalyptic United States, Sam basically acts as a postman who travels across the nation delivering packages while also connecting a network.

Isolation is a central theme of Death Stranding, and the game does a stellar job of emphasizing the importance and challenge of Sam’s mission.


Death Stranding 2: 8 Things The Sequel Needs To Improve From The First Game

Death Stranding 2 has the opportunity to improve upon its predecessor in multiple ways. These areas are some of the most important.

Some open-world games take place in lavish kingdoms stuffed with NPCs and quests, while others envision desolate landscapes featuring splashes of humanity – Death Stranding falls in the latter category.

22 Kingdom Come: Deliverance

41–129 Hours

epic games store free games february 13

Kingdom Come: Deliverance
February 13, 2018

Warhorse Studios

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a bit of an unsung hero among the RPG community, namely due to its real-world-inspired setting of medieval Bohemia. No dungeons, dragons, or magic spells, but there are definitely enough swords and swashbuckling in this long experience.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is an acquired taste, that much is certain, but don’t let its lack of fantasy elements stand in the way of what’s honestly a deep and impressive game. In this game, players will climb through the ranks to go from a poor peasant to a sword-swinging knight in a more traditional medieval setting. It’s a different kind of ARPG, but one that deserves more than a few hours to experience.

21 Sea Of Thieves

45–317 Hours

The Ruby Splashtail Set in Sea Of Thieves

Sea of Thieves
March 20, 2018


Sea of Thieves is a blast with friends. Form a pirate crew and sail the high seas looking for treasure while fighting off skeletons and all sorts of mythical creatures. Sea of Thieves‘ open-world is large and quite gorgeous, and it tries to avoid directing people down a linear path as much as possible.


Sea Of Thieves: 13 Best Things To Spend Gold On

Gold is the lifeblood of pirates in Sea of Thieves, so knowing the right things to spend the treasure on will greatly impact one’s gameplay.

Crews can take on voyages so they can have temporary goals in mind, besides trying to become Pirate Legends. However, Sea of Thieves is at its best when pirates answer the call of adventure and head out into the unknown.

Sea of Thieves
does not have much of a story or an endpoint, so the latter number is a better representative of the game’s length.

46–162 Hours

Punished Snake On A Horse In Phantom pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
September 1, 2015

As Hideo Kojima’s last release before leaving Konami, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain lacks the narrative drive that defines earlier entries in the series, but that didn’t stop Metal Gear fans from appreciating it.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain‘s open-world is massive and quite empty, although the campaign comes alive spectacularly whenever the gameplay takes center stage. The Phantom Pain might not be a typical Metal Gear Solid game, but it is a great open-world title.

47–355 Hours


The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
May 1, 2002

Bethesda Game Studios

The first two entries in the Elder Scrolls series were quite tame and didn’t really make waves in the gaming landscape. However, the release of Morrowind changed that notion and introduced a wide swath of gamers to the next chapter in open-world gaming.

Morrowind was a massive achievement that most fans still adore to this day. It might not be the prettiest game around, but mods will help alleviate most of the game’s dated presentation and allow players to experience one of the longest games ever made.

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion – Game Of The Year Edition has an average story of 33 hours, along with a completionist time of roughly 180 hours.
‘s story lasts 38 hours, while completing everything takes about 250 hours.

18 Euro Truck Simulator 2

48–439 Hours

A red truck pulls a gas tanker trailer along an urban road in Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2
October 18, 2012

SCS Software


Launching in 2012 and still going strong, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is the definition of a niche (but successful) project. Players get to build their trucking business, starting from nothing as they eventually amass an empire. Along with managing the business, players also step into the driver’s seat as they roam detailed European roads in order to deliver goods.


7 Beginner Tips For Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2 allows players to experience the life as a truck driver, delivering items and running their own business.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 has an impressive open-world, even if the game’s adherence to realism restricts the player’s options. That said, SCS’s release is an interesting take on the driving sim genre.

17 Project Zomboid

48–752 Hours

Project Zomboid Rooftop Combat

Project Zomboid
November 8, 2013

The Indie Stone

Survival Horror

In Early Access, Project Zomboid is a survival game with no real end point beyond, well, surviving. Players are dropped into a post-apocalyptic setting and challenged to make the best of a terrible situation. Naturally, this means scouring the world for resources, crafting items and weapons, and building a base.


15 Games Like Project Zomboid

Fans of Project Zomboid should enjoy these other similar games about surviving the apocalypse.

Project Zomboid has more than proven its staying power after roughly a decade in the works, and the game is arguably more popular now than it has ever been. While certainly a must-play for survival fans, the horror title is a hardcore experience that could be a bit too much for newcomers to the genre, at least during their first few hours with the game.


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