A Sandbox or open world allows the player to roam freely in a virtual world with considerable freedom in how or when to approach objectives. Similar to a physical sandbox the user is entertained by his or her ability to do as they wish creatively with "no right or wrong" way of playing the game. Some restrictions generally exists either from the game environment, technical limitations, or in-game limitations.
While Sandbox and Open world are used interchangeably, some like to use the terms to describe specific types of gameplay within the genre. The terms are so nebulous and similar though, that individuals may swap the definitions given below:
- Sandbox: A world in which the player is given access to a large number of tools, abilities and the freedom to experiment with them. The player is expected to invent their own fun with whats provided and try out new ways of playing within the playspace (aka game world) they have been given.
- Open world: A world that is more focused. Distinct and strong characters tied to an equally prominent story. Gameplay is more defined and linear with little or no room for the player to invent their own fun.
VGG: Sandbox genre fan