When Shoji Hibino uses the term “open world” he means it in a different way than you’d typically associate with it in a videogame.
He means open world as in the world of the game itself is open to our own. He uses it in this way in reference to his game Genso as it’s a merging of the reality we experience with that of the virtual game world. And he manages this not by voodoo or magic but by spreading the game’s puzzles across different types of media.
The main game is played on a PC and has a side-scrolling 2D format. Simple enough. However, as you’ll see in the video above, to get through the game’s puzzles you need to decipher coded language and operate locks that have several parts that need to be arranged in certain formations. There are no clues inside the PC game as to how you might solve these puzzles so you have to look elsewhere.
What’s demonstrated in the video is the use of an app as well as torn pieces of papyrus that you must consult and figure out in order to input the right commands into the PC game. The idea, as Hibino describes it, is for Genso to operate as a “cross-platform Myst” – an adventure full or mystery that requires the player to become absorbed entirely in the game’s world by allowing it into their own.
You can find out more about Genso on its website.