Julian Gerighty, creative director behind Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew places the blame on the "editorial department" of the French publisher. The goal of editorial is to help shape games in the conceptual stages, and they've been especially vocal about open world.
"If you see certain similarities between the projects, it's because of the nature of open worlds, I guess, and it's also because there is an editorial department," Gerighty told Polygon. He said the idea of "living worlds" ties into these open worlds, and he sees "more and more projects going down that road" in the near future.
"It's one of those things where the online aspect, the seamless aspect, the living, breathing world aspect, that is provided by the online adds so much to the experience that it's a shame to be able to say, 'OK, you can play the game, but you can't have that part of it.' It's a really key part of it, much like World of Warcraft," he said. "I genuinely think the open world game without the seamless aspect to it is going to feel a little artificial, a little forced in a few years time. Today it can still work."