These games took a chance on open design after more walled-in beginnings.
The first two Witchers were non-linear and had branching stories, but The Witcher 3 went fully open world. Whichever direction you go, you'll find sidequests as rich as the main storyline.
Far Cry was always destined to be an open world series. Even the original, which had mostly linear levels, took place on big slices of map. Seven years later, Far Cry 3 would set the template for all Ubisoft open worlds to follow.
Whereas Arkam Ayslum is a tightly designed metroidvania, City and Knight increase the scale to elevate the superhero fantasy, giving you huge chunks of Gotham to glide around.
After a trio of iconic, open but largely linear shooters, Halo embraced sandbox design with jazz-noir spin-off Halo 3: ODST. Over a decade on, Infinite would take that scale to a whole new level.
After decades of drawn-out, cutscene-heavy storytelling, MGS5 jettionsed the overbearing narrative and claustrophobic evironments in favor of an incredible stealth sandbox.
Metro was once a series about surviving apocalyptic horrors... usually in cramped tunnels. So it was quite the departure when Metro Exodus released as a cross-country open world shooter.
The original trilogy's weakest parts where its mostly blank planets, something addressed in the polarizing Andromeda—a game that really embraced open world ideas.