Modern open world games that follow one linear narrative simply don’t cut it with today’s gamers. Players want to get immersed in another world, one in which they can partake in a range of activities and side quests. Therefore, offering mini games is essential and something that people have come to expect. These side games are often popular real world offerings, because providing them can help developers reach a wider audience. Blackjack is one of the world’s most famous card games, so including it in open world games can be a winning formula for studios.

Success of Blackjack Has Made it More Appealing for Developers

The success of blackjack in the online casino industry has been incredible, and anyone who partakes in internet gambling will be able to see its popularity. There are now sections of casinos that are dedicated to online blackjack, and the options available are varied. There are virtual and live games for players to choose from, along with innovative versions of the game that were created specifically for internet audiences. These include titles like Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven Blackjack and Zappit Blackjack. The fact that these new versions keep cropping up shows that developers are trying their best to cater for an ever-growing blackjack audience.

Blackjack’s popularity in the online casino realm has gained the attention of studios in other areas of the gaming industry. For instance, mobile developers know how much of a draw it can be and there are now plenty of arcade style blackjack games like myVegas Blackjack 21 and Blackjack Casino Style for players to choose from. The abundance of these games on the portable platform highlights how many players are happy to play blackjack for fun without investing money. This may be one of the reasons why console developers were inspired to include blackjack in their open world games.

It's interesting to note that some of the console games that have integrated blackjack have gone on to become the most successful games of all time. The inclusion of the popular casino game isn’t the main reason why they have triumphed commercially, but there’s a strong chance that it helped to attract a wider demographic to the games. Another reason why developers like to include blackjack is because it has simple rules, and even people who haven’t played it before can easily get the hang of it.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 was released in 2018 and, since then, it could be argued that no game has managed to top the Rockstar Games title. The Wild West epic sold more than 17 million copies within three days of its release and grossed over $725 million in that time. Along with being commercially successful, it was lauded by critics. Many publications gave it a perfect score and some even claimed it was the greatest game ever made. This was reflected in the accolades it received. The title earned some highly prestigious awards such as the Game of the Year at the Game Awards 2018 and Best Game at the BAFTA Games Awards 2019.

In Red Dead Redemption 2, players have the chance to get fully immersed in a western landscape as they take on the role of the outlaw, Arthur Morgan. Along with following the main storyline of the title, there are countless subplots to get involved with. Players have the chance to explore their rugged surroundings, interact with non-player characters, and hunt the varied wildlife that populates the virtual world. In addition to all that, there are numerous side games that can offer respite and give players something different to do if they need a break from galloping around.

Blackjack is one of the main side games in RDR2, and it is easy to find at numerous places on the sprawling map. The title was included in Red Dead Redemption as well, and players enjoyed it so much that Rockstar Games decided to bring it back. In the sequel, it’s clear that the developers put in even more effort to make it appealing. Players get a first-person perspective of the cards when Morgan holds them, giving the feeling that they are standing there at the table. The great thing about the side game is that it gives players a chance to stake their own in-game currency and potentially win or lose.

Fallout: New Vegas

Red Dead Redemption 2 may be one of the best instances of blackjack’s inclusion in an open world game, but it wasn’t the first. Rockstar Games could have been inspired by the offering in Fallout: New Vegas, which helped to elevate the Obsidian Entertainment title into a classic. Indeed, the 2010 game is regarded by some players as the best entry in the hugely popular post-apocalyptic series.

Fallout: New Vegas was met with high critical acclaim, and it grossed more than $300 million as well. Players are tasked with surviving in a dangerous world in which society has crumbled, and this involves various side missions that interweave with the main story. It wouldn’t make sense for it to be in a Las Vegas setting without the inclusion of casino games, as that’s what the city is renowned for. The title was released just as the online casino industry was beginning to boom, and blackjack was a well-known option already by that time.

There are a few different locations at which players can take part in blackjack in Fallout: New Vegas. There’s the New Vegas Strip, which features numerous casinos such as the Ultra-Luxe and the Gomorrah. Outside of that area, there are also blackjack games available at the Mojave Outpost. The card game isn’t tied to a particular mission, so players have the freedom to choose whether they want to play it or not.

It's clear that blackjack wasn’t the main selling point of these incredible titles, but its inclusion did help to elevate them to legendary status. The card game has global appeal, and featuring it in open world games can serve to draw more players in.