Games That Take Pride In Having The Most “Alive” NPCs

The protagonist isn't the only sentient being in there.

Story Highlights

  • Most video games have their central focus on the protagonist, supporting characters, and the villains. 
  • While prioritizing those, NPCs in open-world settings are left behind in terms of emphasis, therefore feeling empty. 
  • Some games, such as Mount & Blade, and CrossCode, are completely opposite in that sense. 

We’ve all had our fair share of experiences playing open-world games, but how many of them do you remember at the end of the day for having fantastic NPC implementation? Let me guess. Probably not a lot. Over the course of my time going through video games of different manners, I’ve come across a rarity of titles that prioritize NPCs as much as they do the characters that take central focus. 

In case you like your games to be special, you have to know about the forthcoming games that take pride in having the most “alive” NPCs. Experiencing that kind of functionality just kicks things up to another level, where you begin to embrace the fact that the in-game world around your character isn’t just another negligible element. 

These Titles Did It The Best With Their World Design

Make sure to post a comment down below if you have a suggestion to add to the list. 

1. Mount & Blade

Mount and Blade
Mount and Blade Is Masterful In Its Own Right | Source: TaleWorlds Entertainment

As far as free-form open-world sandboxes go, Mount & Blade is right up there at the top for NPC diversity. There’s no pre-determined story, quest, or lore in this game. Whatever happens, happens because of the choices you make, the roads you set foot on, and the battles you fight. Drop yourself anywhere on the map, and start your journey right and there. 

One of the reasons I have great admiration for Mount & Blade is that it never fails to impress in terms of how the NPCs go about their day in-game. The best way to define this is that everything you’re capable of in the game, they are as well. The rest, you’ve got to play it to believe it.

2. Kenshi 

Kenshi Is Less of a Game and More of a Mental Challenge | Source: 

I’ve recommended Kenshi for quite a few other reasons as well, most notably for being a fantastic open-world game that discourages fast travel, but another incentive you should have a go at it is for this reason alone: The NPCs in this title are objectively well-designed. Kenshi’s world lives on its own, so you never really know who’s going to do what at any given time. 

The RPG’s also super grindy, so if you have a proclivity toward such games, you have all the reason in the world to fire it up. 

3. Dragon’s Dogma 2

Romance In Dragon's Dogma 2 using gifts
Dragon’s Dogma 2 Is One of the Best RPGs of 2024 | Source: eXputer 

Capcom has managed to deliver splendidly in the name of Dragon’s Dogma 2—the highly anticipated sequel to the first Dragon’s Dogma from 2012. Coming more than a decade after the onset of the latter, the RPG is a substantial improvement on multiple levels, particularly its Pawns system which is severely unpredictable and employs a player-guided approach to the game’s world.

4. CrossCode

CrossCode | Source: Steam

Radical Fish Games’ CrossCode isn’t your average RPG, far from it, in fact. This is a 2D, retro-stylized single-player title that somehow manages to do a better job at keeping the world alive than most other MMOs. The NPCs in CrossCode won’t hesitate to drop by randomly and offer hints regarding specific treasures or other key items for you to further your journey, but that’s just a small chunk of the bigger picture here. 

NPCs interacting with each other is a sight to behold in CrossCode as well, with the player being able to observe certain acts out of randomness quite easily. It costs about $2.45 on Valve’s platform. Better check it out. 

5. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 Is One of Gaming’s Greatest Works | Source: Rockstar Games 

Rockstar has worked up a wonder in the name of Red Dead Redemption 2, bringing to the table what is widely considered one of the best iterations in the action-adventure, open-world space by far and large. Red Dead 2’s world feels spectacularly alive, and if you take the time out to observe random NPCs, you’ll see that each of them have their job to do, and go about their day like a perfectly normal human being. 

6. Pathologic Classic HD

Pathologic Doesn't Fall in the Realm of Fun
Pathologic Is Outright Brutal | Source: 

Now, here’s one game that’s designed to be not fun. Pathologic Classic HD is something that’s going to test your mettle every time you try and go at it, but in between all that is one gem of an intellectual game that bestows character and personality to its major NPCs, which you otherwise would have done if you were somehow controlling them. 

Critics loved Pathologic, but it didn’t quite settle in with many fans, which brings me to warn you that this game isn’t for everyone. Trek with caution. 

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Huzaifa, an Online News Editor at, is a video game industry aficionado with a talent for unearthing the juiciest stories for his beloved readers. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, he dives deep into the abyss of news, meticulously dissecting every tiny detail to serve his audience. When he's not unravelling breaking news, he becomes a master storyteller, conjuring up captivating tales from the depths of his imagination. With a wealth of experience as a Video Game Journalist, he's penned his mighty words for numerous other video game outlets, leaving no video game unturned and no pixel unexplored! Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor of Science in Data Science || Previously Worked at VeryAli Gaming & TheNerdMag || Covered 100+ News Articles

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