UPDATE: And, of course, here's the second installment.
How large are open world video games? I'm not referring to how many hours of gameplay it takes to finish the game or the number of missions to complete, but actual square mileage. If you were to walk from one end of Grand Theft Auto III's Liberty City to the other, how many miles would you travel? What's the distance between edges of Burnout Paradise's Paradise City? How many square miles is Just Cause 2's Panau? Reddit user CourageousRobot wondered the same thing and came up with a chart that compares the sizes of open world maps across titles such as the aforementioned GTA, Burnout, and Just Cause as well as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Far Cry 2, World of Warcraft, and several others. While it's difficult to pin down the exact dimensions of each world map, there seems to be some research involved here.
For those wondering how dimensions were determined:
Found figures for surface area across the web such as: http://www.actionradius.com/jdl/default.asp?id=1801&qty=1 and http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:6dtg580JIaQJ:www.gamerzines.com/pc/blogs/biggest-game-worlds.html+http://www.n4g.com/ClickOut.aspx%3FObjID%3D499829&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a
Then just graphed the square-root of that horizontally, assuming squares for all those game worlds. Obviously it's not exactly an accurate way of showing the maps, but it gets the point across.
Liberty City's mere 3 square miles seems almost laughable now compared to Panau's 400 square miles, but Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall's realm dwarfs them both at 62,394 square miles. When we use the term "world map", we're close to not speaking figuratively here.