Hi, I'm a games development student in college at the moment, and next year on the course I will be making an open-world/sandbox style game. However, before I start all that, I need to do a market research unit. As fans of GTA, I decided you guys would be the best to ask about this since I'm sure you're all as much fans of Sandbox games as I am. Essentially I need opinions on what makes a sandbox/open world game good and what makes it bad. What kind of theme(s) and setting(s) do you like (think GTA, Red Dead, or Far Cry)? What do you like to see and experience in the world? How important is story and missions? Anything that you think is an absolute essential in a Sandbox game, that might make you avoid a game if it didn't have it? Or just what makes you go "Wow, this is really great game"?
Those are, of course, example questions. Anything you can think of that you want to mention, any ideas, anything about Sandbox games would be a huge help and much appreciated. Go wild.