When the first-person shooter craze died down, it was inevitable that some genre would rise up and take its place. That is indeed what happened as open-world games—the ones in the vein of Assassin's Creed, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and Watch Dogs—burst on the gaming scene, and developers rapidly took notice. Even the Zelda franchise received the open-world treatment during E3, much to the delight of fans worldwide (though it may be argued that the open-world convention of Breath of the Wild is merely a return to traditions past).
The consequence is that one metric of apparent quality has risen just as fast: how large is the game's map? Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 were heavily scrutinized based on the sizes of the in-game worlds, gameplay and design choices notwithstanding. Likewise, people have speculated far and wide concerning the world size of the hotly anticipated Breath of the Wild, with some claiming it's as large as 170 square miles. However, this beckons the question: just how important are map sizes?