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Chrkeller said:
JRPGfan said:

Too many fully open world games, and too many side quests / content.

Hell look at something like DQ11.
‘I felt that rather than spread our effort across a breadth of things, we’d rather concentrate everything on the story’ - Yuji Horii

“If you’re going for a completely open world, there’s obviously a development cost attached to that, affecting where you spend your time and effort.” 
- Yuji Horii

Basically open world games, can limit you, in story telling.  And theres tons of extra work, makeing lots of these little shallow story elements, that need to be everywere.  Sometimes a more focused approach, is going to offer better results, and require less work overall.

Does DQ11 feel limited in anyway as you explore that world? nah.
Does it have Photo realistic graphics? nope, doesn't need it either (infact it would be odd, or bad if they chased that)

I read online people are saying a game like DQ11 isn't even AAA.... I guess I dont even know what AAA is anymore.
I just know I like it, it feels polished.

The same is true with Photo realistic graphics..... not every game needs it, and the costs it takes.
If game devs are worried about costs, the first things they should look at, is scope (as you mentioned), and really "does it need to be open world?" , "does it need photo realistic graphics?".

Hell I love alot of those old school rpgs, with the 2D backgrounds from the PS1-2 days.
If your budget is really tight, why not try some of the tricks that worked then?
Pretty sure you could make use of the same techniques today and still get good results.

Wholly agree.  Some games are amazing as open world high cost.  But not everything needs to be.  DQ11 was superb.  I recently loved Triangle Strategy and cocoon.  Hades 2 will be superb as well.  

First question a developer should ask themselves is scope.  I get tired of 40 hour games that have 20 hours of good content and 20 hours of fluff.  

Yeah Triangle Strategy is pretty good too.
Currently playing Unicorn overlord and loveing that.

So graphics arn't everything (to me atleast).