Hello, I'm thinking of ways to drive a story forward in a free-roaming world. I want the player to feel like he can freely explore the world but I also want to impose some kind of pressure/limit so the player doesn't get completely sidetracked and the pacing of the story gets killed. Another reason is to prevent the player from getting over-powered and ruining the progression-curve.
Examples on how games drive the story forward:
The Elder Scrolls - It's entirely up to the player to progress the game by doing the "story quests". Personally I got so sidetracked by side-quests (the infamous draugr quests) that I got bored before moving on to the main story quests.
Mass Effect - Similar to The Elder Scrolls, however each story-quests opens up the amount of side-quests available. The side-quests also tend to tie into the main story and has an impact on how the story progresses.
Persona 4 - This game has an interesting way of driving the story forward. You have a limit of the amount of things you can do each day and if you haven't done the story-missions before a certain date, you lose the game. You can plan ahead and be selective about what side-quests to do, before moving on to the story-mission.
What kind do you prefer? Any games you think does this well? Any other ideas on how to drive the story forward in a open world-type game?