The 2009 Bioware game Dragon Age: Origins tries to present a free, open game space that players can navigate at will, but at certain moments in the game, that illusion breaks. Once past the initial cut scenes, a player can move around the freely and talk to anyone they encounter. Depending on who the person is, the player may be able to have a full conversation with them or they may just get a simple response. The longer dialogues usually reveal important information or at least deepen knowledge about the game world. Some of these dialogue exchanges trigger automatically, when the player enters a certain area or approaches a character, while other must be actively sought out. The automatic triggers do not violate the freedom of the game because they normally make sense in context (your mother stops you to speak with you about a pressing issue, a guard calls you over to deliver a message, etc.) and the others allow the player to express their freedom by choosing who to talk to.
However, the simple response conversations jar the player from the game. When speaking to the guards at the Cousland Castle, almost every one responds to a female player character with “Good day, my lady” in the exact same voice. The guards essentially exist as mindless clones, repeating the same phrase over and over again, regardless of how many times they’re spoken to. Some of these characters say different things each time, but even then a player can cycle through the responses with repeated clicks. It makes the player aware that the game world is not actually real. Similarly, while the player can move from place to place within a given area, they cannot always leave that area. In the Cousland Castle, the player can move about its rooms, but cannot go out into the rest of the world. The player is given the illusion of freedom, but only to a certain extent.
Dragon Age: Origins seems to suggest the coming of the open-world genre. It seems then that these jarring moments come from a lack of computing power, as well as to force narrative. In 2009, the game and the computers it was played on didn’t have the memory to handle a full open world with every character being different. The player also cannot always go where they wish because then the story could not progress in the chronological order the writers laid out.