In this project I wanted to create a level that feels complete and interesting from start to finish, and to create a world which is always exciting to explore.
I used juxtapose or strong contrast between areas to keep the player on their toes and to keep the world feeling engaging. A cramped ravine passage leading to a wide open field, a big flat lake next to a city with extreme verticality and so on.
I also wanted every area to have a purpose and be deeply connected to the story. The story mainly revolves around four different NPCs. I based each area upon the backstory of the NPC that the player would encounter at that area. This way, the entire area could become a part of the environmental storytelling.
Furthermore, I wanted to invoke a sense of wonder and largeness when walking through this world. I did this by scaling up each landmark to a scale that would normally feel just a bit extreme.
Lastly, this level is massive and involves a lot of exploring. Since it's an open world, the player can visit any area in any order they would like. I wanted to keep all paths leading somewhere interesting, and to avoid the need for any backtracking whatsoever, no matter which area the player chooses to visit first.