February 2, 2021 Last updated February 2nd, 2021 540 Reads share

The Impact of Good Environment and World Design in Games

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Think about the most iconic video game characters of all time. You’ve got Mario, Master Chief, Pikachu, and countless more. What sets these characters apart from the rest is the way they feel like they enhance the games and worlds that they belong in. Despite their radical differences in designs and art styles, what all they all have in common is that they were created to be natural parts of the worlds they lived in and served to create a connection for players to the worlds they will be exploring. (In fact, this is the precise reason the main character from the Legend of Zelda series is named Link)

Character and world design in video games are crucially important in order to create a game world that players will want to explore and be a part of. With many games nowadays being designed around the concept of exploring vast landscapes and interacting with varied environments, this makes the concept and development stages of these worlds a process that developers are taking very seriously, from the time games are conceptualized to when they finish development.  

The Way Games Are Able To Stand Out

The environments and designs are often important because games need to be unique and stand out from one another. Take for example the characters and world of Middle Earth, from the Lord of the Rings series. This series is represented in a multitude of games from the action-heavy Shadow of War to the MMO Lord of the Rings online, to the child-friendly Lego series. Each of these games has the task of adapting the world described by JRR Tolkien in his epic series in a way that fits the story, visual, and gameplay style that each game is trying to convey. The Lego LOTR games will obviously have a vastly different visual approach than other adaptations which will have changes of their own despite all taking the same source of inspiration.  

These worlds are created through concept art and early designs that establish the tone and a visual look that defines the game and its visual styles early on. In most cases, with great designs you can identify characters, maps, key items, and landscapes with nothing more than a silhouette, ensuring that the elements designed are iconic and will resonate with players for a long time to come. 


Developers have their own ways of making sure the concept phase is given the proper care and attention. Some will stick with their in house team of designers, some will hire local talent on a per-project basis, and some developers can even utilize a concept art outsourcing studio to meet their design goals with a professional touch even if they lack the time or resources themselves.

Either way, they choose, the worlds and designs created in this phase will provide the foundation for the entire project and set the tone for the entire world that players will soon be exploring themselves. When the character and environmental design stands out, the games themselves rise above the competition and become icons of their own.

Male Game Developer works on a Level Design -DepositPhotos

Duncan Adams

Duncan Adams

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