World design vs Level design

  • What's more important for you? An excellent standalone level that is detached from the others or a series of interconnecting smaller areas that are , usually, not as excellent as standalone levels. AKA, Dark Souls vs Bloodborne, Super Metroid vs Metroid Prime, Super Mario World vs Yoshi's Island, Symphony of the Night vs Rondo of Blood, etc.

  • I like world design, but I don't mind a game possessing multiple worlds as long as they're all properly fleshed out.

  • Good world design can get me through the worst of games

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    It really depends on the game. I guess also at the moment I am a little fatigued when it comes to open world game and because of that prefer a well designed and layout level. That said though I really enjoyed Darksiders because of its cool enviornments and dungeons. The combat was a bit buttonmashy and stuff, but I still really love both games and are eager to play part 3.

  • Level design has always been my argument for Demon's Souls being the best souls type game. I felt when Dark Souls came out, the level designed suffered to make everything connected, though I think they mostly fixed that with Bloodborne and DS3.

    I still love Demon's Souls.

  • There are very few things that can make flat or barren level design tolerable. One of those instances was the excellent combat, bosses, and world for Monster Hunter 3. The combat system was, of course, about fighting huge beasts and the out of bounds geometry + skybox graphics articulated a fantastical natural world. MH 1-3 kind of excused themselves for having flat areas because, not only is the melee combat system more involving than basically any RPG, but such giant monsters would be really janky to fight in smaller, more intricate areas. The monster animations themselves fill the space. Of course there were decidedly not flat underwater areas in that game as well, but in parts of two of the maps.

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    It's not totally visible in the only screenshot I could find, but you could see the volcanic meteors falling into the sea that borders the volcano map and kicking up plumes of steam as they sizzle and boil the water. Distant sparks of lightning would light the soot-black volcanic clouds from within.

    That kind of skybox / whatever the term is now is kind of a lost art though, since so many games have eschewed connected load zones in favor of a seamless world that more-or-less just uses the rest of the world as its skybox. And with all of the open world games today, you had better have worthwhile level design on every inch of your world if you want me to press forward over so many miles.

  • I guess it depends on the type of game for me. There are games where I think World Design is a lot more important then individual level design and vice versa. There are also games that I think ride the line between world and level design. Ni No Kuni comes to mind in that regard. The world of Ni No Kuni is vast and connected by big open deserts and oceans, and yet it all feels like one cohesive world, I think thanks to the strong artistic direction. But each section of the world by which I mean each kingdom and its corresponding dungeon are very different from one another in a way that makes them seem more like separate levels. I'm not sure how to categorize a game like that. I usually find that the best games have both good world design and individual level design though.

  • @Lotias I have to agree with you on this one. Some games can benefit from having an interconnected world, while for others, I think it is unnecessary and potentially harmful. I can't even imagine the backlash people would have if DOOM was remade to be open-world. And if Red Dead Redemption 2 had turned out to be level-based, it would've lost much of the charm that the original had. That being said, some IPs I think could benefit from changing the format of their games. I thought Final Fantasy XV did well with an open-world when I originally thought it wouldn't have pulled it off. I think it all depends on the game and the people who are behind it. And, more often than not, it might be one of those things that we truly won't know until it happens. In any case, I greatly enjoy level-based games and open-world games and I'm glad that we have both formats in the industry.