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Gathering Thoughts blog - ASCasanova - design post

Exploring new worlds

During my Masters research at NTU University, I study the evolution on set design in both movies and video games, and I would like to share some the conclusions.

Design for games

I am sure that you have notice the huge graphics evolution in videogames. If you read some forums, you would see that there is a big community of gamers that are really concern about the graphics and the realism of the scene. Although, I think that not every game need to be focus on having realistic graphics and open worlds. I understand the necessity of exploration and realism.

Game environment - Assassin Creed Syndicate

Buckingham palace´s view from Assassin Creed Syndicate

With the New Generation of video games the environment and the setting of the story is one of the important factors that affect the immersion of the player in the world. It is not only a backdrop for the events, but the reason for the action itself; as Kelman say on his book Video game art “an obstacle that must be overcome for the events to progress”.

Game environment - The Last of Us

Example view of the video-game The Last of Us remastered.

The progression of the story inside the game is determined by the space in which it is played, because, especially at the New Gen of games as The Witcher 3, Assassin Creed Syndicate or Metal Gear Solid, it is the environment what provides the obstacles to progress on the story.

“I have argued elsewhere that video game represent the latest in a series of what mid-twentieth century cultural critic Gilbert Seldes called ‘lively arts’ arts which occupied a space outside of the official art world, but which touched the lives of ordinary people, bringing them not simply pleasure or entertainment but also something approaching the sublime.” Dr. Henry Jenkins (Kelman, N., 2005)

The design and presentation of the environment to the player define the style of the game itself. It could be bi-dimensional as in Limbo, it could be surrealistic as in Contrast or realistic as in Assassin Creed. But at the end, the environment is the essence of the world that we are playing and it is perhaps the most creative element of video game.

Example view of one of the Limbo´s levels

The environment of the game needs to provide obstacles and difficulties for the player to progress on the game, but also they need to provide to the player the sense of discovery and exploration. We, as the players, have a new world in front of us, it is a complete new space and we have the control over it.

After all, the game is not only about the “fight” or the character progress, but also it is about our curiosity, as humans being. The necessity of exploration is actively encouraged by the elements of the video game.

Have you ever find yourself admiring a beautiful setting on a video game? Share your thoughts on the comments below or follow me on Social Media!


McCarthy, D., 1960-, 2005. The complete guide to game development, art and design. Lewes: Lewes : Ilex.

Kelman, N., 2005. Video game art. New York: New York : Assouline.

About Me
Alba Soria Casanova - ASCasanova blog

Hi there!

I am Alba and here is where I gather my thoughts about design and lifestyle. I really hope you enjoy the reading.

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Alba Soria Casanova - ASCasanova blog

You can find my shop (ASCasanova) with a wide range of products available, from fashion apparels, accessories or home décor. All my products are printed and shipped worldwide directly to you.

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