The art of making open world video games

Open world design has dominated videogame settings for over a decade, and you can learn more about that legacy by reading our feature on the history of open world game design on PlayStation. However, more goes into building your favourite spaces than slapping Caspar David Friedrich’s painting ‘Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog’ on the mood board.

When it comes to immersive worlds, we’ve never had it so good - read our Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora review for a artistic example. But also, recently we’ve crashed through the material plane of Faerûn, run through the zombie-infested streets of Villedor, duelled with Fatui Harbingers across Teyvat, popped wheelies all over New Island, and disappeared into the seedy underbelly of Night City. Losing ourselves in these spaces, we emerge to seek the insight of the master world builders behind them, asking what exactly goes into setting the scene.

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Jess Kinghorn
Freelance writer

Jess is PLAY Magazine’s games editor, and is known for championing the weird, the wonderful, and the downright janky. A fan of cult classic JRPGs and horror, her rants about Koudelka and Shadow Hearts have held many a captive audience. Outside of writing about all things PlayStation, she’s also a lifelong fan of Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Having whiled away most of her college years playing The World Ends With You on the original Nintendo DS, she’s looking forward to uncovering all of NEO’s secrets too. Beginning her career as Official PlayStation Magazine’s staff writer in 2017, she’s since written for PC Gamer, SFX, Games Master, and Games TM.