There is a great deal of psychology involved in the creation of environments and levels as the designer has to work out how the player will decide to roam around the area they are given. With the expansion of free-roaming/sandbox games this has become more and more important as the designer doesn’t want the player to get lost in the area or become overwhelmed with the variety of choice. The designer wants the direction of travel to be a choice the player makes and feels like they weren’t obviously influenced into going a certain direction.
This psychological thought is different when it comes to level design for esport based games as they have to be tactical and to be successful as a esport map the placement of things and the level have to be considered a great deal. This is important to making sure the game runs fluidly without one player dominating because of the map layout.
In terms of the visual art of the environment it is most important that all the assets you see fit in to the style of the game and that there is nothing which stands out as not fitting into the environment. Whether a game is stylised or not doesn’t really matter too much to the belief of the world but assets not maintaining the stylisation greatly affects belief in the world. Personally I prefer the appearance of a realistic environment, even though I’m not obsessed with hyper realism, as I’m not really keen on the appearance of many of the stylised games around. This is slightly left behind when it comes to the esports genre of game where realism isn’t really a key feature to me, gameplay is.
The level design in Dishonoured is stunningly well put together and just as stunningly produced. The game has so many different ways to be played that the level design is key to making the game work as best as it can. The levels have to have a multitude of different paths you can take and different techniques to move around this means that virtually all of the spaces you can see need to be thought about as if you can be next to them and walk around them. Sebastian Mitten was the art director for the environments in Dishonored unfortunately I can’t find out whether he was the level designer as well.