A fictional reality created for the needs of the game, in which events take place with the participation of the hero controlled by the player. The game world consists of both the places visited during the game, as well as the characters living there, along with the relationships between them.
The game worlds found in modern video games can be categorized by design. Relatively the easiest to create, and also the best for games with a linear plot structure, are closed worlds – consisting of a series of corridor locations that the player’s character travels through in the order set by the developers. Their opposite are open worlds, providing the player with almost unlimited freedom of exploration (uninterrupted by loading screens) and many activities to be performed; they usually go hand in hand with the sandbox gameplay model. The trade-off between these two paths are semi-open worlds – in games offering them, the heroes find themselves in vast hub locations that they can freely explore, and completing subsequent story tasks opens up access to new places.
The richness of the game world is generally assessed through the prism of the variety of elements from which it was built (e.g. locations, NPCs, opponents, background story). It is important especially in sandbox games, where, by definition, players should have a lot of freedom of action. Consequently, developers often decide to build vast lands with a large number of NPCs, places to visit and related events.