Where do you want to go to play? Inside gaming's most intriguing new worlds

We speak to the creative minds behind the game environments we can't wait to explore

From mountains to megacities and small islands to giant planets, there are few things more satisfying than building your own world.

Fortunately for us, the creators of some of the most entrancing new game settings on the horizon were happy to share some insight on how these locales came to be. You'll find details on what inspired the stunning No Man's Sky, for example, or how the art style of the puzzling The Witness conveys a certain sense about the island.

We'll be exploring all of this terrain before long (in fact, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is already out this week), but you can get a head start by scoping out the sights below and reading the developer explanations.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt was released this week and immediately took the top spot on our list of the 10 best console games in the world right now. It's that amazing, and this role-playing epic's stunning open world is the real star of the show. Here's how much detail went into even one small part of it.

Monika Zawistowska, Senior Concept Artist (CD Projekt RED)

“Since the Skellige archipelago is partially inspired by the Viking/Nordic architecture and mythos, my most prominent inspiration was Viking longships. The longship you see is built from parts of longboats that crashed near island shores. The bow was inspired by Byzantine dromons and the Greek bireme. All in all, the whole thing is intended to project a feeling of being a warship with a bit of an adventurous past.”

The Legend Of Zelda (Wii U)

Each incarnation of The Legend Of Zelda has brought something new - and often miraculous - to the table. For next year's Wii U edition, Nintendo is taking advantage of the hardware to open up the game world and rethink the way we approach the iconic dungeons.

Eiji Aonuma, Producer (Nintendo)

“It’s quite a vast world, isn’t it? You can even reach those mountains in the distance, if you walk far enough. We couldn’t create such a wide world like this in the past. You can enter any area from any direction – so the puzzle-solving in this game begins the moment the player starts to think about where they want to go, how they will get there, and what they will do when they arrive.” (via Nintendo)

Tom Clancy’s The Division (Xbox One, PS4, PC)

Ubisoft's military juggernaut takes a new path with The Division, which blends action and role-playing elements to deliver a new kind of real-world tactical game. Only this isn't exactly the Big Apple we know, having been rapidly ravaged by a horrifying, militarised disease.

Fredrik Rundqvist, Executive Producer (Ubisoft Massive)

“There’s a virus released upon New York City on Black Friday, and it has quickly devastated the city. It’s quarantined, all the basic services are shut down, people are dying and desperate and you have factions rising — either to take advantage of the situation or simply to survive. They’re fighting for the scraps that are left in the city, and you’re an agent of the Division, asked to go in and fix it, to take it back.” (via Connected Digital World)