You might have seen images of maps online where cartographically-skilled gamers have compared the sizes of The Largest Worlds in Gaming. … World size has always struck me as a meaningless measuring stick. For RPGs, doubly so. When I talk to someone about Skyrim, I don’t gush about the virtual land area I’ve experienced. I tell them that they can be a cat person and steal the silverware of whomever they please, or replace the mammoths with giant, exploding chickens. Distance isn’t intrinsically fun; if a game’s massive space isn’t populated purposefully, its promised ‘epic journey’ can be pretty dull. I say all this to explain why I was unmoved by the marketing line BioWare began using around E3 for Dragon Age Inquisition. This was the “biggest game in the studio’s history,” we heard in every interview. In a presentation for the game, one slide replicated exactly the style of map I mentioned, overlaying Inquisition’s zones atop the Skyrim map to demonstrate that BioWare’s world was biggest.
there are mild spoilers about individual zones but it’s so worth the read