I like the idea of deaths that keep you from exploring certain areas until a solution can be obtained to get past them later in the game. Kinda like the POISonous snake that kept you from the mountains in KQ5. They could go the route of KQ2+ and have certain shops that weren't open yet (like the antique shop) which could be adequately explained based on the time of day. That way, there'd be places that you'd eventually be able to get to once you were able to acquire a certain item from the shop once it opened.
I think it's really important for the sense of scope of the adventure not to have the small contained areas like Hill Valley Square or Sam and Max's block. The map absolutely must be LARGE, even if they reuse certain areas. The screens should all be unique though--nothing like the recycled forest backgrounds from Tales of Monkey Island.
If they block off certain areas early on, they should go the route of KQ7, where once areas of the world opened up to you, they remained open. In later chapters of KQ7, you could still walk all the way back through the rest of the world if you wanted to--back to the very beginning in the desert. There wasn't really anything to do in those old places, but it still added to the feeling of the world being vast and explorable.
A great way to expand on that approach would be to have new situations and puzzles pop up in some of those older areas that rewarded the backtracking. On the other hand, a reliance on backtracking could end up be more of a negative than a positive, and could ultimately lead to the the feeling that areas were being reused just so that Telltale didn't have to go to the effort of creating a larger world to explore. It'd definitely be a fine line.
Last edited by Lambonius; 03/19/2011 at 05:28 am.