I am trying to start out a project to complete in the next 4 years as I get my computer sciences degree. I am going to admit I am starting fresh when it comes to programming, but I am trying to tie down the ideas of my mechanics and design for my game before I even start typing anyways.
I am trying to make what is basically an action rpg like the format of zelda, but translate it to a much more open world like say skyrim. But first i'm trying to nail down how I want to present the world I want to create and how to keep it realistic to the strong possibility I will be the only one working on it. So I narrowed it down to possibly presenting in a 2D isometric sprite format similar to "Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past". The only problem I so far see with this is that I would have trouple depicting larger open spaces since the player could get "lost" trying to explore an open middle area in a desert or plain.
Alternativeliy I could so something similar to the new Pokemon games in their most recent iterations, a 2D/3D isometric view. It would let me bring the camera down and possible let it follow the player at a lower level for more open fields if I need it to. But it would take longer to program and trickier to debug. Many an otherwise good game has been marred by a bad camera, and I don't want to add something that I might only use in only a few areas.
I'm leaning towards the sprite side since I would be easier and potentially more timeless graphics then 3d models tend to get. "Link to the Past" still looks good whereas even more recent games like Fallout 3 start showing their age after only a few years. I want to spend far more time working on the mechanics and gameplay then worrying about the graphics portion.
Are there any better ways to do this? Or any concerns I might not have thought of?