When I was really getting my feet wet with 3D modeling, games like Rime and Breath of the Wild always managed to captivate my interest. Their abstracted art styles and use of color inspired a sense of adventure and exploration which really resonated with me. Non-photorealistic game art still sits at the core of what I strive for.
More recently, Ubisoft’s open world games have set the bar for me in terms of scale and worldbuilding workflows. I can only imagine the amount of research and development that must go into vegetation alone.
Over time, I started learning more about the natural world through reference materials, which drove me to see those places in person. This provided me ample opportunities to capture source materials and generally soak up inspiration. In a sense, observing and simplifying the intricacies of nature and translating them to a video game context sits at the heart of my job!
Source: Unity Technologies Blog