I'm really looking forward to this challenge, as storytelling is a fun aspect of level design.
I was first thinking of making some type of scenery that would match the story, but then decided to throw in some gameplay in the mix.
The game and level editor I chose for this task is Half-Life 2 and Hammer.
The concept I have is an escort mission, where the player (and a couple of rebels) has to escort civilians and VIP's to the railway station.
Most of the buildings across the street has been modified with combine-tech (hence "seen investment","new age"). The goal is to get everyone on board a train for extraction. The street will be like a 'no man's land' as the combine tries to push for the railway station, and the rebels (and player) keeping them at bay.
So, to summaries:
- The player (and rebels) finds civilians that are being held captive by the Combines.
- They escort the civilians through Combine territory towards the railway station across the street.
- The player must then defend the railway station until the train is ready to leave.
This is my first draft, so expect some changes later on.
Or maybe I simply show the aftermath of all this to the player. Let the player walk around and try to discover what happened here.