Holistic Design

Mark Cerny uses the term 'holistic' design to describe the macro-design of how the levels / scenarios / missions of a game are put together. Things that go in the holistic design could include: where the player gets item x that unlocks area y; how the characters will advance in an RPG; what skills the player has to learn at what point in the game.

Some patterns for holistic design have been listed in CategoryHolisticDesignPattern?.