Hi, I am not really into game modeling, so take my opinions with a little bit of reserve, but what seems the most wierd to me is the kind of clashing of two styles:
- very simple, squareish building and furniture vs. very detailed semi realistic or smooth foilage and water.
Well and the other idea - and dont take me wrong and I say upfront that I like the image - really, but I am afraid that it is not really that impressive. By that I mean, it is nice and OK and well done and I like the simplicity, BUT because it is so simple, many many people could do it as well. It has not a very distinctive style, no incredibly original idea, no tricky and hard to create parts, only simple textures…
If you want someone to hire you and pay you, you must convince them that YOU are the guy they need. That YOU can do something others can’t. Maybe this is partly the reason why others were telling you it is not enough. It is just not outstanding. This might be painful to hear, but if you really want that particular job, maybe consider starting something completely new, familiar and usefull for the employer (of course), but unique in some way.