Same Settings Different Game

  • London, Tokyo, the good ol' USA, the post-apocalypse, bombed out warzones and World War II-just some of the settings we're overfamiliar with on Planet Gamedom.

    For all the possibilities videogames offer us, shoehorning the same handful of setting into our conscience grows fatiguing quite rapidly after you've dabbled in your fare share of triple A offerings.

    Take Tokyo or Japan as a setting. It's quite a juxtaposition that to many western folk Japanese culture and customs are very niche, but over the past 5-10 years, we can't seem to stop playing games set in Japan, making for a location that's overplayed and doesn't feel special or different anymore.

    You've got Shenmue and Yakuza, then on top you got Judgment, Persona, The World Ends With You, the new Ghostwire Tokyo, Ghost of Tsushima (feudal Japan is still Japan) and Fatal Frame among others.

    London too is a typical and boring go-to for mainstream games as well. I know London is my home country's capital city I don't live in, but damn leave them alone and give more idyllic British cities and townships a go like that blooming and blissful Shropshire setting in What Remains of Edith Finch.

    I get it the grime of London is full of all sorts of criminal activities and dirty dealings, but where's the imagination? Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle and Yorkshire are all unexplored yet excellent potential settings for videogames but no dingy overdone London usually gets the nod.

    From The GTA London to The Getaway to Assassins Creed: Syndicate and Watch Dogs: Legion-London continues to be the epicenter of British representation according to the mainstream and it's growing more and more stale with each passing game that sets itself in Her Majesty's metropolis.

    I'm not surprised that the United States has by far the most attention paid in videogames and that's fine by me generally, but would it hurt to give us a side of America we haven't seen before or not as regularly?

    For all the expletives I give the Far Cry series mainly based on the most recent entry, at least it manages to change its setting in every game. From the African wilderness of Far Cry 2 to the tropical archipelago of the Rook Islands in Far Cry 3, the Indian inspired Kyrat in Far Cry 4, the rural American tranquility of Hope County Montana in Far Cry 5 and the Cuban reminiscent land of Yara in Far Cry 6; Far Cry done a fantastic job of changing Something tells me Far Cry will go the British Isles at some point but that's besides the meat and potatoes of this article.

    Remember Max Payne 3's setting of Sao Paulo Brazil? What a refreshing virgin Mojito that was to drink from the same old typical tonic water. I yearn for the ramshackled streets, the booming nightlife, the feeling of a place we've never stepped foot in before.

    The possibilities of where games can be set is widespread and numerous but this expansive space is narrowed by the necessity to downsize and focus on familiar and huge cities where open-world games can be explored. Some of the examples I've expressed here showcase the realm of possibilities if developers/publishers took the risks and gave us new opportunities to virtually travel where we haven't been able to before. The industry should take more risks and generate the sorely wanted diversity in where videogames take place and it should be a high priority.