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It's a Crime These 3 Historical Settings Don't Have Standout Games

History is rich with plot and character. Here are some historical settings that would make amazing video games.

Kublai Khan’s Mongol Empire (Kind of like Skyrim but bigger)

KublaiKhan

The Mongol Empire of the late 13th century stretched from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean.  That’s a world that could potentially have you tracking through the Gobi desert, riding horseback through the Mongol steppe, or touring ornately decorated Chinese cities. It was ethnically diverse as well. Character creation would be rich as Mongolians, Han Chinese, Persians, Turks and many more ethnic groups would all be available. The Mongols honored religious freedom for their citizens. Choosing Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam or Christianity could offer different dialogue with various NPC’s and may even get you preferential treatment at some locations.

There are a few details that may need to be altered to make for a better game though. While the Mongol army was frequently invading kingdoms, the game may lack some action. The Mongols ran a tight ship and the Empire was relatively crime free. In order to make for a more exciting experience, maybe our character could be dispatched to severely punish numerous bandit camps.

The battles could be epic.
The battles could be epic.

You could be summoned to the Khan’s palace and take quests from him or you could visit the Venetian merchant, Marco Polo and be amused by the foreign explorer’s tales of ridiculous European customs.

The Stone-Age (Like H1Z1 with Mammoths)

 Stone AGe

Your tribe ventures out from the cave that they call home. You must hunt, gather, or scavenge some food today or risk starving to death. Some of your people get excited as they spot a patch of mysterious red berries but you remind them how those poisonous berries killed your sister-wife.  You keep walking until you spot a mammoth stripping leaves from a tree. It could feed your entire clan for weeks and its bones could make for some excellent tools. It’ll be a tough beast to take down but you have brains, numbers, and sharp sticks.

You bring down your prey with little trouble. As your people begin to break down the carcass you hear a branch break nearby. Everybody stops what they’re doing and become silent. The whole world is silent. Could it be a saber-tooth cat or a pack of dire wolves attracted by the scent of your kill? Multiple figures leap out from the bushes. This danger is far worse than any wolf. It’s another group of humans. They’re armed with sharp sticks and they’re coming for your food.

Maybe we should still include mate tossing.
Maybe we should still include mate tossing.

This is the caveman survival MMO that we all need. You would craft tools from sticks, stone, and animal carcasses and use those to gather food and fight off predators. Like other MMO games, all human interaction would be made with some caution. Numbers can give you strength but a perceived weakness could make you the target of another group desperate to survive.  Prehistoric man has been portrayed in video games before but never with brutal realism that could lend itself so well to the survival genre. Previous games featuring early man have mostly been slapstick or cancelled.

Considering the popularity of survival games such as DayZ and H1Z1 and the lack of games featuring the prehistoric era, the market could be ready to give us the cruel caveman game that we all deserve.

1960’s Berlin (Stealthy and Free)

Berlin Wall 1961

After World War II, the allied nations split Germany up. The Soviet Union took the east side and the other allies, the United States, Great Britain, and France, took the western half. The city of Berlin, sat completely in the Soviet half of Germany but the city was split amongst the allied nations during the Yalta and Potsdam conferences.  The Soviets took the east side of Berlin while the other allies shared the western half.  As the cold war intensified, Berlin became increasingly more important to both sides and became the likely birthplace of World War III.

The Soviets built the Berlin Wall in 1961 to prevent the herds of people flocking from the communist east into the west. The wall itself was an imposing twelve foot tall monster that was difficult to climb, and the death strip on the Eastern side further complicated escape attempts.

The death strip was a nasty bit of hell. Armed guards with kill-on-sight orders patrolled the eastern side of the wall along with vicious dogs. Soft sand designed to show footprints and floodlights would assist the guards in spotting any escapees. If somebody was able to avoid detection, they could accidentally set-off a trip-wire rigged machine gun. Just think about what that may look like in a game.

Close enough
Close enough

In this game you would play as a secret agent tasked with assisting East Germans cross the wall into West Berlin. The game would allow players to accomplish the missions in a number of ways. Do you attempt to sneak through the death strip or do you make your escape in the sewers? Grab a car and race it right at a weakly defended section of the wall or find a hot air balloon and attempt to stay low enough to avoid radar detection but high enough to avoid sniper fire.  This choice reflects the freedom desired by the escapees that you’re attempting to help.

The protagonist for this game could easily be a flag-saluting American patriot or some puckish CIA operative, but why not add a little soul to the game? Imagine a former East German school teacher who attempted to flee to the west with his wife. He made it but she was gunned down. This haunted soul helps others escape but he cannot escape his grief.

Or we could just go with Chuck Barris.
Or we could just go with Chuck Barris.

It doesn’t always have to be escape missions. This game could be filled to the brim with covert operations. Sabotage, assassinations, and intelligence gathering could be included to vary the game play.

Are there any periods of history that you feel would make for some great games? What kind of game would you like to see?  Feel free to share.

About the author

Chris Jecks

Chris Jecks has been covering the games industry for over eight years. He typically covers new releases, FIFA, Fortnite, any good shooters, and loves nothing more than a good Pro Clubs session with the lads. Chris has a History degree from the University of Central Lancashire. He spends his days eagerly awaiting the release of BioShock 4.

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