Where would our games be without those wonderful worlds and back-stories? Without a well rounded environment for those stories to play out, most games would just bland, boring and dull, so when a game gets critical acclaim for its backstory and writers, you know its well deserved.
Below is a list of five games whose wider worlds and back stories help make these great games what they are.
5. Deus Ex
A dark and gritty future where technology can replace human flesh and bone, augmentation in the form of cybernetics and nanotechnology to replace and modify the human body. The dystopian future that allowed the conflict over augmentation and its research is one of the driving elements behind the games, along with conspiracies, agencies, double dealing and the question of morality from men who are barely considered to be human anymore.
It’s a dark, desperate and dirty world, with criminal cartels and brutal security agencies vying for control of the streets, whilst megacorporations secretly run the world whilst incompetent governments go to war with their own citizens. The world is teetering on a knife edge ready to plummet into a confused and uncertain war, were the line between friend and foe are decided not by nation, religion or skin colour, but by how human you feel.
The world of Deus Ex is a heady mixture of the very best elements of the Cyberpunk genre.
4. Elder Scrolls (Tamriel)
The world of Tamriel consists of the sole continent and all the surrounding isles and is a place of magic, mystery, intrigue presided over by demons and gods. The epic storyline of the world of Tamriel is one of war and espionage, the rise of warlords and the death of kings, and all of history hinges on the actions of a few adventurers touched by destiny.
Each game has tons of content to explore, from the snippets of history and lore in each of the books too the verbal histories and opinions of each faction within the game. As fantasy fodder goes, Tamriel is certainly an exciting place to hang out and get your fight on, with a niche for whatever walk of life you want to have.
3. Thief (The City)
The world of Thief is a Steampunk-Medieval setting that mixes both magic and the newly emerging industrial science into a twisted world of death and deep shadows.
The City is a twisting maze of streets, alleys, thoroughfares and waterways inhabited by nobles, urchins, peddlers, peasants and guards, along with the religious order of the Hammer who seek to rid the world of the chaotic Trickster worshiping Pagans. Throw in the secret Keepers and stealth librarians with a non-interference policy and you have a simmering pot of trouble that makes this world one of the richest and most rewarding environments to play in.
It is a world of levels as well, from the sewers and waterways to street level locations of the main world, to the rooftops of the Thieves Highway. The City is packed with unusual and mismatched buildings as one age passes quietly into the night, to be replaced by new architecture and ideas, making it a now mismatched and patchwork in places. It’s set in an age of change and progress, where the old ways are changing rapidly with each new streetlamp and industry, the dawn of electricity and an end to the old gods. War is coming between the forces of Nature and Industry, of the old and the new, making the ancient city a rogues paradise.
2. Metal Gear
The world of Hideo Kojima is a vast tapestry of ‘what If’ storylines meshed together into one of the best known game lines currently in circulation. The world diverts from this one around the time of the Cold War, with paranoid world governments and their front line agents, the spies that end up driving the storylines that make up the Metal Gear world we know today.
With the rise of new technologies and nuclear science, it is a world teetering on the edge of war, being driven there by fanatics and power hungry lunatics, using cloning and turning the resulting creations into biological weapons and super agents that fight one another in the shadow of nuclear damnation.
The Metal Gear itself is little more than a walking tank, a tool designed and built as a weapon of last resort like so many nuclear weapons before it, in the hopes of averting a war. Instead it becomes the focus of so many lunatics and madmen who would unleash its payload and destroy the world in the hopes of coming out on top of whatever remains. As a world in turmoil, unknowingly following a path of mutually assured destruction, it is a gaming world that draws the player and is worthy of its cult following.
1. Warcraft (Azeroth)
Love it or Hate it, Warcraft is one of the longest running and persistent gaming worlds so far and is worthy of a mention here. Azeroth has been the setting for all Warcraft games and has evolved over time to encompass more races, zones and conflicts, finally resulting in the World of Warcraft game we are almost all familiar with now. With its expansive world and numerous zones, along with highly detailed maps and harsh environments, its packed full of adventure and conflict wherever you roam.
With numerous races and factions, back stories and histories to delve into, Azeroth has a rich well of stories and intrigues to immerse yourself in, where nothing is as it seems and where good and evil are not as clear cut as one may think.
From the simple glades and fields of the home territories to the blasted wastes and demon infested hells of the conflict zones, Azeroth is certainly a fun place to play.
What are your favourite video game worlds? Let us know in the comments below.