Five Underutilized Game Settings That Shouldn't Be

by Ben Reeves on Aug 02, 2013 at 01:11 PM

Summer is a great time to take a vacation, but I like to travel to exotic locations in video games. Here is a list of locales I'd love to visit in the digital world.

Admittedly, some of these locations have probably been featured before (as much as I try, I still haven't been able to play every game ever made). Still, these scenic points are highly underutilized and I'd love to see them featured in games more often.

The Aztecs were a dark and mysterious people. This highly artistic culture was more advanced than we give it credit for. They had an advanced system for writing and keeping records, strange burial customs, and would often sell their own children into slavery. Not to mention their brutal human sacrifice rituals. A setting this dangerous and seedy is begging to be explored in a brutal action game.

This might sound like an odd choice, but Ireland could be the perfect setting for a survival horror game (just check out the picture up top). Irish lore features some of the darkest and creepiest myths I've ever read: Halloween was derived from the Irish festival of Samhain, and Dracula may have been inspired by the Irish legend of Abhartach. Irish legends are filled with tales of magic and creepy forest creatures ripe for exploring.

Gangs Of New York-era New York
New York isn't new to the video game stage, but early, undeveloped New York is. Sure, Martin Scorsese's Oscar Nominated Gangs of New York was somewhat fictionalized, but that doesn't stop it from being a vibrant setting ripe for a video game. Imagine a New York set just before the Civil War, in a time when the laws were loose, and sword-slinging gangs ruled the streets. Imagine a New York where thousands of foreigners (many of whom didn't speak English) were crammed into a few blocks of New York slums. Now imagine GTA set in that version of Liberty City. (I'd also accept '80s New York.)

Forget about that silly Ben Stiller flick; if you want an alien landscape, check out Madagascar. This south African "island" is about the size of Texas and 70 percent of its animal species as well as 90 percent of its fauna are found nowhere else in the world. Take Far Cry 3's open-world gameplay and throw it into Madagascar for an interesting twist. Add some sci-fi elements or a some magical gnomes if you're feeling really spicy.

The Moon
Have you ever seen Duncan Jones' sci-fi thriller, Moon? If you have, then you know that a story-based murder mystery set in a lonely way station located on Earth's satellite would be killer. Explore a once high tech, but now largely outdated space station, leap to ridiculous heights thanks to the moon's low gravity, and brave the extremes of the lunar atmosphere. What will you do when the station's life support systems begin to fail?

Those are my ideas for some great video game locals. What setting would you pick for a game if you had the power?