History. Pretty long, isn’t it? There has to be a bucket load of historic events that could make for bitchin’ videogames! (F.Y.I. I have never used the term Bitchin’ up until this point.) From the juggernaut that is the Call of Duty franchise to Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed series, it isn’t as if the videogame world hasn’t attempted to translate historic events into lasting memories. But maybe the many talented developers out there could tackle something such as the events leading up to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Or, perhaps, something in more recent history, such as one of the civil wars in Libya or Syria. In any case, these are the top three events I would love to see transformed into a virtual work of art.
The Gunpowder Plot
I know the above picture is reference to the movie V for Vendetta, but if that was the box art for a game I would shout “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” Just imagine the possibilities when it comes to the The Gunpowder Plot! For those of you who aren’t up to scratch on your English history, the story goes something like this:
The Gunpowder Plot was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of English Catholics, led by Robert Catesby. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the state opening of England’s Parliament on 5th November 1605, killing King James I in the process. However, the authorities were alerted to the plot and the man given charge of the explosives, Guy Fawkes, was caught guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder in the House of Lords and subsequently arrested. The rest of the conspirators fled London, some making a last stand at Holbeche House in Staffordshire and winding up either captured or killed. The remaining 8 survivors were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
How Would It Work?
There are a variety of different ways that this game could be tackled. Imagine hopping back and forth between the conspirators, each of whom have unique skills which could be used for different scenarios the player would encounter. You could use a more stealthy character to steal gunpowder from a supply depot, for instance. When it comes down to the the conspirators’ last stand, the player will want to use a more strength or stamina orientated character to hold out for as long as possible.
Building up your resources before each mission would make things a great deal easier for the player instead of just ploughing through each mission with the hopes of finishing the game. This would offer the incentive to fully explore. As far as conversations with characters go, you could always use the old standby of multiple choice! Is a market trader charging an extortionate amount for an item you desperately need for your next mission? Give him both barrels with an intimidation option! If your moral compass is straight and true, you could always try sweet talking them into giving you a knockdown price! Whatever the scenario, conversation branches would add more depth to characters as you get to know your fellow conspirators and their motivations for committing High Treason.
All in all, I think this game would lend itself well to a whole multitude of genres! From Action to Strategy, the sky is the absolute limit! With so many important figures surrounding the plot, there are a smorgasbord of compelling stories that could be told, either through repeat playthroughs or by having the player jump from character to character throughout the game. The potential to be a miniature Michael Bay and blow things up doesn’t hurt either!
World War Two
This tumultuous period of history has been covered by quite a few titles, Call of Duty and Brothers in Arms to name a few (I’m still sat here waiting for a sequel to Hell’s Highway!). That said, with Modern Warfare being the words of the day in recent years, I think it’s high time we blew the dust off our history books and travelled back in time to World War two. In the mid 2000′s, every first person shooter seemed to be set in this time period. That’s because there are so many stories, myths and urban legends to draw upon for inspiration. From the D-Day Landings to the Battle of The Bulge, there’s a huge amount of storytelling potential within this era.
This next sentence may be a tad controversial, but here it goes; how about instead of playing as a soldier of the Allies, you played as a soldier of the Axis powers? Perhaps as a member of the German army?
How Would It Work?
We have to remember that not every soldier in the German army was a Nazi. A lot of them were simply fighting for their country, like any British or American soldier. Take a look at the plot to assassinate Hitler as a prime example of not everyone favouring the Nazi party. A great sketch by the comedy duo Mitchell and Webb sums it up pretty well!
As with The Gunpowder Plot, this could be tackled in a variety of different ways, but there is one particular avenue that sticks out for me. Assuming the role of a German soldier, you fight in different conflicts throughout the war until its conclusion in 1945 (Technically it ended in 1990 but that’s a different story for another day!). However, over the course of the war, you have to make moral decisions that change the very fabric of who you are as a person. Will you act out unethical orders to save your own skin? Or will you stand up and risk your life for good?
In my opinion, there would so many opportunities for standout emotional moments. If the game was very well-written and handled tastefully, I think it would have the potential to be up there with the likes of The Last of Us and Mass Effect.
Idly strolling the halls of the cinema where I work, I noticed a film poster for the upcoming film Pompeii. Now, as you can see from the picture, it was truly an event of epic proportions worthy of being transformed into a video game! In the year AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted with hundreds of thousands times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb, killing an estimated 16,000 people in the process. I know an event like this might lend itself better to a motion picture, but I do think there are a few things that could have it flourish in a video game environment.
How Would It Work?
I think the game would thrive either during or after the event in particular. Taking this and making it an MMO along the lines of Day Z or Rust would be the only way I could see it working. Imagine, after all the chaos and destruction, the player was left to fend for themselves in the smouldering remains of the city. You’d have the choice to either help fellow survivors or take everything they have, the former gaining you friends and allies in a tight situation and the latter making you feared throughout the ruins.
Scavenging for supplies and whatever passed for medicine in that day and age would force the players to truly think about how they approached the situation. Do they stick to the shadows? Or do they use muscle to obtain what they need? Perma-death is an absolute must with this sort of game as it forces the player to be selective in their acts and alliances.
Does anybody remember a game called ‘I am Alive‘? Well, before Ubisoft decided to swap developers, it was shaping up to be a game of the year candidate. Taking place after a huge natural disaster, the player assumes the role of character trying to survive by any means necessary. Pompeii could be what ‘I Am Alive’ failed to be, a great post-disaster survival game based on teamwork!
Those are the top three events I would like to see, but how about you guys? Maybe you want to find out how you’d fare as a dinosaur trying to survive extinction? Perhaps you’d prefer to explore the darker or more psychological aspects of the Vietnam War or Gulf War? Whatever your personal picks, be sure to let us know in the comments section below