Lately I’ve been thinking about how some of my favourite games are those that make you feel like you’re really a member of the community in which they take place.
Specifically I was thinking of Stardew Valley, which, to my mind, excels at engaging you with the day-to-day life of your town and its inhabitants. Other examples that come to mind are the Animal Crossing games, and Fantasy Life, a 3DS rpg that I’m extremely fond of, in spite of its many mechanical flaws (though that’s probably a discussion for a different topic entirely).
Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions of titles that accomplish this, creating a space that you, as the player, can really become a part of?
You may enjoy Rune Factory and Harvest Moon as both those games go for this effect. I think the series is now mainly on the 3DS but could be wrong, it’s been about a decade since I played either.
I felt this way with Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and also felt this way with the relationships I built with the characters in Pyre, though I don’t think this really is exactly what you mean.
This might be an odd answer, but Majula from Dark Souls II.
All the Souls games have a kind of home/hub area (Firelink in the others) where many of the friendly NPCs and merchants you meet throughout the game eventually end up, but something about Majula made it really feel like a kind of haven and community in that world. Physically, there are remnants of death hanging around (this is Dark Souls after all), but the music is incredibly calm and peaceful, and it’s on this rising cape overlooking a vast ocean, with waves crashing on cliffs way below. And the people there all seem strangely… content, maybe? They’re all kind of just, going about their business, and even though they never move it does feel like they’re living their lives in the time that you’re away.
Also, there’s a cute talking cat who likes how you smell and is also apparently extremely ancient and powerful.
I liked returning to the Citadel between missions in Mass Effect (especially 2, I think?), talking to the shopkeepers and just generally hanging around. I should probably play the Citadel DLC for ME3 at some point.