Microhistory and shared universes in R* Games


#1

So I’ve always been a fan of microhistory in fictional universes; a series spanning a long time period focussing on a central cast or location and showing its progression through time.
Assassin’s Creed has the potential to explore this but shifts both period and location with each game.The only notable example is Monteriggioni in modern day in AC: Brotherhood.

Another good candidate for this are the Rockstar games. Grand Theft Auto has a vaguely shared universe between games, but a moment ago I realised they could do a lot more with this. Imagine Red Dead, LA Noire and GTA VI all taking place in roughly the same area and a shared universe where we see cities, events and places develop through the late 19th century, the 1940s and modern day? :slight_smile: Cities grow, asphalt roads appear, buildings are demolished or renovated, families grow and gain or loose influence, etc.

Whatcha think? ^^


#2

I love this concept, would be so cool for games to have shared universes that grow over time. Rockstar games could definitely do something like that, like if you find out Trevor is from a long line of unhinged outlaws from the red dead series or something.

Trying to think of some games that actually explored this is a bit hard actually. I know one that definitely does it to some extent is the Pokemon series. The second generation of games famously allowed you to go back to the areas of the original games, but it was set three years later. So, you ended up visiting all of these familiar locations and seeing which buildings had changed, how some NPCs had grown and developed. Later games also frequently have characters from previous games showing up and quite a few of them have actual growth such as new clothing styles, new occupations, and actually aging.

I think there are also some instances of this in the Elder Scrolls series, with large amounts of time inbetween each games setting and some returning characters or their offspring as well as revisited areas and countries that change throughout history.


#3

This is definitely something I want to see more of. Companies like R* are in the ideal situation to do it, yeah. I suppose an “MCU”-like deal in video games is something I find compelling and crossover (aside from “non-canon” games like Smash Bros and All Stars). I suppose the reasoning is that a serious cross over would be somewhat jarring since it requires a cohesive character design (something movies don’t have to worry about). But then again, that’s another reason why R* are in that optimal spot.


#4

If you haven’t already, you might want to check out the Yakuza games. They take place (mostly) within a specific section of city in Japan and over the course of many games you can see aspects change. Some people carry over from game to game. Construction happens. There’s even a prequel that takes place in the 80’s and it’s fascinating to play knowing what happens in later games at that street corner, at that shop.

Highly recommended.


#5

I remember when GTA IV was coming out and they said there weren’t going to be any characters from the GTA III games in it. That was a relief for me because it meant they had a clean slate to design from. What’s really added to the story of San Andreas by having a mute make a cameo?

When you are always bringing things with you from the past there is going to be baggage. How do you bring in new players if they know there are five games worth of lore to dig through?