Settings and/or Premises You Feel Aren't Used Enough in Games


#1

One of the things that I try to read up on first whenever I hear about a new game is the setting. For example, I was fairly intrigued about Prey (2017) when I learned that it was set in an alternate timeline where certain events in the Cold War unfolded differently. Sadly for me, that concept ended up being more-or-less just an aesthetic choice. Then of course you have games like the Elder Scrolls, where there are thousands of years of history preceding the events of the actual games. Then there is the Endless universe, where magic and technology are indistinguishable at different stages of history in the setting. However, some things have been overdone. Post-apocalypse, generic fantasy, and futuristic dystopia are some examples, to name a few.

What would you like to see more of in games? Is there something that you think could be interesting for the premise of a game that has not yet been done? This isn’t just restricted to fictional/fantastical settings. We have been seeing more games (almost exclusively indie) that are situated around modern experiences and social issues. Heck, if Train Simulator or My Summer Car are the types of games you want to see more of, then talk about it here.


#2

Real world space flight.

Actual multi stage rockets. Modular weightless space stations.

I don’t want Prey I want the international space station.


#3

RPGs with contemporary settings don’t get nearly enough love as they should. Persona, TWEWY and Earthbound are the only three that immediately come to mind, and I can’t even think of a single Western example from recent memory.


#4

I remember when the GoI dev linked Detention, I was intrigued because I pretty much never see games (with English-language versions) that are set in Taiwan. That is probably the case for many, many real-world places. (Unfortunately, Detention turned out to be a horror game, which is very much not my thing.)

On the fantastical-premise side, though, I don’t think I have a particular yearning for a specific setting as long as it is done with great thought and care. I would love to see a very rigorously conlanged game play with language as part of the social setting, but I would have… uh… extremely high standards for that, probably. As in “I side-eye the use of conlang in GoT, please don’t bring that up” standards.

(Text games have already played with this sometimes, mostly in a more whimsical way – I loved “The Gostak”, which wasn’t so much about conlanging as it was about English grammar and morphology, and the common vocabularies of “second-wave” parser games.)


#5

I don’t know if I agree that settings are overdone, I would argue that “what you do” in those settings are, in terms of genre/mechanics and story.

But more or less going with your idea, I would love to see more games where the settings are actual worlds rather than a “generic” aesthetic/set dressing.Games benefit more of showing rather than straight up telling.
Let the players wonder about and explore and interpret the world rather than “Our game is set in a time where X happened” and barely or none of that be relevant to the game overall.

With all that said, I would like to see games with more “openly mature” settings. I would love to see game equivalents of something like Nicolas Winding Refn “Pusher” film Trilogy just as an example (no need to be dark and depressing like those, just used it here since I’ve finally watched those quite recently :grimacing: ).

Almost impossible to put it out nowadays but, one can dream videogames will grow up at some point right? :upside_down_face:


#6

I haven’t played it, but I reckon The Secret World qualifies as a recent Western example.


#7

I second that. The Secret World has one of the best settings ever for a modern RPG.


#8

Does anyone remember Darkest of Days? It was a pretty bad game from back in 2009 or so, but the premise involved time traveling to different historical conflicts and affecting the outcomes while capturing/protecting key figures to alter the future. I thought the premise was cool and had a lot of potential to be a sort of “greatest hits” compilation of battles through the ages.

I’d like to see an ambitious project with a similar premise tackled by a big developer. I think it would be kind of refreshing to have a campaign bounce around and keep you on your toes by constantly introducing new combat formations and historical weaponry.


#9

Until recently there were no new pirate-themed games and now 2 have been announced. Sea and sea travel or ship themed games are very few in general I think.


#10

I would like to see more Magical Girl games.

…I was going to say more, but I can’t think of much else to say right now, so that’s it for now.


#11

Yes I want magical girl games! When Dragonball FighterZ was first shown, I was thinking wouldn’t it be cool to have a magical girl game with the same level of polish? Not necessarily a fighting game, but maybe an action RPG with flashy magic and cool shit. I’d love it.


#12

I remember thinking when Faith and a .45 was announced that the great depression was a great setting that we haven’t seen explored yet. Then Faith and a .45 got canceled, so we still haven’t seen it explored.

If Grand Theft Auto wants to return to New York City/Liberty City for a 7th time it has to be of a different era. There was a time when Times Square was not a place that you would want to walk at night. There were a lot more street level crimes in 70s New York than there is today. In the Pre AIDS epidemic era there was more needle based drug use and prostitution for example. That’s the era I want to see them try to take on. Of course, with legal disputes over royalties currently running through the courts, I don’t think any GTA projects are currently in development outside of more GTAV Online content.

Also there aren’t enough games set in Canada. I think I can count them all on one hand (not including sports games or racing games that have a single level or sporting arena); Scott Pilgrim, Until Dawn, Never Alone and The Long Dark.


#13

The magical girl setting/genre people mention is horribly underused. I’d love to see more stuff like that. There’s an indie tabletop game called Magical Burst that I really enjoyed playing a few years back (which wouldn’t translate well into a video game, to be honest) and it just felt refreshing to be in that kind of world and setting.

Personally I’m disappointed we don’t see more modern worlds that grew out of traditional DnD settings. You know, something with modern technology and aesthetics but there’s orcs and elves and dwarves and stuff. Shadowrun is a cool take on this, and luckily it’s gotten a few games out. But nobody else seems to want to touch it. Why not? It’s so fun to have magic and technology intertwined in a setting with modern cities and vehicles and weapons and stuff. Part of why I enjoyed City of Heroes (rip) was that it’s setting allowed for that kind of mix, and players leaned into it in lots of ways. Yeah the game was mostly superheroes, but the supernatural elements and non-human characters were in there too. Ditch the superhero angle and push the orcs and stuff and you could do a ton of cool stuff in almost any genre with this kind of setting.


#14

I really want more games set in the 90’s. That feeling of sort of booming, bulgy and pixelated technology just before the explosion of omnipresent internet access.


#15

Whatever Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is. Just put that in the game making machine, ya lazy devs.

I want surreal games, but not like stepping into a surrealistic painting. I want things to be just slightly off, to the point where I can barely put my finger on it. Like the game’s plot is taking me somewhere my character doesn’t want to go, like there are forces in the game world that have been at work and I’m just in their way.


#16

I like this premise a lot! In general, games that aren’t quite what the player or the protagonist expected (because maybe the world itself isn’t quite what anyone thought it was, especially if they expected the game’s world to be like the real world) without outright being mocking* to the player/protagonist are usually good.

* “Mocking” as in the giving the distinct impression the developer looks down on the conventions/audience of whatever genre they’re working with, to be clear, not as in a game that’ll challenge you to think about yourself without holding your hand.


#17

I would love if more games like Night in the Woods come out that capture the bleakness that is bland reality. Some games try to be “real” and end up being “gritty” instead, putting crime and corruption at the forefront instead of the harsh reality that comes from worrying about bills and if you can keep your house. Give me some of that small town drama, like your friends low key thinking you’re an asshole but you’re still friends because it’s a small town.

My ideal premise would be pretty much just like NITW but the creepy shit that happens later doesn’t even start unless you actually stumble across it. Like a farm simulator or RPG like Stardew Valley and the real story doesn’t happen until you somehow come across a time or spooky NPC and the game just snowballs from there.


#18

Cart Life and Papers Please handle this kind of theme excellently imo


#19

There’s not enough good superhero games. Sure, there was Infamous and Prototype a while back, and there’s the occasional movie licensed game, but most of those aren’t good, don’t do much with the settings, and there hasn’t been many for a while. Personally I’m amazed there hasn’t been a custom-character open world RPG XMen game yet.


#20

FFXV sort of struck a few notes along the idea of a very contemporary feeling setting mashed with a fantasy world, but it ended up being rather jarring with dudes in plate armor wielding assault rifles and giant mythical beasts wandering near gas stations.