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#1 Edited by deactivated-582d227526464 (835 posts) -

I see a lot of "bleh not X themed game again!!" and "yay x themed game!" comments out there. The internet has divergent opinions, who would've thunk it. Lots of people greatly prefer sci-fi stuff. I'm the exact opposite, I'm 100% more interested in a game if it has a Gothic Victorian/medieval bent to it. I prefer my sci fi to take more of a complementary role. Like, I love a good cyberpunk setting, but only if that sweet sweet noir is front and center.

What about you, GIANTBOMBERS?! What are your favorite themes/styles?

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#2 Edited by liquiddragon (3381 posts) -

I really tried to mix it up game to game so I don't get sick of things too much but I really dig Japanese Europe. Playing Lightning Returns atm and that's the one thing I'm definitely liking right now about it.

Valkyria Chronicle is a game I love that kinda has that too. Not games but Miyazaki films have that all over.

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#3 Posted by zombievac (492 posts) -

Setting/theme? Why, that would be "Space/Disembowelment"

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#4 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

I don't know if it's prevalent enough to be considered a true theme, but I like the aesthetic and tone of things influenced by Berserk

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#5 Posted by Fallen189 (5453 posts) -

Blade Runner-esque

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#6 Edited by captainjudaism (174 posts) -

My favorite theme has to be the mix of magic and technology type stuff. Shadowrun with it's Magic and high tech and Grim Dawn with its magic and early fire arm type stuff are my jam.

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#7 Posted by Blackout62 (2191 posts) -
@claybrez said:

I see a lot of "bleh not X themed game again!!" and "yay x themed game!" comments out there. The internet has divergent opinions, who would've thunk it. Lots of people greatly prefer sci-fi stuff. I'm the exact opposite, I'm 100% more interested in a game if it has a Gothic Victorian/medieval bent to it. I prefer my sci fi to take more of a complementary role. Like, I love a good cyberpunk setting, but only if that sweet sweet noir is front and center.

What about you, GIANTBOMBERS?! What are your favorite themes/styles?

Like Castle of Otranto medieval Gothic? Though I guess Bluebeard and The Robber Bridegroom are the best precursors to the Gothic genre. Frankly, I'm more fond of the late Victorian Gothic works that take more influence from Doctor Faustus than Shakespeare, you're Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dracula is still great though.

Is it crazy that The Division is exactly the theme I've wanted in so many games? If only The Division was better.

Ubisoft is my aesthetic.

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#8 Edited by planetfunksquad (1545 posts) -

Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk in all things.

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#9 Posted by Nightriff (7196 posts) -

High school and inside the tv

Weird north west USA town with supernatural elements

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#10 Posted by fisk0 (6901 posts) -

Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk in all things.

Yup. Though I wouldn't mind a little more varied takes on what cyberpunk could be, rather than just retreading the Blade Runner ground that quite a few games have (I do love that too, though). Watch_Dogs initially seemed like it would try to explore that, but I guess it didn't do that particularly successfully.

I really love things set in Cold War era Germany too, especially the divided Berlin, but not a whole lot of games have done that recently. I'd be way into an Assassin's Creed kind of thing set there during the 70's or 80's.

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#11 Edited by towolie (122 posts) -

do we count "completly mental" as a setting/genre?to explain i can only really give the 2 examples that pop in my head. oblivion the shimmering isle and psychonauts. ( everyone should watch a let's play or something! while playing the game is fun the controlls didn't age very well. )

the further removed from "100% realistic world" the happier i am. ubisoft i am still waiting for an assasins creed game in a fully fictional setting! give me a world to explore that is not already explorable in real life!

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#12 Posted by AdequatelyPrepared (2522 posts) -

-Cyberpunk.
-If you are a 3rd person shooter set in urban environments or a stealth game, you better have a nightclub level.
-Anything that goes well with a synth wave OST

High school and inside the tv

Weird north west USA town with supernatural elements

Man do I have the games for you.

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#13 Posted by ToxicFruit (1922 posts) -

I really like fantasy. Any fantasy setting will do but i just really love Fantasy ass fantasy.

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#14 Posted by hans_maulwurf (641 posts) -

pretty much any real world based (post)modern or historical setting, preferably without fantasy or sci-fi elements mixed in

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#15 Posted by deactivated-582d227526464 (835 posts) -

@claybrez said:

I see a lot of "bleh not X themed game again!!" and "yay x themed game!" comments out there. The internet has divergent opinions, who would've thunk it. Lots of people greatly prefer sci-fi stuff. I'm the exact opposite, I'm 100% more interested in a game if it has a Gothic Victorian/medieval bent to it. I prefer my sci fi to take more of a complementary role. Like, I love a good cyberpunk setting, but only if that sweet sweet noir is front and center.

What about you, GIANTBOMBERS?! What are your favorite themes/styles?

Like Castle of Otranto medieval Gothic? Though I guess Bluebeard and The Robber Bridegroom are the best precursors to the Gothic genre. Frankly, I'm more fond of the late Victorian Gothic works that take more influence from Doctor Faustus than Shakespeare, you're Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dracula is still great though.

Is it crazy that The Division is exactly the theme I've wanted in so many games? If only The Division was better.

Ubisoft is my aesthetic.

I probably should've said Victorian/gothic/medieval. Simply put, I like anything that attempts to capture the intricate architecture and attire of a world before phones and highways. The stuff I tend to like has more of a European bent to it, but I'd be equally jazzed to play a game that explores older times in the east. I feel as though games include samurais and ninjas more than they explore a particular era in asia, which is a bummer. I'd like to see a fully realized game in a samurai champloo type setting.

I really really like fantasy stuff too, but I don't love the most generic forms of it. I like the more grounded, fleshed out kinds of fantasy, like the Witcher.

I'm also fan of things that lean more towards the abstract than a definite genre. I don't love the current trend of games being trippy or a "OMG MINDF***" for its own sake, but even still I can really come to appreciate that stuff if it stirs an actual response in me. If Lynchian/Cronenbergian can be used to describe something I'd probably like it. Stuff like Kentucky Route Zero, which binds a lot of different themes together, can be really fun.

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#16 Edited by Giantstalker (2401 posts) -

My pick is "modern" warfare, anything after 1960. I consider the 1980s to be the sweet spot for that kind of setting.

Something about early digital weaponry and technology is just really interesting for conflict. It allows a certain ability to be precise in battle, which is really attractive, but without the kind of hand-of-God pinpoint accuracy which changes things dramatically. There's still a firm place for classic tactics and tools which reach back to the First World War, even earlier.

I guess I should just say mid-to-late Cold War, political intrigue & maneuvering is sorta neat too I guess

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#17 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4407 posts) -

Flying cars and hoverboards. Wipeout / Policenauts / Bladerunner / Final Fantasy 8

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#18 Posted by Stonyman65 (3808 posts) -
  • Near-future Cyperpunk, specifically in a dystopian environment (Deus Ex, Mirror's Edge, Blade Runner, etc..)
  • 80's-90's gritty crime (everything Rockstar has ever done)
  • "Modern" realistic military from Word War 2 up until the early 2000's (Delta Force series, Ghost Recon, the old Rainbow Six games, Call of Duty until MW3)
  • Western-themed games (I didn't know I wanted this until Red Dead Redemption)
  • Twin Peaks-style small US (preferably the Pacific North West) town with weird shit going on (Alan Wake, Deadly Premonition, Life Is Strange, Silent Hill)
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#19 Posted by Dixavd (2901 posts) -

Beaches

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#20 Posted by TobbRobb (6583 posts) -

Setting is incredibly important. I generally dislike most sci-fi settings or too realistic settings (modern military, middle east, big cities) in general. As far as somewhat grounded settings goes, I like the Mafia style gangsters, westerns, victorian, cold war and Japanese stuff. Making any of those more of a caricature of the setting than the actual thing is only a plus for me. Anything really colorful and or stylish will catch my attention too, like Prince of Persia 08, Rayman Legends, Okami, Journey etc.

I put setting fairly highly on the things I consider when looking at new games, but I'll override setting for gameplay I'm very interested in or just raw craftsmanship. I generally don't give a shit about horror or sci-fi, but the first Alien movie and Dead Space are both fantastic. And Vanquish has the setting and artstyle of hot garbage, but it's a freaking blast to play.

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#21 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

Historical (most anything pre-20th century). Mythological is fun too.

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#22 Edited by Blackout62 (2191 posts) -
@giantstalker said:

My pick is "modern" warfare, anything after 1960. I consider the 1980s to be the sweet spot for that kind of setting.

Something about early digital weaponry and technology is just really interesting for conflict. It allows a certain ability to be precise in battle, which is really attractive, but without the kind of hand-of-God pinpoint accuracy which changes things dramatically. There's still a firm place for classic tactics and tools which reach back to the First World War, even earlier.

I guess I should just say mid-to-late Cold War, political intrigue & maneuvering is sorta neat too I guess

I'm going to hazard a guess and say you're the kind of person that appreciates the A-10 Warthog. You should look at ShackTac. They're an amazingly hardcore group of Arma players with what I think is a similar appreciation for that late Cold War time of combat.

@claybrez said:

I probably should've said Victorian/gothic/medieval. Simply put, I like anything that attempts to capture the intricate architecture and attire of a world before phones and highways. The stuff I tend to like has more of a European bent to it, but I'd be equally jazzed to play a game that explores older times in the east. I feel as though games include samurais and ninjas more than they explore a particular era in asia, which is a bummer. I'd like to see a fully realized game in a samurai champloo type setting.

Yeah, sorry. I'm a stickler about proper understanding about the Gothic genre. And I could just keep going right here because nothing written in the Middle Ages or even Renaissance was ever actually Gothic, it was all written by 19th century authors with fantastical delusions about medieval Italy, then Asia, then using science to achieve things thought to be the realm of magic, and then queer (all definitions of the word) behavior going on in Victoria's England chronologically in that order. But I won't.

I'm also fan of things that lean more towards the abstract than a definite genre. I don't love the current trend of games being trippy or a "OMG MINDF***" for its own sake, but even still I can really come to appreciate that stuff if it stirs an actual response in me. If Lynchian/Cronenbergian can be used to describe something I'd probably like it. Stuff like Kentucky Route Zero, which binds a lot of different themes together, can be really fun.

Oh man, it wasn't your thread on the influences of Kentucky Route Zero I vented in?

No? Phew.

Alright then, here's my award nominated post on the influences of KRZ. TL;DR: Bad news, you don't know what influenced Kentucky Route Zero. I don't know all the brilliant stuff that influenced it. Also you never escaped the broader Gothic genre.

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#23 Edited by planetfunksquad (1545 posts) -

@fisk0: yeah, I enjoy the Blade Runner influences in video games a lot, but I do wish developers would try their own thing instead of cribbing from existing literature. At the very least they could widen the group of literature they're pulling from. Where's my game based on Vurt god damn it?

But yeah, I'll still take a cyberpunk game over literally any other type of game. I'm insanely exited to see what Cyberpunk 2077 turns out to be.

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#24 Posted by FacelessVixen (2610 posts) -

Cyberpunk is pretty rad. Anyone remember E. Y. E.: Divine Cybermancy?

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#25 Edited by MalibuProfen (129 posts) -

I guess I could come up with three quick ones:

  • Film noiry and Aztecy Land of the Dead weird path-to-afterlife jazz-fest
  • Spies / Cold War era
  • 90s (anything)
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#26 Edited by deactivated-582d227526464 (835 posts) -

@blackout62 said:
@giantstalker said:

My pick is "modern" warfare, anything after 1960. I consider the 1980s to be the sweet spot for that kind of setting.

Something about early digital weaponry and technology is just really interesting for conflict. It allows a certain ability to be precise in battle, which is really attractive, but without the kind of hand-of-God pinpoint accuracy which changes things dramatically. There's still a firm place for classic tactics and tools which reach back to the First World War, even earlier.

I guess I should just say mid-to-late Cold War, political intrigue & maneuvering is sorta neat too I guess

I'm going to hazard a guess and say you're the kind of person that appreciates the A-10 Warthog. You should look at ShackTac. They're an amazingly hardcore group of Arma players with what I think is a similar appreciation for that late Cold War time of combat.

@claybrez said:

I probably should've said Victorian/gothic/medieval. Simply put, I like anything that attempts to capture the intricate architecture and attire of a world before phones and highways. The stuff I tend to like has more of a European bent to it, but I'd be equally jazzed to play a game that explores older times in the east. I feel as though games include samurais and ninjas more than they explore a particular era in asia, which is a bummer. I'd like to see a fully realized game in a samurai champloo type setting.

Yeah, sorry. I'm a stickler about proper understanding about the Gothic genre. And I could just keep going right here because nothing written in the Middle Ages or even Renaissance was ever actually Gothic, it was all written by 19th century authors with fantastical delusions about medieval Italy, then Asia, then using science to achieve things thought to be the realm of magic, and then queer (all definitions of the word) behavior going on in Victoria's England chronologically in that order. But I won't.

I'm also fan of things that lean more towards the abstract than a definite genre. I don't love the current trend of games being trippy or a "OMG MINDF***" for its own sake, but even still I can really come to appreciate that stuff if it stirs an actual response in me. If Lynchian/Cronenbergian can be used to describe something I'd probably like it. Stuff like Kentucky Route Zero, which binds a lot of different themes together, can be really fun.

Oh man, it wasn't your thread on the influences of Kentucky Route Zero I vented in?

No? Phew.

Alright then, here's my award nominated post on the influences of KRZ. TL;DR: Bad news, you don't know what influenced Kentucky Route Zero. I don't know all the brilliant stuff that influenced it. Also you never escaped the broader Gothic genre.

I don't think Lynch and Cronenberg influenced KRZ. I realize it sounds like I think that in that post but I was just trying to say in general I like experimental things. Not saying I actually know what inspired KRZ, you know more literary things than me so you clearly have a better handle on that (since well, KRZ is just as much a literary work as it is a game). When I said gothic though, I meant it in the most layman way possible.

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#27 Posted by BeachThunder (15140 posts) -

I'm much more likely to be interested in a game if it's sci-fi.

And the opposite for medieval fantasy games - it takes a lot for me to be interested in a medieval fantasy game, which is a huge shame, since there are just so many that fall into that template...

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#28 Edited by thomasnash (1106 posts) -

@blackout62: There's a built in element of confusion though, because Gothic architecture is a medieval thing, so if you're talking about the look and feel of a setting that makes just as much sense as a thing to like as the genre trappings of gothic literature.

As for my favourite setting, it's hard to say. My favourite film genres/settings don't really lend themselves that well to games, and my favourite games have settings that I enjoy to some extent for their uniqueness - to reduce that down to a costume would be difficult, and would sort of go counter to the enjoyment I have of it.

So I have a huge amount of love for the setting of Grim Fandango, but I can't think of any other game I'd want to put in that setting, or even necessarily an Aztec themed setting - a huge amount of what I like about it is the interaction of that games spiritual themes, and the way it draws sensible and logical lines between all of the disparate elements that go into the whole vibe of that game.

I really like the environment of journey, which is beautiful, and the feeling of loneliness that it capitalises on with its mechanics. But a huge part of that is also down to the game and how it controls and stuff. If you reduce it down to its setting then The Witness ought to hit the same buttons - but for me it doesn't at all.

In the end I play games from a variety of different settings, and I don't think its ever been a deciding factor in my enjoyment of the game. Or maybe it's more that my favourite settings are ones that are totally integral to the narrative, thematic and mechanical concerns of the game? A setting can be tied into those things in such a way as to really elevate a good game to a great one.

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#29 Edited by deactivated-582d227526464 (835 posts) -

That's a very good point. If a game can really lean into its setting with purpose, it's elevated beyond the stereotypical renditions of that same very setting. I don't like mech games, but I'd probably get way into a mech game that really explored the idea of what a world with mechs would be like.

Generally, I think if you can say "this couldn't work in any other setting", then that game used its setting better than most.

I guess more than anything it has to do with what you explore in your setting. If you're a fantasy game exploring ancient prophecies you'll most likely lose everyone who isn't super into that genre, but if you're a fantasy game exploring themes of persecution, empire, and family like The Witcher, you'll have a lot more appeal.

Good story definitely trumps all. But in the lack thereof, I'll have my weird preferences.

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#30 Edited by Rejizzle (1122 posts) -

Grounded historical settings. Half the reason why I love the Total War games is because they have some amazing attention to detail. Hell, I probably would've failed grade 10 history if not for Rome: Total War. Then again, the reason for my lackluster grades was largely due to playing too many games, so let's call that a zero-sum game...

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#31 Posted by GiantLizardKing (1144 posts) -

Fantasy, Outer space, post apocalypse/wasteland, historically based settings.

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#32 Edited by petethepanda (388 posts) -

Fantasy, I guess? Not necessarily D&D style fantasy, something more along the lines of... maybe Monkey Island or Undertale. Kind of a cartoonish and elevated take on what could otherwise be relatively "normal" settings.

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#33 Posted by ShadowSwordmaster (1119 posts) -

Scifi, Cyberpunk, Gothic, or Fantasy.

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#34 Posted by ajamafalous (13817 posts) -

Blade Runner-style cyberpunk. I also tend to like medieval fantasy and general sci-fi, but it's not like I like even a majority of the games in those settings because they are so all-encompassing at this point.

'Modern Military' (or military settings in general) and general cityscapes (something like GTA) are good ways for your game to start off on the wrong foot with me, fighting an uphill battle for my attention.

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#35 Posted by TrinketNPinker (23 posts) -

I love steam-punk. Sadly, there are not many such games around, and even less of them are good.

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#36 Posted by csl316 (14968 posts) -

Somehow, I still haven't gotten sick of Lovecraft stuff.

Other than that, just something with super nice 2D art like Braid/Spelunky, or creative games like Bioshock: Infinite.

And I'll always take space fantasy over modern military.

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#37 Posted by NTM (11826 posts) -

I'd say something futuristic sci-fi, but honestly, as long as it's well detailed, and has a story itself I will love it. Take for instance The Last of Us and Bioshock; I love those games settings. For me, it has to have some semblance of realism, or plausibility honestly.

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#38 Posted by Fredchuckdave (10824 posts) -

@csl316: You failed. The correct answer is Final Fantasy XII/Vagrant Story/Final Fantasy Tactics. Ivalice motherfuckers.

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#39 Edited by SgtSphynx (2619 posts) -

Space and cyberpunk are probably my two favorite settings. Give me cyberpunk noir and I am in heaven.

Oh, I also really like Lovecraftian horror as well.

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#40 Edited by Mikemcn (8592 posts) -

I love the napoleonic era, its usually a setting found in strategy games only, but other genres sometimes dabble in it. Total war napoleon is fantastic and i spent more time in the napoleonic war scenario in Civilization 3 than in the rest of the game. Mount and blade has a dlc addon that has multiplayer matches set in europe during the war and its fucking amazing, muskets and bayonet charges and bagpipers... Its just such a weird juxtaposition of polite european society and one of the most dramatic conflicts Europe had ever experienced up until the first World War. Something about that contrast really engages me.

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#41 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

Whatever Space Harrier takes place in. Some insanely weird science fantasy world of superheroes and dragons.

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#42 Posted by Slaps2 (638 posts) -

Space. I love Space. Space is so cool... We need more space games!

Space

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#43 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4435 posts) -

Tropical islands are always fun for me. I'm a sucker for the "paradise" theme.

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#44 Edited by gundogan (769 posts) -

'Old' (so everything has a mechanical feel to it) sci-fi.

Western front WW2 for my shooters (authentic or alternative past).

@mikemcn: you should play Fields of Glory if you haven't already. Old, but so good.

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#45 Edited by Bicycle_Repairman (681 posts) -

Fantasy or historical before the use of guns.

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#46 Posted by clagnaught (2122 posts) -

The setting I would like to see more of is games set in high school or college campuses, but that mainly narrows it down to the Persona series and I guess Danganronpa.

Another thing that popped into my head is real world events or characters with some sort of surreal twist on it. This doesn't fit into anything really specific, but I'm thinking about stuff like the Persona series, Catherine, Danganronpa, and Virtue's Last Reward (I also want to say Metal Gear Solid too, but that is kinda stretching things).

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#47 Edited by forkboy (1650 posts) -

I'm not sure about favourite game settings exactly, but I've always felt like the whole Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc/Warsaw Pact era was really underexploited as a background for games. There was an old computer adventure game set during the final months of the USSR called KGB (Conspiracy in some releases), it was tough as nails but the setting made for an utterly compelling John LeCarré style spy thriller. You play someone from military intelligence, ex-Spetsnaz, transferred to the KGB to investigate alleged corruption in the bureau from the inside. Only it turns into something much bigger (In a nutshell, there's a plot to assassinate Gorbachev. It plays smartly off relief events, particularly the August Coup by Communist Party hardliners).

Maybe I'm biased because I've always had a deep fascination with Russia, particularly post Revolution. But it just seems like a rich era of familiar enough through decades of popular culture & yet alien enough to do interesting & new things in. And far enough removed from the Cold War where you could use slightly more nuance than "USSR bad USA good". And it doesn't have to be a game romanticising the USSR for that matter, you could try the Hungarian Uprising, or the Solidarity movement in Poland.

As for themes, in other forms of fiction I've always been a fan of political thrillers but it seems like politics in general is ground games largely steer clear off except in the Crusader Kings style (which certainly can be a thriller of sorts but it's all based around feudalism as opposed to working for the nation state or an underground movement etc) or else quite shallow in the style of the Democracy series. There was Revolution about 15 years ago on the PC but I always felt that had better ideas than execution. I'd love to see more games in that ground. Politics in the grand sense, "the making of a common decision for a group of people" as opposed to purely electoral politics.

There was a game brought up on a Three Moves Ahead about a month ago, a war game set during the 2nd World War Eastern Front called STAVKA-OKH which sounds along the lines I mean but I've not played it yet. The gist is you are a high ranking officer in for either Germans or Soviets, but you're not Hitler or Stalin, you are given 3 plans, ostensibly produced by your subordinates, you pick one to recommend to the supreme commander, but they might not agree. Ultimately, you can win the game while losing the war, or lose while winning the war, you could be shot by Stalin because you become too big for your breeches for example. It's a brilliant concept. I like the idea of more games where you are not the ultimate authority. We're almost always the big superhero, the main attraction, but I'm kind of attracted by the people in the background of those people. Until relatively recently though something like that was never going to be commercially viable but perhaps in this era of indie development & more adventurous game design I'll get more stuff like this.

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#48 Posted by deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1 (1777 posts) -

Snow settings like Max Payne and the Division, Paradise setting like Crysis and Farcry 3, future utopia Mirrors edge and remember me.

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#49 Edited by RonGalaxy (4936 posts) -

I love any kind of environment that is really lush (overgrown vegetation, wide open green fields, etc).

Also, I never beat Dark Souls 2, but majula is one of my favorite game areas ever. Seaside bluffs are my jam.

When it comes to Sci Fi, I like it to be dirty and dank as opposed to utopian (though that does have its place when it warrants it).

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#50 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5924 posts) -

Love cyberpunk but it doesn't work with everything. When it does though, it's the best. Stuff like Deus Ex, Ghost in the Shell, etc. is entrancing.