Locations are the lifeblood of most video games. An atmospheric locale or detailed area can provide as much contextual story as character or narrative, and can even bring life to genres you normally wouldn’t consider in terms of place or environment. Many developers, when choosing an apt location for their game, will embrace the ambience of the setting, but must also take into account the type of gameplay that will have players exploring or interacting with their expertly made stages.
Far Cry 2, which is a first-person shooter set in a fictionalized version of Central Africa, favors realism over glamorization in order to bolster the game’s immersive qualities. Dense jungles and arid deserts must be traversed with caution, as the player encounters uncertain terrain and militant groups; they may even contract malaria if they’re not careful. Fire can also spread realistically; it reacts in a violent manner towards dry grass and shrubs, but will have difficulty taking root in the wetness of the rainforest. Far Cry 2‘s setting is focused on creating a realistic atmosphere of danger, which forces the player to act accordingly. Survival is of the utmost importance in the savannah, and so gameplay systems are built around this. Taking cover while in combat can prevent injury, but medical treatments are also available, such as medicinal vaccines and on-the-fly bandaging, showing a meshing of the game’s harsh environment with mechanical design.
Other, more niche, titles may use locations just as adequately, while having an entirely different effect. For example, the GameArt-developed bitcoin slot game African Sunset utilizes smart design decisions for its locale of choice, without detracting from its streamlined gaming experience as the source here on operator Vegas Casino shows. Images, sounds and icons of well-known African creatures, such as giraffes and zebras, create an atmosphere of gentle grace and beauty, while the brown and orange color palette brings about the hot and somewhat tropical nature of the savannah. These touches not only bring life to a game within a genre not usually considered for its mood, but also enhance its gameplay, as the sounds of African animals make winning big all the more satisfying.
This, therefore, shows that video game developers also utilize place in an effort to meet the needs of their audience. A further example of this would be in Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot series, as bright and colorful locales in lush jungles, medieval castles and prehistoric swamps prevent level designs from becoming too stagnant. In-game items, such as collectibles and varied enemy types, make interesting sound effects when picked up or killed, respectively, encouraging players to complete and explore levels to their fullest.
Whether locations are sprawling, linear, dense or simply complementary, they should always play a part in enhancing the title’s gameplay. No game should be devoid of an interesting locale and, when done correctly, a setting can be one of the most memorable parts of any gaming experience. Even if it’s just the simple sound of a bandicoot falling to his death into a pit of ravenous jungle mice, it will no doubt be worth it.