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WHS in Video Games

 
 
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Author Parsons
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 19 Mar 2018 01:11 
I am probably revealing a significant demographic disparity between myself and many of the active users of this site, but visiting real life locations within video games is a combination of my two favourite hobbies. A great travel memory of mine was visiting Venice shortly after playing Assassin's Creed II, set in Renaissance Italy, and recognising St Mark's Cathedral and the Doge's Palace from the game. As there are connections for WHS appearing in various film or book series, I thought it might be interesting to have a connection for WHS appearing within video games.

I would suggest only including examples of 'realistic' portrayals of WHS, in the sense that the locations are recognisable with some attempt at authentic portrayal. This excludes both examples of games naming unrepresentative locations after WHS (such as Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine being a generic cave level in Nioh) as well as fictionalised locations inspired by real places (like Unnamed Obviously-Kathmandu City in Uncharted 2). This leaves some degree of ambiguity, but seems better than a torrent of vaguely-European settings being listed as representing Rome, for example. I would also limit it to commercially released products, rather than free browser games or similar. Again, this leaves potential ambiguity. Basically, I am thinking of examples where the player can visit a reasonably accurate or representative depiction of a WHS, rather than just using it as a cursory background or something.

This category, unsurprisingly, is dominated by the Assassin's Creed franchise, which is the only game series I can think of that explicitly covets this form of 'virtual historical tourism'. If people think this is a worthwhile connection, I've come up with a list from things that I have played. I tried to mention specific individual elements of the WHS where possible. There are probably more from the realistic driving sim genre, at least.

JerusalemAssassin's Creed – Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque, Church of the Holy Sepulchre
AcreAssassin's Creed – Hospitaller Fortress
DamascusAssassin's Creed - Ummayad Mosque
FlorenceAssassin's Creed II – Duomo, Ponte Vecchio
VeniceAssassin's Creed II – St Mark's Cathedral, St Mark's Square
Vatican CityAssassin's Creed II – Sistine Chapel
San GimignanoAssassin's Creed II
RomeAssassin's Creed Brotherhood – Colosseum, Castel Santangelo
IstanbulAssassin's Creed Revelations – Haghia Sophia, Topkapi Palace
ParisAssassin's Creed Unity – Notre Dame Cathedral
VersaillesAssassin's Creed Unity
Routes of Santiago de CompostelaAssassin's Creed Unity – Tour St Jacques (with historical church still attached)
Palace of Westminster Assassin's Creed Syndicate – Parliament, Westminster Abbey
Tower of LondonAssassin's Creed Syndicate
Old HavanaAssassin's Creed IV – Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, Havana Cathedral
Itsukushima ShrineNioh
Islamic CairoSerious Sam 3 – Mosque of Ibn Tulun
MemphisSerious Sam 3 – Sphinx, Giza Pyramids
Assassin's Creed Origins – Sphinz, Giza, Bent Pyramid
Nubian MonumentsSerious Sam 3 – Abu Simbel, Philae
ThebesSerious Sam HD – Temple of Hatshepsut

Author elsslots
Admin
#2 | Posted: 19 Mar 2018 01:47 
Sure it is appreciated, Parsons! I will add the connection.
They do tend to cover a number of obvious WHS, don't they? Waiting for the Pile Dwellings to show up....

Author kintante
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 19 Mar 2018 02:28 
Assassin's Creed Origin has a discovery mode that was developed for schools. You can check it out on YouTube. It's an interactive tour of the pyramids back in the days, with background information. I would love to see that for places like the Foro Romano in Rome.

Author joelonroad
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 19 Mar 2018 17:47 
Assassin's Creed has long been one of my favourite game series, for exactly this reason!

There's also a lot of World Heritage sites showing up as Wonders in the Civilization series as well. Before I started collecting WH sites in earnest, I used to joke with my brother about visiting Wonders from Civ. I think I texted him the day I visited Borobudur to tell him I was now generating +5 faith per turn and had three free missionaries!

The Anno series also has a strong historical bent, and though specific historic sites don't really show up, you can definitely see influences of sites like Notre Dame, Amsterdam canals etc.

Author Zoe
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 20 Mar 2018 23:52 
In GTA IV you can go to, sort of, the Statue of Liberty ;) I suppose there are many other games that feature the statue in better and non-Starbucks form though.

Also I remember God of War 2 starts in Rhodes but I can't speak for accuracy of the citadel.

There is an adventure game called China: The Forbidden City.
https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/ps/924694-china-the-forbidden-city
The same developer also released a game about Versailles (sometimes referred to as Versailles 1685) and the Aztec Ruins (Aztec: The Curse in the Heart of the City of Gold).

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 21 Mar 2018 04:46 
Nice thread, always useful to have knowledge, especially when it is something I don't have much experince of myself.

I remember that Ben Pastor's review of the Tower of London mentions its depiction in Traitors Gate, not sure of the quality of the game but it seems to depict the Tower of London thoroughly.

Author Kbecq
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 21 Mar 2018 10:18 
In Deus Ex there is a level involving the Statue of Liberty & Wheelman is located in Barcelona with a.o. the Sagrada Familia.

Author Zoe
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 1 Sep 2020 09:50 
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Westminster
Paris, Banks of the Seine - Eiffel Tower
Prague
Doubtful: Hamburg, hard to say if that features any of the WHS but I strongly lean towards not

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Rio de Janeiro - Sugar Loaf

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 2 Sep 2020 12:46 
Zoe:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Westminster
Paris, Banks of the Seine - Eiffel Tower
Prague
Doubtful: Hamburg, hard to say if that features any of the WHS but I strongly lean towards not

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Rio de Janeiro - Sugar Loaf

They use all the obvious ones don't they? Waiting for one focused on the Struve Geodetic Arc!

Author Zoe
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 4 Sep 2020 09:17 
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Struve...oh wait...NOT ;) But this one was still kinda surprising:
Bamiyan Valley - Location name is wrong as far as I know but the taller Buddha statue is 100% correct in all detail. Sad we'll never get to see them.

Author Ralf
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 4 Sep 2020 11:50 
Painkiller (2004)
Venice, Hagia Sophia (surprisingly nice for a horror shooter)

Also, Venice (and the Great Wall) should have been in Tomb Raider 2, but I can't say anything about the quality. There should be a couple more in the series.
Venice was in Indiana Jones 3 (the Lucasart adventure), but it hardly resembled the real place. I think we shouldn't count the WHS that are just used as background material (like the Kremlin pictures in Tetris).
However, there are quite a lot of WHS in strategy games like Civilization/Age of Empires/Cäsar. If I have time, I make a list.
I'm kind of curious how the WHS sites look in the new Microsoft flight simulator.

Author mrayers
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 4 Sep 2020 14:01 
I haven't been much of a gamer for a long time, but I remember playing this puzzle/adventure game back in days of yore (the '90s).

Qin: Tomb of the Middle Kingdom

The game is set in mostly fictional undiscovered parts of the "Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor" Site, but I am fairly sure the terra-cotta wariors were in the game.

Author Zoe
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 4 Sep 2020 22:39 
Parson already stated:
I would suggest only including examples of 'realistic' portrayals of WHS, in the sense that the locations are recognisable with some attempt at authentic portrayal. This excludes both examples of games naming unrepresentative locations after WHS (such as Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine being a generic cave level in Nioh) as well as fictionalised locations inspired by real places (like Unnamed Obviously-Kathmandu City in Uncharted 2).

It's pretty much your own judgment, e.g. the Statue of Liberty pops up in lots of games for sure but being a background symbol isn't exactly worthy addition. Metal Gear Solid 4 has a level in Prague too but it's just random streets if I'm not mistaken, not to mention it takes place in the future so that kind of makes it a no-go anyway. So you actually have to be "around" the WHS and it's not a generic "similar" place, and just placing it in a Civiliation game wouldn't count either.

Author AT8
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 4 Oct 2020 09:42 | Edited by: AT8 
As an update to this topic:

Thebes - Assassin's Creed Origins (The Curse of the Pharaohs DLC) - Temple of Hatshepsut, Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Temple of Luxor
Acropolis - Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Olympia - Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Temple of Zeus, Temple of Hera
Delphi - Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Mycenae and Tiryns- Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Delos - Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Samos - Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Heraion of Samos
Temple of Apollo Epicurius - Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Statue of Liberty - Marvel's Spider-Man
It's true that there are lot of games depicting Statue of Liberty, but this one seems to be a pretty close representation of NYC.

Author Astraftis
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 6 Oct 2020 18:10 | Edited by: Astraftis 
Doesn't Prague make an appearance in Deus Ex? But I don't know any better. Or doesn't it count because it's in the future?

Anyway, this makes me remember that in Istanbul I had to endure travel companions who had played Assassin's Creed constantly reminding me how they had already "been" there in the game... :-P

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