Post #10 for Blaugust 2019
Most game worlds aren’t very memorable as they only really exist to serve as plot devices or fluffy background. Which is fair, not all of them need to be some super-detailed world or would help the story or gameplay by adding more details to it.
Still there are a few that, intentionally or not, end up finding a special place in my heart. So much that if I could choose to live in another world I’d probably choose one of them.
These are some of mine:
This one is kind of cheating given that it is a whole province instead of a more specific location. But it is the game that got me hooked into the Elder Scrolls series and taught me what a game world could be.
Just by hearing the theme music from Morrowind already takes me back there, remembering that strange land with its sand storms, the weird creatures and fauna, the unique architecture and the people who are pretty much xenophobic and will take a lot to earn their respect.
Ok, that last part about the people doesn’t make it a very inviting place to move to. Still very few places grabbed my heart like Morrowind did or make me feel like revisiting it from time to time.
Everything in Morrowind feels like it matters in some way. It is a place where you can see how their religion and culture shaped the land and how a lot of it ended up resulting in the threat from the big bad guy you need to defeat. Plus completing that task doesn’t necessarily mean things will become better nor is it likely that your character will live long enough to see the full ramifications of that.
It was also the peak for storytelling and world-building for Bethesda. Sadly everything they did since them fell far short. Although I will be the first to admit that Morrowind’s mechanics were lacking, to put it mildly, and at least in that area they improved.
Ul’Dah – Final Fantasy XIV
Back in the 1.0 version of Final Fantasy XIV the first thing I did was give a try to all the different city states and starting scenes. The Limsa intro promised epic fantasy but I always got lost in the city itself.
Gridania’s intro was pretty funny (and made me fall in love with Yda) but the forest outside was even worse of a maze than Limsa to me.
Then there was Ul’Dah. Its intro promised high fantasy and a story that would hit right in the feels. The city felt easy to navigate and the only kind of setting that I am sucker for more than a snowy one is a desert one. Given all that Ul’Dah felt perfect for me. 🙂
Unfortunately the 1.0 version of Final Fantasy didn’t live up to its potential. While I had hope for the rebuilding of the game with “A Realm Reborn”, the beta for it didn’t feel like the game was for me anymore so I just left it altogether.
When I got back to Final Fantasy XIV, some months before the release of Stormblood, I had no doubt where I wanted to start: it would be Ul’Dah again. This is the city that will always feel like home to me in this game.
Yeah, Ul’dah has a lot of problems with the corrupt monetarist government, the Ala Migho immigrant crisis and the general culture of money being equal to power. But it is also a place where a person can raise from literal slavery to one of the most important people in the city, has a long and rich history and the coolest Grand Company (in my opinion) even if we always lose in the Frontlines. XD
For all that Ul’Dah will be always my favorite place in Final Fantasy XIV. 🙂
Kamurocho – Yakuza series
When I started playing the Yakuza games I didn’t expect to care about Kamurocho, the city where most of the games’ stories happen. I started with the series for the characters, the high quality drama and the fun gameplay. But now every time I start a new game in the series I am always curious to see how Kamurocho changed.
Just like Kiryu gets older and wiser as the series progresses so does Kamurocho changes. It got to a point where I can even tell the general location of certains places. Need to sell some stuff? I can point you to the Pawn Shop. Want to know what happened to that broken, abandoned building in the middle of town? I can tell you what happened there and what the place was before. That big shiny tower in the other part of town? I can tell how a whole game’s plot revolved around the land rights for that place and how it was one of the best stories I’ve seem.
It is now to a point where I don’t feel it is a real Yakuza game unless we can spend some time in Kamurocho. 🙂
Those are my top 3 locations in games that I am fond of. I could probably think of more (and probably would if asked about it any other day) but these are the ones that will always come first to my mind. 🙂