GDC talk by Charles Cecil, the creator of Broken Sword, on the topic of writing games that employ history and historical themes. Cecil wisely noted that historical themes tap in to the audience's shared mythology to generate a compelling game and to serve as the foundation for accessible puzzles relevant to the storyline. And yet strict historical themes in MMOs, even when not diluted with more fantastic elements, can also betray immersion -- would it really make sense for a game about the American Revolution to allow female characters to become military generals?
Dark Age of Camelot certainly saw its share of success pairing real-world European legend and modern 20th-century fantasy, while its cousin Imperator, set in a futuristic Roman Empire, was canceled in favor of another Mythic game. World of Tanks thrives off historical realism, whereas the upcoming The Secret World is making an art-form of layering myth over mundane. Still, history-flavored games are very much in the minority, perhaps because they allow studios much less freedom of lore design. What do you think -- do historical (or pseudo-historical) MMOs work for you? Do you prefer pure escapism, or would you rather play in a "home-turf" setting whose real-world backstory is your own?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!