What Will Be Gaming's Next Hot Destination?

The movie business tends to run with trends. It's why in one year you can get two movies about vampires, or Houdini, or Sherlock Holmes. The video game business is no different.

Take Africa, for example. For years, the continent - and, let's not forget, the continent's inhabitants - had been largely ignored by an industry focused on aliens, fast cars and nazis.

Yet in a six month period over 2008-09, two major, high profile games (sorry, Afrika) weren't just set in Africa, they were really set in Africa. With real Africans and everything.

Those games were Resident Evil 5 and Far Cry 2. Sure, one did a better job of depicting the continent's complex political and racial situation than the other (hint: it was the game not made by Capcom), but at the end of the day, both titles had put Africa on the radar.

Crytek's games - the first Far Cry and Crysis - have done something similar, the German developers carving their own niche on sunny tropical beaches while other FPS teams continue to set games in mud under grey skies. The same goes for New York City, both Grand Theft Auto IV and Prototype replicating the Big Apple in their own special way.

It's like Yoda said. Always two, there are.

So what will gaming's next hot destination be? It can't be any of the above locations, they're old hat. It has to be somewhere not only new, and fresh, but interesting. Somewhere that, like Far Cry 2 and GTAIV, is as big a part of game's appeal as the mechanics and characters themselves.

Here are some of my ideas; feel free to chime in with your own in the comments section.

AUSTRALIA - Bias, perhaps, but hear me out; the world's smallest continent is also one of the most varied, with deserts, rainforests and everything in between. It's sparsely populated (so there's less work for developers), has great weather (blue skies are always fun) and a history of open roads and lawlessness (in case anyone is thinking of a Borderlands sequel/clone).

Best part? It's criminally under-represented in games, making any game set in Australia - regardless of the tone or time period - truly unique.

MONGOLIA - Know what was most interesting about Uncharted 2? The way it took you to Nepal, an area you'd probably never been in a game before. Well, Mongolia is kind of like Nepal, only instead of snow, you could have plains, and yurts, and horses, and throat singing.

ICELAND - Know what's weird about Iceland? There's no trees. Well, there are some trees, but not like there is anywhere else that's not a desert. And there's your appeal; it's like a desert, only instead of sand, there's grass, and fishing villages, and - timeline dependant - vikings.

KOREA - Korea stands poised this decade to be like Japan was in the '80s; a fascinating, vibrant Asian powerhouse. But just like the war that shares the nation's name, developers seem to have forgotten Korea even exists, with any and all Asian settings focused on China and Japan. Something set in present-day Seoul would be a nice touch.

Note I'm talking locations only, not themes. And by themes I mean "World War Two", or "Zombies". We'll get to those later in the week!


Comments

    We've got lots of sand, lots and lots.

    I think Spec-Ops: The Line is taking an interesting approach setting the game in Dubai

    I would buy a GTA Melbourne any day of the week.

      A Mad Max game would be cool.

    Anyone remember those sand storms a few months ago, I’m waiting for someone to take that version of Australia and turn it into a game, Forget Afghanistan and Pripyat, the streets of Sydney is where the action is.

    I think were seeing a trend towards Tundra environments atm, MW2 and BC2 both featured them as did Uncharted 2 i believe (dont quote me on that)

    A game set around the first fleet would be ok - guess it would be a resource mgt sim

    We need more yurt based games.

    We had Sydney back on the original Xbox with Project Gotham Racing didn't we? I used to love ripping around the rocks, would love to have a prototype/GTA title set in Sydney, or a decent racer.

    Another reason why i loved Far Cry 2 so much was the African setting reminding me of Australia. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you're driving through an outback farm, grasslands or a tropical savanna in the NT on your way to complete a mission - awesome!

    meh, I love Australia don't get me wrong...

    but to make a truly deep game immersing the gamer into the history and culture of a selected location, Australia would probably be the hardest continent to pull it off in.

    Its too new a country and only just finding its footing in establishing its own culture.

    And possibly for any theme you can think, there is another location better suited to set the game in...unless of course your theme is "Good Weather"

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