By Kenya Barrett
Chances are, if you’re a gamer, you’ve probably “been” to more cities and countries than you think.
With technology on the rise, gaming companies have been able to produce video games that contain virtual worlds based on real-life locations. Here are 5 video game series that base their gaming worlds on actual real-life destinations!
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Series: Grand Theft Auto
Developed by: Rockstar Games, Inc.
This open-world sandbox-style game has become somewhat of a household name in the video gaming industry since its debut in 1997. The series’ namesake release introduced gamers to Liberty City, which is a fictionalized rendition of New York City. Since then, fans have witnessed Rockstar create solid replicas of Northern and Southern California, Las Vegas, and even Miami, Florida!
The latest addition to the pack, GTA 5, features a beautifully constructed version of Southern California, with elements of Nevada thrown into the mix. Some landmarks that gamers may recognize are Del Perro Pier (based on Santa Monica Pier), Galileo Observatory (Griffith Observatory), Big Creek Bridge (based on Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California), and Mount Chiliad (based in Mount San Jacinto)!
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Series: Final Fantasy
Developed by: Square, Square Enix
Final Fantasy is more than just a video-game series – it’s an entire Japanese fantasy-based franchise filled with media ranging from anime and manga to films and even novels! However, its video games have generated a cult following throughout the gaming community and are considered the most important parts of the franchise.
With 15 games in rotation, (XV being the current), many of the newer installments feature depictions of real-world locations. In Final Fantasy XV, the main character Locis can explore the intriguing city of Altissia, which is based on a combination of Vatican City and Venice. Gamers will spot the iconic water-filled streets and can even ride in gondolas to get around! Similarly, in Final Fantasy VII, players can waltz around the bright-lighted city of Cosmo Canyon (based on Las Vegas) or lounge poolside at Costa del Sol, an actual resort town in Spain. Other locations you can visit within the series include the eerie streets of Insomnia in Final Fantasy XV (based in Tokyo, Japan) and the bright blue waters of Spiro in Final Fantasy X and X-2 (based in the South Pacific, Thailand, and Japan)!
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Series: Assassin’s Creed
Developed by: Ubisoft
Another crowd favorite developed by Ubisoft is good ole’ Assassin’s Creed. This series stands tall as one of the most graphically pleasing games of all time! From its humble debut in 2007 to its latest installment, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the series consistently manages to incorporate various historical events and real-life locations into the gameplay.
While all of the installments show off their best renditions of destinations around the world, Assassins Creed: Black Flag and Assassin's Creed: Origins, display North Eastern Africa and the Caribbean better than any other video games on the market today. At the very beginning of AC: Black Flag, the main character washes ashore on a beautiful Caribbean-esk island after losing an intense ship battle with rival pirates over the sea. Players help navigate the main character through a lush jungle where they’ll spot everything from coconut trees to eagles and seagulls soaring in the skies.
Similarly, AC: Origins does a fantastic job of displaying the sandy desert towns of Egypt during the Ptolemaic era. While galloping on the ridable camels or horses, players will quickly appreciate the fine detail that is put into the beautiful rock formations and mountainous red sand landscape that surrounds the world! Other locations gamers may spot throughout the series include colonial New York (Assassin’s Creed: Rogue), Paris (Assassin’s Creed: Unity), and Renaissance Italy (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood).
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Series: Watch Dogs
Developed by: Ubisoft
Watch Dogs is a newer addition to the video-gaming community, with its first title being released in 2014. This open-world series follows the main character who is a hacker and vigilante of sorts that utilizes their skills to stop corrupt leaders and rival hackers from committing crimes. The world featured in Watch Dogs is based in Chicago, while Watch Dogs 2 is a fictionalized version of San Francisco. Gamers playing Watch Dogs can visit the popular Jay Pritzker Pavillion (named Bram Steffan Pavilion in-game), the Chase Tower (named the Vault Tower in-game), and the iconic Chicago Theatre (named the Ambrose in-game).
Similarly in Watch Dogs 2, the main character can drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, spot seafood shacks at Fisherman’s Wharf, and tour the notorious Alcatraz prison! The latest installment of the series, Watch Dogs: Legion, is set in a futuristic rendition of London. Here, gamers can stroll through the iconic Piccadilly Circus, check the time at Big Ben, and drive across the Tower Bridge!
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Developer: Interplay Productions/Bethesda
Last but certainly not least, we have the epic Fallout series. This series initially started as a collection of role-playing games, but later transformed into a plethora of action role-playing installments. What stands this series out from the rest of the list is that the locations featured in each game are post-apocalyptic versions of iconic cities today.
While the original Fallout, released in 1997, is based in a distorted version of Southern California, the latest installment (Fallout 76) depicts a wasteland dystopia based in West Virginia. Some real-world locations gamers can spot through the Fallout franchise include The West First Capitol Building and Greenbrier in Fallout 76, the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. (Fallout 3), and the Salem Witch Museum and Paul Revere Statue in Boston (Fallout 4).
Interested in visiting some of your favorite video-game worlds in real life? Check out our vacation packages!