Video games have always prided themselves on whisking players away to exotic lands. Online adventures are always that much more exciting when they take place in an alien setting full of new sights, sounds, and challenges that a person’s everyday surrounds cannot provide.
Since the rise of online and interconnected gameplay, the scope has widened even further for games developers who wish to whisk their players off to the other side of the planet, or even blast them off into the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Here we detail some of the most fun and exotic settings that online games developers and providers put out there, giving gamers have more new worlds to explore than ever before.
Some of the settings that games developers just cannot resist taking advantage of are those that once belonged to ancient civilizations of the past, many of which are now resigned to the history books and museum exhibits. These settings often have mystique and wonder attached to them, transporting players to familiar yet fantasy worlds.
The trend really got underway with the Tomb Raider games, which set themselves in Aztec temples, Inca Cities, and Ancient Egyptian pyramids. These games were then followed up by others like Shadow Hearts: From the New World and Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire, which both drew inspiration from similar settings.
As well as RPG and vast open world games drawing from ancient civilizations, there are lots of mobile-friendly puzzlers and reel spinners that will have people harnessing their inner Aztec explorer or adventurer. Other ancient civilizations that also get a huge amount of play in the online gaming world include the Vikings, Atlantis, and various ancient Chinese and Japanese dynasties.
While settings from planet Earth tend to be the norm in major gaming titles, there are plenty of developers who are more than willing to blast off into outer space. The beauty of such games is that developers are open to trying new things, such as bending the laws of physics or completely inventing their own. There’s also the possibility of dreaming up aliens and creatures that just would not be plausible in a real-world setting.
Games that have given something to this unique genre include classic titles like Halo and the entire Mass Effect series. There are also some beautiful new games that put a novel spin on the intergalactic setting, including Outer Wilds, which boasts its very own detailed solar system, EVE Online, which has perhaps the most expansive game map ever created, and Surviving Mars, which allows people to channel their inner Elon Musk and imagine what it would be like to colonize a planet as inhospitable and hostile as the red planet, Mars.
Most games take place on solid ground with an occasional bit of flying or jumping thrown in for good measure. Games developers tend to shy away from using marine or sub-aquatic settings as they present just as many, if not more, challenges than a game set in space. That has not stopped a plucky few from trying, though. Some of the most revered aquatically themed games ever made include Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive, which allows players to either go hunting for fish or to leave innocent sea creatures alone and just explore their beautiful habitat instead. Then there is Barotrauma, which ramps up the tension by putting players in charge of a stricken submarine. Of course, it would be wrong to pen a section about ocean bound games without mentioning the game that started it all, Ecco the Dolphin, whose tricky yet rewarding gameplay mechanics still hold up to this day.