For a part of the world with many interesting cultural elements, there are very few games based across the United Kingdom or based on elements of UK society. In the mainstream world of video games, you will often see the big developers choose various parts of the United States as a backdrop for an epic adventure style game. You rarely see similar games set across England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Exceptions to the rule
First things first, there is an exception to the lack of UK representation in the gaming industry. If you’re a casino gamer, you will see games based on many cultures and experiences. For example, there are several games and virtual machines based around the sights and sounds of Las Vegas. It is a place synonymous with gambling, so it’s easy to understand why developers would choose it as a theme.
However, the situation with UK cities is similar, as it is making a name for itself in the online casino industry, where slot games like Love from London, Hell’s Kitchen, and Ozzy Osbourne are well received on 888 Casino and other major brands. Around 17% of the UK population play casino games, so as a developer, it’s a market that many developers are seeking to conquer. Therefore, it makes sense to expect to see many more UK-based games being released in the future. It will certainly be interesting to see how the industry will develop the potential of UK representation, and whether other sectors, such as console gaming, follow suit.
There was a version of London used in an expansion pack for the first edition of the Grand Theft Auto series. GTA: London 1969 got some mixed reviews, but many highlighted the authentic sights and sounds. Could we see a future GTA game set in this area or somewhere else? Could you imagine an open-world game set around places like Manchester or Liverpool? The unique elements of these cities would make for an interesting backdrop for any virtual adventure.
Forza Horizon 4 is one of the most popular driving games of recent time. There was a fictional British setting that went down a treat with gamers. You could get in your favourite car and explore parts of Scotland or the Lake District. It certainly provided an interesting perspective of the UK to those who perhaps aren’t familiar.
What could help the UK get a bigger presence in games?
The gaming business across Britain is reportedly worth around an incredible 5.3 billion pounds, and it’s expected to grow. Should the industry’s worth increase as expected, pressure could build on developers to utilize the culture. But are there other ways to improve in this area? Perhaps it would also be worth putting on a conference or exhibition to rival E3. The gaming trade event gives a platform to all developers looking to show off their new creations. The only event in the UK that attempts to bring the gaming industry together is the Develop Conference. Should more people get behind this or even create their own, we might start to see more local grassroots developers move into the spotlight. That could eventually launch all the weird and wonderful aspects of UK culture at unsuspecting gamers across the world.