Why the Wild West is an underused in-game environment

Despite its larger-than-life characters and fantastic legends, there still aren’t many video games in the Old West. This must change.

The Old West era is one of the most turbulent and violent periods in American history, creating mythical lawyers and outlaws whose legends have far surpassed the reality of their history. life. This period produced popular culture icons like Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Geronimo, who are still well known and popular even today. This historic setting is still regularly exploited for Western films and TV shows with its larger-than-life characters and exaggerated legends. So that begs the question, with an era of history perfectly set to tell a fantastic story, why haven’t there been more western games?


Over the past decade, a mainstream series has dominated the Western video game landscape, the towering juggernaut that Rockstar Games developed. Red Dead Redemption franchise. However, in today’s massive video game world, there is more than enough room for more Western games. Every year dozens of new games take place in the fantasy and sci-fi worlds, flooding the market and making the competition fierce. By telling a new story and using the Western setting as a base, developers can capitalize on this tragically ignored setting and create a truly unique game.

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One of the main reasons why more western games should be made is the opportunity for developers to tell a unique story that fans have never known before. A western game set in the mid to late 19th century features a plethora of events and topics it could focus on. Whether it’s playing a bounty hunter stalking criminals, a submerged lawyer in a city full of criminals, or even a regular settler vying for a place free from corruption and greed only to find himself immersed in a hell without law. There are so many other stories that can be told in a Western setting, aside from the familiar outlaw legends that permeate both television and movies.

There haven’t been many games that tell the story of life on Mexican land or a perspective from any of the hundreds of Native American people who lived during that time. Even when these stories are presented in western games, they always take a back seat to a more Eurocentric story of westward expansion and life in the land. A game that focuses on the lives of other groups of people vying for a place in a fast-paced society could offer players a truly unique perspective. These stories are important, not only to the history of America as a whole, but to the groups of people who have been continually marginalized in the name of Manifest Destiny and American growth.

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Over the years, developers have already shown that there is room for more Western games other than Red Dead Redemption. Red Dead Revolver, a released Rockstar, Capcom developed a third-person shooter that began Rockstar’s foray into the Wild West that not only told the story of Red Harlow, a notorious gunman with a penchant for revenge, but featured a handful of other miscellaneous playable characters. These included the Native American Shadow Wolf and Mexican Revolutionary Javier Diego. Neversoft action-adventure in 2005 Firearm has also achieved critical and commercial success, proving once again that Western games don’t need to have Dead red in the title to earn money.

Western games are still in development, albeit in a niche capacity. An example is Strange west, an immersive simulation action game slated for this year that focuses on the magic and the occult surrounding its dusty western setting. It features five characters, including a cult member, a Native American, a bounty hunter, a mysterious Pig Man, and even a werewolf in a fantasy story steeped in dark magic and Western tropes. If he can find success, it could help further prove that Western games are not only a perfect setting for video games, but are malleable enough to tell a variety of stories. The Western setting doesn’t have to limit the games to a familiar tale of an outlaw vs. a lawyer, but can be the host to sci-fi, horror, and all manner of stories. other subgenres.

The continued success of Red Dead Redemption because a series proves that video game fans are still interested in the West when it comes to video games, and more developers need to take note. The combination of heroic archetypes, infamous outlaws, and cultural clashes brought about by Western expansion is a framework that is not limiting but could support a plethora of playstyles and storylines. . However, until more developers realize the potential of the Western video game, this wild world of heroes and villains will continue to be tragically overlooked.

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