Boss Rush Banter: How Historically Accurate Do Video Games Need to Be?

Plenty of video games take place in eras long past, like medieval Europe, feudal Japan, ancient Greece, or even the early 2000s. While the time period serves more as a setting than anything else, these time periods are rarely portrayed without fault. While not a major issue, some history buffs can’t help but point out those inaccuracies when they pop up.

Actually, those uniforms worn by the German soldiers are actually of a lieutenant’s rank, meaning they wouldn’t be on the battlefield.

Actually, Sparta barely had a naval fleet to begin with. Athens ruled the Mediterranean in terms of sea power.”

Actually, that specific make and model came out in 2007, while Grand Theft Auto is in the early 2010s, meaning the ‘hot new ride’ is actually a few years old.”

You get the point. 

A large part of franchises like Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty is that the games are supposed to feel unique to that time period. And while nearly any historical fiction has small inaccuracies here and there, at what point does it lose that appeal of being based in history? Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey is supposed to make you feel like you are in ancient Greece, and seeing aspects of medieval Europe like knights or castles (more than 1000 years later) would completely break the immersion.

If a game is only a tiny bit inaccurate, like how parts of Mafia II take place in 1951, but feature background music that wasn’t released until 1957, then maybe that’s fine. These tiny details will go over almost every player’s head. Unless a game is specifically focused on a very significant event, a few years off in either direction isn’t a big deal for most people. 

On the other hand, many popular games are filled with things from the wrong time period. The Soul Calibur franchise seems to take place around the 1500s in parts of Europe and Asia, though we see characters from franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Tekken, and even Star Wars. As cool as it is to have these characters, it feel weird when you’re a samurai on a pirate ship off the coast of Spain fighting Darth Vader.

At what point do you draw the line? How many inaccuracies does it take for you to lose your suspension of disbelief? Let us know in a comment below, or let us know by joining the Boss Rush Discord.

Image Source: Steam

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