Alternate history is a well-known and popular subgenre under historical gaming. Players are always flocking to these titles, with a good few being: Wolfenstein, Command & Conquer, and Hearts of Iron. Yet, at a glance, these titles may seem to often sacrifice aspects of realism and accuracy for something far off. Although, there’s a catch in what drives gamers to engage with them.
What if history happened differently? How could a certain battle or event change the past? Limitless possibilities are open through interpretation, and players dig well into said perspectives.
However, answering these historical unknowns has to be done effectively. Developers have to find ways to make these takes upon the past fresh and authentic. By simply opening the doorway for reimagining, more is at stake.
How Developers Approach Alternate History
Undoubtedly, alternate history proves tricky to develop. Developers find themselves in the weighing position of balancing reality with fiction. It is a thin line to cross, but not without its merits. Through a multitude of factors, alternate history can be developed to bring an insightful eye into how history could possibly diverge.
A primary aspect of such involves analyzing the tensions and events from any era covered. An understanding of the motives or actions that a leader, faction, or country held is key in abridging history authentically. Taking that into account, developers can connect to countless different pathways from their history.
These are then used to amp up narratives, adding more thematic pressure. Bringing your audience to the forefront allows a seamless jump into the action. More immersion is granted and allows anyone to fill in any role that a game presents.
These factors are just some of the numerous ways that developers work with alternate histories. Players find this freedom of choice and outlook on an adverted past fulfilling. Realism may be lacking, but it provides an experience of history in a fresh and fun way. With the right approach, alternate history can effectively answer the ‘what-ifs’ of real history.
What Alternate History Contributes to Historical Gaming
Alternate history is undeniably popular yet overlooked. The possibilities are endless and add more to the history it takes part from. It can send players into a time where another side won, or where a devastating turn of events changed the past. So many of those ideas are attributed heavily to what makes historical gaming great.
The subgenre as a whole contributes a new sense of captivation to the players that engage with it. It’s never afraid to be bold and stands out in the market. Whether a title is focused on real-time strategy, first-person action, or adventure, alternate history can lift its direction with a fresh and authentic experience that fills in the historical unknowns of the past.
At Epoch XP, we specialize in creating compelling narratives and provide research to give your game the kind of details that engage your players and create a resonant world they want to spend time in. If you are interested in learning more about our gaming research services, book your consultation today!