Video games are magical to many, as they are the only medium that allows users to interact with and immerse themselves within giant, exciting new worlds different from our own. For that same reason, historical video games are appealing to history buffs as they allow gamers to experience the past in new and exciting ways. The only problem is, not all games are perfect. Many historical video games offer a lot of promise, but have some issues (major or minor) that stop them from being truly amazing.
But luckily for us history fans, modding communities have taken it upon themselves to try to improve imperfect games. Whether they’re minor tweaks like graphical upgrades, new maps, and gameplay changes or massive upgrades, mods can vastly improve video game experiences in big ways. Video game mods are historical gaming’s greatest asset, as they allow modding communities to add additional features and more authenticity to historical games, even injecting historical details into some games that were never historical to begin with.
Reworking Historical Games & Adding Authenticity
Some modders enjoy modding historical video games in order to make them even more authentic. The Total War series has become one of the most popular RTS franchises in all of gaming, with the series becoming a commercial success and with an ever-growing fanbase. But one complaint about the series heard time and time again has been its historical inaccuracy. The games often skim over historical details in favor of thrills on the battlefield.
That’s where its modding community comes in: modders have made updated versions of several of the games in the Total War series, but perhaps the most popular of them all is Rome: Total Realism, which heavily upgrades 2004’s Rome: Total War. As the mod’s title suggests, Total Realism aims to rectify the original games’ inaccuracies, and adds in a slew of brand new features including changes to the map, new playable factions, and several gameplay tweaks. It remains arguably the best way to play the game to this day, and is one of the best RTS game mods.
Injecting History into Fantasy Worlds
While some modders choose to make historical video games even more authentic, others go an entirely different route and inject history into entirely fictional universes. The Elder Scrolls series may be heavily inspired by European history, but the games themselves are entirely fictitious. Featuring all sorts of fantastical creatures, monsters, and magical elements, Skyrim is by no means rooted in any real history. However, modders have created countless mods that make the game more in-line with world history.
One of the best of these mods is The Forgotten City, which brings the player to Ancient Rome. This mod is excellent not only because of its close-attention to detail, but also because of its vast scale (it features over 1,400 lines of newly recorded dialogue and over twenty new NPCs!) And while the mod is relatively short (it can be finished in just 3-4 hours), it is undoubtedly one of the best in all of the Skyrim modding community, and that’s really saying a lot. In fact, The Forgotten City was so successful that the mod’s creator went on to make an entire stand-alone game, also entitled The Forgotten City, which just launched earlier this year on PC and all major consoles.
Adding Brand-New Features
Another way that modders have improved historical video games is by simply adding in entirely new features and systems to games. Company of Heroes received the exciting Blitzkrieg Mod, which focused on making the game more realistic. In addition to adding over 30 new maps, over 100 new units, and brand new textures and sound effects, the mod even adds a brand new co-op mode, where multiple players can play against other teams or against CPU.
Overall, there are several different ways that mods can improve historical video games, and gamers should be thankful for all of the talented modding communities that devote hundreds of hours to improve these titles.
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, you can browse Epoch XP’s service on our parent site, SJR Research.
(This article is credited to Ben Price. For as long as he can remember, Ben has always loved playing, discussing, and writing about video games. Since receiving his B.A. in English, he now writes about them for a living.)