With Ubisoft taking it’s modern guerilla shooter series Far Cry back to the Stone Age with Far Cry: Primal, we decided to look at some of the video game franchises that jump through history, whether it be spiralling into the past or light-speeding into the future.
Part of the allure of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is getting the chance to play through a different historical period every time a new AC game games out (which is quite often these days). We’ve seen the Third Crusade in the late 1100s, 15th century Renaissance Italy, the American and French Revolutions, the Colonial era, and the Victorian Era all in the space of a few games. Add in jumping into the future to see the sci-fi elements of the game’s McGuffin, the Animus, and you’ve got arguably the most diverse period-hopping franchise around.
We can’t not mention the franchise that inspired this very list. The Far Cry games have traditionally taken place in the year they’re released, with Far Cry 1, 2, and 3 taking place in 2004, 2008, and 2013 respectively, but things were turned upside down when the spin-off, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, took gamers to a dystopian 2007, where robotic dinosaurs and pseudo-science fiction 80s inspired outfits reigned supreme. The most recent release, Primal, then kicked gamers back to 10,000 BC, giving them the complete opposite spectrum, playing as a primitive caveman.
Age of Empires
PC gamers have been given history lessons since 1997 thanks to the acclaimed Age of Empires series. The franchise focuses on events in Europe, Africa and Asia, spanning from the Stone Age to the Iron Age; the expansion for the original Age of Empires explored the formation and expansion of the Roman Empire. The sequel, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, was set in the Middle Ages, while its expansion focused partially on the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The subsequent three games of Age of Empires III explored the early modern period, when Europe was colonizing the Americas and several Asian nations were on the decline. Thanks to Age of Empires, we can safely say that we’re fit to rule in any historical period.
Call of Duty
While some may accuse the latest Call of Duty game for being too similar to its predecessor, the franchise has never shied away from taking some risky leaps through history. From the series’ original World War II origins, all the way up until the futuristic 2065 setting of Black Ops 3, Activation’s big cash-cow has made some interesting stops along the timeline of the world. The Cold War, Vietnam, and even a Red Dawn-inspired 2016 from Modern Warfare 2, the Call of Duty games have blazed their way through the most violent of historical settings.
All of the Red Faction games are set in the future, but the throughout the series’ four games it covered a massive 100 years, with Red Faction being set in 2075, Red Faction 2 in 2080, Red Faction: Guerilla in 2125, and Red Faction: Armageddon in 2175. The series showed us the early years of Mars colonisation and the exploitation of miners who helped establish humanity’s existence there. Throughout the next century that the game series stretched across, we get to see the revolutionary Mason lineage (from grandfather Alec Mason to grandson Darius Mason) take on the oppressive Earth Defense Force (EDF).
What game that jumps through time do you think deserves a spot on the list? Let us know by tweeting @MenStuffZA and commenting below.