Video games have come a long way since those early efforts that saw a solitary character always running to the right, never able to go back where they came from, and having to jump on animals just to earn a little money. In those days, flimsy backstories for these apocalyptic heroes filled a paragraph of manuals, if that. Now, entire teams work on the game story, and sometimes they go to extremes to make it a believable world.
This can be as simple as a few notes spread around the abandoned area that you’re shooting up, showing you more about how these places fit together and what they were for before (sometimes literal) hell broke loose. Other times, a world is defined by the sheer weight of the in-game lore, as dozens of books fill in the history and culture. There are times when an interesting bit of geography turns out to have a history behind it, a feature gamers haven’t even thought about has an official explanation, or simply the way knowledge is delivered is interesting.
Here’s ten games that excel at building worlds in some very different ways.