Feature Article

How Critical Is Historical Accuracy In A Historical Video Game?

Striking a balance for the benefit of the player.

There are tons of incredible historical games, full of lessons about the past. The vast majority, however, are not 100% historically accurate. Historical accuracy is often impossible to achieve in complex games like Assassin's Creed Origins, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and Rome: Total War. Often, efforts to be accurate come at the expense of inclusivity and even the ability to create an enjoyable playing experience.

In GameSpot's video above, Dave Jewitt explores some of the most iconic historical video games. Speaking to those game's creators, he discovered that many of them prioritize authenticity over accuracy. The games they create must feel authentic to the era they're set in, without overly compromising key aspects to the game's enjoyment by players in the name of historical accuracy.

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Now Playing: Accuracy Vs. Authenticity In Video Games

This has sometimes come with controversy. As Dave discovers, criticism of Kingdom Come: Deliverance emerged because the game fails to include any non-white characters. While the game's designers defended their decisions as merely accurately reflecting the time period in medieval Bohemia, the decision was perceived as being alienating to some players. On the other hand, Assassin's Creed Origins depicts young boys and girls attending school together, something that would not have happened in Ancient Egypt. The game's historical mode explains the choice as prioritizing the diversity of its players over historical accuracy rooted in sexism.

History texts themselves are fallible, rooted in and open to interpretation. So how important is historical accuracy in the games we play, if they come at the expense of a diverse group of players' ability to enjoy the game? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Patrick Faller

Gamespot news writer, still mentally playing my first NES...

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

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