One of the most popular choices for video game settings is World War II. I’m sure some World War II veterans aren’t terribly pleased that one of the more harrowing experiences of their lives is now the subject for extremely popular and lucrative video game franchises.
Nonetheless, it seems like every year even more World War II titles are released. What’s so appealing about using World War II as a setting, as opposed to World War I, or the Grenada invasion of 1983? A couple reasons come to mind.
First, taking an extremely simplistic view, it’s clear who the “good guys” and “bad guys” were. The good guys were the Allied forces (again, we’re taking the simplistic view here) fighting for freedom, apple pie, and all of that. The bad guys were the Axis, particularly the Nazis, and if there was ever a group that everyone loves to hate, it’s the Nazis. It’s important, in a video game made to appeal to the masses, that there is a very clear distinction between who is “good” and who is “evil”.
Second, World War II, for the younger generation at least, is seen as a very epic war, spanning several geographic locations, with long drawn-out battles that used weapons and technology that aren’t (yet) completely outdated. Perfect fodder for a video game.
I’m not a huge fan of World War II based games. I think on some level everything that we could present using the video game medium for this setting has been done by this point, and it’s really time to move on to something else. However, as always, my tastes aren’t the norm, and there’s nothing I can do to influence the decisions to make games based on World War II, other than to let them run their course and eventually run out of steam.