Top 10 Greatest Video Game Worlds (REDUX)

Script written by Trevor Fonvergne I can show you the world...several, in fact. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Greatest Video Game Worlds. Special thanks to our user Doctor Drummer for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Top 10 Fictional Video Game Worlds (Redux)

Video games are able to transport us to some of fiction’s greatest universes, and these are the cream of the crop. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 video game worlds.

For this list, we’ve selected the most well-designed and original worlds that we love to visit in our favourite games. Not to be confused with Open World Maps, which is a different list we’ve already done, we’re instead looking at the culture, lore and civilizations these series have made of the years to show off the best world building gaming has to offer.

#10: The Wasteland

“Fallout” series (1997-)
This vision of the United States imagines an alternate reality with much more advanced technology that stuck the country in a perpetual 1950s aesthetic. This series was never hesitant to evolve with the changing video game landscape, and since the previous list, has released “Fallout 4,” with the most detailed level design to date. Combining the look of a world ravaged by nuclear war with ‘50s Americana serves not only as a historical commentary on nuclear fear, but an exhaustive world to explore for hours and hours...and hours. Just don’t forget to take a break once in a while.

#9: The Age of Rock

“Brütal Legend” (2009)
Jack Black voices the protagonist, Eddie, in this underrated gem, which sees him being transported to the Age of Rock after a deadly accident. This world has a highly unique tone that blends comedy with inhabitant and locales modelled after iconic heavy album covers. This world contributes to the tone with every detail, from the evocative imagery to a foreboding sense of danger at every turn. Mixing music with an action game has never been quite this clever, featuring factions such as Headbangers, Roadies and Groupies. Plus, you can’t beat the soundtrack that plays as you traverse the vast plains.

#8: Lordran

“Dark Souls” series (2009-)
No other video game world has walked the fine line between disturbing and beautiful quite as well as Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Lordran. It’s entirely possible (and, in fact, likely) that the player will miss most of the world’s dense lore, but it’s worth reading up on. Understanding the complexities adds depth to an already rich gaming experience. Though it may seem like a depressingly dark place, it’s actually full of anti-nihilistic sentiment, as the player must battle through grim locations in order to forge meaning out of the foreboding environment. After all, it takes a lot of will to continue after the many inevitable deaths that will occur.

#7: Halo Universe

“Halo” series (2001-)
Set during the backdrop of an intergalactic war between Humanity and alien forces knows as the Covenant more than 500 years in the future, the universe of Halo is one filled with wonder, despair and plenty of religious allegory. At the centre of the conflict are the remains of an ancient Intergalactic race known as the Forerunners, who’s technology lies scattered throughout the galaxy with their centrepieces being the now iconic Halo Rings, Giant superstructures floating in space with the beautiful ecology of a liveable planet, yet housing the destructive power to wipe out all life in the galaxy.

#6: Gaia

“Final Fantasy VII” series (1997-)
The long-running “Final Fantasy” series has no shortage of illustrious, fantastical universes, with “Final Fantasy X”’s Spira also under consideration for inclusion. The seventh instalment was considered a turning point for the franchise was critically acclaimed for its smooth mix of dystopian and high fantasy settings, all with a pinch of the trademark mirth of the series. Showcasing series favourite creatures as well as some fantastic originals, the world is so popular that the game got its own set of spin off titles and even its own movie, expanding upon the already rich lore that the 7th iteration has to offer.

#5: Milky Way Galaxy

“Mass Effect” series (2007-)
This one is a little strange once you think about the fact that it technically exists in the same universe as ours, but that doesn’t keep it from being out of this world. Sorry, had to. Despite this, the world building – supported by in game appendixes that are basically mini encyclopaedias - flesh out a complex lore compromising of dozens of races, many of which pose difficult questions to the player regarding war and morality. And just like Halo, you also find remains of ancient civilizations, all of which eventually culminates into the arrival of the Reapers and the start of a galactic genocide, so as intriguing as it is. If it were real: we’d get a one way ticket to another galaxy.

#4: Tamriel

“The Elder Scrolls” series (1993-)
It’s difficult to imagine the very first “Elder Scrolls” game, “Arena,” encapsulating the whole of this high-fantasy world. Admittedly, it was underwhelming, but what do you expect from an MS-DOS game? Later games restricted the gameplay to smaller areas of the continent, which means that while each game might vary in tone & aesthetic styling, each contributes to the rich tapestry of the lore, fleshes out the sense of immensity found in the setting and helps to separate Tamriel from the inevitable comparisons to similar high fantasy worlds. Also, large amounts of work has been done to ensure that Tamriel has had a varied and exciting history, helping cement the idea that Tamriel is a place that people have been living in for centuries.

#3: The Mushroom Kingdom

“Mario” series (1981-)
There is quite simply no other video game world quite as thoroughly explored as the Mushroom Kingdom, as Mario’s franchise consists of literally hundreds of games and counting. Although the world may not be entirely consistent between games, it almost always consists of a Castle, where Princess Peach rules, and the Dark Land, where Bowser and the Koopas plan their schemes. It’s much more than that, though, as we’ve seen the universe expand to outer space, haunted, and water-based locations, just to name a few. Almost all of the main characters in the Mushroom Kingdom have found their way into other landmark Nintendo franchises, most prominently being the most represented world in the “Super Smash Bros” series.

#2: Azeroth

“Warcraft” series (2004-)
Azeroth is quite literally the “World of Warcraft” represented in said games. The “Warcraft” franchise is made up of not only video games, but also novels, comic books, and a feature film adaptation to flesh out the dense but rewarding lore. Consisting of four continents, it’s home to a huge amount of races which make up the Alliance and the Horde, two combatant political factions. With over 100 million players and counting, the world continues to expand as more players explore the iconic universe. In fact, the world is so popular that even the boys of “South Park” took an extended visit.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

Sera
“Gears of War” series (2006-)

The Valve-Verse
“Half-Life” & “Portal” series (1998-/2007-)

Shock Multiverse
“Bioshock” series (2007-)

#1: Hyrule

“The Legends of Zelda” series (1987-)
Many of the previous entries have dense mythology, but only in Hyrule does the player play through major points in it’s world’s history. By working the lore into the series, which span hundreds of years and even across multiple timelines. You can count on the series to have beautifully-realized environments filled with a plethora of races and creatures. The different timelines allow for a huge variety of tonal and aesthetic differences for the various iterations of Link and Zelda to adapt to. With the recent release of “Breath of the Wild,” it’s clear that even after three decades, it’s still developing and expanding, and we’re excited to see where the series takes it from here.

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