ARCHITECTURE IN VIDEO GAMES
ARCHITECTURE IN VIDEO GAMES

Once seen as child’s play, video games have been in mainstream culture for decades now. With the rise of e-sports, console gaming, multiplayer games and of course the change in technology and gamers’ demographics, we can consider video games as a form of art. Within this medium, there are countless variations of games from pixel art platform games to ultra-realistic FPS (First Person Shooter) games. Aside from the game content and style, we will be looking into how architecture is used to provide atmosphere to support the game and of course how it inspires us.

Basics of Architecture and “Creating” in Video Games

Unleashing creative ideas and experimenting with different materials is one of the many perks of exploring architecture through video games. It can give ideas on shop interior designs, store decoration, design for retail and even executive office designs. Although there are architecture simulations, we believe that more mainstream games such as SimCity, Minecraft, Cities: Skylines, Sims, Anno Series etc. have been a major source of inspirations for many people young and old to explore their passion for architecture. Without a doubt, Minecraft is one of the most popular games of all time. Released in 2011 with more than 238 million in sales, the whole game is based on digging for materials and building. The genre is called ‘sandbox’, which basically means the game has no predetermined goal or a goal that the player sets for themselves and the map provides a great degree of creativity and materials to interact with. In a first impression, the pixelated graphic style of the game can be daunting but the game style and the easy learning curve of the game has inspired millions of people around the world to create and share their masterpieces, not just the places and buildings they have imagined but also well-known real and fictional places from a replica of Paris Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars to 1936 New York, Lord of the Rings Minas Tirith to great wonders of the world…

Futuristic Architectural Approach in Video Games

Although the usage of architecture in video games is a vast subject with many applications in different genres, as an architecture firm we would like to focus more on the interpretations of real world architecture in video games. Future vision of some of the existing cities is another highlight of architecture usage in games. A prime example of this is in Blizzard’s Overwatch. Overwatch is a FPS multiplayer game launched in 2016. With over 6.8 million average active players in the first 30 days of 2022, it is important to notice how architecture plays into the game dynamics. Without adding new features, gameplay dynamics and changing the interface, a new map can sometimes generate the renewed interest games need to keep the player base. Overwatch uses real-world cities and areas as inspiration, building a “futuristic cyber version” on preexisting landmarks. Within the game you can take a stroll with a robot corso gondola driver through Venice in the Rialto Map, see great Parisian café interior designs, stop by the New York Grand Central Station or walk among the Sakura trees in Hanamura. Grand Central Station New York IRL (In Real Life) & In Overwatch

Last but not least, we would like to mention a few more games to check out if you are interested in futuristic architectural approach in games. Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that was very hyped up (and arguably has not lived up to the hype) and takes place in “Night City” – a futuristic and Asian influenced metropole. There are quite a few high end office design ideas with a ‘cyberpunk’ twist. It is similar to the environment we’ve seen in some science fiction works such as Altered Carbon, Ghost in the Shell etc. 

If you are looking for a more inter-galactic approach, No Man’s Sky is another sandbox game with a niche following that will take you to different planets with different geographic qualities, where you can create buildings, cities and much more underwater, in the desert or in a lush jungle. As an architecture firm in Istanbul, we hope you will find architecture usage in video games as inspirational and mind-expanding as we do, and feel free to share your own architectural designs in games with us via our social media. Check out our approach on architecture by clicking on our blog & case studies link: https://www.yoo.com.tr/news-and-blog