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BadgertonStudios

Religons in games

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Hey GameDev,

My co workers/friends and I have been working on a game concept for a little while now. It is a strategy/rpg/construction and management game. We have lots of ideas, both great and not so great.

One idea we have is introducing religion to the game. Religion would play a huge political and economical role in the game. Alliances can be forged or broken due to the religion your character may follow. It can play a role in what items and services you have access to in certain parts of the game world.  We were going to use the ideologies of the 3 main religions (to us anyways) in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Is this a good idea? would we be hunted down for using actual religions in a game?

Thoughts anyone?

Cheers

Edited by BadgertonStudios

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No matter how hard you work into getting the game as neutral as possible, you will get attention for it, the bad kind of attention.

 

So only do it if you're willing to stick with the idea through everything that could happen about it.

 

Those are my 2 cents.

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I would spend the time to come up with three different religions that have no basis in the real world, like in the Elder Scrolls series. That is unless your game is based in the real world.

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If you're going to use actual religions, you should choose a wider variety. The three you have picked are all monotheistic and abrahamic. Try and get three that are not so close together. Like one each from abrahamic, indian, and maybe either chinese folk and/or from a new religious group. You'll also have to do research into each religion you choose. Not very deep, but enough that you can make sure not to offend anyone and promote each religion in a positive light. 

 

But honestly, I would either pick more than three real religions to keep from excluding anyone, or make up your own.

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I hate religion in games. I hate appeasing all these Gods. It's a pain. I love the Pharaoh game, but it's simply annoying the lengths you have to go through to please all the Gods. I'd rather gather resources & build things that are pure economic in nature.

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I agree with creating your own religions. Think of how Pagan religions were largely eradicated by the Catholic religions. This kind of struggle of the earth-worshipping vs. monotheistic religion already has a great set up as the earth lovers and druids battling the seemingly more imperialistic monotheistic religion. Then, of course, you could find a 3rd of a completely contrasting style.

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Religion would play a huge political and economical role in the game. Alliances can be forged or broken due to the religion your character may follow. We were going to use the ideologies of the 3 main religions (to us anyways) in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
That's exactly what "Medieval II: Total War" did, and it fit in well with their gameplay. AFAIK, there was no controversy, though maybe that's just because they were lucky and no nutters noticed their game...

Whether it will work like it did in Medieval depends on your setting and presentation.

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Whatever you do, if you do this, please just take the time to properly research these religions and talk to actively practicing Jews, Christians, and Muslims so you can at least try to give some accurate representation to the religions.

 

Also be aware that each religion is pretty divided (so to speak), so if you only focus on learning about one branch of Judaism/Christianity/Islam you're only getting a fraction of the story. Just be sure to take the time to get this right if you do it.

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Also, if you go down this route, ensure you're not heavily pushing any beliefs (inadvertently or otherwise) on the player, that is, keep it objective. For instance, being agnostic, I would not mind playing a Jew (or whoever) if a religion and its ideology is just used as a context and backstory (it could be educational!) but if the game forces me to perform religious acts like praying or whatever, I would get very irritated. Then again, it depends on your target audience, of course.

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[quote name='BadgertonStudios' timestamp='1358221429' post='5021654']
Is this a good idea? would we be hunted down for using actual religions in a game?
[/quote]

 

Religion is a pretty tough topic in certain parts of the world (US, middle east), so it might draw a lot of attention of all kinds there.

 

Since religious (and others, really) fundamentalists usually act irrational, there's no good way to predict what might happen.

 

Anyway, I suggest you watch these 2 videos to get a feeling on what's a good approach to the topic from a game design perspective:

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/religion-in-games-part-1

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/religion-in-games-part-2

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