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tinyE: Ummmm, I uhhhhh, what games are you talking about? I'm not trying to be pissy but for every game you can name set in the U.S. I can name 5 NOT in the U.S.
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Roberttitus: Truth

Just going by the OPs complaint of no fantasy lands, I can think of these just off of the top of my head

Saboteur
Just Cause 1 & 2
Far Cry 3 (I don't know about he first 2)
Red Dead Redemption (which had the mexico section)
Sleeping Dogs
The Uncharted Games (not open world, but they often feature city levels)
Max Payne 3 (not open world but the same kind of deal)
The first 4 Assassin's Creed games
Tomb Raider
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (which featured many non-US locals)
It's a bit off topic but I wanted to ask what you think of Saboteur? I assume you've played it. Also, all the Far Cry games are set outside the US, Far Cry 2 is in a fictional African country and Far Cry is set on a fictional pacific island.
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hedwards: We just don't see there being that many games that are set in the US. Most games overall aren't set anywhere or are set in completely fictional locales. Of games that are set in real, or realish, places, we just don't see enough of them set in the US to grow tired of.
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Randalator: At least not as a general rule. Personally I'm quite tired of GTA being set in the US. GTA IV really showed a lot of wear in the satire department in addition to being a convoluted mess of ideas in desperate need of some direction. Imho, of course...

Hence my raging apathy towards GTA V.
Yeah, well in specific series that's different. I was glad that AC3 went to the US because it was growing old always being the Europe and the Middle East. I'd love see them take it somewhere else, especially South America or Asia. Though, Africa could be interesting if they choose the right time period.
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hedwards: Now, it's entirely possible that I've missed all those games, but I think more realistically, since I'm not the only one missing these games, you're seeing something that isn't there.
I like exploring modern day cities in video games, but I can't find any that aren't set in US. Everyone here is saying that I'm wrong, but still I can't find any open world games set in different modern day locations other than Sleeping Dogs and very old Shenmue. Of course there are games in wilderness etc., but it's not the same as living city.

There must be at least some true in this because I checked reviews of SD and most of them praised it for having setting that feels fresh.
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hedwards: Now, it's entirely possible that I've missed all those games, but I think more realistically, since I'm not the only one missing these games, you're seeing something that isn't there.
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Aver: I like exploring modern day cities in video games, but I can't find any that aren't set in US. Everyone here is saying that I'm wrong, but still I can't find any open world games set in different modern day locations other than Sleeping Dogs and very old Shenmue. Of course there are games in wilderness etc., but it's not the same as living city.

There must be at least some true in this because I checked reviews of SD and most of them praised it for having setting that feels fresh.
That's because it's mainly your interpretation, the majority of the games I find are ones that are set in a generic city, they don't look any different from what I saw in Germany and The Netherlands when I was there apart from the street signs.
I think I understand what the problem is here.

American games feel American.
While that sounds suprisingly stupid and blatanly obvious - for a foreigner, playing a U.S. game is alienating to a degree.
It becomes hilarious when you play the German Krauts in a WWII as a German and they behave worse than the stupid Nazis from the old US propaganda movie flicks.

It becomes distrubing if you play a "Mass Effect" German Shepard (Pun inteded) and end up with some American Bad-Ass Normandy Commander who f*cks Aliens und punches his Abassadors and reporters in the face...

If the voiceacting, and in this discussion here the visuals represent typical American lifestyle, be it larges cities or U.S. suburbs, the connection, the "feelinng vibe" for someone not living in the US becomes more difficult.
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khnk222: It's a bit off topic but I wanted to ask what you think of Saboteur? I assume you've played it. Also, all the Far Cry games are set outside the US, Far Cry 2 is in a fictional African country and Far Cry is set on a fictional pacific island.
Not sure how it is on PC but I played on Xbox and thought it was a great game.
Fun Nazi blasting action in a cool setting
Although it has some issues and never got patched cause after release Pandemic were shut down
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Khadgar42: I think I understand what the problem is here.

American games feel American.
While that sounds suprisingly stupid and blatanly obvious - for a foreigner, playing a U.S. game is alienating to a degree.
It becomes hilarious when you play the German Krauts in a WWII as a German and they behave worse than the stupid Nazis from the old US propaganda movie flicks.

It becomes distrubing if you play a "Mass Effect" German Shepard (Pun inteded) and end up with some American Bad-Ass Normandy Commander who f*cks Aliens und punches his Abassadors and reporters in the face...

If the voiceacting, and in this discussion here the visuals represent typical American lifestyle, be it larges cities or U.S. suburbs, the connection, the "feelinng vibe" for someone not living in the US becomes more difficult.
That's certainly an issue I can understand, but that's going to be the case anytime there's insufficient research done before the writing process. The JRPGs I've played have been terrible in that respect, even though none of them took place in the US. :-P
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Khadgar42: ...
Oh I can definitely see what do you mean by that - incredible ammount of US games celebrate traditional US values in a fairly blatant manner, and make sure to be 'correct' in those aspects.
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Khadgar42: ...
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Fenixp: Oh I can definitely see what do you mean by that - incredible ammount of US games celebrate traditional US values in a fairly blatant manner, and make sure to be 'correct' in those aspects.
Exactly, and it becomes obonoxiously difficult to connect to those games if your own traditional (and national) values don't overlap with the U.S. ones.

Then even the scenery feels "American" even if it tries to depict someplace else.

Of course this is difficult to perceive as American and much easier as a foreigner but since most money is made in America this won't change anytime soon.
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Fenixp: Oh I can definitely see what do you mean by that - incredible ammount of US games celebrate traditional US values in a fairly blatant manner, and make sure to be 'correct' in those aspects.
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Khadgar42: Exactly, and it becomes obonoxiously difficult to connect to those games if your own traditional (and national) values don't overlap with the U.S. ones.

Then even the scenery feels "American" even if it tries to depict someplace else.

Of course this is difficult to perceive as American and much easier as a foreigner but since most money is made in America this won't change anytime soon.
OK, now you've lost me.

This sounds very much like a placebo at this point or more to the point projection.
Placebo?
Granted that could be the case but I started to get suspicous when I researched some games that I liked, that felt refreshingly different and discovered with suprise where these games came from.
It was quite a revelation when I found out that Mount&Blade hails from Turkey and the Witcher 1&2 was developed in Poland. You can even recognize that Blood Bowl from Focus Entertainment is French.
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Fenixp: edit: Oh wow, that's a BLOCK of text. Feel free to not read it if you're lazy, don't worry I know the feeling :D
Nah man, I appreciate that you took the time to write all of that down. I get the impression that the game is a kind of story-driven grand strategy game with RPG elements mixed in? It definitely sounds interesting. Does it have any kind of DRM, and\or does it require you to log in to anything else than Steam?
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Khadgar42: Placebo?
Granted that could be the case but I started to get suspicous when I researched some games that I liked, that felt refreshingly different and discovered with suprise where these games came from.
It was quite a revelation when I found out that Mount&Blade hails from Turkey and the Witcher 1&2 was developed in Poland. You can even recognize that Blood Bowl from Focus Entertainment is French.
What I'm getting at is that the US game industry is the biggest in the world, and unless you're only talking about the major studios, it's hard to find anything that all of those games have in common sufficient to count as a national style.

Certainly, not the way that the Japanese have their own style for some genres.

So, I suspect it's not a real phenomena in the way you describe it. Yes, somethings are definitely true, the way we handle WWII and a few other human rights things is likely to be unique to the US, but I don't see those things cropping up very much in any game, certainly not sufficiently frequently to tag a game as American.
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hedwards: That's because it's mainly your interpretation, the majority of the games I find are ones that are set in a generic city, they don't look any different from what I saw in Germany and The Netherlands when I was there apart from the street signs.
We had to be in different Germany or Netherlands. They doesn't look at all like Liberty City or San Andres or San Paro. But if you want something that feels much more different then there is Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai...
Just doing a quick estimate of my steam and gog games ( around 350 games), I'd say that less than 10% of them take place in the US ( including imaginary cities), so no I can't say that I agree.

On a semi-related note that nobody but me cares about, a few weeks ago I was checking out some youtube videos of Watchdogs. I didn't really know much about the game except that it was coming out on PS4 , but I began watching the video below and saw that the opening setting was noticeably Chicago-esque (I noticed the corn cob Marina Towers pop on the right at 20 seconds) so I got pretty excited. After seeing more of the video, it looks like a pretty accurate depiction of my hometown. For example at the 1:05 mark, he is clearly walking down State Street and that theater on the right with the bright sign is an obvious nod to the Chicago Theater. ( I saw a Late Night with Conan O'Brien show there a few years back when Conan was in town)
Anyways, it's the first time that I have seen Chicago so realistically portrayed in a videogame, so personally I approve of the USA setting in this one instance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZKUnqwpE14