What first comes to mind when you think of Scotland? Is it that our beautiful country occasionally features in some top-class video games? If not, then it should be!
We here at Esports Scotland love seeing Scotland represented on the international stage (that Edinburgh scene in Infinity War, anyone?!), and we love video games. So to see both come together is an actual dream come true.
For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best video games set in our beautiful country – let us know if you agree with our list!
1. Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End
Everyone’s favourite Indiana Jones simulator, the Uncharted franchise, takes you to some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic locations – Madagascar, Tibet, Shambhala, and of course, Scotland.
Uncharted 4 sees Nathan Drake following a series of piratey clues that lead him to a Scotland designed by someone who kind of knew what Scotland looks like.
Absolutely close enough.
While it was great to see Scotland get the AAA recognition she deserves, it’s a shame we didn’t see any Scottish characters or recognisable Scottish landmarks. Imagine the trademark Uncharted car chase through the winding streets of Edinburgh!
Speaking of which…
2. Forza Horizon 4
All of our Edinburgh-based friends know the frustration of trying to navigate through Edinburgh’s increasingly convoluted town centre (those trams will be the death of us all). Who hasn’t had to drive in a huge loop around Princes Street to get from one end to the other and wished they could just gun it all the way down?
Well, now you can!
Can't even avoid the trams in the virtual world.
Forza Horizon 4 gives you miles of roads to drive on from all around the UK, including Edinburgh. Forget your worries of driving in a thousand year old city designed for horse-travel, and instead blast your way past iconic Edinburgh landmarks like Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh Castle, and my old flat on Grove Street.
Speaking of which…
3. Every GTA game
Oh, you thought the GTA series was based in America? Well you’re wrong!
This is unmistakably Dundee - you can tell because the rocket launcher is made out of jute.
Okay, you’re not actually wrong, they are all set in America. But the designers at Rockstar like to include a Grove Street in every one of their games, because the founders of the company once lived together in Grove Street, Edinburgh.
Fun fact - I used to live in that white flat! It was FREEZING.
And you might think that our beautiful city deserves a grander cameo than a street best known for a really good barbers I used to go to. And you'd be right! That's why, in every 90's baby's favourite GTA game San Andreas, a certain bridge makes an appearance.
Just out of shot, they're also building a new one.
It's nice to think there’s a little piece of Edinburgh in every GTA game. And you might say that this doesn’t count as being based in Scotland, but keep in mind that being pedantic never helped anyone make friends.
4. Street Fighter 4
This is one of our favourite instances of seeing Scotland in a video game, because it’s repping one of our most holy sites: a distillery.
Funny how the 4th instalment of franchises all seem to feature Scotland?
Street Fighter 4 has a stage called ‘Historic Distillery’, where you fight surrounded by some top-class whiskies. This should sound familiar to anyone who has visited a Glasgow pub.
It’s always great to see a representation of one of our biggest and most famous exports, and a side of Scotland that isn’t Loch Ness and haggis. Cheers, Street Fighter!
5. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Does this feature a tiny Scottish scene right at the end of the game? Yes. Are we still going to count it? Also yes.
This Wolfenstein prequel has B.J. travel to Kinross with his long-time buddy Fergus Reid after some good old-fashioned Nazi-shooting. While this is a brief section of the game, it’s nice to see series regular Fergus on his home turf, and remind the world that Scotland is as up for some Nazi-fighting as anyone.
We here at Esports Scotland aren't fond of those Nazi fellas - and you may quote us on that.
6. Call of Duty: Ghosts & Modern Warfare 3
We’ve slotted Ghosts and Modern Warfare 3 together, because they both feature Scotland only in multiplayer maps and not part of the actual story. Any time you want to bump us up to the main campaign, COD, we’re ready to go!
Ghosts features a map called 'Stonehaven', where you fight around a map featuring Serozh Castle in the Scottish Highlands.
Historic Scotland would be LIVID.
And while we’re not castle scientists, we’re pretty sure that this castle does not actually exist – which begs the question of why the game didn’t feature one of Scotland’s many many many many many existing castles. Still, it’s amazing to see Scotland showing up in one of the biggest game titles of all time, in an incredibly entertaining map – even if it is in Aberdeenshire.
Modern Warfare 3, meanwhile, features a map set in the Orkney Islands.
We can't tell if that's the Old Man of Hoy, we're not rock formation scientists either.
Orkney gamers were absolutely delighted to see their home recreated for a COD game - at least we think they were, their accents are really hard to understand.
7. Minecraft - Clans and Castles
Ever felt that Minecraft could use more trebuchets? You're not alone. Scottish gaming company 4J developed 'Clans and Castles' which is full of Scottish castles and Highland Cows - even Nessie makes an appearance.
I also lived here.
You can do all the usual Minecraft stuff, with the added Scottish elements of livestock farming and medieval warfare.
This was developed by fantastic 4J, which was also the company responsible for developing Minecraft for consoles - further proof that Scotland is a heavy-hitter in the world of video games.
8. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
We know what you’re thinking: ‘Why include this? It’s not set in Scotland, and also it's bad.’ And there you’d be wrong on two counts, because Broomstick FIFA is one of the greatest games of all time.
This happens in every single match, and every single time it's amazing.
And as for being set in Scotland, we’ve got another technicality here: since Hogwarts is located in Scotland, that means every single Harry Potter game is set in Scotland. And yes, we’re including the Lego Harry Potter series – you’ve got to assume that somewhere in that Lego world, a Lego Renton once ran down a Lego Princes Street and passed a Lego Primark, and a Lego Nathan Drake hunted for Lego pirates and Lego treasure. Isn't art beautiful?
Have we missed your favourite Scotland-based video game? Let us know on Twitter which games you think should have been on our list!
About the Author
Calum Rosie is a writer and editor, and the Writing Coordinator for Esports Scotland. He is world-renowned for his elite gaming skills, charm, handsomeness, is responsible for editing these bios and is not above lying in them.