Would it be on-topic to ask if a certain game's map is based on a real world location? Questions requesting games set in real world locations are off topic due to being recommendations but I think this is different enough to have a single, definite answer of either yes or no.

The scenario that inspired me to post this was playing Escape from Tarkov. I was traipsing through EFT's Interchange map, which is based on the MEGA Store in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. I wondered if other Tarkov maps like Shoreline are also based on a real world location.

The limits on this question is a little blurry depending on if the poster asks whether it's based on or inspired by real world locations. I think "Based on" has a definite yes/no answer, but "Inspired by" could have a variety of accurate answers. Still, I'd appreciate outside opinions on this.

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    The issue with these questions is that you need real world knowledge to answer them, not knowledge about the game itself. Jun 18, 2021 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


The main reason why this would most likely be off topic is that this would effectively be asking for developer intent. We don't allow such questions because it's generally impossible to know developer intent without, you know, the developer himself sharing that intent, be it through a development blog post, a social media post, an interview or maybe in some rare cases assets from the game source like file names.

Without knowing what the developer intended, it's really impossible to answer this question. For example, suppose the developer of a game set in a fictional world places a pyramid with a giant torch on the top as a beacon of sorts. It's obviously easy to assume that this was inspired by the many pyramids around Egypt, but it might just as well be that this pyramid is based on the Luxor casino resort in Las Vegas. Or the pyramid might just be a red herring, and the inspiration was actually the Beacons from Lord of the Rings, an entirely different universe. Or the pyramids might be based on something else entirely. Without the developers sharing the details, this is impossible to know for sure.

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    IMHO it depends. If you're talking about one design element like the pyramids, sure, that's too vague to be answerable. But what about (say) the setting of Assassin's Creed (the first game, not the whole series)? That's pretty obviously based on real locations in the Middle East, because there are many specific details that match, and the game overtly displays the real-world names of those locations. Don't we have a little leeway for good subjective/bad subjective here?
    – Kevin
    Jun 18, 2021 at 22:12
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    @Kevin The difference is that AC is intended to have a certain amount of historical accuracy: all locations and deaths are period accurate, and Ubisoft tried to incorporate real world history into their game, so it's perfectly possible to objectively say "this location is based on this other location from the real world". Escape from Tarkov is set in an entirely fictional world, and it's harder to say which location the developer intended to use as inspiration if the developer didn't confirm it.
    – Nzall
    Jun 19, 2021 at 11:42
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    I grew up near the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Alexandria, Virginia, so I could tell immediately that the Nuka-Cola plant in Fallout 3 was likely put there by someone with local knowledge. For that game, it's no secret that many of the locations are at least based on real places in the DC metro area. Jun 19, 2021 at 17:51
  • @RobertColumbia Again, Fallout 3 is set in a post apocalyptic alternate future version of the DC metro area. Naturally there are going to be landmarks and locations that are based on real places in our DC metro area. Tarkov is set in a region of Russia that does not exist in our world, so while it is possible the maps are based on real Russian locations, it's impossible to really know without developer confirmation.
    – Nzall
    Jun 19, 2021 at 18:04
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    @Nzall: If I can summarize the comments, it would appear that your answer is "The question is on-topic if and only if the answer is clearly yes." But I don't see how that can be workable. Questioners don't know the answers to their questions, that's why they asked them! Can't we just allow "we don't know" as a valid answer, in cases where we don't know?
    – Kevin
    Jun 19, 2021 at 19:18

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