Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The View From Pripyat

In the last post, I mentioned the level of Call of Duty 4 set in Pripyat, Ukraine, one of the cities affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and subsequently abandoned. Aside from being the high0-water point of an excellent game, the Pripyat level was one of the most memorable settings for a game in recent memory; there is just something extremely compelling about the total desolation of a nuclear ghost town. I scoured the internet and found more pictures of the city, which brought home how pitch-perfect the game's recreation of the environment was.
Apollo Park, site of the memorable two-man standoff against a small army of Russian soliders
The empty pool in the town's center, which you navigate on your way to the arms deal.
A view of the Chernobyl plant from the roof of a Pripyat apartment complex.
Another view of snowy Apollo Park.

P.S. Chris Hyde (whose tumblr blog is consistently awesome) also pointed me to this great post featuring other abandoned cities. It's totally worth checking out.


Anonymous said...

There's something about real architecture that really lends itself to good gameplay. I'm not sure what it is (I didn't even know that level was so authentic), but it's definitely there. Something about real space, designed for other uses being tweaked to accommodate gameplay rather than spaces being created from scratch for gameplay.

It's partially why I think that architects should be level designers, but hey, that's just me.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the pointer. it's nice to know that someone reads that stuff i put up on Tumblr. In general I tend to have no idea if anyone ever even loads those pages! ;)

Anonymous said...

That is amazing. At first glance, I thought the first picture was in-game footage. I haven't played that mission in a while but I instantly connected those photos to it. Nice post.

@ Daniel
That's a interesting idea. I just began an investigating into level design concepts and I will definitely look into your architecture theory. Whoa, I think I might even know one gamer who is an architect...

Anonymous said...

The Kowloon pics in that abandoned cities link gave an interesting perspective on Shenmue 2.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether you've gotten to play S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl or it's recently released prequel S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (both games are unfortunately only available only on the PC) but both games take place entirely in and around Chernobyl (including Pripyat). Both games received somewhat mixed reviews since they were both kinda buggy even after a few patches, but pretty much all the reviews praised the game for its very engaging environment design. The developers are from the Ukraine and were able to actually visit some of the areas first hand (and also apparently their office is an old Soviet ammunition factory which is sorta neat).

If you've got a decent gaming PC, both games are currently on Steam. $40 for Clear Sky and $20 for Shadow of Chernobyl