Game companies. They have a lot of fingers in a lot pies from software and hardware, to microtransactions, loot boxes, battle passes, merchandise, and even movies and TV shows. Gaming is already the biggest entertainment medium, but what if we go further? What if capitalism ran rampant with game companies coming to the forefront?
Inspired by The Outer Worlds, in which corporations own settlements, we started wondering what settlements owned by various game publishers would be like? So we got our thinking caps on and headcanoned our way to an Outer Worlds–Cyberdimension Neptunia hybrid.
Now, given a choice, where would you live?
For the homeowners.
The Sony settlement is a classy affair full of high end, triple-A housing, a sign of the wealth and prosperity that comes with being the world’s number one. Everything in the neighbourhood glistens thanks to the many hours of polish, but some are wary of the clashing looks, a hodgepodge of Norse, dense jungle, and future tech Detroit.
Sony dwellers never leave their houses thanks to The Hat of Dreams, a magical device than can be placed on the head which transports the user to anywhere and anytime. All houses are also fitted with sick buckets, for those allergic to The Hat of Dreams but still insist on wearing it. However, the inhabitants were until very recently strictly forbidden to interact with dwellers from other settlements. The rules have been loosened recently, but only a few residents have been in contact with those from rival camps so far, for fear of catching digital cooties.
Surprising you every day!
Those who dwell in the EA settlement live in uncertainty. Every facet of their lives has been marketed as quite ethical surprises.
Every morning workers must spend some coins at a breakfast vending machine without knowing what they’ll get. It could be a bowl of cereal or it could be the Icelandic delicacy Hakarl. Whatever it is, you can either keep it or try and sell it on in return for coins or pay for another go at the vending machine. Lunch and dinner are the same, though the odds are worse depending on whether you use your parent’s coins.
Clothing? Another machine in which to put your coins. You pay and you’ll get what you’re given. You could get a winter coat in July or swimwear in December, but of course, you can trade it at the auction house. That’s the joy of the surprise mechanics at the EA settlement.
Your day to day job consists of building loot boxes in the factory and shipping them off to whoever wants them and keeping the flow going as demand keeps increasing. The higher-ups don’t really mention that factory when the regulators come around though. They’re too busy chumming it up with sports stars while former EA icons are banished to an office in the middle of nowhere. Isaac Clarke once fought monsters in space – now he fights Commander Shepherd for the last coffee cup in the basement break room.
Stop asking us.
Microsoft Settlement used to be the place to be, a glistening, towering habitat that rivalled the very best, but times have changed. Now dwarfed by the Sony camp, those who live within the walls of Microsoft have become reserved, almost secretive. Nobody knows how many people even live there. However, they have recently brought in new architects, buying up independent townships and adding them into their growing collective.
There’s a new overlord that runs the Xbox area of the Microsoft camp, who is all about opening the doors. Everyone is invited to work in this part of the world, you’ll soon be able to beam in remotely if you want, and he’s even extended an olive branch to once bitter rivals. There’s some concern though that the leadership has gone mad, practically giving away new things to settlers, and the tenancy agreement barely makes sense anymore, with the Ultimate version of this document giving you the keys to Microsoft’s penthouse, all of their stuff, and all of their future belongings too.
There’s even mention that they might be changing the traditionally green decor to something a little more Scarlett?
All your games are belong to us!
The Epic Settlement is growing fast. You’re regularly handed freebies at the store, it’s child-friendly, and there’s always different events going on to attract newcomers. However, in the contract it does state that you will become an exclusive Epic employee for life. Fancy moving elsewhere? Not happening. You’re at Epic for life, which isn’t too bad, it’s only missing a few of the basic features of a settlement.
The one snag is that it’s constantly changing. Its future is always shrouded in mystery, and when each event kicks off, the settlement can look completely different in the blink of an eye. One week a huge blizzard rolled in to freeze one corner of the settlement, another time the administration was mad enough to let loose a black hole that put everyone and everything in limbo. How can anyone really trust this settlement if they never really know what the heck is going to happen next?
Now you’re working with power!
If there’s one settlement that screams “How do you do, fellow kids?” it’s Nintendo’s. Everything certainly feels very kid and user friendly, and there’s a real positivity to the constant encouragement to get moving. Heck, these days you can simply pick up your home and take it with you, if you want!
You don’t have to dig too far to find the settlement’s seedy underbelly. An ageing ex-plumber constantly fights with President Bowser for local government, leaving a racoon to run a racket as the local loan shark, internet that lags way behind other settlements, and a raging opioids epidemic. These “mushrooms”, “flowers” and “pills” might give users great power, but the comedown is usually very sudden.
If it’s not a copy, it’s not finished yet!
It’s easy to get lost in the Ubisoft settlement. Turn down any street if you’re not paying attention to the road signs, you could easily think that you’re wandering through a completely different part of town.
You’ll have to fill out your settlement map yourself, clambering up towers to scout out the local shops, workplaces and other useful buildings, and it’s a good thing that you can set waypoints on your GPS to get you back to your furnished flat. Make sure to check the tenancy agreement before moving in, because you’re only allowed to put up posters and dress the window box up differently to your neighbours. Dressing up as a Spartan regalia is cool and all, but are you really that different from your hacker mate, and your cousin in the Special Forces?
Times are a-changing in this settlement, though. After a wave of citizen dissatisfaction that even The Punisher couldn’t stop, the corporation has handed down a new uniqueness edict that will see all planning permission withheld unless they can pass an individuality test.
To be this good took AGES.
Sega used to own their own settlement, but now they build buildings across the rest of the company-verse. Many of the older residents remember fondly when their settlement was built, even if it did take ages. It was a time of war though, and members of both the Sega and Nintendo houses were often caught in the bitter crossfire, with war propaganda appearing in all the papers of the era.
They used to be amongst the most creative of settlements, but now they’re a Shadow of their former selves. Suspiciously, despite the war having finished they now boast the greatest strategic minds of our time, and rumours swirl that they’re planning something. In reality, those minds are instead focussed on running Sega’s new healthcare initiative, with one of the largest and most comprehensive hospital systems around. They need it, given the numerous and frankly ridiculous alien diseases that afflict their citizens..
Outside the Settlements
Stepping outside of these settlements can be pretty risky, and the wilderness is dangerous for even the most loyal corporate stooge. Venture out into the wilds and you will bump into independent groups of people who swear that if you join them now for a small price, you’ll be able to help kickstart the formation of a new settlement, one made for people who are tired of cookie-cutter settlements.
These publisher-less ne’er-do-wells will tell you anything to convince you to join them, but you never quite know what you’re going to get. Some do legitimately offer smaller, more intimate settlements, others are abandoned halfway through, others are actually just vicious battles to the death where the winner takes all. Either way, the marauders outside the settlement walls are not to be trusted, unless it’s to do with Shenmue III. Everyone loves Shenmue III.