Seven games set in the Middle East, from 'Assassin’s Creed Origins' to 'F1 22'

The UAE, Syria, Egypt and more feature as digital playgrounds for millions of gamers to explore

'Spec Ops: The Line' features a backdrop of Dubai in disrepair. Photo: 2K Games
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If the rumours are to be believed, the Call of Duty franchise is heading back to the Gulf War era in 2024.

And, if so, it will not be the first game set in the Middle East. The list does not just centre around shooters either, a variety of genres see their stories told across the Mena region in creative fashion.

Here, The National rounds up seven of the best games to date.

1. 'Assassin’s Creed Origins' (2017)

'Assassin’s Creed Origins'. Photo: Ubisoft

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s long-running stealth action game took a trip to Egypt in 2017. It recreated a number of the country’s most-famous landmarks, such as the River Nile and the ancient pyramids, for characters to leap off and cause chaos from.

Assassin’s Creed Origins has a brilliant “discovery mode” where you can switch off all the violence and simply walk around like a tourist and learn about Egypt’s rich history. There are places to see and historical characters to discover, showing how the country was shaped.

2. 'Forza Motorsport 7' (2017)

'Forza Motorsport 7'. Photo: Microsoft Studios

Developer: Turn 10

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

The UAE stars in Forza Motorsport 7. The Xbox-exclusive racer dedicated an entire track to the emirates. The developers use their creative license, mind. One second you’re zooming past a hotel in Al Ain and the next you’re speeding through a tunnel under DXB and alongside Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s not accurate, but it’s a very entertaining track. UAE residents will likely find the level of detail trackside to be very impressive … even if it is in the wrong order.

3. 'Prince of Persia' (2008)

 'Prince of Persia'. Photo: Ubisoft

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

A fantastical take on the ancient region comes in the form of Prince of Persia (2008). The action-adventure game takes its cues from the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. It heavily features Persian architecture and ruins, rolling sand dunes and historical teachings of the time. They all combine to provide complete immersion for the player from start to finish, as you jump your way through impossible assault courses and solve tricky puzzles.

4. 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' (2015)

'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain'. Photo: Konami

Developer: Kojima Productions

Publisher: Konami

Kojima Productions turned Afghanistan into a huge sandbox of possibilities. The open world action uses the Afghani countryside, villages and mountains as a playground. Players can sneak up a cliffside, scout the area and plot a safe route in to an enemy Soviet camp; or gallop in on horseback under the cover of darkness and hit the enemy with shock and awe. The best part? You can use a balloon system to airlift Afghan wildlife back to a sanctuary, which you can visit later.

5. 'F1 22' (2022)

'F1 22'. Photo: EA Sports

Developer: Codemasters

Publisher: EA Sports

Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has never looked as good as it does in the most recent F1 racer. The final circuit on the race calendar features the slightly new layout, which drivers will face in November. The day/night cycle, which is synonymous with the Yas Island race, is in full effect. And, seeing the W Abu Dhabi hotel and expensive yachts in the marina lit up in all its glory is always a thrill as you zip past them at speeds of more than 200mph.

6. 'Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception' (2011)

'Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception'. Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Hailed as the Indiana Jones of video games, Nathan Drake’s third adventure takes him through several Middle Eastern countries across. There are the narrow and twisting streets and cave systems of Yemen. A moonlight raid on a heavily guarded crypt in Syria. And, a very dramatic trip to Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert which sees Drake desperately try to escape safely from a plane before it crashes.

7. 'Spec Ops: The Line' (2012)

'Spec Ops: The Line'. Photo: 2K Games

Developer: Yager Development

Publisher: 2K Games

A slightly controversial entry, as some fans were upset about the depiction of Dubai in Spec Ops: The Line. The game shows the emirate in a state of disrepair. It’s been ravaged by sandstorms and war and reduced to a standstill as the CIA drop in to find their missing men. However, what could easily have been a brainless shooter turns out to be a psychological thriller, which uses Dubai as a perfect backdrop to show the very real horrors of war from both sides of it.

Updated: July 13, 2022, 4:12 AM
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