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Where The Hell Is Springfield / Video Games

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  • Fallout is usually very clear about where it takes place, complete with recognizable landmarks. Fallout: New Vegas continues this trend: the game is set in the remnants of Clark County, Nevada. Its Downloadable Content Expansion Packs have their own maps with their own set locations: Honest Hearts takes place in Zion National Park, Utah; Old World Blues takes place at Kingston Peak, California;note  and Lonesome Road takes place around Death Valley, in California. However, Dead Money never states the location of its setting, other than being the Sierra Madre (a spur of mountains jutting out from the Sierra Nevada mountains). While this puts it somewhere in modern Nevada or Arizona, it's difficult to determine much else about the location. This contributes to the quasi-mythical feel of the expansion; notably, you can't return to the Sierra Madre after leaving, unlike other DLC locations. This could mean it is a Vanishing Village.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is allegedly set in “the American Midwest”. This is contradicted by very variable geography, very warm autumns, and a sign with a 212 area code (which is Manhattan in New York City). Fan speculation puts it in either Colorado or Pennsylvania; the novelizations put it in Pennsylvania.
      • The remake of Resident Evil 2 further adds, not in so many words, that it's in the Rust Belt as well as near mountains, which would be in line with Pennsylvania, specifically the western, Pittsburgh area. Pittsburgh, it should be noted, is the site of a lot of zombie media, owing largely to it being the setting of Night of the Living Dead (1968).
    • Resident Evil 4 is set in an unspecified Spanish-speaking European country, and Word of God says this was intentional. That said, Spain is the only major Spanish-speaking country in Europe, the currency is the peseta (the former Spanish currency before the Euro), and Luis Sera tells you that he “used to be a cop in Madrid” (implying that Spain exists even if it’s not the setting).
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    • Resident Evil 5 is set in Kijuju, a Bulungi in what is supposed to be northwest Africa. Its official language is Swahili, though, which is spoken in East Africa. Its currency is the Naira, which is used in Nigeria. The flag on Irving’s boat is just the Pan-African flag with stars added to it. Basically, it’s all over the continent.
    • Resident Evil: Damnation is set in Edonia, supposedly a southern Slavic country. It’s also the name of what was once a real region of southeastern Bulgaria and northern Greece, but that doesn’t seem quite what they were going for.
    • Resident Evil 6 is set in the non-existent Chinese city of Liangshang, although its urban structure and appearance make it seem like an Expy of Hong Kong.
  • The Silent Hill series has very few clues as to its setting; only a lake, forests, and vaguely New England-ish architecture.
    • Silent Hill itself is all over the place. The original manual describes the town as being in New England, but the first two games have what appear to be Michigan license plates, and Downpour and Shattered Memories both suggest Michigan as well. The atmosphere and environment fit both locations. The town also happens to be near a body of water called Toluca Lake, which does exist – in California. Other games suggest it’s specifically in Maine.
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    • Other games are set elsewhere, but those locations are Springfields as well. Silent Hill: Homecoming is set in Shepherd’s Glen, which is given a location that doesn’t fit with where everything else was established around Toluca Lake.
    • The movie version is very strongly inspired by Centralia, Pennsylvania, a real-life Ghost Town thanks to a decades-old underground coal fire, but it’s explicitly in West Virginia.
  • FEAR is set in Fairport, whose location is never officially stated. The third game’s strategy guide claims it’s in the Northwest, but that doesn’t fit with the Point Man landing there in a helicopter he took all the way from Central or South America.
  • Half-Life 2 is set in City 17; all we know about it is that it’s somewhere in Eastern Europe. The Half-Life wiki suggests that it’s based on Sofia, Bulgaria; the game’s art director is from there, and various Cyrillic signs are in Bulgarian. But it’s also implied that it’s a former Soviet country, putting it further north; the canal system and forest imply St. Petersburg, although Riga, Latvia is another candidate. The Overwatch Nexus is modeled after the Parliament of Serbia. And the second Destroy All Humans! game has a throwaway joke that City 17 was once the game’s own Eastern European Springfield, Tunguska.
    • A background detail in Half-Life 2: Episode One practically confirms the city as Riga, Latvia. There is a map showing City 17 with a river called the Daugava flowing through it. This is the name of a real river that flows through... you guessed it, Riga. There are also other bits of evidence. The skyline of Riga resembles City 17's, City 17 is coastal and borders a sea (Riga is the only coastal city that the Daugava flows through), the lettering on most signs is Russian suggesting an ex-Soviet country, and there's also occasionally Swedish lettering, suggesting that City 17's not too far away from Sweden (Latvia is a stone's throw away from Sweden, and hosts many Swedish businesses). Finally, there's numerous restaurants with signs that translate to "Café Baltic", which would match Riga's location in one of the Baltic States.
  • C-12: Final Resistance presumably takes place in the United Kingdom, judging by everyone's British, Scottish, or Irish accent. Even then, one could argue that the voice actors and actresses are simply voicing characters who are supposed to be American, Canadian, etc. And since the game takes place in a Crapsack World full of Scenery Gorn, there's no landmarks or areas to pinpoint where the setting might be.
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins takes place in Metro City, which is a highly decayed industrial city, most likely located somewhere in the Rust Belt.
  • Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow has a clever spin on this; the good guys know that the Big Bad is planning to deploy some sort of weapon in “the Springfield demonstration”, but they don’t know which one because there are so many Springfields in the country. It’s theorized that this is why they chose a Springfield as a target.
  • Touhou is set in Gensokyo, which exists within a barrier somewhere in Japan that’s mountainous and landlocked. Fan speculation places it in Nagano (Yatsugatake being around helps), but there's really no way of knowing for sure, and there are no official maps of the place.
  • Urban Dead is set in the zombie-infested city of Malton, which could be anywhere in the world. It features U.S.-style malls, British-style pubs, a lot of African art, and many further contradictions. It’s been speculated to be everywhere from England to America to Canada to South Africa to Belize (although fan consensus has settled on England – or some mysterious area of South Africa that gets snow every December).
  • Valve based the maps of Team Fortress 2 on the environs of the American Southwest without giving any actual clues as to where 2Fort, Hydro, Badwater, etc. are located. The fandom has a lot of fun finding real-life analogues for all the bits in the game. The War! update did put Badwater in New Mexico.
  • Nanashi no Game is set in a fictional Japanese university called “Nanto”, which also happens to be another name for the city of Nara. There’s also a subway going to the university (also called the “Nanto Line”), one apartment building is based on a real building in Fukuoka, and there’s a visit to Nakano Broadway, a real shopping mall in Tokyo.
  • Final Fight’s Metro City (as seen in the intro of the first game) is somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. Seeing as its port leads directly to the Atlantic Ocean, fan speculation either places it as New York City or close to it. New York does explicitly exist in the Street Fighter Shared Universe (as seen with Street Fighter III and the Brooklyn-born Alex, and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 showing Haggar running for mayor of New York).
  • Valkyria Chronicles takes place in Gallia, a fictional country that would be located near Poland but which takes most of its cultural and architectural cues from the Netherlands. The creators resolved this by putting Gallia in Europa, Europe’s fantastic counterpart.
  • Earlier Metal Gear games tend to take place in unspecified locations. Outer Heaven in Metal Gear 1 is supposedly 200 miles north of the Galzburg region of South Africa, which is itself a Springfield. Zanzibarland in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is only mentioned as being part of the former Soviet Union, while the real island of Zanzibar is off the coast of Tanzania. Later games, though, tend to take place either in real locations (an area of the Hudson River near lower Manhattan in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty) or fake ones explicitly marked on a world map (Shadow Moses Island in Metal Gear Solid).
  • Saints Row and Saints Row 2 take place in the fictional city of Stilwater, which has been implied to be a city in the Great Lakes region. Possibly in Illinois or Michigan. Saints Row: The Third takes place in Steelport, which is loosely based on New York City and Pittsburgh. It’s safe to say that Steelport and Stilwater are close to each other; Steelport could also be in the Great Lakes region, as it’s surrounded by water, or it could be in western Pennsylvania like Pittsburgh.
  • MOTHER takes place in the United States — in a completely unidentifiable part of the country that has no ports and just one mountain, and where they name all of the towns after various holidays.
  • The Persona series likes to do this, which is odd because most other games in the Shin Megami Tensei series are explicitly set in Tokyo.
    • The first game is set in Mikage-cho, apparently part of an unnamed larger Japanese city. There is a Mikage-cho very close to Kobe in real life, but we don't know if it’s the right one.
    • The Persona 2 duology invented Sumaru City, which is somewhere on Japan's east coast, near to but distinct from Mikage-cho. Then again, most of the first game’s cast is also present, implying that Mikage-cho is part of Sumaru.
    • Persona 3 features the city of Iwatodai; all we know about it is that it's also located somewhere on Japan's east coast and pretty much owned by the fictional Kirijo Group.
    • Persona 4 is set in the rural Dying Town of Inaba, with the nearest large city being the also fictional Okina City.
    • Persona 5 notably averts this, by taking place in the very real Shibuya, a district of Tokyo.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Donkey Kong Island's location is still officially unknown, although several aversions have been pointed outnote .
  • Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters are both set in South Town, which is somewhere in the U.S. Non-game material heavily implies that it’s in Florida and heavily inspired by Miami.
  • Paradise City in Burnout Paradise resembles Miami, but it has mountains to the northwest, which don’t exist in Florida.
  • Jet Set Radio is set in “a city that is not found on any map, called Tokyo-to. But people just call it Tokyo.” However, its locations only bear a vague resemblance to the real-life Tokyo. Grind City, on the other hand, is a mishmash of Chicago, New York, and the U.S. West Coast.
  • The Police Quest trilogy is set in the town of Lytton, which is allegedly somewhere in California.
  • Reality-On-The-Norm: It's never made clear which country Reality even lies in. At the beginning of Invasion of the Space Aliens..., the characters argue whether it’s in America or Britain, with the narrator chiming in to claim that it lies in Australia. In any case, the city seems to have its own currency, “Reality Dollars”.
  • Darkmoon Island, the site of the monthly Darkmoon Faire on World of Warcraft. While the exact location of the island is a mystery, it's likely to be between the Maelstrom and Northrend, due to being in the Great Sea, ability to catch fish found only in northern Azeroth, and there's occasionally a tuskarr visiting the faire (tuskarr are said to die just a few days after leaving their own climate, so the island is likely close to Northend). In any event, it can only be accessed during the Faire; despite (or possibly because of) shipwrecks around the island, it can't be reached by ship, even though it does have a dock.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist has several heists that looks like they take place in either Chicago or Pittsburgh due to how the cities look in each level, but even the developers don’t exactly know where the heists take place in. The Undercover heist is explicitly stated by one of the characters to take place in Washington D.C., while the Counterfeit heist is noted to take place around Pensacola, Florida (albeit a heavily-fictionalized version of it). PAYDAY 2 meanwhile almost entirely takes place in Washington D.C. (with a good chunk of the DLC heists taking place outside of it, up to and including a pair that take place in Russia and Alaska), but it's not really stated which neighborhoods the levels take place in.
  • Bayonetta:
    • About half of the first game is set in an isolated, highly-guarded city called Vigrid, which is stated to be somewhere in Europe, with no further detail. The last parts of the game move to a metropolitan island called Isla del Sol. It's quite possible that these areas are somewhere in Spain: the people of Vigrid are all very religious (nearly 70% of Spain's population identifies as Catholic), "Isla del Sol" is Spanish for "Island of the Sun", and the train icon on the map in the cutscene preceding Chapter 1 stops very close to where Spain is.
    • Bayonetta 2 is primarily set around Noatum, a fictitious town somewhere in Kazakhstan according to the pre-Chapter 1 map cutscene. Apparently, Kazahkstan is home to an impossibly tall mountain with a mysterious gate at the top.
  • Hitman:
  • While later Grand Theft Auto games were set explicitly in pastiches of New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, some of the earlier games keep the location of their cities deliberately ambiguous.
    • The setting of Grand Theft Auto 2 is literally called Anywhere City, practically daring players to pin down its location. Among other things, it houses the Russian Mafia, the Yakuza, and a Confederate-flag-waving redneck gang.
    • Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto III was located somewhere on the East Coast, based primarily on New York but also taking influence from other cities in the northeastern US. Liberty City Stories increased the New York influence, most notably by adding a Little Italy, but by Grand Theft Auto IV, they gave Liberty City a complete redesign to make it into an explicit expy of New York.
    • The prologue of Grand Theft Auto V, and one later mission, take place in North Yankton, a rural Midwestern state with brutal winters. The one town visited, Ludendorff, bears a German name indicating that the area was likely settled by German immigrants, as much of the upper Midwest was. The real-life Yankton tribe is a subset of the Western Dakota people, indicating that North Yankton is likely the GTA universe's fictional version of North Dakota.
  • Carcer City from Manhunt, through references and Canon Welding with the Grand Theft Auto games, is located somewhere close to Liberty City. Most fanon puts it in New Jersey, specifically in Newark or Camden, two cities with reputations as real-life Wretched Hives not unlike that of Carcer City, though Cleveland and Detroit are also popular candidates.
  • Bullworth, the setting of another Rockstar Games title in Bully, bears a strong and obvious Hollywood New England feel. Word of God puts it in New Hampshire specifically.
  • The city of Harran in Dying Light is somewhere in the Middle East near a lake. Where in the Middle East is a bit more confusing, everyone in the city speaks English and all the signs are in English (though this could be a Translation Convention), there are Polish flags around the city, the Old Town has an ancient Persia look while the Slums are very modern looking, and some supplementary material says it use to be part of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Harvest Town often makes references to real life people, countries and shows, and one character is explicitly stated to be a fan of Japanese heroism and Naruto, indicating that the game is set somewhere in the real world. However, Harvest Town itself is clearly not based on any specific location in the real world.
  • The eponymous team of occult detectives in Detectives United are headquartered in a location called Silent Hollow, as is sister organization the Mystery Trackers. However, the games never say where Silent Hollow is supposed to be. The only clue is that it's probably somewhere in the United States, because the main characters are indicated to have driven to Louisiana in the first game's bonus chapter.
  • Some of the maps in Overwatch are futuristic Springfields for particular countries. For instance, Ilios is a generic Greek resort town. Though there are exceptions with many of the maps being factories, estates or even movie sets (Rt. 66) rather than towns proper.

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