I have been following Ashes of Creation since 2016/2017 and I’ve loved everything that Intrepid Studios have done with the game. However, I can’t help but notice that the largest continent on the planet and arguably the source of human life itself seems to be completely missing from the game as a cultural inspiration! I’m talking about Africa and what the continent’s culture has to offer. And trust me, I’m not the only one that has asked this question.
Talking about race and cultures in any form online is always a touchy subject, that being said it’s still a conversation that has to be made. One of Ashes of Creation’s appeals is the way they have created races and cultures in the game, and how the races are either influenced or inspired by real-life major cultures. Race in the game is not just an aesthetic but plays an integral part of the game’s philosophy
To put it more simply, every continent of Earth has some representation in the game, from its architecture, armor design, and everything in between. All except Africa! Which I find odd! I wouldn’t have said anything had the game only had European inspiration or just Asian inspiration, but Intrepid went and included a lot of cultures, basically covering the globe, so you have to imagine my disappointment when there’s not a lick of African inspiration to be found anywhere.
Let me be clear, being able to CREATE a Black African character is NOT the same as seeing African-inspired items, buildings, and armor in the game. That’s what I am referring to when I say “African Influence”. And before you go to comments and say that the Vaelune are the represent…no! It is well established that the Vaelune are Middle Eastern-inspired. And after their rebuild, they’ve leaned heavily into that!
And no, North Africa is not part of the Middle East. I hope you know that before commenting on that as well. The Middle East and North Africa are two separate regions with their own unique cultures and should be respected, despite their common spoken language and religion. Look, when you break down all the races in Ashes of Creation and what they were inspired by, you’ll quickly realize how every continent got some form of representation, all except for Africa. I’m not talking about race of dark-skinned, I’m talking about cultural aesthetics, I can create a dark-skinned Kaelar, I know that, but want to see African culture represented, especially when it feels like the rest of the world did.
All Real Race Influence in Ashes In Creation:
- Aelean culture (parent race) is the French Medieval
- Kaelar draw its influence from a more general European influence
- Dünir sub-race draws its influence from Nordic cultural influences
- Pyrian parent race architecture is the Greco-Roman style which is shared by the Empyrean sub-race.
- Vaelune has a Middle Eastern Influence.
- Niküa sub-race has a Polynesian influence
- The Ren’kai sub-race appears to draws its influence from an Asian/Japanese cultural influence
- Vek sub-race has a Mesoamerican racial influence.
- Py’Rai is a Navajo/Native American influence
As you can see, every region in the world got some form of representation, (Europe got four), and Africa being one of the largest continents on earth, with a rich variety of cultures to pluck from, you can see why I find it odd that it has been largely ignored. I am aware that Intrepid Studio recently revealed a desert biome, which if you look at it, some areas strongly resemble African landscapes quite a bit. Some will look at that and say “look that’s Africa’s representation in the game“, however, that in itself is another problem. Africa is always just known or used for its landscapes and nothing else, playing into the myth of the dark continent.
There’s one Ashes of Creation race that has no cultural influence yet, which is the Tulnar, who are not direct descendants of any of the Four Parent Races. Instead, they are the great-great (times thousands) grandchildren of those who were trapped on Verra at the time of the Exodus. Now, this is where I’m stuck. On one hand, making them have an African cultural influence would answer my question, and complete the picture Intrepid Studios is painting. Africa is the birthplace of humanity, and is incredibly diverse in terms of genetic variation, which “kinda” lends itself well to the Tulnar and their “genetic craziness”! Plus, it would save Intrepid Studios from having to tack on assets later on as DLC. They look cool too so there that.
On the other hand, normally I would NEVER advocate for Africa to have any association with Beastial tribes since Africans deal with a lot of negative stereotypes and racist connations, something I’m sure Intrepid would like to avoid if they feel they’re not capable of handling it well. However, given that they used Asian/Japanese culture for orcs, Nordics with dwarves, and Native Americans with dark elves, I think we can tolerate the Tulnar having African influence. I mean having Dragon or Lion wearing African-inspired attire and armor isn’t all that bad, you know? And giving they’ve talked about sliders to determine how “human” you can look, you can make them as human-like as possible, so I think it’s fine.
Here’s some architectural idea for how I would create the nodes:
- Expedition : self-explanatory
- Encampment – again self-explanatory
- Village – Zulu huts or other similar in fashion
- Town – Lalibela, Pate City, or Zeila
- City – Timbuktu, Carthage, Benin City, Aksum
- Metropolis – Take inspiration from either Songhai Empire, Ancient Nubia, or Kingdom of Aksum at its peak
For architectural ideas, here are a few to say the least:
- Tadjourah, Djibout
- The Ndomo, Ségou, Mali.
- Musgum compound
- Kingdom of Lesotho
- Hausa architecture, West Africa
- Watamu Treehouse, Kenya East Africa
- Emperor Yohannes IV’s 19th century palace at Mekelle, Ethiopia
- Palace at Korhogo, Northern Ivory Coast
- Mosque at Kismayo, Somalia
- Benin City
- Kaedi architecture Mauritania
- Songhai empire architecture
For weapons, please refer to this great list of African weapons that Intrepid could pluck from:
- Kenyan and Congo: https://artsandculture.google.com/story/ZAWBb6QeUuhmLA
- Another list of African weapons: https://www.hamillgallery.com/SITE/Weapons.html
Is it copium at this point? Yeah, but I still want Africa to be represented somehow if Intrepid has no plans to use African influence on the Tulnar. Then again I have no idea how the other cultures from the real world felt about the game. Maybe the Japanese have voiced their displeasure at seeing their culture mixed with orcs, or the native Americans. Or maybe they’re cool with it. Who knows! All I want is answers. When you see every corner of the globe included in a game, naturally questions will be raised when an entire continent has been left out completely.
Anyways let me know what you guys think!