We see alternate history as a genre in literature, media, and gaming from time to time. It is always fun to entertain the what ifs of history. Especially in gaming. For that reason, I present you the best 21 alternate history games ever.
Side note: Alt history or historical fantasy games below are mostly about war and dystopia. Because world wars what shaped the future of human society, we currently live in.
Time Travel RPGs < Also check.
Finally, I would like to recommend alt history literature The Man in the High Castle. It takes a look at what the world might look like had the outcome of World War II turned out differently. If you don’t like reading, you can check its TV series adaptation of the same name on Amazon prime video.
Top alternative history games:
1. Wolfenstein Series
Wolfenstein games are the best when it comes to capturing what ifs of the history. The game is set in an alternate history in which WW2 won by AXIS forces. Player takes the role of William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, an American army captain and icon of resistance.
You’ll be fighting against high-tech Nazi legions, mega robots, heavily guarded facilities, and some historical characters. Evidently, the gameplay is all about mayhem and destruction.
There are total 14-15 Wolfenstein games released throughout years. Since most of them are really old, I recommend you start from Wolfenstein: The New Order 2014. It’s still good in terms of graphics, gameplay, and UI. Actually, it’s highest rated Wolfenstein game as well.
2. Hearts of Iron IV
HOI4 is a WW2 grand strategy game developed and published by our favorite studio Paradox. The game has two start dates:
- 1936: 3 years before WW2. Lots of times to prepare for war and alter the history.
- 1939: Just before the WW2 starts.
After picking a start date, you get to pick any country you want from the entire world. The history is static and correct at the start. But the moment you start the game, you have power to alter the history. You can make AXIS win the war, let France go communist to join Soviet Bloc, or remove Hitler from power to install democratic Germany. That’s the way you can experience alternative history in HOI4.
Of course, there are some alternate history mods that are changing the starting positions. For example, Kaiserreich mod entertains the idea of Germany winning WW1.
HOI4 ALTERNATE HISTORY MODS < Brilliant mods.
3. Crusader Kings 3
Crusader Kings 3 is more than a map painter strategy game. It’s about dynasty, relationship, and marriage. In essence, CK3 is the life-simulation of medieval nobility and an RPG. It’s one of those games where you can have family.
CK3 is the same as HOI4. Two start dates:
- 867: Sons of Ragnar Lothbrok invading England to avenge their father’s death. What’ll be the fate of England? Meanwhile Magyar invasion of Europe and Iberian Struggle is about to begin.
- 1066: England is again under the invasion. But this time attackers are Normans and Norwegians. Iberia in pieces, and Iberian struggle is stirring. Seljuk invading Byzantine. Holy Roman Empire is formed, and anyone in the Empire can become the emperor elect if one plays his hand correctly.
I mean, you start altering history the moment you start playing CK3. The game ends in 1453, and by the time it ends, you might even conquer the entire world…
4. Europe Universalis IV
Third and the last Paradox 4k strategy game of this list is Europa Universalis IV. The game starts at 11th of November 1444, and you choose a country to play from all over the world.
As always, the state world at the start is historical. But the moment you start playing, you alter the history. For example, what if renaissance start in France instead of Italy? Or perhaps it was Ottomans who colonized the Americas… Ha ha. Though the hardest challenge would be preventing Byzantine fall… (Remove kebab.)
5. Atom RPG
ATOM RPG is a post-apocalyptic game inspired by the Fallout, Wasteland, Deus Ex, and Baldur’s Gate. Basically, it’s a game trying to be like old cult classic RPG masterpieces.
The game is set in an alternate history where both Soviet Union and the Western Bloc were destroyed in mutual nuclear bombings in 1986. You’re one of the survivors of the apocalypse and your mission is to survive.
Once you finish the game, go straight into the ATOM RPG: Trudograd. It’s a stand-alone sequel released in 2021.
6. Fallout 4
Fallout is a post-apocalyptic RPG franchise each game set in different era. However, all of them set in an alternative future where the world is destroyed by nuclear apocalypse. Now I’ll be presenting Fallout 4 because it’s the latest release.
Main story of Fallout 4 takes place in the year 2287, 210 years after the Great War. You take control of a character who emerges from a long-term cryogenic stasis in fallout shelter called Vault 111. You’ll find a dilapidated world before you. But there are many things to do in it. Such as exploring, completing quests, helping factions, fighting mutants, and getting stronger!
7. Paradise Lost
Here is another alternate history game about World War 2. In Paradise Lost, WW2 continued 20 more years and ended when Nazis launched nuclear missiles on most of Europe.
You play as Szymon, a 12-year-old boy who’s just discovered a huge Nazi complex wandering the barren.
Delve into the retro futuristic bunker where high-tech is intertwined with mysterious, Slavic pagan imagery and explore the underground city hidden within. We know that the Nazis were deep into occult. Paradise Lost entertains that idea too.
8. Freedom Fighters
Freedom Fighters is a 2003 third-person shooter game set in an alternate history in which the Soviet Union has invaded New York City. You are part of the group that is resisting against the occupation. You must fight tooth and nail to retake your country from Soviet invaders.
It’s a 20-year-old game but is one of the cult classics. I’ve played in on both PC and PS2 back in the day and had a blast. If you don’t mind the clunky gameplay or outdated graphics, give it a shot. You won’t regret it.
INDUSTRIA is an atmospheric narrative and a first-person shooter taking place in a parallel reality. The game starts in East Berling during Cold War. You are on the search for a missing work colleague, and you decipher a dark past in a mysterious parallel dimension.
The game is 4 hours long. Therefore, it offers a short experience, but a satisfying one. You can expect rich story, mysterious atmosphere, deadly danger, and unique soundtrack.
All in all, you should definitely play this unique game, especially if you can get a discount bargain.
In Prey, you awaken aboard Talos I, a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. You are the key subject of an experiment meant to alter humanity forever. However, thing have gone terribly wrong, and the space station is overrun by hostile aliens. Not by biological aliens, but psychic, ghostly, and unnatural ones. What’s more, they’re hunting for you!
In order to survive you must use the tools you found on the station, weapons, your wits, and newly developed mind-bending abilities.
11. Metro Exodus
First game of the series Metro 2033 takes place in the city of Moscow, Russia 20 years after a global nuclear holocaust in 2013. Moscow has become a nuclear wasteland filled with mutants, radiation, and poisoned air. Therefore, all the survivors went into the underground metros of Moscow.
The games are based on the Dmitry Glukhovsky’s alternative history novels Metro 2033, Metro 2034, and Metro 2035.
Metro games release order:
- Metro 2033
- Metro: Last Light
- Metro Redux
- Metro Exodus
Metro Redux is the re-make of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light. So, you can start from Metro Redux and then play Metro Exodus which is a sequel to Metro: Last Light.
12. We Happy Few
We Happy Few is an action-adventure game set in the alternative 1960s England. The city is drug-fuelled, and retro futuristic.
We Happy Few features a dystopia you’ve never heard before. In this world everyone is happy, because of drugs. You and a handful of people are trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial. You’ll either fight or blend in with the drug-addled inhabitants.
13. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
Historically, the Chernobyl accident happened in 1986. In the alternate history of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, a second massive explosion happens in year 2006.
Of course, second explosion causes complete destruction of society, violent mutants, deadly anomalies, and warring factions. Chornobyl become a very tough place to survive. Nevertheless, artifacts of unbelievable value attracted people called S.T.AL.K.E.R.s, and you’re one of them!
Will you be able to make a fortune out of it? Perhaps you’ll find the truth concelad in the Heart of Chernobly.
14. Mad Max Series
If you’ve watched Mel Gibson‘s or Tom Hardy‘s Mad Max, you know the story. In Mad Max universe society collapses, nuclear war follows. Eventually, world becomes a wasteland. What’s more, society continues to break down even further.
Let’s get back to the game. You’re Mad Max, lone warrior in a savage post-apocalyptic world. Cars and gasoline are the key to survival. You must scavenge and fight against vicious gangs to survive!
15. The Silent Age
The Silent Age is a point-and-click adventure game. Therefore, it’s a game that you can relax and enjoy at the same time.
You play as Joe, a simple janitor tasked with saving humanity from extinction. How so? Well, you find a mysterious time travel device, explore the groovy present of 1972 and the post-apocalyptic future of 2012.
You can prevent the post-apocalyptic future by discovering the purpose behind. So, explore 10 chapters filled with unique locations, meet interesting characters, and solve puzzles!
16. Game Dev Tycoon
In Game Dev Tycoon you replay and re-shape the history of gaming industry by starting your own company in 80s.
You start developing text-based games with 2D graphics in your garage. As the time progress, new consoles appear, you develop better games, and move to a huge office.
The gameplay is rather easy. You simply mix genres and develop games. For example, mixing RPG with fantasy always work. Same goes for simulation and sports. Basically, you can create most popular games before they’re developed by others!
17. Mars Horizon
Mars Horizon is a management / strategy game about space race. The game starts in 1957, just before the historical launch of Sputnik. Then you take control of a space agency with the purpose of colonizing Mars. I wonder if Elon Musk plays Mars Horizon… He does in IRL I guess.
There are many space related things to do in Mars Horizon. Such as constructing a base, building rockets, designing, and conducting missions through the solar System.
Time to write your own history of the Space exploration, and colonization.
18. Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Hitler’s hordes are back from dead. What did you just say? Killing Nazi zombies in 1940s Europe? Sign me up!
Zombie Army 4: Dead War features:
- Abominable occult enemies.
- Hordes of zombies.
- Epic weapons.
- Harrowing new campaign for 1-4 players.
19. Iron Harvest
Iron Harvest is a classic real-time strategy game with epic single player campaign, PvP, and co-op modes.
The game is set in an alternative history of 1920+ where robot war machines created for the purpose of war. You’ll be leading dozens of different units including mechs to wipe out your enemies.
I want to say something about the campaign too. Iron Harvest features 50 hours of campaign with epic battles, destruction, heroism, and perfectly written rich story. All in all, Iron Harvest is a gem for those who enjoy real-time-strategy games in general.
20. Not Tonight 1 & 2
Not Tonight is a life simulation RPG franchise with 2D graphics. The game is set in a world broken world.
- Not Tonight 1: Broken alternative Britain where Brexit talks have collapsed, and extreme far-right government has taken power. Will you join the resistance and fight against regime or keep your head down and hope that one day someone will save you?
- Not Tonight 2: This time the game is set in an alternative broken America. Capitalism and political greed have turned USA into an Orwellian dystopia.
In sum, Not Tonight games feature an alternative universe which is broken and ruled with high extremism.
Let’s wrap things up with a tactical sci-fi RPG set in an alternative 1970’s. That’s Encased guys and gals.
In this fantasy universe, a Dome is discovered in a remote desert. It’s an enormous, inexplicable artifact. Of course, various factions trying to get their hands on it.
You start as an ordinary company employee, but eventually become more and more involved with the events around the Dome. Soon you’ll find yourself in an open world filled with riches and danger. You must team up with unique companions, make hard choices, assist a faction, and survive the upcoming apocalypse!
You’ve read about the best alternate history games ever. Now it’s your turn. Leave a nice comment below and let me know your favorite game of this genre. See you soon, take care!