Aberdeen’s grisly medieval history could become the inspiration for Game Of Thrones-style computer games.
A new study by Aberdeen University examines how information contained within the Burgh Records collection – which dates back to 1398 – can be portrayed in gaming form.
The research project, called Playing in the Archives: Game Development with Aberdeen’s Medieval Records, will be conducted by historian Dr William Hepburn.
He said the Burgh Records – which have been recognised by UNESCO – are a treasure trove of information, some of which will be included in a prototype game.
Series like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, as well as popular game Kingdom Come Deliverance have all drawn inspiration from the period.
The 34-year-old said: “I want people to experience the history of Aberdeen dynamically through what they do in the game, rather than just as passive observers.
“Once we get the prototype we can maybe apply for a larger grant so we can use the game for both fun and for historical education.
“The Aberdeen archive offers a rich portrait of the people who made up the town such as Canny Leis, who was punished for flinging the contents of a toilet bucket over a fellow townsperson, or the ruthless John Rutherford, who reneged on his uncle’s dying wish and set his dogs loose on a rival neighbour’s sheep.
“There are certainly characters to be explored in our medieval records.”
The study, which began at the end of January, is also looking for students to work alongside William.
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Something similar to popular mobile game Reigns, which has as Game of Thrones inspired version, could be developed based on the records.
Dr Hepburn said: “This isn’t really my area of expertise, I am a historian, so I am just trying to get in touch with as many people from the gaming industry as possible.
“The influence of the medieval period more than almost any other period in time can be seen in the gaming world. Its close relationship to Lord Of The Rings has been formative in fantasy fiction and that in turn has influenced digital media.
“You can see the impact of the medieval theme in character development and game aesthetics, even when they are not directly based in this era.
“Here in Aberdeen we have a truly magnificent resource documenting medieval life and so I am delighted to be working to see what this treasure of our city can offer the wider world of game development.”
Archivist Phil Astley, of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives, said: “Bringing 21st Century technology together with Aberdeen’s unique records will make for a fascinating project, with the potential to open up the registers to a completely new audience.”