Recent historical figures


Hey there! I’m new here, so before I start asking for help I just want to say that I’m a big fan of CoG, ChoiceScript, and a lot of the authors that post here. This mixture of my two favorite hobbies is pretty awesome and I’m really glad it exists.

OK, on to the asking for help: I’ve been planning and starting to write a game that takes place in the relatively recent past (last half-century or so), and I’m wondering what the limitations for using real people and places are? The story I envisioned was a sort of interactive Forrest Gump, where the player would be present for a lot of major historical events, and those events would serve as the backdrop for the player’s personal adventure, which is where the choices would come into play. The only game I’ve played that did anything like this was Choice of the Vampire.

So I guess what I’m asking is what liberties can I take with real life historical figures? Can I have the player have a conversation with a famous musician or former president? Can I have the player influence the actions that influenced history? Thanks to anyone who takes the time to answer me. There’s a huge amount of research involved, so I’d like to make sure I have a firm grasp of what I can do as I write this.


You absolutely can do that.

I believe the early Choice of the Vampire game did quite a lot of that actually.

Historical figures are in the public domain in a way simply due to who they are, so your only risk is if your game becomes so popular because of its deeply racist/sexist/etc depiction of a person that they notice and ask you to take it down. Although frankly you probably won’t be able to sell it through this site if there’s anything notably racist/sexist/etc anyway.


As long as your don’t overly exaggerate the person or sort of, throw their name in dirt intentionally, it should be fine.

Darn it, @Moreau, I was a minute too late. shakes fist


*Rides off into the sunset on a majestic white steed.


Wow, thank you both for the fast response. Not planning to be nasty to anyone, I just think history makes for good context. I guess I’ve got no excuse not to write then. Thanks again!


On behalf of my companion here, allow me to say,“No problem!” tips @Moreau


Well, for historical figures, a good rule of thumb would probably be to portray them accurately - and not go too much overboard with any Historical Hero Upgrade and/or Historical Villain Upgrade; you might catch some flak if you do that, though there’s arguably plenty of fiction here and there that thrives on that sort of thing, but… Hard to go wrong with portraying them accurately; it’s a fairly neutral approach to things, that’s all, so it might be an apprach to consider if you’re worried about drawing critism or ire regarding your prtrayal of said historical figures :slightly_smiling: .


Not sure what you mean by Historical Hero Upgrade or Historical Villain Upgrade?

As far as accuracy, the events that take place would be historical, the player wouldn’t be changing history. The only fictional parts would be the player’s involvement. For instance, maybe the player is put in a position where he advises a historical figure on a major decision. The historical figure would make the same decision he made in real life, but the way the player advised would maybe change their relationship or something else within the player’s story.




Ah, yeah, I can see how that would be an easy trap to fall into. I’ll do my best not to. I usually believe most people have motives that are understandable from their POV at least.

Thanks for the good advice @DarkSpeck and thanks for getting creative with your keyboard @UmbraLamia.


Basically what UmbraLamia said :slightly_smiling: . And you’re welcome :slightly_smiling: