The series is titled The Samite Belt and covers 14th century Bolgar, 16th century Kazan, and 16th century Sviyazhsk.
The Bolgar Virtual Museum has been in the works since 2014 by KFU, Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, and Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering. After reconstructing buildings, crafts, utensils, and clothes the scientists decided to not stop at that and turn this database into a virtual world with its own captivating stories.
The first game about Bolgar already has fully reconstructed urban environments and interiors of key buildings. The story is under development – the gist of it is that the protagonist has to carry out tasks for the Emir of Bolgar, all the while learning about the city and being immersed in urban life.
Project Leader, Deputy Director of the Institute of International Relations, History and Oriental Studies Rail Fakhrutdinov explains, “While making the games we task ourselves with educating the users – mostly high schoolers and middle schoolers – not only about history but also about interethnic relations. Cities of our region could boast diversity at that time, which is confirmed by multiple archaeological findings. There are already several dozen character models of different ethnicities of Tatarstan. We are creating content about material and spiritual culture of medieval cities”.
The team is currently working on recreating models of artifacts which have been found in Bolgar – supposedly the player will have to collect them during the quests. All the items are described in detail in the game’s FAQ and give a comprehensive representation of everyday life in the city.
The players will have an opportunity to study Bolgar, its planning, fortifications, residences and outbuildings, mosques, mausoleums, cemeteries, roads, markets, bathhouses, and much more. Different ethnicities with their characteristic customs and trades will be represented. The protagonist will be able to try working in different crafts as well.
Of course, a number of real historical figures will be met along the way – together with fictional characters. The game is slated for release in 2018. Games about Kazan and Sviyazhsk are scheduled for 2019 and 2020 respectively.