(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOMNNy0Fd04 (/ embed)
Assassin's Creed is without a doubt one of the best series of games for virtual tourism, either for climbing the pyramids or jumping from the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Now, as you saw Eurogamer, Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Ubisoft to launch a campaign, marking the first time the game has been used in a country’s official tourism ad.
The ad, which you can see above, shows several Irish locations from Assassin's Creed Valhalla's latest Wrath of the Druids DLC, such as Benbulbin, Giant's Causeway and Dublin, which obviously has changed a lot since Eivor was in the 850s. The combination of photographs and images of the game from real-life locations, accompanied by proper epic music, makes it an effective ad, as well as emphasizing the incredible look of the facsimile of Ireland by Valhalla.
In a statement, Tourism Ireland says the campaign has also named several influencers "with a strong Twitch from the UK, Germany, France, Spain and the Nordic countries to serve as ambassadors (presumably at stake) of Irish tourism. ". Ubisoft has done an amazing job in bringing aspects of Celtic Ireland to life with amazing details. The Tourism Ireland campaign is a fun and innovative way to bring the island of Ireland to the attention of a new audience of players. We want to pique players ’curiosity about prominent locations and inspire them to come and explore them in the real world,” says Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director.
While all of this sounds like a fun idea, it makes me wonder how much of a niche game tourism really is. None of Assassin’s Creed’s previous locations suffered from a tourism shortage before they appeared in the game, or at least none of them reported significant rises due to their inclusion in a game. Sure, there are a lot of Youtube videos of players exploring real-life locations for games like Yakuza, but often the fun is finding something you already know in a game, not the other way around, and millions of people always they have enjoyed contemplating impressive buildings from all over the world. The question is whether a gaming tourism campaign can be one of the new ways to get people to travel, now that countries are trying to resurrect tourism after the pandemic.