Archaeology, history, and the videogame industry

Wednesday 9 November 2022 (16:00-17:30)

Dr Kate Smith (


The UK has the largest video game sector in Europe. In 2021 the industry generated over £7.16 billion for the British economy and is becoming one of the UK’s fasted growing creative sectors. As the home of Lara Croft and the headquarters of many videogame developers, the Midlands has a long and continuing connection with videogame design and production.


This workshop will bring together historians and archaeologists, who have worked as consultants to video games developers, alongside industry professionals in videogame development, to talk about their own experiences and the challenges and possibilities of future collaboration. Our panel includes Dr James Baillie (Vienna), Founder, Exilian and Coding Medieval Worlds, Dr Claudia Baldassi, Paradox Interactive Games, Dr Lauren Wainwright (KES), Historical consultant and will be chaired by Dan Reynolds (Birmingham).

As historians and archaeologists the expansion in gaming has never been more relevant. From the adventures of Tomb Raider to the stories of Assassin’s Creed, Age of Empires, Call of Duty and Civilisation, the past also continues to provide a fruitful source of inspiration for virtual storytelling and entertainment. The use of virtual world reconstruction is also set to become an important tool in university education and how we, as historians and archaeologists, disseminate our research to non-specialist audiences. 

Yet, as with film and print media, digital technology is not immune from projecting and replicating some of the more problematic legacies of our disciplines: from nationalism and origin myths, to violence, racism, sexism and notions of manifest destiny. To what extent should we, as historians and archaeologists, take a more active role in collaborating with video game developers to ensure that the latest research and methodological approaches are an embedded feature of the virtual creative process?  If we do wish to get involved, how do we make those connections? Our panellists will discuss these themes and questions.

This event has been organised by the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC).