Why isn’t the Biltmore Estate in Video Games?

The Biltmore Estate Needs to be in a Video Game

I had the utmost pleasure of visiting the gigantic and beautiful Biltmore estate over the course of a full-day exploration that included the main building, a walk amongst the gardens, and one of its atriums.  The Biltmore estate was developed and lived in by the Vanderbilts and it is still managed by their descendants today.

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Throughout the visit, I couldn’t help but think about how amazing it would be to come across the Biltmore Estate in a video game where players could fully explore this building while playing. So when I left, I checked if it had already been done. I looked into Red Dead Redemption 2 as it seemed like it would be a good fit but it was not there and many other video games but I did not find it. With the exception of the Biltmore re-creation that someone did in Minecraft.

Location:   1 Lodge St, Asheville, North Carolina 28803

How to get there: Drive or fly into Asheville North Carolina. Then drive to the estate.

The Visit to the Biltmore Estate

We arrived at the gates of the Biltmore in our car and proceeded to drive into the estate.  Fifteen minutes later through the windy roads that went through the woods, I was still wondering when I would see the building.  The property is about 10 square miles and is filled with these curvy roads. During the ride in I was just curious about whether if I came across the Biltmore in a video game, how would I approach it. How might I sneak in with guards at the gates, how would I utilize the trees, ponds, lakes, and structures to my advantage? Finally, we arrived at a parking lot and began our walk to the Biltmore residence itself, which appeared after a short walk through a forest.

The sheer size of the Biltmore Estate main residence building exceeded my expectations since it was hidden from view during the long drive from the property line.  The final portion of the walk from the parking lot eventually queued us up for a glorious front-facing arrival at the building.  From a distance, we could see the well-curated green field with big old trees lining the walkways that led to the entrance.

One fact that I love about the Biltmore is that the Vanderbilts purchased land for many miles in all directions to maintain unspoiled views with no other buildings in sight. Something that I particularly enjoyed throughout my visit. — More photos appear at the end of this article. I couldn’t help but think that in a video game, this could be well exploited by snipers in the distance.

A view from the Biltmore Building — More photos at the bottom of the article

The Biltmore estate is more than just a single building,  The entire property can be explored and a car to get around it is recommended.  Within the woods are atriums, gardens, mountains, and even a small town inside the Biltmore estate to be explored.  

But let’s get to why the Biltmore estate belongs in a video game

Why the Bitmore estate should be in a video game

What I couldn’t get over as I walked both inside and outside of the Biltmore was how phenomenal it would be to find it in a video game.  It has beautiful expansive landscapes and 250 rooms from bedrooms to kitchens to lounging areas and what I considered an opportunity to approach the building sneakily or to simply take it head-on in a video game. In fact, as I explored the estate I was wondering if it had been in a video game or at least acted as inspiration for a location in a video game.  After some research, I did not find one.  

One of my first ideas was that it would be perfect to appear in Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) due to its “Americana” feel and the fact that it was built in 1895 while RDR2 took place in 1899.  But alas, the Biltmore did not appear within that game and no buildings based on it appeared in it either.

However, the Biltmore Estate has appeared in a wide number of movies such as Forest Gump, Murder on the Orient Express, the Last of the Mohicans, Richie Rich, and Hannibal.

So what video games do I imagine taking place at the Biltmore? Let me dig into it.

Hitman at the Biltmore Estate

Hitman is a video game series that puts the player in complex social environments and challenges them to find ways to enter restricted areas unnoticed and to kill people marked as targets for assassination all while staying unidentified by the people in the location. The targets offer multiple ways of killing them using varied strategies used by Hitman to both remain hidden and deadly. Some examples are poisoning their food, arranging for them to fall to their death, or setting them up for drowning. Along the way, the best hitman stays hidden but kills or knocks potential witnesses out and hides their bodies. Alternatively, players can cause a significant ruckus anonymously by perhaps dropping a chandelier on them or arranging for a public “accidental” electrocution.

The Biltmore estate is perfect for Agent 57 because it is an iconic location with many rooms to play with. To approach and enter the building hitman would need to either find an outdoor worker’s outfit to wear for a slick entry or perhaps quietly climb up and into the great big building through many of its glorious windows.

Hitman imagined in the Biltmore Estate
Billiard Room in the Biltmore, Asheville — More photos at the bottom of the article

Once inside there are many rooms that offer features that can be exploited. If you silently execute a person to steal their outfit, there are many ornate furniture pieces where a body could be stored. Once a target is found, Agent 57 could kill them in multiple ways. Some thoughts based on my walkthrough are that they could infiltrate the kitchen in the basement to poison the food, Hitman could loosen one of the wooden railings from the lookout points high in the building and set the target up to fall to their death or perhaps organize for a way them to drown in the pool that is inside of the Biltmore estate. The point is that the Biltmore Estate offers many options that could be exploited in a video game, all while enjoying the fact that you’re exploring the Biltmore.

The point is that the Biltmore Estate offers many options for having fun in the Hitman universe and could be the perfect place to complete a hit.

The Biltmore Estate in Red Dead Redemption 2

The Biltmore Estate could have been an interesting addition to Red Dead Redemption 2. The vast open world of RDR2 gave us that big freedom to explore the land with limited indoor options. Braithwaite Manor was the closest thing that we had to a big decadent house in the game. If Biltmore did appear in the game it would have dwarfed the size of Braithwaite Manor and its building. Perhaps the sheer size of the Biltmore Estate is what kept it out of the game, However, Rockstar Games could have used the Biltmore Estate as an artistic influence in other ornate buildings in the game, it’s just not as noticeable.

But what if it was included in RDR2?

Braithwaite Manor in RDR2 – photos of the Biltmore at the end of the article

If the Biltmore residential building had been added to RDR2, it would have been great. It could have been a well-guarded house with a kidnaped family that you needed to approach in order to free the family and teach the evil people a lesson. Perhaps the lawn in the front of the property could play host to a gathering of KKK members which we have seen in the game or a set of wealthy conspiracy people as an introduction. Once you entered the building you would need to hunt down clues on where to find the family to rescue. As you approach the front of the building there are big trees that could act as cover in a shootout with guards. The outside of the building also offers the player many opportunities to take cover behind natural objects as well as the architecture of the building which has many nooks to shelter you as you reload your weapon.

It would have been an interesting addition, but one that was not required given how large that world already was.

The Biltmore in Resident Evil

Now, this is an idea I can get behind.

Resident Evil often brings us to an “evil” property that feels both isolated and huge, often overrun by zombies or a set of very horrible people. The buildings in Resident Evil require us to explore each room in order to discover both weapons and clues that can help us access additional areas of the building – or an escape route. Resident Evil keeps your weapons in short supply so that you strive not to use them and instead somehow get around those terrible zombies in the building. Then you have the showdowns with the main disgusting characters who you’ve been observing doing evil throughout your visit. Those final showdowns are heart-pumping and require great characters to pull off. Resident Evil is a survival horror game that would be a great fit for the Biltmore Estate.

Let’s imagine Resident Evil at the Biltmore Estate. It all begins with the receipt of a strange invitation, our hero is invited to the Biltmore Estate to learn about their sister’s capture and the fact that she is alive. Once the player winds their way through the foggy rivers that run on the Biltmore Estate property and they navigate their way through the creepy woods to the back entrance of the Biltmore where they slip inside. They find that inside there are horrible umbrella-infected people who saunter around like zombies and a horrible family in various places in the Biltmore residence. But we must find the sister. Is she somewhere in the many rooms that make up the bowels of the building? You’ll only know if you survive long enough to explore it and to discover its secrets.

The fantastic amount of old rooms with wonderful features in the Biltmore Estate make it a fantastic place for creating a creepy environment. What is just outside the door of the room, I can see its shadow growing as it approaches the room I’m in. Inside the Biltmore, there are gun rooms to load up, varied kitchen rooms to offer unique horrors in, and even a gross-looking gym like the one below. There are spiral staircases leading to new floors where I could definitely imagine fending off a group of zombies as well as numerous parlors – all perfect for a creep show!

I would play Resident Evil which took place in the Biltmore any time!

Resident Evil, imagined in the Biltmore Estate
A horrible-looking gym in the Biltmore Estate – Perfect for a Resident Evil location — More photos at the bottom of the article

The Biltmore in Farcry, the Final Showdown

Farcry is best known for its main bad guys with big, no… huge personalities. In Farcry, you are a one-man army dropped into a region that has been taken over by someone very bad. Often a dictator who has no love for his people, but constantly tells his people how much he loves them. You’re job in the game is to free various areas from this terrible person’s strong hold and to reinstate freedom to the people – eventually taking out the big man himself. Typically the regions you’re freeing include wooded areas, rivers, mountains, and a number of big buildings like the Biltmore Atrium or town that exists within the Biltmore Estate. Finally in Farcry, you get to the main bad guys’ place for a final showdown. This finale requires a place of significant magnitude. Magnitude like the one that the Biltmore has already built into it.

Farcry imaginged at the Biltmore Estate
A decadent room for the Farcry finale in the Biltmore estate — More photos at end of the article

As the player, you approach the main house of the evilest bad guy, the Biltmore house. You approach from the outside taking out the guards along the way, using the bush to hide from view and using the trees to guard against bullets coming your way before fighting the guards on the rooftop and entering his phenomenal mansion – the Biltmore Estate’s residence itself. All the time the main evil character teases him over a few loudspeakers. Once inside, you check every room, killing every guard until finally, you are face to face with him in the most elegant room you’ve ever seen. This is the final showdown, but he attempts to escape you by climbing onto the rooftop and entering his helicopter to escape! As his helicopter lifts off the rooftop and tries to shoot missiles at you, you shoot him down and free the land.

Yes, The Biltmore Estate would be a perfect place for a Farcry finale.

Want more of the Biltmore? Here are some photos for ya.