I'm not sure about in other areas of the world, but localism is becoming A Thing in Britain. For a long time home grown British things were despised, through a combination of fascination with the world outside and all its exoticism (The Empire was a bad thing, but it certainly made Britain a place that was interested primarily in foreign climes); a fascination with immigrant cultures (particularly from India and Pakistan) which replaced the old suspicion people held for them; and the legacy of industrialisation, which had taken a mostly rural population and transformed it into a mostly urban one over the course of 100 years, replacing local traditions, culture and knowledge with bland uniformity. (Any mainland European visitor to Britain will be amazed at how everybody eats the same things, all city centres have exactly the same shops, and everybody dresses exactly the same way.)
In the past 10 years or so, though, I have noticed a significant trend towards localism, particularly favouring local produce. British people have always been extremely proud of their regional allegiances, but this switch to appreciating locally-made foods and drinks is significantly new. You really notice it when visiting the countryside. Everywhere you go you find micro-breweries making local beers, local dairy farms producing local cheeses, local fisheries producing local seafood, local restaurants selling locally-sourced meats. Part of this is, I think, because of consciousness about the environment (people want to buy local because they think it means less of a carbon footprint from transportation), part of it is wanting to support British producers (I think Britain is generally a more patriotic place than it has been for probably 30 years), and partly it is lead by the BBC, which for whatever reason has been producing series upon series about British history, geography and culture in recent years.
Generally speaking I like this trend. I think the economic and environmental arguments supporting it are probably utterly bogus, but it doesn't matter: Britain is a very interesting country, with interesting local traditions and dialects and music, and with a delicious and varied cuisine which is not well represented by the shit most people actually eat.
I got to thinking about this recently because the local supermarket sells smoked Northumberland cheese, locally sourced, which is probably the most heavenly thing I have ever eaten. As I was stuffing my face with this last night, I started to ponder: is there, or could there be, a local trend in gaming? Might gamers, like foodies, become more interested in setting games in their local areas - whether fantasy-inflected or otherwise?
The advantage of the move towards the local is that knowledge is extremely high. Not to get all Hayekian on a Monday evening, but knowledge in society is dispersed and decentralised: the closer you are to something, the better you know it. I noticed that, when I ran a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign about a year ago set in the area I grew up (Merseyside), I felt a level of comfort with the setting which I don't normally have. Whenever a player asked me something, I was able to respond with the familiarity and detail which only a local person could have (and the players, also being locals, were able to flesh out their characters and the setting very easily too). It's standard for a DM to know his own setting, and nothing less should be expected. But you can't know a fictional place you've made up as well as, and in anything like the same level of detail as, you know a real-world place you know intimately.
Localism in gaming does not have to be modern. Because I grew up in the North West of England, I know the climate and geography of the place very well. I know the landscape, I know the weather, I know the way the sky looks, I know how green the grass is. It would be very easy for me to simply remove what currently exists in terms of human habitation, and replace it with a complete fantasy culture/cultures and society/societies, while retaining the geography and all of those things I know about the physical space as a wilderness. This would give a game I ran in that environment a level of authenticity I could not give a completely created fantasy setting (in, say a desert or a jungle), because of all the extra knowledge I have about how the place feels.
Of course, part of the fun of role playing is using your imagination, so I would hardly advocate only ever running locally-based games. But isn't it a notion worth considering?