Not so many players know that several games are based on books, comics, short stories, movies, and other pieces of art and literature. The group includes some cult classic video games, such as The Witcher series, which build their original story on literature.
Writing a game is not an easy task, at least a good one. For this reason, many developers look for ideas, initially, at this type of inspiration.
If you don’t know which ones fit this category, keep reading. We’ve done the research and created Best Video Games Based on Books list.
The Witcher Series
The Witcher 3 is very likely the most famous video game based on books. Also, a complete success in both cases. The first book of The Geralt of Rivia Saga - on which the Witcher games are based - was released in 1992 by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
The name of this first book is “Sword of Destiny,” a short story collection. Then, several Witcher novels saw the light over the years.
Thanks to the great video game adaptation, every fan can enjoy the path of Geralt of Rivia, the hunter of monsters – starting from its first game – The Witcher for PC – to The Witcher III: Wild Hunt GOG.
And on March 22, 2022, CD Projekt Red officially revealed that The Witcher 4 – or at least a new monster hunter game – is in development. We hope to see it in the future.
Although it may not seem, the Bioshock series is based on the novels and philosophies of Ayn Rand, the Russian writer and thinker.
The philosophy of Rand is called “Objectivism,” a political/social/economic system in which people are fully responsible for themselves, creating a mature society where nobody owes another person.
The Bioshock’s creator uses the game as an excuse to bring to the fore a question that Rand’s philosophy establishes in its writing: How would a society in which nobody owns allegiance to anyone function?
Everything in the absolute reality of the first game takes the main premise of the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The main character, Andrew Ryan, is a direct nod to the author's name. Besides, Ryan creates his own underwater city, Rapture, just like John Galt, the main character in the novel. Get Bioshock - The collection Steam CD Key and immerse yourself in this individual world extracted from the Rand’s mind.
The Assassin’s Creed series producer said that the original game was inspired by the novel Alamut by Vladimir Bartol, written in 1938. The novel sets in Alamut, a Persian fortress near Tehran. In the 11th century, the Alamut was ruled by a missionary called Hassan-i Sabbah and his band of assassins.
The main plot, locations and the spirit of the adventure of the Assassin’s Creed video game series is strongly influenced by the context of the book. You can also notice a direct resemblance between the main characters of both works. There are also similarities between the clothes described in the pages of the book and the relationships between the characters. Even the Assassin’s motto, “nothing is true; everything is permitted,” appears in the game too.
Metro 2033 Series
This is a survival horror game based on a novel of 2005 of the same name by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Just like the novel, the game takes place in the subway system of a dystopian Moscow that has been devastated by a nuclear war.
Artyom, the book's protagonist, is the same character as in the video game, and he’s not the only one. Many characters appear in both works almost without alterations.
The book was launched in the United States in 2010, the same year as the video game. This may mean that the idea of promoting both worlds existed at some point.
Both Metro 2033 Redux Steam CD Key and Metro: Last Light are set in the same universe. Unlike the other games on the list, Dmitry Glukhovsky is listed in the game’s credits.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
This is is an action adventure based on the 16th-century Chinese classic novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en. This game, at some point, reinterprets the Monkey King character of the book and his characteristic headband. This is something prevalent in eastern cosmovision, where artworks, such as manga, tales, tv shows, and video games interpret classic tales of their civilization.
The original novel centers around Xuanzang (called “Tripitaka” in some English translations), a character who enlists others to help him on his journey. In the game, Tripitaka is a young woman, Trip, who asks the main playable hero you control, Monkey, to help her travel across the ruins of New York.
However, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West moves the setting from a fantastical tale-inspired China to a post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting. The game shares many of the characters of the original book. What’s more, the game is far more lighthearted than the source material and more suitable for family game time.
The Stalker games are influenced by the film Stalker, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and loosely based on Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky.
Both adaptations – the film and the video game saga – focus on science fiction with people adventuring into tainted zones full of danger, fiction, and wealth. In the novel, the main character Redrick “Red” Schuhart, is an experienced Stalker who visits restricted zones abandoned by an extraterrestrial in looking for valuable objects.
Stalker games, such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Steam CD Key, are great first-person shooters with mysterious features, which gives the game an interesting atmosphere of uncertainty and solitude. All games of the franchise follow the same mechanics and context of the original work.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
When you play any of the Tom Clancy games, you join the book series world of the acclaimed writer, Tom Clancy. The games Rainbow Six: Vegas Ubisoft Connect CD Key and Vegas 2 are directly based on the American author's novel of the same name, Rainbow Six.
The acclaimed author of novels such as The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears was the co-founder of the developer Red Storm Entertainment in 1998, the studio that released the game Rainbow Six.
In short, this is a first-person shooter that relives all the action of the books, with a lot of infiltration elements and teamwork. You’ll have to gain the ability to disarm your enemy and face the enemy's team using skills and intelligence.
Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II
Probably, most readers and fans will easily identify the book this game is connected with. This real-time strategy game launched in 2006 is based on The Lord of the Rings novels by J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson movie saga. More specifically, it’s based on the universe and lore created by the English author.
In this game, just like in the old classic book, you can be part of two campaigns, either good or evil, by commanding Dwarfs, Elves, Goblins, Humans, Orcs, Shelob, and Ringwraiths. You’ll recognize any zone of the original work, maps and locations of the original story, many winks to the mythological battles and conflicts, and many references to the ring.
American McGee’s Alice
As you can imagine, when you read the name “Alice,” this game is directly related to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the classic tale. Of course, there are some important differences between this game and the original story.
One of the main changes is that in the video game, Alice, after tumbling down the rabbit hole, becomes a murderer and an arsonist. What? Yes, we know, this is a totally different point of view.
American McGee’s Alice is an unofficial sequel to the Lewis Caroll Alice in Wonderland books. The events of this game happen six years after the novel’s events. They feature a darker Alice than before, who set fire to her home and killed her entire family. She is set to Rutledge Asylum, but ten years later, she returns to Wonderland, which is altered along with its inhabitants.
This is a psychological horror game - which makes sense with the atmosphere of the original title - with certain elements of platforming and action. American McGee’s Alice incorporates more content than the book in addition to puzzles, a darker narrative, exploration elements, and more.
The games we’ve mentioned before are works that are closely related to books and novels. Next, we’ve listed some games that take inspiration from books but not in their entirety.
Spec Ops: The Line
This game is based on the novel “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. Just like other creations, such as Apocalypse Now, the game reinterprets the events of the books set in the Vietnam War.
Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu Steam CD Key takes direct inspiration from the horror stories of author H. P. Lovecraft. Though their reliance on cosmic horror makes the author's work difficult to adapt, Call of Cthulhu combines these stories into one great atmospheric first-person mystery game.
Dynasty Warriors series
This vast saga is a great page of history, based on the book Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, released in 1522. This is a historical novel sets in the second century of our age, at the end of the Han Dynasty. This game was launched for Xbox Series, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch. Dynasty Warriors 9: Empires Steam CD Key is a great option to start in the saga.
This “souls” game is heavily influenced by Lovecraft’s library and trademark horror. Bloodborne adapts much of Lovecraft's, borrowing Lovecraftian beasts and horrors that you’ll find while crossing the city of Yharnam.
The first Parasite Eve (1998) is a direct adaptation and sequel to the original novel Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena, published in 1996. This book established the main plot of the series, being a great example of the sci-fi horror genre.
Games Based on Books Conclusions
As you can see, some great games are influenced by books, films, manga, or other media. Some developers love the written word and transfer this feeling to their creations and video games.
We’ve given only a small look at some games based on books. It’s very likely you’ve already played some of them. But, if not, we recommend you do it as soon as possible. They’ll give a pleasant surprise!
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