Game concepts aren’t always the fruit of a brilliant game writer who conjures up a fantastic IP out of thin air. Sometimes they are inspired by books. Yeah, you know, the things you read and are full of words that no one uses in normal conversation. Here are six authors who’ve inspired video games.
BioShock is a curiosity because not only does it take inspiration from the entire oeuvre of renowned American author Ayn Rand, but uses the game as a entire rebuttal to her most basic philosophical premise. In many ways, BioShock is a kind of simulation run based on Rand’s ideas. Obviously the result is a deeply disturbing and violent world where individualism reigns supreme. A cautionary tale in other words.
This is well known by this point, but The Witcher series is based off books by Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski. It kind of makes sense given the depth and breadth of The Witcher’s rich lore and the properly fleshed out characters that populate the game. If you’re having withdrawal symptoms, delving into Sapkowski’s back catalogue reveals an even deeper story and contextualizes a lot of what happens in the games, which are set after the books. They are great novels in their own right regardless of CD Projekt Red’s acclaimed series.
The number of games carrying esteemed espionage author Tom Clancy’s name is staggering to say the least. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, and the list goes on with countless sequels and DLCs. Clancy is interesting in that he managed to shift from a pop cultural literary icon to a widely acclaimed game creator, even establishing his own studio, which was swiftly bought out by Ubisoft, which continues to make and publish games sporting his name to this day.
Having safely captured the role as one of the most famous video game franchises of the past decade, Assassin’s Creed is based on an obscure 1938 Slovenian novel called Alamut, authored by a certain Vladimir Bartol that tells the story of a band of assassins. Assassin’s Creed uses much of the book’s narrative to shape the concept of the creed and a world heavily influenced by religion and shifting power struggles, as well as borrowing near exact phrasing from the book. Obviously, Assassin’s Creed introduced more modern hooks like the ubiquitous animus and the ability to experience the stories of dead historical figures.
H.P. Lovecraft’s works are the inspiration of numerous video games. The supernatural Gothic horror with a heavy psychological aspect is a genre in itself with titles such as Call of Cthulhu, Alone In The Dark, and even heavy hitter Bloodborne drawing heavily from the Lovecraftian universe.
Joseph Conrad’s work is probably most famous for being the inspiration behind the seminal Vietnam War flic, Apocalypse Now. However, Conrad’s masterpiece Heart of Darkness is also the impetus behind third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line, though re-imagined to the middle eastern desert rather than the depth of the Congolese jungle. While investigating a failed rescue mission amid the worst sand storms to hit Dubai ever, a squad of commandos comes face to face with the horrendous actions of an embittered and deranged Colonel who is named, no surprise here, John Conrad.