There are many creative mediums inspired by pre-existing works of art. When it comes to video games, you might be used to looking for film adaptations of your favorite games, but what about games inspired by other types of media?
Surprisingly, some of the most popular game titles are actually based on pre-existing media. But what are some of the best video games created based on other media? Let’s take a look.
1. The Witcher series
With The Witcher III: Wild Hunt named Game of the Year by The Game Awards 2015, The Witcher series is a seminal video game franchise. It is also one of the best mods for pre-existing mods.
While you may recognize Geralt of Rivia as one of the game’s many characters, the series began as a short story published in Poland in 1986. This short story has grown into a large series of books of the same name, all written by Andrzej Sapkowski.
In an interview with Eurogamer, author Andrzej Sapkowski downplayed The Witcher series, stating that people like the games because “the characters are so small in the novels.” Ironically, Sapowski’s refusal to publish video games as a medium is exactly why the Witcher games are such great adaptations.
The dichotomy between novel and game allows The Witcher series to provide you with something novels could never offer: an active role in the narrative.
As an RPG series, The Witcher is a prime example of a game inspired by other media, as it offers an interpretation of a deep fantasy narrative and unlocks your agency as a player through a well-crafted RPG experience.
2. Halo: Combat Evolved
Another well-known video game that is a great adaptation of other media is the Halo franchise. Notably, Halo: Combat Evolved drew inspiration from a novel called Ringworld by Larry Niven.
Ringworld is a seminal science fiction novel that solidified the idea of an alien-built artificial ring upon its release in 1970—something synonymous with Halo: Combat Evolved and all subsequent Halo games.
Ironically, the overall plot details of Ringworld and Halo: Combat Evolved differ, but you may find some similarities: both stories feature the landing of humans on an unfamiliar industrial world, whose secrets are slowly unraveling as the narrative progresses. Takes place.
But Halo: Combat Evolved’s use of Ringworld is a great fit, thanks to its decision to combine Ringworld with other concepts, like James Cameron’s film Aliens, to create an action-based first-person shooter for the Xbox.
So if you’re looking for a great example of a video game that uses elements of its source material to create a unique feature, Halo: Combat Evolved is the perfect translation of the novel into a first-person shooter.
3. God of War (2018)
With previous God of War games having adapted characters from Greek mythology into an action-adventure series, when it came to reinvigorating the game with God of War (2018), there was already a deep story surrounding Kratos.
Moving the game and following it in some of the best cinematic gaming experiences you can have, God of War (2018) takes you back to Kratos as he relearns how to be a father while crying for his wife, but in a world of Norse mythology as opposed to Greek.
While this may seem contradictory at first if you’re familiar with previous God of War titles, it’s also the genius behind what makes God of War (2018) such a great adaptation.
Since Kratos has a rich background based on Greek mythology, you can experience classic Norse stories, such as The Legend of Baldur and Mistletoe, through the mythological lens of the God of War.
This allows God of War (2018) to offer a truly unique experience as the game draws on its own mythology to recontextualize and tell epic stories from the Norse pantheon, making God of War (2018) exceptionally challenging as a video game.
4. Batman’s Arkham Asylum
Aside from video games that expand locations or reinvent their inspirations, adaptations like Batman: Arkham Asylum manage to translate the source material as accurately as possible.
You may see that Batman: Arkham Asylum draws inspiration from many forms of Batman media, with references and surprises sprinkled throughout. However, the many similarities to Batman: The Animated Series highlight the TV series as the primary inspiration for the game.
With writer Paul Dini and several voice talents, such as Mark Hamill and the late Kevin Conroy, returning from Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Arkham Asylum set out to create a video game based on Batman: The Animated Series.
The only differences you will find between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: The Animated Series is a change in art style and a more mature age rating that allows the darker elements of Batman: The Animated Series to shine through.
As a game based on other media, Batman: Arkham Asylum feels like a natural extension of its source material. So if you are looking for a mature and forgettable episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: Arkham Asylum is the perfect Batman and offers an essential proxy gaming experience.
5. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Another video game that has successfully taken a more mature approach to the media that inspired it is Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.
Mirroring the origin story of the classic 1984 Transformers cartoon, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron puts you in the final moments of the war on Cybertron and foreshadows the original G1 Transformers continuity.
While there are many video games that deserve to be made into a TV series, the 1984 Transformers series was the perfect suspect for an adaptation, with the TV series featuring retro themes and contrasting with the more mature nature of modern Transformers properties.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Transformers (1984) takes the concept and applies it to an action-based third-person shooter. These include incorporating stellar combat, vehicle segments, and twists and turns into its gameplay and incorporating source material from a mature and mainstream video game genre.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Transformers takes away the shortcomings of Transformers (1984) and creates a game that balances its theme with the characters you know and love to create an experience that better fits the franchise as a whole, making it a perfect adaptation of it.
Based on the novel When Atlas Shrugs by Ayn Rand, Bioshock is a unique and fascinating video game that takes the philosophical themes of its inspiration and applies them to the core of the game you experience.
Invoking the objective philosophy of When Atlas Shrugs, in which one’s reasons and actions, not faith or feelings, are the only means to success in life, Bioshock creates a utopia: Rapture.
Throughout Bioshock, objectivity is layered into almost every element of the game. Even before you enter the Rapture, you see a sign stating that there are no gods or kings. Only Human” reflects the rejection of subjective influences, such as religion, in Atlas Shrugged.
Even the basic choices in Bioshock reflect the theme. Bioshock often makes you choose between an objective action that benefits you or a personal choice that allows you to act on emotion but provides no instant in-game rewards. This, in turn, allows you to accept or reject the objective methodologies of When Atlas Shrugs.
As a successful video game inspired by other media, Bioshock seamlessly integrates the “When Atlas Shrugs” philosophy into another medium. Bioshock is also one of the best gaming stories of all time, using the “When Atlas Shrugged” narrative as its backbone, making it one of the best mods and games you can play. Check Explain the graphics settings in video games to get the best performance and the most beautiful picture.
7. Final Fantasy VII Remake
A final example of a great video game inspired by other media is Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is strangely inspired by Final Fantasy VII (1997), another video game in the same series that follows the same initial premise.
Although it is difficult to define what constitutes a remake, port, remaster, or remake of a video game, Final Fantasy VII Remake manages to remake the central elements of Final Fantasy VII (1997) and to rework the overall narrative, gameplay and art style.
Interestingly, if you were a fan of Final Fantasy VII (1997), this balance serves you as an existing fan while challenging the story’s willingness to adapt and change from what you know.
This makes Final Fantasy VII Remake a unique video game that momentarily borders on self-parody, but at the same time, it also becomes a whole new experience.
Completely revolutionizing gameplay and graphics, Final Fantasy VII Remake is the perfect way to experience Final Fantasy VII (1997), whether you’re a newcomer or a longtime fan. Check out less popular games worth playing on Xbox Game Pass.
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Now that you know some of the best video games inspired by other media, you can broaden your horizons and try out the games themselves or delve deeper into the inspirations behind them.
And by doing so, you can also experience stories from various media, not just those offered by the video games you play. You can view it now. Some games to play if you like The Last of Us.