The gaming industry has taken the world by storm. The $200 billion industry has seen a significant spike during the recent pandemic. As usually perceived, the gaming world is not merely for the youth. A study conducted by Forbes concludes a 200% increase in people above 60 searching for games, joining the 93% of teenagers who admitted to Gaming regularly. The study also suggested that while some lockdown trends, such as TikTok dancing or Zoom workout classes, might exclude certain corners of society, Gaming is welcomed by just about everyone. (5)
History of the Gaming Industry
Since the advent of Gaming in the 1970s, the industry has come a long way and has gone through many twists and turns regarding evolution and technology. Although the industry went through its ups and downs, in 1982, it peaked at $8 billion, which overtook the annual revenues of Pop music and Hollywood films combined!
Gaming is one of the most creative industries where inspiration can strike from anywhere. One of the reasons games are based on books is because there is already a target market, a fan base, or a fan-following ready to enjoy the game vicariously. Here are 7 popular gaming franchises that were adapted from books:
#1: Parasite Eve
The book was first published by Kadokawa in 1995 and was written by Hideaki Sena, a pharmacologist. The book is a classic Japanese horror genre that revolves around self-aware mitochondria in human cells trying to control everyone with the intent of Global domination. Sena, who closely works on mitochondria and conducts various tests on the cell organelle, makes his writing believable even if the storyline highlights that the mitochondria in the world are up to Global domination. The manuscript is engaging and well-researched.
The concept was so strong that the book sold 956,461 copies in Japan by 1998. Square, a Japanese video game development studio and publisher, then developed the game in 1998. The game entails a police officer Aya Brea who tries to stop Eve, a woman who plans to destroy the human race through spontaneous human combustion (SHC).
#2: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
The Witcher was a book series before it was adapted into a game and a Netflix series. The most exciting part is that the Netflix series only became popular after the Games were out. In this case, the game was the pioneer that built the audience, leading to a huge fan following for the Netflix series
The games are adapted from The Witcher series of “The Witcher” fantasy novels written by the Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. The books, published in 1994, entail a series of short stories. The Witcher book franchise includes Sword of Destiny and The Last Wish, as well as five novels: Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Swallow’s Tower, and Lady of the Lake. These books have been translated into 37 different languages and have sold 15 million copies.
The science fiction novel BioShock: Rapture was published in 2011 and was a prequel to the game launched in 2007. BioShock is a first-person shooting game set in the fictional underwater city of Rapture. The game entails the main character Jack whose plane crashes, and he finds himself underwater.
In this case, the novel was adapted from the game. Bioshock is a first-person shooter video game that was released in 2007. The story was written by John Shirley and published by Tor Books in the United States and Titan Books in the United Kingdom. The book sold 25 million copies. The games Bioshock 2 and 3 were released in 2010 and 2013, respectively. The game has sold over 11 million units.
#4: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
The book was released in 1998 and started with a prologue introducing us to the one main character, John Clark, an ex-Navy SEAL. Clark is the commander in charge of creating a new European anti-terrorist group called Rainbow Six.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six is a first-person shooting video game. The entire Rainbow Six series revolves around an International Anti-terrorist unit called the Rainbow. Red Storm Entertainment developed and published it in 1998 for Microsoft Windows. The game was adapted from the book and has sold 10 million copies.
#5: Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter video games are a series based on the Harry Potter Novel Franchise. The first book was published in 1997. This series of seven fantasy novels sold 500 million copies worldwide! The insanely famous children’s novel by J.K Rowling has become a mood. There was no way there could not be a video game franchise made of this novel franchise.
Harry Potter video games were introduced in 2001 and coincided with all the film adaptations. One game is assigned to every novel in the main series, and two video games are for the Finale. The games have sold over 50 million units and made over $1.5 billion in video game sales.
#6: Assassin’s Creed
Jade Raymond created the game Assassin’s Creed. According to him, the first Assassin’s Creed was inspired by the 1938 novel Alamut by Vladimir Bartol.
The book has been translated into 19 languages and was later adapted into a game called Assassin’s Creed in 2007. The game has 95 million unique players and has sold over 140 million copies worldwide.
#7: Discworld Series
Discworld is a series of fantasy books written by Terry Pratchett. The storyline entails a Discworld that is a flat planet balanced on top of the backs of four elephants- Berilla, Tubul, Great T’Phon, and Jerakeen- which in turn stand upon the shell of a giant turtle, Great A’tuin. The series of 40 different novels were published from 1883 to 2013.
Video game franchises can be inspired by various concepts depending on the observation and imagination of the developer. Some games are based on real-life stories like 1979 Revolution: Black Friday and LA Noire, while the others are pure fiction. In both cases, the idea is to achieve a vicarious thrill from the storyline. The good thing about a book franchise and a gaming franchise is that the story will always exist and can be re-lived.
Which game are you interested in the most? Let us know in the comments below!
- The Witcher: What The Author Thinks of the Video Games (screenrant.com)
- 11 Games You Didn’t Know Were Based on Books – IGN. https://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/02/11-games-you-didnt-know-were-based-on-books
- Discworld Wiki | Fandom. (n.d.). https://discworld.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page
- Luenendonk, M. (2019c, September 19). The Gaming Industry – An Introduction. Cleverism. https://www.cleverism.com/gaming-industry-introduction/
- Skwarczek, B. (2021, June 17). How The Gaming Industry Has Leveled Up During The Pandemic. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/06/17/how-the-gaming-industry-has-leveled-up-during-the-pandemic/?sh=296516b5297c
- William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team). (2022, August 5). Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Summary. SchoolWorkHelper. https://schoolworkhelper.net/tom-clancys-rainbow-6-summary/