Some of my favourite types of novels to read are novelisations of film and gaming media. I have always enjoyed the sense of atmosphere and intimate connections that are built between the reader and the characters that books can provide that are sometimes lost while watching a film or playing a video game. With books, you can really get into the nooks and crannies of a character’s thoughts and emotions. It’s one of the reasons that I love the Resident Evil novelisations, to feel their fear and terror so innately through reading. The same can be said about the Mortal Kombat novels as well, however, those tend to be gloriously cheesier than their video game counterparts.
Another element of novelisations that I adore are the imaginative ways that the settings and world-building is detailed in a book. It usually gives you perception into things that you may have missed while gaming or watching a film, or can be changed up to be completely different for a whole new experience with something that is a familiar favourite. Because of this, today, I wanted to share with you five video games that are near and dear to my heart, and that I believe would make excellent novels or novelised serials!
5. Horizon Zero Dawn
Developed by Guerilla Games, using the Decima engine, this dystopian science-fantasy, action RPG (role-playing game) was released for the PlayStation 4 in February 2017, and went on to be one of the best damn games released on the console since its inception.
The game revolves around a young woman named Aloy, who is a huntress residing in a word that is overrun by machines. Aloy spent her entire life being an outcast, and when she comes of age, she sets out on a grand adventure to explore all of the things that she was sheltered from, as well as to finally obtain a position of acceptance within the Nora tribe as a member. In order to become a member of the tribe, and thus no longer be an outcast, she participates in a competition called the Proving; a sort of coming-of-age examination that tests her skills as a huntress, as well as her will and strength deemed to be a worthy contribution to Nora Tribe. Many plot things occur upon her entrance into the Proving, and it all leads to a group of terrorists, essentially, who obtain the power of corrupted machines to further their own twisted agendas.
This is a very basic synopsis as I don’t want to give away too many spoilers in case if you are planning on playing the game, or on the off-chance a novelisation is created, to avoid giving away all of the suspense and intrigue!
Horizon Zero Dawn would make a fantastic novelised series. There is enough lore, history, and world-building to build a delightful umbrella universe. The history of the world and all of the events that led up to the current state of affairs would be remarkable. How did humans invent the machines? What was the age of machines truly like? Questions like that—most of which are answered in the game—are the sorts of stuff that create flowing, epic fantasies and epic science-fiction sagas. There are many tribes in Horizon Zero Dawn as well, which contribute beautifully to adding dimensions of culture and diversity to the umbrella universe. A trilogy following Aloy would be what I’d want to read the most, followed by a prequel that dives more heavily into the machines and what the world was like when they ruled. Since the setting is in the 31st century, the possibilities would be rather vast. There were also tons of side quests in the game that had many complex characters whom I found to be immensely fascinating. Those characters could have their own books, and I would devour them with hunger and delight.
4. Bioshock Infinite
Developed by 2K Games, using the Unreal 3 engine, this steampunk science-fiction FPS (first-person shooter) is the third game in the Bioshock franchise, which is one of my favourite gaming franchises to date. This series, particularly the first two instalments, really knows how to craft some serious atmosphere and dark narratives.
The game takes place in the year 1912 and follows a dude named Booker DeWitt, who’s a former Pinkerton agent. He’s hired to go in search of a young woman named Elizabeth, who is held captive in the airborne city of Columbia. After rescuing her, the duo gets entangled within the city’s warring factions, where Booker then learns that Elizabeth has a unique ability to manipulate Tears in the space-time continuum that’s been ravaging the city.
Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley is the novelisation of the events from the creation of Rapture all the way to a specific point before the first game’s start. I have read it quite a few times, and it was so much fun to read. The author did an impressive job of capturing Rapture’s eerie, macabre atmosphere. Because of how much I adored that book, I know that a Bioshock Infinite novel would be just as wondrous! It was a game with a narrative that kept me playing for hours upon hours until I finally finished it, not including the myriad replays I’ve done. While it was miles apart from the first two games in terms of tone and atmosphere, its themes were quite similar, and was told with an innovative perspective. If you combine that with the mind-fuck finale, the grand steampunk universe, and time-travelling via tears, you’ll have the fixings for a bitching awesome read-worthy narrative.
3. Shadow of the Colossus
Originally published for the PlayStation 2, with the HD remastered edition having been released in February of this year, Shadow of the Colossus is an utter masterpiece within the gaming medium. The fantasy action-adventure game was originally developed by SCE Japan Studio and Team ICO; the remastered edition was developed by Bluepoint Games.
It revolves around a young man, named Wander, who goes into a forbidden land. He travels across stunning expanses of landscapes on horseback in order to search for and defeat the sixteen massive creatures known as colossi. All so he can save the life of a girl named Mono.
What made this game so unique was its inherent lack of dungeons, towns, side quests, and any and all characters aside from the boy, girl, and colossi. It’s a puzzle game at its core and one that is brilliantly minimalistic. The reason that I think this would make a superb book is because sometimes it feels really nice to read a well-written fantasy book that is laced with simplicity. The fights with colossi themselves would make epic scenes if written with meticulous yet engaging details, and the sheer scope of the landscapes would be awe-inspiring environments to get completely immersed in, all via words. While the effortlessness may not be appealing to fans of epic fantasies, I think it would be glorious and epic in its own right.
2. Final Fantasy XII
Speaking of epic fantasies, this Square Enix developed addition to a long-lived and ever-expanding franchise, is one of my favourite instalments ever. It was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006, and then remastered for an HD released that came out last year for the PlayStation 4 and PC.
The game takes place in a fictitious land named Ivalice, where two large empires are waging a seemingly endless war with one another, Archadia and Rozarria. In between them, you have Dalmasca, which is a much smaller nation. Dalmasca then gets annexed by Archadia, which leads to the rise of a resistance movement, headed by a very important individual who was believed to be dead. This character ends up meeting a young would-be adventurer, a couple of sky pirates, and a few other unlikely allies to great a motley crew that hope to rally against the autocracy of the Archadian Empire.
Two things that draw me to epic fantasies are the elements of political intrigue and the histories of the universe. Final Fantasy XII is essentially all political intrigue; complex and twisted loads of it that is so marvellously crafted. On top of that, the history of the nations is immense and brutal, creating very interesting storytelling dynamics. Toss in a diversity of characters who, while may seem like they have similar objectives, are truly out for their own bloody schemes and motives. There is also such a richness to the various races and cultures that creates the whole world, magnificently breath-taking scenery and cities, as well as some fanciful technology and monsters. I can see this being more of a trilogy than a stand-alone novel, and I wish so desperately that one day I will get a chance to read it!
Super throwback time! This galactic science-fiction action-adventure, platformer was originally released in 1986 for the Family Computer Disk System (FamiCom), or the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Oh yeah, throwback as all hell. It was developed by Nintendo R&D1 and Intelligent Systems.
It is the year 20X5 and Space Pirates have attacked a Galactic Federation-owned vessel! This was a space research vessel conducting experiments on parasitic lifeforms known as Metroids, which were found on the planet SR388. Metroids have the ability to latch on to any organism and then drain their life force, thus killing them. The Space Pirates have seized the samples, with hopes of replicating them to use as bio-weapons. They essentially want to kill everything that is against them to become the ultimate rulers of the galaxy! At least, for the most part.
Guys, I fucking love Metroid. It is brilliant! Metroids are creepy ass little creatures, and my number one reason for having this listed as my number one video game that I need to have novelised is because of the science-fiction film franchise, Aliens. If you’re scratching your head, wondering what the hell, then let me explain.
I love Alien because it was the epitome of a psychological thriller and science-fiction horror love-child back in the day. The tension and anxiety that was built around the ambiguity of these extra-terrestrial beings was absolutely brilliant! Metroids are just as terrifying as xenomorphs, and if executed well, would make a sublime contribution to the sci-fi horror and psychological thriller genres.
Don’t worry, that isn’t my only reason for wanting a Metroid book. Galactic science-fiction is one of my favourite subgenres especially when you have bizarre aliens and high-tech space battles. With Samus Aran’s armoury and suit capabilities, coupled with the Space Pirates use of beta rays, PLUS the Metroids, Ridley and Mother Brain—you have everything you need for a splendiferous action-packed, apprehension-fuelled suspenseful interstellar thriller.
While I’m greatly anticipating books based off these games, I am realistic in the fact that this may not happen. It makes me sad and disappointed, but I will always hold out hope for them in the future! What are some video games you’d like to see novelised, or even made into films?
Thank you for taking the time to visit me today. I’m ever-so-grateful. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing. 👾