Video Game Novelizations (Part One)
From Resident Evil, Silent Hill, World of Warcraft, and Tomb Raider to more recently Monster Hunter, Hollywood has never been shy about adapting video games to movies. The same goes for television with everyone from Mario and Sonic to Angry Birds having had a series at some point. However, over the years games have grown in complexity and some have stories as well as production values that could rival that of Hollywood. Many videogame franchises are also so popular that they span multiple titles, each adding to the story and lore of the worlds and characters. Because of the long production cycle for video games some great novels have been released to tide fans over between releases. Here are just some of the best video game novelizations based on hit franchises.
by Drew Karpyshyn
Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpyshyn is based on the hit science-fiction role-playing game series by Bioware. Karpyshyn was the lead writer for the first two games, so his novels about the series are as authentic as they come. What makes Mass Effect: Revelation and its two sequels are actually prequels to the trilogy of games. This means that it is not necessary to have played the game first, but fans who have done so will enjoy reading about some of their favorite characters. Revelation follows the adventures of David Anderson, an Alliance war hero investigating what remains of a top-secret military research station on the edge of colonized space. Anderson must discover who attacked the post and what happened to the only scientist who mysteriously vanished just before everyone else at the base were murdered.
by Drew Wagar
Elite Dangerous is an open-world space flight simulation game and the fourth title in one of the longest-running video game franchises of all time. Elite Dangerous: Premonition by Drew Wagar is a science fiction novel that is set in the Elite: Dangerous galaxy and its story was shaped by the player actions in the game. This is a unique approach as Elite Dangerous as while it has a single-player mode it also features massively multiplayer gameplay that allows the actions of players to affect the narrative story. The author has a lot of experience with the Elite Dangerous community and this shines through in his knowledge of the lore of the game. While premonition is a treat for fans of the game the story is good enough to stand on its own.
by John Shirley
The Bioshock series is one of the bestselling franchises in video games and one of the highest-rated games on Metacritic. BioShock: Rapture by John Shirley is a 2011 novel that serves as a prequel for the first game. It not only details the construction of Rapture, the underwater city where the game is set but also chronicles the events leading up to the demise facility. Also, the novel features many of the characters who appear in the game. Like most of the novels on this list, Rapture works well as a standalone novel, but for the best experience, it is recommended to play at least the original game first for a better understanding of the world and its inhabitants.
by Greg Keyes
The Infernal City by Greg Keyes is the first of two novels that are set in the Elder Scrolls universe. The story continues after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which was named the game of the year for 2006. The author is no stranger to writing media-related novels and his work includes books set in the Babylon 5 as well as Star Wars universes. Fans of the Elder Scrolls series will appreciate the fact that this book, along with its sequel, fleshes out the events between Oblivion and its follow-up, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Even though The Infernal City is filled with lore that Elder Scrolls fans will love, it is also a great standalone fantasy novel that non-gamers can enjoy.
by Oliver Bowden
Assassin's Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden is the first novelization of the popular Ubisoft series. Like the video games, the novels are set across different time periods and feature the ongoing war between Assassins and the Knights Templar. Renaissance tells the story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who becomes an assassin out for revenge after the murder of his family. The author, Oliver Bowden, is actually the pen name of Anton Gill who has written more than 40 books, many of which are set in historical periods. No prior knowledge of the Assassin's Creed universe is required to enjoy the novels, but fans will love the way in which it fleshes out some of the elements from the games.
These are by no means the only highly successful franchises to receive novelizations, so join us next time for five more books based on video games.