Video Game Novelizations (Part Two)
In the first part of our Video Game Novelizations article we took a closer look at novels based on popular franchises, such as Mass Effect, Elite Dangerous, BioShock, Elder Scrolls and Assassin's Creed. These books highlighted the fact that video game worlds and stories are more fleshed out than ever before. It is also clear that many fans of story driven games enjoy reading more about their favorite characters via these novels. However, video game novels have also reached a point where people who are not necessarily fans of games can read and enjoy the stories in the novels. Here are five more video game novelizations that have proven to be just as enjoyable and popular as the games on which they are based.
by Greg Bear
Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear is the first novel in the Forerunner Saga and is based on the bestselling Halo series by Xbox Game Studios. Cryptum is not the first novel based on the series as there are many others from others such as Eric Nylund, William C. Dietz, Cassandra Rose Clarke and more. However, Cryptum is interesting because it was written by one of the greatest science fiction authors in America, Greg Bear. The author is known for hard science fiction and Cryptum is no exception. It is set hundreds of years before the events of the Halo video game and features plenty of lore that are only hinted at in the games. It also means that no prior knowledge of the Halo series is required to enjoy this novel.
by Max Brooks
As the best-selling video game of all time with over 200 million copies sold, Minecraft certain needs no introduction. Described by many players as "virtual Lego" the game has taken the world by storm ever since it was released back in 2011 and it is still going strong. In addition to numerous spin-off games, such as Minecraft: Story Mode and Minecraft Dungeons, the game has also inspired several officially licensed novels. Minecraft: The Island by Max Brooks was the first novel to be released. Brooks is well known for his zombie themed novels such as The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, so many players were surprised to see him take on Minecraft. However, the story - which features a new hero stranded in the world of Minecraft - turned out to be a treat for fans of the game and was successful enough to warrant 8 more novels, including another one by Brooks.
by Brian Evenson
Dead Space is a survival horror video game series by Electronic Arts featuring an engineer named Isaac Clarke encountering terrifying creatures called Necromorphs. Martyer by Brian Evenson is the first novel based on the Dead Space franchise and further fleshes out the lore of the video games. The protagonist is a geophysicist named Michael Altman who joins a crew excavating an underwater artifact. The artifact turns out to be the "Black Marker" which was the cornerstone of the Church of Unitology in the games. Martyer serves as a prequel to the games and makes for a nice introduction to the series for newcomers. Players who have completed the games will also relish this opportunity to learn more about a character who is referenced a lot in the series.
by Jeff Grubb
StarCraft is a real time strategy game by Blizzard Entertainment that is set in the 26th century. Although there are only two main entries in the series, it's popularity has cemented its position as one of the best selling PC strategy gmes of all time. This is mostly thanks to the multiplayer component of the games, particularly in South Korea, where televised matches between professional players are common. A remastered version of the original game, titled StarCraft Remastered, was released in 2017, but fans of the series who are familiar with the sequel can also read Liberty's Crusade by Jeff Grubb to catch up on events. The novel focuses on the first campaign and sees the Terran exiles locked in a bitter war with the Protoss and Zerg alien races. The novel is told from the viewpoint of a Terran reporter who is sent to the frontlines after his investigations into Terran Confederacy corruption becomes an inconvenience for those in charge. Liberty's Crusade is a great standalone science fiction novel, but packed with enough lore and authenticity for StarCraft fans to appreciate too.
by Tony Gonzales
Even Online is a persistent world massively multiplayer online role playing game with a science fiction setting that was first released in 2003. The scale and complexity of the game has deterred many casual players, but it still managed to amass a massive subscriber base. In fact, Even Online holds the record for featuring one of the largest battles in gaming history after thousands of players clashed in a single star system. Eve: The Empyrean Age by Tony Gonzales is a space opera set in the Even Online universe and also adds some political thriller elements to the story. It is a good standalone science fiction novel that requires no understanding of the Eve Online game, but fans of the game will recognize a lot of the scenes described in the novel and it will expand their view of the Eve universe.