Creating an entire lore from scratch can be a risky venture in the gaming industry. Incidentally, many studios capitalize on already-established characters and universes to play it safe. While games based on popular movies are most commonplace, developers and creators also turn to literary works of fiction for inspiration. So, from world-famous detective stories brought to life to sheer Lovecraftian horror, here are five video games worth putting even a good book down.
Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu is a survival horror title based on the short story of the same name penned by H.P Lovecraft and the cult 1981 role-playing game exploring the Cthulhu Mythos. This spine-tingling RPG dives headfirst into the eerie realm of cosmic terror. Blending stealth and exploration within a semi-open world, this horrific mystery tale set in the 1920s follows a private investigator looking into the tragic passing of a family on the sinister island of Darkwater.
But the shadowy figures lurking in the cryptic Hawkins mansion soon have him question his sanity as he’s engulfed by the creeping madness that surrounds him. While slightly half-baked in the gameplay department, this virtual tabletop adventure perfectly channels its atmospheric Lovecraftian undertones.
The Wolf Among Us
In The Wolf Among Us, living happily ever after is far from guaranteed. This episodic graphic novel based on the works of American writer Bill Willingham takes players to Fabletown, a secret New York enclave, where fairy tale creatures have fled an oppressive tyrant. As a string of grim murders shakes the community, the responsibility to unearth the truth about these heinous acts falls upon sheriff Bigby Wolf – the once fearsome Big Bad Wolf.
With its cast of iconic characters like Bluebeard, the Three Little Pigs, and Snow White turned deeply-flawed humans, this neo-noir point-and-click title is a subversive reimagining of fairytale classics. For avid readers, The Wolf Among Us serves as a strong introduction to the Fables comic series. And a much-anticipated sequel is reportedly on the docket for a 2024 release.
The Witcher is probably one of the few examples of a franchise that grew immensely more popular than its source material. That said, the fantasy saga penned by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski is far from niche on its home soil. But the Lodz-based studio CD Projekt RED paid such a perfect tribute to these beloved novels that the Witcher series conquered the hearts of gamers worldwide.
Even former US President Barack Obama professed his love for the monster-slaying adventures of Geralt of Rivia, with then-Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk offering him a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings during an official visit to the country.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
Centuries after being first published, the crime mysteries of British storytelling master Arthur Conan Doyle keep enthralling readers and gamers alike. One of the best detective games on the Xbox, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments comprises six thrilling cases to solve using the extraordinary detection skills of the wizard of Baker Street. Many spiritual successors followed suit in the gaming sphere, with Holmes playing center stage in titles such as The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles or Sherlock Holmes Awakened.
The iGaming industry also celebrates the Great British Detective. Players can even claim no deposit bonuses to try out online slots like Playtech’s Sherlock Mystery or Rabcat’s Sherlock of London. Such offers allow gamers to explore a website’s catalog without depositing money. These bonuses usually go along welcome packages granted to first-time users. With a bit more playtime under their belt, newcomers can then switch to real money options to aim for the jackpot.
The Metro franchise brilliantly exemplifies how interconnected different mediums can be – and how exciting for fans it is to switch between novels and video games that enhance their respective stories while adding extra layers to the overall plot.
This collection of first-person shooter games takes place in the dystopian universe imagined by Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, where nuclear warfare has turned Russia into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The original Metro released as a direct adaptation of the Metro 2033 book. Yet, its sequels foster a fascinating dialogue with novels like Metro 2034 and Metro 2035.
If you’re a keen reader, the games above are the perfect interactive introductions to new books to add to your reading list. These titles do a great job of continuing the story told by their written counterparts without ever betraying the essence of their source material.