Bringing the Page to Virtual Life

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life

If there is anything I love more than gaming it is reading. Ever since my Aunty introduced me to The Belgaraid by David Eddings way back in primary school I have been addicted to books. No matter how late the night, no matter how tired I am and no matter how many drinks I may have had I will always try to find time for reading before bed. It is a way to complete my day and shut my mind off. My worries and stresses melt into those pages (or ePages as the case may be) and I can wind down into sleep. This love of reading has often left me pondering if some of my favourite books could make the transition to Video games. At times the worlds, characters and stories sometimes seem almost written for an interactive translation. So I thought I would write a list of some of the stories I think are ripe for a Video Game adaptation. There are probably millions out there but these are just some of the books I can see working in an entertaining way.

The Drenai Series

Written By: David Gemmell

Ideal Developer: Platinum Games

Genre: 3rd Person Action

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life

The Drenai books are probably Gemmell’s most recognizable novels. Featuring classic characters and hugely entertaining action sequences it seems to me that Platinum would be ideal to develop this into a fully featured action title. The way I see it working is concentrating on the three main time periods in the books and having levels based on each. This would mean players could engage in stealth levels with Waylander the Slayer, Action brawls with Druss the Axeman and engage in the finer parts of warfare with Skilgannon the Damned. The sad news is that David Gemmell has passed away so he couldn’t work on the story. Luckily his wife Stella is an accomplished author in her own right (The City is an excellent fantasy novel) and she helped David write many of his books making her the perfect person to get on board. With the rich history of the world, strong themes of redemption and memorable cast of characters The Drenai series is the perfect target for a video game translation. Also I am sure anyone who has read the books would love to get their hands on Snaga the Sender, The Blades of No Return and take down some Nadir warriors for themselves.

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life
After Scalebound it would be a dream to see Platinum take on Gemmell’s work.

7 Ancient Wonders

Written by: Matthew Reilly

Ideal Developer: Naughty Dog

Genre: 3rd Person Adventure

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life

Anyone who has read a Matthew Reilly book can tell you two things. The first is that everyone dies, the second is that the action is non-stop. Not known for deep thought provoking reads, Matthew Reilly is the master though when it comes to balls-to-the-wall action and his Jack West Jnr novels are the perfect example of that. The books are basically Indiana Jones on steroids and involve ancient tombs, convoluted traps and chasing down famous treasures of history such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Of course this makes Naughty Dog the perfect development studio to take the project on board considering their similarly themed Uncharted series. In fact two series bear so many likenesses it would be easy to confuse the two. Regardless the tale and characters of 7 Ancient Wonders mixed with the story telling nous and action gameplay skills of Naughty Dog would undoubtedly make a cracking escapade that would please both Matthew Reilly’s fans and adventure gamers. The only thing they have to do is get Hugh Jackman to voice Jack West Jnr, everyone who has read it knows he is perfect for the part.

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life
Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series is proof that they are the perfect choice for a Matthew Reilly adaptation.

Freedom’s Landing

Written by: Anne McCaffery

Ideal Developer: Rockstar

Genre: Open World

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life

Freedom’s Landing is one of Anne McCaffery’s lesser known works however in my opinion it is her best. It tells of a group of humans who find themselves stranded on a strange planet after being abducted by aliens. From here the group are forced to work together to survive, thrive and finally return to Earth. I see this working as an open world game with the player creating a character that must work with the rest of the survivors to make this strange planet liveable.  The book’s story almost perfectly mirrors progression in a video game so it would translate well. Starting with the very basics the survivors take knives, blankets and military rations and build a thriving community with cars, advanced weapons and communications. This could easily be translated into a video game context and would allow for players to also send NPC’s on missions to improve the home base. There is also the added mystery of the planet and who its previous owners were to add a little more depth to the story. There was actually a previous attempt to make this book into a video game that was shelved early in development but with a developer like Rockstar (who are undoubtedly the masters of open world gaming) on board this is no question that this would make an exceptional video game.

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life
Red Dead would make the perfect template for a game based in the Freedom’s Landing universe.

The Mistborn

Written by: Brendan Sanderson

Ideal Developer: Bioware

Genre: RPG

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life

The Mistborn books tell of special people who can consume and manipulate different metals to achieve certain powers. Each of these people can usually only ever manipulate one metal but occasionally a person comes along that can control all 16 metals. These people are called Mistborn and would be the perfect focus for a grand RPG. With the 16 different metals there could be 16 different skills to improve all adding and refining various abilities. Some metals improve charisma, some metals improve strength and some metals improve mobility. As you can see it is almost like this lore has been designed for an RPG translation from the ground up. What’s more the game isn’t limited to a traditional fantasy setting with some novels in the universe set in a similar time period to 1900’s New York. The author has even speculated that he will be writing Mistborn novels set in the future so any game that happened to be released wouldn’t be limited to well-worn fantasy tropes. I see this working much the same as the Krondor games of old were created. Sanderson is brought on board to write the game’s story (like Raymond E Feist who wrote the two Krondor games) and a development studio builds the game around the story. Who would I trust with some of my favorite novels? Well Bioware of course. Their RPG pedigree is undeniable. What makes them unique in my opinion is their ability to not only get the gameplay of their games to an exceptional level but to also tell an engrossing story at the same time. They really are the perfect fit for Sanderson’s work.

Bringing the Page to Virtual Life
Is there a better company to bring a grand RPG to reality than Bioware?

So there you have it, just some of the many books that have stuck in my mind as the perfect basis for a video game adaptation. I am sure I could go on for pages and pages listing some wonderful worlds ripe for a virtual translation. But most of all I really want to hear what novels you think would make a great game. Sound off in the comments or on social media. Not only will we get to dream about some potential new games but we can all greatly increase the size of our reading lists at the same time.

Matt Hewson

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