Adaptations of a game’s story into written form is pretty common, however, the opposite is not nearly as popular as you might have believed. In this article, we will list out some of the best video game series that were based on books. The Witcher trilogy is a great example, however, it's not the only good franchise that was made from book contents.

1 – The Witcher

The witcher books were adapted into a Netflix show as well

All three games from The Witcher were based on a book series written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which originally was just a short story collection. The series certainly became more successful after further full-length novels were released, but only in Poland. Only after the game adaptation was released, especially Witcher 3, did the world began to pay more attention to the author and his story. The Witcher series was about the story of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter without emotions and his dealings with the world.

Both the series and the games feature the same character cast, however, the game did not really adapt the book. The events of the game take place immediately after the events of the last book. There are currently eight books in total, all translated into English. A new TV series based on the novel is going to be aired on Netflix very soon.

2 – Stalker

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Explore the irradiated wasteland in Stalker

STALKER is a series of story-based FPS made by GSC Game World, adapted from the works of the Strugatsky brothers in the “Roadside Picnic” 1972 novel. The story revolved around Redrick Schuhart, an armed scavenger (Stalker) whose job is to explore a strange zone to look for stuff to sell.

In the novels, the zones are made by aliens and filled with dangerous supernatural phenomena that render them unsafe for humans. The other source of inspiration for the games was a movie named Stalker, which also based on Roadside Picnic. Overall, the franchise was a buildup by multiple people, each contributes their own ideas to make the whole thing works. In the games, the Zone is not alien in nature – it is Chernobyl.

3 – Parasite Eve

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Civilization breaking down because of the virus

Parasite Eve is a survival horror cult classic, based on a novel with the same name. It is actually a sequel to the novel, with the events of the game occur right after the novel’s ending. The 1995 horror novel Parasite Eve written by Hideaki Sena would make you scared of your own body, as they are taken over by sentient cells and spontaneously combust.

Parasite Eve is more or less a body horror story with bizarre explorations of various mysteries such as human biology. In-game, you would step into the shoes on Aya Brea, a rookie cop, to investigate the mystery of a creature named “Eve”, which can control other humans and either mutate them or blow them up.

4 – I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

One of the most terrifying stories was adapted into a video game

Adapted from the book with the same name, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a point and click adventure game that was co-designed by the book’s author, Harlan Ellison. In this story, the world was destroyed by an all-powerful artificial intelligence, with the population witted down to five people. Those five have been kept alive for over a hundred years and tortured by the AI – with each person having to solve adventures based on their own fatal flaws.

There is a lot of heavy stuff in both the game and the book – you would have to deal with issues like rape, insanity, genocide, and paranoia.

5 – Assassin’s Creed

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Assassin's Creed is probably Ubisoft's biggest title

Assassin’s Creed, while being an original idea, has taken a liberal amount of elements from various sources. Based on an announcement by the game’s producer Jade Raymond, the first game was inspired by a novel named Alamut written by Vladimir Bartol in 1938. Alamut is a Persian fortress located in present-day Iran. In the past, the location was the base of an assassin group with a leader called Hassan-i Sabbah.

Outside of its sci-fi elements, the Assassin’s Creed series is more or less rooted in fiction – all historical facts in the original Assassin’s Creed were lifted from the book, even the catchphrase “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”.

6 – BioShock

Explore the underwater city Rapture in Bioshock

BioShock’s base premise was based on a series of books written by Ayn Rand. The whole city of Rapture was based on Rand’s objectivist ideals, applied on a grand scale. All the characters in the game were named after Ayn Rand and his work, with the founder of the City being Andrew Ryan.

The game is more or less an exploration of the books’ theme and a critique about the weakness of objectivism, in which self-interest is placed above everything. In Bioshock, you would play as a mysterious character who after a plane crash was stranded inside Rapture. Afterward, the guy has to use everything in his arsenal to explore and reveal the mystery of the city.

7 – Metro 2033

Explore the metro and reveal its secrets

Metro 2033 was adapted from Dmitry Glukhovsky’s 2005 novel that has the same name. Both the game and the novel take place in the subway system of Moscow after the nuclear apocalypse. The player character, Artyom, is also the main character of the book – he is actually one of several characters that both works shared.

In both the game and the book, the player embarks on an adventure to save his home station from getting overrun by the horde of mutants and radiation from outside of the subway. The book was translated and published in the same year that the game was released. The author also gets credit for the game’s writings.

8 – Bloodborne

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Bloodborne is filled with cosmic horror references

Similar to Bioshock, Bloodborne took bits and pieces from the works of an author instead of copying a whole story. Lovecraft was the main source of inspiration for the game – with his unique brand of cosmic horror. A lot of people coming into the game expecting the usual Gothic Horror tropes with vampire and werewolves, however, they were all pleasantly surprised with all the dark tentacles eldritch cosmic beings.

In Bloodborne, the player character has to unravel the mysteries of a plagued city while staying alive – defend against all the attacks of enraged monsters.

9 – The Binding of Isaac

This game is actually inspired by the Bible

The game is actually based on the Bible, the most popular book in the world. It is probably the only serious game that was made based on it. The story of the game was based on a short chapter of the same name, in which God orders Abraham to kill his son as a way of testing his faith. In this game, Abraham was replaced by Isaac’s abusive mother instead.

Various items, characters, and enemies were also based on stories of the Bible – all those things were presented in a way that’s the stance of the author is rather obvious. This is why Nintendo delayed this game for quite a while when making a switch port.

Interested in some of our Top 10 posts? Please check out this article for the top 10 reboots of the decade.