By Aaron Ynclan, Staff Writer
Adaptations are nothing new in cinema. Hollywood has always looked to literature for inspiration, but the past decade-and-a-half has seen a colossal surge in the practice as studios adapt everything from Young Adult Fiction and NY Times Bestsellers to comic books and Nicholas Sparks catastrophes. But as producers continue to make movies from everything short of the dictionary (film rights likely to be picked up soon), video games have chosen to remain a tad less aggressive.
Hackneyed movie or television tie-in games have been a standard in the industry for years, and recent entries such as “Shadow of Mordor” and the “Batman: Arkham” series have seen great success exploring established properties. Yet aside from 2010’s Dante’s “Inferno” or Frogwares’ “Sherlock Holmes” crime series, few companies have attempted to breathe life into tales from classic literature the way only video games can. With that in mind, here are three stories that could easily find a new following of fans in gaming:
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Action/Adventure, Sony Santa Monica)- “The Epic of Gilgamesh” tells the tale of a demigod king as he travels the world in search of the secret to immortality and the means to save his deceased best friend. Though the premise is ripe with tropes, that’s to be expected given that Gilgamesh is the oldest, surviving literary work. And while Homer’s famed “Iliad” and “The Odyssey” are more recognizable to casual audiences, gamers have had plenty of experience with Greek mythology thanks to the “God of War” series. With lore older than even the Gods of Olympus and the creative minds at Sony Santa Monica (developers of “God of War”), “The Epic of Gilgamesh” could easily become the PS4’s premier action-adventure franchise.
Ender’s Game (Real-Time Strategy, Blizzard)- To prepare for the inevitable third invasion of an alien race, humanity utilizes a space station known as the Battle School to train children and find the future leader who will lead them against the Formics. Young Ender Wiggins must become that leader. Though not the oldest tale on this list, Orson Scott Card’s widely acclaimed story is considered one of the most influential science-fiction novels of the last 30 years and has spawned multiple sequels and spinoffs. Battles against the Formics take the form of virtual games (ironic, yes) where Ender must control entire fleets against overwhelming forces, making it a perfect match for the RTS genre. Put in the hands of “StarCraft 2” developer Blizzard, and “Ender’s Game” could make a perfect installment for the PC nation.
Nineteen Eighty-Four (Indie-Adventure/Horror, Ken Levine’s Studio)- Perhaps the most unconventional choice for this list, George Orwell’s seminal tale of fascism and political intrigue would be best served as an indie title. While the boundaries of the story don’t lend the best transition to a video game, the recent surge and critical success of titles like “Gone Home” prove experimentation and unorthodox approaches can resonate with gaming audiences. “Bioshock” developer Irrational Games was stripped to a 15person development crew earlier this year so that Ken Levine and his team could focus on making “narrative-driven games for the core gamer that are highly replayable.” With Levine at the helm and the team’s previous experience with “Bioshock” (a series applauded, in part, for its political themes and approach), the opportunity to see the world of Big Brother through Winston Smith is simply too enticing to resist.