Undoubtedly a standout sci-fi release in the video game world is The Invincible, which has the unique privilege of being a video game adaptation of a novel by popular Polish sci-fi author Stanisław Lem. Book adaptations are incredibly common in the world of film, but occur much less frequently in the gaming industry.
However, one of the best video game series of the 21st century thus far, The Witcher trilogy, is also adapted from another Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Considering the high reputation of all these games, it begs the question why there haven’t been more novel video game adaptations, especially considering there’s certainly no shortage of fantastic books to choose from.
Micro – Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton, the legendary sci-fi and technological horror author of books like Jurassic Park and Westworld, also wrote Micro, a tale about a group of students that wind up in a situation akin to Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. The difference here being the scientific realism applied by Crichton that makes their situation far more gruesome.
Granted, the recent survival-crafting game Grounded is similar in concept, but its execution is more family-friendly, whereas Crichton prefers to peel back the curtain on how the small world of ants, hornets, and other terrifying tiny creatures really works. A game that strikes that tone could be more of a survival-horror title than survival-crafting, which would really set it apart from any contemporaries.
Solaris – Stanisław Lem
Since the literature of Stanisław Lem is at the forefront right now with The Invincible getting its own video game, it feels natural to recommend Lem’s most famous novel Solaris for its own adaptation in the future.
The idea of what a Solaris game would even look like gets a little tricky. It’s not a particularly action-packed novel that would lend itself to any obvious gaming genre. The Invincible had a similar issue, though, and the developers chose to take the title in a more narrative-driven direction as a result; there’s no reason why a Solaris game couldn’t do something similar, possibly even handled once again by Polish developer Starward Industries considering the positive reception to The Invincible.
The Strain – Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro
The Strain is the first in a book trilogy written by author Chuck Hogan and the famous director behind films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy Guillermo del Toro. Many may be familiar with the version of the story told through the popular FX TV series which ran from 2014 to 2017.
Vampires in gaming have been explored to some extent through titles like Vampyr and Castlevania, but The Strain‘s interesting spin on the trope is transforming it into a medical pandemic akin to a zombie apocalypse. A combination of tropes like that could mean a video game adaptation of The Strain could be something more akin to Left 4 Dead or Dying Light.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams’ game-changing sci-fi comedy book series has received adaptations in virtually every medium imaginable at this point, which actually does include some video games. Those games are all fairly old, though, with the oldest being a text-based adventure from the early ’80s. With that in mind, it could be time to create a modern Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy title that fully capitalizes on modern visuals to bring the vivid and hilarious universe of this series to life.
When considering what a modern comedy sci-fi game would look like, it’s hard not to consider the recent output of Squanch Games with titles like Trover Saves the Universe and High On Life, however, a Hitchhiker’s Guide game would obviously need to lean far closer to Adams’ signature English humor as opposed to the loud and raucous American humor present in Squanch Games’ titles.
The Regulators – Stephen King (Richard Bachman)
Iconic horror author Stephen King has no shortage of obvious picks when it comes to famous novels that could receive video game adaptations. One less obvious choice would be The Regulators, the final story written under King’s alias Richard Bachman, a pen name King liked for stories with exceptionally dark endings. It’s a story about a young boy possessed by a dark entity that brings his imagination into gritty reality, much to the horror of the boy’s community which now has to survive against these new bloodthirsty surroundings.
The fact a King-inspired survival-horror game hasn’t happened yet feels like a tragic oversight, and playing as regular townspeople attempting to avoid murderous imaginary characters could be a wonderful introduction.