One of the beautiful things about video games, of which there are many, is that most of them are set in worlds that can be expanded on. Whether or not they should be is up for debate. But for the vast majority of them, there are always characters or places or story elements fans would jump at the opportunity to further explore. That’s why there are so many strong franchises across all platforms. And it’s why a plethora of them have seen spin-offs in the form of novels or comics.
Especially that last one. Everything from The Last of Us to God of War to Halo has received a comic adaptation. Some explore side characters while others show events that take place before the main story. Whatever the case, many video game comics exist for the most hardcore of fans to delve deeper into. But while many comic publishers have already snatched up most of the properties, there’s still a good amount that would benefit from being translated to that medium. Here are my picks for the Top 10 games that would make excellent comics.
10. Spyro the Dragon
First of all, yes I know a Skylanders comic exists. Second of all, no I’m not counting that here. When I speak of wanting a Spyro comic, I mean the classic, snarky, headstrong Spyro. 2018’s Reignited Trilogy reminded fans what used to be so great about the fiery little guy. And it even came with a fresh coat of paint that would look just as beautiful in the comic format.
Plus, the brilliance of those beloved 3D platforming mascots of the late 90s/early 00s is that they’re not restricted to staying in one place. Just like in the games, a writer could create a new area for Spyro to explore without too much strain. Or explore one we know and love in a new way. As long as they got the tone of the character right, Spyro would feel right at home in a lighthearted comic.
9. Ori and the Blind Forest
Sometimes, the art style alone is reason enough to want to see a game adapted into a comic. And Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most beautiful indie games in a very long time. But beyond that, it’s got a touching story full of engaging character dynamics that is sure to warm the coldest of hearts.
A comic adaptation could explore the history of the forest Nibel. Or it could take Ori on a new adventure, as the upcoming sequel proves is possible. The artwork would be the key thing to get right. Someone like Karl Kerschl (Isola) or Claudia Balboni (Fairlady) could knock it out of the park.
8. Luigi’s Mansion
Nintendo has a literal ton of comics based on their properties. The Legend of Zelda, Splatoon, and, of course, Super Mario have all received adaptations. And while Luigi has made plenty of appearances in that last one, his own series hasn’t been lucky enough to get one. Which is a shame, considering how humorous and charming those games are.
The reason a Luigi’s Mansion comic could work well is why a Mario one already does. Just like the games, they’re fun ventures into the Mushroom Kingdom. But there’s no denying that, with games, Nintendo focuses on gameplay over characterization. This comic could give Luigi the starring role, adding a bit more to his character. Plus, it could also give him something more to do with Daisy. You know, his supposed love interest of 20+ years?
The original Titanfall didn’t have a story mode. And while the second one did, it was fairly short and focused more on the present tense of war instead of the background. That didn’t make much of a difference as the gameplay was absolutely fantastic. But the point is that there’s plenty of room to expand and explore.
Titanfall 2, while it didn’t sell super well, was critically adored. Respawn’s Apex Legends and their upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order have only made them more popular. A Titanfall tie-in comic could add more to the lore and expand on the universe the way Apex Legends did. And if Titanfall 3 were to ever happen, launching a comic tie-in alongside it would be smart marketing. Dark Horse, who have already tackled Anthem, Tomb Raider, and StarCraft, would be a great publishing match.
6. Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Can you imagine how hilariously un-PC it would be? The original cult classic is nearly 20 years old and fans (myself included) have always wanted a proper follow-up. While it doesn’t look like we’ll ever get that game (don’t talk to me about Conker’s Big Reunion), the nasty little squirrel could do wonders on comic pages.
What made Conker such a wonderful character was the immediate contrast between his cutesy design and his excessively non-family friendly personality. There are so many comics that already do this, like Image’s I Hate Fairyland, just without the name draw. Essentially, Conker comics could be like a crasser, more adorable Deadpool, with all the meta jokes and bursts of bloodlust. And who doesn’t love Deadpool?
5. Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is beloved by, well, pretty much everyone. And that’s just one of the reasons it should have already been made into a comic or graphic novel. The art direction is some of the most stellar in any single player game, especially in that 2018 remaster by Bluepoint. The massive beasts the protagonist has to go up against could provide truly breathtaking pieces of comic art, provided the right artist was chosen for the job.
But beyond that, there’s a lot about this story and the world left unexplored. It follows a young man who agrees to defeat multiple Colossi in order to bring life back to the woman he apparently loves. Where the Colossi came from, how they stopped the disembodied entity who commands you to slay them so he’ll bring the maiden back to life, and what put the woman in her current state. All of these gaps are left up to the player to fill in. And while one could argue it’s more important for the game to focus on the story at hand, a comic could provide answers to those who seek them.
The recent announcement of Celeste DLC to close Madeline’s story kind of throws a wrench into this one. A comic could explore the life events that led her to the mountain. But given how it plays out, that would probably be a rather depressing tale devoid of the magic found in the game’s plot. Plus, hinting rather than having specific details allows for the player to relate more to Madeline’s situation. It’s a game about healing; we don’t have to know why she needed it, just that she obtained it.
But there are a lot of charming side characters in the game that would benefit from fun one-shots, which could make for a great collection. Or it could focus on a completely new character coming to the mountain in search of different answers than Madeline. This could provide a way to broaden the mysticism behind the mountain. And the art style outside of gameplay looks very similar to Steven Universe, which has already been proven to work well as a comic.
3. Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerilla Games crafted an endlessly engaging world when they put out Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017. Setting humans back to the stone age while simultaneously having you fight against intimidating, animalistic robots made for a tremendous blend of story and gameplay. But with the sheer number of different enemy types, tribes of people, and the fact that it’s set in a content-packed, sprawling world makes me believe there are way more stories that could be told.
It also doesn’t hurt that Aloy is a strong-willed protagonist you can root for. While I wait for the inevitable sequel, I’d love to see her tackle the smaller scale problems of citizens she’s become the protector of. Also, each design of every metallic creature is more fascinating than the last. Seeing her face off against them in action-packed panels would be comic gold.
2. The Elder Scrolls
And here we have the pick I’m most surprised doesn’t already exist. The Elder Scrolls is one of the longest-lasting franchises in gaming. And you can play the massively popular Skyrim on basically every modern console. The demand would undoubtedly be there if the supply existed. So why are there no comics based on The Elder Scrolls?
Just like any fantasy world, there’s plenty of room for new stories to be told. Each entry takes place in a different area of the same continent. And each of these areas is bursting at the seams with lore that could be expanded on by comics or even novels. Dark Horse, who already succeeded in bringing The Witcher to the medium, would be a perfect match.
BioShock, with its dark political themes, claustrophobic setting, and dangerous yet tempting powers, is a modern FPS classic. Not to mention that the twist is one of the best in all of gaming. But your protagonist is essentially mute, and there are plenty of crucial events that take place before the game begins. A comic could explore the creation of Rapture and the rise of antagonist Andrew Ryan. True, a novel about this already exists. But that shouldn’t exclude it.
Or it could take place in the world of BioShock Infinite. We could see a compressed version of Elizabeth’s life as her powers are kept at bay by Comstock before Booker arrives in Columbia. Or, given the way that game ends, a comic could give us an entirely different story with a unique setting and characters. The prospect of this one is literally endless. And the somewhat cartoonish graphics could make for an easy transition.
Ken Levine, the writer behind BioShock and BioShock Infinite, has actually spoken about the topic before:
Actually, there’s been a lot of conversations about it, and we’ve had some really good productive conversations. The biggest problem is if there’s going to be BioShock comics, I need to make sure that I’m either writing or on top of the stories, and right now I have so limited time.
This was right before the release of Infinite. Levine has since scaled his development company, Irrational Games, down to focus on smaller titles and rebranded it as Ghost Story Games. Many fans crave a new BioShock, which we would probably get long before a comic. But the potential is certainly there.
So those are my picks for the Top 10 video games I’d want to see receive the comic treatment. But I’m sure they’re far different from yours. Sound off in the comments what your picks would be. And if you don’t see one you’d want, it may already exist. Which means you’ve got some catching up to do.