Thursday, July 10, 2014

Writing Fiction Based on Video Games

I've been playing World of Warcraft for a couple years now... I played for a few months before I discovered that novels have been written about the lore behind the game. And that is one hefty lore, I tell you what.

As of March 2014, WoW had 7 million subscribers.
This means there are about 7 million people in the world
who know this dragon's name.
It's nothing new for novel versions to follow the popularity of a video game, movie, or TV show. Novelizations of other pop culture mediums are a great way to get non-readers interested in books. (It also gives fans something to do once they're max level and are waiting for the next expansion to drop... I'm looking at you, Warlords of Draenor, release date "on or before December 20, 2014.")

Most of the time, these novels are officially sanctioned by the creators of the video game in question, because fans will take the novels as canon and they should back up what actually happens in the game.

For example... this guy is one of my personal heroes. If you're totally lost after watching that, basically this was a guy at a panel at Comic Con asking the Blizzard (WoW) developers about the lore. He read the book The Shattering (by this week's author, Christie Golden) and he noticed that the character Falstad Wildhammer (who was on the Council of Three Hammers in the book) wasn't there in the updated version of the game, and he wanted to know why. The men who make this game for a living (who are amazing, don't get me wrong) slipped up and thought Falstad was dead. So this fan's attention to detail in both the books and the game led to the fix... and in honor of him, they actually copied his character, gave him a red shirt (because we call him Red Shirt Guy) and placed him next to Falstad in the game, with the title "Wildhammer Fact Checker."

So I guess what I'm pointing out here is sort of like life imitating art imitating like, except it's one form of art imitating another form imitating that first form. Each enriches the other, but either can be enjoyed on its own as well.

If you're interested, here's a list of novels based on video games (it includes all the WoW books). If you're the kind who keeps up with the gaming world, you'll notice that a lot of the games renowned for their complex and enjoyable storytelling are on this list: Silent Hill, Halo, Assassin's Creed, Diablo, Fable, Bioshock, Dead Island... Okay, I don't know about the game, but the trailer told such an incredible story, the game barely even needs to try.

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