Dante’s Inferno, released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PS3, was an unfortunately lackluster game representing a classic of poetic literature written in the 14th Century. Fighting through the nine rings of Hell, the player descends through the narrative and hacks through bosses and minions in his journey to the center.
The end goal: rescue Beatrice, the damsel in distress, who is in the clutches of Lucifer himself. Though based on the narrative of the original author, the game sprints through the story to focus strongly on action-packed gameplay. Unfortunately, it falls short in many ways compared to similar games of its style (see Darksiders 3 for example). With this game as a starting place, here are 10 classic books that would make a better game than Dante’s Inferno.
10 The Iliad and the Odyssey
One of the more adventurous choices, The Iliad and The Odyssey were Epic Poems attributed to Homer from Ancient Greece. Following the Trojan War and characters such as Achilles and Odysseus, the novels boast vast amounts of action, a connection between gods and men, and adventurous exploration throughout.
These qualities fit excellently within the realms of gaming, as one can imagine fighting gods and champions of Troy as the ancient heroes, and traversing mountains to find Temples teeming with great power and treasures that await the most daring of adventurer. Open world exploration by ship and horse in Ancient Greece would be an excellent space, yet not too unlimited to make it possible with modern development practice. Even an element of strategy is possible within the war of Troy, controlling armies and war engines alike. The Iliad and The Odyssey would need an ambitious team, but has great promise for a classic narrative.
9 Epic of Gilgamesh
Games that have elements of characters connected to the divine have some of the most creative and interesting storylines in the gaming world. Games like Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, the Diablo series and the world of Darksiders all have incredible writing and gameplay that follows after the connection to godlike characters.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest world-origin story ever written and follows the character of Gilgamesh, the ancient Mesopotamian king, as he traverses relationships with gods and an adventure through the ancient world. It’s filled with incredible creatures such as arrow shooting scorpions and men with wings, which adds to the experience of the world. The issue with this game is that, similar to The Lord of the Rings, the world of Gilgamesh is enormous and would be better suited to a series of games or different types of games like MMORPGs.
8 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
An excellent story with plenty of social discussion and excitement, Huckleberry Finn is a perfect candidate for an action-adventure game, similar even to that of the explorative Uncharted series. Complete with sneaking, fighting, caves, river navigation and more, the story of Huck Finn is the fantasy of every young kid and child-at-heart.
Some obvious elements of extra fighting and treasure/achievement hunting would need to be added, however, the base is in an excellent position to be taken over by a studio like Naughty Dog, who could handle the vast expanse of the Missouri River.
7 The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo has a strong history, both in cinema and in novel. With a strong cult following, it’s a difficult narrative to explore, but it has so much opportunity for an exciting game.
Imagine a Castlevania-type game, Metroidvania through the castle and solving the mystery of the Count. Action packed fighting and traps lead the player to intense scenes of narrative, filled with the passionate romance of the novel and film. Playing to both audiences is important in this game, yet if done right, it could be a smashing success.
6 Heart of Darkness
Thriller games have been popular with players since Resident Evil was released and started a genre with mass popularity. Recent games such as Alien: Isolation have been met with great reviews, especially the games that twist the mind and give difficult puzzles to complete. Heart of Darkness, set in the Congo in 1890, the crew aboard a riverboat sets sail through the jungle river to explore and excavate, finding treasure and mapping out new sections of the savage jungle.
However, the mission turns south as the native people are encountered, the characters are trapped and fear reigns king. The game would be filled with thrilling turns and action-packed scenes. Characters in the book are seen to go mad with fear, which could be similar to the characters in the Far Cry series. On top of all that, the jungle is filled with traps and treasures, making the exploration of the savage land exciting, with danger and reward at every turn.
1984, the classic psychological thriller and societal commentary, would make an incredible basis for an indie dungeon-crawler game. Games such as Satellite Reign that feature a Cyberpunk setting and strategic stealth, fighting, and puzzle solving, would make a great basis for the world of 1984. A Big Brother of a boss character, a rebellion in a technologically focused society, and many intriguing and enlightening characters fit the indie genre well.
Not only this, but the indie realm is also known for making the players think about the real world, putting thoughts into perspective and helping encourage right living outside of the gaming realm. With the author George Orwell’s insight into society, a game based on 1984 would absolutely make players think about the world they live in on the outside as well.
4 1001 Arabian Nights
1001 Arabian Nights is an extremely well-known set of stories from numerous adaptations of movies and games. Those like Aladdin and Prince of Persia have some excellent game behind them but focus on single stories.
Yet some recent games, such as Hitman and The Walking Dead games, have been presented in an episodic format, which would work very well for these stories. The episodes can be longer, but focused on the puzzles, the fighting, and other aspects of the stories, with an intense focus on narrative that the episodic games have strength in.
3 Lord of the Flies
World building strategy games have made a huge resurgence lately, especially in the mobile gaming world. In the intriguing world of Lord of the Flies, young boys are thrown into a new society that they have to create, from scratch. They end up fighting, building, governing and more, which is exactly what players of world-building games are doing in today’s world.
Creating a larger island, with maybe four groups of players that could fight, build, grow civilization, and more would be an excellent core narrative to a creative world. Gamers have notoriously been extremely creative in their world-building, and letting gamers work together to create a society from scratch would have amazing opportunities, yet possibly dangerous consequences.
2 Brave New World
Utopian society, hidden corruption, and rebellion from within are all ingredients of an excellent story-driven action game. No need for an open world, having maps driven around a city of technology and hidden secrets.
Similar to the Bioshock: Infinite setting, yet more futuristic, the game could be a FPS. Chemicals and genetic mutation are rampant in the narrative of Brave New World, which would be perfect for the main character wanting revenge and reform in a corrupted world. Fast-paced, exciting gameplay similar to Bethesda shooters Rage and Doom, the game could be popular with players of all types.
1 Robinson Crusoe
Imagine being stuck on a deserted island, with nothing but clothes, the rubbish that landed on shore, and the looming jungle. Take this situation and turn it into a survival, builder game, similar to Seven Days to Die or Minecraft, and surround it with the story from the great classic Robinson Crusoe. Encounter various enemies, tribes, pirates and vicious animals during the adventure to survive.
Exploration and treasure; stealth or rampage; the choice is the players. To conquer the island by force, or use subtlety to gather what is necessary to escape to civilization. The choices made against the groups that live on the island resemble the system of Middle-earth: Shadow of War on PS4. The ultimate sandbox game has promise when based on the world of Robinson Crusoe.