10 novelists who worked on a video game

It’s not uncommon for masters in one field to participate in the gaming world. Steven Spielberg, Paul McCartney, and Guillermo del Toro have all made a name for themselves in an industry and found themselves playing games. Still, it’s one thing when a master of another visual or audio medium participates in a video game, but what about print?

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Sometimes when a novel is adapted into a game, the author serves as a consultant or even plays a role in the development of the title. Some novelists are gamblers themselves. Others may even despise the industry, but will work with developers just so their name isn’t attached to a shoddy product. As video games become more story-driven, more and more titles are becoming collaborations between developers and wordsmiths.

ten Arthur C. Clarke guided players through the world of Rama

Cropped Rama PC

Along with Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke is one of the most lauded and important figures in science fiction. He collaborated with filmmaker Stanley Kubrick on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and wrote many short stories and novels. Sierra approached Clarke with a play adaptation of two of her books.

The game, Ramatakes elements of Appointment with Rama and Ramah II and places them in a graphical first-person adventure. Clarke even appears in the game’s many death scenes, where he gives the player helpful advice on how to progress.

9 Clive Barker has worked on games such as Undying and Jericho

A little like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusadetwo games based on the horror movie Nightblood came out, one being an action title and the other a graphic adventure. Barker has also worked on two horror-themed first-person shooters.

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According to Barker, Eternal was in development prior to his involvement, but it did not meet Dreamworks Interactive’s expectations. Someone suggested Steven Spielberg approach Barker, and he agreed. Barker would later team up with Spanish developer Mercurystream of Metroid Dread fame on first person shooter Jericho.

8 Terry Pratchett has participated in all three Discworld games

Discworld II PC cropped

Terry Pratchett collaborated with Perfect Entertainment on game adaptations of his Discworld novels, but his involvement diminished with each episode. While the first games were somewhat loose adaptations of his work, the third title – Noir –was a completely original story with an outline provided by Pratchett and written by Chris Bateman.

The titles were acclaimed for their humor but criticized for their puzzle logic. Pratchett once joked: “I built myself a new office with the royalties of the first game and I built a second office with the royalties of the second to put the letters there.”

seven Neil Gaiman worked with The Odd Gentlemen on Wayward Manor

Wayward Manor screenshot cropped

Neil Gaiman is famous for his many award-winning novels and his contributions to comics, television and film. Some of his work has seen game adaptations, like Coralinebut the only original game to boast of its involvement is wayward mansion by the Odd Gentlemen.

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While an adventure game written by the author of classics such as Sand seller and Stardust and developed by the team that brought the King’s Quest bringing the franchise back to life sounds like a great idea on paper, wayward mansion received poor reviews for its unintuitive puzzles, numerous bugs, and lackluster visuals.

6 Douglas Adams has been involved in several text adventures

Starship Titanic Cropped PC

Douglas Adams is well known for his many novels and contributions to television and radio, but he’s no stranger to the gaming world. He was heavily involved in Infocom’s text adventure Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Game. LucasArts’ first graphic adventure was a video game adaptation of the Jim Henson and Terry Jones film Labyrinth.

Douglas Adams recommended switching from text visuals to graphical visuals once players enter the world. Years later, he would write and design the graphic adventure title Titanic spaceship which used a hybrid point-and-click interface with text-based commands for specialized dialogue.

5 Harlan Ellison voiced AM in I Have No Mouth And I Have To Scream

Cyberdream’s David Sears spent days at Harlan Ellison brainstorming ideas for adapting the game from I have no mouth and I have to scream. Sears asked Ellison why the Allied Master computer specifically chose these five humans to torture, which informed the game’s direction.

According to Sears, Ellison’s unfamiliarity with the medium led to creative conflicts between the two parties. Ellison originally wanted the game to be impossible to solve, but Sears was able to convince him to give the game good and bad results. Ellison also provided the voice of AM – the novel and game’s antagonist.

4 Orson Scott Card contributed dialogue to classics such as Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island Insult Sword Fighting Cropped

It should surprise no one that the author of a book centered on a boy learning to fight through a game would dip his toes into the gaming industry. When Brian Moriarty’s LucasArts graphic adventure Loom was transitioning to a CD talkie upgrade, the dialogue had to be modified to accommodate the limited disc space.

Orson Scott Card was assigned to cut Moriarty’s original script. Card is also credited with writing the insults for the sword fighting mini-game in The Secret of Monkey Island.

3 Dmitry Gluhovsky worked with developers on the game Metro 2033

Subway 2033 underground

4A Games First Person Shooter Metro 2033 is based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novel of the same name. Glukovsky was impressed with the developer’s previous work and felt they had an “Eastern European mindset” that served the game’s themes.

While he gave the studio great creative freedom, he was also actively involved in development, even going so far as to rewrite the dialogue for the Russian version of the game. He also approved of 4A Games’ decision to deviate from the source material and giving players two possible outcomes at the end of the game.

2 Yahtzee Croshaw hit for games like Watch Dogs Legion

Yahtzee Croshaw made his mark with the highly scathing and satirical online review show Zero punctuation and has also been acclaimed by his award-winning novels, such as Jam and Will save the galaxy for food. He has also written and programmed many titles such as Poacher and The Devouring Shadow.

During the development of one of the many iterations of Duke Nukem forever, Croshaw was commissioned to write the game’s plot, but his draft was rejected by George Broussard for portraying Duke as an outdated relic. Plus, it punched the Ubisoft sandbox title Legion of Watch Dogs.

1 George RR Martin wrote the Lore Of Elden ring

Elden Ring Erdtree

George RR Martin is best known for his widely celebrated series A song of ice and fire which was adapted into the wildly popular game of thrones HBO series. While there were games based on the aforementioned fantasy franchise made by studios such as Telltale, they were mostly overseen by Martin’s assistant, Tyler Corey Franck.

Ring of Elden is a new title courtesy of dark souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. A huge fan of Martin’s work, Miyazaki hired him to write the game’s story. The staff who had worked on the game of thrones Television series have also provided assistance.

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