13 biggest things influencing games today

The great thing about creating works of art – be it a painting, a novel, song or slam poetry - is that you can draw from any experience or memory in your life in order to breathe life into your work. These inspirations can be feelings your grey matter has interpreted or outright rip-offs of the original source material. However, when it comes to modern fiction, it seems as though many game developers have all read the same books and have seen the same movies.

C’mon, how many times have we played a game only to recognize every single influence inspiring the game developers? All the time, you say? We’ve cherry-picked our favorite design influences and cliches to present to you the inspirations behind games you’ve played. Behold!

Notable games inspired:
Call of Duty 2, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Medal of Honor: Frontline, Killzone 2

Not just a “really awesome battle scene” from Saving Private Ryan, the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France on June 6, 1944 - D-Day to those keeping score - saw hundreds of lives lost. True, it was an important battle in gaining a foothold in Germany’s defenses, but we’re sure devs just saw Saving Private Ryan and went, “Holy crap! Wouldn’t it be cool if you could play that?”

Above: Screen from Medal of Honor: Frontline

Okay, we suppose Steven Spielberg was involved in the creation of the Medal of Honor series at Dreamworks Interactive (now EA Los Angeles), but it seems like since then, other devs thought they could add a few more explosions, some more soldiers dying, a bit more rumble and change the objectives slightly. Mission completed, soldier!

Above: Screen from Call of Duty 2

Even Killzone 2 starts with a beach assault from a first-person perspective, only your landing craft flies towards its destination instead of by sea. It is pretty dramatic watching all other craft get blown out of the sky around you, but we really wonder if Guerilla Games might’ve thought of a more practical ship – those guys just fly on the top! - than just the homage to Ryan.

Above: Killzone 2 plays homage

Notable games inspired:
Doom 3, Dead Space, Moon, Metroid

Above: Notice the ship’s corridor

The first film in the Alien franchise is notable for not just the titular extraterrestrial on board, but as a landmark in science-fiction in the ways claustrophobia, mood and environment all enhance one another. The movie - if you haven’t seen it, for shame - is basically about a monster hiding on board a ship and picking off the crew one by one. But it’s much more than that.

Above: Moon looks familiar

The ship, Nostradamus, isn’t a super sleek futuristic vessel, but a blue collar facility (Dead Space anyone?). There are endless corridors (Moon), lighting and shadows that played tricks on the crew members (Doom 3), terrifying musical score and the constant fear of some thing hiding in the closed surroundings (everything). Don’t get us started on Metroid with its lead heroine (like Alien), similar tone and monster design. Add to all of that a methodically (read: slow, but scary) pace and you have one hell of a horror film... or game.

Above: Doom 3 had you go searching in the darkness

Things that go bump in the dark isn’t exactly a new concept, but Alien lay the groundwork for terrifying and immersive experiences involving space, exploration and fear.

Above: Watch out in Dead Space

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • Spybreak8 - February 27, 2009 9:43 a.m.

    @ Nevingunner42 Don't give them any ideas, dante's inferno, a ride to hell babies edition! Oo
  • Nevingunner42 - February 27, 2009 1:45 a.m.

    to hell with the babies
  • Japanjack - February 24, 2009 5:09 a.m.

    1984 is what I believe to be the most influential nowadays, with all these dystopian (which my computer doesn't believe to be a word) future games. Not that there is a reoccurring overruling government, but it's not uncommon.
  • bron1417 - February 24, 2009 12:39 a.m.

    nice article. games like doom and dead space scare the mess out of me but they sure are fun to play!
  • MrJameson458 - February 22, 2009 10:10 p.m.

    Baby games? Stupid.
  • The_Tingler - February 21, 2009 11:17 p.m.

    Hmm, I think you downplayed Star Wars' influence there. It's the space battles too. If the sodding Matrix can get in this list Star Wars has to - not just 'lightsabers'.
  • - February 21, 2009 9:09 p.m.

    I love calvin and hobbes! :) and I hate baby games
  • JoeMasturbaby - February 21, 2009 6:28 a.m.

    i think Bioshock was more related to Metropolis than to 1984. thats the only thing on my mind, please agree with me Shane.
  • RaIdEn - February 21, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    can someone please tell me wat the gun in the doom 3 screen is? it looks freakin awesome!
  • MacGyver1138 - February 20, 2009 9:43 p.m.

    In case the previous posters mentioning the muscle-man were serious; he's Photoshopped. There are some huge dudes in the world, but even Ronnie Coleman (8 consecutive Mr. Olympia wins) was never THAT big. Good article, though it is difficult to trace the true inspiration for a particular game, because most of this articles inspirations had other inspirations. For example, I would say that Tolkien was heavily inspired by Greek and Roman mythology. Also, I agree with zymn, Calvin and Hobbes was great, and that picture brought a smile to my face.
  • Theonik - February 20, 2009 9:36 p.m.

    @Cfw2008 Yes, you're right it was Pointe du Hoc not Omaha beach. God that was my second favourite level in COD2(after Hill 400).
  • noobeater - February 20, 2009 3:55 p.m.

    err...cwf it wasnt just omaha beach on d-day...juno gold sword? not sure by memory but there were 5 beaches 3 british 2 american anyway more to the point...bullets must bounce of that guy hes HUGE! lol recapture: 14 seizure...seizure in block capitals with sots all around lol
  • Phlopsy - February 20, 2009 3:09 p.m.

    Ok buddy, what the hell are "impeccable odds"? Bust out your Webster's. And yes, the ship was the Nostromo, not Nostradamus. And the Alien was not Giger-inspired, it was a Giger design he was contracted to produce. It's not inspired by his work, it IS his work.
  • deathrebellion - February 20, 2009 10:49 a.m.

    Eww... baby games gross
  • zymn - February 20, 2009 4:09 a.m.

    *sigh* Calvin and Hobbes. good memories. :)
  • Spybreak8 - February 20, 2009 4:02 a.m.

    Yea Zombies are obvious but damn I didn't even think about the Aliens APC with Mass Effect. That thing in the movies is awesome but then when you put on some rocket boosters you've got a ride. ^^
  • smallberry - February 20, 2009 3:31 a.m.

    Ah Calvin and Hobbes. That picture just made my morning.
  • gutlessVADER - February 20, 2009 2:02 a.m.

    lolol sweet article
  • Justman - February 20, 2009 1:34 a.m.

    Alien definitely set the standard for horror movies, whether it be in space or not. Alot of the lighting in Dead Space reminded me of the last 30 minutes of Alien. Also, not to get too picky, but I think the ship in Alien is called the Nostromo. Nice article.
  • jamminontha1n2 - February 19, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    Shane Patterson is dropping knowledge bombs on everyone with that entry on the monomyth. Great Article