Where Game Developers Get Their Inspiration From

Where Game Developers Get Their Inspiration From

The video game industry is worth more than the music and movie industries combined, and that’s no accident. It’s the result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes by game developers, who have consistently pumped out exceptional titles for modern gamers enjoy. 

Though there are some 10,000 games released each year on Steam alone, demand for new video games is never fully satiated. As such, games are continually in production. So, where do game developers find inspiration to continue pumping out quality games? Let’s take a look at just some of the common sources of inspo that developers typically look towards. 

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Earlier Video Games

It’s rare that a truly unique video game is released. It happens, but it’s rare. In most cases, video games are developments on existing titles, in much the same way that modern music is often derivative of the songs of yesteryear. 

Some of the biggest video games of all time wouldn’t exist if earlier titles hadn’t been invented. For example, Alone in the Dark, a relatively obscure 1992 video game, served as a big source of inspiration for the developers of industry-changers Resident Evil and Silent Hill. In addition, basically every modern fighting game can be traced back to a single game: 1987’s Street Fighter.

Ancient Cultures

The modern world has its perks, but it doesn’t offer much by way of game development inspiration. Beyond The Sims, there’s probably not much of a market for games in which you have to do mundane, everyday tasks. That’s why so many game developers look to ancient cultures when they’re brainstorming ideas. This is especially evident in the online slots industry, where games such as Legacy of Dead, Cashzuma and The Tomb of Wonga, and Book of Dead have all clearly been inspired by ancient cultures. These ancient worlds also serve as inspiration for console games, too, including Age of Empires, Civilization VI, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. 

Technology Inspiration 

Game developers like to play around, especially when new technology is available. In fact, one of the reasons why we’ve seen such an explosion in video game creativity in recent years is because technology has become more advanced and accessible. It’s not uncommon for entire games to be put into production on the back of a single technological breakthrough, especially in the mobile gaming sector. If a gaming artist discovers a new way to present rainbows or clouds in a hyper-realistic manner, then they may well use it as the basis for a game. After all, audiences are drawn to what’s new. 

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Board Games

Video games tend to get all the limelight, but, in many instances, those titles wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for their non-digital counterparts. Board games have long served as a source of inspiration for video games. In some cases, video games aren’t just inspired by board games — they’re direct translations. That was the case with Europa Universalis, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Dungeons and Dragons. All of these started out in the real world before getting the digital treatment. 

Trending Games

Have you noticed how one successful movie is usually followed by a host of similarly-themed movies? Or how a new and exciting artist is followed by imitators? It’s the same thing with video games. If a genre is proving to be popular, then game developers will endeavor to release their own versions. The most popular recent example of this is the Battle Royale genre, which didn’t even exist a little more than a decade ago but is today one of the biggest genres in the world, all because developers saw that it was popular. 

Original Ideas 

Finally, in some cases, game developers get inspiration from internal sources rather than external sources. This is usually the case with senior developers, who have the space and freedom to bring their own ideas to life due to their stature and experience. These are mostly passion projects, though they do sometimes find long-term success.


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