From Sonic the hedgehog to Lara Croft, we all have our favorite video game characters. A well designed and thought-out character can take the entire gaming experience to the next level. For that reason, a great deal of planning goes in to coming up with compelling storylines and characters, whether it’s for complex strategy games or free Vegas slots. Often, the most memorable avatars are down to the incredible imagination of game designers and writers, but just once in a while they are inspired by real people, living their day to day life. Here are 5 video game characters you probably didn’t realize were based on actual people.
The protagonist of the Unchartered series, Nathan Drake was based on a combination of living and breathing people — or so developers have led us to believe. The action-adventure character was said to have been inspired by Johnny Knoxville and definitely looks a little bit like the Jackass star. Developers also said they wanted elements of Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis to be visible within Drake.
Believe it or not, everyone’s favorite plumber was also based on a real person. The rumor goes that on the release of Super Mario back in the 1980s, the company were expecting a major windfall. However, the cash flow proved a little slower than anticipated and Nintendo ended up a short on rent for their American warehouse HQ. When the landlord Mario Segale turned up to demand payment, Nintendo managed to strike a deal with him to avoid losing the premises. The character, which had been named Jumpman up until this moment was renamed Mario.
Arguably, one of the most popular characters ever created was also inspired by a real-life figure. The name Zelda was taken directly form Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald — author of incredible novels including The Great Gatsby. The game’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto noted Zelda as being smart and beautiful — traits he wanted reflected in the character. He also opted for the name Zelda thanks to its uniqueness.
Sonic the Hedgehog
It may seem hard to believe that a bright blue hedgehog could have been based on a real person, but amazingly, that is reported to be the case. In fact, there are few sources of inspiration for Sonic, the first of which is said to be Michael Jackson. Designers reportedly copied the character’s iconic red boots from the shape of those worn by the singer on the cover of his Bad album.
One of the most terrifying video game character’s created has to be the maniac Trevor Philips in Grand Theft Auto V. As part of the cruel trio, also consisting of criminals Michael and Franklin, Trevor was allegedly designed with two people in mind. The first was the actor who voiced the character in the series. The second was the real life convicted criminal Charles Bronson.