Universe building is a large part of constructing not only games, but any form of fiction. Sci-fi is a genre that requires some very precise universe design. The scales are large, the lore deep and the characters inhabiting the universes must be strong enough to back up the use of technology and science in their respective universes. Some developers out there will take the time to craft a sci-fi universe that is rich in lore and technology that fits just right. A sci-fi game with a strong universe can leave a lasting impact on a player and encourage them to return. Here is our Top 10 Sci-fi Universes in Gaming.
10. Star Fox
Star Fox took their place as Nintendo’s Sci-Fi triumphant back in the 90’s, and for good reason. The game was fun, humorous, and different. Players took the helm of the Arwing as Fox McCloud and heeded the advice of his crewmates, Slippy, Peppy, and Falco. In the early 2000s, Star Fox took a new turn and sent Fox McCloud down to “Dinosaur Planet” (Sauria) to rescue the blue fox, Krystal. This was the first time the series took on an action role-playing element; though it wasn’t as widely-received as one would think, the game gave the Star Fox universe some depth. Fox McCloud wasn’t just sitting in his Arwing barrel-rolling his way to Andross, instead he ventured on foot to defeat a series of raptor-like enemies in order to save another fox. The Star Fox series went back to their roots with Star Fox Zero, placing players back in the helm of the Arwing. Hopefully Slippy is ready for some barrel rolls.
Sci-Fi plays an interesting role in the Bioshock universe. For the most part, these games are built around an older setting (60s for Bioshock 1 and 2 and 1912 for Bioshock Infinite) but are tweaked enough to bring sci-fi aspects into them. The original and sequel have plasmids, submarines, underwater living and other elements not actually present in the 60s. Infinite has a more steam punk feel but also houses (SPOILERS*) time travel, mechs and the idea of alternate realities. Overall, the sci-fi elements help distinguish the Bioshock series from it’s humble, vintage setting and provide some feel of awe and spectacle with Big Daddies lurking in the depths and airships roaming the skies.
8. Ratchet & Clank
Unlike nearly every other entry on this list, besides the next one, the Ratchet & Clank games have a unique approach to their universe building and sci-fi. Humor is prevalent and drives not only the narrative but also the science. The universe is built on interplanetary travel as ships are able to move between them in a blink of an eye. Sentient robots populate the universe as friend and foe including half of the main protagonist, Clank and series villain, Dr. Nefarious. The weapons are also a major focus in the series with them being able to minimize and maximize on a whim and being either a sci-fi weapon of mass destruction or a laser that turns enemies into chickens, sheep, ducks, etc. What started out as a simple platformer with a straightforward story line evolved into a massive connected universe of lore. With the series rebooted and story now in the front seat, it is interesting to see where the universe of Ratchet & Clank goes from here.
7. Destroy All Humans
Humans like to play the hero in Sci-Fi games; battling bloodthirsty aliens (usually on another planet) until they are the lone survivors. Destroy All Humans likes to take a different approach by having the player control the devious alien Crypto while he wreaks havoc in a small farm-town looking for his clone. Destroy All Humans continued into a series featuring Crypto and his clones taking over Earth and running restaurants and casinos in his own cheeky fashion. Sci-Fi often takes the more serious, less humorous route in stories, which makes Destroy All Humans a gem among the genre. If you’re like us and still have your gaming systems since birth, then I highly recommend picking up a copy and giving this a try.
6. Star Ocean
The Star Ocean series has a very unique approach to their Sci-Fi Universe building. They focus on populating the universe with numerous planets filled with intelligent life and the way they gauge the planet is by comparing it’s technological advancement to Earth’s history. An example of this would be the first planet came across in Till The End Of Time is a planet comparable to 16th century Earth. This broadens the series to feel like a mix of sci-fi, fantasy and time travel. This blend of genres and some expansive stories help build the Star Ocean universe up as a grand universe full of exotic worlds and a variety of characters to encounter.