“What…is that…?” isn’t exactly what people expect you to say
Much like movies and TV, video game characters are sometime based on the look, style, and personality of real people. Here are 9 examples.
- Sonic the Hedgehog. Sega created Sonic the Hedgehog to directly revival Nintendo’s Mario. The video game company wanted Sonic to be the most stylish character in video games, so they based him on two of the coolest pop culture icons during the early 90s, Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson. Sonic’s attitude was based on Clinton’s, while his fashion sense was based on MJ.
- Johnny Cage from Mortal Kombat. The martial arts movie star from Mortal Kombat is based on Jean-Claude Van Damme, the most popular martial arts movie star during the early 90s.
- Nathan Drake from Uncharted. According to designer Richard Lemachard, Nathan Drake is based on the attitude and personality of the superstar daredevil Johnny Knoxville. The video game demanded that its character not be afraid to get into stupid situations.
- Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic’s villain Dr. Robotnik was based on the 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. Both share a very similar mustache and glasses, while both have a penchant for hunting furry animals.
- Balrog from Street Fighter II. Here’s some trivia, because of Capcom’s strange translators, Street Fighter II in the United States had different character name from its Japanese counterpart. Who we know as Balrog the Boxer is actually M. Bison, M. Bison the big boss is known as Vega, while Vega is actually Balrog. Confused? Since the boxer character is actually M. Bison, it’s also pretty close to M. Tyson, as in Mike Tyson.
- Ganondorf from Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The human form of Ganon was based on the facial features of Christopher Lambert. The character’s designer liked the way his brow looked, so he adapted it to the video game’s villain.
- Samus Aran from Super Metroid. In the sequel game Super Metroid, Samus didn’t have to be just a half-dress woman with green hair, so designers could expand her look with the Super Nintendo’s 16-bit graphic. Samus Aran is based on Kim Basinger’s looks, while her last name is based on soccer star Pelé’s real name, Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
- Lara Croft. Her general look was based on Tank Girl, while her style was based on pop singer Neneh Cherry from her music video “Buffalo Stance.”
- Fei Long from Super Street Fighter II and Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat. Back in the early 90s, every video game fighting game had to have a character based on Bruce Lee and for Super Street Fighter II it was Fei Long, while it’s easy to see Mortal Kombat’s Liu Kang fitting that role.