Videogame characters based on real people

Do you know where the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog got their inspiration or who Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat is modelled on? You’ll be surprised to read the famous names who inspired the creation of these and many more popular videogame characters.


Sonic the Hedgehog’s creators took their inspiration from Michael Jackson during the Bad era. They also spliced in a little Bill Clinton. The “Get it Done” attitude Sonic has comes from Clinton while the look is pure Jacko. Even the boots Sonic wears are modelled on the ones Jackson wore in the “Bad” music video. Samus Aran in Metroid is another character based on famous people. This one takes her inspiration from Sigourney Weaver and Kim Basinger. The character looks like Basinger but the developers have taken Weaver ass-kicking attitude from Alien and added that to their character. Bruno Dellinger in Dynamite Cop is another hero with a familiar face. If you think of Die Hard when you play this one, you’ll be right on the money as the character’s based on Bruce Willis from the Die Hard era. This is not mere rip-off though as the game was developed as “Die Hard Arcade”.


The bad guys in video games also take their inspiration from real life. Visionary mad-man Andrew Ryan in Bioshock owes a lot to his real life counterpart Howard Hughes, both visually and in term of his characteristics. Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auto IV is another bad guy who’s modelled on a real life person. The developers wanted Russian actor Vladimir Mashkov to voice their character but he declined. That didn’t stop them modelling the man’s looks on the actor. Street Fighter character Balrog is a spitting image of former boxer and ear-muncher Mike Tyson. Capcom originally named this guy Mike Bison but they changed that when their lawyers pointed out that they could get sued.

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