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03 March, 2017

Sci-Fi Author Singles Out Mass Effect as Major Influence

BioWare’s iconic RPG has done more than just entertain gamers, it’s inspiring a new wave of creators.


Author Nicholas Abdilla has just released his new sci-fi novel Adam Exitus through Amazon and iTunes today, and it’s one for the sci-fi buffs. The first entry in what will be a 10-part series, it’s based on the author’s own original comic strip, and it’s reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick and Timothy Zahn. Filled with imaginative alien technology, strange creatures from far-off galaxies and one of the greatest vessels in sci-fi history, Adam Exitus will hopefully find an audience.

Abdilla is a renowned gamer who also created the comic series Game Guy, as published in Game Informer Australia. So during a recent interview as part of the promotional lead-up to the book’s release, he was asked how gaming had impacted his novel. Here is how the conversation went:

You’re a passionate gamer: how has gaming – or indeed any particular games – impacted the Adam X universe?

I do love my video games, especially those set in a fantasy world. Every game from BioWare has inspired me in terms of the detail that goes into that studio’s universes. I'm a big Star Wars fan, and when I played BioWare’s game Knights of the Old Republic on the original Xbox, I was just blown away. By the time I had finished that game I was like, "wow! That story was easily as good as the movies" (and is still better than any of the prequels).

I think that's when I truly changed as a gamer. It was no longer enough to just save the princess over and over without any backstory. I started picking my games like I would pick my movies or books: based on the blurb on the back of the box. My friends give me stick about it all the time. They've been trying to lure me into multiplayer gaming for years, but I just can't seem to stay interested without an objective beyond “how many times can I kill that guy.” It's all about that single player campaign for me and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon.

I'm just grateful BioWare has continued to lead the pack when it comes to great storytelling. I can't wait to sink hundreds of hours into Mass Effect Andromeda when it comes out later this month.

In fact the original Mass Effect was a big inspiration for me when writing the Adam X series. The first game came out shortly after I wrote the first Adam comic, right at a time where the story required that I come up with my own universe. You could say they set the benchmark for me in terms of what I hoped to create. It was clear they had taken their experience from KOTOR and crafted their own universe that was just as detailed and grand, yet still uniquely theirs. I realised if I was going to craft my own universe I was going to have to be just as creative and dedicated to the task as BioWare.

That is probably why I've spent the last decade working on it. It takes that long to come up with detailed backstories for every race and planet and then work out how all those races interact with one another.

They even inspired me to try using video gaming as a storytelling medium myself. About five years ago, I created a fully playable old-school RPG based on the Adam X universe called The Adam Experiment. It was fun to make, but I didn’t feel the end result was up to scratch, so I decided to keep that little gem to myself and leave video game making to the experts.

The novel Adam Exitus by Nicholas Abdilla is out now and available on Amazon, and also on iTunes. You can also read more of the interview here.

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