Talented writers of video games, novels, and really any form of entertainment can build worlds that are as wondrous as real-life. Here are the ten best lore-rich video games for you to immerse yourself in. A lot of games on this list have prequels and sequels. If you want to understand them to the fullest, you should play every game in each of the franchises.
Because every entry here has its own unique setting and lore that is interesting in its own way, I did not rank them in any order.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has two previous games and the story makes much more sense if you’re already familiar with them. For this entry, let’s talk about Wild Hunt, though. The Witcher games are based on the Andrzej Sapkowski novels in which he created a vast and beautiful world.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the best in the franchise and one of the greatest games in general. There are multiple races and factions where conflicts and violence take place as much as civil engagements. CD Projekt RED announced a remake of the original Witcher game recently too. If you like the lore of the games, be sure to read the novels as well.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Will this list be complete without an Elder Scrolls game? Skyrim is the most beloved game in the franchise; you play as the Dragonborn in the cold and harsh but beautiful land of Skyrim. Like in the previous games, Skyrim has a lot of in-game books and tales for you to read and learn much more about the lore and the mysteries of the whole franchise. The scale of the Elder Scrolls titles’ lore and world-building is insanely huge and deep. Like in most RPGs, there are multiple races and various lands and stories behind each of them. Truly a wonderful franchise.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is the overhauled and remastered version of the beloved Mass Effect trilogy. This edition comes with all three games and it’s absolutely worth buying. As for the lore, there’s an entire galaxy of it for you to immerse yourself in. The number of races and planets and factions in Mass Effect is absurd and it’s hard to imagine a player not being flabbergasted by the depth of it. It’s quite admirable how these games have so much written lore about them despite not being completely open-world. BioWare is just built differently when it comes to making RPGs.
Dragon Age: Origins
The Dragon Age series is another beautiful franchise by BioWare and it draws inspiration from the Lord of the Rings and the Game of Thrones books. Like our previous entry, Mass Effect, Dragon Age Origins is also not an open-world game. But despite that, the depth and complexity of the world are awe-inspiring. There are beautiful stories waiting for you to discover in all the Dragon Age games, but the first game is the most beloved. This series has huge potential to become a full-blown TV Series like Game of Thrones and if it’s done correctly, it will be as beloved as the games. Also, Dragon Age 4 was announced. That’s great news for the fans of the series.
FromSoftware’s Soulsbourne Games
Because all of FromSoftware’s brilliant action RPGs have mind-blowing lore, I’m going to include them in one entry. From Demon’s Souls to Elden Ring lore, every single FromSoftware ARPG tells complex and philosophical stories and builds worlds where the lore is almost overwhelming. The gameplay system of these ARPGs is very innovative and they invented the subgenre “Souls-Like”. The Soulsbourne lore is much darker and more depressing than your usual RPG. Hopefully, Demon’s Souls Remake and Bloodborne will release on PC so many more people can enjoy them.
Cyberpunk 2077 had a… rough launch, to put it mildly. But with regular updates and patches, you can now experience the game in its full glory. Guess what? It’s absolutely mind-blowing!
In a single game, CD Projekt RED tells the sinister story of a futuristic but corrupt world. Because of the criticisms, it earned because of its disastrous launch, many people didn’t play it. But after Netflix’s beautiful anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, countless players are playing the game. The anime takes place before the game’s event and it’s completely canon. It’s safe to say that Cyberpunk 2077 redeemed itself and remains a great RPG with wonderful lore and story.
When you first take a glance at NieR Automata, you might probably notice its protagonist’s appearance and the JRPG-styled game design. But NieR Automata delves much deeper into complex and heart-touching topics and this game actually inspired me to learn more about philosophy. The game’s story is set in the far distant future where aliens have conquered the earth. The current controllers of the planet are Machines and you are tasked with eliminating them and regaining control. That might sound simple, but the story gets way more complex and it’s sure to play with your emotions. NieR Automata is one of the greatest games ever created, that’s for certain.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus
Mechanicus is one of the best strategy games out there and if you know about the 40k universe, you already know how deep the lore is. The thing about these games is the difficulty to understand the lore just by playing the games. Instead, the player should watch various videos that explain the overwhelming amount of lore or read about it. The 40k games are set in the far distant future where no one is truly good. It’s a dark and depressing universe where there’s little hope. Mechanicus is a game about Tech-Priests who are engineers of the Imperium of Man and everything about them is so intriguing, from their appearance to their language.
Fallout: New Vegas
A list like this simply would not be complete without a Fallout game. The brilliant developers at Obsidian Entertainment put together a highly memorable experience with Fallout: New Vegas. The game is not afraid of social commentary, delving deep into philosophy and politics.
In addition to its lore-rich story, we’d argue that it’s one of the best games for a good laugh. Expect hilarious and goofy dialogue. Plus, it features some of the best voice actor performances in video games thanks to talent like Felicia Day.
Tales of Berseria
The Tales series always had deep and beautiful lore. For this example, let’s take Tales of Berseria. This game starts off as a wholesome and adventurous story but then twists into a tragic tale of betrayal, family, and duty. There is a multitude of different enemy types and you can spend hours and hours simply analyzing the lore behind them by reading journal entries.
The Tales games are also connected with each other and it’s totally worth playing the whole franchise. The latest title Tales of Arise was well-received and loved by gamers. I highly suggest playing this beautiful franchise because it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
One might not expect to see a first-person shooter among the most lore-rich video game franchises, but Halo‘s single-player campaigns are extremely good and very well-received. From Halo Reach to Halo Infinite, the lore about the universe is deep and complex. The game has even helped to spawn books, animated shows, and a live-action television series.
In the campaigns of these awesome games, you can find terminals with long videos about Halo’s lore and history. These terminals are well-hidden and are located in every single mission of the games. Uncovering them rewards the player with achievements as well, along with the knowledge of the lore. Be sure to seek them out the next time you’re playing it. You’ll be surprised by how deep the lore is.