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I believe the question speaks for itself, but to elaborate, I cannot think of any video games based on an existing IP that are actually considered canonical. For example, there exists a large library of Star Wars novels that are considered canon by Lucasfilms, but I know of no games - even when the writing is exceptional.

Does anyone know of any games that are considered canon either by the original IP's creator or the fan community at large? It seems like an obvious way to connect with gamers and build a loyal fanbase.

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  • I would feel that superhero comic book-based video games would be trivially cannon, as you often repeat the actions in the comics / films. Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 18:46
  • Kind of a broad question, and yes occasionally games are canonized. It all depends on IP creator, they can do whatever they want. Some sci-fi universes, like Halo, the games are primary canon, even though there are novels. I have to vote to close, sorry. Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 3:30
  • @Mark: After extended thought I'm not sure I agree. I believe there are very few universes where games are canon; there have only been four or five suggestions so far. An objectively correct answer which covers them all could be written.
    – Tynam
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 15:07
  • 3
    Not to nitpick, but isn't this calling for a list of works?
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 12:54
  • 1
    Technically, all works of fiction are in a canon, just not necessarily the official or main canon.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 18:43

6 Answers 6

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Enter The Matrix was explicitly designed to be canonical; there are scenes in the second Matrix movie that don't really do anything in the movie but are there as crossover points with the game, and scenes in the game that fill gaps in the movie.

(Unfortunately it's not actually that good. But it's definitely canon.)

18

According to Wookieepedia:

In mission and quest solving, canon is assumed to be the fullest and best outcome possible of each mission/quest available as given in the briefing or scenario. Kyle Katarn, Keyan Farlander, Maarek Stele, Jaden Korr, etc. never failed their quests.

In addition to that:

In side-choosing games such as the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series and Dark Forces saga where the player has the choice between light side and dark side, as of yet, the light side ending has been verified as canonical by Lucasfilm in all games.

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  • Fascinating. Given Lucasfilm's stance on books, I can see them deeming KOTOR canonical. Maybe I should get around to actually playing those some day. Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 16:01
  • 1
    Interesting, but I was under the impression that the upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic assumed a dark side ending for the exile in KOTOR II. Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 14:26
  • @Joshua: That might be the case, but then that game would be a separate canon (parallel universe / alternate timeline?) to the main line of the films. Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 14:33
  • Of course, it's since been relegated to Legends canon, but the answer was correct at that time.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 10:06
14

I have been informed by a co-worker that the game Star Trek: 25th Anniversary is actually considered canon by Alex Kurtzmann and Roberto Orci.

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  • 3
    if you've got a good answer to your question, I think it is fine to answer it yourself. Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 8:13
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I am tempted to add The Chronicles of Riddick: Butcher Bay (and possibly Dark Athena) to the list. Vin Diesel's likeness was used extensively, since the game was developed by a game studio owned by Vin Diesel, and offers the origin of the character's distinct abilities.

1
  • Very true. Also, the games are better than source material. :)
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 11:14
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Most giant canon machines are based around older media. Games are typically viewed as marketing. So you see games that appear in these worlds, but normally as advertising for the world.

If you want to find games that generate canon for a universe, you almost have to look for worlds that started with games. Like Halo.

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  • I'd largely agree with that. The only examples of "canon" games that I can think of started out as games (Halo, Mass Effect, the Warcraft universe)
    – Nellius
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 15:49
  • This has been my assessment as well. It seems like there should have been at least one giant that would have taken the plunge by now though... Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 15:53
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    Well, there is a lot of crossover in the other mediums. Game enthusiasts are movie-goers. But not all that many movie-goers are game enthusiasts. Add to that the fact that movie games near-universally suck, and you begin to see why they aren't canon.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 15:54
  • This creates an interesting situation where a game like Doom is considered more cannon than its resulting box office flop. Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 3:13
1

I can't find a decent reference for it, but I'm pretty sure Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is cannon. It's the official story about how the rebellion started.

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