10 Video Game Characters You Didn't Know Were Based On Real People

These legendary video game characters all have a real-life basis.

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Though video games are becoming a more mature and singular medium with each passing year, like any art form it is one frequently defined by inspiration and homage, where artists use existing material as reference to create something new.

And that's never been truer in video games than with their characters, who have historically tended to draw influence from reality - more often than not, the world of Hollywood.

Yet these influences may not always be immediately clear, because of course, that inspiration has been moulded and shaped into something else throughout the creative process.

As such, you probably aren't aware that these 10 iconic, unforgettable video game characters were all inspired by real-life, flesh-and-blood human beings, whether actors, musicians, martial artists, daredevils, or perhaps even an historical figure.

In some cases the comparison becomes impossible to un-see once you've been made aware of it, while in others the influence isn't strictly physical, but more subtly relates to mannerisms, personality traits, and sheer attitude.

Whatever the basis, these video game characters all owe something of a debt to real-life figures, who had no direct involvement with the game itself...

10. The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) - Charlotte Rampling

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Konami & Fox

It's no secret at all that Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima loves movies, and has drawn tremendous influence from them throughout his career.

And while you're surely aware that Metal Gear Solid protagonist Solid Snake was inspired by Kurt Russell's character Snake Plissken from John Carpenter's iconic movie Escape from New York, Kojima went a little less obvious when designing one of Metal Gear Solid 3's most pivotal characters.

For years, many fans have remarked that Big Boss' mentor and apparent Soviet turncoat The Boss resembles Cate Blanchett, though in 2014 Kojima confirmed on Twitter that Blanchett wasn't actually the inspiration at all. Rather, The Boss was based on English actress Charlotte Rampling in her younger years.

Given Rampling's striking look and piercing gaze, it's easy to see why Kojima found her so totally perfect as the basis for such a steely, transfixing character, even if it's a much subtler choice than using Kurt Russell/Snake Plissken as the template for Solid Snake.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.