LITRPG stands for Literature or Literary (varies from person to person), Role Play Game. The most prolific example of this type of work would be Ready Player One by Earnest Cline.
In fact, while this article is not about Shroud of the Avatar, the developers of that game did, in fact, work with Ernest Cline somewhat and using some inspiration from him and Ready Player One put some elements in the game. This is how Row Housing came about.
If you go further back in time with the same company, Portalarium, they also worked with Ernest Cline during the beta stages of one of their games “Ultimate Garage Sale Collector.” While that particular game did not work out, I do remember taking place in the game elements that revolved around a Ready Play One Contest.
Reading Ready Player One myself lead me to my interest in the LITRPG genre. When I say I have read a lot of it, believe me, I have read a LOT. From horrible to amazing I have read just about anything I could get my hands on while the market catches up with me from time to time.
I recently started “Ascend Online” which I am enjoying enough I am willing to say “yeah, go read this.” I can tell it’s going to be fantastic even though I am only midway through the first book.
It is important to understand that the LITRPG genre has a broad range of styles in the genre. The primary theme, of course, is that the feel of the book, in some way, is as if the characters are playing an MMORPG game.
This can vary from only a character perspective, story and plot tone, and scene is presented so as to create the feel that the characters are in some video game. Here is a prime example of that style.
Alternatively and more commonly, the characters themselves are playing a video game, and know they are doing so. This can be from a low level of VR technology all the way up to brain transference and any other number of things in between.
So as I have read and continue to read this genre I have found myself concluding that the books I often enjoy the most, often present game mechanics and gameplay that make me feel like I would enjoy the hell out of the game!
This leads me to wonder how much inspiration developers may get from the LITRPG genre and if they even try to utilize that opportunity. Keep in mind, the LITRPG had only recently broken ground and gained a lot of popularity. Books are coming out now at extremely fast rates by authors being able to self-publish them. It would be very understandable for this to be an untapped resource.
It would be impossible to pursue them all, but putting the biggest sellers on your reading list and pulling inspiration from what people “like” seems like a solid development resource.
So I say yes, most definitely. I think it is reasonable that developers should keep eyes on some of the novels from this genre as a resource for improving their games. I also feel caution has to be taken though as programming and computers are not capable of all that the imagination can provide, and so realistic inspiration is necessary!