From time to time developers come up with an idea so brilliant, that it becomes a commercial success, and then it starts to be copied by others. And there’s nothing surprising about it – it smells like easy money, so some people are trying to get a piece of cake for themselves. For the creators of the original production, however, it’s simply a sign that they did an amazing job.

Now, let’s find out some of the most cloned video games and franchises – check out our list down below. Keep in mind that in case of entire franchises we picked just one game, usually the most recent one.

Most Cloned Games

Minecraft

Developer:Mojang Studios
Release year:2011
Genre:Sandbox, Survival

When Notch created Minecraft, he probably had no idea how popular his game will become in the future.

In fact, it’s popular to the point where we have tons of game-related merchandise available to buy around the world, such us cups, shirts, and plush toys. No wonder that people started to copy the original idea, spitting lots of minecraft clones and flooding the market with games that look oddly similar.

Key features
  • Randomly generated and virtually endless world
  • Lots of crafting recipes to discover
  • Infinite fun – build whatever you want

Grand Theft Auto

Developer:Rockstar North
Latest release:GTA V (2013)
Genre:Action-Adventure

Grand Theft Auto series started as a 2D video game back in 1997 and it significantly changed since then, although certain core elements remain more or less the same. Every GTA game allowed players to explore vast open-world cities on foot or with use of many available vehicles.

GTA5 - shooting

The world in Grand Theft Auto was always alive with people driving their cars and pedestrians walking by, minding their own business. The idea was always received surprisingly well, and so tons of GTA wannabe games emerged.

Key features
  • Huge open-world environment
  • Intriguing story that involves 3 protagonists
  • Constantly updated online mode

Diablo

Developer:Blizzard Entertainment
Latest release:Diablo III (2012)
Genre:Action Role-Playing, Hack and Slash

Diablo series is so widely popular and successful, that it’s almost impossible to try not to compare any hack and slash game to Diablo, or at least its certain parts or gameplay mechanics.

diablo-3-rise-of-the-necromancer-05-11-2019.jpg

One can’t argue that it was Diablo that popularized the entire hack and slash genre – it did such an amazing job and created so many innovative and flawlessly working solutions, that most if not all new hack and slash games are still implementing them, even today. Randomized item stats, character classes and skills trees, randomly generated world, unique item farming, you name it.

Key features
  • 5 playable classes with unique skills and playstyle
  • Randomized loot and seasonal cosmetic rewards
  • Many levels of difficulty for those seeking extra challenge

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

Developer:PUBG Corporation
Release year:2017
Genre:Battle Royale

PUBG is a game responsible for popularizing the battle royale genre – these are games, where you are thrown together with other players on an island or other similar type of arena. You start with nothing or a very basic equipment and you have to scavenge and loot nearby locations in order to find better items and get an advantage over the rest.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG)

On your way to success you will have to eliminate other players and run away from the deadly barrier that shrinks the playable area, preventing players from camping the same spot for the entire match, and pushing them to confront each other. Simple, yet fun and addictive – it takes a lot of practice to win the game.

Key features
  • Various weapons that can be upgraded during the game
  • Vehicles for easier transportation across the huge map
  • Highly competitive

World of Warcraft

Developer:Blizzard Entertainment
Release year:2004
Genre:Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing

This is probably the most popular Blizzard’s child, and also one of the most popular MMOs, despite its age, so it was always a lucrative target for those who profit from developing game clones.

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth - idol

There are a lot of MMOs out there, and it would be hard to find one that doesn’t copy something from WoW, but usually these games throw something unique to the mix, giving them their own spirit and flavor. You can try the original, if you didn’t already – the game is subscription-based, but it comes with a free trial.

Key features
  • Huge world full of dangerous creatures and beautiful places
  • Rich lore and addictive story
  • Tons of activities for fans of both PvE and PvP

Mortal Kombat

Developer:NetherRealm Studios
Latest release:Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
Genre:Fighting

Mortal Kombat is a fighting series that lets players engage in 1 vs. 1 or team combat. It started in 1992 as a 2D game – since then it received many visual upgrades, and the latest installment looks fantastic.

mortal-kombat-11-22-10-2019.jpg

What made the series so popular is the fact that it allows players to perform brutal finishing moves, including cutting the opponent in half, tearing off his head, or ripping his still-beating heart, to name a few. Although such gore is rarely copied, there are a lot of games that could be easily called Mortal Kombat clones.

Key features
  • 25 playable characters with their own unique moves
  • Extremely brutal fatalities
  • Character customization with a variety of skins, gear, special abilities, and more

Defense of the Ancients (DotA)

Developer:Eul, Steve Feak, IceFrog
Latest release:2013
Genre:Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

Although not a game on its own, it’s worth being put on the list, as it influenced the entire generation of MOBA games. DotA started as a simple mod for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion pack, The Frozen Throne.

Dota 2 gameplay

Players from the opposing teams are tasked with destroying the enemy core building while protecting their own. They can level up to become stronger and they are assisted by AI-controlled minions. What sounds like a simple idea gave birth to a lot of other popular MOBA games, including League of Legends and DotA 2.

Key features
  • Simple yet addictive gameplay
  • Dozens of unique heroes to choose from
  • Powerful artifacts that give additional stats and abilities

Quake

Developer:id Software
Release year:1996
Genre:First-Person Shooter

Quake was always a good target for making clone games. It’s a fast-paced shooter that somewhat revolutionized the market and video game industry with its innovations and gameplay mechanics.

Quake 3 Arena PC Game

It was built upon previous games from the same development team, namely Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, and it further enhanced the gameplay to provide players with the most realistic-looking shooter available at that time. If you need to take a break from the latest games, then paying a visit to a good old Quake might be a good idea.

Key features
  • Retro first-person shooter in full 3D
  • Fast-paced and dynamic action
  • 30 levels with hidden secrets

Dota Auto Chess

Developer:Drodo Studio
Release year:2019
Genre:Auto Battler

Similar story as it was with Defense of the Ancients – Dota Auto Chess was a modification for Dota 2 in which players had to compose the most powerful team and watch it fight against teams made by other players. The combat was fully automated, and players were only allowed to make adjustments between the short battles.

dota-2-auto-chess-mod

This included buying new heroes and increasing the power of currently owned ones. The mod quickly became viral and it was an inspiration for a lot of similar games to appear on the market, including Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics, effectively creating a new genre of auto battlers.

Key features
  • Very unique gameplay
  • Dozens of different heroes available
  • A lot of viable strategies to win

The Elder Scrolls

Developer:Bethesda Game Studios
Latest release:2011
Genre:Action Role-Playing

For the final entry on the list, we picked The Elder Scrolls series. Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim are known as one of the best and most popular video games in history. Todd Howard also made sure Skyrim can be played on almost every platform, from PC and Xbox to smart fridges and Alexa. You might wonder if people would be fed up with Skyrim by this point, but the number of clones or “successors” is quite big.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - dragon

It’s not copied to the point of flooding the gaming market with crappy clones, mainly because of how complex these games are and it’s simply too much effort for most devs to care about copying it, but there are some companies that shamelessly borrow certain elements and implement them unchanged in their own games, resulting in a production somewhat similar to the original. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing – there’s a lot of room on the fantasy action RPG market.

Key features
  • Vast open world with beautiful views
  • Skills improve by performing skill-related actions
  • Non-linear gameplay and several different guilds to join

Can a clone be better than the original?

Popular games are often cloned – a general rule of thumb says the more popular the game, the more people will try to copy it. It’s not really surprising, as we all know that popular games usually make a lot of money, so people try their best at copying the idea that already proved to work well in order to earn some easy cash. Why reinvent the wheel, when you can simply base your game on other people’s work?

Sometimes clones might turn out to be better than originals they were based on, but it’s rarely the case, and usually, it happens when the clone does improve certain mechanics in a meaningful way while adding a good chunk of new content – it needs to be different enough to be considered an entirely new and separate game without clear ties to the original. If it’s a simple copy-paste, then it’s destined to fail.

For example, there are a lot of Minecraft clones that are exactly that, copy-paste versions with no visible changes to the original, but there are also other clones that are made in a way that gives players an entirely new experience. The same goes for Grand Theft Auto clones and any others. If you know any other games that are cloned often – let us know. In the meantime, why don’t you give a try one of the titles listed above?