We the gaming community are doing our bit to celebrate all the exceptional women in gaming realms— especially now, we are seeing many more strong female characters as heroes of their own games.
Past depictions of women in games were either saddled with a desperate need to be saved or were objectified and then relegated to being eye candy or a love interest.
However, there are several instances where game studios have gone above and beyond in their depictions of not only strong women, but also manifesting some of the most complex characters, thrusting them into the limelight as role models in real life. Who says role models can’t be 3D?
So let’s set aside the controllers for a bit while we chat about some of these fantastic women who stand out as paragons we can all look up to.
Samus Aran, Metroid Series
In 1986, Nintendo released a game called Metroid, which featured a character in an Iron Man-like suit. It was only at the end of the game, that Samus Aran was revealed as the suit’s owner — and a woman.
This intergalactic bounty hunter has starred in various games, including the latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She has got an indomitable spirit and willpower, and has devoted her life to protecting the helpless.
Princess Zelda, The Legend of Zelda
There are various depictions of Princess Zelda in each one of her incarnations in the Legends of Zelda games. While you may play the male hero Link that does all the foot work, it is Zelda who is the real hero, often depicted as a caring and selfless ruler, who takes care of her subjects and lands, protecting them against the evil that keeps invading.
In Breath of the Wild, she is the only force of power that keeps Ganon from taking over the entire world.
Bayonetta, Bayonetta series
One of the biggest problems in our industry, is the objectification of women in gaming. Lara Croft being the prime example, something her character is desperately trying to shake off and succeeding.
However, there is one gaming character that takes sexy and transforms it into something completely different. Bayonetta is one of the freshest characters in gaming today. She is flamboyant, she is witty, charming, she is downright stylish and she is one of the best action game stars out there. Able to pull off stiletto heels and guns with bracelets, she hacks and slashes her way with moves that look like an intricate dance.
An ancient Umbra Witch, with a heart of gold, Bayonetta is not fazed by anything, and she has moved both heaven and hell to save the world and those she cares about. Even though both heaven and hell are out to kill her.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider reboot trilogy
The journey of Lara Croft in gaming has been a rocky one. Starting off as a strong, independent relic hunter, her popularity spun off into a spiral of games and movies, which focused more on tetrahedral hair and polygonal breasts than content.
Over the last few years, Lara Croft has been carefully reinvented, thanks to the reboot in 2013. We see her as a young woman traumatised by a horrible accident, which leaves her stranded on an island fraught with danger. We observe her growth into a stronger, yet flawed, fighter, as she questions her motivations for jumping into tombs to find relics, while coming to terms with loss.
Ellie, The Last of Us 1 and 2
When the zombie apocalypse arrives, people become the real monsters, courtesy The Last of Us. In the first game, we meet Ellie, a resourceful 14-year-old facing off against zombies, scavengers, rapists and cannibals to get to safety.
Glimpses of the sequel have depicted her adult form as a fearsome fighter, slow-dancing with her girlfriend.
Chloe Frazer, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Among all the characters in the Uncharted series, Chloe Frazer is the most compelling , making her the star of the latest in the series, The Lost Legacy. An independent and strong character of Indian and Australian heritage with her own motivations, she uses her wit and sexuality, to communicate her enigma.
Chloe is a loveable rogue and wildcard, evolving into an increasingly complex hero, especially when teamed with Nadine Ross.
Claudia Black, Chloe’s voice actor, has famously dubbed her character ‘Indiana Jones with nice hair’.
Kassandra, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
You can choose to play as Alexios or his elder sister Kassandra, in the Greek epic spanning Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Just one Internet search will reveal why people love Kassandra: her excellent character design depicting a strong Greek woman able to take down any foe. Given her dark and troubled past, Kassandra is the very embodiment of optimism and mischief, as her eyes sparkle.
A Wonder Woman with human flaws, her compassion as well as a quick temper make for a personality which lights up the entire game. A big shout out here to the enigmatic Evie Frye of Syndicate and Aya of Assassin’s Creed Origins. While they were not leading ladies, their popularity led to Kassandra being the first of many a leading lady in gaming.
Faith Connors, Mirror’s Edge
Forced to survive on the street at a young age and taking to thievery, Faith was picked up and groomed to be one of the best ‘Runners’. A confident character of Asian descent with a daredevil streak, she parkours her way as a messenger of the resistance in a dystopian city.
Faith uses her momentum and strength to take out soldiers twice her size. She chooses to stick it to the powers that be, both in protest and in revenge for killing her mother in a peaceful protest.