ByTim Horton, writer at
Business Development Manager at Universally Speaking. @TimHortonGame | Email: [email protected]
Tim Horton

The future of video games is looking refreshingly bright. On one of those rare occasions when I simply could not decide what to play, I found myself staring at my game collection.

As I scanned repeatedly over the glossy collection I noticed something. Looking back at some of my favourite games from the past few years, a large percentage of the games that I rated the highest, featured a female lead.

This got me to thinking, is this a coincidence or is there something in this? So, I thought I would look ahead a few years, I scanned through the release schedule of every critically tipped title that was set to release throughout 2016 and 2017. Amazingly, I found that almost all of the top tipped titles featured a female lead.

The momentum is shifting and it is about time. This is clearly indicative of a much needed shift in momentum within the industry. The idea to create games with female leads is now just as plausible as the idea to focus on a male. In an industry where women make up 46 percent of the demographic it seems ludicrous for it to have taken this long for that representation to translate across to the actual games.

Fortunately, the times they are a changing, female protagonists are being integrated into our games more and more and this is only set to increase.

Taking the most iconic female characters from the past as read – Lara Croft, Joanna Dark, Evie Friar, Elizabeth (Bioshock), Jill Valentine, Cortana, Vance (Half Life 2). I have listed below a few notable leading titles with equally fabulous leading ladies that are set to release throughout 2016/17.

The trends are shifting and the world of gaming is truly becoming a wonderfully diverse place. Here’s to the future.

9. FIFA 2016/17

For the first time ever you can play in all women leagues in FIFA. Teams from almost every footballing nation have been included in the new FIFA. Each player, team and league has been just as painstakingly created as the male equivalent.

8. Tacoma

The hotly anticipated follow up to Fullbright’s Gone Home, Tacoma puts you in the shoes of an astronaut who must figure out what has happened to her crew. With the help of computer Odin, Ferrier will take on a creepy Bioshock-esque world. Deep space thriller coming 2017.

7. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained is the successor to the ever popular Castlevania title. The story revolves around a young orphan named Miriam – Miriam is endeavouring to free herself from a hellish curse that has been cast upon her – expect all the Castlevania bells and whistles with this one. Arriving sometime 2017.

6. Horizon Zero Dawn

Set far in the future, humans have resorted back to primitive behaviour surrounded by robots – with no real sense of order our hero, Aloy, sets out to explore this brand new world. A real exploration epic set within a unique utopian future. Watch out for this one coming exclusively to PS4 in 2017.

5. Nier 2

We don’t know too much of the narrative that Nier 2 will follow – what we do know is that there will be three female protagonists from which to choose from. Following on from the 2010 hit title, Nier, Nier 2 promises to be a thrilling adventure jam packed with mystery and suspense. Nier 2 aims to release later on this year.

4. Hellblade

This is a story that follows a young girl and her path to hell as she battles the hallucinations and manifestations created by her own mind. Inspired by the Celtic story – the protagonist, Senua, is a “a challenging female form: not sexy, not skimpy, not young, not skinny, yet stunning, compelling, and believable.” Brilliant!

3. Dishonoured 2

The classic tale of victim to hero – Dishonoured 2 returns later this year and this time around players can choose to play the game in its entirety as Emily Kaldwin. Emily is the girl that Corvo rescues in the first game. A smashing game that just got all the more exciting!

2. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst

Releasing later this month, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst once again revolves around the free running rebel that is Faith. Faith returns to the city of glass once again after serving her time in prison. Almost as soon as she is released she is back fighting the system and scaling the city. Catalyst releases June 7.

1. ReCore

My number one most anticipated game of 2016 is ReCore - ReCore looks incredible. It looks beautiful, the level of fidelity showcased in the very little that we have seen is enough to get any gamer excited..

This is another title that has truly kept shtum. No real details at all to speak of here, but the astounding beauty of the announcement trailer below is enough to leave game fans speechless. From what I can glean from the trailer I would say that the main protagonist is a female who goes by the name of Joule. Joule may very well be the last human left on the planet and with the help of her robot friends, resurrect humanity and save the world – one might say they draw parallels with Destiny the Chief's overall purpose in Halo. Thoughts?

As you can see the best is yet to come - the above titles are some of the best games the industry has to offer and they all feature a strong female protagonist.

Now with many games like Fallout, Mass Effect, Battleborn and others allowing players to choose whether they want their protagonist to be male or female it seems that games are certainly taking huge steps forward in keeping the industry as representative as it deserves to be.

Are you happy with the level of representation in video games or do you think more needs to be done?


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