Answering who is your favorite gaming protagonist is a lot like answering who your favorite singer/band is, or what your favorite movie is. You likely have more than one answer and those answers can change over time. Mine certainly has.
Over the years, graphics and gameplay improved drastically in the gaming industry. What also has improved that isn’t as recognized is character development. Protagonists are drawn with deeper backstories and relatable flaws, and antagonists are more than just EVILLLL!
For the longest time, I stubbornly stood by Link from The Legend of Zelda franchise as my most beloved playable protagonist. The Legend of Zelda is my favorite franchise that got me into gaming and inspired my novel, and I appreciated how Link was supposed to be the projection of yourself into the game. However, I recently rolled credits on another video game which left a profound impact on me.
Jin Sakai from Sony’s Ghost of Tsushima is a dynamic character who has followed the samurai code but is presented with a conflict of violating the code in order to save his people. It particularly hit home with me due to my Asian lineage where honor is actually a major part of one’s character and how you are judged. I also found his internal struggles with his past–of his regrets of not saving his father because he was paralyzed with fear–which shows the human-side of his otherwise bullet-proof heroism. Never before have I been fully invested in a character’s arc nor found a fearless warrior so relatable.
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