Best Female Protagonists

Michelle Piña

In honor of International Women’s Day, we at USC Games wanted to make a list of some awesome female protagonists that we love in video games!  There’s no unique order to the list since we think each of these ladies deserves a spotlight. Here are ten of our favorite ladies in games.

Lara Croft

She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll sock you in your face.  Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft is a fan favorite, since her conception in 1996 to now. Though she has been sexualized in the past, in the reboot from 2013 she powers through her femininity by looking anatomically correct.  She represents a strong and passionate working woman ready to fight.

Commander Shepard

Bioware’s Mass Effect allowed players to craft their own character and put themselves in the story.  Whether you choose to play a female Commander Shepard or male, both follow the same story and are the same brave person.  Equality, people.

Nancy Drew

From novels to games, Nancy Drew has been a leading lady solving crimes since the 1930s.  Her Interactive has been creating point and click mystery games for Nancy Drew targeted towards women and girls of all ages, making anyone feel like the iconic supersleuth Nancy is.  

Ms. Pac-Man

Her Golden Age shines bright in an arcade full of bronze.  Introduced in the early 1980s, Ms. Pac-Man is one of the most popular arcade games of all time.  Since Pac-Man had a large number of female players, Midway Mania wanted to give back to the fans and make the next Pac-Man female.  She eats her way through levels, killing ghosts. Honestly, iconic.

Samus Aran

Ex-soldier of the Galactic Federation and bounty hunter: Samus Aran takes the starring role in Nintendo’s Metroid series with over 10 titles. Once it was revealed who was under the exoskeleton, it was a big surprise, and it raised the question “why shouldn’t women be protagonists in an action series?”.  She is considered to be the first human female protagonist in a video game, making her a leader in representation and role model.

Lightning Farron

Claire Farron is determined, independent, and steadfast.  Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning seeks to save her sister, Sera, and goes on a treacherous journey to do so.  Over the course of the series, she grows to trust others and care for more than her sister, emotionally letting others in and continuing to be a cool mamajama.


First introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep in 2010, Aqua captured the hearts of all who played. Her journey is a sad one – finding her two friends and trying to prevent them from falling into darkness, she plays a big sister role.  Ending up in the realm of darkness herself, she is constantly fighting to protect the light and good in the world. She is a champion.

Kate Walker

Graphic adventure and point and click Syberia series stars the American Lawyer, Kate Walker.  Since 2002, Kate has been a role model for teen girls due to her perseverance and journey to find herself.  She isn’t afraid to stick up for herself and does what she thinks is right.


Max Caulfield and Chloe Price

Okay, I had to make room for both these wonderful young adults.  They both, in Life Is Strange and Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, go through so much and grow from their relatable (minus the time powers) trauma.  Powerful and determined idols.


The Umbra Witch that’ll mess you up!  Bayonetta, or Cereza, fights celestial beings like it’s no big deal.  She’s the definition of an utter bada** and develops well due to her backstory. She is a queen, rocking her pistol heels and paving a path to truth.

These are just some of the amazing female protagonists in games.  It’s all about the ladies today, so go out there and tell some women how awesome they are!