Who'd thought we'd be able to find several black video game characters who are the main protagonists of their respective games? That's how it's been in 2016. This year has been one of the strongest years for racial diversity and has opened the floodgates for a generation of memorable new black characters.
2016 had a fistful of marvellous new video game characters that left a mark upon the medium. From the charismatic Marcus Holloway of Watch Dogs 2, to the new star of Fifa 17's story mode Alex Hunter. So in no real order, these are the powerful new black faces that defined 2016 in games.
10. Final Fantasy XV - Sania
It's a fact there hasn't been a lot of black women to appear in Final Fantasy, it's rare you'll find a prominent black female in a large speaking role. So when Sania was first introduced in FFXV that was an unforgettable moment in the game and partly eased the frustration of the lack of diversity within Noctis' crew.
Players are first introduced to Sania through the sidequest professor's protege, which has Noctis and his friends catching frogs, this ironically has led to some players calling Sania "frog girl". As you complete her studies she gives out more sidequests for the gang to partake in.
Here we have a young black professor with natural kinky hair in a Japanese role playing game. That's a big deal and we have to applaud Square Enix for finally introducing a new black women into the series since 2001, unless you count the dark skinned bunny girl Fran from Final Fantasy XII.
9. FIFA 17 - Alex Hunter
The golden boy and main protagonist of Fifa 17, Alex Hunter is the rising star whose career you control in Fifa 17's new story mode. Not only does EA Sports deliver a spanking new single player mechanic, but also a new character who is obviously inspired by young football sensations Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Fifa 17's story mode takes you through the life of Alex Hunter and has players make tough decisions to shape his football career and lead him to glory. It's during these moments we see who Hunter really is and the reason why he was chosen as the protagonist.Technically Alex is mixed raced as he has a black mother and white father, (or possibly step dad?)
Could it have been someone else in Alex's shoes? Of course but Alex Hunter's prospect and background brings something new to the video game storytelling medium, when's the last time you've been able to play as a young man from South West London?
8. Battlefield 1 - Harlem Hellfighters
Call it cheating if you will seeing as Battlefield Hellfighters are a group of soldiers rather than one being, but it would be almost a crime not to feature them. The Harlem Hellfighters feature prominently in the single player campaign of Battlefield 1. A brave group of African American soldiers whose triumphs weren't exhibited on a large scale.
The Battlefield 1: Hellfighter Pack is inspired by the Harlem Hellfighters who were an infantry regiment during World War I made up of of black Americans that were noted for their ruggedness and the fact that they never lost a trench, foot of ground, or a man through capture to the opposition.
7. Pokemon Sun and Moon - Olivia
Deep down we knew that Game Freak wouldn't disappoint, since Pokemon Black and White they have been introducing dark skin characters into the series as Pokemon trainers, gym leaders and Elite Four members. Pokemon Sun and Moon is no different with the inclusion of Olivia and Kiawe.
We didn't know what to expect but Olivia is a dream come true. We felt she was the most unique looking Pokemon Trainer since Grant. It's not everyday you see a cool and gorgeous looking dark skin female character in a Nintendo game, so this was a refreshing change .
Looking back now it's not too much of a surprise that Olivia exists, seeing as you now can choose a black pokemon trainer. We only hope that we see more exotic dark skin characters like Olivia in future Pokemon games.
6. Tekken 7 - Master Raven
Earlier this year Harada and Namco Bandai were under fire for the game's roster which seemingly cut all the black fighters who appeared in previous Tekken instalments like Eddy Gordo, Bruce Irvin, Marduk etc. That was until Master Raven's splendid reveal.
The Tekken series had yet to see a playable black female character (unless you count Afro-Latina Capoeria fighter Christie Monteiro), as a matter of fact there isn't a lot of dark skin female characters in fighting games whatsoever. So a character that looks like Master Raven was essential for fans who are often underrepresented.
Master Raven is a black ninja, now when's the last time you heard of a black female ninja outside of anime? Exactly. Not only that but she has braids, a sexy figure and is dark skinned. It doesn't get much better than that.
5. Mafia III - Lincoln Clay
Before we go any further, we're well aware that Lincoln Clay doesn't have two black parents, 2K made sure to remind of us at the beginning of the game, yet we decided to include Clay for the single fact that he still has a black parent.
Not only that but after completing Mafia III it's clear how some of the mean spirited folks in the game saw Clay. Besides if Lincoln Clay wasn't a factor then this spot would be reserved for Haitian crime boss Cassandra, one of my personal favorite female characters in Mafia 3, who is more than worthy of the spot.
Playing through Lincoln Clay's story shows us how much he grew as a character, from the beginning to the end. Mafia 3 was one of the realist games to come out this year and guiding a blackish anti-hero like Lincoln Clay through a racist and cutthroat setting as he interacted with friends and enemies only made this game ten times better.
4. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan - Enzo Kori-Odan
We gotta admit this game fell of the face of earth pretty quick, but that doesn't mean it wasn't an enchanting game with a magical theme. Enter Enzo Kori-Odan, an African prince who rules over a fictional world inspired by Africa and you have one of the most underrated indie games in existence.
When's the last time a game has allowed you to play as an black prince who is accompanied by his beautiful soon to be wife in an captivated African themed fantasy setting? Can't think of a another.
It's got to be said, Enzo Kori-Odan carries himself with class and brings originality and grace to the RPG genre. Never before have we seen a character designed in Enzo's likeness, and truth be told we don't think this would've have been possible with anyone other than a African video game studio.
3. Uncharted 4 - Nadine Ross
Uncharted 4 was one of the best adventure games of 2016, not only that but it also produced one of the baddest female video game characters in existence. Nadine Ross was a enjoyable reveal, in fact dare we say one of the best newcomers in the Uncharted
It's not everyday you see a pretty female antagonist beat up the main protagonist of the game and live to see another day. That's one of the things that made Nadine unique, that and her beautiful kinky afro and adorable baby face.
2. The Walking Dead Game - Michonne
Michonne may have not make her debut in a video game but this woman is a total badass. The Walking dead video game series is known for it's complex and deep character development and it's through this merit that we got to know more about Michonne
and her life story.
The mini series which features Michonne and her partner Pete has to be one of the most underrated video games to come out of 2016, if you haven't played it yet and are a fan of Telltale games then we definitely recommend it.
Controlling a character like Michonne was a real blast and really made us feel like we had finally found the black heroine which video game was sorely missing. From dealing with her mental illness, ruthlessness to companion for others (depending on your choices), Michonne is one hell of an underrated female protagonist.
1. Watch Dogs 2 - Marcus Holloway
We aren't going to go into too much detail here but Marcus Holloway takes number one. Ubisoft did a great job of going from a generic try hard like Aiden in the first game to Marcus Holloway, a hip and charismatic hacker in the sequel.
We got to give credit to Ubisoft for managing to inject some soul into the second game and it wouldn't have been possible without a dude like like Marcus Holloway and that's the whole truth and nothing but the truth.