We're seven years into this generation of gaming (we couldn't believe it either), and those seven years have delivered a series of unforgettable stories. That's when we decided to name our top 5 gaming protagonists of this generation, which was actually a lot harder than we first anticipated. The rules for selection were simple; be a talking protagonist (sorry Gordon Freeman) who first appeared on the Xbox 360, PS3 or Nintendo Wii to be eligible. So join us as we remember some of our favourite characters.
John Marston - Red Dead Redemption
Cool, calm, collected and an ultimate bad arse. That's why we loved John Marston from Red Dead Redemption, his dark and mysterious past caught up with the honourable family man ideals. Not only was his tale rather remarkable, but the way he told us about his thoughts and emotions really fleshed him out as a character.
Alan Wake - Alan Wake
Alan Wake is as close as we're ever going to get to having Stephen King as a playable character in a video game. The best selling thriller writer was a joy to play through his self-titled debut, as we dealt with a recurring theme of light and darkness. Alan had a very human quality to him - he wasn't a trained soldier or a gun-toting redneck, but rather a very human and civilised author who was stuck in a nightmare that he couldn't wake up from. A compelling character that we enjoyed spending time with.
Travis Touchdown - No More Heroes
He's arrogant, he's a smart arse, and more importantly he is hilarious. Travis Touchdown is an unpredictable psycho from Suda51's No More Heroes series, who is fixated on pop-culture opportunities, and scoring with the ladies. Travis always takes things to the extreme, and that's why he is so much fun to play as.
Niko Bellic - Grand Theft Auto IV
It's not very often a video game will put you in control of a Eastern European immigrant, but that's what Rockstar Gamed did with Grand Theft Auto IV. The Niko Bellic tale is one full of trauma, hardships, depression and cynicism. Half the fun of GTA IV was learning more about Niko between missions, and to see how he would handle certain social situations. Playing as a character who just arrived in a new city, in a foreign country is a foreign concept in itself, but it really panned out, making Niko one of the most memorable protagonists of this generation.
Nathan Drake - Uncharted
Very rarely do video game characters ooze personality and charm at every turn, but Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series is without a doubt, the most likeable character in gaming. He is also the most realistic character too, showing flaws in everything he does which draws the player in. He can be a little arrogant at times, yet he is a genuine guy who becomes fixated on his goals. Drake often opens his mouth at the wrong time, and should feel right at home for any Indiana Jones fans out there. All in all, love or hate the series, Nathan Drake is one of the most human characters in gaming.
So there you have it! Don't agree with out list? Tell us your favourite protagonists this generation and why in the comments below.
By Stephen Heller - Tweet @Heller_MMGN