But everyone has a favourite video game character, right? From Lara Croft to Master Chief, there is arguably no better way to immerse yourself in a game than with the perfect protagonist. Here are 10 of the best character designs and why they're winning the show.
01. Abe Oddysee – Odd World (1997)
At first look Abe's comical appearance and dim-witted voice makes him seem willfully unprepared for his mission. Undeniable funny, cunning and sneaky, this surprising juxtaposition of appearance to abilities is what gives the player the drive to take Mudokon Pops off the menu for good.
02. Lara Croft – Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)
Lara Croft is a refreshing step away from the male centric character design in the original Tomb Raider but still keeps the universal truths that make her iconic. She would be nothing without her gymnastic abilities and utility belt.
03. Alyx Vance - Half-life 2 (2004)
Based on the looks of actress Jamil Mullen, the design of Alyx was impressively uncanny. Similar to the evolution of Lara Croft, Alyx as a character is well written and individualistic rather than gender centric.
04. Vaas Montenegro – Far Cry 3 (2012)
Surrounded by drugs, guns and paradise has made this character slightly insane. Although he is never seen directly in the game, his cut scenes are some of the best acted and most memorable. Couple that with the great first person camera work, he really was a fantastic example of a guy you wouldn't want to mess with.
05. GlaDOS - Portal series (2007)
All she wants to do is carry on testing. She doesn’t see it as a bad thing and can't understand why you, the test subject, doesn't want to stay locked up in a research facility until the end of time. You can't help feeling sorry for her whilst listening to her lie and deceive to keep you there. Plus there is cake… So that's a bonus.
06. Master Chief and Cortana – Halo series (2001)
Halo was the game that defined the early days of Microsoft's Xbox, and has continued to do so since. The story is only as good as its characters, and Bungie created two classic figures – Master Chief, the Spartan soldier leading the battle against the Covenant Armada, and Cortana, the sharp witted artificial intelligence that guides the Chief through the games. It's their banter and continuously developing relationship that makes them some of gaming's most iconic characters.
07. Joel and Ellie - The Last of Us (2013)
This game has some the best characterisation in a video game or in any media, the relationship between Joel and Ellie is so well executed that this game is about as close to playing a movie as you can get. Ellie in particular was designed to remain close to the player and to echo their experience in the game's world. The design also built to foster a relationship between Ellie and Joel, as she was created to lead him to cover when needed, whilst he naturally puts his arm around her, creating a relationship between the two.
08. Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time (2003)
The Sands of Time featured some great animation and characterisation that felt and looked like a cool cartoon. This was especially highlighted with the Prince's amazing agility in the game, forcing the player to utilise new ways to get from point to point.
09. IDA and the Totem - Monument Valley (2014)
This design is so simple in terms of form but the interaction between Ida and the Totem is to sweet not to be included in this round up. Designed and based on a visual style based on Japanese prints and minimalist sculpture, the game used colour to highlight where the player could interact.
10. Mario - Super Mario Bros (1981)
We couldn't talk about video game characters without mentioning Mario. Designed to make it easy for new players to understand the game, Mario's character was engineered to engage and excite fans in the game, using subtle design attributes to achieve this. For example, making Mario small so that he can then become big which left players feel more content.
Mario has been through many iterations since he first graced our computer screens in 1981, but the original 8-bit version remains our firm favourite.
Words: Escape Studios
The VFX Festival, created by Escape Studios, part of Pearson College London will run from February 23rd - 25th 2016 at London's O2. Bringing the best in VFX, games, animation and motion graphics to industry professionals and anyone considering a career in visual effects.
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