Celebrating Iconic Female Game Characters

by Gautham Appaya on Mar 02, 2021

We know that our epic entertainment has the power to responsibly influence popular culture, eliminate stereotypes, celebrate differences, and encourage players to embrace tolerance and understanding. That is why our own company and games must reflect the diversity and values of our players and fans.

This Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the women of Activision, Blizzard, and King who bring our epic entertainment to life, and sharing their stories and perspectives.  To kick-off the month, we asked some of our developers who are women, to share about an influential character in their life and why that character was a game-changer.  

Ritu Bhushan, Associate Director, Central Insights and Analytics, King, New York, USA

“Flo from Diner Dash. Flo is an ex-investment banker who faces burnout and leaves that world behind to buy a run-down diner. She works hard to turn it around and then goes on to buy more restaurants. I like her character because of the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience she displays. It was also great to see a female-led casual game. Diner Dash was one of the first games I started playing back in 2006 on the Nintendo DS Lite and one of the first mobile games I ever downloaded!”

Ifedayo “Dayo” Isibor, Senior Technical Artist, Infinity Ward, California, USA

“There are a few of them. When I was younger, it was Taki from Soul Edge. I used to play against a lot of guys, and it was important to me to play as a female character. She was agile, quick and powerful. My opponents often underestimated her, and I won several games playing as her. In Call of Duty, I was excited about Ebele Yetide, one of the bridge officers of the Retribution in Infinite Warfare. As a Nigerian, it meant a great deal to have a female Nigerian character in our own game, especially alongside Nora Salter, the female protagonist of the game. And a nod goes to Syd in Modern Warfare/Warzone because she's so cool.”

Paige Hicks, Associate Game Designer, Blizzard Entertainment, California, USA

Mae from "A Night in the Woods". I love getting the chance to play imperfect women who can be rough, who can be butch, or at least sort of butch. Mae's a cartoony cat character, so it's hard to tell, but she's got a real lax presentation which I super associate with. The bigger deal with Mae is the journey she takes through this fantastic game filled with mystery and intrigue, featuring fantastic writing and fun puzzle gameplay. She's a highly imperfect character and has made mistakes, and you get the chance as a player to make further mistakes and recover. She has strained relationships. She has struggles, she fights with feelings of failure and finding where she belongs. The opening of the game is a scenario so familiar to my younger self that I felt it in my bones.”

Katie Sabin, Senior Artist, Modeler, Raven Software, Wisconsin, USA

“It's got to be Samus Aran from Metroid. The entire time you're running around in the game, in the futuristic space suit, I never really thought about the gender of the character. I suppose somewhere in my childhood subconscious, I probably assumed it was a man. In the original, when you beat the game, it was the big reveal that the person in the suit was a woman, which was a major, and welcome surprise. I think with Metroid and Samus, the focus wasn't on the gender, it was on exploration and upgrading the suit. It was just a neat side that the character ended up being a female, which made it even better.”

Careena Kingdom, Lead Animator for Diablo IV, Blizzard Entertainment, California, USA

“My favorite female video game character is constantly changing, but right now it would have to be Zagara. She's the mother of all Zerg and my most played character in Heroes of the Storm. I love her to bits.”

Lina McAneney, Head of Pet Rescue Saga, King, Malmö, Sweden

“I'm going to go with a mobile game and it's Stella, from King's very own Bubble Witch Saga 3. In addition to being funny and kind, she is unafraid and always up for new adventures.”

Natalie Pohorski, Narrative Producer, Raven Software, Wisconsin, USA

“It's hard not to say Lara Croft for the nostalgia. However, for me, it’s Heather Mason from the Silent Hill franchise. I'm a big horror fan, so I'm always rooting for the "final girl”. I like that she's blatantly honest and a little contradictory. She balances vulnerability and strength, humor and darkness. She is determined not to live by others’ rules for her.”

Nour Polloni, Co-Studio Head, Beenox, Quebec, Canada

Lara Croft. I love the fact that she's an experienced adventurer, a pure survivor who is intelligent, independent, dedicated, fearless, and who pushes her own limits to be able to attain her goals.”

Molly Whittaker, Associate Software Engineer, Vicarious Visions, New York, USA

“This is such a tough one, there are so many characters I've really loved! I think if I had to pick one, I'd probably go with Ciri from the Witcher. She's so cool, I love the way her story is told in the Witcher 3 and how her relationships with other characters grow and change, she's just a well-rounded, likeable, and relatable character.”

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