Top 10 Video Games with Black ‘Playable’ Lead Characters [Linwood’s Picks]

Our inclusion in video games has often been relegated to being a side-character or an afterthought when the call for diversity is made, whether due to marketing purposes or associated with the title’s story. I know it’s difficult these days, however, imagine playing an early ‘Tony Hawk Pro Skater’ entry on PlayStation in your parents’ garage and the only Black character that could be selected was Kareem Campbell during a local split-screen session with your friends. With no disrespect intended toward our living legend, I wanted there to be more available options. Later on, there would be, especially in genres such as fighting games. With that said, I feel it’s important to highlight Black characters that contribute to the story, even if they are, in a sense, a “token draw”.

Below is a list of my favorites that stood out based on my experiences playing them because they aren’t just a “Generic/Knock-Off Black-Figure” to select for the sake of encouraging Black gamers to feel more connected to the plot. They either subvert stereotypes, allow the creative freedom to control their path, or explore the realm of storytelling by exaggerating what the audience might expect. Make sure to comment down below and tell us your picks, along with what you would like to see from one!

“The game takes place two years after Conviction as Third Echelon is discharged by the president Patricia Caldwell. She decides to form Fourth Echelon after a terrorist attack, labelled Blacklist Zero, and Sam Fisher is appointed as the leader to stop future attacks”
“Freedom Cry takes place 15 years after the end of Black Flag, with full-fledged assassin Adewale captaining his own ship. … It is here that former slave Adewale decides to put his new assassin abilities to use to help his people and the local resistance movement, the Maroon.”
“The plot involves an investigation of a terrorist threat by Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance agents Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar in Kijuju, a fictional region of Africa. Chris learns that he must confront his past in the form of an old enemy, Albert Wesker, and his former partner, Jill Valentine.”
“Centered on the challenge of surviving a zombie-infested open world with a major emphasis on melee. The plot focuses on 4 playable survivors trying to survive and escape off the fictional island of Banoi.”
“The Walking Dead, also known as The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series and The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series, is an episodic video game series that takes place within Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic series’ universe.”
“In 2009, the president of North Korea, Choi Kim, extends an olive branch to South Korea. The hopes he has of a peaceful Korea reunification spread to South Korea and the South Koreans agree to send North Korea money on the condition that they disband their military.”
“The game’s story focuses on a group of four “Vault Hunters”, who travel to the distant planet Pandora to hunt down an alien vault, rumored to contain advanced alien technology, finding themselves battling the local wildlife and bandit population, but ultimately attempting to stop the head of a private corporation army from reaching the vault first.”
“Set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, the single-player story follows three protagonists—retired bank robber Michael De Santa, street gangster Franklin Clinton, and drug dealer and arms smuggler Trevor Philips—and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a corrupt government agency and powerful crime figures.”
“Enter the Matrix gives players control of two of the supporting characters from Reloaded and Revolutions, Ghost (Anthony Wong) and Niobe (Jada Pinkett-Smith), members of the same group of rebels as Morpheus, Trinity, and Neo, the protagonists of the series. Niobe is the Captain of the Logos, the fastest ship in the rebel fleet. Ghost is the ship’s first mate, weapons guru, and a deep-thinking, philosophical assassin. The game takes place at roughly the same time as the events in Reloaded.”
“New York City is stunned by a series of mysterious murders that follow the same pattern: ordinary people become possessed and kill absolute strangers in public. The main characters of the story must uncover the supernatural forces behind these crimes.”