Creating video game protagonists is one of the hardest aspects of developing a game. There is just so much that goes into making a character that will represent a video game. With such a massive requirement to be good, protagonists in video games have to be compelling enough to stand out on their own and be relatable enough that players can play the game from their perspectives.
Leading protagonists must have an excellent name to go with their characters. This is not true for video games, as you want your character to be unironically awesome and have a super cool name.
Video game protagonists must have a name that rolls off the tongue and provides that dramatic effect.
The best video game protagonist names ranked
10) Sam Porter Bridges (Death Stranding)
The first entry on this list may sound generic, but it has a lot of meaning. Death Stranding was Hideo Kojima’s brilliant masterpiece that captures that cinematic experience with a wonderfully realized story. The game has been critically acclaimed for being incredibly unique and called the first ‘Strand’ type game by Kojima.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the Earth that has been ravaged by a mysterious “Explosion” called the Death Stranding. Players experience this beautiful yet ravaged world through the eyes of Sam Porter Bridges, a closed-off individual who works as a porter, delivering cargo to the various Knot Cities that survive. He must battle incredible odds to get to his destinations, and the game is centered around this.
The names should tell you all about the characters in Death Stranding. All the characters in Death Stranding have such corny names that fit right in the dark world. Sam Porter Bridges works as a porter for the company Bridges. This makes sense for a video game protagonist, and Hideo Kojima is a genius at naming characters.
9) 2B (Nier: Automata)
Nier: Automata is a third-person hack-and-slash game that plays more like an anime than a video game. There is so much nuance to Nier's story, and it touches upon some deep topics that touch the soul. Nier: Automata follows the story of a pair of androids who delve deep into a destroyed Earth to find out the secrets of the apocalypse.
2B is one of the three protagonists in the game. She is an android who, along with her partner, 9S, goes through a journey of emotions with the player. Questions about life, death, and the meaning of existence are important topics in the game. It has branching storylines, and attempting to summarize the game would not do it justice.
2B is a well-designed character that is loved by fans. PlatinumGames has a goldmine on its hands, and more Nier games are always appreciated.
8) Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil 4)
The Resident Evil series is so iconic. They invented the horror-survival genre and made it mainstream. From the original game down to the latest one, there’s something unique about them. Fans have always loved the game series, and this character is one big reason why.
Leon Kennedy is a bad-to-the-bone zombie killer. He has the hair, the jacket, and the cool lines that would make developers rethink their video game protagonist. There is just so much to Leon and his character that Capcom has cashed in and is remaking Resident Evil 4. One of the biggest parts of the Resident Evil franchise is its protagonist, Leon Kennedy.
Leon Kennedy first appeared in Resident Evil 2, but his true form appears in Resident Evil 4 (2005). This was his first proper foray into the Resident Evil games, and it has been amazing since. He has had such drastic character changes that he might look unrecognizable, but Capcom has assured fans that he will remain as cool as he was all those years ago.
Leon Kennedy is a fantastic name for the character, and Capcom hit the nail on the first try.
7) Trevor Phillips (GTA V)
Number seven on this list goes to Trevor Phillips from GTA V. This is one of those protagonists that cannot be overlooked. Trevor is rude, loud, and has a substance abuse problem, but he always does the right thing for himself. The GTA games are known to have loud characters with criminal backgrounds, but Trevor might be one of the best works to date.
Trevor Phillips is an associate of Franklin and Michael and is a playable character in the story. He has a significant part to play in the events that transpire in GTA V. On its own, GTA V is a fantastic open-world game with dynamic characters and a compelling story. There is very little to dissuade players from liking this game, and Trevor is a big reason why.
He doesn’t have a very threatening name, but that makes the character special. The fact that it rolls off the tongue is also a huge bonus.
6) Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)
Rockstar will be featured on this list because they make characters that are so compelling and interesting. All of Rockstar’s games have protagonists with such a dynamic vibe, and it's almost a crime not to like them. Arthur Morgan falls into the list by being such a personality that players instantly want to be him. His name commands such respect and is a cool yet simple name altogether.
Arthur Morgan is one of the oldest members of the Van der Linde gang and operates as its lead enforcer. He is also very close to the gang itself, and they treat him like his family. Everything about Red Dead Redemption 2 just worked, and it is one of the best games of the last decade.
Arthur Morgan’s incredible story in Red Dead Redemption is extremely human at heart. Players have such a connection to Morgan that they will remember the protagonist years after finishing the game.
5) Ezio Auditore (Assasin's Creed II)
Ubisoft does not have a lot going for it at the moment. There hasn’t been a good Assassin's Creed game for a while now, as the series has taken a nosedive into some weird territory. The game has a fantastic premise but poor execution that makes players feel empty. The first few Assassin's Creed games were flawed but so good and gave off the whole assassin in plain sight vibes exceptionally well.
Ezio Auditore first appeared in AC II and has taken the community by storm. No one could replace Altair, but Ezio does this exceptionally well by being as good if not better than him. Ezio Auditore has a cool name and is part of the OG assassins that defined the series.
4) Max Payne (Max Payne 1 and 2)
The fourth spot on this list is occupied by some of the best third-person shooters of the early 2000 era. Max Payne 1 and its sequel, The Fall of Max Payne, are incredibly dynamic shooters that focus a lot on the story and don’t shy away from delivering good gameplay. The Max Payne games ended quite some time ago, but fans will not be opposed to a revival of the series.
Max Payne is a character that inflicts pain and is a character that goes through a lot of pain, and takes a lot of painkillers. It seems as though Remedy Entertainment is secretly trying to tell players something subtle, but this remains a mystery. Max Payne is a protagonist with everything right with the video game industry.
3) Noctis Lucis Caelum (Final Fantasy XV)
The third spot on this list goes to an excellent Final Fantasy character that has a long and exciting name to boot. This entry is hardly one of the best characters in the FF ‘verse, but he is just that good in the short time he’s been here. He was designed and created for FF XV and is one of its strongest aspects.
He has been called one of the most powerful characters in the universe of Final Fantasy as he has such scope for learning new skills and abilities throughout his journey. Noctis is one of the best names in the Final Fantasy franchise.
His name commands power and has a certain presence to it. Noctis Lucis Caelum is easily number three on this list, and he’s one of the most powerful video game protagonists.
2) Okami (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)
The literal Japanese translation to this is "Wolf." Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice follows the story of an orphan raised by a ruthless and cunning Shinobi, and he is later entrusted to serve as a child lord.
On paper, this is easily one of the best stories that FromSoftware has written for a video game, as it follows a much more linear narrative than the other Soulsborne titles.
The characters that inhabit the world of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The protagonist is an extension of the player's skill, and his name should tell you all about him.
Okami is the name given to him by the cunning Owl. There’s a common trend for naming Shinobi in the game, and they seem to be named after animals. There’s the Owl, Lady Butterfly, and the Wolf. Sekiro translates to a one-armed wolf and is not his given name. Okami is short and to the point, much like the protagonist who has this name.
1) Dante (Devil May Cry 5)
The first spot on this list goes to an exceptional character. Dante has been a big part of the gaming world for a long time now. The iconic devil hunter is flashy, cool, and has the perfect wit for any occasion. His character has remained virtually unchanged throughout the storied history of DMC, and Dante is forever etched into gaming's Hall of Fame.
Dante shares a name with Italian poet and philosopher Dante Aligheri, best known for his Divine Comedy. Much like his namesake, Dante's video game protagonist is associated with heaven and hell.
He loves to eat pizza and hunt nasty demons that plague the world. Dante isn't afraid of the challenge, and the DMC games have done a wonderful job of portraying this.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.