In celebration of International Women’s Day, it is an honor to reflect on pivotal and international female characters in the gaming universe. For the last few decades of gaming, the industry has sparked a steady increase in powerful and independent roles for women! It should come as no surprise that Lara Croft, Tifa Lockhart, Samus Aran, and Bayonetta are among the most notorious hardcore women to have found a way into many precious gamer hearts. But none of the above characters will be featured in this special article!
After reminiscing about the amazing women in video games, nine incredible international female characters come to mind to bask in the international spotlight! These are not ranked in any particular order. Please note that this list will focus mainly on women of different cultures and Earth-related humans in their respective content (Sorry Final Fantasy, and other great games with dynamic fictional worlds). Honorable mentions go to Sheva Alomar (Resident Evil 5), Carmen Sandiego (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?), The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater), Danielle Fireseed (Turok 3: Shadows of Oblivion), and Chell (Portal).
9 Incredible International Female Characters in Video Games
“No one will stop me from destroying Shadaloo!” — Chun-Li
Watch out, Chun-Li jumps in with a lightning kick to the face! This wonderful Chinese woman made her debut in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior all the way back in 1991! Her story is one of vengeance, working as an Interpol investigator to find out what happened to her father. She joins the second World Warrior Tournament to find the man who killed him. Specializing in swift, agile movements and signature leg strikes that challenge even Liu Kang’s bicycle kick, Chun-Li is a dominant force to be reckoned with.
She is regarded as the first playable female fighter for fighting game franchises, and her strongly perceived recognition paved way for many more combat-oriented women in games such as Sonya Blade (Mortal Kombat), Lili de Rochefort (Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection), and Kasumi (Dead or Alive). The spring beauty of China swings under the spotlight and into the international female character hall of fame!
“So? You want a cookie? You want a cookie for doing the right thing?” — Clementine
The emotional rollercoaster players experienced while playing as Lee and Clementine in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead is truly an unforgettable one. Clementine’s growth in the zombified apocalypse across the span of four main titles conjured all types of emotions—like watching your child grow up and somehow knowing she will be all right. Players met the child, Clementine, at about nine years old in the first game of the series. Playing as Lee, you become her guardian. You teach her to learn right from wrong, how to survive, who to trust, and the number one rule—to survive, no matter the cost.
By the end of the fourth main title, Clementine is about seventeen years old. She has lived through quite a great deal of adventures. Clementine’s journey to maturity and survival raised her into a fierce and unstoppable woman that we are all so proud of. Now you need to let her go, like a beautiful butterfly shedding her cocoon. Thanks, Clementine, for the glorious ride of an apocalyptic narrative story!
3. Faith Connors
“Well, it’s difficult to recall with a GUN in my face.” – Faith Connors
Faith Connors, the free-running heroine of Mirror’s Edge and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, is of East Asian descent. Scaling the walls of The City and City of Glass with graceful precision, Faith is a fierce daredevil with a lot of burdens to bear. She started as a Runner, an illegal underground group of couriers, and usually ends up being backstabbed by other troublesome and disloyal Runners.
If escorting private documents faithfully across the city while avoiding the City Protection Force was not enough, Faith also struggles to rescue her sister, Kate, after she was criminally charged for murdering a man named Robert Pope. Using her skills and wit, she manages to find her way out of sticky situations and loves to hardcore parkour through the intricate and complex city environments! Faith is obsessively loyal, acrobatic, strong-willed, disciplined, and heroic! Fans of the series cannot help but love her for it!
4. Chloe Frazer
“It’s like you said, progress demands sacrifice.” — Chloe Frazer
Chloe Frazer was born in India but raised by her mother in Australia for most of her young life. Along with her flirtatious bravado, Chloe is known to be one of the best drivers in the treasure-hunting business. You may have caught a glimpse of the sexually seductive dominatrix in various highlighted moments in the Uncharted series. Fans were very excited to experience her first time being a protagonist in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
The female protagonist learned that her father turned up dead. The only item he left behind for Chloe was the Horn of Ganesha. For the first time in a long time, she journeyed back to India. Working with Nadine Ross, she sought more information about the Horn. The Indian locale added a rich environment for Chloe to explore, and her father’s history in India was a great plot point to observe Chloe’s personality shine! Players were able to learn more about the character’s backstory and discover what kind of character Chloe wants to be. Keep on kicking tail, incredible international lady!
5. Aveline de Grandpré
“I am Aveline de Grandpré, I am an assassin, and I fight for liberation” — Aveline de Grandpré
Birth & Nationality
The deadly assassin, Aveline de Grandpré, is the main protagonist for Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. Daughter of a French merchant and African slave, Aveline grows up in a decent and privileged household. When Aveline was born, her father felt deep regret for not freeing her mother from slavery sooner. This regret resulted in both, Aveline and her mother, Jeanne, being freed from slavery.
As a teenager, Aveline struggled to free more oppressed slaves from enslavement in the town of New Orleans. An assassin mentor saw her commitment to freedom first-hand and recruited the young girl into the Assassin’s Creed. With the help of the Brotherhood and even Connor from Assassin’s Creed III, she was able to free many slaves across the bayou and other nearby areas. The remarkable freedom fighter adopted three different personas (Assassin, Lady, and Slave) to master her art of blending into the crowd.
Ultimately, she wiped out the Templar order operating within the New Orleans region. Aveline de Grandpré is a highly underrated and less-talked-about female character. Honestly, it feels as though she does not have as much recognition as deserved. Liberation was only for the PS Vita released back in 2012. The HD releases on console platforms in 2014 and 2019 may have been too late to grow popularity for people who had already moved on to the next main title, Black Flag, which released in 2013. No matter the reason, Aveline remains an incredible international female character!
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6. Brigid Tenenbaum
“It would mean very much to me if you will be gentle with the girls. Mein kleines maedchen.” — Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum
Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum is a unique individual in the Bioshock universe. Before the events of Bioshock, she survived the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, outliving the rest of her family. While imprisoned, the German doctors noticed her heightened skill for science and put her to work in inhumane medical labs for research. Tenenbaum was diagnosed with high-functioning autism during this time, but she shrugged off the diagnosis. In 1946, she disappeared from the surface world to live in Rapture, the underwater city where Bioshock and Bioshock 2 take place.
Everything she did from that point forward was to protect the Little Sisters she had created. While exploring experimentation with genetic splicing, she also researched a cure for ADAM sickness and worked on more science projects that were supposed to help civilize the underwater city. Unfortunately, science does not always go as predicted and led to troubling waters throughout both games. Intelligent, classy, protective, autistic, and Jewish, Dr. Tenenbaum is a unique diamond in the rough! Just like Little Sisters, the super genius “mother” deserves love too!
7. Anya Oliwa
“May 12, 1940. The Nazis have taken over the police station. They are asking local people to volunteer for service. I’m going to volunteer. I’m going to find a way to kill them.” — Ramona
Fans of the Wolfenstein series will know and love the Polish doctor, Anya Oliwa—the love interest of the main protagonist of Wolfenstein: The New Order, William J. Blazkowicz. The New Order is set after the end of World War II, in an alternate science fiction universe where the Axis powers win World War II and spread their influence around the globe. Although Anya mainly plays her role as communications HQ in the Wolfenstein series, the diary collectibles picked up during missions of the first game show a different side of Anya than the warm and caring doctor that players are used to.
Reading Ramona’s diary pages, you are informed that Anya seduced Nazi soldiers and thoroughly detailed each murder. Anya pretended to write in the journal as a deceased cousin named Ramona in case the journal was ever found by the Nazi regime. The German army searched for the unknown serial killer, and the famous murderer was never found. Taking out Nazi trash is recognition enough for a spot on the incredible international women’s list! Go, Anya!
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“When I was small, my mother taught me a secret word. She said that when I was afraid, all I had to do was speak that word, and a magic door would open. I’ve never told that to anybody.” – Farah
Behold, the daughter of the Maharajah shoots her way to the list of incredible international female characters! Farah is an Indian princess in Ubisoft’s 2003 release of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The keeper of the Medallion of Time, protector of the Sands of Time, and the main supporting character in the game—Farah likes to keep her distance and listens to no man.
She differs from the normal damsel in distress trope of female characters and intends to save the world with just as much gusto as the Prince. Armed with a bow and arrow, she scales rooftops, solves puzzles, fights sand creatures, and cooperatively guides the Prince to the top of the Tower of Dawn to seal the Sands of Time which has been unleashed. Independent, agile, and stubborn, Farah was a refreshingly strong female character for the early 2000s!
9. Kamala Khan
“No way. We should make a comic book together!” – Kamala Khan
The Marvelous Ms. Marvel sends a high five from around the world! A Pakistani-American superheroine enters the fray in Marvel’s Avengers, sending good vibes, youthful angst, and dedicatedly random Avengers’ knowledge with two handfuls (I mean HUGE handfuls) of glee! She is Captain Marvel’s number one fan but also keeps plenty of tabs on the rest of the Avengers team.
After the events of A-Day, she honed her newly acquired genetic morphing/stretching powers in her secret headquarters of an abandoned water tower. Finding a clue to what happened on A-Day, most of the campaign is spent with Kamala scouting out and reassembling the Avengers team… which isn’t exactly as happy-go-lucky as she desires it to be. By the end of her campaign, Kamala discovers what type of hero she wants to become and embiggens to the size of Godzilla to takedown the Sentinel threat! Thank you for your superhero support, Ms. Marvel!
Tell Me Your Favorite Female Character!
Now, there are a superfluous amount of amazing international female characters in video games. Nostalgia may have put your heads in the clouds while reviewing this list. I know I’m not the only one who thoroughly enjoys taking a trip down memory lane! If you know other great characters of fantastic international female characters that the list missed out on, let your voice be heard about your top characters in the comments below!