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10 Best Video Game Protagonists of 2024 So Far

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10 Protagonists of 2024

From past years' pixelated heroes to today's richly detailed characters, video games have always thrived on iconic protagonists. Vast, simulated worlds now house deep and intricate narratives. Players become invested in the journeys of these virtual companions. Some protagonists win us over with their sheer likability. Their struggles, triumphs, and evolutions throughout the game become some of the medium's most engaging narratives. It's this spectrum of reasons why gamers hold certain protagonists in such high esteem. 

10. Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher Series)

The Witcher Game Series Timeline | The Leaderboard

Many gamers only recently met Geralt of Rivia with the 2015 release of the massive RPG, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Many were immediately drawn to Geralt, a monster hunter with surprising gentleness. Even though players make choices that affect the game, Geralt's actions always reflect his core personality. He has a dry wit, a practical attitude, and a strong moral compass. This is evident in The Witcher 3, where his bond with Ciri, whom he considers a daughter, becomes quite powerful.

9. Nathan Drake (Uncharted Series)

UNCHARTED: The Nathan Drake Collection (10/9/2015) - Story Trailer | PS4

Nathan is a treasure hunter driven by a quest for adventure and historical mysteries. He is intelligent and resourceful but he is also inclined to make silly mistakes. This combination of wit and detachment in the face of danger, with occasional goofiness, makes him an amusing character to control. As the series progresses, especially in Uncharted 4, we witness a huge transformation in Nathan. This makes him even more relatable and engaging for fans who have accompanied him on his previous journeys.

8. John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)

Red Dead Redemption Official Trailer "My Name is John Marston"

John Marston, a central character in the Red Dead Redemption series, embodies the struggle of a man haunted by his past. Once a notorious Van der Linde gang member, John is forced by the government into a critical bargain. He must track down and capture his former comrades, or forfeit his chance of ever reuniting with his family. Despite his flaws and regrets, John is unwavering in his determination. He tackles these dangerous missions, driven by the desire to return home. 

7. Master Chief (Halo Series)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection - The Ultimate Halo Experience

Master Chief, also known as John-117 and Sierra-117, is more than just a name. He's a legend, a Spartan supersoldier who has often rescued humanity from the brink of annihilation. Throughout his journey, from the first Halo game to Halo Infinite, Master Chief has grown as a character. We see the weight of his responsibility and the connection he forms with his AI companion, Cortana. Developed by 343 Industries, the Master Chief in Halo 4 and 5 presents his excellent physical skills and underlying humanity.  

6. Kratos (God of War Series)

God Of War Full Story Of Kratos Complete History

Before the 2018 reboot, Kratos was a one-dimensional figure. The need for vengeance fuels him, transforming him into a violent warrior. His rage stemmed from the tragic loss of his wife and daughter. These earlier games offered a thrilling experience in Norse mythology, filled with longboats, Vikings, and the great halls of Valhalla. The 2018 game presents Kratos as a man haunted by his past. Now a father to Atreus, he works hard to break the cycle of revenge and prevent his son from becoming the monster he once was.

5. Kassandra (Assassin's Creed Odyssey)

Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Gameplay Walkthrough Part 1 - Kassandra (Full Game)

Kassandra is a hybrid character. Her ancestry combines human and an unusually high amount of Isu DNA. The Isu DNA in her body allows her to wield the Spear of Leonidas, a powerful spear that grants Kassandra superhuman abilities. It makes her stronger and more skilled than any ordinary person. She's a mix of humble and modest yet lethally skilled. Even with the success of the newer Valhalla, many fans keep returning to Kassandra's unique combination of personality and power.

4. Joel (The Last of Us)

The Last of Us 2 - Joel's Heartbreaking Death Scene | Abby kills Joel

Twenty years after a personal tragedy: the loss of his daughter and the world's descent into chaos, Joel is a broken man in The Last of Us. Everything changes when Joel takes Ellie under his wing. She is immune to the infection and represents a glimmer of hope in the post-apocalyptic world. But their bond faces a terrible dilemma. By the game's climax, Joel faces an unbearable choice: a cure for the infection depends on sacrificing Ellie. Unable to bear the thought of losing her again, Joel prioritizes his love for Ellie over the salvation of humanity.

3. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect Series)

Mass Effect's Commander Shepards Break Down Their Favorite Lines

In this game, players craft Shepard's background and appearance. However, the choices gamers make throughout the series have real consequences. This shapes the characters' fate and the galactic war's course. The Mass Effect series overflows with unforgettable moments, but one that truly strikes a chord with fans is the downloadable content (DLC) titled Citadel. Shepard and their crew are granted a precious respite, a reunion that doubles as a bittersweet “last supper.” This cherished moment contrasts the brutal enemy, the Reapers, and the suicidal mission that awaits them.

2. Lohse (Divinity: Original Sin 2)

Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Spotlight: Origin Stories - Lohse

Larian Studios rose to fame with Divinity: Original Sin 2. Enthusiastic players are funding the game. Gamers can craft their hero or pick from six unique characters, one of them being Lohse. This fiery redhead carries a dark secret: she's possessed by spirits. A scary arch-demon sees her as the key to becoming divine and taking over the world. The demon in Lohse can seize control at any moment, making her do pretty awful deeds against her will. Ultimately, she must face this demon that holds her and many other souls hostage.

1. Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)

Red Dead Redemption 2: Official Trailer #3

Arthur has become perhaps the greatest video game protagonist ever. Arthur, an outlaw who has accepted his identity, now faces the weight of a life built on crime and violence. He doesn't dwell on past wrongs; rather, he goes on to make amends and finally do good. Players, after spending countless hours with Arthur, become invested in his redemption. Arthur Morgan's depth and humanity make him a truly unforgettable character. This leaves an impact on the gaming world that will probably be unmatched.

So, what’s your take on our picks of the 10 best video game protagonists of 2024? Let us know your thoughts here on our socials or down in the comments.

Cynthia Wambui is a gamer who has a knack for writing video gaming content. Blending words to express one of my biggest interests keeps me in the loop on trendy gaming topics. Aside from gaming and writing, Cynthia is a tech nerd and coding enthusiast.