- Written By 10Melanin Team
10 Black Video Game Characters
Black culture and the video game industry have a complicated relationship, although approx 11% of gamers are Black, we only make up 2% of developers. This explains the often stereotyped versions of Black people we see when we do eventually have Black characters in games. So for this list we're avoiding side characters and focusing on games where the main protagonist is Black and also represented well.
Here's a game which we discovered by accident but glad we did and thought it deserved a mention. Aerial Knight's Never Yield is an upcoming side-scrolling runner/ plat-former created by a developer called Neil Jones. You play as a mysterious kid named Wally who must use items of his past to save a futuristic Detroit, which is in fact where Neil is from. After a failed kickstarter for another game named 'Clique' (about a Black girl playing games) received unnecessary hate and backlash he began this project to prove people wrong. This game looks so fun and addictive, we hope people will support it when it's eventually released.
From the makers of Firewatch, Campo Santo brings you another first-person adventure game named In the Valley of Gods but this time you play as a former explorer and filmmaker Rasheeda, who is on a quest to redeem herself. It is set in 1920's Egypt and you must work with rival explorer Zora, whom you vowed never to work with again, to make a huge archaeological discovery in the desert and amongst miles of miles of dunes and ruins. If In the Valley of Gods is anything like Firewatch it's set to be a tense and emotional but rewarding and rememberable experience.
Edit: There have been rumours circulating that this game has been cancelled but it is yet to be confirmed by Campo Santo. We really hope this isn't true!
Night School Studio
Best friends Lola and Milo are dead but it's worse than that.. not only are they dead but they are also in hell. Hell in this game is depicted as a long endless night out with lots of dive bars and long queues to get into the elite clubs. Feeling that you've been wrongly placed, the only way to leave hell is to beat Satan in a drinking contest. After party has similar but evolved gameplay to Night School's well received predecessor Oxenfree, you can choose your dialogue again but this time "you are what you drink" and different cocktails will have an effect on the way you interact with creatures of the underground.
7. Julianna + Colt
Deathloop is an upcoming first person adventure action shooter from the makers of Dishonoured, starring Colt as the main protagonist - an assassin who is stuck in a time loop. Waking up on an island called Blackreef you discover that the other islanders, due to the time-loop, pay no mind to their actions because at the end of everyday the day resets and they have no recollection of the day before. However Colt remembers everything and learns from their behaviour each time. Deathloop also comes with a multiplayer aspect in-which players will be able to take on the role of Julianna, colt's rival assassin and enter a random people's games with the ability to interfere with their play.
The Spiritfarer, whose job it is to help dying souls pass on, is up for retirement and its Stella's destiny to replace him. Stella now must search out these spirits using her boat to sail the seas in order to help them with any unfinished business they have left on earth. It's only once you complete these tasks and quests that the spirit can reach the everdoor and crossover to enjoy a peaceful afterlife. Thankfully you're not alone during this long journey as you have a furry companion called Daffodil to keep you company who also acts as an optional playable character.
5. Lifeline + Bangalore
Apex Legends is a free-to-play first person shooter and battle royale, a slightly more grown up alternative to fortnight. It's fun to play and addictive and also currently has an estimate of 8-10 million weekly players. Two of the eight launch characters are strong, powerful and bad ass Black girls which is exactly the kind of representation needed in the gaming industry at moment. Lifeline is the daughter of a wealthy war profiteering family and when she finds out her families actions she dedicates her life to helping people and her abilities are mainly surrounding healing. Bangalore is an ex soldier who served as a weapons specialist, she comes from a military family and has always been an exceptional soldier, she is trying to earn enough money to get home after a bomb hit a ship she was aboard.
4. Sydney + Stanley
Earth Night is a fun and addictive arcade style game with a unique and beautiful art style that you won't want to put it down. There is little story as the game throws you straight into action and it takes some working out of what you've got to do but the general premise is that dragons have taken over the earth and you need to different dragons in order to save earth. By skydiving and landing on the backs of different coloured dragons, each with different baddies and power ups, you must fight your way through the level and depending on your performance defeat the boss dragon that might appear at the end.
3. Miles Morales
It's been a long time since a Triple-A game has been created with a Black male character as the main protagonist and if this game is anything like its predecessor it's going to be great. Peter Parker befriends Miles Morales after his father's death and being a Spiderman fan he is unaware they're the same person, this is until he develops similar powers to Spiderman and shows them to Peter who then reveals his true identity. Little is known about what the PS5 game storyline will be at the moment but being a launch title for the new console means it's sure to sell a lot of units and many are excited to get a chance to finally play as Black Spidey.
2. Franklin + CJ
Although on the surface CJ and Franklin are just gang members and criminals, they have heartbreaking back stories that involve gang violence and drug abuse. They are now regarded as two of the most famous and well loved video game characters ever, appearing in two of the highest grossing games of all time GTA San Andreas and GTA V. The fact that both have Black lead characters at the forefront of their games is pretty important even if they're not exactly a positive representation of Black men. It's also important to note that GTA itself is a game not to be taken too seriously and you will enjoy playing both these characters assuming you can get past the clichés.
1. Clementine + Lee
Based on The Walking Dead comic book series, this interactive adventure video game of the same name follows Lee who's recently been arrested right during a zombie apocalypse. Quickly after your escape you encounter Clementine a girl whose parents are missing and you take her under your care. The choices you make in what you teach her follow you throughout the rest of the game series so make some good ones! An epic tale of fatherhood, friendship and hardship, this iconic duo will have you crying by the end of episode one. Joel and Ellie who?