Being a hero isn’t an easy task, and it’s doubly hard when you’re the new savior around. With each new console generation comes new franchises and returning favorites. Everyone knows that characters like Master Chief and Samus are great heroes – some of our favorites even – but what about the new faces who put on masks for the first time, or those who fought for good against all odds? What about those who just got into a bad situation but got better because of it?
Those heroes are some of the best in recent memory, and with a few more forays into the future, it’s easy to see how they could become icons like Chief and Samus. These are our favorite heroes of the generation so far, arranged in chronological order of appearance†
Spoilers for Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers and Endwalker ahead.
After the events of Shadowbringers, G’raha Tia has become a new member of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, but he has not yet fully transitioned from his past life. Formerly a leader of immense political and magical power, he now travels with the Warrior of Light and is not quite sure how to deal with some of the crises you are going through together and struggles to find where he fits in with the Scions. . During the Endwalker expansion, G’raha slowly regains his confidence and, in turn, his natural leadership skills, as he is able to keep a cool head under world-threatening pressure. The continuation of his humble beginnings as a historian to an extra-dimensional traveler is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the adventure, but his eventual rise from mere companion to loyal best friend and valued scion is one of the greatest hero arcs of this generation.
Insomniac’s version of Miles Morales was first introduced in 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. While we didn’t actually see him become Spider-Man, it was clear that this was where Insomniac was going, and indeed Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales launched in 2020 with the PlayStation 5. Over the eight hours we all got to know this already great character even better, and perhaps most importantly, we saw him become the protector New York City needed at a time. that Peter Parker wasn’t there to defend it. Miles emerges from the other end of his journey as a hero – no lesser web garland or Peter’s fill-in, but a real Spider-Man standing next to the original. Watching the story unfold is heartwarming, and it’s got us excited to don Miles’ signature black-and-red suit again in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
In many ways, Selene is a new Samus. No, she’s not from Metroid, but, like Samus, she’s a stoic, alien-killing, badass who wants to complete the mission no matter the cost. In Returnal, we’re introduced to Selene as just that, and every action she takes through the game’s mysterious story proves our point once again. But Selene is more than meets the eye. Horror house scenes fill in a crucial backstory that completely changes the perspective of what’s going on, and some of the late game revelations turn that all upside down again. Still, through it all, Selene is determined, capable, and the kind of space soldier we all want to be. We’re not sure what the future holds for Selene – something tells us it will be similar to the day before and the day before – but we can’t wait to see what else Housemarque and PlayStation do with her character.
The Wielder does not start the game as a hero. She’s just a janitor and fangirl of the world’s savior, Witlof. But when Chicory inexplicably locks herself in a tower and leaves the world colorless, this janitor picks up her brush and does what any hero would do: save the day itself. It’s a wild premise that quickly captivated us, and it was exciting to grow from the janitor to the savior of Picnic, a place everyone is named after food. Plus, Chicory’s message about overcoming impostor syndrome, as seen through the eyes of The Wielder who feels it after picking up the cloak, is important, as is seeing Chicory lean on The Wielder to deal with her depression. Ultimately, both are better to rely on the other to overcome personal obstacles and insecurities. De Wielder is the hero who has restored color, beauty and life to her world. She is an inspiration to us and future heroes of this generation. Not everyone may feel like a hero, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become one. We hope that Witlof is just the beginning of the adventures of The Wielder this generation.
Kit is a new character introduced in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart that acts as Clank’s multiverse counterpart. Everyone knows that the iconic duo of Ratchet & Clank are heroes, but Kit represents the inspiration the couple can have on others through their good deeds. When we meet Kit, she’s emotionally trapped in her villainous past. She’s a robot built for destruction, but she’s put those tendencies aside to be a peaceful and ultimately better person. Kit struggles with her misdeeds and frequently doubts herself, but Ratchet gives her the potential to help others. When no one else believed in her, Ratchet said, “Yeah.” Kit is an ally that we can’t wait to see more of. Whether she’s kicking or sitting down to gaze at the stars, Kit is the perfect sight to remind us there’s no place in our lives.
Alex Chen had quite the feat for her in Life is Strange: True Colors. Not only did she have to solve the mystery of her brother’s death while navigating the new girl in a new city, but she also had to stand out in a franchise built on the shoulders of fantastic characters. She did that effortlessly, and it was clear that she would be joining characters like Max Caulfield and Sean Diaz shortly after the start of the first episode of True Colors. Her powers, using empathic abilities to read other people’s emotions and, in some cases, view them as her own, are subdued, but they are essential to navigating her story as the narrative arc she goes through is quite inspiring. Alex Chen of True Colors shows how important it is to trust your gut and why, if you believe in something, you have to stand up for it against all odds. Alex Chen took on a mountain of corporate structures that were destined to silence her, but crucially, she put her love for friends and family above all else and persevered through it. Life is Strange usually continues after each submission, but we remain hopeful that True Colors isn’t the last time we see Alex Chen.
Colt Vahn becomes a character you’ll want to spend more time playing, like in the first few minutes of Deathloop. He finds himself in a terribly strange situation, and unlike most heroes in video games, he asks, “What the hell is going on?” It’s great because it’s the same question we would all have had if we woke up on a beach, destined to repeat the same day over and over. He doesn’t try to make things difficult or hide his fear. In fact, he’s not even trying to become a hero, and you could say he never will by traditional standards. He’s just a guy who wants to break the circle so he can’t be a part of it anymore. He’s the kind of protagonist we can all respect – someone who has no idea what’s going on, yet perseveres. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, but in the end Colt emerges as an unlikely hero that we already want more of. Plus, he’s a Black lead who doesn’t lean into harmful stereotypes, which is sadly a rarity in gaming. Hopefully its success inspires developers to write more Black Heroes, because if Deathloop proves anything, it’s that gaming needs and deserves more of it.
We all know Drax is a hero – after all, he’s part of a very famous superhero team – but Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy delved deeper into the heartbreaking backstory that drives everything he does. Yes, he defeated Thanos. Yeah, he’s pretty much unstoppable, and if you looked at him, you might write it off as, “Well, look at him — dude is a beast.” But Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy emphasizes that the loss of Drax’s family nourishes him and keeps him motivated to fight another day. This leads to one of the most heartwarming and heartbreaking moments in last year’s games, where Drax must painfully reconcile with his loss for the greater good, a moment that cemented Drax as one of our favorite heroes. Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon and Gamora are great heroes in their own right, but Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy proves that Drax is the true improbable heart of the group.
It’s no small feat to pile on one of the game’s most iconic heroes, Master Chief, but Cortana’s successor, The Weapon, did it with ease in Halo Infinite. Cortana’s character took a turn in Halo 5: Guardians, and while some fans weren’t happy with the direction, it was set in stone, and Halo Infinite had to address that. The Weapon did just that, bringing all of Cortana’s spunk and optimism with an added touch of innocence and naivety that has us excited to take her on more world-saving missions in future Halo entries. Cortana is almost irreplaceable, but luckily 343 Industries has found a way to replace her. And they did it in the best possible way: by introducing us to someone who doesn’t want to be Cortana; The weapon just wants to be itself.
Aloy was an excellent protagonist in 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn, but due to the nature of the game and its overarching mystery, she doesn’t really come into her own as a hero until the final hours of the game. However, Horizon Forbidden West is all about Aloy’s newfound stardom as the savior of Meridian (and the world), and we can see her take on that title. She is unwavering in her commitment to helping people and will not step aside when asked by authority. If she believes in something, she will commit to it and it is incredibly satisfying to watch Aloy become the hero everyone claims to be. We can’t wait to see where her journey takes us next.
What are some of your favorite heroes of this generation? Let us know in the comments below!