E3 2015: The Best Showing For Female Leads?

E3 2015 was special for many reasons, not just because of the incredibly strong showings from Bethesda, Microsoft and Sony, but also because there was a fantastic presence for female protagonists in various games.

First up was Dishonoured 2, shown off through a cinematic teaser trailer and only allowing brief glimpses at Emily Caldwin, the new lead for the game. After the trailer it was revealed that players would be able to choose between playing as Caldwin or Corvo Attano, the protagonist from the first Dishonoured. As someone who already experienced Corvo, I’m eager to see what Emily has to offer as a character.

Emily Caldwin, the new protagonist for Dishonoured 2.

Next was Recore, shown off again through a teaser trailer within the Microsoft presentation. The presentation is widely considered a big gain for Microsoft, and so should Recore, a new first party IP in which the lead character and her dog traverse a wasteland, with the dog being able to sacrifice itself and find a new body again and again. Recore looks like another strong game that features a female lead, and looks set to be a big success.

Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to the 2013 reboot was shown off again in the Microsoft presentation. We were treated to a gameplay demo during the showing, depicting Lara yet again being beaten and bruised while scaling a mountain, but surviving an avalanche, proving her once again to be one of the stronger female leads in the games industry, in terms of the obstacles she’s able to overcome.

Later on in the day, we glimpsed a trailer of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst during the EA press conference, which was understandably greeted with joy from critics and fans alike. Faith, the lead for the series, continues to defy death in just about every way possible, leaping between buildings like its a walk in the park and taking down armed henchmen without ever even picking up a weapon, let alone using one. Another strong showing for female leads within games.

Faith, the lead for the Mirror's Edge series.
Faith, the lead for the Mirror’s Edge series.

Finally was the entirely unexpected Horizon: Zero Dawn, debuted during the Sony conference Monday night. This blew a lot of people away with its gameplay demo, winning a truckload of awards for ‘Game of the Show’ in the process. Our unnamed protagonist was seen fighting huge mechanical beasts in the stunning game, putting Horizon in line to be a huge success when it eventually launches next year.

Overall, E3 2015 proved to be a pretty huge year for female characters as a whole, let alone the leading characters within games. I’m really pleasantly surprised by the character’s we’ve seen, particularly in the new IP’s, giving female characters the place they deserve in videogames. We’ve got returning franchises like Tomb Raider and Mirror’s Edge, and fresh new IP’s like Horizon and Recore in which to flesh out and give heart to our female characters.


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