Having now spanned multiple decades, gaming continues to move from strength to strength, popularity-wise. Much like with books, comics, TV and film, gaming owes a lot of its success to the memorable characters it has given us over the years. We spend so much time with these fictitious folks that we connect with them; their plights ranging around 5 to 100 hours per game.
Whether these characters are playable protagonists, challenging enemies or just NPCs written with considerable depth, they take residence in our minds for long after the credits role on their introductory titles. The best of these characters leave us yearning for more and hoping for their return in future franchise instalments.
The introductions of the following characters on this list were all iconic for one reason or another. Some led legacies from humble beginnings, some had a major impact on their game’s difficulty curve and gameplay, and others were just downright strange, when we consider where the characters are now.
10. Dante - Devil May Cry (2001)
Devil May Cry’s Dante made his debut at the perfect time. Had he been conceived just a few years later, he likely would have missed the angsty era that fit his persona so well. In 2001 we were still hanging onto the 90s for dear life. Buffy was killing it on TV and baggy jeans, chains and Matrix-esque coats were still the pinnacle of counter-culture fashion.
Thus, Devil May Cry was genius to introduce us to Dante- a silver haired, demon-hunting sack of attitude who rocked a leather duster, double pistols and a sweet sword. Suddenly teens could play as an ode to the characters in their favourite TV shows and movies, mowing down demons and using “cool” one-liners to their heart’s content.
Whilst Dante would come across as cheesy if he made his first appearance today, the nostalgic love for this character and the frankly fantastic gameplay of the Devil May Cry series has cemented him as a gaming icon. Fans were outraged when he was rebranded for a younger audience in 2013’s reboot, DMC.
Thankfully Capcom took this feedback on board and brought back the nu-metal Dante we all know and love for 2019’s stellar Devil May Cry 5.