2017 was an absolutely stellar year for games with female protagonists. PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn made female lead Aloy a certified PlayStation icon and ambitious adventure game Uncharted: The Lost Legacy had us all hoping that the future of the Uncharted franchise is female. The surprise success of Nier: Automata and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice also stood out this year.
2018 also promises a number of games with female protagonists, ranging from blockbuster epics to charming indies. An impressive amount of games feature women and girls in lead roles this year and we’ve chosen 30 titles that you should be excited for.
Monster Hunter: World (PS4, Xbox One – January 28, Windows PC – TBA, 2018)
An open-world RPG, Monster Hunter: World drops you in a giant playground full of hulking monsters and tasks you with tracking them and taking them down. You’ll follow footprints, study scratch marks and more as you take down some truly epic enemies.
The game allows you to choose a female protagonist and the character customization options allow you to choose a woman of color, also deciding her hair, facial features, etc.
The Inpatient (PS VR – January 23)
A psychological horror game from (Hidden Agenda and Until Dawn developer) Supermassive Games, The Inpatient follows an amnesiac patient at the Blackwood Sanitorium (you can choose to play as a female patient). Your goal is to reclaim her memories and make game-changing decisions along the way.
The Inpatient is a PlayStation VR game with the headset’s immersion ramping up the spook-factor even more. It’s probably best to play this one with the lights on.
Sea of Thieves (Windows PC, Xbox One – March 20)
Developed by Banjo-Kazooie developer Rare, Sea of Thieves lets you live out your pirate fantasies. The game allows you to customize your very own female pirate (including women of color and women of different body types) as you take to the seas battling other players, searching for buried treasure, solving clues, and completing quests.
A shared world game, Sea of Thieves is big on multiplayer and you’ll be able to take to the high seas with your friends.
Far Cry 5 (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – March 27)
In Ubisoft’s open-world action game, Far Cry 5, you’ll play as a deputy in a rural Montana county that has been overrun by a doomsday cult. As the long arm of the law, your job is to free the residents and organize a resistance to take down the cult once and for all.
Far Cry 5 is the first game in the series to allow players to choose a female protagonist. Ubisoft has yet to fully detail the game’s character customization options but Grace (an allied NPC, pictured above) gives us a good idea of what to expect from the female character designs.
Darksiders 3 (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
While the first two Darksiders games focused on the horsemen of the apocalypse, Darksiders 3 is a female-fronted affair. The action adventure game follows female protagonist Fury (the sister of War) as she battles to destroy the seven deadly sins.
Promising hack and slash combat and some tremendously tough boss battles, Darksiders 3 looks like one of the standout games of the year.
Code Vein (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
Bandai Namco’s action RPG Code Vein is best described as ‘anime Dark Souls.’ The post-apocalyptic title follows the customizable player character (including a female protagonist option) as they fight their thirst for blood. Give into the thirst for blood too much and you risk becoming one of the Lost, ghouls who have lost their humanity.
Code Vein looks just as tricky as Dark Souls and the lore behind its world raises plenty of questions too. But its hack and slash gameplay looks brilliant and this is definitely one to watch.
Crackdown 3 (Windows PC, Xbox One – Spring, 2018)
After being delayed several times, Crackdown 3 is hoping to make the wait worth it in 2018. In this open-world action game you’ll play as a character called The Agent (you can customize their look, including choosing a female protagonist), exploring the city and blowing it to pieces.
The Crackdown series is known for its bombastic gameplay and Crackdown 3 builds on that, including destructive weaponry and a destructible environment to test it out on.
Indivisible (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch – TBA, 2018)
Indivisible is a Metroidvania-style RPG that found crowdfunding success on Indiegogo back in 2015. It raised over $1.5 million as backers were charmed by its female protagonist (a young girl of color named Ajna) and its southeast Asian inspired design.
Throughout the game, Ajna will be trying to find out more about her powers in an adventure that also sees her taking down enemies, befriending other heroes, and learning new abilities along the way.
Battle Princess Madelyn (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Wii U – TBA, 2018)
Another crowdfunding hit about a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders is Battle Princess Madelyn. The titular female protagonist is inspired by the developer’s daughter and her love of games like Ghosts ‘N Goblins.
Fans can expect classic platforming gameplay as Madelyn (and her ghost dog Fritzy) try to defeat an evil wizard.
Anthem (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – Q4, 2018)
The next big project from (Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer) BioWare is Anthem, a game that promises open-world exploration, RPG gameplay, and hulking great mech suits.
Not only does Anthem look absolutely gorgeous and a huge amount of fun to play, but it will also let you choose a female protagonist. There’s no word on how extensive the character customization will be just yet, but fingers crossed there are as many options as in BioWare’s other franchises.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Windows PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch – TBA, 2018)
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is one of the most funded games on Kickstarter ever, having raised over $5.5 million on the platform in 2015. The action-adventure game follows female protagonist Miriam who has been afflicted by a curse that is slowly turning her skin into crystal.
Miriam is looking for a cure for the curse and she battles enemies using her powers (which are thanks to the crystal) along the way.
Skull & Bones (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – Q3/Q4, 2018)
Ubisoft’s pirate game Skull & Bones takes a far more realistic approach to the pirate life than Rare’s Sea of Thieves. It promises brilliant blue water and strategic but exhilarating multiplayer battles, but you won’t come across any reanimated skeletons.
Skull & Bones will also allow you to customize your very own pirate and go through the game as a female protagonist. Again, Ubisoft is holding the character customization cards close to its chest for now, but the female character models have featured briefly in the trailers released so far.
Attack on Titan 2 (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch – March 20, 2018)
Focusing on season two of the anime, Attack on Titan 2 allows fans to choose a player character from a list of several known, named characters that already exist within the AOT universe. Alternatively, players can create their own character called ‘Scout.’
Scout, who can be a female protagonist, offers different abilities including “long-range sneak attacks” and attacks that let players evade quickly.
State of Decay 2 (Windows PC, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
State of Decay 2 is the long-awaited follow up to 2013’s State of Decay. A zombie survival game with an open-world, players can play it solo or team up with three other friends to take on zombie hordes.
The game will offer a variety of playable survivors (including female characters) who each have their own traits (advantages and disadvantages). However, the game also includes permadeath meaning that once that survivor is dead, they’re gone for good.
Detroit Become Human (PS4 – Spring, 2018)
A PS4 exclusive from (Heavy Rain developer) Quantic Dream, Detroit: Become Human is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Following a group of android robots who work for and alongside humans, the game will explore what it means to be human and will task players with making major decisions that have massive consequences.
Detroit: Become Human has three playable characters in total, including female protagonist Kara. Kara is a newly created android trying to find her place in the world.
Greedfall (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
An action RPG from (The Technomancer developer) Spiders, Greedfall offers a fantasy, 17th-century setting. The player character – who can be a female protagonist – is a human who can side with various factions, e.g the native inhabitants of the island, or the foreign powers looking to colonize it.
Greedfall also features a party system and includes same-sex romances too.
Dauntless (Windows PC – Early 2018)
In Dauntless, giant enemies called Behemoths roam the land and it’s up to players, as Slayers (these can be female characters) to take them down. You can collect loot, craft and upgrade your weapons, and team up with up to four other players in co-op.
Dauntless is the first release from Phoenix Labs, a developer made up of veterans from Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and BioWare.
Conan Exiles (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – May 8, 2018)
An open-world survival game about making it in a harsh environment, you’d be forgiven for instantly comparing Conan Exiles to a game like Rust. But the Conan the Barbarian-based setting sets the game apart as players can choose from several different character races and pledge allegiance to several different gods.
Conan Exiles also allows you to choose a female protagonist, with the character customization options continuing to be improved upon between now (the game is in early access) and its full release next year.
Fortnite (Windows PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
Another multiplayer survival game that’s already out now in early access is Fortnite. This delightfully designed title from Epic Games is all about building a base, gathering resources, and working together to take down hordes of ‘husk’ (zombie) enemies.
The game is already great fun (as noted in our review) and its playable female characters are a wonderfully diverse group (it includes women of color and women of different body types). Epic Games will continue to expand on all of this in the run-up to the game’s free to play launch.
The Darwin Project (Windows PC, Xbox One, TBA, 2018)
The Darwin Project is like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds crossed with Fortnite crossed with a game show. Players are still trying to become the last one standing, but here, you’ll be tasked with tracking your opponents and crafting traps to take them out.
Moreover, The Darwin Project features an ‘MC’ show director who can narrate the action and interact with the game (e.g doling out health boosts). It’s an interesting take on an oversaturated genre. (The game also allows you play as a female character).
Overkill’s The Walking Dead (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
Overkill’s The Walking Dead is a co-op first-person shooter that also packs in RPG and survival horror gameplay. There will be four playable characters in all, including two female protagonists (according to the official character art above).
Overkill has yet to share much information about its characters but expect plenty more details in the run-up to the game’s 2018 release date.
We Happy Few (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – April 13, 2018)
Offering first-person survival gameplay, We Happy Few is a twisted sort of game. It’s an alternative take on England in the 1960s as people take a drug named ‘Joy’ to cope with the events of World War 2.
There are three player characters (including one female protagonist) who are dubbed ‘Downers’ after they choose not to take their Joy. Players are tasked with trying to escape the city before it collapses, but the rest of the inhabitants (who are on Joy) won’t make it easy.
Griftlands (Windows PC, Early 2018)
An RPG about making a fortune, Griftlands is the next game from (Don’t Starve and Invisible, Inc. developer) Klei Entertainment. You can choose your character (including a female protagonist) as you go around the land looking to make money, negotiating with pirates and mercenaries along the way.
Not a great deal is known about the game so far, but its cast of characters are sure to win you over with their rough-around-the-edges charm.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 4 (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android – TBA, 2018)
Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 4 is the final season of its popular episodic, narrative series. The fourth season will once again focus on playable female protagonist Clementine and will hopefully do a good job of wrapping up the franchise for its millions of fans.
Ooblets (Windows PC, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
A wonderful combination of Pokemon and Animal Crossing, Ooblets is just one beautiful looking game. You’ll plant crops, befriend little creatures called ‘ooblets,’ and explore this whimsical world.
You’ll be able to do so as a female protagonist, with character customization options including skin tone and clothing.
Iconoclasts (Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS Vita – January 23, 2018)
2D action platformer Iconoclasts follows female protagonist Robin as she navigates her way through the world trying to do her best to help people. Joined by a cast of other butt-kicking female characters, Robin will solve puzzles and beat up bosses.
It’s one of the most promising indie games of the year.
Forgotton Anne (Windows PC, PS4, Xbox One – TBA, 2018)
Quite possibly the best-looking game on this list, Forgotton Anne follows the titular female protagonist as she tries to find her way out of a fantasy realm full of forgotten objects. Players will have to overcome puzzles to stop the forgotton objects (including socks and toys) from rebelling.
With an orchestral soundtrack created by the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, Forgotton Anne sounds incredible too.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker (Windows PC, Mac, Linux – TBA, 2018)
In Pathfinder: Kingmaker, an isometric RPG, you play as a local lord having to make key decisions about the area. Real-time combat, character customization (including female characters), and same-sex romances are just some of the gameplay features promised by developer Owlcat Games.
The Swords of Ditto (Windows PC, PS4 – Early 2018)
In The Swords of Ditto, it’s up to you to save this adorably designed world from the clutches of an evil figure named ‘Momo.’ Loot, boss battles and exploration are all promised, along with a “unique adventure” every time your hero is defeated. Your hero can be a female protagonist (including women of color).
Mineko’s Night Market (Windows PC, Mac – Late 2018)
Mineko’s Night Market stars a young girl named Mineko as she arrives at a Japanese island that has been overrun with cats. When you aren’t marveling out how cute everything looks, the game also involves selling and crafting items, discovering secrets and taking part in mini-games (such as cat racing and pachinko).
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