Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Upcoming games featuring protagonists of color

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As a black man with a lifelong obsession with games, I have heard or been asked this question several times in my life: What games allow you to play as black characters? My answer is generally quite short. Anyone who pays attention to it knows that games have mostly featured white protagonists for decades. There are a lot of great games on the horizon, but finding titles featuring heroes who look like people from marginalized communities can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s unfortunate because no matter what shape or size a game is, it’s always a powerful feeling to see a character that looks like you.

So I would like to prepare an answer for people to whom we regularly ask the same question and for those who ask it themselves. I’ve compiled this list of upcoming games featuring black, brown, or just non-white protagonists in general. To this end, this list excludes games with protagonists created by the user. The character creators are great and all, but they also put the responsibility for diversity on the players, rather than the developers taking the initiative themselves. Now, let’s take a look at the coolest games featuring protagonists in color.

Season

Developer: Scavengers Studio
Release date: TBA

Season is a wonderful adventure game about a woman who leaves her remote village to explore the world by bicycle. Along the way, she documents her findings through her camera lens, capturing the last moments of various fictional cultures before an impending cataclysm grips the world. The game features a diverse cast of characters who occupy a strange version of Earth; in it, modern human progress has remained stagnant despite thousands of years. The season comes from Scavengers Studios and is a fascinating departure from its previous game, the survival battle royale The Darwin Project.

Deathloop

Developer: Arkane Studios
Release date: May 21

With quality games like Dishonored and Prey in the Arkane Studios story, the excitement for Death Loop is at its height. The games pit two legendary assassins against each other, Colt and Julianna, on Blackreef Island. Players control Colt, who must not only survive the hunt for Julianna and the islanders, but also find a way to break a mysterious time loop engulfing the island. The goal is to assassinate eight targets in a single night, otherwise the cycle begins again. I urge Deathloop to stick to its May release date as I can’t wait to get my hands on one of the most inventive titles of 2021.

ValiDate: singles struggling in your area

Developer: Genuine Joy Studios
Release date: Spring

This original visual novel features 12 struggling singles living in Jercy City (yes, Jercy). They seek love while trying, according to the game’s website, to “morecome the harsh realities of capitalism “while also dealing with everyday life. ValiDate offers over 30 story routes for these 20 Years and Something Flawed that range from a professional cosplayer, marriage counselor, food scientist and director at “Bopeyes”. Dating is the name of the game, of course, as you make a series of choices to (hopefully) romance any single of your choice. Veritable Joy Studios says that ValiDate’s writing is handled with “empathy and personal indulgence” and comes from a fully POC writing team. Look for ValiDate when it launches this spring or try a free demo at itch.io now.

Tchia

Developer: Awaceb
Release date: TBA

Tchia was recently created during the Game Awards pre-show, and is inspired by her world and her cast from New Caledonia, a Pacific island east of Australia. Players control the titular Tchia, a girl with special abilities who sets sail on her makeshift raft in a physics-based sandbox. Tchia has the power to take control of any animal or object, including a bird and even a coconut, as seen in the first trailer. The exploration combines rock climbing, gliding and sailing, drawing on elements from Zelda games such as Breath of the Wild and Wind Waker. With a vibrant color palette and heartwarming vibe, Tchia is a gem to watch.

Far Cry 6

Developer: Ubisoft
Release date: 2021

The Far Cry series isn’t always great at handling its cultural themes beyond simple stereotypes, but hopefully that will change with Far Cry 6. Set in Cuba-inspired Yara Island, players control Dani Rojos (who can be a man or a woman), a local who is embroiled in a revolution against the country’s brutal dictator, Antón Castillo (played by Giancarlo Esposito de The Mandalorian and breaking Bad Fame). We don’t know much about the plot, but the first trailer revealed a fascinating relationship between Castillo and his young son, Diego, whom he wants to mold in his likeness. Dani’s place in this father / son story is unclear, but it’s safe to expect the high-octane gameplay that Far Cry is known for.

Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield

Developer: Aerial_Knight
Release date: Beginning of 2021

Coming from a single developer, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield is a sleek automatic racer set in futuristic Detroit with flavors of Tokyo. Wally is a cool kid with a robotic leg who seeks to uncover the truth about his past. However, he discovers darker evidence that could affect the future of his entire city. Players must run, jump and slide past enemies and obstacles in an experience that appeals to both speedrunners and casual gamers. This game bleeds Detroit, featuring an original soundtrack composed by local artist Danime-Sama, as well as contributions from black artists around the world. Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield is set for release in early 2021, so like Wally himself, it looks like the game is getting hot.

She dreams elsewhere

Developer: Studio Zevere
Release date: 2021

She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal RPG about a comatose woman struggling with anxiety who must uncover the cause of her condition by literally confronting the demons within her. The game’s old-fashioned aesthetic and turn-based combat evoke RPGs of yore, but are layered with an ethereal, lo-fi vibe of the soundtrack with trippy effects. A connection system allows players to bond with members of their party who have their own narrative threads, or to customize their playstyles using the charm system. She Dreams Elsewhere is coming to PC this year, and you can download a demo on Steam now.

As Dusk Falls

Developer: Indoor / Night
Release date: 2021

As Dusk Falls is an interactive drama with a fascinating hook. In 1999, two families were taken in a hostage situation that went awry. Over the next 30 years, players see how this affected the lives of everyone involved. We don’t know much about the game other than that it stars a mixed race protagonist, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you controlled other characters, such as the boy-to-young-adulthood shown in the first trailer. . As Dusk Falls is the debut game from the newly formed Interior / Night studio, directed by Quantic Dream alum Caroline Marcha. The game currently doesn’t have a release window, but because it’s released by Xbox Game Studios, you can expect it to reach Game Pass on console and PC on launch day.

Unknown 9: Awakening

Developer: Reflector
Release date: TBA

This mysterious sci-fi title centers on Haroona, a young girl from Kolkata, India, who discovers that she is imbued with a mysterious power that grants her access to a secret dimension known as The Fold. . Haroona eventually meets a mentor who teaches her how to perfect this power to uncover the secrets of this dimension as well as its abilities. We still know little about the game other than it’s a third-person action / adventure title set in the Unknown 9 universe, which is a sci-fi multimedia franchise spanning multiple books, comics, and podcasts. . While I’m not familiar with the larger series, I’m intrigued to see what awaits Haroona in the game.

Dustborn

Developer: Red wire games
Release date: TBA

Dustborn is an action / adventure game focused on the story of a group of misfits on a dangerous road trip. The tale is directed by Pax, a con artist and ex-convict who recruits a motley crew of allies to help him transport a mysterious package through the American Republic, a fractured version of the old United States. Your Crew (or “Fam”) has their own unique abilities as well as colorful personalities and stories, which you will learn more about through a deep dialogue system. The comic-inspired art direction gives the game a strong personality, especially the use of onomatopoeia. With both the government and fanatical Puritans chasing our non-heroes, Dustborn seems like a wild and thrilling road trip.

Dirt

Developer: Thunderful / Image & Form Games
Release date: 2021

The team behind the beloved SteamWorld franchise is taking on something entirely new in The Gunk. This Xbox exclusive features two astronauts who stumble upon a planet teeming with life and precious resources. There is only one problem: the world is overtaken by a corrupt parasitic glue. Exploration requires using the protagonist’s gauntlet of power to suck up grime in order to clear paths and uncover valuable artifacts. You also need it to fight the monsters corrupted by the slime. Ridding areas of the malicious substance opens up larger areas containing more clues to the planet’s past. What’s the gunk? Where is he from? We’ll have to wait a bit later this year to find out.

Tunche

Developer: Leap game studios
Release date: 2021

I’m a sucker for a good beat ’em up, and Tunche taps into the innate pleasure of hitting baddies in the face while her roguelite structure keeps players on their toes. The map and enemies change with every game, which means you and up to four friends never know what to expect every turn. A tight and fast-paced combat system allows players to decimate hordes of monsters by juggling aerial combos while avoiding an aerial dash, among other abilities. Tunche is also pleasing to the eye with its hand drawn cartoon that breathes life into the game’s Amazon rainforest setting. But don’t take my word for it. Download the game for free demo on Steam and see for yourself.

We are the keepers

Developer: Heart shaped games
Release date: Q1 2021

Described as a “Afrofuturist squad management RPG”, We Are the Caretakers aims to defend endangered alien animals from extinction. Using systems inspired by games such as Ogre Battle, Darkest Dungeon, and XCOM, players assemble an arcane team of anti-poaching protectors to engage in tactical battles in procedurally generated campaigns. The game features a full employment system as well as a reputation mechanic where your actions affect how the world views your team. This includes managing international relations by meeting with world leaders and balancing their demands. We Are the Caretakers sounds like a fun, rugged game with a good conversational message in the middle of it all.

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