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Lara Croft crowned most iconic video games character of all time

BAFTA has revealed the results of its landmark players’ poll to establish the Most Iconic Video Games Character of All Time.

Launched to celebrate the 20th BAFTA Games Awards on Thursday 11 April, the poll was engaged with by over 4,000 players from all over the world.

The top 20 list features characters of all shapes and sizes – from anthropomorphic animals to gun-wielding spies – and brings together the most recognisable faces from across the world of games. The characters, and the games in which they star, boast a collective 44 BAFTA Games Awards between them over the past two decades, and make up some of the best-loved entries into the canon of video game history, and some of the most memorable characters of any medium.

Taking the number one spot is the generation-spanning heroine Lara Croft, star of the Tomb Raider franchise. Lara Croft first appeared in 1996, nearly three decades ago, and since then she has been remastered and evolved several times for television, film, video games and even her own live immersive experience in London.

This year alone, Tomb Raider I–III Remastered was released across multiple platforms and the highly anticipated Netflix TV show Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft is scheduled for release later in the year. Shelley Blond, the original voice of Lara Croft, will also present an award at the 20th BAFTA Games Awards.

Jumping into the second spot is Mario, of the eponymous Nintendo franchise. Created by the legendary Japanese game designer and recipient of BAFTA’s prestigious Fellowship, Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario has been the face of Nintendo and a highly recognisable character in the wider world of video games since he first appeared as Jumpman in the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. Since then Mario has featured in many games – including this year’s BAFTA-nominated game, Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Taking third spot is Agent 47 from the Hitman series. Conceived by Danish video game developer IO Interactive in 1998 and debuting in 2000 with the release of Hitman: Codename 47, Agent 47 has become an icon in the games industry, captivating gamers worldwide. The genetically engineered assassin has since appeared in eight mainline games, two spin-offs, two books, one comic series and two films.

The Most Iconic Video Games Characters of All Time (ranked in order of votes received):

  • Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
  • Mario, Super Mario
  • Agent 47, Hitman
  • Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic
  • Sackboy, LittleBigPlanet
  • Pac-Man, Pac-Man
  • Link, The Legend of Zelda
  • Master Chief, HALO
  • Kratos, God of War
  • Shadowheart, Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Pikachu, Pokémon
  • Steve, Minecraft
  • Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid
  • Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot
  • Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy VII
  • Astarion, Baldur’s Gate 3
  • Kazuma Kiryu, Yakuza
  • Ellie Williams, The Last of Us
  • Nathan Drake, Uncharted

 

The 20th BAFTA Games Awards take place on Thursday 11 April 2024 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London. The Awards will be hosted by comedian Phil Wang and livestreamed to audiences across the globe via BAFTA’s YouTube, Twitch and X channels.

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