8 video games with female protagonists that deserve their own TV series

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Aug 14, 2018, 2:00 PM EDT

Video games haven’t always made the best films, but television is a totally different format. In a series, you have time to develop a character, get a much better look at different environments and explore a story that takes hours and hours to play through anyway.

The wildly popular game Halo is getting a Showtime series, which is going to have Master Chief as the main character. Hey, what about Cortana? There are a ton of games that would benefit from the TV treatment, and a lot of them have female protagonists. Here are our top picks for the games starring a woman that should be given a series.

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Horizon Zero Dawn - Aloy

Horizon Zero Dawn

This game garnered rave reviews when it came out in early 2017. The story of the outsider Aloy, a hunter living in a world that is shared with mechanical monsters, was powerful in its storytelling. The gameplay itself was cinematic in nature.

Aloy’s story is a classic outsider tale, but she’s got a sandbox to play in that would make any effects artist drool. A film wouldn’t do a complex world like this justice; there's too much to tackle. Giving this to Netflix or Hulu might allow a nice, slow reveal of the world and the story.


Beyond Good and Evil

Yeah, this game came out in 2003, but it’s good enough that a prequel is on the way. In this 2004 Game of the Year, we follow Jade, an investigative reporter and a pretty kickass fighter who is trying to uncover an alien conspiracy. The story takes place in 2435 on a mining planet called Hillys. Jade’s best buddy and “uncle” is Pey’j, an anthropomorphic boar. How can you not want to see that on TV? 



Players of this sci-fi action game’s early days will remember the bounty hunter Samus Aran, who protects us all from Space Pirates and the Metroid creatures. There are 13 games in the series, which has been going steadily since the 1980s. Early fans still remember the shock of finding out that the lead character was a woman, but Samus has been around so long at this point that her appearance in a series is, frankly, overdue. (Maybe we'll just forget about that bathing suit version of Samus you could see if you played particularly well.) 



In this game full of brain twisters, the artificial intelligence GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) constantly challenges the player character Chell to solve puzzles at the Aperture Science Enrichment Center using her Portal gun. You know what you're supposed to get at the end? Cake. Yeah, that would probably work on a lot of us.

Chell is silent in the game, so there is a lot you can do with her character. Someone who is constantly tested to become better (as women often feel we are) is kind of perfect for a series. Plus, you could get Taylor Swift to sing the end credits song "Still Alive," which many of us know from Rock Band. (Also, the cake is a lie.)



OK, Zelda isn’t the main character of the games, but she’s the driving force behind everything Link, the protagonist, does in decades of the popular Nintendo games. The sales from Zelda: Breath of the Wild alone should convince someone at a TV studio that it’s time for a series. Live-action would be wonderful, but even a new animated series would work. How about we tell the story from Zelda’s point of view? She’s a Princess, sure, but there is so much more to her. The characters are so well-drawn over the years of this gaming franchise that there would be a ton to include. 


Mass Effect

Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard is tasked with saving the galaxy from the mechanical Reapers. Though you can choose the gender of the character, many of us went bonkers for the female version of Shepard, voiced by Jennifer Hale. This game was so immersive (and the sequels as well) that fans went bonkers for it. It’s a long game and a long story.

Like Halo, there is no real way to do this slowly. That’s the mistake so often made while trying to translate games to a different medium. If you spend 40+ hours with Commander Shepard, learning her world and watching her try to save the galaxy, you can’t just chop that up into two hours. Fanboy rage aside (and we know it would be just delightful), we need a Mass Effect series with a female Commander Shepard.


World of Warcraft

Yeah, this one was a movie, and for many fans of the game, what Duncan Jones did wasn’t half bad. The number of players may have dropped over the past few years, but there is so much to mine in this game. One story in particular that would benefit from a television series is that of Lady Sylvanas Windrunner. This undead woman is the Warchief of the Horde (For the Horde!) and the supreme ruler of the Forsaken. The Elven lady used to be the ranger-general of Silvermoon and is a powerful warrior. Her soul was ripped out by the Lich King Arthas when she fell during the Third War. Instead of turning dark, she protects the undead and works to prevent the coming darkness.

There is so much to pull from for a series, and far too much to the game to adapt for just a couple of hours. We have royalty, the undead, elves… honestly, this could rival Game of Thrones if it’s done correctly. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

This just got a film, but despite Alicia Vikander’s hard work and the attempts to make it smarter than the movies starring Angelina Jolie (which are still a guilty pleasure), it kind of fell apart. It’s hard to get puzzles into a shorter format without making them look silly. Tactics that would work in a game just don’t benefit from the big screen treatment. Plus, why would you build a tomb with openings and puzzles to solve if you really, really don’t want that evil magic/virus getting out?

Anyway, Lara Croft is a pretty powerful character. She’s independent, smart as a whip, has amazing fighting skills, and is physically far more powerful than her male counterparts. Since the changes in the character for the newest game trilogy, she’s ripe for a TV series. Heck, Vikander can play her there as well! The latest installment Shadow of the Tomb Raider hits stores on September 14 for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One, so there's never been a more perfect time for a tie-in series.

Which games with female protagonists would you like to see as a television series? Which of the ones we picked is your favorite? Any dream casting ideas? We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments!