The Festival of Lights has arrived and we want to wish a happy Diwali / Deepavali to all our Indian readers. To commemorate the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, let’s celebrate the various Indian characters and representations of Indian culture in video games.

Lakshmi Bai and Devi Nayar – The Order 1886 (PS4)

Although The Order 1886 may have been derided by critics and gamers alike, I personally adored the setting and concept crafted by developer Ready at Dawn. The game featured two female Indian supporting characters, one of which is based on a real historical figure.

Diwali Deepavali The Order 1886 Lakshmi
Lakshmi Bai

The first is Lakshmi Bai, the founder of the Rebellion against the United India Company in The Order 1886. According to history, Laskhmibai or the Rani of Jhansi was one of the leading figures in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and is now a symbol of Indian independence.

Diwali Deepavali The Order 1886 Devi
Devi Nayar

The second is Devi Nayar, a member of the Rebellion and daughter of Lakshmi Bai in The Order 1886. She was created solely for the game, and she has no real life counterpart. Both women in the game are portrayed as strong and capable of holding their own against The Order 1886 protagonist Sir Galahad.

Chloe Frazer – Uncharted Franchise (PS3, PS4)

Diwali Deepavali Chloe Frazer
Chloe Frazer

Lara Croft who? Chloe Frazer is an Indian Australian treasure hunter. She was originally introduced in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and later appeared in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. She finally became the star of her own game with 2017’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

Diwali Deepavali Hoysala Empire
The architectural remnants of the Hoysala Empire.

In fact, it was in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy where her Indian heritage was highlighted, becoming integral to the game’s plot. In her quest to find the Tusk of Ganesh, she had to search and discover Belur, the lost capital city of the ancient Hoysala Empire. Historically, the Hoysala Empire existed between the 10th and the 14th centuries, and it was known for the sheer beauty and intricacy of its architecture.

Jayadeep Mir – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Diwali Deepavali Jayadeep Mir
Jayadeep Mir

Jayadeep Mir, also known by his alias Sir Henry Green or moniker ‘Ghost,’ was an Indian member of the British Brotherhood of Assassins in 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. He was notable for becoming a mentor to the game’s twin protagonists Jacob and Evie Frye. Fans of the game will know that he later married Evie and went to live in India.

Ajay Ghale – Far Cry 4 (PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC)

Diwali Deepavali Ajay Ghale
Ajay Ghale

The almost silent protagonist of Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 is Ajay Ghale, a young Kyrati-American who returns to his native country of Kyrat with the intention of spreading his mother’s ashes there. However, he returns to his homeland only to find it engulfed in civil wars.

Although Kyrat is a fictional country, it is still clearly modelled from the real-life Kirati people who live in Nepal and India. However, the developer created a fictional mythology and religion to go with Kyrat, but it is still inspired by many aspects of Indian culture.

Symmetra – Overwatch (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Diwali Deepavali Symmetra
Symmetra

Symmetra counts herself as one of the twelve original playable characters in the Overwatch roster. Her background and lore grew as time progressed, and was later expanded further in a comic book titled ‘A Better World.’

Born as Satya Vaswani, she was trained by the Vishkar Corporation to use their technology, allowing her to build physical constructs made of hard-light. Like a Green Lantern, if you will.

Dhalsim – Street Fighter

Diwali Deepavali Dhalsim
Dhalsim

Dhalsim is arguably one of the most well-known Indian characters in all of gaming. He first appeared in 1991’s Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, and has been a mainstay of the fighting game franchise ever since. He is a yogi with a family, who goes against his beliefs by entering the World Warrior tournament to raise money for his village.

When I was a kid, I remember being enamoured with Dhalsim due to his unique fighting style of being able to stretch his body parts to impossible lengths. That, and the ability to breathe fire makes him one of the most memorable Street Fighter characters.

Great Tiger – Punch-Out!!

Diwali Deepavali Great Tiger

This one is infamous for being somewhat of an Indian stereotype, what with his exhibiting mystical tendencies, the ability to use magic carpets and teleporting as well. Nevertheless, he’s a memorable Indian character (thanks to those aforementioned stereotypes), and was initially introduced all the way back in 1985’s Super Punch-Out!!

Honourable Mentions

  • Age of Empires III Asian Dynasties Expansion – Allowed players to develop and build their own Indian empire.
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization Franchise – Build your own Indian civilization from scratch.
  • Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India – Takes place in 1841 India at the height of the war between the East India Company and the Sikh Empire, the game stars protagonist Arbaaz Mir.

So there you have it. These are just several of the Indian characters that I know of. If I’ve any characters, do comment below and tell me about your favourite Indian characters in video games.


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