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
Although The Order 1886 may have been derided by critics and gamers alike, we 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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. As personalities go, he is stoic and responsible, shaping the Frye twins to be a bit less rambunctious and chaotic than usual.
Ajay Ghale – Far Cry 4
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
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
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.
We 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. And also being the most annoying rushdown-esque character to deal with in Street Fighter V.
Great Tiger – Punch-Out!!
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!!
Rampart – Apex Legends
Ramya Parekh (or Rampart) made a name for herself in the underground gauntlet circuit, ending up being a popular mod shop owner on Gaea. She’s a recent addition to the Apex Legends roster; a defensive legend who can create protective barriers and throw out an emplaced minigun named Sheila as her Ultimate.
While her country of origin isn’t stated anywhere, she is clearly Indian based on her mannerisms and her VO done by Anjali Bhimani.
Amara – Borderlands 3
As if her name wasn’t a dead giveaway (it means “eternal” in Indian), everything about this cocksure and entertainingly arrogant Borderlands 3 Vault Hunter screams South Asian culture. When she activates her Siren “Phasearms”, they perform Mudras which is a renowned Hindu symbolic gesture. She is fond of the colour of gold, a symbol of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. In one side-mission, she responds with the phrase “nay bhae” which means “no brother” in the Bengali language. Oh, and she has multiple siblings.
She also punches things to death real good and makes it look light-tastic, as evident with this build below. For more awesome Amara builds, head here to the best Vault Hunter builds of 2020.
- 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.