Video games have a unique way of transporting players to another place without them ever having to leave their seats. Whether it is ancient Rome, the high seas aboard a pirate ship, or even hundreds of years in the future fighting invaders in space, there is a game for every taste and imagination.
Even though video games all have unique stories and sometimes offer unbelievable characters, many of them once lived and breathed. In fact, some of the most memorable game characters are those based on historical figures.
Here are some of the most iconic game characters inspired by historical figures who once walked the Earth.
Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark)
Released in 2000 by Rare Studios, Perfect Dark lets you take on the persona of Joanna Dark. Working as an agent for one of the best research and development organizations, Carrington Institute, Joanna finds herself in the midst of an intergalactic war between two enemy alien groups.
Needless to say, navigating the treacherous bridge between an out-of-this-world war while trying not to get the aggression of two forces turned on Earth is no mean feat. Thankfully, Joanna is based on one of the world’s best-known warriors—Joan of Arc.
Famous for her role in the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc (pronounced in French as Jeanne d’Arc) was just 19 years old when she was seen as one of the saviors of France. She was also one of the first-ever women to take control of military operations.
Sadly, after failing in the siege of Paris and La Charité, her popularity among those in charge fell heavily. Captured at Compiègne shortly after, she was charged with heresy. The courts found her guilty, and she was burned at the stake as punishment for her crimes.
Violette Summer (Velvet Assassin)
According to the opening sequence of this 2009 game by Replay Studios, Violette Summer lived a happy life. However, all this changed when war broke out and her life was thrown into turmoil. With survival as her only choice, she soon discovered a knack for weapons and was recruited by the British Secret Intelligence Service.
Violette takes you on many memorable adventures as she tries to win the war and save her country. Sadly, not all of them are successful, and you soon see a dark side to her life that you may not expect. However, it is this anguish that shows more than ever the person she is based on, Violette Reine Elizabeth Bushall Szabo.
Born in France, Violette Szabo worked retail in London when World War II began. How she was recruited to be part of the British Special Operations Executive is unclear. However, she was soon performing special missions for the country across Europe.
While on one of these missions, she was stopped at a German checkpoint. After an incredible firefight, which stories say left many Germans dead, she was captured and taken to a concentration camp. Here, she was later executed.
Alcina Dimitrescu (Resident Evil Village)
Resident Evil is one of the most iconic video game franchises in existence. The newest 2021 iteration, Resident Evil Village, is no different, and after much rumor was confirmed to feature Alcina Dimitrescu. A bone-chillingly bloodthirsty aristocrat, she is obsessed with power and ruling over the village alongside her other three lords.
To aid her in maintaining control, the vampire preys on those younger than her and viciously murders them to drink their blood. While she may have the look of royalty, she shows her true colors when she transforms into a terrible dragon after the game’s main character, Ethan, battles her to survive.
While a vampire that drinks blood to stay young may not sound like it has any historical basis, Alcina is based on the Hungarian serial killer Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed. Obsessed with youth and staying beautiful, Elizabeth and her maidservants murdered countless young girls.
Chillingly, the Countess didn’t believe that killing the girls was enough. Instead, she also bathed in their blood and occasionally drank of it. While these gruesome crimes would nowadays have her imprisoned for life, at the time she was only placed under house arrest when her grievous actions were uncovered.
Figures Appearing as Themselves
Some figures are so historically significant that to have a fictional character based on them and their lives still wouldn’t be as exciting as if they appeared as themselves. Therefore, many games feature these iconic people precisely as they are remembered
Appearing in Assassins Creed: Origins and even having her own Cleopatra video slot, this ancient Egyptian queen is known worldwide. She has often been portrayed as the cat-whisperer but is also famous for her romance with Julius Caesar.
Leonardo Da Vinci
As one of the most recognized inventors ever to live, Leonard Da Vinci is regarded as the father of many modern theories, practices, and items. However, he is just as popular in video games and, aside from having his own games such as Leonardo: The Game and Leonardo Da Vinci, has made appearances in games such as Assassins Creed II and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood.
The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin may have been a great tribute to the founding father of the United States of America. However, he is even better known for his raunchy appearance in Assassins Creed III. Thankfully, he also pops up in more light-hearted games like History Races 2 and Day of the Tentacle.
Undoubtedly, some of the best game characters are founded on the rare and unique faces and personalities that once existed. These games let us experience the greatness and intensity of these people while safely keeping their worst attributes on a screen, where they belong.