Made in Britain
Its Independence Day on Thursday. If youre one of our American readers, this means you get a free day to sit at home in your Stars and Stripes underwear playing games. You might set off some fireworks and wave a flag. If youre one of our British readers, its business as usual. Keep calm, carry on and try to avoid over-using the keep calm and carry on slogan. No flags, no fireworks--dull, by comparison.
That's why the GamesRadar UK team think our English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish readers deserve a treat--a gaming feature to make them feel proud to be British--so we put together this list of the best ever video game Brits. The criteria for selection is strict: each character has to be born in the United Kingdom and have balls of British Steel. Or, er, the female equivalent. Being voiced by a British actor, being from a fictional land based on Britain, or being implied British doesnt cut the mustard. Sorry Wheatley, old chap.
7. Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever)
Cate has had a rough life. Born in Glasgow in 1942, she lost her mother at birth and her father to suicide 14 years later. Despite having family wealth, Cate turned to thievery as a teenager and was only recruited to counter-terrorism agency UNITY after stealing agent Bruno Lawries watch (which had a tracking device fitted). Shes a survivor, a woman who embodies the classic British trait of endurance in the face of adversity.
Plus, shes hot. Cate may be tough, but shes got class and style, which makes her the perfect video game package. She knows how to look good whilst wasting a bad guy. By the end of the original No One Lives Forever, Cate has worked her way up to being one of UNITYs top field agents on account of her being yet another badass Brit to save the world. Youre welcome.
6. Professor Layton (Professor Layton series)
Being a badass isnt always about brawn and fancy facial hair. Sometimes its about brains and intellectual superiority, which is where Professor Layton comes in. Hershel Layton is professor of archaeology at a fictional university in London, having spent most of his life in the English countryside. His keen eye for solving puzzles has saved lives and earned Layton the respect of his friends and peers. He is the perfect English gentleman.
Despite being created by a Japanese developer, Professor Layton embodies the true values of what it means to be a British gent: kindness, loyalty, a rational mind and an impeccable dress sense. Can you rock a top hat like Layton? No, you cant. Layton is the kind of chap wed like to sit down in the local pub, and buy a delicious pint of ale. Except, knowing Hershel, hed absolutely insist on buying us a drink instead before asking us to calculate how long itll take him to drink his pint, if he sips 3/10s of it during the first five minutes, and 1/5th of it every five minutes after that, the clever bastard. Spill his pint, though, and he will cut you.
5. Haytham Kenway (Assassins Creed 3)
WARNING: Contains spoilers!
Haytham Kenway is the real star of Assassins Creed 3. You may play as his why-so-serious (or as many call it: dull) son for the majority of the game, but Haytham squeezes more charisma and grit into his opening 4-5 hours than Connor and Desmond combined. In Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, you play as his father Edward Kenway a Welsh privateer who were certain will be every inch as badass as Haytham.
During his short appearance in Assassins Creed 3, Haytham manages to climb around the Royal Opera House and off his target during the games most stunning sequence, fist-fight with sailors (and win, easily), and impregnate Connors native Indian mother, after only a few short minutes in the forest. Haytham is like the 18 century James Bond a few more men like him in Boston, and that tea would have stayed onboard the Dartmouth where it bloody-well belonged.
4. Captain Ash (TimeSplitters)
The British have always been world class adventurers and explorers. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, David Livingston, Captain James Cook Captain Ash is very much the video game proxy for these great men. Throughout the Timesplitters series Ash pops up in the most exotic places, usually ancient ruins, effortlessly seeking his fortune in the face of adversity. No matter how grave the danger, Ash always has time for a cut of tea and a spot of tiffin.
Perhaps its his military training that keeps his resolve so stiff. Ash served in the Boer War, before joining the RAF as a pilot for the first world-war. Ash is also known for travelling with only the loveliest assistants and, where necessary, resorting to good, old-fashioned pugilism to resolve his disputes. Combine that with his lustrous tache, and Captain Ash is the epitome of the badass British gentleman explorer. You sir, have earned that tiffin.
3. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
If Captain Price is the ultimate video game man, then Lara is the ultimate woman. Although not the first, she is easily the most iconic and widely known female protagonist in video games. The original Tomb Raider presented Lara as more than just a helpless femme, trapped in a castle waiting for a Prince, and shes gone from strength to strength since. Shes well travelled, independently wealthy, and she doesnt need a man to define her.
The original Tomb Raider series revelled in Laras British heritage, almost to the point of stereotype. She lived in a mansion, she had a butler, she talked with a horsey British accent. Tomb Raiders gritty 2013 reboot dialled her faux-nobility back (and, bizarrely, she was voiced by an American-based English woman who sounds strangely Australian) and kicked her ass harder than any previous game, but this in our mind just makes her a tougher, more realistic brand of true British badass.
2. Dudley (Street Fighter IV)
Truly the modern day equivalent of the archetypal chivalrous knight of old, Dudley is a cultured man of good breeding on a quest to hone his inestimable combat skills for the good of his name, reputation and the good fortunes of his family. Born to a successful business family, Dudley nevertheless eschewed more civil pastimes in favour of the purity of the fight. Eventually becoming a professional boxer in order to win back his familys fortune after some regrettable financial calamities, Dudley refused to allow either poverty or the brutal demands of combat to hamper his graceful and refined countenance.
Fighting always in dress trousers, cummerbund and bow-tie, hes the very picture of an elegant gentleman fighter. A keen gardener, tea-drinker, reader of newspapers, driver of Jaguars and aficionado of fine moustache care, Dudley manages to partake in all of these activities while wearing his boxing gloves, remaining ready for battle however delicate the demands of his current activity. And the greatest prize hes ever won? The discovery of a wild rose in his garden upon his return from SFIV. Because No matter what great strides mankind has made in design, nothing compares to the beauty of a natural flower.
1. Captain Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
The cigar-chomping, moustache-toting leader of COD 4s elite squad of world saving badasses is British. In fact, the whole of Bravo squad is British. Price is a recurring character throughout all the Infinity Ward developed Call of Duty games, and first appeared in the original COD back in 2003. It wasnt until Modern Warfare that he received a full-game role, and it was this game that made him a fan-favourite.
The Modern Warfare games are like a show-reel for Prices badassery, spanning his 16 year career in the SAS. From the opening level that sees him lighting up a cigar inside that helicopter over the Bering Sea, through to his brutal fistfight with the traitorous Shepherd at the end of Modern Warfare 2--he steals almost every scene. If it had been Price in that chopper when the nuke goes off in Modern Warfare, he'd have just shaken off the radiation, lit a cigar and watched the city burn. Price is a bona-fide, world-saving, rule-breaking hero and is, in many ways, the ultimate video game badass.
Awfully sorry, Wheatley
By now, we expect you're all humming the national anthem and popping the kettle on for a fresh cup of tea. Damn right, you are. Obviously, there were some that didn't make the cut--guys like Kent Paul from GTA Vice City, and that foul-mouthed cockney from The Getaway. We love Wheatley from Portal 2, but you need a UK passport, not a British voice actor, to get on this elite list.
Want more ballsy British features? Check out The Top 7... Maddest British Old-School Games (opens in new tab). Alternatively, have a watch of A Gentleman's Guide to Cricket (opens in new tab).