The Philippines and the Filipinos are well-known for having great pride in anything and everything Filipino (or even a slight touch or blood of our beloved country). So, if you’re a gamer and it so happens that there is a character that represents our color and flag, then it’s #PinoyPride.
While some of the characters from popular games are already mainstreamed and are shown on social media and television, it still feels good to be represented, especially in a game you play. So, let us take a look at ten (10) Filipino characters in video games and how they are portrayed.
1. Bayani: Fighting Game (All Characters)
Let’s start the list with a game made by Filipinos for Filipinos. This game is cleverly named Bayani: Fighting Game (also known as Bayani: Kanino Ka Kakampi?), which features an all-Pinoy cast of characters. The game is named after the Filipino word, Bayani, meaning heroes, a common term for the characters you can choose to play. This is a 1-on-1 indie fighting game, similar to Street Fighter and Tekken.
The great thing about this game is the developers based the characters and locations on famous Filipino heroes and places, which only increases the appreciation of Pinoys, especially the young games, about the history and culture of the country.
You may choose heroes that were based on Jose Rizal (Joe Rizal), Andres Bonifacio (Dre Bonifacio), Apolinario Mabini (Rio Mabini), and Tandang Sora (Lalang Tsora). You can play this game on Steam.
2. Isabella Rosario Dulnuan Reyes (Call of Duty: Vanguard)
If you like playing first-person shooting (FPS) games, then you probably have played Call of Duty (COD) at some point, then it would probably feel good to have a playable character that represents the Filipinos. A name that is as Filipino as you can get is Isabella Rosario Dulnuan Reyes. She is an operator in the Trident faction from two Call of Duty games, Vanguard and Warzone.
According to her Fandom entry, Isabella Reyes was born on August 19, 1923, and is 21 years old during the game setting of World War II in 1944. She first became a member of the Hukbalahap, a real-life communist guerilla faction fighting against the Japanese, after her father’s tragic death during the death march (another real-life event in the Philippines).
She later joined the Task Force “Trident” upon recruitment by Carver Butcher and the SOE.
3. Josie Rizal (Tekken 7)
Anyone can easily notice where the name of this female combatant of Tekken 7 was based on. Josie Rizal’s name is inspired by the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal. Ironically, the character was a woman when the man behind the name was known to have several love affairs throughout his life.
Going back to the game, Tekken is one of the most successful fighting games in history, reeling in players from different generations and gaming consoles. So, it is a great salute to Filipino fans that a character from this popular game was finally represented through Josie Rizal. She is bright, cheerful, and energetic, wearing a yellow dress. Her fighting style is kickboxing.
See also: 50+ words Pinoy gamers say
4. Kerry Eurodyne (Cyberpunk 2077)
Cyberpunk 2077 is a non-linear role-playing game (RPG) that offers its players great graphics, settings, and narrative. It has even been nominated for and won several gaming awards since its announcement and trailers. With its great reception from players and critics, it is good to have a Filipino character represented in the game, like Kerry Eurodyne.
Kerry has tanned skin that is distinguishable to Pinoys, matched with tattoos, a leather jacket, rings, and a haircut, completing his rocker look and feel. He is better known as a talented musician and rockerboy from Night City, who was the lead/rhythm guitarist of the band Samurai, along with Johnny Silverhand. The two are also more intertwined in the game and often cross paths.
Another highlight of Kerry’s Filipino roots is his two-year stay in Masbate, a province in the Bicol Region in the Philippines, after the break-up of Samurai.
5. Lapu-Lapu and Paquito (Mobile Legends: Bang Bang)
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), and unlike some of the games and characters featured on this list, MLBB does not need a PC, PS, or other gaming consoles since it can be played using a cellphone.
This game is also known to have millions of Filipino players, with several Filipino teams winning some of the game’s most prestigious tournaments. So, it is not surprising to have not just one but two Pinoy characters, namely, Lapu-Lapu and Paquito.
Lapu-Lapu, Courageous Blade, was the first Filipino-based to appear in the game in 2017. However, his backstory was initially different and later changed to fit the real-life hero. His name is based on the Cebuano Filipino hero with the name. He wields twin blades and uses a heavy sword-fighting stance.
The other Pinoy MLBB hero is Paquito, based on the Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. Though he is only second to Lapu-Lapu to appear, Paquito, on the other hand, has the first hero to have a Tagalog voiceover.
In-game, he has a game skin of Pacquiao for the full look. He is even a southpaw, which is the fighting stance of his real-life counterpart.
6. Neon (Valorant)
Valorant is a popular multiplayer first-person shooting (FPS) game today, which is why many Filipinos are hooked on playing it. So it’s no surprise that Riot Games, the developers behind Valorant, paid tribute to its fans far east — introducing its first Pinoy agent, Neon.
Neon’s electricity-based and lightning-quick abilities are funnily based on the frequent blackouts in Manila, Philippines. Her character trailer even shows several Filipino references, like speaking in Filipino, walis tambo, a Gilas Pilipinas jersey frame on her room, and listening to the Filipina-Aussie singer Ylona Garcia.
7. Spartan-458 (Halo)
One of the more popular and successful video game franchises, this futuristic first-person shooting game has its share of ups and downs, along with its plethora of characters. So luckily, one of them came of Filipino descent. Though not as high-profile compared to the other characters on the list, being represented is still kinda cool.
The character’s name is Spartan-458 (also known as Nicole), a supersoldier in the United Nations Space Command, born in the city of New Legaspi (maybe similar to Legazpi, Albay) in the Katagalugan State on Mars. Before being added to the Halo franchise, she was first introduced in Dead or Alive 4 as an unlockable, non-canon character.
8. Talim (Soulcalibur Series)
Appearing in the third installment of the Soulcalibur Series back in 2002, Talim trailblazed the path for the succeeding Filipino video game characters. She is the OG in the fighting game arena representing Filipinos, as you would notice in her name Talim meaning blade or sharp in the local language.
She is a petite (one of the smallest characters in the Soulcalibur series) teenage warrior who lived in a small tribe in the Village of the Wind Deity, in the present-day Visayas islands, training to be a priestess or Babaylan in the 16th Century before the Spanish colonialization.
Using her twin blades and small stature to her advantage, she can easily be a nightmare in combat. She also uses the power of the wind to her advantage to hit her enemies with unpredictable attacks during battle.
9. Santos (Def Jam Fight For NY)
Def Jam may not sound familiar, mainly because it was first released in 2004. This game is a hip-hop action game by EA. With various game characters to choose from, there is one fighter that you can’t miss out on being a Filipino — Santos.
With a name that is very common among Filipinos, a Philippine flag that he proudly wears on his waist, and a Blazing Move called Filipino Pride (Pinoy Pride), there’s no mistake, Santos is proudly Filipino.
His fighting style is kickboxing, though not very Pinoy, is still a good choice now that mixed martial arts have an international influence.
10. Zeri (League of Legends)
Aside from Neon of Valorant, Zeri is also a product of the gaming labs of Riot Games, representing some of the loudest fans of the game — the Filipinos. She is the 158th champion in League of Legends (LoL) but can easily be a choice among its fans because of her background.
Growing up in a large working-class family, she grew up with a distinct ability regarding electricity. Even her laughs and cries are charged and can shock you.
In-game, Zeri has a unique attachment to guns and electricity, giving her a unique ability and advantage. Plus, she is wearing roller skates. How cool is that?
The Philippines and the Filipinos are video game-loving people and a proud nation of its roots. So, once a game developer announces that a new hero, character, or product distinctly Filipino enters a game, be ready for excitement and noise. Pinoys just love being represented in whatever way possible.