The Big Question: Who’s The Best Animal Protagonist?

Stray has taken the gaming world by storm. This is good news for cats and their humans everywhere, as most of you are probably spending the weekend roaming around a cyberpunk world as the unnamed feline hero. This is also great news for us, because it means we can run an animal-based Big Question without being called furries.

This week, we ponder a simple question: who is the best animal protagonist in gaming?

Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog

Rhiannon Bevan, News Editor

Sonic’s characterization in everything up to and including Sonic Adventure 2 was fantastic. That’s not to diss modern Sonic, but as I’ve said before, the blue blur was at his best when he was an annoying little shit. And an eco-terrorist. His painfully 1990s ‘too cool for school’ persona remains undefeated in the huge genre of animal gaming protagonists, and Sega really should return to Sonic’s nature-loving, capitalist-hating roots.

Sam, Sam & Max

Joe Parlock, Tabletop Editor

When most people think of the chaotic freelance police that are Sam and Max, it tends to be Max that gets all the love. Justifiably, of course: he’s a small, fluffy likkle wabbit (technically Lagomorph, but whatever) that solves most problems with gratuitous violence. Unfortunately, it’s hard for his dog partner in ‘solving’ crime Sam to get the limelight, which is a shame because he is a sweetheart. He’s Max’s anchor, and while he is just as prone to bouts of violence and chaos as his rabbit ‘partner’, he does it in a suaver, wisecracking way that comes off as a hundred times more endearing. This dog is husband material, whereas Max is a wild one-night fling.

Nobody can convince me that these two aren’t the gayest of gay couples to have ever gayed. There are countless YouTube compilations providing ample evidence for it, and nobody goes on a full-on noir-detective rampage through the dark city streets as well as Sam did when Max’s brain was stolen. Even the few who would likely can’t pull it off as well as Sam did either.

The Goose, Untitled Goose Game

Stacey Henley, Editor-in-Chief

Untitled Goose Game might not have a title, but it does have a pretty great goose. Not only does this goose cause havoc everywhere it goes, it causes havoc to a Thatcher-loving town in the south of England and therefore hates Tories. I love you, you socialist goose, you. But not in a furry way.

Sly Cooper, Sly Cooper

George Foster, Lead News Editor

There are a good number of games with real animals as the protagonist that come to mind with this question, but let’s not be as boring as sin and go for something a bit more interesting – anthropomorphic characters. For my money, Sly Cooper is the best of the best, combining my favourite animal of all time with debonair thievery, cunning, and charm. He might not act much like an animal, but that’s exactly why I love raccoons, they’re just tiny stupid people with masks and fur.

Amaterasu, Okami

Justin Reeve, News Editor

Amaterasu from Okami surely is the best ever animal protagonist. I mean, apart from saving the world, this little doggo is a real treasure to have around. With all of its interesting brushwork, the mechanics in the game have been incredibly influential and many remain unique to this day. The stylized artwork also goes a long way towards making Okami one of a kind and it’s in this respect that Amaterasu really stands out. I don’t know about you, but I’d recognize that white and red dog just about anywhere.

Ratchet, Ratchet & Clank

James Troughton Photo/News Ed

I'm not sure what Ratchet is but he's close enough to an animal that it counts. In-universe, he's a Lombax, but he'll always be that fox-like cat with a wrench to me, and while my two cats at home don't talk to me or go on intergalactic adventures with a robot pal, I like to think they would if they could.

Honourable Mention: Jake, Dog’s Life

Trevor Ford, Social Media Manager

Trev didn't provide any explanation for his entry, but I think the picture speaks for itself.

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