In Telltale's adaptation of the hit graphic novel, The Walking Dead's first season starred an intelligent, big-hearted African-American man from Atlanta named Lee. Whatever other decisions the player made, the central story was around Lee essentially adopting a young girl, Clementine and training her up in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. More than a year later, as Season Two opens, the player has changed roles from Lee to Clementine. And here we find a character that affirms everything we want to believe a good protagonist can and should be, without forcing it. She's a female protagonist, she's black, she's a kid, and yet she has all the intelligence, wits, and personal agency of traditional white male characters. Gender and identity politics aside, Clementine is just a great character to act as our lens in experiencing this world, and simultaneously, she serves as the center of our view of this awful universe. No matter which choices the player makes, the writers were sure that the subsequent words and actions fit Clementine as a character. Finally, it must be noted that voice actor Melissa Hutchinson (currently in her late 30s) did an incredible job voicing this young, resilient gal. Clementine wouldn't have been half of what she was without convincing VA; fortunately, we got that in spades.
This year had its fair share of great lead characters: well-rounded, entertaining individuals who stand out not only because of the quality of their writing or the appeal of their design, but also because of their flaws; that is, the things that make them human and most interesting. Even this award-winner, Vella, shared the spotlight with another especially great character. Editor Stephen Meyerink's review perhaps best explains why we've chosen her as our runner up for Best Protagonist of 2014:
[Voice actress] Masasa Moyo, though, steals the show with her depiction of Vella. Each line of her dialogue oscillates effortlessly between graceful kindness and sharp-tongued sarcasm and wit. The few hours I spent with her were easily some of the most memorable I've ever had in gaming, and her nuanced portrayal handily seats her alongside some of my favorite characters of all time.