Finding Inspiration in Cinematic Game Trailers

I was recently asked by one of my readers (Hi Mom!) what inspires me to write about strong female protagonists. Aside from the fact that I like women who dress in leather (is there anyone who doesn’t? Anyone? Bueller?), I take a lot of my inspiration from cinematic game trailers available on YouTube. [Side note — yes, I know that there are many strong female characters who wouldn’t be caught dead in leather.]

Why video game trailers and not action-adventure movie trailers? I’m not sure, but it may be that video game trailers tend more to the fantasy/science fiction element that I like.

Without further ado, here are four video trailers I have watched — a lot — for inspiration on kick-ass heroines and villainesses.


Overwatch is a first-person team oriented shooter game. Players take the role of one of many heroes or villains, join a team (or play by themselves), and try to complete missions. The opposing team, of course tries to stop them.

There are several cinematic trailers out there for Overwatch, and you may have seen them on TV lately as well. The one below is my favourite and action really starts at about the two minute mark with the dramatic entrance of the Widowmaker, a dark, deadly female sniper with some cool toys. She’s beautiful, compelling, and I quite like the character.

WidowMaker’s nemisis is Tracer, who appears shortly after Widowmaker’s debut. She is everything that Widowmaker is not — fun, flirty, fast. I’m typically drawn to darker characters, but Tracer is just plain, well, fun to watch. She really does bring a smile with her chipper attitude and signature catch phrase — “Don’t worry, love, the cavalry’s here.”

If you’re interested in seeing Tracer and the Widowmaker square off in their own cinematic, you’ll like this.

League of Legends

League of Legends is a free multi-player game where individuals can play/control different heroes or villains as part of a team. It is both a real-time strategy game and a “battle arena” game. There are some villains and heroes “pre-designed” (I don’t know if you can design your own”), some of which appear in the various cinematic trailers.

Although I’ve never played the game, and likely never will, I’m taken by the red-headed villainess Katarina. Quick with a blade and possessing a unique short-range teleport ability, she manages to convey a lot of her character without uttering a word in one of the cinematic trailers.

I’m not normally a fan of “magic” in fiction, but Katerina is the kind of villainess I would like to write if I was.

Enjoy Katrina and the other strong female characters in the cinematic:


Female XCOM Sniper

A cigar, ball cap, leather pants and aviator sunglasses. How cool is that?

XCOM 2, successor to XCOM Enemy Unknown and XCOM Enemy Within, is a combined strategic resource management and tactical combat game where you attempt to free Earth from alien occupation. What makes the game so addicting is the ability to customize the soldiers you lead into battle. You can change damn near everything about them — physical appearance, uniforms, personality — everything right down to their eye colour. When you spend so much time customizing your team, you tend to get attached to them. Moreover, the game follows a story line, so it’s not just a shoot-em-up.

I favour female soldiers because I like kick-ass women, particularly female snipers. The announcement trailer introduces one briefly that has served as inspiration for me, and I’ve also included here a screen shot of my latest bad-ass sniper.


Enjoy the sniper goodness.

Never Winter

OK, I know nothing about this game aside from its awesome cinematic trailer. However, according to Wikipedia, “Neverwinter is a fictional city-state in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game.”

Like League of Legends, I will likely never play Neverwinter, but that does not stop me from appreciating the heroine who battles the undead with lightning moves and grim determination.

Each of these trailers inspires me to write, though I never try to duplicate in prose what I’ve seen in the video.  Writing and video are two different mediums, a subject worthy of an article on its own.  I’ve watched the trailers a half a dozen times or more and each time gives me the enthusiasm to set down a few more pages of Lady Merreth.

So what about you, fellow fantasy and science fiction writers?  Do any of you draw inspiration from videos?  If so, which ones?

Thanks for reading, and I will see you next time.

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