Debut title: Final Fantasy XIII
Year released: 2010

Often referred to the "female Cloud Strife," Final Fantasy XIII's Lightning was sullen in all the same ways as Strife, but also brought that same badass edge to the table with her powerful attitude and Blazefire Saber. FFXIII will never be looked at as the high mark of the franchise, but many could agree that Lightning is a welcome addition to the lineage of female leads in the series. Even if she is a Cloud Strife look-alike, Lightning still changed the discussion it came to assessing the role of women in gaming.