Tomb Raider
Image: Core Design

BAFTA recently held a players' poll in order to determine the most iconic video game characters of all time, with Tomb Raider's Lara Croft nabbing the top spot.

The players' poll was organized to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the BAFTA Game Awards and was apparently voted on by over 4000 people from across the globe. Now, BAFTA has published the list of the top 20 characters, as voted on online, and there are some entries that we can honestly say we were expecting alongside a few that are pretty baffling.

As we mentioned, Lara Croft came out on top, but she was followed shortly after, in second place, by Mario. We would have expected Nintendo's mascot to top the list if you had asked us beforehand — especially given his longevity and his recent success at the box office — but we imagine there may be some recency bias afoot with the Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Collection having just released this past February.

Continuing down the list, in third place, is Agent 47 from Hitman, who is one of the characters we honestly wouldn't have anticipated to rank so high, given they are pretty much a blank slate and are designed to blend in rather than stand out. Agent 47 is also followed by Sonic the Hedgehog in fourth place, while Sackboy from Little Big Planet completes the top 5.

Here are the top 20 characters, in case you're curious:

  1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
  2. Mario (Super Mario)
  3. Agent 47 (Hitman)
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)
  5. Sackboy (Little Big Planet)
  6. Pac-Man (Pac-Man)
  7. Link (The Legend of Zelda)
  8. Master Chief (Halo)
  9. Kratos (God of War)
  10. Shadowheart (Baldur's Gate 3)
  11. Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)
  12. Pikachu (Pokémon)
  13. Steve (Minecraft)
  14. Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
  15. Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot)
  16. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
  17. Astarion (Baldur's Gate 3)
  18. Kazuma Kiryu (Yakuza)
  19. Ellie Williams (The Last of Us)
  20. Nathan Drake (Uncharted)

Besides Agent 47 ranking so highly, we're also quite surprised to see Baldur's Gate 3 feature so heavily, with both Astarion and Shadowheart making the list. It's also pretty bizarre that there's not a single Street Fighter character included, with Chun Li, Ryu, and Ken usually appearing in these kinds of rankings.

What do you make of this list? And who is your pick for the most iconic video game character of all time? Let us know in the comments!