Creatures described in English as dragons are present in myths of many a culture around the world and across history. Powerful, majestic, and dangerous, they have inspired countless stories and legends. And yet it is difficult to find a game giving you any substantial control over one.

That’s not to say there are none to be found, especially if one broadens the criteria and opens the door for a certain degree of abstraction.

Here are our examples of games that allow you to be or control a dragon. For the sake of availability, we have focused mostly on the more modern games rather than allowing titles from the last century, such as Drakan. There are a few relative oldies in here still, however.

Games Dragon main image

We also still mourn the cancellation of Scalebound, which, should it have been released, probably would have held a prominent place on this list. Alas.

Games which let you play as a dragon

Game Developer Release year Check price below
Divinity II: Developer’s Cut Larian Studios 2009 Buy now!
Divinity: Dragon Commander Larian Studios 2013 Buy now!
The “Spyro” and “Skylanders” series Numerous, originated by Insomniac Games 1998 Buy now!
ARK: Survival Evolved Studio Wildcard 2017 Buy now!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Bethesda Game Studios 2011 Buy now!
The I of the Dragon Primal Software 2002 Buy now!
Neverwinter Cryptic Studios 2013 Buy now!

Divinity II: Developer’s Cut

Developer:: Larian Studios
Release year: 2009
Available on: PC, Xbox 360
Draconic presence: Transformation into a dragon

Before the success of Original Sin and Original Sin 2, Larian Studios made multiple games set in Rivellon, and two of them let the players control a dragon. The first of them was Divinity II: Ego Draconis (with expansion Flames of Vengeance).

Divinity II: Developer's Cut - protagonist

This adventure in Rivellon was a TPP action RPG, with all that it entails. It also has all the features normally expected from a Larian game, like cheesy sense of humour and Lucien the Divine being at fault for everything that happens. What it has that most games in the series don’t is the main character’s ability to turn into a dragon.

Early on in the plot your protagonist learns how to become a Dragon Knight. From that point on Divinity 2’s gameplay is divided into two layers: in human form you deal with small-scale enemies on the ground, and disable barriers blocking your dragon’s passage. As a dragon you use your fiery breath and powerful spells to destroy buildings and harass the enemy’s air forces. Sometimes you even need to mix both.

Despite its age (it was first released in 2009) it remains a very enjoyable experience, and turning into a dragon never gets old, even if the game suffers from difficulty spikes.

Divinity: Dragon Commander

Developer: Larian Studios
Release year: 2013
Available on: PC
Draconic presence: Transformation into a dragon

The second dragon-themed game in Larian’s portfolio is unlike anything they’ve done before or since. Dragon Commander is best described as a grand strategy game, and the player controls a bastard heir of an empire which has just lost its emperor.

Divinity: Dragon Commander - character

Dragon Commander’s gameplay is split into three parts. The first is the prince’s airship, where the protagonist can discuss policies with other nations’ ambassadors, pick research topics, and engage in conversations with NPCs. The second is a strategic map of the empire showing army movements, each faction’s territory, and lets you start battles.

Finally there are the battles themselves. As the troops move to take over structures and eliminate enemies, the protagonist can join the battle as a dragon equipped with a jetpack and attack enemies with breath weapons or spells. They can also aid their own troops. It lets the player feel really powerful as they help their units as a giant legendary beast.

The “Spyro” and “Skylanders” series

Developer: Numerous, originated by Insomniac Games
Release year: 1998
Available on: PS, PS2, PS3, PS4, GBA, GameCube, Nintendo DS & 3DS, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Draconic presence: A proper draconic playable character

By certain standards Spyro is quite an old game (the first one was released in 1998), but it lives on through rereleases and Spyro’s induction into another series: Skylanders.

Spyro games tell about the adventures of the eponymous young purple dragon, who often has to rescue his friends from somebody’s nefarious clutches. The original trilogy were platform games, but later instalments experimented with action-adventure and RPG genres.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy - protagonist

Spyro’s abilities can vary, but they always include flight (or gliding) and fire breath, in addition to skills and traits introduced in individual games. He also has a faithful companion: a dragonfly called Sparx.

In 2018 a remastered version of the original three games, titled Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

ARK: Survival Evolved

Developer: Studio Wildcard
Release year: 2017
Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch
Draconic presence: Dragon as a mount

While the previous three entries on the list gave the control over a dragon directly to the player, ARK takes a different approach. While you’re playing as a human, there are several ways to get a dragon.

ARK: Survival Evolved - fight

The first is summoning one that serves as a boss-level enemy in the base game. Although it obeys the player’s commands only for a short while, it’s a huge beast and riding atop it is still a blast while it lasts.

The second approach comes with the Scorched Earth expansion, and involves wyverns native to that zone. A crafty player can steal a wyvern egg hatch it, which makes the hatchling loyal to them. This method also applies to a rock drake from the Extinction DLC, although thanks to its elemental breath and active flight (as opposed to gliding) a wyvern tends to be more fun.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release year: 2011
Available on: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xox One, Nintendo Switch
Draconic presence: Draconic ancestry & dragon as a mount

Skyrim is in a certain sense double-dipping on playing/controlling a dragon.

On a literal level, the Dragonborn expansion introduces a special shout, Bend Will, which allows the protagonist to ride dragons to a limited degree. A dragon will obey your orders and will, for example, engage in combat with an enemy you choose. You don’t have direct control over its movement or attacks, but you can support your mount with Shouts and magic spells.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - fight

The second, and more abstract option is related to the mythology of the setting. In the lore, a Dragonborn (such as the player character) is essentially a draconic soul and blood awakening in a mortal body. In that sense, we are actually playing a humanoid dragon. If the player chooses an Argonian at character creation, they can play as draconic soul and blood in an anthropomorphic reptile’s body.

The I of the Dragon

Developer: Primal Software
Release year: 2002
Available on: PC
Draconic presence: A proper draconic playable character

Having been released in 2004 this game is definitely getting long in the tooth. However, if you can handle the outdated graphics and the rather insubstantial plot, it’s a pretty cool dragon simulator, probably the best one yet.

The I of the Dragon - fight

You get a pick of three different dragons: Annoth, Barroth, and Morrogh. Each has its specialisation, respectively: overwhelming offense, diverse magic, necromancy and acidic breath. Each dragon plays a little bit differently, but certain general gameplay elements are shared.

All dragons need to hunt and devour smaller creatures to sate their hunger, for example. They also have breath weapons, which include a traditional dragon breath and long-range projectiles at higher skill levels.

The I of the Dragon - dragon

Perhaps the coolest aspect of the game is that the dragon’s appearance gradually changes with experience. Horns and spikes grow longer, the scales gain more colours, etc. A high-level dragon looks very differently from a freshly hatched one. The developers clearly put most of their efforts on making the dragons look great. Their wing membranes are even translucent and flutter in the wind!

Neverwinter

Developer: Cryptic Studios
Release year: 2013
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Draconic presence: Playable anthropomorphic dragons

Cryptic’s MMORPG is set in Neverwinter, a famous city from the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. The game allows the players to play as all the standard fantasy people, such as humans, elves or halflings, but there’s also a less well-known species available at character creation. It’s called the Dragonborn (no, not that one), an anthropomorphic reptile-like people with draconic ancestry.

Neverwinter Feywild - characters

The Dragonborn are quite burly, and in the tabletop have an innate ability to use breath weapons like the dragons they are descended from. Although they lack this ability in the game, they still look the part. If a dragon wanted to shapeshift into a humanoid form, that’s what the results would look like.


Soar to the skies

This concludes our examples of games which give you some degree of control over a dragon (or dragon-adjacent creatures). Of course it is not exhaustive, but it should have something that’s going to catch you interest if this type of game is what you are looking for.