Video games have evolved quite a bit since the simplistic times of the past, when all that was required to make games fun were practical visuals and fun gameplay. Now, the expectations for gaming have risen quite a bit, and gamers love the idea of everything from photo-realistic graphics to engaging main and supporting characters in their titles.
As a result, some of the most iconic characters in pop culture history are the ones that appear in video games, especially when it comes to the various villains of these series. In fact, the character writing for some people in video games is so strong that certain villains almost seem like heroes in some people’s eyes. Here are some great examples of video game villains who could easily have been heroes in other games if the circumstances had been different.
8 Sefirot (Final Fantasy 7)
Sephiroth is one of the most iconic villains in video game history, who followed a dark path after discovering the true nature of his existence. While he may seem like the most despicable guy there is, especially given the way he killed Aerith, there’s no denying that it was the circumstances surrounding Sephiroth that led him to become a villain in the first place.
Things would definitely be different if it was calmly explained to him how he was born from the very beginning and grew up not as an experiment but as a proper human being. With enough love and kindness, Sephiroth definitely could have walked the path of good instead of being enveloped by the darkness that made him a villain.
7 GLaDOS (Portal)
GLaDOS is another popular video game villain who actually manages to redeem herself a bit in the second game after Wheatley goes berserk with her new power. People who find out about GLaDOS’s backstory soon realize that his origin is mired in tragedy as well.
GLaDOS is actually the digital version of Cave Johnson’s secretary and rumored partner who was forced to become an AI. The deleted voice clips seemingly hinting at this change are truly chilling and show that GLaDOS might not have been such a nefarious being had the circumstances of his digital birth been more pleasant.
6 The Illusive Man (Mass Effect)
The Illusive Man is one of the most fascinating characters in mass effect, and the fact that he was voiced by the legendary Martin Sheen is very positive. This man believes in the superiority and survival of the human race at all costs, even if it means dooming all other species in the galaxy to extinction.
Since this character may have a change of heart at the end, it’s clear that the Illusive Man definitely had a conscience of his own. Perhaps with enough speech, he could have tried to fight the entire universe instead of just ensuring humanity’s survival and nothing else.
5 Seifer Almasy (Final Fantasy 8)
Seifer is Squall’s rival in everything final fantasy 8, who inadvertently becomes a pawn in Ultimecia’s goal of sending the entire world to a state of ruin. Seifer’s misplaced superiority complex and need to prove himself to others over and over again led him to become an antagonist in the series.
Fortunately, he comes to his senses near the end and chooses to appreciate his friends instead of desperately fighting his enemies. It’s a huge character change that shows how much Seifer has grown since his time as a brash, insecure warrior.
4 Dutch Van Der Linde (Red Dead Redemption)
In another time and place, Dutch might as well have been the protagonist of red dead redemption. He really cared about his gang from the beginning and tried to ensure the best life for them. Unfortunately, his thirst for power and his tendency to be swayed by questionable figures like Micah ended up paving the way for his eventual downfall.
Perhaps by being a better judge of character and having more self-awareness, Dutch could have been a more sympathetic character. As things stand right now, he is nothing more than a deluded leader who needed to be defeated in the first game for the sake of others as well as himself.
3 Goro Akechi (Persona 5)
Akechi is a tragic figure in the world of person 5. While he had amazing powers, he was always treated like a burden and ended up harboring feelings of hatred towards people who value friendship and the like.
It’s a shame as Akechi could have been a completely different person if he had grown up with friends and family who truly loved and cared for him. If this had been the case, he wouldn’t have served someone as despicable as Shido just to gain the approval of his heinous father.
two Akira Nishikiyama (Yakuza)
Nishiki is one of the most complex and fascinating characters in the Yakuza Serie. Yakuza 0 did a great job of expanding on this character, and his friendship with Kiryu before it all fell apart during the events of the first Yakuza title.
Kiwami is to be given props for showing the chain of events that ultimately led to Nishiki’s descent into madness and anarchy. It’s a shame, and things might have been different for him if the incident involving Sohei Dojima’s death had been prevented.
1 Schooner Letho (The Witcher)
Players who started playing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings initially he would have seen Letho as nothing more than a heinous villain who was out to destabilize the hierarchy present in the world of The Wizard. However, later, it is revealed that Letho did all of these actions in an attempt to restore the Viper School.
While they are wrong, players can still understand why Letho took this particular course of action. If the roles were reversed, there’s no reason to see why Geralt wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to restore his school as well.
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