Video games have come a long way from the simplistic times of the past where practical visuals and fun gameplay were all that was needed to make games fun. Now, expectations for games have risen dramatically, with gamers loving the idea of everything from photorealistic graphics to engaging main and supporting characters in their titles.
As a result, some of the most iconic characters in pop culture history are those that appear in video games, especially when it comes to the various villains in those series. In fact, the character written for some individuals in video games is so strong that some villains almost look like heroes to some people. Here are some great examples of video game villains who could have easily been heroes in other games had the circumstances been different.
8 Sephiroth (Final Fantasy 7)
Sephiroth is one of the most iconic villains in video game history, who went down a dark path after discovering the true nature of his existence. While he might seem like the most despicable being – especially given the way he killed Aerith – there’s no denying that it was the circumstances surrounding Sephiroth that led him to become so evil in the first place.
Things would definitely be different if he were calmly explained to him how he was born from the start and didn’t grow up as an experiment but as a full-fledged human being. With enough love and kindness, Sephiroth could definitely have walked the path of good instead of being shrouded in darkness that turned him into a villain.
seven GLaDOS (portal)
GLaDOS is another popular video game villain who redeems herself somewhat in Game 2 after Wheatley goes crazy with her newfound power. People who find out about GLaDOS’s story soon realize that its origin is also mired in tragedy.
GLaDOS is actually the digital version of Cave Johnson’s supposed secretary and partner who was forced to become an AI. The deleted voice clips that apparently hint at this change are truly chilling and show that GLaDOS might not have been such a nefarious being if the circumstances of his digital birth had been more pleasant.
6 The Illusionary Man (Mass Effect)
The Illusionary Man is one of the most fascinating characters in Mass Effect, and the fact that he was voiced by the legendary Martin Sheen himself is a huge positive. This man believes in the superiority and survival of the human race at all costs, even if it means dooming the other species in the galaxy to extinction.
Since this character can change his mind in the end, it’s clear that the Illusionary Man definitely had his own conscience. Maybe with enough talk he could have tried to fight the entire universe instead of just ensuring mankind’s survival and nothing else.
5 Seifer Almazy (Final Fantasy 8)
Seifer is Squall’s rival all along Final Fantasy 8, who inadvertently becomes a pawn in Ultimecia’s goal of sending the entire world into a state of ruin. Seifer’s misplaced superiority complex and need to prove himself time and again led him to become an antagonist in the series.
Fortunately, he comes to his senses towards the end and chooses to cherish his friends instead of desperately fighting his enemies. This creates a big character shift that shows just how much Seifer had grown since his days as a brash and insecure warrior.
4 Dutch Van Der Linde (Red Dead Redemption)
At another time and in another place, Dutch could very well have been the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption. He really cared about his gang from the start and tried to ensure the best life for them. Unfortunately, his lust for power and his tendency to be swayed by questionable personalities like Micah ended up setting the stage for his eventual downfall.
Perhaps by being a better judge of character and having more self-awareness, Dutch could have been a more understanding character. As it stands, he’s nothing more than a deluded leader who needed to be taken down in Game 1 for the sake of others as much as himself.
3 Goro Akechi (Persona 5)
Akechi is a tragic figure in the world of personas 5. Although he had incredible powers, he was always treated as a burden and ended up harboring feelings of hatred towards people who valued friendship, etc.
It’s a shame because 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 that had been the case, he wouldn’t have served someone as despicable as Shido just to gain his obnoxious father’s approval.
2 Akira Nishikiyama (Yakuza)
Nishiki is one of the most complex and fascinating characters in the Yakuza series. Yakuza 0 did a great job developing this character, and his friendship with Kiryu before it all fell apart during the events of the first Yakuza Title.
Props should be given to Kiwami for showing the chain of events that ultimately led to Nishiki’s descent into madness and anarchy. It’s a real shame, and things could have turned out differently for him if the incident involving Sohei Dojima’s death had been avoided.
1 Letho of Gulet (The Witcher)
Players who started playing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings would have initially seen Letho as nothing more than an obnoxious villain who wanted to destabilize the hierarchy present in the world of the witcher. However, later it is revealed that Letho performed all these actions in an effort to restore the Viper School.
Although misguided, players can still figure out why Letho followed this particular course of action. If the tables were turned, there’s no reason why Geralt wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to restore his school as well!
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