A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the massive effort that goes into creating a likable video game protagonist. You let us know of some of your favorite heroes including Commander Shepard, Master Chief, Kassandra, Geralt, Nathan Drake... and the left paddle in Pong.
Today, we're taking a look at another daunting task that game developers, designers, and narrative writers have to tackle: creating a popular video game antagonist. This task is arguably as difficult as designing a protagonist, particularly because you have to get the audience rooting for the dark side, per se. The villain's motives have to be somewhat understandable, and ideally, the character itself should be charismatic enough to justify whatever screen time they get.
Unlike protagonists - which can sometimes have non-speaking roles -, voice acting always plays a crucial role in the villain's character. No one wants to hear a drab voice acting performance during a Bond-esque monologue. Furthermore, a villain who shows up sparingly is often more effective as it leaves more to the imagination and has you waiting anxiously on the edge of your seat, wondering what the character is up to in his off-screen time, making his rare on-screen appearances all the more worthwhile.
All of this factors into making a truly memorable villain and we have had a range of evil video game characters in the past few decades, spread across this spectrum of character traits. These include over the top villains like Vaas and Pagan Min from Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 respectively, a truly fantastic performance from GLaDOS in the Portal series, the mysterious Albert Wesker from the Resident Evil series, classics like Bowser from Mario, the Joker from Batman Arkham games, and the menacing and titular Wild Hunt from The Witcher 3, among many others.
Now, we would like to know: Who's your favorite video game villain and why? Is it any of the aforementioned characters or someone else? The right paddle in Pong? Let us know in the comments section below!