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I'm really sorry that you haven't heard of Kefka, he was such an incredible villain that really drove the plot in Final Fantasy. I suppose the problem is we need a better definition of what is insanity. To me insanity is being absolute irrational despite the consequences. You can have motivations but those motivations can be absolutely irrational at the same time. Kefka is very similar to the Joker in how he just wanted to see the world burn and he succeeded. In terms of the bests ones are the ones who serve some greater good, I don't know of any good ones. Could you name some of your best villains for me?

 

Magneto is a good example. He would argue he is liberating the mutants from the oppressive humans. Ozymandias from Watchmen is another that could fall into that category.

Edited by ogrezilla

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Effective villains can come in all shapes and sizes, but they need to have a lot of personal charisma, evoke an emotional reaction , and leave a lasting impact on the world. For me, both Knight-Commander Meradeth and First Enchanter Orsino were very effective, as they were both charismatic and well-acted, had sympathetic goals, and commited (or allowed) horrible atrocities to further them. Kreia and Loghain could also fall in this catagory.

 

Irenicus, Darth Malak, The Joker, Darth Nihlous, the Reapers, etc. evoke nothing but hate and grudging respect, but that works just as well.

 

Defeating villains has to come at a cost, too, or they just seem like hollow push-overs. They shouldn't be retroactively erased from existance and ull their villainy easily undone. That's too cheap.

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I don't really like villains who are presented as hateable, i'd rather have a mirror for the player character, there but for the grace of god go I. Kreia, Elijah, Jayne Kassynder the usual Obsidian antagonists who make one question ones own conduct and beliefs if they were placed in a similar position, and sometimes they are even proved right in the end.

 

The ones I hate though are the stupid, the illogical and the useless such as in Dragon Age 2, shallow cliches built around a single theme whom you neither know nor care about until five minutes before the end of the game.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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i'd rather have a mirror for the player character

 

I loved this in KotOR 2. Sion presented an over-reliance on the Force (as opposed to you who cut yourself off), while Nihilius has taken the concept of "Force vampire" to the extreme.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Well if we get one half as good as luca blight, the Joker, Kefka then id be happy.

 

But what about a villain who's not actually a villain a man/woman who is simply on the other side of the fence so to speak, some one that demands as much respect as fear?

 

Personally the whole black and white thing is starting to get boring to me, yes i realize that there are games with shades of gray but those are nothing more than side quests, while the main campagin is still as B&W as ever.

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Would enjoy it if there was no villain and you simply choose your sides in the game instead.

 

But if there has to be a villain, make him/her understandable, get his/her points across in a good way and have the option to join/sympathize with him/her in some ways.

Why?

 

Ok, I guess that he/she can have a chance to put his/her point across and get the player to sympathize with him/her...and then it eats a baby.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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I liked Loghain from Dragon Age: Origins. He had a lot of what nikolokolus and Raithe describes... but more importantly, he was voiced by Simon Templeman! Now THAT is something I love in a villain! :p

 

I winced when I think about Loghain cause he had so much potential in the beginning and he just didn't deliver as a character. Not only is he not the main villain he also didn't do that much after the initial betrayal. He also didn't make it that personal. So his betrayal led to the deaths of almost all the wardens, I don't care the wardens didn't do that much anyway and I just joined it so why should I care and he was doing so to because in his mind was for the good of the kingdom. So I can't hate him that much either and he can join my party at the end at the expense of the whiny Alaster! Just so much potential but failed for me as a bad guy.

 

That's kinda the point of Loghain though - it's Alistair that hates him, not the player. The idea that Loghain is being controlled by Blood Magic, is kinda toyed with, but in the end, you find out that he's just doing what he thought was right, and he's not actually the bad guy that you thought he was. So if you can get over the fact that he left you to die, you can recruit him, and ditch Alistair.

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Go for the villain that almost has you cheering for him, the villain who has intelligence, the villain who knows how to work both sides. How about Long John Silver?

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Double post...

Edited by TCJ

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What I like to see in a Villain? Well, more than one. As much as it may seem prudent to have the 'ancient evil' threatening the land or 'the dark overlord' they never really should be the only focus. I'm more a fan of an organization, in a way.

 

As far as villains go I prefer those with variety amongst themselves, but with the overall motif that . . . they might just be right. What if the choices you thought were right all along . . . turned out to far more questionable? What if the motivations of the villain either were better than your own or could legitimately be argued to be better than your own? What if the plot was so well conceived that every step of the way, there was a path that looked like the right one, the obvious just and honorable path, and, if you took it, could lead you to the revelation that you really were wrong all this time? That you weren't working for the greater good at all.

 

It shouldn't be the only path in the game, but I do feel a villain needs motivations that not only make sense, but are potential for the better good whether you'd like to admit it or not, whether you like their means or not.

 

Sure mixed in you could have lesser villains that were more typical, 'crazy whacky villain' or 'destroy everything' villain and so on, but you end game competition shouldn't just be about a physical confrontation. It should be the point at which you not only have to confront the villain, but possibly question yourself. Maybe they're right. Maybe you shouldn't be fighting them. Maybe you should be helping them. Maybe some of their other servants along the way were just like you at one point, realized the same things and joined up.

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"Step away! She has brought truth and you condemn it? The arrogance!

You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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Honestly, I wouldn't mind a villain with anti-villain characteristics, but who dances around the moral event horizon where he does things almost unforgivable. Think about a well-intentioned extremist who does terrible things in pursuit of a goal that is pretty sensible, or even someone driven a bit mad by a wound but who still seems human in this. I would have liked Loghain, except I didn't feel very connected to him as a character. If I had a better perception of his motivations, then I can really see liking him a lot.

 

I think Irenicus was a good villain. He was very human, but at the same time very powerfully evil.

 

I also wouldn't mind a story without a central villain, but rather with minor villains and where the plot was motivated by abstract social forces. So, think about this: what if we had a clear social injustice, like racial discrimination, slavery, social oppression, etc. This motivates a few characters to take leadership roles against this. So, maybe there are lizardfolks and they're oppressed. Some of their leaders are diplomatic, and seek reconciliation and passive resistance against social injustice. Others toe the line, and engage in brutal actions, but they still have good goals, and they still have a conscience even as they engage in violent resistance, or perhaps even atrocities. A few of these emerging leaders are nihilistic though, and they seek revenge, dominance, and power at the cost of the good of all. The lines are blurred and grey, and instead of the party just getting rid of the "evil guy", they're trying to solve a complicated social problem either through diplomatic means, or even through acting as agents of the dominant forces of society. So, the set of villains will vary somewhat based upon which approach you take, as you may either side with a racist noble against the occasionally violent freedom fighter, or vice-versa. But, there are clear personalities shaping a clear moral dilemma of grey and grey morality.

 

That being said though, I think the central issue is to make the conflict show human elements. Even if we have an inhumanly evil major villain, I'd still want human characteristics to play into the entire scheme. So, if we have the "evil demon", I'd still want conflicted servants, and I'd still want the evil demon to have some personal appeal instead of just being "the evil dude". (And if there is an utterly impersonal evil, let's make it more of a Cthulhu kind of evil where it goes FAR BEYOND traditional notions of evil and may fail to even make sense to human beings on some level despite perhaps having internal coherence)

 

So, all short:

What makes a good villain is something worth engaging. A villain who plays too close to conventional tropes is boring. In some sense, a good villain has to twist our expectations, leave us curious about it, and cause us to ask important questions.

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Still... With the setup for the game being what it is, witnessing the supernatural event and... figuring out what happened, and what happened to yourself, I am really hoping that it won't be a "villain story". We obviously don't know a lot yet but I'd love it if you simply had to choose sides to find out what happened, to find allies to help you in your "quest". I talked about this in some other thread but again, something like in New Vegas where there are reputation checks with factions instead. You may end up facing Legate Lanius at the end... Or, you may end up facing General Oliver... Or, possibly both.

I think villains can be well written, certainly. But at this point, after playing a million different RPGs, my god does the thought of going up against yet another classic antagonist bores me... At least if it really ends up being a straight up antagonist. Let us choose who to support and who to fight! It's so much more interesting that way. Have it be as open-ended as possible.

 

Also, about Loghain... I was pretty impressed that Bioware (of all companies) actually gave you a choice to recruit him near the end. That was really nice. But where they in my opinion failed with him was in making him likeable at *all*. Even in the first hours of the game, there are all kinds of not-so-subtle hints that he will end up screwing someone over (his overall look being the first hint, and then ominous camera-angles and what have you). Furthermore, his reasons about Orlais and all that are just so far back in the game-lore and so completely not at the forefront that it's very hard to sympathize with him. Why would I give a crap about Orlais when it's nearly a non-existence in the actual game, whereas you encounter the darkspawn left and right.

 

EDIT:

 

Also, I think as far as story-heavy RPGs go, I think Mask of the Betrayer might be the most interestingI've played in that... yes, it does have a very, very involved story. But does it have a villain really? It's not until the very end where you find out who you're really going to be fighting... And even then, you can fight in order to "save him" (Akachi). I guess Myrkul could be viewed as the villain, and maybe the Founder as well. But those were not the final conflict of the game at all.

It was quite cleverly constructed.

Edited by Starwars
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Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

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And of course.. as Hollywood has shown us.. What you really need for a classic villain.. is an English accent. :shifty:

 

That and utterly memorable dialogue full of pithiness and wit..

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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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I don't think shades of grey are always necessary in a great villain. I also think there's a difference between the over-arching villain and other villains such as different groups, henchmen and underlings, and potential antagonists who aren't ever really villains in the first place.

 

In all those groups, some might be two dimensional. A stereo-typical villain can come in handy and still be extremely well written. Others might be simply bored, jaded, enthusiastic, or even compelled, which could cover the henchmen pretty well. I also think that an evil villain (not in the DnD 'I cast a spell that detects your evil aura' sort of sense) who has other qualities but the vast majority of players would consider evil. The twins from IWD2 would fall into that category. Then there could be the shades of grey sort of villain that most of you seems to prefer in this thread. I'd like to see shades of grey in the game, but I also think the ideal has become so overwrought that it's no less cliched than the same ol' bad guy who virtually screams "I am EVIL" in every dialogue exchange.


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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Would enjoy it if there was no villain and you simply choose your sides in the game instead.

 

But if there has to be a villain, make him/her understandable, get his/her points across in a good way and have the option to join/sympathize with him/her in some ways.

 

Chrono Trigger's Magus for the win.

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Not a game character but anyone that likes Game of Thrones? If you do, than Little Finger is one you love to hate, especially if you have read last books.

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There are so many types of villians. Perhaps it should be who are the most memorable villians, the ones that stick out in your mind.

 

The Terminator

The joker

Darth Vador

The Borg (pre queen)

Hannibal Lector

Freddy Krueger

Roy Batte (blade runner)

Gollum (lord of the rings)

Hal (2001 a space odessy)

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I think hating is a fairly easy to accomplish. All you need is feeling to be treated unfairly. That can even be a pompous boss in any action game. For villains to be really interesting they need a bit more. I think it's important to find them in way a character who you can at least occasionally see the point of or who maybe can do or does something that you wouldn't be too averse of being able to yourself, or which you see as merely rivalling your own status. But this should be only one dimension, or it's too shallow again, detached from any thematic treatment, and probaly poviding not enough closure and satisfaction. It should oscillate a bit between seeing them as genuine characters in their own right and between wanting to completely dismantle them. It doesn't have to be such a stereotype either, but can exist in different degrees and mixtures... Round characters or at least occasional glimpses of roundness, I guess.

Edited by MattH
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I'm really sorry that you haven't heard of Kefka, he was such an incredible villain that really drove the plot in Final Fantasy. I suppose the problem is we need a better definition of what is insanity. To me insanity is being absolute irrational despite the consequences. You can have motivations but those motivations can be absolutely irrational at the same time. Kefka is very similar to the Joker in how he just wanted to see the world burn and he succeeded. In terms of the bests ones are the ones who serve some greater good, I don't know of any good ones. Could you name some of your best villains for me?

 

Magneto is a good example. He would argue he is liberating the mutants from the oppressive humans. Ozymandias from Watchmen is another that could fall into that category.

 

I love Magneto as a villain and he's very similar to Magnus from Chrono Trigger in the term of doing bad things for the greater good. However I would argue although both Magento and Magnus were wonderful villains they also didn't pose as a credible threat to the world when compared to Apocalypse. I would love to have Magento on my side against Apocalypse and I would enjoy having him for the main villain at the end and having Magneto as a redeemable villain. There's definitely no reason why there can't be more than one villain in a story and I think it's better that way. Darth Vader was a main villain in the first Star Wars, but The Emperor was the bigger threat behind the redeemable villain.


Obsessing over Sword Art Online at the moment ^_^

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I think hating is a fairly easy to accomplish. All you need is feeling to be treated unfairly. That can even be a pompous boss in any action game. For villains to be really interesting they need a bit more. I think it's important to find them in way a character who you can at least occasionally see the point of or who maybe can do or does something that you wouldn't be too averse of being able to yourself, or which you see as merely rivalling your own status. But this should be only one dimension, or it's too shallow again, detached from any thematic treatment, and probaly poviding not enough closure and satisfaction. It should oscillate a bit between seeing them as genuine characters in their own right and between wanting to completely dismantle them. It doesn't have to be such a stereotype either, but can exist in different degrees and mixtures... Round characters or at least occasional glimpses of roundness, I guess.

 

I absolutely agree, making a villain you hate is easy to accomplish. Make him annoying as hell and be a buffoon but doesn't go away would be an easy villain to make. Making a villain that can outshine your protagonists now that is something difficult to do. More often than not villains exist only because of the hero, it's difficult to make a villain exist despite the hero and make the player looking forward to the villain's next appearance than groaning everytime he / she shows up.


Obsessing over Sword Art Online at the moment ^_^

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I think a good villain should have a bit of yin-yang to him. In good there is always evil, and in evil there is always good. A good antagonist - protagonist relationship should be like the reflection of a cloudy mirror. This is of course this is assuming that the villain is human at all. I could be some other race or even non-humanoid. I feel that a truly memorable villain should be human or humanoid, since motivations for a more esoteric being could be less descernible. I don't think its that important that a player sympathizes with the villain as much as I think it is important that the player understands the motivations for the villain. If I can understand the motivation for the villains actions, whether or not I sympathize, I can at least give his actions some context.

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Think of the Alien from 'Alien.' No shades of grey there. She wanted to eat and feed her young. You're food. Your moral compass and all of your shades of grey ideas are just chatter to her. She doesn't understand the ideas, let alone your words. I don't think every villain should be like that, but that 'bitch' was a compelling 'villain.' In that story, there were human villains also. They had motives and whatnot. Finally, while I also love the shades of grey idea, not every literary figure need have shades of grey. In fact, some folks in real life, while they still have a variety of motives and beliefs and predispositions, are basically bad at their core. There might be shades of grey in them, but they've beat most of those lighter shades to charcoal colored. Just saying we don't need to have every villain overwrought. Some of them might want nothing more than to feed you to their facesuckers.

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Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Think of the Alien from 'Alien.' No shades of grey there. She wanted to eat and feed her young. You're food. Your moral compass and all of your shades of grey ideas are just chatter to her. She doesn't understand the ideas, let alone your words. I don't think every villain should be like that, but that 'bitch' was a compelling 'villain.' In that story, there were human villains also. They had motives and whatnot. Finally, while I also love the shades of grey idea, not every literary figure need have shades of grey. In fact, some folks in real life, while they still have a variety of motives and beliefs and predispositions, are basically bad at their core. There might be shades of grey in them, but they've beat most of those lighter shades to charcoal colored. Just saying we don't need to have every villain overwrought. Some of them might want nothing more than to feed you to their facesuckers.

 

I love how you brought up aliens and how there is no shade of grey but it's the Alien Queen was a formidable and memorable villain. I also agree with incubus9 and how it's more important to understand their motivation rather than sympathizing with the character. I also think it's why it's so neccesary to have secondary villains. I have maxim when things are going this bad, it's rarely one person's fault.

 

Back to the Aliens, I really enjoyed the Burke character and how Ripley commented "I don't know which is worse, us or them. You don't see them f'king each other over a damn percentage." When you think about it Burke was the real villain in Aliens because he sent a whole group of colonists to die for his own selfish greed while the Aliens are just there to survive.

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Obsessing over Sword Art Online at the moment ^_^

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