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I love smug bastards. It's satisfying to slap that smugness off their faces at the end.

Another smug bastard / insane villain is Luca Blight from Suikoden 2. He made a villager act like a pig in front of him and promise to free him after. He freed him by 'skewing the piggy'

Aye, Luca Blight is arguably my favorite video game villain (also very fond of SHODAN).

 

I also like villains where you really can see their point of view and even sympathise with them, even if you know what they are doing is very wrong for obvious reasons (like Dagoth Ur from Morrowind, there's some great backstory lore there).

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Too much sympathy for the villains is bad. :( In IWD2, I didn't want to fight the big bads by the end of it... go separate ways, maybe, but as a group of mercenaries, probably not fight them. :/

 

I tend to agree with you. If diplomatic options are available that lead to rewarding alternative paths , then it is fine. But if they are gonna remain the antagonist and you are forced to ultimately clash with them in some form or another it can just be frustrating. You should be able to understand why an antagonist is doing something. But to sympathize with them will cause you to want to help them or deal with them in an alternative way ( that is the case for me at least).

 

Which would make the confrontation even more emotional. The concept of an unstoppable force colliding with an immovable object is a good one. You may sympathize with the villain, but his goals may be completely contrary to yours. Just because you like him doesn't mean you should be able to talk him down. It depends entirely on context.

 

It does depend on the context. If it a game that doesn't present much choice, it can work well. If it's a game that does and you are still forced to go up against them, I wouldn't say it would be bad - but it definitely wouldn't be a "villain you love to hate".

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As has already been mentioned here, Letho from The Witcher 2 was a great antagonist. CDprojekt RED did a great job with him. Major spoilers for the Witcher 2 ahead:

 

Really, major spoilers for The Witcher 2 ahead. Don't look if you haven't completed the game (in which case, why are you still here?)

 

In the end, when Geralt and Letho talk together, they take their time. They both know the other might want to kill him, and yet the conversation is so real and heartfelt. Intense. I especially like that Letho offers you a drink, and depending on whether you accept or not, both of you could be having a drink together while clearing up unfinished business. Basically, i'd like one of the antagonists in the game to be someone you could have a drink with, and enjoy a conversation with each other, if only circumstances were different.

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if the story presents a villain that is likeable and who I sympathize with, I want to have the option of choosing to agree with or even side with him. I'm not saying the game needs that kind of villain, but I want the game play options to reflect the story dilemma if that's the case.

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A good villain is not a villain at all, it's just someone whose worldview conflicts with that of a main character and who's determined, decisive or even cruel enough to disregard this fact. In DnD terms the conflict of good and evil is boring; the conflict of chaos and law is rather more interesting.

 

Characters do not exist in vacuum, it's the setup which makes them. I would love not to hate the villain; I would love to be puzzled at first, and then I would love him to explain himself in deail, so that I understand. A rather mundane but still fine example would be an older brother from Fable 3. He is seen as a tyrant, but then we learn that he has a very good reason for being strict and oppressive. (Only in that case the way out is somewhat cheat-y, 'cause any evil turns less threatening in the face of bigger evil). What I'd rather see is someone like this, who, when confronted by the main character, explains that oppressiveness is his moral choice, and an educated one. Say, he sacrifices the lives of ordinary citizens to boost science of something. Why? Because humans are mortal, and the only way to somehow transcend that (if not literally, only metaphysically) is to learn the secrets of nature and generally expand knowledge. Or something. I want to join him already.

 

Characters do not exist in vacuum. The villain is bound to the main character; they represent two sides of a certain dilemma. So it's not the villain who should be pictured interesting, it's the conflict which has to be real. When someone wants to take control over the world, it's not really a conflict, it's madness.

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you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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I think you got that backwards there alphyna, is the protagonist that is bound to the villain because it is the villain that creates the conflicts and drives the story forward.

 

Personally I don't much care for the views of antagonists, they are often destructive of the character if done improperly. E.G. Saren from ME: who starts as a bona fide bad guy, hates humanity and is a bad ass Specter for the galactic council. Mid way in the game we learn about the Reapers and how scared he is of them, plus the fact that he may be indoctrinated.

By the end he's a more of an emotional mess than a sixteen years old girl, is indoctrinated and shoots himself as if it was some sort of redemption.

 

So, from bad guy to scared bad guy to broken down husk of what used to be something lethal.

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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. ;)

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You know what I'd like to see out of a villain in this game? A villain you DON'T hate. Someone who you may be against, but he has his reasons for doing what he's doing and isn't a totally unlikable "HAH I'm EVILLLL!1!!1" person rather you can identify with and understand where they are coming from/why they think what they are doing is "right/good."

 

I want a villain that will make people think, not one that is just a stereotype.

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You know what I'd like to see out of a villain in this game? A villain you DON'T hate. Someone who you may be against, but he has his reasons for doing what he's doing and isn't a totally unlikable "HAH I'm EVILLLL!1!!1" person rather you can identify with and understand where they are coming from/why they think what they are doing is "right/good."

 

I want a villain that will make people think, not one that is just a stereotype.

 

I'd like someone like this. But if they go that route in a game that allows us to make decisions, we should be able to make the decision to stop treating them as our enemy.

Edited by ogrezilla
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I want a villain that has shades of grey (though not 50, sorry had to be done), but not a 'magnificent bastard' type that ends up with even the devs who made him falling in love with him and turning him into a mouthpiece for how awesome his plan was and how he is so cool which is something I've seen done a few too many times, especially when the villain's plan wasn't really as clever as the writers think. I think the best villains are the ones that draw a reaction, make you want to chase them whether it be for revenge or just to find out what the hell they're up to, though to be honest, I'm not sure if a 'villain' is what is needed, I mean [spoiler alert for those who may not have played it, crazy though they may be] Planescape Torment pretty much doesn't really have a villain, as the 'bad guy' is essentially yourself and the goal is to find out what is going on. I also like it when there's more than one villain, operating at cross-purposes to one another.

 

Truly alien-minds like the suggestion of the alien from Aliens also work when done right for me. It's why I like Ravel but not Flemeth/Morrigan despite their similarities as 'ancient powers' in their world: Ravel is truly alien while also not actually omniscient and doesn't claim to have the right philosophy on life (because she was too busy taking your intestines out), instead just doing what the hell she wanted, whereas F/M just came across as slightly kooky arrogant humans who had access to the writers' plotline and who dictated their life-philosophies to you, but I digress. And I suppose that would be make for one of the scariest villains: someone who does what they do 'because they can'.

Edited by FlintlockJazz
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"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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I think you got that backwards there alphyna, is the protagonist that is bound to the villain because it is the villain that creates the conflicts and drives the story forward.

 

Personally I don't much care for the views of antagonists, they are often destructive of the character if done improperly. E.G. Saren from ME: who starts as a bona fide bad guy, hates humanity and is a bad ass Specter for the galactic council. Mid way in the game we learn about the Reapers and how scared he is of them, plus the fact that he may be indoctrinated.

By the end he's a more of an emotional mess than a sixteen years old girl, is indoctrinated and shoots himself as if it was some sort of redemption.

 

So, from bad guy to scared bad guy to broken down husk of what used to be something lethal.

 

Yes, I think you have a good point here. Sure, it can be argued that the 'real' villain was Sovereign but the way it was done made Saren completely neutered not only as a threat but as a person. You want them to have flaws but not to the extent that they not only cease to be a credible threat but actually become comical.

"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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I can tell you I'd rather not have a villain who is evil just for the sake of it. He should have a believable reason for doing the "bad" things he does (Irenicus and Saerovok fit this bill). Or maybe he should just have a conflicting goal (ala withcer 2). Most importantly he should be well fleshed out.

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I can tell you I'd rather not have a villain who is evil just for the sake of it. He should have a believable reason for doing the "bad" things he does (Irenicus and Saerovok fit this bill). Or maybe he should just have a conflicting goal (ala withcer 2). Most importantly he should be well fleshed out.

I actually agree with this in general, but I think there's a place for a villain/adversary/antagonist who is out for you and you spend all your time trying to figure out why. "Why me? What have I done to deserve this?" There's just so much a skilled writer can do that nothing should be off the table.

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I think you got that backwards there alphyna, is the protagonist that is bound to the villain because it is the villain that creates the conflicts and drives the story forward.

Nope, I think you did :) If a conflict is real, no one really creates it, it arises itself from a complex set of differences among various worldviews. Someone can trigger it, true, but it doesn't even have to be the antagonist. Frankly, I prefer PS:T-type villains, who didn't even do anything wrong, but the protagonist simply had to go (no hard feelings!), or maybe Firefly-type villains, who are also not really villains, but simply represent a different worldview. And I would definitely love a game where the conflict is created by the protagonist (once again, see PS:T).

 

Personally I don't much care for the views of antagonists, they are often destructive of the character if done improperly.

One more reason to do them properly, eh? Non-destructive, say? It's actually the adventuring party who slaughters monsters and, well, everything that moves. Give me the pacifist villain who wants to stop the main character because he goddamn murders people!

you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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I liked the villains in Fallout: APNRPG and VtM:Bloodlines because they don't exist for the benefit of the PC, they're not even necessarily aware of the PC's existence, and they're not evil for the sake of being evil, they have their own personalities and motivations. Characters who make great antagonists because I can't help but dislike them, e.g. Gizmo, greedy and arrogant. LaCroix, cowardly and disloyal. Of course variety is the most important thing. Pisha killed humans regularly, but I couldn't help but like her. Decker can be respected. Dislikeable bullies, crazy monsters, and amoral characters doing what they have to do, that's what I like. Also insufferable crusaders and authoritarians, order/purity zealots, don't necessarily make good villains but they make excellent fodder for my blood lust.

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I think you got that backwards there alphyna, is the protagonist that is bound to the villain because it is the villain that creates the conflicts and drives the story forward.

Nope, I think you did :) If a conflict is real, no one really creates it, it arises itself from a complex set of differences among various worldviews. Someone can trigger it, true, but it doesn't even have to be the antagonist. Frankly, I prefer PS:T-type villains, who didn't even do anything wrong, but the protagonist simply had to go (no hard feelings!), or maybe Firefly-type villains, who are also not really villains, but simply represent a different worldview. And I would definitely love a game where the conflict is created by the protagonist (once again, see PS:T).

 

Personally I don't much care for the views of antagonists, they are often destructive of the character if done improperly.

One more reason to do them properly, eh? Non-destructive, say? It's actually the adventuring party who slaughters monsters and, well, everything that moves. Give me the pacifist villain who wants to stop the main character because he goddamn murders people!

but without the main villain, would we even be out on our adventure?

 

really, a villain can be whatever the writer wants as long as its well written.

Edited by ogrezilla
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Nope, I think you did :) If a conflict is real, no one really creates it, it arises itself from a complex set of differences among various worldviews. Someone can trigger it, true, but it doesn't even have to be the antagonist. Frankly, I prefer PS:T-type villains, who didn't even do anything wrong, but the protagonist simply had to go (no hard feelings!), or maybe Firefly-type villains, who are also not really villains, but simply represent a different worldview. And I would definitely love a game where the conflict is created by the protagonist (once again, see PS:T).

I get what your say but your view is more applicable to a real life scenario than an actual story, because its the conflict that drives the villain and therefore the story. But within the confines of a simple three stages story structure its the villain that initiates the conflict. PS:T is a great example of a story without a main villain, although you could argue that the nameless one was the villain since his actions initiated the conflict and he is also the main antagonist.

One more reason to do them properly, eh? Non-destructive, say? It's actually the adventuring party who slaughters monsters and, well, everything that moves. Give me the pacifist villain who wants to stop the main character because he goddamn murders people!

They are destructive because destruction is a force of change, on stories when the status quo is the evil then the protagonist becomes the force of change ergo the destructive one.

Motivations aside though, I think that is that the problem is writers that confuse relatable with apologetic, I prefer my villains to be consistent in their personalities.

P.S: I think I would like a pacifist antagonist if I get the chance to play as an evil overlord.

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. ;)

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The Master, Irenicus, and Myrkul are possibly the 3 best villains written in cRPG's. They are just written so well and their ultimate motivations make sense, within the settings they are written in. EVERY SINGLE dialogue interaction with each of these is pure... awesome. PERIOD.

 

Though I kind of doubt Eternity is about some MUHUHUHU HAHAHA *twirl the end of my mustache* villain type of game. It seems more a discovery of the player, and the world and a personal journey. Which is infinitely greater than a game with yet another villain #4562 (see Planescape: Torment).

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I have two favorite class of antagonists.

1) Friend on the other side. He's not necessarily evil. Maybe he's just fighting for his own country. Maybe he's a well-intentioned extremist. Maybe he's gone complete bonkers. But the main character and him have a shared history and respect. This only really works if this actually plays out in the fight. If they just kill each other with nary a word, no conflict or resolution over their history, then it loses its value. This is part of why Darth Vader was interesting in Star Wars, though has been repeated in quite a few other works like Suikoden or Xenogears. It's probably a lot harder to do in more open RPGs where you can create your own background. However, it's still a great opportunity for combining the action and drama.

2) Well-intentioned extremist. We're probably all familiar with this. The guy who believes in making the world better or helping people but goes a little too far. Maybe his ideals got corrupted. Maybe he recognizes his ideal needs to get dirty. But whatever it is, he's out for something better than himself. And this also provides an interest drama because you're dealing with a man who genuinely believes in what he is fighting for. And the subtext of conflict can be about proving his methods wrong or breaking his belief.

 

Okay, maybe the thread is titled "love to hate" and these aren't guys you hate. I don't really love hating my antagonists. But these are the guys I remember.

 

Let me give this another try. Let me think. Joker? Irenicus? Sephiroth? M. Bison?

I don't know. Any Schmoe can kill the hero's girlfriend and act like it's not a big deal. I think it becomes more about how the hero reacts to them, how it solidifies or changes their journey, that's interesting here. The Joker in The Dark Knight basically cut Bruce Wayne off from considering a life as anything other than Batman. Sephiroth is the reason Cloud and went through all that trouble, and Cloud reaffirmed that it was for the ones they lost towards that final fight. Bison killed Chun-Li's father and while "but for me it was Tuesday" will be a phrase long remembered beyond an otherwise terrible movie, you can see how Chun-Li was dedicated to crime fighting because of it. Irenicus tortured, or worse, Imoen. A good villain motivates the hero. But for me, I think it's the hero's response that's more memorable.

 

I wouldn't care about the Joker if Batman didn't play off against him. If he was a Punisher villain, would anyone care? The Joker is Batman's conflict. Batman's struggle with his policy not to kill. Batman dealing with how the Joker has tormented, maimed, and killed Batman's friends and how Batman maybe blames himself for that. It's not the villain I particularly see myself caring about here. It's the device he brings to the plot. And how meaningful that device is depends entirely on how it interacts with and how the hero plays off it.

 

Magog has the same kind of role in Kingdom Come. And he's not a villain. But what the idolization of him does to Superman is just as meaningful to me as what Joker does to Batman. Perhaps more meaningful, because he did something nobody else could do. He made Superman give up.

 

So I'll go with what. What makes a villain I love to hate? A villain that forces the hero to grow.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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1 obvious class o' antagonist obsidian needs to avoid: faceless/nameless evil.

 

grendel. sauron, perfect storm... whatever. is scary and terrible 'cause is unfathomable. sauron is never seen. he is an Evil as imagined by the reader and not as illustrated by author. is kinda obvious why faceless opponents do not work in a visual game, but chrisA and company didnt seem to realize the hurdles in making such an antagonist when they tried to makes nihilus work in kotor2. we listened to a post mortem from chrisA in which he describes nihilus as a success.

 

...

 

really?

 

mush-mouth with the skull mask were laughable as an antagonist. no need for audience imagination = no dread. sooooo, avoid faceless.

 

on the other hand, obsidian/bis best antagonist... wasn't. ravel/mebbeth/kreia/etc has all been variations of the same character, and all has been the player's protector and guide as much as an antagonist. bestest obsidian/bis character has appeared in all their games, and we hope this continues with eternity. doesn't need be main antagonist.... but it wouldn't be a bad idea neither.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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I'm not sure you can isolate the villain from the context of the entire game in this way--what might be compelling in one context (having your soul ripped out of your body) can be perceived as a **** move in another context. I liked it when they did it in Baldur's Gate II, for instance. I found it eye-rollingly-dorky in Mask of the Betrayer. If they'd put Irenicus in MotB and Akachi in BG2, it wouldn't really have made any difference. The key was in how your own motivations came about, the kind of control you had over what you did, how the NPC's treated you, how the actions of the villain were revealed.

 

That, and at the end of BG2 you didn't have a freakin' god show up and say "well, you can take your soul back but not accomplish ANYTHING else because I won't let you", to which I wanted to say "well why didn't you go fix this all yourself before I got involved you stinking twerp". Who cares about the Faceless One when you never really interact with him but hey, here's Jerk God of the Century. Sheesh.

 

I suppose ultimately what makes a given villain story compelling is that a.) the player reaches the conclusion that this person really DESERVES to go down and b.) can (eventually) accomplish this goal. So it's going to be somewhat subjective.

 

That's not to say that every story HAS to be a villain story in order to be compelling and meaningful.

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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the villain IS the story. eternity will not be "a clean, well-lighted place" or "the dead." there will be an obvious antagonist. the protagonist need be vague and general enough to support any number o' player choices and preferences, so it is the villain who will define the story... unless obsidian writers is complete nuts.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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the villain IS the story. eternity will not be "a clean, well-lighted place" or "the dead." there will be an obvious antagonist. the protagonist need be vague and general enough to support any number o' player choices and preferences, so it is the villain who will define the story... unless obsidian writers is complete nuts.

 

Planescape: Torment begs to differ. So does Mask of the Betrayer.

 

The story is the story. A villain may be a device serving to drive the story--to create motivation, but there are many, many potential motivations other than "kill that dude!"

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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the villain IS the story. eternity will not be "a clean, well-lighted place" or "the dead." there will be an obvious antagonist. the protagonist need be vague and general enough to support any number o' player choices and preferences, so it is the villain who will define the story... unless obsidian writers is complete nuts.

 

Planescape: Torment begs to differ. So does Mask of the Betrayer.

 

The story is the story. A villain may be a device serving to drive the story--to create motivation, but there are many, many potential motivations other than "kill that dude!"

 

eh? you don't think that ps:t and motb had primary antagonists? regardless, one o' the big flaws o' motb were that most folks did not give a damn 'bout the antagonist. and please note that ps:t had a specific protagonist... which were a frequent complaint btw. "story is the story" is... meaningless. make observation that eternity is a game that will have a story is far more significant. as a game, you necessarily needs to accommodate gameplay, yes? this is why there is almost invariably a confrontation with the UBG (ultimate bad guy) that allows player to overcome via gameplay. ask chrisA... he has noted that story takes a backseat to gameplay on more than one occasion.

 

doesnt matter if you talking donkey kong or ps:t 'cause you is still finding yourself leaping over barrels/obstacles to reach a final confrontation with the ubg.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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