Opinion Piece: What makes a good character?
What makes a good character?
Throughout the years, we have seen countless videogame characters, of any kind. From anime girls to anthropomorphic animals, from androids to weird elves. But how do we determine that a character is good? And no, I don’t mean “good or evil”, I mean a character that is both somehow realistic yet special, and that people will find relatable with themselves.
First of all, while you should not judge a book by its cover, the design of said is really important, since that’s what you are stuck with for the rest of the game. Take a look at Max Caulfield from the first season of Life is Strange. She is what you’d expect from a nerdy teenage girl. Her clothes aren’t that special, but it doesn’t have to. In reality, it’s what most people wear. She’s comfy and hell, I’m jealous of that. She still manages looks unique in her generic outfit, since most videogames have characters with weird outfits that end up being generic.
But hey, characters don’t need to look like they go to school with you. Have you ever heard of a certain witch that uses her hair as her clothes?
If you don’t think that Bayonetta looks cool as hell, then we aren’t on the same floor. While her main colour is black, her outfits always have that little “extras” that spices them up. She looks sexy because she wants to be, and we all just wish to be like her one day.
There’s more than looks though: a character’s personality is an extremely important point when making a character. In my opinion, when you’re given the option to create your own character in games, they come off as empty husks or boring, such as Corrin, from Fire Emblem Fates or even the Last Dragonborn from Skyrim.
Instead, characters who don’t even talk can have great personalities: let’s have a look at Rabbid Peach from Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
We all know Peach: she’s the princess of the Mushroom who often gets kidnapped. But what about her (not) evil step-sister? Rabbid Peach, being a… rabbid, is an “extra” extra version of Peach herself. She’s eccentric, sassy, bossy but also playful and curious. She doesn’t have a single line in the game except for her “Bhawahaha”s, yet it seems like you knew her for ages. And hey, she has an Instagram Profile!
But one of the things I appreciate the most out is when a character grows through the game. If you look at the cast of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, everyone grows throughout the game, especially the main 4 characters, Rex, Nia, Pyra and Mythra. But let’s focus on Rex.
When I first started playing, I really didn’t like Rex. He was like a generic anime protagonist. His face is generic, he shouts at everything, dumb and stubborn, and I was more involved in seeing how Pyra would develop. After I dropped the game for a whole month though, I noticed that his character was developing in a more gentle soul, and that’s what happened. Surely, he was still a bit dumb and a bit selfish, but he developed new traits throughout his journey. I still want Pyra over Rex in Smash though.
In the end, though, the decision is yours. Everyone has different tastes, and this is just my dumb but honest opinion. I enjoy seeing a variety of characters and different personalities in videogames. I love finding new characters to proclaim as my one true love, and maybe one day I’ll find even more!