Many story-driven games are remembered for the villains they put on screen. A lot of different factors can make a good villain–a tragic origin story, motives you can somewhat feel the logic behind, or even if they just relish in simply being as evil as possible. There have been so many memorable bad guys across the medium as a whole, and today, I’m asking all of you who stands out the most. Who is your favorite video game villain?
Spoilers for Xenoblade Chronicles and the Red Dead Redemption games follow in the text below
I’ll give my favorite villain from a Nintendo game and then my favorite from gaming overall. Nintendo does not have many absolutely amazing villains, but there are a few that I took a liking too. For my favorite Nintendo villain, I look to Xenoblade Chronicles and pick Dickson. Dickson’s original role in the game–as a veteran from legendary battles against the Mechon, as Shulk’s caretaker, and even as a party member for a while–all sets up for his eventual betrayal towards the end, where he reveals himself to be an agent of the game’s true antagonist, Zanza. Dickson lacks many common calling cards of great villains, but he shines because the game does a good job at warming the player up to Dickson’s character before he ultimately turns against you. Xenoblade Chronicles is a fantastic game, and one of the many moments that stuck out to me during my playthrough was finally leaving a dying Dickson behind as Shulk fought tears.
For all video games, my favorite villain is Dutch van der Linde from Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2. He is cold, dedicated to his ideology and those who are loyal to him, and absurdly quotable. While he spends more time as an antagonist in Red Dead Redemption, his descent into madness in Red Dead Redemption 2 is what makes me admire the character so much. His fixation on his dream of getting his gang out of the country and safely out of the law’s reach is his ultimate undoing. His increasingly desperate plans put many of his friends and followers in danger until they either die or abandon him. When the gang is finally destroyed with Dutch’s outlandish actions heavily to blame, he flees inland and continues his life of crime, leading to the events of Red Dead Redemption. His commitment to his goal and how that causes him to lose sight of the people he was trying to protect in the first place are what makes him so compelling to me.
So, those two are my favorites. They are memorable, often chilling, and completely dedicated to their ulterior motives. Who are your favorite video game villains, and why are they your favorite?