Alternative Character Interpretation/Video Games

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  • "This game stars multi-billion dollar rich fuck Scrooge McDuck on an intercontinental quest to become even richer. Now, imagine flying into someone else's country, killing them with a cane and then taking all their treasure. Well, he's Scrooge McDuck, and I guess he can do whatever the fuck he wants." (The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews Duck Tales)
  • Pac-Man is actually destroying the world he lives in. The pellets protect the fabric of his reality and the ghosts are desperately trying to stop him. Upon reaching level 256, Pac-Man has eaten enough pellets that the game crashes and the world is destroyed.
    • This one is a bit interesting compared to some of the others, considering that it comes from an error in the programming... (Also, the game doesn't break entirely; it is still somewhat playable.)
  • Many people believe that Klavier from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is actually faking his German accent. The theories range from Klavier actually being from Germany, but speaking English just fine and only exaggerating his accent for effect, to Klavier being born and raised in the United States and not even speaking German. A few facts are usually used as evidence:
    • Klavier's accent is incredibly inconsistent. He speaks perfectly normal English most of the time, with occasional lapses into a very mild version of Poirot Speak. Other than using "Ja" for "Yes" and calling people "Herr" and "Fräulein" (the latter having its own problems for a supposed native speaker of German), he doesn't have much of an accent at all.
    • There's also the fact that Phoenix made a snide remark about Klavier's accent at one point.
    • He's a rock star as well as a prosecutor and might well have decided to fake such a thing for his image.
    • It would be very difficult to name a kid "Klavier" in Germany. There are in fact specific rules for what children can be named; you can't just up and decide to name your kid "Piano" because you want to.
    • All that and the fact that his own brother speaks (apparently) perfect (American) English all the time. In fairness, Kristoph is older, and so may have spent more time in America. It could be a case of him downplaying his skills, his more Diva-esque acts (the flirting, Gratuitous German, and dandyish behavior) could be a cover to protect himself from his older brother, especially since it's implied that Klavier knew what kind of person Kristoph can be.
    • Aren't these points rather moot as Klavier's accent, his being German and his name are all the invention of the American localization team and have nothing to do which his character as originally conceived?
      • Not really, since the Fandom tends to look at the English-language releases as separate characters, and that the localisation probably refers back to what happened in the original (being that Klavier/Kyouya was from America in that, he most likely used gratuitous English.) They're moot because what's being discussed is Klavier's use of German/his dialect. Not his accent. His accent is what we hear on the OBJECTION! voiceover. /Nitpick Having said that, I agree that he probably plays up the German (presumably English in the original Japanese) to add to his Rockstar Persona. Though, speaking as a Language Student with foreign roots, it is possible that people slip into other languages naturally- my Grandmother used a lot of random German, despite knowing the English for it (like und and aber.)
  • The other main Ace Attorney bone of contention is whether Terry Fawles had special needs\mental issues or not. If he does, then it makes Dahlia even more evil for manipulating him, as he wouldn't have understood that being in love with a 14-year old is squicky. If he doesn't, then many fans would lose sympathy for him completely.
    • As for Dahlia herself, even though she's usually seen as a plain Complete Monster, there are a few people who think that she has a Freudian Excuse. In-Universe, her sister is among those people.
    • Godot. A Bunny Ears Lawyer with deep personal issues, or a man driven nearly insane by his own guilt who manages to hide it behind a mask of simple eccentricity?
    • Then there's Phoenix himself. The people who most accept his change in Apollo Justice are the ones that argue that he's always bent the law in the pursuit of the truth, and that he's always been a bit of a snarky jerk on the inside. Others think that the aforementioned people are going too far in interpreting Phoenix's actions and that he'd never go as far as he did in Apollo Justice.
      • Speaking of Phoenix Wright, is he a Badass lawyer who managed to win cases which seemed downright impossible through a combination of intelligence and grit? Or is he a dumbass who simply lucked his way out of everything thrown at him?
    • Matt Engarde, a guy with multiple personality disorder, or a Complete Monster who hid his true nature behind a mask?
  • Assassin's Creed's Shaun Hastings: Jerkass or Survivor Guilt?
    • I'm going with "half-baked Simon Cowell knockoff". Seems to be the thing these days. Really, is there any other reason for being so rude to someone who saved his life? Even gets a bit of a lampshade in the Carnival Performers file.
    • Third interpretation: a completely normal person with Deadpan Snarker tendencies, put through trauma and under stress, which brings out the more negative aspects of his personality. Likelier than you'd believe.
    • Even more possible is pretty severe inferiority complex (Shaun is a historian and analyst, so he may be feel a bit inadequate in the company of biology and computer specialists) masked by fake cockiness. As in previous example, pretty commonplace characteristics. His complex may be exacerbated by the fact that his female colleagues seem to be focused entirely on Desmond.
  • Xion from the Bloody Roar series officially isn't evil; when not possessed by one of a handful of floating spirits, he's a fairly boring neutral. Given, however, that he's spent the majority of the games possessed and trying to directly harm the planet or the heroes, most people consider him inherently twisted.
  • Command & Conquer: Is Kane just a megalomanical madman bent on dominating the globe by manipulating countless millions of followers to destroy his enemies, or does he honestly care about humanity and earnestly believe in his purported quest to help mankind evolve and ascend?
    • Kane's depiction varies considerably from game to game. In the first, it just looks like he's trying to take over the world, his plans with tiberium aren't given much depth. In Tiberian Sun, he's much more into the whole ascension thing. There's a fair amount of debate arising around a terraforming missile he tried to use, some people arguing it wouldn't kill anyone. In Tiberium Wars, he's depicted as far more religious, possibly human at times, but in Kane's Wrath he states that started a war with GDI and intended for them to wipe out most of Nod because, as he put it, "only a chosen few can enter the promised land." The writers promise to answer the questions with the release of C&C4.
      • They didn't. At all. Not even one of them.
  • Vergil from Devil May Cry is ostensibly a power-hungry villain, but some fans believe this hunger developed from being too weak to save his (and Dante's) mother from demons when they were younger. His bio in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 seems to support the latter.
    • The apparent split between Dante's playful stunt-pulling and his serious side has led to certain fans postulating that he might be using either Obfuscating Stupidity or a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass triggered by demons.
    • It's possible, however unlikely, that Dante as depicted in DMC3 and DMC4 is actually something of a Genius Ditz, spitting out cliche one-liners and corny catchphrases while at the same time dishing out obscene amounts of punishment to the damned in the most stylish fashion imaginable.
    • It's been shown that Dante's usual opponents are demons who are, at least on a base power level, far stronger than he is. However, Dante is no slouch himself, and has the advantage of appearing human. So he acts like a jerk in order to piss off the demons, goading them into making stupid mistakes (thinking he is just a human with a big mouth) and then thrashing them with his unexpected strength in their moment of weakness. Dante has been shown to be extremely efficient when he is sure of what he is up against (see the opening of DMC4, not a pun made, just wham bam blast the old man) or when he knows his opponent has his measure (like Vergil).
      • The anime seems to support this, since when fighting the very large but fairly weak Monster of the Week he tends to snark and taunt, but in the final battle he suddenly gets serious.
  • Lara Croft: Thrill seeking treasure hunter or immoral thief? Maverick explorer or greedy grave robber? Clearly she's morally ambiguous at best, but it really depends on who makes the analysis.
  • Donkey Kong: Laid back hero with a strong love of bananas and his friends or lazy bipolar gorilla that flies into a psychotic and violent fury when slighted?
    • Oh, come on, even Nintendo can't decide which one is the "official" Donkey Kong.
      • But the real question is, do they care?
  • Morality is so gray in Dragon Age Origins that it would be easier to list who doesn't have an Alternative Character Interpretation. There really aren't any inarguably purely good characters in this game, barring the Grey Warden him/herself if you play that way. The only completely evil and unsympathetic characters in this game are CompleteMonsters such as Arl Howe, Flemeth (though one version of her backstory makes her a little sympathetic), Bann Vaughn, and the Darkspawn. Though the existence of The Architect does imply that the Darkspawn are more than just a bog standard evil Horde.
    • That's stretching it. There's hardly grayness to be found in Bann Teagan. Loghain is a much more concrete example of this trope, but some of that is arguably Leather Pantsing; he crosses the Moral Event Horizon several times (some would argue that selling your own people into slavery to fund your coup can't ever be justified). This world isn't quite as gray as fandom sometimes portrays it.
      • Most people attempting to interpret Loghain in a positive light forget that he never thinks the Darkspawn pose an actual threat. His coup and "ends justify the means" attitude were based solely on the belief that Cailan having any sort of friendly relationship with Orlais would immediately cause Orlais to invade them and destroy Ferelden.
      • Most people also forget that Cailan completely deferred to Loghain on military matters. Loghain is the one that came up with the plan that failed and resulted in Cailan's death. Loghain just set it up to look like Cailan had a stupid plan that got him killed.
        • Also, Loghain plots the demise of king Callan forgetting that Ferelden is not the Empire with strong monarchic rule but rather a federation of feudal domains. Most positive interpretations of Loghaine portray him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist although he seems to be more of a short-sighted egomaniac (deliberate destruction of a defending army and underestimation of an obviously powerful enemy are hardly characteristics of a good leader).
      • Elves don't count.
      • Many suspect Bann Teagan of sleeping around with his brother's wife, Isolde, due to the very personal and intimate way they speak with each other—some even claim Connor resembles Teagan more closely than he resembles the Arl. And Loghain is there to ask the question: do the ends justify the means? If he did manage to save the country, selling people into slavery still saves thousands of lives, and this was his intent all along.
        • Though given that Eamon and Teagan are brothers, it's hardly suspicious for Eamon's son to resemble Teagan. And while Teagan is initially grateful to see Isolde alive since he had been under the impression that everyone in the castle was dead, he quickly gets pissed at her for her part in the mess and stays that way. Frankly, he probably would have been just as relieved to find Owen's daughter Valena still alive, especially if she could give him news about his family. Though even on the off-chance he was having an affair with Isolde, I hardly think that qualifies him as being gray.
        • Also, Loghain has zero chance of actually saving the country. Nothing except a Gray Warden can kill the Archdemon, nothing short of the Archdemon's death will end the Blight, and Loghain is adamantly refusing to let any other Gray Wardens enter the country and is doing his level best to kill every Grey Warden currently in Ferelden. Regardless of how brilliant anything else he attempts may or may not be, he is doomed to failure. Flemeth lampshades it directly if you choose the correct dialogue option—Loghain is making the error of assuming that the Blight is another mundane foe that he can simply out-maneuver, instead of treating it as the supernatural Outside Context Problem that it actually is.
      • Then there's the Dwarven throne candidates. Is Bhelen a ruthless politician who will do anything to secure power and rules as a tyrant while spitting on Dwarven society, or a Well-Intentioned Extremist who does what he has to to change a system that's inherently flawed? Is Harrowmont an honorable lord who leads according to Dwarven culture, or a weak old man too wrapped up in tradition to realize the current system doesn't work?
        • Amusingly, the most probable answer is "all of the above". To both questions. Bhelen is utterly ruthless and unscrupulous, not blinking an eye at murdering one of his brothers to frame the other one. But he also intends to move Dwarven society away from its suicidally unsustainable traditions, and means that sincerely. Likewise, Harrowmont is an entirely honorable dwarven lord... but that's exactly the problem, because dwarven traditions are horrible and Harrowmont thinks they're just great.
  • With Dragon Age II we now have even more characters to obsess over. Is Meredith the Only Sane Woman in a town full of rebellious mages that need to be brought to heel and perfectly justified in her actions including taking over the viscount's authority after Dumar's death? Is Anders justified in starting a mage/templar war to free mages from the Chantry's control, no matter who he has to kill? Merrill, idealistic young woman trying to preserve her people's history or foolish girl with a martyr complex messing with magics and spirits she has no hope of controlling? Fenris, abused former slave with good reason to mistrust mages or Jerkass who lacks empathy for other oppressed minorities? The list goes on.
    • Isabela. Lovable Rogue who enjoys her freedom in a world of uptight belief systems like the Chantry and the Qun, or selfish Broken Bird whose actions swing up and down the moral spectrum to relieve her guilt over the victims of her crimes? She may free slaves and look after Merrill in Kirkwall, but her stealing the sacred text of the Qunari caused a war that devastated Kirkwall and she may only return to stop it because Hawke was a good influence on her, and she's perfectly willing to let a slave trader walk away free if he gives her a ship and promises to leave her alone. And her chosen career is piracy when she clearly has the skills to take more legitimate employment. Even if you like Isabela it gets a little uncomfortable when you realize that, while she does have affection for others, she likely places herself and her hedonistic tendencies first .
  • On the surface, Debora of Dragon Quest V is a shallow, conceited, self-absorbed Rich Bitch, a sharp contrast with her Spoiled Sweet little sister Flora. Nearly everything she says makes it clear that in her view, It's All About Her. However, she can also be read as an extremely TSUN-TSUN Tsundere, a Defrosting Ice Queen who fights to keep any vulnerabilities safely hidden behind a veneer of all-consuming Pride. Despite being spoiled rotten, it's made clear that she's The Unfavorite compared to her dear, gentle, sweet sister, who's loved by everyone while Debora herself is regarded with dismay. And if at least part of her attitude is a front, then the next question is: how much of it is an act, and how much is simple self-confidence?
  • The Elder Scrolls has this pouring out of every possible orifice simply by the nature of how it's told:
    • Is Vivec a just and kind god-king who has done some bad things, or a murdering traitor who may or may not have been redeemed over the four millennia since he became a god? Is he a genuine humanitarian as suggested be works x, y and z, or is he a petty- but Magnificent Bastard as suggested by works 1, 2 and 3? Is he, in fact, right when he says that all beings are the illusions of a gigantic dreaming god that he is aware of and therefore the only absolute God of the 'verse, or is that simply an excuse for Michael Kirkbride to continue using him as an Author Avatar after he lost his plot importance. There's even debates as to whether the constant use of him when Kirkbride writes in-Universe documents makes him simply a very heavily examined character or an outright Marty Stu.
      • Or is he all at once? Or is THAT idea simply a way for people to believe one thing or another about him despite evidence to the contrary?
    • The Aedra (Nine Divines): benevolent Gods or Sealed Evil in a Can? The Daedra play the opposite, Sealed evil or benevolent Gods?
    • Uriel Septim: Benevolent Emperor or conniving Machiavellian?
    • Mehrunes Dagon: The closest the series has to a Big Bad, or the Fake Final Boss before the Real Big Bad, who happens to be the chief god of the Imperial Pantheon? Cue Epileptic Trees a-shakin' when an in-Universe document about how the Nords view the creation of the world has Akatosh turning Dagon into what he is in Oblivion.
    • Mannimarco and the Order of the Black Worm: Genocidal, batshit insane sadists that give Necromancy a bad name, or staunch freedom fighters boldly fighting against Archmage Traven's tyranny?
      • Given the whole slaughtering innocents and general bloodletting that was to be started if Mannimarco ruled, i'm going to have to go with the former.
      • Necromancy: merely an icky branch of magic that tends to attract the wrong sorts, inherently wrong due to messing with the dead, or is there something about it that drives people towards being genocidal, batshit insane sadists? In Morrowind, where necromancers cannot be upstanding citizens - by longstanding and deeply held tradition and law, necromancy is punished by death in the region it takes place in - yet we meet more than one necromancer that, while not necessarily good, aren't evil, either. In Oblivion, where necromancy is perfectly legal and, up until shortly before the game began, openly done by the Mages' Guild, there are no non-evil necromancers to be found.
    • On the other side of the coin, Hannibal Traven. Is he the Only Sane Man in the Mages Guild who recognized the threat and evil of necromancy and did right in washing the Guilds hands of it? Or is he a Knight Templar whose zealous actions only ended up weakening the Guild as a whole?
    • Is the player character in Oblivion really just a wayfaring adventurer who gets a lucky break, or are they actually a magnificent chessmaster who take advantage of the political crisis brought on by Uriel Septim's assassination to pole-vault into a position whereby they are the head of every single major guild in Cyrodiil, all at once? Think about it - by the end of the various questlines, every mage, thief and assassin in the province now works for them directly, and headship of the Fighters' Guild gives them their own personal army as well. Meanwhile, the fact that they're the Grand Champion of the Arena (and Champion of Cyrodiil) means they're a popular hero as well, while possible membership of the Blades gives them an ear in the political backrooms of the Imperial Palace. The player character need never overthrow the paralysed Elder Council - they rule the province far more directly than the council ever could. Oh, and since they may also be a vampire, they could conceivably hold this power forever. And this without mentioning that the PC also becomes one of the Daedric Lords, the Mad God of the Shivering Isles.
      • In my game, my character actually staged a coup after becoming protector of cyrodil, and had all of the Elder Council arrested and executed in my secret hell-prison (obviously i needed mods to add, among other things, the prison and the Elder Council :P)
    • Is the hero of Morrowind Lord Nerevar reborn seeking to regain his power? A true reincarnation but lacking in any of the original's memories? A simple adventurer who'll fulfill whatever prophecy he has to if it stops the annoying storms? A master manipulator who's using the prophecies to gain unimaginable power over every faction - even ones that otherwise hate each other? It's a question only you can answer.
    • King Hlaalu Helseth. Brilliant, fair minded Magnificent Bastard who skillfully manages to both act in the best interest of his people and province and keep a healthy diplomatic relationship with the rest of the Empire, or a tyrannical Complete Monster who ruthlessly exploits and oppresses his people for personal gain?
    • Just how much of a 'Good' Daedra is Azura, really? For that matter, did she curse the Chimer into becoming the Dunmer, or did she just point it out while warning the Tribunal that there was going to be consequences for what was done?
    • In Skyrim, the Stormcloaks are either brave rebels fighting against religious and imperialist oppression, Stupid Good pawns of the Thalmor playing into their Divide and Conquer strategy, or racist bastards. The Empire, meanwhile, is either a tyrannical pawn of the Thalmor, a pitiful Vestigial Empire due to be wiped away, or the only hope Tamriel has against Thalmor oppression that's simply playing along with their decrees until it can defeat them.
  • Loads of this in the Disney game Epic Mickey.
    • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, for example, has gone from a character similar in personality to Mickey Mouse, to Mickey's bitter and distrustful older half-brother. Although, being abandoned by Walt Disney, being replaced by Mickey, and living in a world of darkness and suffering for a few years might make this particular example a Justified Trope.
    • In several continuities, the Blot's just a crook who aspires world domination, but in Epic Mickey, he's an Eldritch Abomination made of Ink and Thinner, with the possible goal of erasing everything.
  • Fire Emblem fandom is full of these, mostly found in Fanfic:
    • Priscilla from FE 7 is either A) a quiet, melancholy princess troubled by her lingering childish feelings for her brother, B) a Clingy Jealous Girl who hates Lucius and wants to ruin his and Raven's relationship, or C) a manipulative attention-starved slut who latches onto anything male.
    • Eliwood is either an honorable, clean-cut, shining example of good morals and chivalry, a weeping pansy who flails at the very idea of fighting, or a secret self-cutter who just may be mentally ill.
    • Eliwood's son Roy is subject to a lot of this thanks to the different canons he appears in. While FE 6 fic paints him as an upstanding hero with a strong spirit, Super Smash Bros. fic has him as Marth's weepy uke (or just a pyromaniac moron.)
    • Really? I was under the impression that Marth was usually the one wimpified...
    • I've actually always seen Roy and Marth as brothers, as I've only seen them in SSB - Roy always struck me as hot-headed, sharp, pyromaniac, horribly arrogant, with a hair-trigger temper, so on and so forth, but never a moron...
    • Likewise, if you pair Heath from FE 7 with a girl, he will be a brave, noble, and sympathetic Tragic Hero. Pair him with a guy, and he'll be a neurotic and paranoid ukealicious bitch. Hooray for the Double Standard!
    • Is Lyn a badass Action Girl or a Damsel in Distress? Only her love interests know for sure!
      • Or maybe she is a badass who downplayed her own might in order to have a chance to seduce men raised in male dominated societies who would find it difficult to accept a woman stronger than them.
    • Colm from FE 8 can be seen as either a classic Jerk with a Heart of Gold, or an abusive asshole who treats Neimi like crap and so needs to bugger off so she can be paired with someone nicer. As for the Colm/Neimi pairing itself, one could either see it as an ultimately sweet case of Victorious Childhood Friends, or (if you don't want their paired ending) as a more sibling-like dynamic in which Neimi happens to have developed deeper feelings for her buddy.
    • As the game would have it, Gheb is simply just some random Giant Mook/Gonk to be killed by Ephraim. However, a certain Fanfic series portrays him as a Memetic Molester "sex god", by having him kill people by stabbing them with his penis, and by having him invoke Black Comedy Rape.
      • And apparently, he can blow off your head in an explosion of blood and semen when he orgasms while raping you. Out with a Bang, indeed.
    • This is canon for Marth. He's always been noble and brave to a degree but in the earlier games he was decidedly naive and a bit of a bleeding-heart, apparently so much that the OAV adaptation removed the brave and noble part and upped the softness. In Super Smash Brothers Melee, he was something of a show-off. Finally, Shadow Dragon introduced a bolder, more serious version of the character. To a lesser extent Sheeda went through this as well; the games portray her as a sweet, brave girl who supports and loves Marth 100% where the OAV portrays her as a snitty brat with a mean jealous streak. Considering her actions in Shadow Dragon, Sheeda would make a very convincing Manipulative Bastard if the story were told from the villains' point of view with Marth and co. as the antagonists. Lorenz even notes she tends to keep people wrapped around her finger.
    • A lot of the cast of Radiant Dawn wasn't well developed, and are frequently subject to this.
    • Yuria from FE 4. Kind girl whose intial crush on The Hero is fading away to merely friendship? Or a Clingy Jealous Girl who's ready to Murder the Hypotenuse 'cause she can't get her way (with a little help from the resident Complete Monster of a Chessmaster, Manfroy?)
    • Some people see Ephraim as a bastard for killing Selena, despite Selena wanting to stick by her country, right or wrong or emperor killed and reanimated as a zombie doing the will of the Sealed Evil in a Can that constitutes the Big Bad of this game, who wouldn't stand down or defect when Ephraim offered the opportunity. Might venture into Fan Dumb depending on how insistent someone is on convincing everyone else that Ephraim is a Jerkass for killing a noble enemy who wants to boink his sister.
      • Then there's the interpretation that he's emotionally damaged. This makes more sense if you play through his route and watch his scenes with Lyon.
    • Eirika gets this as well. Some fans see her as a hopelessly naive idiot for the mistakes she makes in canon, while others see her as having a spiritual side that makes her emotionally stronger than Ephraim.
  • Alma, of F.E.A.R: is she a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds with a major Freudian Excuse, or is she an evil, crazy, ghost of an evil, crazy, girl with psychic powers who does terrible things for no reason, and was was killed off for the good of the world?
  • Kefka of Final Fantasy VI fulfills so many villain tropes he could be his own trope - Monster Clown, Omnicidal Maniac, Ax Crazy, Complete Monster, etc. But when you think about it, when the party declares the world will continue to live and people will dream, hope and love, all it does is make him angrier, and he decides to keep destroying to try and kill the very emotions the party speaks of so that people will have to be miserable. You could take it as the Magitek experiments taking such a toll on his mind that Kefka is physically incapable of understanding things like love and hope, which is why he wants to destroy them and why he gets angry when the party tells him how they've found such things - Kefka doesn't want other people to know the types of joyous emotions he's been denied, so he puts all his energy into making them miserable. Sorry that Life Isn't Fair, Kefka.
    • What makes Kefka a very interesting villain is the contradiction in his actions before he unleashes untold damage against the world. If Kefka really was such a person who wanted to destroy the world without no chance of survival, why are people still around after a year's worth of time? If his goal is to destroy the planet and all life, with nobody really rising up against him for over a year, then why is he hesitating to wipe out all life? He's got the chance to wipe out all remaining life on the planet, yet he doesn't. Was he so distraught from Celes's wound that it stopped him from attacking? Did the wound make him appreciate the value of human life as he nearly lost his? Did Kefka perhaps try desperately to find ANY meaning of life that wasn't a stereotypical self-help booklet answer? It could be that the interpretation of Kekfa in Final Fantasy VI and Dissidia Final Fantasy aren't so far apart...
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy edges Kefka a bit closer to the above with his final words in Shade Impulse. With the advantage of voice acting, the speech he gave in Final Fantasy VI about how meaningless life is, now comes off as a sorrowful lament rather than an angry rant - dreams, hope, life? The poor guy really just can't get his head around it. He just doesn't get it, and it pisses him off.
    • And from the same game we have Setzer. Happy-go-lucky thrill seeker who Jumped At the Call just for the kicks, or world-weary nihilist who, after his Despair Event Horizon, simply didn't care whether he lived or died? Your call.

Locke: I can't believe this clunky old thing can fly... You sure it'll stay in the air?

Setzer: When things fall, they fall... Life's a game of chance. You play your cards, and Fate plays hers...

    • How about both? He treats everything as a game, and with any game, there's always a chance to either win or lose. Win, and you get to accomplish something and have some fun in the process. Lose, and all you have to lose is your life, which wasn't very much worth living anyway. In a weird way, this makes Setzer almost a sane counterpart to Kefka. What do you do when you have almost no inhibitions and see no meaning in life? You either become a gibbering nihilist bent on random acts of destruction, or you seek your own meaning in life through random acts of altruism.
      • It may be worth noting that Setzer and Kefka are the only characters in VI to have AB blood type, a personality indicator in Japan.
    • Notable too for dealing with Setzer is that the game itself offers alternate character interpretations, due to its translations. Woolsey's SNES translation leans more towards happy-go-lucky thrill seeker (See: "All I've got to lose is my life, and I got that for free!"), whereas the GBA's modified translation paints him as much more depressive and morally grey—the GBA translation outright tells you he's amoral or immoral on his introduction. Since the GBA translation is much closer to the original Japanese overtones (seeing as Squaresoft of Japan was outright horrified at Woolsey's work), it's possible that moodier!Setzer is the "real" Setzer.
    • Minor but consider Cyan. Yes the translated script is the very definition of Wooslyism, but his accent seems to be unique to him and not shared by anybody else in Doma, including the king. Later when you catch Cyan by surprise in the mountains, he starts with some incredibly casual tones before resuming his stiff, formal Olde English. Fake accent?
  • Aerith of Final Fantasy VII is a sweet, virginal paragon of holiness and healing, or a flighty, flirty, manipulative little shrew. Similarly, Tifa is a brave, loyal and loving heroine, or a deluded and hopelessly clingy bint. All depending on which side of the <3-T the rabid shippers are respectively. Cloud is often portrayed as a whiny loser where others might see him as a deeply troubled but otherwise courageous hero. Let's not even get started on the theories about Sephiroth—was he really bad, or just a hopeless slave of "Mother" Jenova's alien malevolence? Word of God says he's really bad, but it won't stop the fics from flowing or the Fanon from growing. Nor, honestly, should it, as long as it's all in good fun. Now, when it becomes Flame Bait...
    • The interpretation of Aerith as a cheerfully kinky Granola Girl—forcing Cloud into transvestitism, anyone? The statement is an alternate interpretation in itself. The majority of fans probably don't ship like either. Aerith is friendly, kind and sweet, but is also a bit flirty. Tifa may be a little clingy, but she is also brave, loyal and a good friend and eventually, mother to Marlene and Denzel. Those of us who ship, however, tend towards hating whoever gets in the way. (Except for those whose OTPs include Ship Mates.)
    • No no, let's do get started on the theories on Sephiroth. From a canonical perspective, he was a Complete Monster, an Omnicidal Maniac, and he had a Squicky fixation on his "Mother", not seeming to notice that she was freakin' beheaded and mutated. But from a fangirl perspective... he has pretty hair! Squee!
      • But he's the Butt Monkey of FFVII! And he'd be the Woobie if only he weren't such a Jerkass, Freudian Excuse heaped upon Freudian Excuse. And Cloud is a jerk for trying to kill him just for shoving him and Tifa out of the way! (This interpretation may be based on him being a Bishounen Silver-Haired Prettyboy, even with Crisis Core.)
      • Seriously though, the theories/alternate interpretation on how much influence or control Jenova had on Sephiroth are still interesting (despite being Jossed,) considering he had her cells injected into him in utero. Is Sephiroth subconsciously following Jenova's goals, or were they perhaps merged together into one being? Did Sephiroth gain control over her only to become the new incarnation of a world-destroying parasite? Did Sephiroth just go bugfuck crazy from being injected with alien cells, or do something similar to Cloud's fractured psyche and subsequent false persona (of being a "descendant of the Ancients") to cover it up? On and on it goes.
      • It's interesting that so few people seem to ever take Sephiroth's childhood into consideration. Here we have a child who was raised from day one under the 'care' of scientists who more than likely didn't see him as a person, and probably spent a good chunk of his youngest years trying and failing to get any affection at all (especially considering psychological research that indicates a human being cannot function without at least some physical affection). Is it any wonder he latched on to a persona that, aside from his friends who betrayed him, and Zack who canonically didn't get a chance to get as close to him, was the first to offer him the affection he desired for most/all of his life? So few seem to see the inherent Woobieness in him from that angle, and are more concerned with what we're presented with in canon. And how pretty he is...
    • There's also Jenova. While she mostly played the role of supplying the Phlebotinum and boss fights, people wondered just how involved she really was. Some put forth the idea that she subtly manipulated Shinra into weakening the planet and creating Sephiroth, others that she was a hyper-intelligent being who was subjugated by Sephiroth, or that they were actually working together, or just a mindless virus that acted only on instinct (like The Thing).
    • Cloud and co. go out of their way to try and stop Shinra from enacting their plan to save the world from certain doom by meteor. They have no plans on how to save it themselves, or any real clues to follow up on at the time. It's easy to see them as gloryhounds who would sooner have the world be destroyed than saved by an enemy. The intended interpretation being that they thought the plan wouldn't work—and if it did, it would sacrifice the Huge Materia, which are story-wise an important tool for protecting the planet.
    • Shinra Electric Power Company: Evil dictator corporation who want to subjugate the world, or just trying to do the best they can to improve quality of life for the inhabitants of Midgar and Junon? I know what I believe.
      • Interestingly enough, Rufus states that his father chose to control the world with money, giving people jobs and the protection of the Shinra army, but that he prefers to do it by fear.
      • Even more interestingly, the worst thing we saw Rufus do as president was the whole show trial and execution of AVALANCHE, believing that will make the people feel better as long as someone gets blamed for Meteor. Compare that to his dad, who ordered the Sector 7 plate dropped in Midgar, murdering hundreds, if not thousands of innocent people just to kill a handful of AVALANCHE members, all while he casually watches from his office listening to opera music.
      • Also regarding Rufus: when he says he wants to rule using fear, that could mean he wants the population to fear him because he's such a brutal dictator, or it could mean he would use fear of terrorists and other lurking bugaboos to keep the people in line.
  • Final Fantasy X always shows the story from the view of Tidus, in the pursuit of his father and how he meets new friends and allies on his quest. There are even some lines of dialogue that say that "this is his story", when Yuna is clearly the more important to the plot. But it becomes more and more obvious, over the course of the game, that he's just extremely self-centered and doesn't pay much attention to what happens to other people. One the one hand, his complete ignorance and disrespect of all tradition may have been what ultimately ended the eternal circle of Sin's death and rebirth. But at the same time he doesn't get any of the numerous hints that summoners have to sacrifice themselves to defeat Sin, even though the player should have it seen it miles before it's said explicitly for the first time. The only help he ever provides for Sin's defeat is encouraging the other characters to doubt what has been portrayed as the truth for a thousand years, if only by being extremely impulsive and ignoring all orders. For most of the game, he just tags along with the group and causes trouble.
    • As Jecht himself had done during the last pilgrimage, Tidus matures a great deal for the most part during the story. Also, not knowing about customs, rules, traditions and such like Jecht didn't, how can it reasonably be held against Tidus for making trouble despite not knowing the rules? To blame him for seeing a lie in the Yevon after the wedding scene and trying to rebel against it when the others clearly saw it and still tried to finish the pilgrimage is really cruel. Furthermore, the player can see the twist coming, Tidus does not and reasonably cannot because nobody ever once explicitly tells the man what's going to happen at journey's end, choosing to stay silent and let him blabber like an idiot. I don't think he's stupid for speaking about things he doesn't know about if nobody tells him anything. Thirdly, while true that he does come off as self-centered and whiny, he does make good points. What would've been the purpose of her dying if the cycle continued anyway as Auron knew it would? An important final thing to notice at near game's end when Yuna tells Tidus that "it's my story too!" which means that while Tidus may be telling us that it's his story, any other character like Lulu or Wakka can tell us "This is my story..." and provide their own monologues if we heard this game played out from their perspectives. Finally, that only help you just listed makes for quite a big step considering that Yevon's teachings was all that the people ever knew up until that point.
    • Tidus being such an arrogant, unlikeable figure that he's nothing but a Creator's Pet and came close to simply being a Designated Hero. He continually bragged about his Blitzball ability, very childishly made a scene with a megaphone in Luca and stole a complete stranger's binoculars on the S.S. Liki after pointlessly climbing all over him. The game was also notorious for changing its mythology to lessen Tidus' misdemeanors; early on, it was clear that Tidus could hurt Yuna if he interrupted her communication with the Fayth in each temple. Later on, Tidus had no issues with trying to pry open the door to the Chamber Of The Fayth, remarking (impolitely) "you can stuff your taboos". Yet nobody pointed out his arrogance or told him to grow up. Instead, like the majority of generically-attractive male teenage characters in Japanese games, his misdemeanors are immediately forgiven or ignored altogether, so the other characters can all get on with praising him, with Yuna bending over backwards to make him a guardian after just meeting him, Lulu saying he was possibly the greatest guardian who ever lived while Auron -- who had actually defeated Sin—was standing ten feet away and so forth.
    • He was having childish fun at journey's beginning and really had no idea about what his journey was going to be like. Blaming Tidus for being immature at the start of the journey is harsh (though understandable given his age, not like his father was any better). Tidus was still immature at that point in the adventure (as we see from his first view with the binoculars) and it's not uncommon for a sports superstar to brag about his trade, especially in such a Crapsack World such as Spira. However, the portion where he told everyone to stuff their taboos was risky, he had every right to say it to them. He only told them to stuff their taboos after 1: The Guado's merciless attack against the Al Bhed. 2: Operation Mi'hen, which was really a political ploy to enhance Yevon love against Al Bhed to further tighten their grip on Spira. 3: Seymour's attempted murder against the party and 4: Yevon opening fire against the party with machina that are explicity forbidden by their own teachings. Tidus did show that he was trying to learn their ways, but once he and the player increasingly saw that Yevon was full of it, he reasonably (though hastily) believed that the fayth bit was a lie as well. Nobody else stopped him, so they probably started thinking outside of Yevon's box. This was evidenced in an optional area where the player can revisit the fayth with no risk of harm. His misdemeanors can also be forgiven if only due to his new person/Sin's Toxin victim status. Finally, Auron didn't defeat Sin, Braska did. However, that came at a price that we (the player and Tidus) learn about as Yunalesca tells the truth behind the final summoning. Lulu praised Tidus because Tidus's new way was the closest to an alternative method anybody's ever tried at vanquishing the beast, and proving that the Beast could be beaten without senseless sacrifices or the teachings of Yevon, which is more than Auron accomplished during his stint as Braska's Guardian.
    • There's one scene in particular that shows how Tidus really matured and was both a Crowning Moment of Awesome and a sign of Tidus being Badass. Right before the party goes to talk with Yunalesca, Tidus is begging Yuna and the others to find another way to stop Sin and they say no. Tidus then gets called out for being childish and selfish by members of the party. He throws it right back in their faces by pulling out a "The Reason You Suck" Speech crossed with Adults Are Useless and What the Hell, Hero? by saying he'd rather be childish then be like the adults of Spira who are a little bit too willing to sacrifice and die needlessly for a brief peace when they haven't taken the time to sit down and think of another way to permanently end the suffering in Spira. That moment just made my finding Tidus likable just skyrocket to admiration when the only answer the party gives is "It's the only way." They just proved him right with that one sentence.
    • It could be argued that Yuna is in fact the real protagonist and hero in the game. For the first half of the game, Lulu and Kimahri care a lot for her, while almost completely ignoring Tidus. Even Auron gives her almost more attention than he has for Tidus. The first half of the game revolves around her mission and decisions. If you see Yuna as the protagonist the story of the game becomes much more deeper and complex.
    • Lulu could be seen as an arrogant jerk who constantly lectures Wakka and Tidus. Or, alternatively, she is the only one trying to help Yuna, whom she practically raised and who is about to give her life to protect everyone in the world, while at the same time having to put up with immature behaviour from Tidus and Wakka, who either don't understand or don't want to face the bleak circumstances of their journey. In that light, she keeps herself in check quite well.
    • Word of God states that the reason Tidus says "This is my story" as much as he does is that the writers were genuinely (and apparently not unfoundedly) concerned that people would think Yuna was the most important character in the story, not Tidus. If it weren't for Tidus and his father being separated from the dream world, and entering into the real world, the real world's Status Quo (band) would never have changed, and thus the events of the plot would not have occurred.
      • Tidus being the main character has another really good argument for it. The game starts with his birth, and ends with his death.
    • The game started with Tidus as the main character but ended with Yuna. Tidus and Yuna couldn't be together because they never existed in the same story. They had that one 'Suteki da ne' moment in Macalania Woods where they met in the middle of the transition, but after that Tidus started his decline and Yuna her ascent. Fairly soon after that scene, Tidus stops narrating, showing that they've come to the end of his story. From then on out, Yuna is blatantly the main character despite Tidus still being the player avatar.
    • It's also possible that Tidus is simply a Unwitting Pawn, created for the purpose of breaking the cycle of death. The fayth explicitly state they have grown tired of maintaining Sin, and they get one of their creations dumped into the real world, where he goes on to change things just enough to bring about Sin's downfall. From that perspective, Tidus is merely a puppet, and is being controlled by the fayth the entire time.
      • This is a particularly interesting idea if you run with the common fan theory that he was modeled on Shuyin, a young man from Zanarkand who dared to fall in love with a Summoner and gave his life trying to stop the senseless war before it started.
    • It's easy to see how it is Tidus's story when you realize Yuna's story stretches from Besaid to about Zanarkand, at which point she becomes about as pertinent as Lulu or Wakka. Tidus's story, however, stretches from the beginning of the game all the way to his death.
    • You could say that Tidus and Yuna are equally important. Without Tidus,the spiral of death would have continued without interruption, but he would have no motive to find an alternate method of defeating Sin without his love for Yuna.
      • That doesn't make her equally important, though, if her importance isn't in what she does, but what Tidus does because of her. That still leaves Tidus moving the plot instead of Yuna.
    • In the sequel, does Tromell really regret what Seymour did in the Guado's name and what he himself allowed to happen by preventing Yuna from sending him and destroying the evidence that he killed his father, or is he mainly taking on his Atoner stance out of fear that the Ronso will annihilate the Guado?
      • Rather unlikely actually, as evidence points to Tromell and the other Guado actually WANTING to be annihilated by the Ronso. Especially if you actually let it happen, the Guado are strangely at peace...even if they have suffered Genocide and there are no Fiends made from them as they actually willingly go to the Farplane. They must of REALLY wanted to Atone for the horrible stuff they did in FFX to go "that" way.
  • Maria from Silent Hill 2: Although in the main scenario she seems to be the product of James' delusion created to seduce him, remind him of his guilt, or even to punish him, she is shown in different way—more human, independent and having her own will—in the "Born from a Wish" scenario. It suggests that Maria is rather a tragic character, not an evil creature. Also, her outcome depends on player activity during the game.
    • James is practically this trope incarnate, as all the information regarding him is provided either by him or products of his delusions. How much did he really love his wife? To what extent did her illness affect him? Did he kill her because of mercy? Anger? Frustration? Desire? Even his fate is left to interpretation, as Word of God states that it is up to the player which of the four Multiple Endings is the "real" ending.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics offers an In-Universe alternate character interpretation and posits the "real" truth lost due to history Written by the Winners: Delita was a Magnificent Bastard, Ramza was The Messiah, the Church was corrupt, etc. etc. etc.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance fans are firmly divided among "Marche was a hero who helped his friends out of a Lotus Eater Machine" and "Marche was a villain who destroyed the dreams of his friends and his little brother, as well as a whole world, full of sweet, innocent moogles." It depends on how real they happen to think Ivalice is.
    • This also determines whether Marche was a leader so charismatic that he could convince a small cadre of disparate people to help him destroy their own world, or delusional enough to think he was one.
    • The sequel, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 muddies the issue even more.
  • Tai from Gears of War may have been a little bit psychotic before he was mentally broken and Driven to Suicide by Locust torture.
    • "I like the glow of Locust blood in this light." "You've got a sick mind, Tai."
    • Augustus Cole is The Big Guy of the game's Five-Man Band. A former Thrashball player (essentially an Expy of the NFL), he always shown to be upbeat and fearless, usually spouting some sports-related terminology ("We're going into overtime," and "Get back in the game, Baby!" are both things he says upon reviving a downed teammate). He is only playable as the viewpoint character once in the entire series, for half a chapter in Gears of War 3. In that chapter, he starts hallucinating, seeing his enemies as players on a rival Thrashball team as he recklessly charges across the battlefield. After this, one has to wonder if maybe Cole has been so upbeat and fearless because he was playing Thrashball in his head for the entire war.
      • Doubtful, given that Cole's dialogue in other games shows a full awareness of where you actually are and what enemies you're actually fighting (his rant against the Locust Queen in Gears of War 2 being the crowning example). The 'thrashball sequence' in game 3 is because he's slightly out of it due to a combo of being completely exhausted, coming back to the ruins of the thrashball stadium he spent most of his professional life in after years of war, and being knocked for a loop by a nearby explosion.
  • Based on a few bits from the games, Kraden from Golden Sun may be the real villain. The villains from the first game called him "Cunning beyond measure." Methinks there be some hidden layers to that old coot... Not all scholars are good. Most of the events seem to have stemmed from the fact that Kraden insisted on going on into the temple at Mt. Aleph, and it's implied that the villains couldn't have gotten through without that. Then he insisted on taking the Stars from there, seemingly knowing there was a powerful guardian waiting (he recognized it almost instantly as such).
    • Overly curious, yes, but that hardly makes him a villain. And this raises a question, what did he want with the elemental stars to begin with? There's no timeframe given on when he reaches the conclusion that the world with die without Alchemy, perhaps lighting the lighthouses was his goal all along?
  • Claude of Grand Theft Auto III has this, due to his Heroic Mime status. Is he motivated by revenge against Catalina? Against anyone who betrays him? Is he merely a Punch Clock Villain who takes all these jobs for money? Power? Blood lust? Some combination of the above? On a smaller scale: Did Claude actually shoot Maria or did he merely fire into the air to shut her up?
    • CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a divisive character, due to his more anti heroic attributes. Some view him as an ultimately good person who has to do bad things to help the people he loves. Others view him as just as much a monster as every other GTA protagonist.
    • Also from San Andreas: Is Sweet Johnson a Jerkass who ran his brother out of town, blaming him for his little brother's death, disrespects said brother for trying to get his family out of the ghetto, and deserves everything he gets? Or is he a stand-up guy who cares deeply about his home, family and friends, and wants to get everything back to what it was in the good old days and ends up in a deep pile of crap he didn't deserve because of it?
  • This review of the freeware game Guardian of Paradise is perhaps the best example of Alternative Character Interpretation ever made.
  • Guild Wars Canon gives a bit of a mixed message about the undead lord Palawa Joko. The background lore and the Battle of Jahai bonus mission seem to portray him as a genuine Evil Overlord, and teaser lore for Guild Wars 2 reveal that he will succeed at conquering Elona, but in all his other appearances he seems somewhat inept and comical at times. Some of the fans have tried to reconcile these, taking into account that Joko's something of a Draco in Leather Pants and the fact that his non-Battle of Jahai appearances were during an Enemy Mine with the player character by saying that Joko was Obfuscating Stupidity to make sure he seemed like the lesser threat and gain your sympathy, and generally keep the status quo intact (The game does not give you a choice).
  • John-117: Badass Super Soldier or tragic hero?
    • The second probably comes from the Expanded Universe with the SPARTAN-IIs rather unfortunate conscription - the concept of John-117 being trained from a child isn't explicitly stated in the games. He could almost be considered a villain, and certainly is from the Covenant perspective. He's slaughtered thousands of them, many which were forced to fight. Some enemies, like the Unggoy (grunts), run from you in fear, and a few scream for mercy. 'Demon' is an apt name from that perspective, and, in Halo 3, the Sanghelli (elites) obey you mainly out of fear.
      • Almost, save for the fact that he's trying to stop the Covenant from destroying the galaxy.
      • According to The Final Grunt, John was conscripted as a child.
    • A Hero, or a Weapon?
      • Very compelling. Exactly how much free will does John possess? Is he doing what he thinks is right, or what he's been forced into thinking is right? (Is there any difference?) Are his amazing feats the result of true heroism and ingenuity or exactly what he was designed to do? (Again, difference?)
      • In the books he does have to decide making a somewhat minor decision between what is morally right and what may possibly be best for humanity, and he chooses the former.
      • Given that John-117 openly defies the Chief of Naval Operations in Halo 3 to insist that the climactic battle of the war be fought his way, he clearly possesses at least some measure of free will. Whether or not John can freely choose whether or not to fight may be doubtful, but he clearly is entirely self-directing in how he chooses to fight. And, given that he was willing to risk the continued survival of Earth for a chance to save Cortana, he also seems to have discretion in choosing why he fights.
    • This applies to every spartan in existence...
    • The Rookie from ODST could be thought of as merely another silent protagonist. But when you look at his history, you will find that he recently endured a horrific massacre of his previous squad and all other forces there, implying (though not directly saying) that he has some major PTSD.
    • Noble 6 could qualify as a Tragic Hero along with his/her typical Hero depiction when you think about it and have some knowledge of the Halo universe outside of the games. He/She was one of the 3 survivors (of a few hundred) SPARTAN-III army that were all killed in a suicide mission. Then on Reach He/She fails to defend Reach, witnessing the death of his teammates, watching all his friendly forces die around him, and to top it all off, he dies alone. Not what you would call a happy life.
    • The Elites: ProudWarriorRaceGuys or homicidal Jerkasses?
      • ProudWarriorRaceGuys: They welcome their defeated enemies into their ranks as brothers, forgive all sins at the end of wars, and argued for humanity to be allowed to join the Covenant rather than be entirely wiped out, and despised the attrocities they had commited against humanity later on, Rtas Vadumee going so far as to lose all sense of what makes him who he is and visit a planet he personally glassed to find the answers.
  • Marathon: Considering that the Marathon trilogy has far more Fanon than actual Canon, there's plenty of room for interpretation. Is Durandal a self-centered psychopathic computer saving the colony ship and universe just because he's in it, or The Atoner trying to make up for what he did under Strauss's control (and possibly even before he was known as Durandal)?
    • Though not as obvious, almost all of interpretations about Master Chief above can be applied to the player character, The Security Officer.
  • Scott Shelby from Heavy Rain. Is he really a nice guy driven by his grief and dark past to kill in order to fulfill an insane "test" that even he knows is wrong, and trying to make up for the pain he caused by helping the survivors, or is he just a Manipulative Bastard using those around him to achieve his ends, while covering his tracks?
    • Zero Punctuation likes to pretend that Norman Jayden is a time traveler from the future and that his random nosebleeds are him experiencing the changes to the past Back to The Future style.
    • It's a possibility that Ethan, Madison, Norman, and Scott all investigate the Origami Killer so that they could die.
  • Were the Brothers Sun actually in the wrong when it came to the siege of Dirge? The Empire was dying. Hundreds of thousands had perished already, and the drought would have continued for 3 more years, killing thousands more and collapsing the Empire. The Water Dragon had it in her power to end the suffering and refused. The Spirit Monks were perfectly willing to let more people die and civilization collapse in order to serve the whims of their Goddess. Queue one massive tragedy that leaves the Monks dead, the Emperor an insane ghost, the youngest brother's spirit bound to an abomination, and the surviving brother off in the backwoods pulling off a Xanatos Gambit to force Order back onto Creation. On the other hand, Sun Hai admits during the conversation with his daughter and his Motive Rant before fighting the hero that he was largely motivated by wanting to keep his throne, and given that his brothers try to betray him in order to seize power, it can also be argued that everyone involved was selfish.
    • While at first the Water Dragon may seem to be a Jerkass God for withholding water from the Empire, she really isn't when one takes a look at the way the world works. If she gave water to the Empire then another land would suffer their drought, she admits as much near the end of the game. People were going to die from drought no matter what she did, the only thing that would change is the location of the people dying.
  • Is Daxter from Jak and Daxter a loud mouth, wise cracking, cowardly, sidekick or, secretly a great hero in waiting ready to take Jak's place if the time ever comes? Greatly shown in Daxter...then again it might just be me.
  • The Nobodies are either uncaring monsters that act like people, entirely victims of propaganda, victims of manipulations, victims that have been manipulated into being uncaring monsters. Some of these seem to both be true, most commonly people point out that they certainly do monstrous things but it seems clear that everything DiZ says about them isn't true. (Others have said that "if Nobodies are a race, then Sora and Riku are guilty of genocide and Ansem is a racist.")
    • What Diz says is true, when talking about normal Nobodies. The problem is that he applies the same ideas to Roxas, who can and does feel emotions, (probably something to do with Ventus) and Namine, who he admits in the Secret Ansem Reports is almost nothing like a Nobody to begin with.
    • Others decide to interpret other characters. Such as how Sora is often portrayed as being a blithering idiot or how Kairi and Namine are portrayed as being evil. And Riku is a full-on woobie who certainly didn't mean to Kick the Dog throughout the first game.
    • Is Sora in the Fanfic Kingdom Hearts: The Short and Honest Version really schizophrenic? It makes sense when you take into account all the Character Development he went through. Oh yeah, and Bob Marley's Ghost. And the others.
      • Also, because Namine is often seen drawing, there's a good number of Yaoi Fangirls who think that she's... well, a Yaoi Fangirl.
    • Due to graphical limitations and some ambiguous dialogue, Axel can be seen as an Axe Crazy psycho in the original Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Not so much in the remake or sequels (he was certainly a cold-blooded killer in Chain of Memories, but the 3D version shows that it's clearly not of the psychotic variety) but the damage has been done.
    • Then there's the tons of fanwank over the various personalities of the members of Organization XIII when they're not trying to regain their identities and generally be evil. Most of these interpretations have been influenced by Flanderization, Draco in Leather Pants and the endless supply of Ho Yay connected to this group.
    • By the end of 358/2 Days, it's all made less confusing and pretty clear that none of the members, except perhaps Xion, Roxas, and (after he's sincerely befriended the two of them) Axel, can feel anything and are more than happy to murder or manipulate the fellow members of the Organization to further their own goals. This is exemplified by Xemnas himself who orders Xion and Roxas to fight to the death. He may have tried to arrange this before, too. In the end, Roxas defeats Xion and absorbs her, ending her existence entirely.
      • When Xion fights Roxas, she is not only attacking him but taunting him despite that they're friends. It's actually highly possible to see this as a Thanatos Gambit since Roxas still benefits from her supposed death. They're so close to each other that Xion's willing to sacrifice herself so Roxas can go on living and benefit...which some people will do.
  • Kirby; a cute happy little fellow who helps out Dream Land and saves the day? Or a cute Heroic Sociopath who only cares for his own satisfaction? All the while blundering into saving the world almost by accident? His motives for doing good are often... less then noble.
    • This is Kirby. He eats when he is hungry and sleeps when he is tired.
      • Anyone should eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are tired, whether you are Kirby or not.
    • Kirby's Adventure. He found out that Dedede had broken the Star Rod, thus keeping him (and, granted, the rest of Dream Land as well) from having dreams. He goes and beats up everyone to get the pieces, then finds out Dedede had done it to seal away Nightmare. Oops.
    • Most of the games in Kirby Super Star consist of Kirby just kind of charging around, occasionally fixing something, again by accident.
      • In the first game, he is deliberately stopping Dedede after he steals all the food, and in the ending can be seen giving the food back to the people. In Dyna Blade he might be bungling around, but the act of kindness he shows at the end is deliberate. It's possible he lacks self awareness (the anime says he's a baby), but he's almost definitely heroic.
    • And the ultimate example is in Kirby: Squeak Squad. In which 90% of the game is Kirby going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge because somebody stole his cake. Which was a lie, anyways.
      • Wait, wait, wait. The Squeaks should have known to never ever mess with Kirby. Especially when it involves food.
        • But the funny thing is, we never know for sure if the Squeaks actually stole Kirby's cake. None of the treasure chests have it. In any case, Kirby's first target, Dedede, sure didn't take it.
          • But both Crystal Shards and Canvas Curse show Kirby going out of his way to set things right. It's not like he never does anything heroic.
    • However, even if Kirby is a bumbling little fellow who merely fixes things by accident, his status as a skilled fighter can hardly be debated, as it's doubtful he was able to defeat so many Big Bads by luck alone.
    • He also has a tendency to eat enemies, including the cappies, who are described as friendly intelligent beings in the cartoon, and many other creatures who seem innocent, such as the Bronto Burts, who mostly just fly in the air without seeming to purposely cause any harm to Kirby.
      • Key words being "in the cartoon". They are similar canons, yes, but exhibit significant differences.
      • (Or maybe only some of the cappies are?)
      • The fan-made live action series There Will Be Brawl completely suppresses everything good in Kirby and takes his bad side (his tendency to eat whatever walks) to the extreme. In this series Kirby becomes a cannibalistic maniac, as well as a pervert and a sadist. His appearance is utter Nightmare Fuel. He is an obvious tribute to Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs. American Kirby Is Hardcore, indeed. VERY hardcore.
    • This issue of Brawl in the Family shows a rather fitting view for this trope.
    • Sonic for Hire chucks out the "heroic" bit and just makes the guy a full-on sociopath. It fits what he does in the games pretty well.
    • Dedede gets his own share of it, too. The games portray him as a bumbler of a king whose hatred of the stars and gluttony often leads him into to mischief, yet also occasionally does positive acts, while Right Back At Ya! makes him a cruel(yet bumbling) dictator who oppresses the Cappys and repeatedly assaults Kirby for no reason other than being a threat to his power.
  • The Jedi of Knights of the Old Republic: Brave, wise heroes who study the very nature of the galaxy itself in order to ensure peace and justice? Or narrow-minded, arrogant, hypocritical bastards who deserve to die because their code stops Revan from being with Bastila/Carth?
    • A point raised in the sequel, in which many of the Jedi masters questioned that if fully half the Jedi Order turned to the darkside, how can they claim to be teaching them the correct values?
    • They sat on their asses and all but let the Mandalorians commit mass genocide on the Republic because of a vague sense of "something lurking behind it." And the fact, that, in the comics they tried to cover up the genocide of Cathar! Maybe all Quatra had to do to piss off Juhani was tell the truth. Years later, as Sherruck and his bandits prey on the innocent farmers just outside their enclave's doorsteps, the Jedi sit on their collective butts, and again, it's Revan who goes and takes the Mandalorians down! To be fair, they were more or less right about sending Jedi to war being a bad idea. The fallout is seen in the sequel. (And they don't let the bandits roam around Dantoonie out of laziness but lack of manpower. Revan is able to handle the worst of it by him/herself only because... well, it's Revan, dammit.)
      • Only because Revan turned to the Dark Side. If he hadn't, none of this would have happened. And Revan only fell to the Dark Side because the Jedi were doing nothing, forcing him to go to war to save the galaxy, in his eyes.
        • Here's a controversial one, at that: DID Revan turn to the Dark Side? The exact nature of the conflict is fairly ambiguous. The Jedi may have declared everyone who went to fight the Mandalorians to be Dark Jedi immediately after they left. Revan and Malak have pretty uncreative names for Sith Lords, as though someone had just gone? "Revan? No, that's not Revan. That's DARTH Revan of the SITH." It really casts some doubt on who, exactly, started the war after Revan and his crew came back. We're TOLD Revan did, but we're told that by Jedi.
          • We're also told that by Malak, who has unquestionably gone Dark Side by the time we meet him again in the first game. Indeed, Malak's dying words (in the Light Side ending, at least) are an affirmation that both of you walked down to the path to the Dark Side but only one of you was able to walk back. In addition, the Star Forge is unquestionably a Dark Side artifact, and Bastila has clearly gone Dark Side at Malak's urging before we choose to either snap her out of it or else jump off the slippery slope and join her there.
    • And while we are at it, let's frost the cake with them pulling a Mind Rape on a captured Revan just to try and find the Sith's secret weapon. OK, Revan may have been all but brain-dead, but there isn't a lot of evidence either way. What exactly were they planning to do with the player character if the Endar Spire hadn't been attacked, and they wound up succeeding in their plan to use Revan as an unwitting tool to lead them to the Star Forge? They may SAY they don't execute their prisoners, but considering that the trope is named From a Certain Point of View for a reason? She/he probably would have met with a "tragic accident".
      • Again, in all fairness, while it puts the Jedi under questionable light, Bastila does argue for it pretty well simply by asking "What else were we supposed to do?" With ulterior motives and all, it was probably the kindest way you could treat "the biggest villain in the galaxy".
        • That's debatable. Who is to save that Revan wouldn't have preferred to simply being killed instead of having them Mindrape him/her?
          • In any given KOTOR playthrough that is a question the player must answer for themselves. The Light Side ending has Revan accepting what the Council did to his mind, the Dark Side ending has Revan rejecting it and re-embracing evil. However, as KOTOR II assumes that the 'canon' ending of KOTOR was Light Side Revan, the franchise as a whole goes with the theory 'Revan accepted the Council's mind rewrite'.
      • It has been theorised they suspected more about Revan's fall than they were willing to divulge. The sequel raises the possibility that Revan actually chose to turn to The Dark Side due to the fringe benefits of being evil, but had good intentions and stuck with them. Therefore it was a Batman Gambit so that he would revert to his naturally lightsided state. Or something...
    • On the subject of KOTOR, there's Kreia. Dear lord, Kreia. Well-Intentioned Extremist? Complete Monster? Tragic Hero? Old hag full of hot air? The debates rage.
      • Speaking of Kreia, thanks to her, the suggestion that perhaps Revan didn't actually fall to The Dark Side is canon. Well, as canon as anything she ever says, anyway.
        • As well as Kreia's reason for what she wants to do. She certainly has good intentions when she tries to destroy the force because she sees it as completely unfair. it control's people's lives and shapes the flow of the universe to it's own "will," and Kreia just wants people to live life with their own free will, not by some unfair force that does whatever it pleases. Without the Force, the Jedi and Sith couldn't possibly exist. Meaning the many future Jedi-Sith Wars, the Clone Wars and Palpatine would have never existed. Saving potentially trillions of lives.
  • Kain of Legacy of Kain, Why did he choose to reign the Nosgoth instead of saving it? Does he seek balance or total annihilation of humans? Does he respect Raziel, or is he just a pawn to him?
    • In fact, this trope can be - and has been - applied to nearly all significant characters in the series. Raziel: Genuine villain turned-hero-seeking-redemption or vengeful Axe Crazy maniac with delusions of grandeur? Moebius: Magnificent Bastard, Well-Intentioned Extremist or just another clueless pawn? Vorador: Gluttonous sado-hedonist or a disillusioned cynic? Ariel: Helpful spirit or undead manipulator? The Elder God: Parasite? God? Parasite who genuinely thinks he's (a) god? Parasite who claims to be (a) god (presumably for the ability to more easily draw victims to itself)? The list goes on like that.
    • Soul Reaver 2 brings up a completely different possibility. When faced with the Sadistic Choice, Kain decided to Take a Third Option of starting a Xanatos Gambit to make a Stable Time Loop until, as he put it, the coin lands on its edge.
      • Which brings up another ACE. Did Kain let the pillars fall out of selfishness and realized later there was another way or did he have a plan from start.
        • Being the Scion of Balance, Kain could have weighed both choices, and his powers as Scion made him realize both choices were unbalanced (due to all the conditions around sacrifice or survival being rigged on every level), and thus, neither really mattered. As survival at least gives one the chance to fix things later, he probably sensed that one as being "the least unbalanced" and went for it. As well, by that point in the story, he was quickly becoming the cynical bastard we knew and loved later.
  • Legend of Mana has an In-Universe ACI for the entire world of Fa'Diel - The storyteller Pokiehl and the Sproutlings believe that Fa'Diel is All Just a Dream. This, combined with the imagery in the opening cutscene suggests therefore that the events of the game are the Dying Dream of the Mana Tree as it goes up in flames.
  • In 7 Days a Skeptic, the events of the game show er, John trying to warn everybody about the supernatural phenomena, but in 6 Days a Sacrifice, it shows John, aka Malcolm killing several Welders, Yahtzee implies in the commentary that everything was all Malcolm's story, and he killed everybody he hasn't confirmed though.
    • And the most interesting part is, there is a bit of evidence supporting the possession, in the game, Malcolm constantly sees the ghost of Serena, for no other reason than to screw with your head, and also the fact the first death in the flashback in the last game is "The Welder" being impaled, and every death shown afterward.
  • The theories on the Mario-Bowser-Princess Peach relationship are manifold, and reflect the opinee's view of life better than any Rorschach blot could. Interpretations from the myth of St. George to a S&M game are available.
    • And that's not even getting into the God-vs-Satan interpretations...
    • Bowser Jr.: In his canon appearances, his action is to take Peach hostage and preventing Mario to take her back. But does he do that to follow his father's steps to threat Mario, or does he believe that Peach is the closest being he has for a "mama", and wants to get his "family" together? Perhaps his way to do that reflects what he learns from his father, that is to take things by brute force - but neither of them seem to want to really hurt Peach.
    • Also Bowser. Idiotic overly macho king, or obfuscating stupidity on a political mastermind? i.e., his kingdom is all lava and igneous rocks. Peach's isn't. And the best way to gain political power in a monarchy is to marry into it.
      • You also have to remember one thing. Who do you think builds all those Dr. Eggman-worthy (IQ of 300) machines and forms all those evil plots? A Goomba?
        • How about Iggy Koopa? He's said to be good with machines, and he's one of Bowser's children.
  • The Lumas in Super Mario Galaxy. Are they really magical star creatures or are they a race of sufficiently advanced aliens whose technology has given them godlike powers but has also caused them to revert to a childlike mentality after eons of nigh on omnipotence? You decide.
    • Rosalina gets this as well. We are told her origin, but that does nothing to explain her powers (one Toad nervously asks if she is a witch). How did she know how to build a universe traversing space station? How did she turn into a giant at the end? Is she the Mario universe's equivalent of a god? Was the entire plot of the game a gambit to trigger the destruction and rebirth of the universe that ends the game?
  • Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Brothers are sometimes considered to be Heroic Sociopaths or even Villain Protagonists because they tend to slaughter tons of seemingly-harmless creatures on their quest to rescue the Princess. In the actual games, primary antagonist Bowser can range from being a Harmless Villain to a Complete Monster.
    • Do Super Mushrooms restore people to normal size or grow them? The difference means that either Mario is rescuing an unusually tall woman, or Mario is rescuing a 12-foot-tall giant.
      • Interestingly enough, if you finish the All Stars version of Super Mario Brothers while small Mario, you will receive a Super Mushroom and grow to Super Mario. Whether that means that Mario was always supposed to be at Princess Peach's height or was given it so he could grow to her size is less clear, though, although this would suggest the former.
  • While on the subject of Mario, what about Birdo? Is he/she/it Super Mario Bros. 2's gender-bending dino-bloke or the girlfriend of Yoshi's that the spin-off games make him/her/them out to be? Although this could be attributed to being All There in the Manual causing some problems amongst the developers of the later games thanks to a dose of Viewer Gender Confusion (and also a cause of!) and Did Not Do the Research.
  • The Reapers in Mass Effect periodically kill of all sapient life in the galaxy as a game. If they were just Berserkers their behavior doesn't make a whole lot of sense: a smart Berserker would just ruin the environment of any planet capable of supporting advanced life, making sure no future threats ever get a chance to evolve. Waiting for your enemies to develop advanced technology before killing them makes much more sense if you're doing it because you want a challenge.
    • The Reapers are machines of war, it is made clear that their sole reason of existence is to destroy. However, they are machines and thus were built by someone; likely the first group of species to have lived in this galaxy. It is very possible that they are the left-over relics of a race that built an all-too perfect weapon, one that destroyed their enemies and then turned on their masters. Who is to say that the tech of a Reaper, which seems god-like to the people of the galaxy, was not just advanced tech to the creatures that made them? Following this logic, the Reapers do not destroy life because it is a game, or because they are following some 'higher purpose we can not comprehend'; it is because they are machines, and as machines, they are doing as their programming commands; it is just what they do because it is what their most baseline code tells them to do. The Reapers, could in fact, be slaves to themselves incapable of free will, thought, or emotion.
    • Arguably, the Reapers ARE the first advanced race evolving by assimilating the aspects of each new advanced species in order to maintain their apex standing. Since the revelation of their evolution, it can be seen that they have undergone hundreds, if not thousands, of tramsformations as each new conquered species becomes the standard by which they are set. They could be seen as Proud Race Warrior Guys as they only assume new forms of species capable of challenging them. This evidenced in the fact that they enslaved the Protheans but decided that humans should become the new template based on Shepard's actions.
    • It is explained how the Reapers make more of them, turning an organic race into biomass and creating a new being out of that with machine parts thrown in. Since Sovereign was destroyed they needed a replacement. They let civilization advance far enough to allow races to expand to the necessary requirements but kill them all before they have a chance against the them.
    • As of Mass Effect 2 the Geth, who existed entirely to sink bullets into in the first game, are shown to be a machine race that has no interest in wiping out the quarians and other races. The Reaper-supporting Geth are even considered heretics by the primary Geth culture.
    • Mass Effect 2 invokes this trope with Cerberus. The first game painted them as terrorists—possibly omnicidal terrorists. The sequel suggests that the darker actions of the first Mass Effect were isolated incidents, and that, at worst, the group best fits the mold of Well-Intentioned Extremist, devoted to humanity's interests while not necessarily causing any harm to any other sapient life.
      • Jossed by Mass Effect 3, where its revealed that The Illusive Man intentionally recruited sympathetic individuals (mostly disaffected Ex-Alliance members) to be part of Shepard's crew in order to gain both his/her sympathies and secure their investment in completing the mission.
    • Aria T'Loak: is she the ruthless, amoral Pirate Queen driven exclusively by Pragmatic Villainy, or is she an Anti-Hero of a particularly hardcore bent who is controlling Omega in the only way possible?
    • Tali'Zorah nar Rayya: kind, caring engineer entitled to occassional snappiness from her upbringing in a paranoid society and being biased against by the galaxy, or snippy, hyper-defensive shrew that sees Fantastic Racism in seemingly everything?
      • This mostly stems from the habit Tali has of bringing up anti-quarian sentiments over apparently unrelated things, and her incredible hatred and fear of synthetics. Her interactions with Jacob after joining the team imply she's not terribly slow to make conclusions about other people either.
      • Quarians/geth in general. Was the Morning War justifiable as a product of panic and ignorance? What about their assault on geth-occupied Rannoch during the Reaper invasion? As for the geth: should they have tried harder to seek alternate ways to avoid annihilation at the hands of the quarians? Are the non-heretic geth responsible for the actions of the heretics? Are they still trustworthy after they allied with the Reapers to save themselves from the quarian invasion?
        • The flashbacks to the Morning War in Mass Effect 3 show that the geth tried everything, including politely standing there and asking to not be killed while the quarians were killing them, to find a peaceful resolution first. The quarians meanwhile not only started the Morning War with an unprovoked attack, they carried it forward even to the point of mowing down unresisting unarmed protestors (both geth and quarian) en masse, with grenade launchers. One can argue later events back and forth, but the Morning War was presented as a 100% no-holds-barried act of quarian dickery.
    • There's also a floating idea that the team Shepard starts Mass Effect 2 with are part of an elaborate plan by the Illusive Man to ensure Shep's cooperation. Miranda is vocally Cerberus loyal and mission-focused, intended to appeal to Shepard's renegade tendencies. Jacob, with his Alliance-related backstory and more personal ethics-oriented outlook was intended to appeal to the paragon war hero in Shepard. Some take it further and point out that Shepard conviently gets off the station in the intro with a sexy woman and a man with washboard abs, implying that maybe they were put chosen to appeal to Shepard sexually.
      • This is a case of Occam's Razor: The Illusive Man planned for Miranda and Jacob to be on the Commander's team, yes. But the fact that Shepard leaves with them just shows that TIM chose them well- the Shadow Broker's files say that Wilson was working for him when he sabotaged the project, not TIM.
      • Mass Effect 3 actually confirms that the Illusive Man did recruit Shepard's crew to appease him/her. Not Miranda or Jacob, specifically, but the Normandy crew were chosen to whitewash Cerberus' more extremist view. Kelly Chambers, Ken Donnelly, Gabby Daniels, and Dr. Chakwas were specifically chosen to provide trustworthy faces.
  • Capcom's characterisation of Mega Man X characters varies from game to game, so some fanfics aren't exactly 'alternate' as much as they are 'trying to pick one'. X himself ranges from a whiny doe-eyed wuss who depends on Zero for everything, a noble fighter sometimes hamstrung by his doubts, a naive dope who trusts everyone, or a macho warrior killing every Maverick on sight. Zero is either a womanizing loud-mouth warrior, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, a nice guy with a Jerkass Facade because he's been betrayed so many times, or a cold-hearted killer. Thanks to the first game's remake, is Sigma just a Maverick infected by Wily who wants to dominate the world, or is he just staging a rebellion to test X's abilities in the interest of the good of the Reploids?
    • Here's a new one for X, due to sourcebook info stating that Dr Light created a "suffering circuit" to enable X to examine moral matters more deeply: Is he putting himself through all this because he truly wants to make the world a better place for human and reploid alike, or did the 30 year testing phase in his capsule enslave him to Dr. Light's ideals?
      • The prequel anime included in the remake does clear a few things up about X: he does hesitate in decisive moments, but a flashback where he actually talked with Dr. Light before being sealed away, exchanging the testing phase with Dr. Light saying humanity wasn't mature enough to accept X yet shows he chose to fight of his own free will, with Dr. Light saying he wanted X to guide humans and robots, not ordering him.
    • Axl, the latest hero character, ranges from a hyper-active little kid, a good-natured rookie, a creepy Child Soldier who sees everything as a game, or an angsty cutter. (Yes, really.)
    • Iris, Zero's romantic interest, varies from a complete saint, a seemingly sweet person who is secretly crazy, a cute girl who wants everyone to get along, or a petty little brat who doesn't want to realize that Zero doesn't like her or tries to between the Ho Yay. Alia tends to fall into some of these as well.
    • Vile: A complete psychopath who wants to kill X to get even for his defeat, or is he a cynical Rebellious Spirit who isn't all that different from the heroes or a reploid with an obession with X and will do anything to be with him?
    • For that matter, the entire "Maverick" thing. Canonically it's caused by viruses, but especially in the first and fourth games, there's very little to suggest that it was anything other than what it looked like on the surface: a rebellion. If that's what it was, were they even necessarily bad? Moreover, was Repliforce in 4 really bad at all or were the Maverick Hunters and/or humans just paranoid and overzealous bastards who couldn't stand the thought of robots not following orders? This is compounded severalfold by the fact that in the Zero series (same universe, just a hundred years or so later), the Irregulars are a genuine robot rebellion (and the good guys) against a tyrannical society which seems to hate all reploids, and the leader of their enemies is a copy of X.
        • Alternatively alternatively, they're an army answerable to the world governments, and therefore they have agreed to obey orders unless they were needlessly suicidal or would involve doing the kinds of things they were framed for. Throw in the parts where their troops and their equipment were seen at the scene of an atrocity, and their steadfast refusal to come in for questioning so they could potentially clear themselves came not from the worry that they'll be scapegoated but rather a glorified mechanical pissing contest (which would look really suspicious), and it becomes less "overzealous bastards who couldn't stand the thought of robots not obeying orders" and more "panicked but justifiable reaction".
        • It's stated in the manual that Signas took over the Maverick Hunters after the previous commander retired out of shame over the events of X4, so there's some credence to the belief that the Maverick Hunters are basing their definition of "Maverick" more on whether they follow orders rather than whether they're actively causing harm to humans/Reploids, either willingly or through a virus.
      • The Cadre fits this a little more. Initially they seem to be a bunch of greedy, power-hungry sociopaths who cruelly oppress and subjugate everyone in Giga City - until you find that a few of their members are surprisingly fair and honorable people, the fact that they're the project of unethical experiments and are being manipulated by The Man Behind the Man. Even Ferham, the seemingly sadomasochistic Baroness, has a genuinely tender moment with a fellow comrade. Their leader might even have a point that using force really might be the only way for a group of reploids to be heard. Despite all the horrible things they've done in the game, they're a hard lot to figure out, which is even reflected in the game when they're posthumously deferred Maverick status.
      • Similarly, fanon popularly puts up a dividing line between "infected" Mavericks and just regular reploids who are criminals. What becomes of the latter falls into this as well - are they shot on sight in a display of Fantastic Racism?
      • Maverick Hunters didn't really start their Knight Templar tendencies until after the Repliforce incident. Did the Maverick Hunters start their shoot first, ask questions later because of Repliforce, where free-willed Mavericks proved to be just as dangerous as viral Mavericks? Magma Dragoon dropped a floating city killing millions to draw the protagonists into a fight with him, and the Repliforce preferred to start a shooting war over clearing themselves from a frame job for incredibly petty reasons. Is it any wonder humans don't trust reploids? Was Repliforce the catalyst for the later games' morally ambiguous nature of the Maverick Hunters?
    • Destructoid's Tony Ponce takes a look into Dr. Wily's character. Is he actually the Only Sane Man on the outlook of human-robot relations, seeing Ridiculously-Human Robots as a danger to society, and eventually Becoming the Mask as a Mad Scientist bent on taking over the world?
    • Then there's the Big Bad of the Zero series, Dr Weil. Him being a Complete Monster is completely undeniable. At first, his actions in the Elf Wars seem purely because he thinks people are superior to Reploids. But consider all the attacks by Mavericks, the moral ambiguity of the Maverick Hunters(who only exist because humans are essentially defenseless against said Mavericks), the collateral damage...oh, and also a crazy Maverick tries to destroy everyone via Colony Drop. And this all happens in around a decade. When you think about it, Dr Weil has a pretty good reason to hate Reploidkind.
  • Aoko Aozaki from Melty Blood. Doing it for the lulz or carefully manipulating events to Screw Destiny?
  • Does Big Boss actually apologise to Snake and hug him at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, or is the entire sequence Snake's hallucination before he kills himself? Or even Snake's personal heaven, where his daddy always loved him and everything turns out okay? People remark the ending of Metal Gear Solid 4 feels out of place, is that why? Actually, is Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4 even Solid Snake at all, or Raiden in the same Mind Screw that he ended Metal Gear Solid 2 in? The fact that static is used to represent damage and the game over screen reads 'Mission Failed' (which is used throughout the series to indicate failing a VR mission; failing actual gameplay gets "Game Over"), as well as the more outlandish plot elements, characterization decisions and Raiden as an NPC supports this interpretation.
    • Notice that all of the characters that help bring back Big Boss die, Heroic Sacrifice or Snake covering his tracks to make his illusion more believable? or the fact that the conspiracy theory explanation from Big Boss doesn't bring exactly anything that the player hasn't heard before (he repeats everyething that eva said about big boss and the A Is) the only thing that may deflate this theory is the fact that Major Zero is there and killed. But the end seems like a Gainax Ending
    • Similarly, is Rose in Metal Gear Solid 2 a well-intentioned person doing an immoral job that she comes to regret, a canny spy pretending to be a well-intentioned person doing an immoral job that she comes to regret as part of a Batman Gambit to convince Raiden to complete the mission, or a combination of an insane computer and Raiden's own personal delusions? Even in Metal Gear Solid 4 she's still sporting the dyed hair and the contact lenses she denounced as fake in Metal Gear Solid 2, and she's only seen in person by Raiden and the Colonel off-camera (and the Colonel was an AI in Metal Gear Solid 2).
  • Morden: Well-Intentioned Extremist who tries to prevent events like his son's death, or just another lunatic? Are the protagonists actually bad guys, who protect a corrupt government by slaughtering a larger rebellion army?
  • Metroid Prime: Is Samus Aran the villain? Is she anything more than a sociopathic bounty hunter? The games often center around breaking into the Space Pirates' bases and killing everyone inside. When introduced to a planetary ecosystem, she kills everything in sight, which must have a lasting impact on the ecosystem.
    • Another interpretation is that Samus is a Stoic Woobie or Jerkass Woobie. Being a Doom Magnet really hurts.
      • And then there's Metroid: Other M, which managed to take whatever was left of the fan base and shatter it into pieces beyond repair. Samus is either seen as a human being who can convey emotions and feel some sympathy towards MB/Melissa Bergman while still being a complete bad ass, or she's just a whiny overemotional bitch who has to constantly be reassured by Adam and needs to get over herself after the freak out scene over Ridley. Though Ridley ate Samus mother in the manga
      • Speaking of Adam: in light of his role in Other M, is he really the mentor, confidant, and father figure that Samus has painted him out to be? Or a man who exploits Samus' unhealthy obsession with him to abuse her physically (e.g. preventing her from using her life-saving power-ups is dangerous situations) and emotionally (e.g. giving himself the last laugh by sacrificing his life in Sector Zero in order to deeply upset Samus)?
      • This game also calls into question whether Samus is a total Badass who was derailed so as to fear Ridley in a misguided attempt to show her as needing help, or is she so Badass that she managed to not only stand up to, but defeat, Ridley despite being utterly terrified by the monster that killed her family and everyone she knew? Or is it Post Dramatic Stress Disorder after having to not only kill said monster that killed her family, but then kill him again when he came Back from the Dead and kidnapped the baby Metroid, eventually leading to the death of the closest thing she had to a normal family?
  • The Runners in Mirror's Edge refuse to be part of the unbearingly oppresive and emotionless society of The Coty created by the opressive surveilance state that brgan some decades ago, which gets them in constant trouble with the police. But in the game, you only get the runners word for it, as you never meet or even see any civilians and the only confirmed occasion of police brutally breaking up a riot was over 18 years ago, when the characters were still young children. While there are no reasons to think that the government is not authoritarian and the corporate executives corrupt, you can't completely shake the feeling that the Runners might get a slightly distorted view of society from their hideouts high on the roofs of skyscrapers.
    • An Alternative Character Interpretation is even done within the game by Celeste, who tells Faith that survival is meaningless if you don't also live a little bit. It is later revealed that she didn't meant by it, that Faith should losen up a bit and have some fun at times. In fact she secretly accepted a job offer by the government to work as a state employed assassin, which is about the only job her skill and abilities qualify her for. She much rather tries her luck in rejoining society and have at least some kind of life, instead of hidding on the roofs until she gets shot by the police or falls 80 meters to her death.
  • The MOTHER/EarthBound series has a few of these.
    • Flint: Some say he's a good father, just detached from the rest of the world since the death of his wife and disappearance of his son, and the world changing at a fast pace around him probably don't help. Others say he's an obsessed man driven crazy by the grief of losing his wife. Believing himself to have caused this, he seeks an outlet for redemption, in this case, looking for his missing son, even if it means completely ignoring his living son in the process.
    • Speaking of fathers, remember Ness' father? He only appears as a phone and mostly plays to lonely hotel music. I dare you, listen to the hotel music again and think about this.
    • Porky Minch: Jerkass through and through and determined to turn the universe into his own personal toy box, or abused Woobie? There's certainly evidence for the latter; His parents were abusive and various people in his hometown mock him, though he still shows that odd big-brother sort of caring for Picky and is friends with Ness. When Giygas begins to control him, he gets a taste of a much, much better life and does everything to keep it, including lie, steal, and alienate his only friend. In Mother 3, he surrounds himself with his own personal utopia: A place filled with self-praise and reminders of his old life and friends, and his grand plan is to destroy the world, therefore destroying everyone who won't like him.
      • Or if you've had the opportunity to play EarthBound Beginnings/MOTHER 1 you can argue that if it was Porky who had corrupted Giygas, this can be supported by the fact that some of Porky's lines were badly translated, and so the fact that Porky had willingly, and consciously followed Giygas, knowing the harm he would cause to others was never conveyed. It also made it look as if Giygas was behind the Happy Happy Cult, when he/she actually wasn't. This is important because this was the first time Porky was displayed as a villain, he was also the only cult member not under any influence, and he had consciously tried to kill Paula and Ness. This is further supported by his behavior in Mother 3, and also Giygas' woobie back story.
      • Furthermore, Woobifying Pokey in Mother 3 is pointless when you remember another Woobie in your Party that had it worse: Duster. He was legitimately abused by his father (even if it did cause him to be an awesome Wall-Stapler) to the point of having a life-long limp, was not very social (Dialogue implies the he rarely gets to go to Tazmily villaige), and he's still very heroic.
      • Related theory: Ness, random kid screwed over by his jerkass pal, or jerkass screwing over his pal? He never attempts to snap his friend out of his obvious Giygas influence, and it's often implied that he dislikes Porky just as much as the others do, but he still plays with him, giving off a biiiit of a two-faced air. The biggest example is that he saw or at least heard Aloysius Minch beating his children and never does a thing about it. Ness is a Heroic Mime, and he couldn't exactly ask Pokey to stop what he was doing more then he could ask for a hot dog. And when they meet, Pokey is either sicking guards on him or fighting him from a spider mech. When the reader gets a glimpse of Ness's perfect world, as with Pokey's, the other boy makes an appearance - as a truly remorseful and kind person, which implies that's either how Ness would like him to be, or how he thinks he still is. Either one is oddly touching.
      • Also, Porky's family, particularly Picky and Lardna: Just another notch in the abusive belt or actually caring for Porky? They seem genuinely worried for him when he and his father leave for Fourside; They know they left, they just don't know why. Lardna seems to deny that the abuse is taking place for both children, according to some theories. If this is true, it would better explain the Lardna-waitress bots in New Pork City, and maybe the older Picky... Ah, Bateau.
        • Picky, who's fairly nice to Ness in the ending and actually tries to fight, could indicate that there's something more to Pokey besides his home life that resulted in him turning out the way he did, or perhaps something happened to Pokey that turned him into a jerk. As for Lardna, she appears to have another man in her life in the ending, with no mention as to where Aloysius went, so it could indicate that either she's unfaithful or that she was never happy with the marriage.
      • Fassad: Manipulative bastard or motherly Magypsy wrapped up in a scheme she/he can't get out of? People report that whenever going up against Fassad, he barely hits Kumatora, only when he's running low on health or if it's a missile attack, implying that he still cares for Kumatora. Then there's the little mouse he takes care of, which speaks fondly of Fassad and worries for his return. In addition, it seems he still uses his Magypsy shell in New Pork City, implying he still accepts his magypsy past, and when he self destructs, he says this is all just a game, implying he's not too happy with the situation himself. Though us Fassad sympathizers will admit that this might just be coincidence due to the oddly defined timeline, so no one knows when Locria defected. Still, this stuff is proof, people!
    • Dr. Andonuts: kindly, absent-minded scientist who's forced to work for the Pigmask army, or mad scientist who'll work for anyone who'll fund him? He apparently doesn't stand up for himself in the slightest until Lucas comes through--or, to be even less charitable, until the very end of the game, when he already knows what side his bread's buttered on anyway. He seems to spend most of Mother 3 in an apathetic haze, making cool toys (he makes monstrous chimeras in his spare time, for fun). Think Nazi-turned-Allied scientist Wernher Von Braun, but in a trash can, and with more child neglect than you can shake a stick at.
      • It seems someone forgot that Porky likely went out of his way to kidnap Andonuts and brought him to the future. It's uncertain whether he was threatened into working for the Pigmasks or not, but he was likely in emotional shock from being yanked away from his life and thrust into a completely unfamiliar environment. He had nobody to look forward to for rescue or otherwise, no idea what was going on, and no reason to believe that he could escape. And the chimeras? Perhaps he wasn't designing them for combat purposes. It could explain why the Ultimate Chimera was unstoppable: Andonuts gave Porky what he wanted, hoping it would devastate the Pigmask army!
  • Persona series:
    • Tatsuya: Did he intentionally commit the sin of refusing to forget everything to save Maya and stop Nyarlathotep because he was just greedy or too unwilling to make a sacrifice, thereby deserving the Eternal Punishment? Or did he just commit the "Innocent Sin" in the title and not really deserve any Eternal Punishment?
    • Fuuka: Simple paragon of meek passivity and sweetness, or Woobie whose obsession with pleasing others and self-deprecation is a result of constant emotional abuse?
    • The Heroic Mime protagonists of Persona 3 and Persona 4. Are they brave and charismatic heroes? Or power-hungry Manipulative Bastards? Or are they Empty Shells simply looking for acceptance? Or, are they manipulating others, knowing doing so is the only way to gain the power needed to save the world?
      • Frighteningly, the Empty Shell theory gets some credibility in Persona 4. The boss Shadows all the main characters have to face are, essentially, the darker (and once healed, better) sides of their very souls. Out of all the characters who can enter the T.V, only two don't have to face their shadow. The Child Killing Complete Monster Adachi ...and the Protagonist.
      • Actually, their abilities were given to them by Izanami when the protagonist, the Complete Monster, and Namatame first came to Inaba and met the gas station attendant, who shook hands with them. She gave each of them an aspect of human nature to represent and follow: Hope, Emptiness, and Despair respectively.
    • The Protagonist of Persona 3 being made into a Stepford Smiler. Which is also pretty reasonable considering the circumstances of his back story.
      • The female counterpart is likely to portrayed as one too. In-game she is more cheerful than the male, but since she's much more sympathetic to the feelings of SEES... Bubbliness can only take you so far...
  • There are some alternate interpretations of the character Fall-From-Grace in Planescape: Torment, is she an honest defector who found a new philosophy to escape her Chaotic Evil nature? A Baatezu spy? Is her chaste priestess demeanor a real attempt to rise above her former life as a succubus (which she calls "childish and immature") or simply a sign that she's a really good temptress? The game's not telling, and the main information comes from a distinctly unreliable source.
    • Her character sheet alignment really says something different...
  • Pokémon 's Cyrus--Well-Intentioned Extremist or Complete Monster? Even his die-hard fans will admit that his actions were evil and he had to be stopped, but was it as simple as defeating a megalomaniac? Or was there a good motive under that insanity? Giving him a Cry for the Devil backstory—which you don't discover until he's already gone from the plot—throws a wrench in the works, as does that some of his agents want to continue his organization even with the realization that Cyrus himself had gone too far.
    • Part of the difference seems to come from his alternate characterization in Platinum version, especially the scene where he tells the player character that he's using the other Galactic agents and LAUGHS ABOUT IT. Cyrus LAUGHING is jarring enough (and borders on completely out of character), but consider that that entire scene didn't exist in Diamond/Pearl.
      • To say nothing of the differing theories as to what that he meant in that scene. The theory that he planned to be the only thing that existed doesn't seem to hold water, as he talks later about others being there, including people he wouldn't logically know about. Was he testing the player character's reaction, as he seemed to be doing with his bomb threat in Celestic and his later threat that capturing/defeating Giratina would cause everything to end (which is counterproductive to his goals as if everything ended that way, he couldn't create his new universe)? Was the "lie" refering to how he had no intention of letting his subordinants rule rather than exist at all? Or is he just being his usual inscrutable self and the true meaning of it is known only to him?
    • It's worth noting that there is a canon where Cyrus realizes that what he had done was wrong, although we're not told the specifics of his realization. It's also the only canon where someone shows him forgiveness, and it's implied that the two are related. However, DPA-verse was for the most part written without Platinum's characterization.
    • Kotone/Lyra (the girl trainer in HG/SS). Both Japanese and Western [dead link] fandom love depicting her with a few screws loose, partially related to her Replacement Scrappy status. The Japanese version takes it up to eleven by making her NEVER change her expression.
    • Red has various interpretations on both design and personality. His remake design always shows him scowling and his Super Smash Bros. counterpart is a bit of a Jerkass (or at least quite cocky) along with his Pocket Monsters counterpart, though the games imply he's a nice Determinator. But his classic design is almost always shown happy, smiling, friendly, and Hot-Blooded. Fans love to portray him as The Stoic.
      • Other protagonists are like this too, even the ones with a set personality in their NPC roles. Dawn and May in particular get hit with this hard in Fanon, often being tomboyish and role model-like when their game personalities are very feminine and Tsundere in Dawn's case.
    • There's also quite a bit of Alternative Character Interpretation in Pokémon Special, with some characters (non-Player Character, of course), namely Lance, Pryce, Archie, and N.
  • Portal - GLaDOS can be interpreted in countless different ways. One large factor in this is that everything she says may or may not be a lie (such as the cake).
    • "And when you're dead I will be still alive". Threat of a future murder attempt on Chell, statement of immortality, or lamentation of immortality?
    • Did the test go horribly wrong, resulting in the tester's death, or did it go horribly right, and showed the portal gun at its finest? Both? Neither?
    • Is she trying to protect herself, or is she a sarcastic liar who secretly wants death?
    • The death-seeker interpretation has an article on game-ism about it. Take from it what you will, like any interpretation.
    • Does she hate Chell, or is she just an ass (that does not quite hate Chell)? Does she show possessive affection towards Chell in her own insane way?
    • Is she not an AI at all, and simply a sophisticated but buggy user interface, full of pre-recorded statements?
    • In the first game until the sequel. Did Chell just defeat the evil computer and save herself or did Glados just finish yet another test with a human specimen by pretending that the incinerator was the end of the obstacle course?
    • In the sequel, is the facility really in disrepair, and is GLaDOS really mad at Chell, or is it all an act with more pre-planned tests?
    • Caroline with regard to the cut dialog: Goofy and victimized assistant of Cave Johnson? Or complicit psychopath who only considered the horrific implications of her work when it came barreling down on her?
    • Cave Johnson - An honestly well-meaning guy who is simply down on his luck and clueless to how to appropriately use his products in the real world, or a deranged man hell-bent on testing his products as much as possible to sate his curiosiyy? Nevertheless, one thing everybody can agree on is his obvious lack of sanity.
  • Red Dead Redemption has a few, mainly centring around Edgar Ross: outright evil sadistic bastard, an overzealous, single-minded Knight Templar too caught up in his own ideals to see his hypocrisy, a decent guy just following orders or just another pawn in the big game of politics and manipulation the characters find themselves stuck in?
    • John Marston: Badass or teenage girl? He sure like to pick flowers and try on new outfits.
      • Dutch Van Der Linde: Was he ever the Robin Hood of the West John makes him out to be before going insane? Or was he always a manipulative, brutal psychopath and John was blind to it because Dutch was the first person to really treat him as worth anything? And then, did he genuinely care for his "charges," or were they just pawns to him?
  • Is Ratchet from Ratchet and Clank a great hero, saving the galaxy whenever the time needs him or is he secretly an omnicidal manic just using the hero excuse so he can kill innocent beings that get in his way with really big guns?
    • Easily the former. There are a huge number of venues to legally murder wave upon wave of creature for profit and earn a very good living doing so all around him - that he never partakes in these competitions until he has to (as evidenced by him always being the new unknown challenger) as opposed to doing it professionally shows he's doing it cause he has to, and the player is doing it cause they're an omnicidal maniac just using the hero excuse so they can kill innocent beings with really big guns.
  • Silent Hill 3 offers an in-game alternate character explanation from Vincent: "They look like monsters to you?" He very quickly backs off from this, claiming that he was kidding, but given the Mind Screw nature of the game in general, you have to wonder...
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories may be this in regards to the first game of the series, interpreting everyone in different ways. Is Harry really a Papa Wolf, or is that how Cheryl wants to see him as, was he nothing more than a lecherous ass? Cheryl gets this too, interpreting her as slightly not right in the head after her dad dies. In fact, one theory is that the entire first game was imagined up by Cheryl. This being Silent Hill, we'll never be sure...
  • Sinistar. Villain or Tragic Character? When he arrives he tells the player to Beware, and to "Run! Run! Run!," before finally being overtaken by evil, letting out an angry and sorrowful shout before giving chase to the player.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends characterisations differ greatly between the various Sonic series'.
  • People find Purge from Space Channel 5 Part 2 to be a villain, but in reality he was just trying to make people happy. He probably went insane though...
  • Roger Wilco of Space Quest. Bumbling, lazy idiot who only manages to succeed through sheer blind luck, or underestimated (though unmotivated) hero who manages to get ahead by using his cunning and resources to save the day? Big Bad Sharpei of Space Quest VI feels it's a bit of both, that Roger is a bumbling idiot but he couldn't have survived the way he has without some degree of genuine capacity.
  • StarCraft also has a few:
    • Arcturus Mengsk: power-obsessed sociopath with a God complex or trying to unite the Terrans of the Koprulu sector in order to ensure their survival?
      • Or both?
      • "I will not be stop not by you, by the confederacy, or the protoss or anyone! I will rule this sector or see burn to ashes around me!
    • The Confederation: corrupt and despotic or just politically (and tactically) inept?
    • The UED: imperialistic aggressors or defenders of all mankind?
    • The Protoss: shining beacon of hope for the galaxy or arrogant, self-righteous bastards that give a shit about other races?
      • This is actually an in-universe issue, as in the first game quite a few of the Protoss leaders were clearly the latter, while Tassadar was one of the few who was unarguably the former.
    • The Dark Templar: tragic heroes or manipulative bastards?
    • James Raynor: shining hero or moronic drunkard messing around with things that are a few numbers too big for him?
      • Or an Average Joe trying to do the best he can in a conflict that's way over his head?
    • The Protoss mini-campaign in Wings of Liberty gave a huge one to the Overmind. Apparently it infested Kerrigan so that the Zerg could gain independence and stand a chance against the Dark Voice and its hybrid armies.
    • Nova she maybe one of Mengsk loyal assasins, or just someone who was brainwashed into serving the Dominion. With the ghost programing which includes Mindwipe as part of its training, she may not know who exactly she's working for.
  • Colette from Tales of Symphonia is a Deconstruction of a Mary Sue. She is blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Everyone likes her. Can never think about herself. Her mum died, her father is a angel. She is The Messiah of the religion she follows. However, she's a klutz. If she isn't helping someone or helping herself, she gets depressed for not thinking about everyone else. Her religion is a xanatosGambit to bring back a dead sister to life. Her father is not an angel. She gets sick with a disease that slowly turns her into crystal, but doesn't tell anyone, for she doesn't like people thinking about helping her when other people need their help. She also slowly loses her humanity, to the point where she can't sleep, eat, taste, feel, or even speak, for her manipulated religion. Her entire character could be seen of how being a Mary Sue could Go Horribly Wrong.
  • Eagle-eyed fans of the game might note that Yuri Lowell's character has been under debate on numerous other pages, in a very polarizing way. Indeed, what may be a likable, snarky Robin Hood type to some may be a self-righteous, immature asshole to others.
  • Team Fortress 2, having an Excuse Plot and paper-thin characterization, can support a variety of interpretations, though beginning with the recent WAR update each major revamp has started to fill in the backstories a bit more. Some fans attempt to stay within the framework of the information provided, others throw all of that out the window and create a number of Sailor Earth-types who are more or less just "my character, as this Class".
  • The World Ends With You (or It's A Wonderful World) has many of the characters being easily able to be Alternatively Characterized, and in fact has an extra chapter where it does just that, expanding on many of the traits already visible in the main story.
    • Joshua's ambiguously gayness, having the ambiguous part taken out. This can even be further alternatively characterized as him simply messing with Neku, and in fact being straight.
      • In the end, was Joshua a Smug Snake, Magnificent Bastard who enjoyed forcing people to play games and in fact knew he wouldn't destroy Shibuya from the first day, or was he inspired by Neku's refusal to shoot him?
    • Shiki is either cheerful and positive because she's pretending to be more like Eri, or because that's how she is, but she's too shy and unconfident to show it.
    • Neku either genuinely hates people, or can't bear to be close to them, afraid he'll get hurt (the second seems more likely, though, given what the top of Pork City reveals). He could also be afraid that he'll hurt them, indirectly.
      • Does Neku have a romantic interest in Shiki, or is it simply the first person he's opened up to that she becomes his fee for the second week?
    • Is Beat so stupid he doesn't notice what's going on, or is he so driven by his goals he doesn't notice?
    • Kariya is either too lazy to get promoted, or he enjoys Uzuki's company so much he doesn't want to leave their partnership.
      • Or he's perfectly aware of how corrupt the higher-ups are and has no intention of joining them.
    • Another Day does a number on Rhyme. Is she a genuinely pure, wise little girl, or is that just a façade to obscure her cruel, manipulative nature?
  • Touhou needs to get special mention here. Beyond the absurdly high fans-to-source-material ratio meaning there's a ton of this to begin with, UFO's A and B paths not only affect the characters abilities but their personalities as well. So Reimu is either driven primarily by a need for money or out of genuine concern for people, and both versions are equally canon.
  • Faldio: irredeemable asshole who jumped at the chance to shoot his best friend's girl as much out of jealousy as patriotism, or the only person with the guts to choose the many over the one when his back was against the wall? It's usually a matter of how you feel about the romance plot.
    • There's also Welkin: the game plays up the idea that he's a cute, well-meaning nature-nerd who only wants to save his country so he go home and be a teacher, but some fans speculate that he's got a nasty Jerkass streak, and isn't actually that smart—mainly that he seems very comfortable with ignoring Alicia's existential crisis until it's time for him to save the day, he physically assaulted Faldio because he couldn't argue with his logic, and anyone with any kind of deductive reasoning could have told that the river was shallower where there were plants growing up out of it.
  • Warcraft fans like to make these up. Bringing them up on a forum can cause Flame Wars, so beware.
    • Thrall: The Jesus of Azeroth, a power-hungry, warlike despot who just fools people into thinking he cares about the orcs' traditions and freedom to keep his power, or a weak, naive fool, who lets himself be manipulated by the true evils of Azeroth, such as the Forsaken and the Blood Elves? This seems to be breaking up facets of his "canon" self—a competent leader who wants to find peace in the world and is willing to work with morally ambiguous people because his race was no better—into the dominant trait.
      • The Forsaken and the Blood Elves themselves are open to debate as well. When it comes to the Forsaken, are they just defending themselves from a world that already viewed them as monsters, even before some of their more vile actions, or have they taken their ideas of self-preservation too far and become little better than the Scourge? Meanwhile, with the Blood Elves, do they deserve to be pitied for all the suffering they have endured and should it be believed that they are truly seeking a "cure" for their magical addiction, or have they already gone past the point of no return, and not only will their addiction eventually destroy them, but everyone else as well?
      • Well as of Cataclysm's announcements, anything is up for debate now. Point in case, Night Elves are getting mages and delving into Arcane Magic...which is the thing that they got shitty with the High/Blood Elves over to begin with. This does soundly say that the Night Elves can shut up their preaching about the evils of Arcane Magic though.
    • Arthas (before his Face Heel Turn): A spoiled, overzealous and vengeful brat who never would have made a good king anyways, or everything a paladin and prince was ever meant to be, or someone who was doing the best he could and wound up breaking down under the pressure? The human campaign takes place in a VERY short period of time. In Warcraft III Arthas wasn't given more than a few days of rest between the first mission in which he meets the Scourge, the one in which his forces are nearly overrun by undead, and his attempt to nurse his ego and "cleanse" Stratholme. It would seem Ner'zhul thought that if he had the time to retreat and take council with his father, things would have turned out differently. Also, the "let's destroy the beasts!" line from the first mission and the "I should be king" line from clicking on him enough sort of proves that the paladin training hadn't really taken root very deeply - not yet, anyway. The real question would be how Arthas would've reacted if given a chance to grow a bit - or to consider his options.
      • Now with his death the question remains: did he truly die with his humanity restored or was he unrepenant to the end and what he said were intended to show disappointment in his failure and dread of actually dying? Word of God seems to deny that he was redeemed in any way, but given the myriad interpreterations of his final words along with some of the quests that relate to his passing (the one with Jaina's locket) it could only be Metzen's interpreteration and not an official one, we may never know..............
    • Illidan: A Well-Intentioned Extremist who was a slave to his addiction but never wanted to harm anyone or a greedy SOB who was up to no good?
      • A little of both. He's clearly addicted to power and is extremely ruthless, but isn't completely heartless. He did sincerely love Tyranda, and he didn't get into any of the "force her to love me" routine. For the most part, however, his motives to appear to selfish.
    • Orgrim Doomhammer: A tragic hero who wanted the best for the orcs, even if it meant the destruction of the humans, or a murderous, backstabbing warlord? (It's entirely possible, using the demonic corruption backstory, that it was first one, and then the other.)
      • Orgrim was one of the notable few who didn't drink from the chalice which turned most of the orcs into demon-like brutes. He's also the Player Character. Humans Are the Real Monsters or Humans Are Special.
      • One of the reasons Orgrim is up to so may interpretations is the number of retcons relating to him; originally he decieved and ambushed Lothar(greatest human hero ever); later this was retconned into killing him in an honorable, on on one fight—something a lot of people didn't like. Also, he was known among the orcs as "The Backstabber" for usurping the posistion of warchief from Blackhand. A lot of people took this to mean he stabbed Blackhand in the back in a cowardly assassination attempt; it was never clearly stated in the original lore and was someone in line with his behavior, like ambushing Lothar. It was later explained that he killed Blackhand in a fair fight—he was called the backstabber because Blackhand was popular. From there, Orgrim was mainly doing what was best for the orcs even if it meant wiping out the humans.
    • Daelin Proudmoore: A prejudiced, violent psychopath who couldn't let go of the past, a noble but tragically short-sighted hero who couldn't let go of the past, or a hero who was betrayed by his own daughter?
      • Given that his first action on arriving in the new country that she'd founded was to usurp her throne by force, nothing she does to him from that point on can fairly be called 'betrayal'. Yes, usurp. Theramore was not a colony of Kul Tiras, it was a new nation/successor state founded by refugees of the destruction of Kul Tiras and Lordaeron. It's rightful royal line of succession starts at its first ruler, Jaina Proudmoore, and descend from her through whatever heirs she has or designates. Admiral Proudmoore's position as the ruler of Kul Tiras means exactly jack squat here, even if Jaina is his only child—at best, it entitles him to take his fleet, find some unoccupied land, and declare it the new nation of Kul Tiras. It does not entitle him to forcibly take over Theramore against Jaina's wishes. Since betrayal is a breach of trust between two parties who were dealing with each other in good faith, and when your opening move is "commit unprovoked act of war" good faith does not exist, Jaina did not betray her father.
    • Jaina Proudmoore: A philanthropist who is trying to avert pointless tragedies, or a traitor and appeaser who refuses to see the big picture? Her actions willfully condemned her own father to death and later denied the Alliance a golden opportunity to decapitate the Horde's leadership: was she saving lives or ensuring a longer, bloodier war later on?
      • And that's not even getting into the theories that her support of Thrall (and thereby the Horde) may have a deeper motive.
      • Or she's just plain evil. Two of her boyfriends and arguably her father have gone insane, she manipulated Thrall into bumping off Daddy, and everything which happens seems to consolidate her powerbase. Now in Cataclysm, Alliance forces (presumably under her command) have invaded the Barrens.
        • 'Consolidate her powerbase'? Errr, doesn't Theramore kind of not exist anymore? The metaplot of Warcraft has hardly had Jaina on any kind of winning streak recently.
    • Sylvanas Windrunner: has she, as an undead horror, retained any of her former heroism and nobility, or is she a twisted, irrevocably corrupted mockery of everything she was in life? Interestingly enough, this particular one is occasionally discussed in-game, especially among the Blood Elves in Quel'thalas to whom Sylvanas has offered her protection and sponsorship. There are more than enough hints of both a genuine sadness and a merciless, ruthless streak, as revealed in various events that emphasize either her bitterness or her melancholy, though currently she seems slightly closer towards good than evil. (The RPG books listed Sylvanas as Lawful Evil, but they're a bit out of date in the timeline, and Blizzard seems to love teasing players with this one.)
      • The Lament of the Highborne and The Lady's Necklace quests seem to support the genuine sadness part. However, after you finish the quest, she yells at the player character who was thinking she was weak and holding on to the past. Maybe she's just kidding herself?
      • She also becomes increasingly ruthless in Cataclysm, raising undead for the Horde and using the same New Plague that was used at the Wrathgate. One interpretation is that having accomplished her goal of revenge against the Lich King, she has lost sight of all other goals she once had. Another is that the incident and the Horde bailing her out solidified her loyalty to the Horde and that she's trying to help them against the Alliance while refusing to accept that they don't like the assistance that they're getting.
      • Her short story, Edge of Night, explicitly Jossed the "heroic" interpretation of Sylvanas by revealing that she doesn't care about the Forsaken as a race, instead seeing them as a resource to advance her personal goals (first the death of the Lich King, and then her own preservation). Needless to say, fan response to this development has been... Mixed.
      • She also essentially blackmails the Blood Elves into joining the Horde's war against the Scourge by threatening to cut off all Horde support (Forsaken included) in their lands in Lor'themar's short story, In The Shadow Of The Sun, implying she doesn't care much for her old people either.
    • Rexxar: noble defender of a threatened people, uncaring wildman, or bloodthirsty tool of Thrall's tyranny?
    • King Varian Wrynn: A proud and noble ruler who stands up for what he believes in and refuses to let anything harm the Alliance ever again or a hotheaded, barbaric racist looking for an excuse to declare war out of revenge for what happened to him?
    • Garrosh Hellscream: violent and insane berserker who wants power at any cost (usually goes with Messiah!Thrall) or the only one who can run the Horde efficiently (usually goes with Naive!Thrall)?
      • The short story "Heart Of War" asks us to make another decision on Garrosh; Is he an honorable person who is trying to protect his people from the Alliance's aggression in the only place they can call home, or is he too afflicted with Moral Myopia and unfamiliar with the past conflicts to think that people have reason to hate the Horde, and whose "standards" are a way of seeming better than his enemies?
    • Grom Hellscream: father of the above character, subject of similar interpretations, even in-universe. Revered as a hero of the Horde by Thrall for his Redemption Equals Death Heroic Sacrifice, most members of the Alliance would rather remember what he did during the previous wars. Mercilessly mowing down people with his giant axe, that's what he did. Including an elven demigod, after he was supposedly redeemed the first time and corrupted again.
      • Notably, some members of the Horde, such as Cairne and Varok, are grateful for what he did for the Orcs, but also acknowledge his misdeeds.
    • Kael'Thas Sunstrider: Well-Intentioned Extremist trying vainly to save his slaughtered kin and their addiction to magic... or fallen power mad Prince in service of those that slaughtered his people? There's a lot of Lore Rage about Kael... and Illidan...
    • Tyrande Whisperwind: Noble and respected leader of the Sentinels during the Long Vigil who did what she had to do to defend her people or disobedient, racist, and unfaithful woman who justifies the manipulation of the men who love her and unleashes a great evil on Azeroth with her goddess?
      • Malfurion notes upon emerging from the Emerald Dream and seeing her for the first time in 1,000 years that she's different than he remembers, and she notes that it's because she has been fighting for her people all this time.
    • Murlocs: Demon fish-people who slaughter other races for fun and profit, or noble souls forced from their deep-sea homes and trying to survive a world of hate?
    • In Cataclysm, Donna, a young girl in Stormwind who had previously been chasing William to get her doll back, steals William's Grindgear Gorilla and runs off with it. Is this meant to teach William a lesson, or does it show that she is, deep down, as much of a jerk as he is?
      • Obviously this is a very deep statement by Blizzard on the nature of the PvP system. One side attacks the other, then the attacked side responds in kind. Then everyone respawns and we do it all again, day-in day-out. No one ever "wins the war" and no one is ever on top for very long. It's an odd statement for Blizzard to make, given that they're the ones who set up the faction system in such a way that conflict is the only way the two sides are capable of interacting.
        • Or maybe I'm overthinking it.
    • Another Cataclysm example: Trade Prince Gallywix: Callous Jerkass who represents traditional Goblin Values and is the best representation of a leader for their race? Or a callous Jerkass who have done so many horrible things that he is hated by everyone for good reason and is unfit to lead the goblins?
  • Wilhelm from Xenosaga get a fair bit of alternate interpretations. Is he a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is underestimating humanity or a somewhat cold man who is nonetheless working for the greater good? Depends largely on if you believe Eternal Recurance was a means or an end. It could be both, considering his main goal was to prevent the collapse of the lower domain (our universe). And when the alternatives are our universe getting destroyed and the upper one staying around or BOTH getting destroyed. Considering both ways end up with the lower domain still around either by resetting everything or the collective unconscious evolving enough to prevent or reverse the dispersion that would have lead to said destruction. And since doing something like THAT is by no means easy, he really skirts the line between Well-Intentioned Extremist and Necessarily Evil.
    • Wilhelm may have been trying to become God (or really was him, thus making it a case of God Is Evil) himself. Not only does he have some subtle A God Am I like moments, he also can make people immortal, see the consciousness of anyone he likes, and is able to keep the time-loop he had going. Also, he can do whatever he wants, whether it's transporting gigantic robots with the snap of a finger or force choking someone. He also acts more like God than what the official explanation is. He claims U-DO is God and that the two Abels are it's observation vessels, but knowing Wilhelm, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that he had something to do with that too. This is the guy who was behind the U.M.N. Another thing is that we never really saw what happened to him and Kevin. It's assumed that he dies along with Kevin, but they never show them actually disappearing (like they did with Caanan and Voyager) nor do they mention it after the last boss fight. This leaves me to believe he just went to a different dimension (most likely the Upper one) during the Zarathustra battle. I mean, I find it hard to believe that he'd give a Testament the power to kill him, let alone create just one key to activate Zarathustra. He probably just went elsewhere to plan. Not that we'd ever find out anyway, thanks to the series being canceled.
  • Zant from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is subject to this, mainly due to the ending of the game when Ganondorf, after having been defeated, looks through a twilight portal to Zant, and Zant snaps his own neck. Was Zant just a Well-Intentioned Extremist all along? A case of Redemption Equals Death in that he killed himself to stop Ganondorf once and for all? Or was he just a Jerkass who wanted revenge on Ganondorf for deceiving him? For that matter, would wanting revenge for what Ganondorf did to him make him a jerkass in the first place?

- No wonder Navi tried to drive him crazy.
- HEY! LISTEN is the new danger whistle

    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword adds another layer to the interpretations of Zelda and Ganon's role in Hyrule's well being: It is revealed that the game's Zelda, and perhaps the other Zeldas yet to come are an incarnation of the Goddess Hylia in a mortal form, and Ganon/dorf is an incarnation of Demise (The Demon King)'s, hatred. Zelda hypothesized that The Triforce was created by the ancient goddesses for mortals to give them hope. Hylia then assumed a mortal form so that the Triforce's divine power won't fall into the hands of evil. She might have also been using Link, and his relationship with Zelda as a way to protect the Triforce from other forces, such as Demise. This could make Hylia seem no better then Demise in a sense. It also makes Ganondorf no less of a pawn then Link and Zelda.
  • Gehn of Riven. Some see him as a straight-up Complete Monster, while others feel that his tragic backstory - losing his father and entire civilization at the age of eight, running away from home at fourteen, his beloved wife dying of childbirth while they were still in their teens - doesn't justify his A God Am I tendencies, but makes him somewhat more sympathetic.
  • This Dig Dug video.
  • The Illuminati and Morgan Everett in Deus Ex. Are the Illuminati against MJ12 because MJ12 controls the U.N., so, is in the position where the Illuminati want to be? Or is it because they believe that MJ12 aren't doing what is best for the world? Is Morgan's hypocrisy a sign that he is no better than MJ12 or that he needs to be the lesser of two evils? Given the fact there are sign of both sides, the answer's a guess at best.
    • Tracer Tong: dangerously naive idealist, or the only one who wishes to bring freedom to humanity? Does he work for the Triads for protection, uses them as his tool, or does he just not care about the drug trade and human trafficking?
  • Bomberman Land has a few.
  • Fatal Frame 2's Mayu can be viewed several different ways. Is she a sweet, helpless girl who the main antagonist has taken particular interest in and who you want to keep safe at all times? Is she an irritating little wimp who you need to keep safe at all times? Or is she an obsessively crazy young woman who deliberately fell off a cliff just to guilt Mio into staying with her forever?
    • There's an in-universe example that appears to apply to Ayako:

Sakuya: That child goes around with an air of evil and fear around her, but I know she is really very gentle and vulnerable.

  • Pascal. Is she just Obfuscating Stupidity, in love with Sophie (in a creepy way), or is she just Autistic?
  • In Bully fanon, the Greasers are often portrayed as nice guys - when in the game they're the misbehaving students (next to the actual bullies) like you see in every school. Gary is often portrayed as a Jerkass Woobie and Jimmy Hopkins is... the title's sake, a Jerkass bully.
    • Some signs to show that even if Jimmy is a bully, he has standards when he tries to bring order back to the school, tells the bullies to stop picking on weaker kids, and is storyline wise never shown being mean to a girl or young kid. (In fact; harassing girls and kids, especially beating them up is considered among the worst things you can do.)
  • Gordon Freeman. Is he The Messiah, a pure an just bringer of intervention when the time is right, or a Complete Monster with the intention of killing everything he can. Freeman's Mind puts him in the middle, as a self serving nutjob who thinks that gnomes are real, and would like one as a pet.
  • There are many interpretations available for each BlazBlue cast, but the biggest one for the moment would be Litchi Faye-Ling, especially after her Face Heel Turn. Is she a genuinely kind person cornered in a completely bad situation that as much as she didn't like it, she would have to join NOL/Hazama while juggling her morality if she wants a shot at survival and the cure for the person she loves? Or is she a completely selfish woman who is obsessed at Arakune that will join ANY faction who can offer the cure for Arakune, even if it is even worse than NOL/Hazama, completely disregarding her morality?
  • One existing interpretation of Alan Wake is that the heroes of the story aren't Alan and Barry, but Tor and Odin Anderson, who wrote a couple of songs ("Children of the Elder Gods" and "The Poet and The Muse") that came true, describing Alan's quest to rescue his wife and defeat the Dark Presence. The entire game is, in this interpretation, an epic bit of Norse-inspired mythology written by the Andersons to defeat the Dark Presence.
  • AmbisagrusSA posted this video as an April Fools' Day joke. Nevertheless, it's an interesting Alternate Ending to the Bit.Trip series, with CommanderVideo being a vain, ignorant fool with many clever allegories hidden in his life.
  • The Faction Leaders from Alpha Centauri:
    • Pravin Lal of The Peacekeeping Forces: Voice of humanitarianism or far too attached to his outdated ideals?
    • Prokhor Zakharov of The University of Planet: Bringer of the light of knowledge or ruthless, amoral Mad Scientist?
    • Miriam Godwinson of The Lord's Believers: Dogmatic luddite or Only Sane Woman in a far-too-rapidly technologically advancing world?
    • Sheng-Yi Yang of The Human Hive: Ruthless, self-serving despot or a man with a reasonable vision of Utopia and a firm belief that Utopia Justifies the Means?
    • Corazon Santiago of The Spartan Federation: Defender of humanity against a hostile world or war-crazed gun-nut?
    • Deidre Skye of Gaia's Stepdaughters: Advocate of peace and balance, or eco-terrorist with a taste for Mind Rape?
    • Nwabudike Morgan of Morgan Enterprises: Believes in liberty or believes in profit?
  • Doomguy: One-Man Army fighting to save the universe, or Blood Knight extraordinaire?
  • Due to the nature of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, it practically breathes this trope. What really happened in 1986? Was there a real culprit, or was everything just magic? Are Shannon and Kanon real people, or actually Yasu in disguise? Is Beatrice one person, or several? When considering who's real and who's not, you can end up with an endless array of mystery/fantasy stories. But the most important question, which drives the whole plot and is never truly answered, is "Magic or Trick"?
  • Iwanako of Katawa Shoujo, the girl who confessed to Hisao on the day of his heart attack, visits him in the hospital for six weeks, their conversations growing more awkward over time, until she leaves for the last time, and months later, sends a "Dear John" Letter to him. She can be interpreted as callously casting him aside like his other old friends did, or having tried to be there for him, only to be unable to help him as his depression pushed her away. It helps that Hisao's opinion on her letter, ranging from tossing it aside in disgust (Lilly's route) to conceding that he had pushed her away (Shizune's route) depends on the route, and who, if anyone, he talks to about it.
  • Dark Souls invites this with every character, but most notably with the Primordial Serpents, Frampt and Kaathe.
    • Frampt, who's willing to use deception to allow the Age of Fire to persevere, is either a Well-Intentioned Extremist, or he simply wants he and/or his allies in Gwyn's family to maintain their power.
    • Likewise, Kaathe could be honest in his intention to give rise to mankind by ushering in the Age of Dark, or he's being just as deceitful as Frampt, and that the Age of Dark will not be good for any mortal.
    • In the Dark Lord ending, both Frampt and Kaathe pledge to serve you. Does this mean that they were always working together to play both sides?
    • Gwyndolin gets hit with this pretty hard. Is he the true villain of the game who drove away the other gods so he could rule Anor Londo himself? Is his desire to continue the Age of Fire at the expense of the player make him the ultimate enemy of mankind? Is he a fiend who uses deception to rule and manipulate others merely to benefit himself? Is he a pragmatist who is aware of how disastrous the coming darkness will be for everyone, not just the gods and realizes that some sacrifices must be made? Is his status as the last deity in Anor Londo not something he actually intended? Is his use of the illusory Gwynevere a sign of vulnerability rather than manipulation? Is he secretly Velka, the black haired witch goddes of sin?
    • Griggs is unambiguously a spy for Vinheim. Is he really the Nice Guy he appears to be?
    • Abysswalker Artorias; Did he become a monsters by succumbing to darkness or was he convinced by Kaathe that the Age of Fire needs to end, and that the Age of Darkness, of Humanity must begin? Was his covenant with the Darkwraiths an alliance of convenience with Kaathe, so that he could gain the power to easily hunt the Darkwraiths? Find out in the PC version! (Or not.)
  • X-COM: Your resources are underwhelming for such a mission, and a lot of your soldiers have trouble hitting a barn unless they stand inside it. Is that the elite, or simply what the sponsor states decided they can afford to lose even if the project fails and they'll have to fend for themselves?
  • Due to its deconstructive nature, Undertale is filled to the brim to this.
    • By far the most divisive character is the Fallen Child a.k.a. Chara, the first human, whose death in the backstory kickstarted the plot. The circumstances around their death, their somewhat contradictory personality traits (as described for those who knew them in life), their mysterious past and motivations, and their appearance at the end of the Genocide route to give the ultimate You Bastard Take That Player, make them very difficult to accurately pin. Fan interpretation goes from treating them as the actual villain of the game, to people that see them as The Woobie (a world destroying one, but woobie still), and everything in the middle. And that's just the controversies around their personality; the ones about what role they plays in the game run just as deep, as interpretations range from "character on its own" to "avatar of the player (as opposed to the actual character the player control)" to "Lemony Narrator who becomes more and more of a character in true postmodern fashion" to "a mirror for the players to reflect in". There is one essay dedicated to compare the radically different views on the character (an illustrated and abridged version can be seen here).
    • Sans, the very punny lazy skeleton who is discovered to be way more competent and way more broken than initially stated. Rampant speculations are about what of these traits are representative of the "real" Sans. One of the most common interpretations is that his slothfulness is a symptom of a depression brought by realizing that he is in some sort of Groundhog Day Loop he has no control over, and that he is the kind of person who just can't stop smiling even if he wanted to. There are also many interpretations on how aware is he of the resets.
    • Asgore: Kind ruler that feels compelled to go on with a promise he did during a moment of grief so his people doesn't loses hope, or a coward unable to take the right decisions and instead subjects himself and his people to a long agony? In universe, Toriel thinks of him as the latter.
    • Toriel: legitimately kind Mama Goat, or overbearing lady just one snap of going Evil Matriarch?. Toby Fox went in record that he wanted to portray an actual mother, instead of going with the generic "mother as a symbol" way moms are usually present in interactive fiction; whether he succeeded or not is up to the fans.
    • Flowey, the main villain, who claims that he is the way he is because of not having an actual soul. That means that to be soulless means to be a Psychopathic Manchild and all around bastard, or merely be emotionless and/or unempathetic?. If being soulless means being an emotionless being, how emotionless Flowey actually is? Some fans have pointed that he does express some actual emotions, just ones that are either very primal or not positive.


  1. Sure, Amy is quite capable of taking care of herself, but who says Robotnik couldn't send in an army to overwhelm her or plan an ambush to capture her without even allowing her a chance to fight back? The guy is a genius, he can probably come up with a tactically sound plan, even if his immaturity usually gets in the way.