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klefebz

Evil wuth a good side, what you think?

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When you're playing a game and there's a super evil character wich you end up really hating (if can still feel this kind of emotion in a game) and the more you advance the more attrocities he/her commits, but before the final battle you found he/she has some good aspect, maybe some kind of reason for those things (not really a justification). Do you like when this happen? Do you prefer leaving it as "pure evil"? Do you like the "Good vs Evil" setting? (personally I got bored of this, and prefer "seek for freedom")

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I don't think it's possible to change my opinion of a character that quickly. If you spend the whole game building him/her up to be evil incarnate, I don't think you can suddendly "spring" some revelation right at the end to change my mind.

There are quite a few novels that you can read where the line between "good" and "evil" is definitely blurred. My favorite is the "View from the Mirror" quartet (and subsequent books in that series). The author does a great job of building a character up to be really evil only to show you his humanity towards the end.

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I believe it is possible to have an evil character that can be forgiven or at least that his actions aren't derived from his own direct choices.

For instance, in the game script I am writing, the bad character was essentially an overseer of the cycle of the universe tied heavily by balance. When that balance was disturbed the universe slowly crumbled and this overseer began to lose his own sanity (his own self being a part of this balance) therefor he sought out to fix the problem himself based on ilogical or immoral choices. At the end of the game before his death for a moment the players see who he truly is, and the main character (who has an underlying relationship with him which he didn't realise earlier in the game) forgives him to some degree.

If that makes sense to you guys (I have to sparse with details, it is my intelectual property after all :) )

But from certain views, evil and good are points of view in themselves. For instance, in wars, do the bad guys consider themselves to be "the bad guys"?

Personally, a pure evil being just setting out to destroy and kill is boring. There needs to be some humanistic quality, reasons etc.

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I don't really believe in 'evil' per se. I mean yeah, there are characters who enjoy killing or causing fear or sadness. There are also characters who don't see other people's feelings as real or important, so they just don't care if they cause destruction or unhappiness. But in general, every character is the hero from their own point of view, and they all have what they think are important reasons for doing what they do, how they do it.

As for what I personally like, I really like a Dr. Horrible's sing-along blog sort of set-up: the 'hero' is an egotistic moron who had looks and good publicity on his side. The 'villain' wants to improve the world and get the girl, but can't accomplish either by playing within the rules. Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings movies is a good example too, if you interpret his unrequited love for Eowyn as his main motivation, and her as the prize Saruman promised him for sabotaging Rohan.

Villains that are insane can be interesting too, but I really prefer the ones who are more humorous/harmless, like the Joker in Batman the animated series, not ones like the nightmarish Joker in The Dark Knight.

[Edited by - sunandshadow on February 15, 2010 11:59:47 AM]

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Yes, to echo what others have said, don't just spring a big "just kidding, he's not evil!" at the end. Build it into the character. Make them heinous, sure, but give them a reason that your audience can understand. Give them a motivation that your audience can really identify with and say: I know I have to stop this guy, but damn I feel bad for him!"

Good guy after a psychotic break?

Cursed by a witch to murder innocent people or die?

Manipulated into defending an evil romantic partner?

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Re: klefebz

A villain as a playmate

I cannot relate directly to your context because I don't remember hating any evil character in a game. In a game, the villain is usually the source of entertainment. I as the player is not the hero. I am a participant of the interaction, and I choose to play with the prescribed villain. Therefore to me the villain is a playmate.


Evoking Hatred

My closer experience of hating someone in a game comes from MMO, where I just hate certain player character. The reason of that hate include: they are not monsters (designated playmate), they break my immersion, they are my competitors, or they are parasites to my resources.

According to this experience, if I sincerely want the player to hate a character in a game, I would first focus the player on the goal, and present the "villain" as someone that impedes that goal. To do this, the game itself must be already challenging without the villain. The villain added to the difficulty. The villain is the one that messes up with your plan and enjoyment.

The player hates the villain but keeps playing because the reward is so great that it outweights the need to deal with the villain. When the player really hates the villain (as opposed to admiration or envy), the player wishes that the villain would just disappear.

Evoking pure hatred is a risky design goal because it takes more to control the player so that the player doesn't just quit the game. One way to keep the player playing is to promise the player that he could 'get back' at the villain one day.


The Reasons of Evilness

In an MMO setting, when you hate another player, you don't care about why they are evil. In fact in most cases you already know their reasons: they are seeking importance and they get enjoyment from the feeling of power they get by messing up other players' experience. There are two ways to get the feeling of importance. One is by helping the others. The other is by becoming the enemy of everyone. The latter is much easier to do, so it happens.

When this condition is met, the player would not care why the villain is evil. The player already knows why. This is a situation where the attempt to explain the villain's motive does not add to the overall experience.

But that is why you would explain it. Not to repeat the motive that the player knows, but to give the player another dimension that surprise the player. The explanation transforms the hatred to admiration, by letting the player know that the villain is doing something more noble than he had imagined.

You need to know what the player had not considered in order to do this. Once you have done this, the player no longer just hate the villain.


Personal take on Hero and Villain

Villain: A powerful character that does what others wish they could do but have no power or guts to do. Creative and breaks the norms. Does not bore you by lectures. He knows your desires and how to satisfy them. You get a lot of perks if you are willing to stay on his side. But if you are on the other side, he could mercilessly step over you.

Hero: A determined cycle breaker that takes exploitiation on one hand, transforms it, and helps people on the other hand. Exercise extreme dedication to solve problems that everyone thought impossible to solve, while being dismissed and alienated as being too idealistic, childish, and impractical. The hero refuses to grow up, and brings the world closer to how people had wanted it when they were innocent.

[Edited by - Wai on February 15, 2010 11:22:26 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Flies movies is a good example too, if you interpret his unrequited love for Eowyn as his main motivation, and her as the prize Saruman promised him for sabotaging Rohan.
You really had me confused there, for a minute...

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Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Flies movies is a good example too, if you interpret his unrequited love for Eowyn as his main motivation, and her as the prize Saruman promised him for sabotaging Rohan.
You really had me confused there, for a minute...


o.O Did I really...? *checks* Bwahaha yeah I'll edit that...

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Quote:
Original post by Wai

I cannot relate directly to your context because I don't remember hating any evil character in a game. In a game, the villain is usually the source of entertainment. I as the player is not the hero. I am a participant of the interaction, and I choose to play with the prescribed villain. Therefore to me the villain is a playmate.


Right, I also can't remember hating a villain in a game, but yes in cartoons when i was a child, possibly just because i was a child. Also nowadays villains are "cool" even more than the hero, and an absurd amount of time the hero wins just because of an arbitrary reason, even deus ex machina.
I remember one time i wanted the "villain" to win, in GoldenEye. In my POV Bond was the real villain. Anyway, is true that making the bad guy to be hated is not always a good idea, specially if the hate is out of annoyance, the best way is to make him/her kill an important character, rather than "destroy the world" (wich may mean suicide)

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