Where would we be without the gallantry and selfless acts of heroism, associated with heroes? Who would douse the flames of helpless, self-combusting kittens, perched desperately atop towering oak trees, if not for fire fighters? Who would be capably trained to assist you, 2 hours after a burglary had been perpetrated, if not for the competency of our proud British constabulary? Who would resuscitate the inebriated fools discovered comatose, soiled, and covered in regurgitated kebab’s and lubricated in jager bombs, if not for the already over extended, over stretched paramedics? You? Me? Kim Kardashian?! Certainly not the latter! But in the simulated world, protagonists are far more exaggerated, often defying incredibly contentious situations by decapitating nameless thugs, brutallisng generic miscreants, and lopping off extremities. Unrelenting, uncompromising, and indifferent to the consequences, but keenly focused on emerging victorious, with relative ease and rejuvenated, self-inflated egos.
But a hero is insignificant without an opposing force to compete with. Cunning, diabolical fiends, concocting nefarious plans to achieve world domination. Whether commanding armies to pander to their every whim, or brewing a new blend of camomile tea, it’s all done with malicious intent, maniacal laugh’s and the stroking of their figurative, and in some cases, literal beards in self-satisfied, contemplation at how fiendish they are (Mwahaha!!). Without one, the other simply would seize to exist, forced to work in Burger King, receiving continual exasperating abuse from ravenous teens, retaining insatiable appetites for Whopper’s and presumably, blocked arteries, with a chorus of ignorant taunts of how they should “Go back to their own country!” Despite sharing the same nationality. But the way in which a hero/heroin or villain is conceived is highly motivated by their intents and a semblance of believability.
A degree of empathy, or apathy in the villains case, is crucial when developing complicated, yet somewhat believable opposing forces. Motivation is an integral element when conceiving a protagonists/antagonists persona, whether selfish or born from consequence. Simply wielding twin guns while diving through the air in reduced gravity, simply isn’t an accessible cause for empathy. The requirements of a hero have altered, where a sense of vulnerability as well as very emotional human aspects, are humbling sentiments. Obviously you don’t want to manipulate a character with nurtured, emotional readiness, weeping from the reeling resentment attributed to an itchy trigger finger, which culminates in continued bereavement for the fallen enemies. But you also want to feel confidently assured, that when Gary Oldman thunderously demands “EVVVEEERRRYYYOOONNNEEE!”, that your character is in full control of the escalating circumstances.
Two alternate characters, conversing in witty repertoire, with vocalisations that feel organic, natural and sway with seamless dexterity, like a well choreographed dance. Such pirouetting exchanges between 2 distinct dynamics, vying for differing goals is what helps to establish a hero and villain. It’s a collaborative partnership, accentuating each others strengths and weaknesses, with characters portrayed as conflicting, but sometimes differentiating between them is a very subtle distinction. Every hero requires an adversary to make him/her look good, and without the opposing persona, things simply wouldn’t be the same. The world is filled with already well established clashes; Professor Moriarty vs Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lector vs Clarice Starling, Shredder vs The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s, Pepsi vs Coca-Cola, Xenomorphs vs Ellen Ripley, history vs Bill & Ted……and so on…..
Which games feature the best clash between heroes and villains? Let me know what you think.