You're playing one of those games that has a branching campaign path, where you can choose to align yourself with one of many factions. For those who aren't comfortable being evil even in video games, however, it's generally important that you sympathize with the side you eventually ally yourself with.
Before you choose, however, you'll often find yourself confronting members of each group. While you'll be fighting most of them for the time being, many will come across as sympathetic or even in the right. Others, however, might come across as nasty and unlikeable, even to people who agree with their goals
. So why would you side with the empire
if they're a bunch of psychotic maniacs and you don't feel like being evil?
Oftentimes, it's because of the Heroic Imperialist. He not only allies himself with this faction of jerkasses, but embraces their agenda 100%. Despite this, however, he is a heroic, noble, honorable, likable and awesome person, with all the traits of a traditional hero. They side with the faction specifically because they believe it is the right thing to do for the good of the world. Expect to see things like calling a truce with the protagonist so they can team up to evacuate a burning orphanage, and don't expect to see him do anything really "bad" unless it's absolutely essential to meet his ideology's goals. And even then, don't expect him to be too happy about it.
Despite the similarities between this and the Anti Villain
, Noble Demon
, Noble Top Enforcer
and Worthy Opponent
, there are some crucial differences:
First of all, the odds of this character joining your side are essentially nil. He doesn't join YOU, but you can join HIM. Secondly, quite unlike the four character types mentioned above, a large part of this character's purpose is to LEGITIMIZE an alignment with bad PR. Even though the majority of his peers are unpleasant or even dishonorable, the very existence of a character like this makes it possible to entertain the notion that joining this cause is the right thing to do. Much, or sometimes even all of the appeal of this faction is the prospect of fighting alongside this guy.
Another frequent characteristic is that he may serve as a sort of Morality Chain
for the majority of the faction. If you choose to side against him and wind up killing him, there's a good chance whoever takes his place will not be nearly as honorable or decent.