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Alternative Character Interpretation: Video Games


  • Ace Attorney:
    • Many people believe that Klavier Gavin 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.
      • 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.
      • There's also the fact that Phoenix made a snide remark about Klavier's accent at one point.
      • All that and the fact that his own brother speaks (apparently) perfect (American) English all the time. In fairness, Kristoph is several years older and so may have spent more time in America. It could be a case of Klavier downplaying his skills; his more Diva-esque acts (the flirting, Gratuitous German, and dandyish behavior) could also be a cover to protect himself from his older brother, especially since it's implied that Klavier knows what kind of person Kristoph can be.
    • The other main 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. And if he does have mental deficiencies, that puts a whole new slant on the trial process of the game, since it's never brought up once that he may not be competent enough to stand trial.
    • As for Dahlia herself, there are a few people who think that she has a Freudian Excuse. In-Universe, her sister is among those people; Iris says that they had similar circumstances, but while Iris sees Bikini as a Parental Substitute, Dahlia had no one of the sort.
    • 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?. Perhaps a Knight in Shining Armor, steadfastly protecting the family of his beloved lady from devious plots that even The Hero was blissfully ignorant of? Or how about a self-righteous, self-pitying hero-wannabe, who was fine with arranging a murder-risky situation and then blaming said murder on his accomplice (and prosecuting against said person, no less), just so that he could live out his sexist savior fantasy and/or take revenge on long-dead foes.
    • 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. 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 monster who hid his true nature behind a mask?
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Assassin's Creed II's Shaun Hastings: Jerk Ass or Survivor Guilt?
    • Another theory is "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 feeling a bit inadequate in the company of biology and computer specialists) masked by fake cockiness. His complex may be exacerbated by the fact that his female colleagues seem to be focused entirely on Desmond. Even though he is an Assassin, doesn't have much of actual ''assassination'' skills or general self-defense skills compared to the rest... He gets spooked on a food run, where the job description of Assassin will have you handle much worse.
    • Some have interpreted that Shaun may have secretly harboured feelings for Lucy, so he's jealous of the growing attraction between her and Desmond, hence the reason for his open hostility.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Bomberman Land has a few.
  • Handsome Jack, the Big Bad of Borderlands 2, gets quite a bit of this. There's no question he's a villain, but there's debate on whether he's just a petty monster hiding under a thin veneer of civility or a Well-Intentioned Extremist suffering from some really bad cases of Moral Myopia and Evil Feels Good.
  • 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 Jerk Ass Woobie and Jimmy Hopkins is...the title's sake, a Jerk Ass 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.)
  • Most characters in Chrono Cross are prone to have many different interpretations due to most of them having strange accents and short screen time, especially the minor characters. Many fanfic authors either modify or remove the strange accent that belongs to a character.
    • Serge is a silent protagonist in the game, but in fanfics, many authors let him talk.
    • Guile speaks with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, but many authors make his speech more casual in fanfics.
  • 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. This, again, could be reinterpreted, as the first death in 7 is the captain, who is found impaled on the same device you later use to kill the Welder, though the pose of the body is wrong.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Due to the fairly confusing ending and inconsistencies with the game's manual, there is some dispute over the motivation of Jeremiah. The Reveal involves Jeremiah stating that he has been Dead All Along and Evil All Along and that he used Patrick to kill off his siblings so that he could use the power of the Undying King for himself. However, the journal entries written by him in the manual after his "death" in World War One are written as though his "cover story" was true meaning that there are two general explanations: Jeremiah was telling the truth in The Reveal and the journal entries were misinformation- which leads to some Fridge Logic- or Jeremiah chose to lie to some degree during The Reveal and was trying to goad Patrick into killing him for an unknown reason.
    • Alternatively, some part of the old Jeremiah still survived and wrote the diary but, ultimately, the evil undead counterpart took over completely. As for goading Patrick into killing him with the Scythe, that was the point, to be final sacrifice for the Undying King to awake - the last Covenant was needed and Patrick couldn't have been a replacement.
      • That might even be too optimistic. Consider that, upon realizing the Undying King is about to break free, Jeremiah asks for help from Galloway, an old war buddy. How did the Undying King get sealed away originally again? By burying a warrior alive at the standing stones.
  • 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. The writers promised to answer the questions with the release of C&C4. They didn't. Not even one of them.)
  • 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.)
  • 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?
  • 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 this view.
    • 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).
    • Dante's final line (complete with a Cheshire Cat Grin) in DMC3 right before he and Lady team up to kick demon ass ("Well bring it on! I love this! This is what I live for! I'm absolutely crazy about it!") makes him come across as a bit of a Blood Knight when it comes to demon hunting. However, when you consider all of the crap he had to deal with in no more than the span of a day or two (never mind Dante mourning Vergil's "death" not too long before that moment), it wouldn't be out of the question to interpret this as a physically and emotionally exhausted guy forcing himself to enjoy this fight. It's not even completely incongruent with Dante's Let's Get Dangerous moments across the board or his spiel to Trish in the first game that he's in the business with the hopes of eventually hitting the jackpot and avenging his family.
    • Dante in 2. With the game's placement at the farthest end of the timeline so that Capcom can continue to conveniently forget the black sheep of the series, something had to have happened to our favorite devil hunter between games to explain the glaring dichotomy his personality presents when juxtaposed against every other depiction of the character. Perhaps Dante finally mellowed out over the years, but some fans even go as far as to offer up theories of a more cataclysmic nature.
    • For a character who has been described as little more than "human bride of Sparda, mother of Dante and Vergil", the (maybe) late Eva isn't safe from this either, particularly where Dante's descriptions of her in the first game are concerned. Eva looks like a kindly housewife and loving (if not fiercely protective) mother with Silk Hiding Steel vibes at a first glance, but Dante's comment to Trish that she lacks Eva's fire and his recount of her Heroic Sacrifice might say otherwise. Accepting elements from the non-canonical DMC2 novel and DMC3 manga and counting two other games by the original DMC's creator as part of the DMC mythos infinitely complicates things.
  • This Dig Dug video.
  • 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?
  • Doomguy: One-Man Army fighting to save the universe, or Blood Knight extraordinaire?
  • 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?
  • "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. And remember: No matter how much money you got, it is always worth killing people with a cane for just a little bit more." (The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews DuckTales)
  • Dynasty Warriors and the work it is based on has a crapton of this. These are mostly on the Shu side, but to make it short...
    • Is Liu Bei really a noble ruler and warrior? Or is he just a naive and ambitious warlord who is Not So Different from his rivals and deluded by his ideals?
    • Is Zhuge Liang really a brilliant honourable strategist who wishes to see justice brought back to the world? Or is he just in it for his own prestige and fame?
    • Liu Shan. Is he really just a moron or even outright mentally handicapped? He was dropped on his head as a baby. Or is he actually a Brilliant, but Lazy/Book Dumb leader who employs Obfuscating Stupidity to get the upper hand?
    • The Shu Kingdom in general. Is it really the sapling for a new world of virtue and benevolence free from the bonds of the old, decadent and corrupt Chinese dynasties? Or are they just a nation of deluded Knight Templars who are only interested in glory and conquest? Worth pointing out that for all their talk of benevolence, in the ending of Dynasty Warriors Next, they pretty much do Kill 'em All on their defeated enemies, much like Wei does (Wu, the most openly expansionist and aggressive nation, is interestingly the only one that allows the other warlords to live and even views them as valued allies with a rightful place in their new kingdom). Pragmatism, or a sign of Shu's darker side?
  • The Elder Scrolls has this pouring out of every possible orifice simply by the nature of how it's told:
    • Is Vivec of Morrowind 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?
      • That could be asked about the whole Septim line, at least the ones who weren't outright mad. Berenziah's bio shows both benevolent and bastardly sides of Tiber.
    • 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.
    • 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. In addition to this, the PC is immortal and immune to all diseases, so like the PC in Oblivion can hold this position forever.
    • Is the last dragonborn of Skyrim a selfless hero with a heart of gold that's out to free Skyrim from the ever-looming threat of the dragon invasion, or a power-hungry bastard that becomes a master with his voice, highly influential in the major cities of Skyrim, the head of each guild, a member of either the original government or the new upcoming one (depending on the player's choice), the person that brings the Dark Brotherhood back into prominence, a possible monster of lycanthropic or vampiric power, and ultimately the chessmaster that aims to replace Alduin as the most powerful threat to Skyrim hinted at even more by having a shout that's similar to the one most often used by Alduin
      • As with all the other TES protagonists above, one has to note that, since the general uses a pretty "hands off" attitude when it comes to characterizing them, these interpretations could all be completely and one hundred percent true depending on the player.
    • 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 tyrant 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.
      • To be fair, the Storcloaks are pretty much all three at the same time. The Empire is much more straightforward though.
    • Paarthurnax -An Atoner who feels genuine remorse for his actions during the Dragon War and wants to lead the remaining dragons into a peaceful coexistence with humanity, or a Starscream to Alduin who uses the Player Character to dispose of him so that he can take over?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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 it's possible that moodier!Setzer is the "real" Setzer.
    • Minor but consider Cyan. 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 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 Jerk Ass, 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 Silver-haired Bishounen, 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 (1982)).
    • 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 the player screws up the mission, which is possible and allows the game to continue anyway, Shinra's plan doesn't work, though there's no way the heroes could have known that in advance) — 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 My 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 seen it coming from a mile 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 (Kimahri even stepped up to help Tidus at that point). 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 Whatthe 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 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.
  • 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 a Messianic Archetype, 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.
    • Not helping Marche is the fact that he was the only one who didn't have any desires granted, unlike the other three that came with him. This gives off the impression that he's so blind to everyone elses' feelings that he doesn't understand why someone disabled from the waist down wants to live in a world where he can walk, or that someone else loved having caring parents and wasn't bullied by nearly everyone.
    • 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.
    • Marche's huge division among fans is probably the reason why Luso in the sequel is characterized as someone who just wants to have fun in a new world but does want to go back home at some point so he doesn't cause his aunt any more stress.
    • Also, for Ritz: is her reason for staying only about her hair? She says as much, which seems shallow, but given that Kids Are Cruel maybe it's not so odd that she wants to stay in a place where she's not an object of scorn. She's also the class president and gets made fun of for being that too. In Ivalice, she's a clan leader, in fact a clan leader in a matriarchal society where a girl being "bossy" and assertive is a positive thing. She goes from being an outcast to a respected leader in her favorite video game. Childish, maybe, but shallow? Not so much.
  • Fire Emblem fandom is full of these, mostly found in Fan Fic:
    • Priscilla from Blazing Sword 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!
    • Colm from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones 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 Fan Fic 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 Caeda 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, Caeda 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.
      • Marth gets this again in Awakening, when Lucina tries to impersonate him. Her perception of Marth is of a proud, stoic warrior not unlike her own father, Chrom. In her supports with Tiki, however, who knew Marth personally, Tiki tells Lucina that the real Marth was more of a Magnetic Hero whose true strength came from the alliances he built with others, and noting that he was actually closer to Lucina's real personality than her imitation of him.
    • A lot of the cast of Radiant Dawn wasn't well developed, and are frequently subject to this.
    • Julia 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 Chess Master, Manfroy?)
    • The same applies to her brother Julius, in regards to the extent of his Demonic Possession. Did Loptyr possess him completely and wipe away almost all of his original personality, with only his love for Ishtar surviving? Was it a slow corruption that resulted in him Slowly Slipping Into Evil? Was he aware of the possession and just went along with it for the power? Was he Fighting from the Inside like Lyon, albeit unsuccessfully? This is the sort of thing that will probably never be resolved minus a remake.
    • 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.
      • 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.
    • Even the Player Character from Awakening is starting to fall under this. Was the Avatar in the original timeline really a power-hungry jerk who backstabbed Chrom and became Grima willingly, as Grima himself suggests? Or did being forced to kill Chrom push them over the Despair Event Horizon, and led them to join Grima rather than face up to the Shepherds who would surely abandon them once they knew Chrom was dead by their hand? Since Validar attempts to mind-control Robin several times in the late game, this option makes sense, but Robin is also shown to be able to brush him off — so he/she may still have been somewhat willing to join Grima, or at very least have an underlying conflict underneath. Or was the Avatar always loyal to Chrom, and Grima is just lying his fell dragon ass off? Who knows?
    • That's not even getting into the many conflicting interpretations of the secondary characters. Is Lucina's attachment to her father just that of a young girl who lost him and doesn't want him to die again, or does she have an Electra Complex? Is Tharja really that cruel and wicked, or is she just terribly Not Good with People and that became even worse in the Bad Future? Which of Henry's characterization is the most valid, his Japanese (where he doesn't always enjoy bloodshed as he says he does) or English one (where he actually does, and only learns to think differently when with the Shepherds)?
    • This is also parodied with Sumia, when she admits to Miriel that she fakes being clumsy so men will pay attention to her... It turns out it was a fever dream of Miriel's after she passed out from the hot sun, and Sumia is seen tending to her while acting her normal self. She actually is as clumsy and soft-hearted as she seems.
  • 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.
  • Never mind the many Flat Characters giving plenty of room for wildly different fan interpretations, Golden Sun's plot is fueled by in-universe misunderstandings of one another's intentions, and in this series, Poor Communication Kills. Messily. Often. And it's rated E for Everyone.
  • 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?
    • Babi is also frequently portrayed as an Evil Overlord in fan works. He does do a lot of things in canon that could be interpreted as evil (Kidnapping Sheba and using her as blackmail to get Lalivero to build his lighthouse, stealing a lifespan-extending draught and a magical ship from the Lemurians, etc.) but despite this the game itself doesn't portray him as a villain and the heroes never seem to question his motives or deny his requests.
  • 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?
    • Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City — is he a smart entrepreneur who managed to live out the American Dream, or a sociopathic thug who bought out the city and betrayed the men that he had sworn an oath to in the name of personal gain? or worse, he's a complete Psycho for Hire? Some view Tommy Vercetti as a needlessly callous, cold-blooded maniac. He absolutely feels no remorse for killing Sonny Forelli, who is portrayed almost like a family figure for Tommy. He has a Kick the Dog moment when he smugly accepts Mitch Baker's challenge to go on a rampage across downtown, meaning the shoot-outs the player embarks on outside of missions are completely in-character for the guy.
      • Lance Vance — a self-serving sociopath who betrayed Vercetti simply because he was a greedy bastard? Or, perhaps, his tragic life and drug use made him feel compelled to betray his colleague?
    • 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?
    • Toni Cipriani from Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Is he a righteous man who delights only commit atrocities because just follow orders? Or he's a Psycho for Hire? This theory is quite credible, because Toni is probably the protagonist who committed the greatest atrocities canonical, including killing a man with an ax and carrying his remains to a butcher shop, and this was done intentionally and not to follow an order, without mention several atrocities that go by Donald Love and Ned Burner's orders. While still repents of his sins in a confessional, he never sought redemption when he bombed the area of ​​Fort Staunton.
    • Victor and Lance Vance from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories — They were men who did not want a life of crime, but had to do for money? Or are they just hypocrites who do not want to work honestly?
  • This review of the freeware game Guardian of Paradise is a prime example of Alternative Character Interpretation.
  • 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).
  • Gordon Freeman from Half-Life. Is he a Messianic Archetype, a pure and just bringer of intervention when the time is right, or a 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.
    • The G-Man faces just as much interpretation. Is he good? Evil? Selfish? Is he just working for a higher power? Is he Gordon from the future or something? Is he the "mystery element of Half-Life" that fans adore so much or a manipulative bastard who brought humanity near to extinction just because of his... e-employers? And of course, while deciding this, remember what he did to Adrian Shepard.
  • Halo: 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 (apart from the "Final Grunt" Easter Egg). Also, he was trained In the first place to surpress rebels who really did have legitimate grievances against the UNSC. He could almost be considered a villain, and certainly is from the Covenant's perspective. He's slaughtered thousands of them, many which were slaves forced to fight against their will. Some enemies, like the Unggoy (Grunts), run from you in fear and scream for mercy, and in Halo 3, the Sangheili (Elites) may well obey you mainly out of fear. "Demon" is an apt name from that perspective.
      • Almost, save for the fact that he's trying to stop the Covenant from destroying the galaxy.
    • 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 while making a somewhat minor decision between what is morally right (preserving a friend's life) and what may possibly be best for humanity (ending it); he chooses the former.
    • This all applies to every Spartan in existence by extension.
    • 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 stating) that he has some major PTSD.
    • Noble Six 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 orphaned at a young age by the war, and was one of the three survivors (out of several hundred) of a 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 dying alone to top it all off. 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, argued for humanity to be allowed to join the Covenant rather than be entirely wiped out, and later despise the atrocities they had committed against humanity later on, with one Sangheili Ship Master 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.
    • Could Palmer's issues with Halsey be a way of transferring her family's anti-intellectual abuse? At least one person thinks it possible.
  • The Origami Killer a.k.a Scott Shelby from Heavy Rain. Is he really a broken person 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 his victims' parents, or is he just a psychopathic manipulator using Lauren Winter and the others around him to achieve his ends, while covering his tracks?
    • It's a possibility that Ethan Mars, Madison Paige, Norman Jayden, and Scott all investigate the Origami Killer so that they could die.
  • Ib: Mary. Is she a Green-Eyed Monster with Yandere-esque tendencies toward Ib, who is willing to do anything to escape, or is she just a lonely little girl who has been driven utterly insane by her hellish reality and desperately wants to escape to the world beyond? The fact that she's least sympathetic in the one ending where she does escape doesn't help matters.
  • Jade Empire: 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 planning 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 loudmouth, wise cracking, cowardly sidekick or secretly a great hero in waiting ready to take Jak's place if the time ever comes? Is what happened in his Gaiden Game the truth or is it just Daxter telling more tall tales?
  • 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.
    • There's also the question of how much of Kenji's misogynistic Conspiracy Theorist personality is genuine, and how much is a facade, as well as what it could be a facade for. The fact that he used to have a girlfriend, and he bears no hard feelings toward her (pointing out that he only hates feminists), and he can show a kinder and more empathetic side on occasion can be interpreted as cases of him petting the dog or actually dropping his conspiracy theorist act when the situation warrants it.
  • 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.")
  • 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?
      • 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.
      • Uncreative names? Revan is an anagram of the word raven, many older cultures considers ravens to be an omen foreshadowing death or disaster. While Malak is a play on the name Molok or Moloch, a pagan god mentioned in The Old Testament who demands the sacrifice of children. Very appropriate monikers.
      • Uncreative in-universe. They didn't take Revan or Malak as Sith Lord names like Darth Vader or Darth Sidious. Those were names and aliases they already used, and then they later "fell to the Dark Side" and so were dubbed Darth Whatever by the Jedi. Arguably. Which is the point of this trope.
    • 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".
      • 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? 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. On the other hand being severed from the Force has serious affects on People. Just look at the Yuuzhan Vong. It's heavily implied they exalt pain because it's the only way they feel truly alive after they were severed from the Force. Destroying it all together might have even worse affects, might kill untold trillions from the sheer shock. It wouldn't just affect Kreia's people, it would affect everyone in the universe. What gives her the right to make that decision for the Universe?
  • 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 and make a Stable Time Loop until, as he put it, the coin lands on its edge.
      • Which brings up another ACI. 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.
  • 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?
  • Limbo: Does the boy's simple quest to reunite with his sister make him the innocent he appears to be, or is the game deconstructing standard progression in video game narratives by forcing the boy to commit repeated, brutal atrocities against his fellow living beings (most of whom, like the dog and the mosquito, are entirely innocent), until the game's final moment when he at last reaches his sister only for her to stiffen in alarm at the monster his journey has made of him?
    • Under that interpretation, given that the boy is ceaselessly driven by the desire to move to the right, the brain worms' initial forced change of direction to the left may render them symbolically heroic; note their luminescence amidst the black, hostile world and the sinister appearance of their ceiling-mounted predators.
    • Is the spider truly malicious, or just a simpleminded animal looking for a meal - or preemptively attempting to eliminate the threat posed by the boy?
    • Is the surrounding world limbo, or is the game's title merely a reference to its own moral ambiguity (or both)? In either case, was the world always like this, or as the scenery suggests, is the boy exploring a post-apocalyptic ruin, possibly brought about by man's brutalization of nature via the likes of the weather-controlling machine that the boy in turn brutalizes an innocent dog in order to use?
  • E. Gadd gets a lot of this as a result of Bowser Jr. using a Paintbrush made by him in Super Mario Sunshine. While there's the possibility that Jr. simply stole it from an Absent-Minded Professor, the fact that the game never rules out Gadd giving/selling the Paintbrush to the Koopas has led to speculation that Gadd was Playing Both Sides for one reason or another.
  • 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.

  • 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.
    • The latter interpretation is confirmed in the Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3, where it's revealed that that the Catalyst, the controlling intelligence that directs the Reapers is the highly-sophisticated AI, working on faulty programming. The Leviathan created it to prevent wars between the human and synthetic races they ruled over, only for the Catalyst to fail in it's task, decide that the galaxy needed routine cleansing to remove the problem entirely and turn on it's creators, seeing them as another part of the problem.
    • 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, with Kelly Chambers, Ken Donnelly, Gabby Daniels, and Dr. Chakwas all being specifically chosen to provide trustworthy faces.
      • It's also revealed that Cerberus has been Indoctrinating human refugees with Reaper tech to bolster their ranks and has no problem in using them as test subjects on their experiments. It's unclear however whether this augmentation began before or after the main number of their ranks became Indoctrinated.
    • 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?
    • 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?
    • Is the Virmire Survivor a paranoid Ungrateful Bastard, is he or she right to be upset by his or her former commander (and possible lover) joining up with a terrorist organization, or is he or she blowing the issue out of proportion due to a combination of seeing Shepard again and having just experienced a devastating attack on Horizon in which he or she thinks Cerberus might have played a role, thus causing him or her to be more emotional and judgmental than normal?
      • Interestingly enough, Garrus (and in Dummied Out content, Tali), despite being aliens who have even less reason to trust Cerberus, argue that the Virmire Survivor is too focused on Cerberus and ignoring the real threat. Is the Virmire Survivor taking this personally because Cerberus is a human terrorist organization (that claims to be on humanity's, and thus the Virmire Survivor's, side), and misjudging who they should be concerned about? Or do they understand how untrustworthy Cerberus is in ways that Shepard and his/her former crew, who rely on their help, do not?
    • Is Ashley Williams someone whose distrust toward aliens is justified (the Council) or at least understandable (a krogan mercenary, a turian Cowboy Cop and the daughter of The Dragon), is she a good person with prejudices that she gradually learns to overcome, or is she simply a racist jerk? Is her opposition to Cerberus and Terra Firma proof that she isn't completely racist (or at least a Pet the Dog moment), a refusal to go as far as they do or outright hypocrisy?
    • Liara T'soni: The truest friend Shepard has ever had or a Stalker with a Crush who is borderline obsessed with him/her to the point of keeping a piece of Shepard's old N7 armor enshrined in her apartment? Did she do the right thing when she retrieved Shepard's body and gave it to Cerberus or was she being disrespectful to the memory of Commander Shepard for selfish reasons? Was her inability to articulate the true story about Shepard and Cerberus to the Virmire Survivor miscommunication, lack of understanding, or Liara's jealousy trying to eliminate rivals for Shepard's attention? Was her cabin visits in Mass Effect 3 a true concern for Shepard's well being or is she just being very possessive of Shepard? Is her isolation from everyone else for many years a justified excuse of every issue that is being pointed out?
    • Are the Citadel Council stubborn, willingly blind anti-human racists whose incompetence hamstrings Shepard and imperils the galaxy? Or are they, if not quite a Reasonable Authority Figure, open to being convinced about humanity's merits, the threat of the Reapers, and Shepard's plan to stop them if shown enough evidence?
    • Humanity. Is the rest of the galaxy keeping them from rising to power out of jealousy and paranoia? Or does humanity simply need to learn to make compromises and sacrifices in order to become part of the galactic community, as well as accept that it will take time for them to integrate, much less rise to the top? Furthermore, when the Reapers attack Earth, is the Council callously abandoning them, or are they merely unwilling to commit to a seemingly hopeless battle without adequate preparation? Is the Alliance right to focus the Allied fleet's attention on Earth, where there is still a sizable population in need of evacuation and a resistance in need of backup? Or are they putting too much emphasis on their own homeworld when the other races are suffering just as badly or even worse?
      • Humanity's preoccupation with reclaiming Earth is lampshaded in the third game, when background conversations between two of the Normandy personnel have one take the position that Earth is being abandoned by the Council, while the other points out that the other races would feel exactly the same if it was their homeworld on the line and that the turians are getting waylaid by the Reapers too. The asari even state that their reason for not helping is to fall back to Thessia and defend their own borders, yet even the most advanced technology in the galaxy at their disposal still doesn't stop Thessia being the only world to fall entirely to the Reapers.
  • Anetta in Mega Man Battle Network. She is a member of the cyberterrorists WWW, but she wants to protect nature, and at one point, even indirectly helps Lan save Mamoru's life. Her navi, Plantman, on the other hand, seems to goad her on. Lord Wily even seems to act a little differently around her. This has caused a lot of people to think that Annetta is simply a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and Plantman acts as an evil conscience to her. A few theories have suggested that Wily created Plantman specifically to control her.
  • 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 Façade 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 evil 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.
    • Dr. Light is ostensibly the Big Good of the entire Mega Man franchise, but, as an anon on 4chan points out, his relentless idealism spawned wars, mayhem, carnage, hatred, and destruction on such a scale as to make a decent case for him being the greatest villain in all of video games.
  • Aoko Aozaki from Melty Blood. Doing it for the lulz or carefully manipulating events to Screw Destiny?
  • Does Big Boss actually apologize 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, characterisation 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 everything that Eva said about Big Boss and the AIs) 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).
    • Senator Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is ripe for differing interpretations given what an erratic character he is; even Raiden is so baffled by his various monologues that he just declares him "batshit insane" in order to make sense of it all. At first Armstrong appears to be motivated by greed, a lust for power, or both, but then after the Metal Gear Excelsus fight, he tells Raiden "the truth": He seeks to turn America into a vaguely anarchic society where people are free to pursue whatever they wish with the strength of their own convictions. When he describes a country where "the law bends to suit the individual," does he mean an uprooted and extensively retooled political system where the policymakers genuinely have everyone's best interests in mind, or does he mean a state of full-blown lawlessness where nothing is illegal and only the strongest will survive? In either case, is this really his goal? Or is he merely using that as an excuse to mask his aforementioned pursuit of money and/or power?
  • 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 - including very large and possibly unique predators - which must have a lasting impact on the ecosystem.
    • In regards to messing up planets' ecosystems, Samus's mission to exterminate the entire Metroid population in Metroid II calls the Galactic Federation's trustworthiness into serious question. Going by that train of thought, the end of that game and the events of Super Metroid can be seen as Samus coming to realize the worth in the creatures she has been repeatedly tasked with eradicating, with Metroid Fusion rounding out the story arc by revealing once and for all that the Galactic Federation was a ruthless, fascist state responsible for multiple counts of genocide and the same illegal bioweapons programs as their enemies all along.
      • Even as early as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the Galactic Federation demonstrate that they are nearly as willing as the Space Pirates to recklessly take up the power offered by Phazon in pursuit of military victory. They even alter Samus's suit to include a Phazon Enhancement Device without her knowledge or consent.
    • It's also at least plausible that the Luminoth are the villains in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and the Ing are merely retaliating against the Luminoth aggression. If this is true, U-Mos is the Big Bad and Samus is The Dragon in his war of conquest and genocide against his species' rivals.
    • Another interpretation is that Samus is a Stoic Woobie or Jerkass Woobie thanks to all the punishment she takes. 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 gaining much-needed character development or else as getting severely derailed from previously-established characterization. A lot of it seems to come down to whether or not a given fan thinks Samus had much of a personality established from games made before Other M.
      • So, Adam Malkovich. 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)?
      • The plot makes scary amounts of sense if Adam is The Mole, as he has ample means, motive, and opportunity to carry out the "Deletions". His final scene could be a Heroic Sacrifice, or it could be Faking the Dead.
      • Another interpretation which seems to make a fair amount of sense is that Adam is a well-meaning, but inept commander who is overtly concerned about asserting his authority. Imagine the scene with Adam forbidding the use of bombs with these thoughts going through his head: "Damn, she took care of everything by herself, while I stood here useless. Erm, good job, Samus, but your bombs might cause damage to the station. Yes, that will show everyone I'm in charge! In fact, don't use any of your other equipment until I tell you to!" Or that he lets Samus weather through the lava section without Varia Suit because he genuinely forgot that she has it. Samus, for her part, knows how fragile Adam's self esteem is, and humors him, trusting her own abilities to get through with what he "allows".
      • 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-traumatic 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 unbearably oppressive and emotionless society of The City created by the oppressive surveillance state that began some decades ago, which gets them in constant trouble with the police. But in the game, you only get the runner's 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 eighteen 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 mean 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'd much rather try her luck at rejoining society and have at least some kind of life, instead of hiding on the roofs until she gets shot by the police or falls 80 meters to her death.
  • The Mother 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 Mother (AKA Earthbound Zero) 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!
  • Gehn of Riven. Some feel that his tragic backstory - losing his father and civilization at the age of 8, 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.
  • June of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors openly invites this given her role. Is she a bit more of the sweet, positive, and slightly kooky girl we meet initially or is she much more of the cold, calculating Zero personality she presumes when kidnapping mostly good people from their homes to save herself and get revenge? It hurts more when Word of God is taken into consideration, where it's stated that she has been traumatized from the experience of the first Nonary Games, but doesn't state how close her fake personality is to the real one.
    • Virtue's Last Reward gives us both answers: in the timeline the games follow, June becomes colder and more calculating the longer she lives and the stronger her ability to see into other timelines becomes. By the time the second game comes around, she's nothing like the girl Junpei knew. And, perhaps even worse, because of the way time travel works in this universe, a person can't change their own timeline, they can only create alternate timelines. There may well be a world out there where the real June is the sweet, optimistic girl he fell in love with... but it's not one we've seen yet.
    • Word of God confirms that June was being honest when she told Kyle that she wanted to be with Junpei...but she didn't end up doing that, so why? Was she nobly sacrificing any chance at a normal life so she could work to save the world? Did her plans, evil or not, take priority over that love? Was she ashamed of what she'd become? Was she not ashamed, and preferred being Zero over Akane? Or has she actually been working to create a happy timeline- where her murderers are neutralized and Radical-6 is never released- so she can be with him?
    • Future!Sigma: Was he a essentially good, if socially awkward, scientist who devoted his life to changing history and averting the apocalypse, or a cold, calculating murderer who enslaved sapient beings (Luna and K) in a crazed attempt to atone for his mistakes?
  • 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.
  • 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?
    • Philemon: Jerk Ass god playing a Book of Job-like game with the protagonists' lives; or a caring guardian deity trapped in a Manichean struggle against his equally powerful evil counterpart, giving humans the power to protect themselves, and willing to make the hard decision of sacrificing the happiness of a few to save the whole?
  • 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?
  • Almost any party member in Persona 4.
    • Kanji: A closet homosexual who refuses to admit his sexual orientation to himself or just a teenager who is struggling with feeling at ease around guys, rather than girls, because they simply do not make fun of his "feminine" hobbies.
  • 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— is he Well-Intentioned Extremist? 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.
    • Similarly, there's a popular theory that Giovanni from Generation 1 could have been a good guy, in that he wanted to obtain the Silph Scope and Master Ball to catch a powerful ghost and then stop Mewtwo from destroying the world. Admittedly, this runs into problems when one considers the criminal organization he runs that steals, kills, and mistreats Pokemon... but perhaps he was trying to make up for his crimes?
    • Kotone/Lyra (the girl trainer in HG/SS). Both Japanese and Western 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.
    • Nurse Joy, a caring medical practitioner who you only visit when your pokemon are badly injured but is "hoping to see you again real soon".
    • The Internet has minorly gone nuts over an interpretation that Blue's Raticate died and was buried in Pokemon Tower. Most commonly, this was as a result of his battle with Red aboard the S.S. Anne, causing him to blame Red for it and vow to become a Pokemon Master for his dead companion. Interestingly, these interpretations tend not to focus on avenging the Raticate's death by defeating Red, but rather channeling all his sorrow into becoming a better Pokemon trainer, which would make Blue one of the most mature eleven-ish-year-olds ever. It also makes for a tragic loss of innocence story, especially when Red then takes his championship (and the love of his grandfather) mere minutes after attaining it.
    • There is also the theory that Blue actually joined Team Rocket at some point, looking to the fact that he is often encountered in the same area as Team Rocket, and does nothing to help save Silph Co. even though he is right there in the building and certainly strong enough to defeat Giovanni.
    • 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 Jerk Ass (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.
      • Furthermore, with Red's appearance as the Final Boss of Silver/Gold and the remakes, there's debate as to whether he's a Blood Knight always looking for the next battle (he's found at the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon which has the strongest pokemon in the game), a Retired Bad Ass that just wants to be left alone (as far from civilization as possible in game), or a Death Seeker in the sense that he wants someone who can finally defeat him (see previous reasons and add that he vanishes after he's beaten).
      • 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), namely Lance, Pryce, Archie, and N.
    • Colress in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Is it clear that he was in league with Ghetsis and the rest of Team Plasma in wanting to take over Unova with Kyurem? Or was he working with Ghetsis by force and not by habit of wanting to do such a thing? The former is hinted after you've beaten him in the Pokemon World Tournament, when your rival and Cheren run off to the Plasma Frigate, while Colress thinks what they are doing is recklessness, at least at first. Then, before you battle him in said Plasma Frigate, he expresses that his desire is to bring out the entirety of Pokemon potential no matter what it takes, even if the entire world is destroyed as a result. But as for the latter possibility, he didn't agree with the old Team Plasma's approach of Pokemon liberation. In addition, when you approach Terrakion on Route 22, he doesn't seem concerned about the fact that you plan to confront them, and gives you the Colress Machine so you can wake up the Crustle in Seaside Cave that's blocking the path to the frigate. And after you beat him, he commends your relationship with your team and encourages you to put a stop to Ghetsis' plans. Then, after beating him in the post-game, he reveals that he detested Ghetsis from the very start, hinting that he wasn't quite in league with said plans. So what he really was out for is your call.
      • Then there's the fact that Ghetsis himself implies that Colress's goals conflicted with his when you meet him on the Frigate. While this seems to lean towards Colress not really being in the league with Ghetsis, what it really means is still somewhat open to interpretation.
  • 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, boast of immortality, or lamentation of immortality?
    • Did the test go horribly wrong, resulting in GLaDOS'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?
    • 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?
      • The ending of the second game and the lyrics of "Want You Gone" have added serious fuel to this fire. Another question this spawns is, assuming that GLaDOS really does care about Chell, whether it goes all the way back to the first game or is something that developed during Portal 2.
    • In the first game (seemingly debunked in the sequel): Is she not an AI at all, and simply a sophisticated but buggy user interface, full of pre-recorded statements?
    • 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 dialogue: 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? (If you're skeptical of the latter possibility, remember: Her brain is the basis for GLaDOS.)
    • 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 bent on testing his products as much as possible to sate his curiosity? Nevertheless, one thing everybody can agree on is his obvious lack of sanity.
    • Wheatley, in regards to how much of his Face-Heel Turn was GLaDOS's programming corrupting him, and how much was him being Drunk with Power. His apology seems to point to the latter; if it was merely programming, why is he so sorry? Either way, most people forgive him.
  • Is Ratchet from Ratchet & 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.
  • Red Dead Redemption has a few, mainly centering around Edgar Ross: outright evil sadist, 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?
    • 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?
  • Silent Hill 2:
    • Maria: 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, 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.
    • Did the real Mary emotionally abuse James until he put her out of her misery, or does he just tell himself that to ease his guilt? Laura would claim the latter, but she seems to be a manifestation of childish spite herself, and if she really believed that, would she willingly leave Silent Hill with James?
  • 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.
  • The title character of Slender. Is he really a demonic creature seeking new victims or is he a lonely monster wanting someone to hang out with?
    • Multiple movies and games do have Slender to be the former, but other games aren't clear about what he would or could do to the player.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends characterisations differ greatly between the various Sonic series'.
    • Sonic himself has been portrayed as a wisecracking resistance commando who engages in bouts of Well, Excuse Me, Princess! with the team's leader, a good natured drifter who for all his attitude shows respect for genuine authority and behaves like an ideal father to his Kid Sidekick, a self-centered, sharp-tounged, hotheaded jerkass without a nice thing to say to anyone, or a free spirit who hardly speaks and is happy to tag along with a lonely rich kid. Sega's own employees are not exempt from this, some they say Sonic's a nature loving hero with great appreciation for beauty and relaxation, and some say that he's so hyperactive he can never sit still let alone sit and look at the scenery, some also say he's a loner and likes his peace while others say he's gregarious and likes a lively atmosphere.
      • In Sonic Adventure, pay attention to Sonic's theme, particularly the line, "It doesn't matter who is wrong or who is right." Another one: selfless hero courageously risking his life to protect people, or thrill-seeking action junkie who gets involved with the events of a given story simply because he enjoys the chase?
    • Tails on occasion shows traits of being a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, an easily excited fanboy of Sonic's who sometimes acts like a Reckless Sidekick, or a butt monkey who suffers from an inferiority complex and gets flustered easily or a techno-wiz with maturity beyond his years and shows leadership skills.
    • Tails' maturity and intelligence fluctuates between continuities.
    • A kind of meta-example, from the Sonic the Hedgehog fandom: "Amy is Sonic Team's way of vilifying western culture's take on feminism. Don't believe me? Amy is a very "western" girl: extremely outspoken, very assertive, very confident, and very goal-oriented. And yet, Sonic doesn't trust her worth a damn. He trusts Tails, Knuckles, and Shadow without uttering a word; they're men, after all, and only men are allowed to be outspoken. Sonic also trusts Cream, who knows when to shut up, and Elise, a girl who makes Cinderella seem downright heroic. But Amy? No way. Amy ANNOYS Sonic. Because Sonic Team is so set in their own culture; that women should not be so outspoken."
      • Another meta-example could be that Amy could be defined as the "Anti-Peach" like Sonic was the "Anti-Mario".
    • Sonic's apparent complete indifference to girls despite being 15 years old has sparked many speculations among people, maybe he's gay, may be he's unwilling to utilize his Popularity Power to get into bed with someone because he sees it as shallow, or he's asexual. Love seems to confuse him. Maybe it's because of how young everyone is, or perhaps he really does love Amy, but isn't ready to settle down yet and/or doesn't want Robotnik to pick up on said affections and kidnap (and possibly hurt, or even kill) Amy just to get to him. +  , Sonic however has already shown some signs of interest in some female characters, examples would include some heavy subtext with Blaze the Cat and some playful flirting with Rouge the Bat, some examples could be listed below.
      • Sonic does flirt with Rouge in Sonic Battle for the GBA, and then you could say Rouge flirts with everyone and means nothing by it, he was just giving her a taste of her own medicine.
      • Sonic's relationship with Amy could also be considered abusive, with him brushing her off at every turn and not even making the effort to reciprocate, and then. If he's largely established as not being interested, why should he reciprocate in the least?
      • In the Sonic X continuity however, Sonic/Amy seem to be heavily implied in some scenes, especially in the ending of the ep. 42, in contrast to his game interpretation, some like to use that interpretation of the character for their portrait of Sonic's relationship with Amy in the game continuity.
      • Sonic is more likely a Chaste Hero than an Asexual.
      • Sonic The Comic Online has lightly implied Sonic may be gaining feelings for Amy, which is an alternative interpretation of game!Sonic and STC!Sonic.
      • To make thinks even more complicated game!Sonic can be seen developing a rather warm friendship with Blaze the Cat, some scenes including much closer interaction than most of the characters in the game continuity.
    • Doctor Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik is seriously mixed up within the canons. He could be the repressed evil side of the genuinely good Dr. Kintobor, brought out through a lab accident; a genuinely evil tyrant who just wants to roboticize everything and rule a planet of machines; or a benevolent wannabe tyrant, who merely wants to take over, and will stop at nothing to get his way. He's also portrayed with varying degrees of competence, from a comic buffoon in AoStH, to a genuine menace to the world in SatAm.
      • One interpretation though, is that the character isn't even a villain. He wants to make the world a better place, and has the intelligence to create the inventions that can help the world, and make it a truly utopian society. It's just that before he can get his plans into action Sonic always interferes. Since Sonic's too impatient to let Robotnik explain, Sonic always assumes Robotnik's short term villainy is the main goal, and stops Robotnik before the good in his plans an be completed. Sure, Robotnik's attempts to take control of the world aren't exactly the normal way to bring about positive changes, but he understands PR, and that his continual early defeats against Sonic means that if he wants to better the world, then he has to do it by force, and that includes techniques such as holding it hostage. Robotnik might then be a villain for how he will take over the world, but once he gets in power he's got his master plan to sort everything out. He's just too much of an egotist to merely explain his proposals to current world leaders, and wants all the glory for himself.
      • Or maybe he fears that they would disregard his ideas, and thinks he has to force his ideas upon the world in order to get people to accept them.
      • It seems that Eggman's main goal is to create his "Eggman Land", an over-the-top Egopolis amusement park that he has actually succeeded in building in a few games. This suggests that all he really wants is a land of his own to command, it doesn't have to be the whole world. Even though all he's commanding is a legion of obedient robots. However, he knows that to successfully pull this off, he needs the chaos emeralds, which he can only get by force.
      • Consider Eggman's many mechas. They're bright and carnival-based. Eggman may, deep down, be a little child. Taking over the world is like playing with his toys. And Sonic? He may be the closest thing Eggman has to a genuine friend.
    • Metal Sonic didn't defy Eggman in Sonic Heroes, the entire thing was Eggman's plan to allow Metal Sonic to get more data to copy, specifically that of Perfect Chaos, and Shadow, in order to enhance his abilities further.
    • While not appearing in nearly as many canons, Amy can be seen in different ways. An obsessive adolescent in love, a young tomboyish girl who falls for her much older hero, a serious yet teasing, lethal sideman to said hero, or just a kid who wants her crush to like her. Her post-Adventure personality also has changed quite a few times.
      • She's schizo?
      • Her personality in Sonic the Comic changed overtime, to change right back in the last arc. The more well-known personality is the result of Executive Meddling in relation to role models for girls. The original Amy was supposed to be more of a comical foil to Sonic who fights, but not much. The changed personality made her into a Badass (or Badbutt) character in stark contrast to any other of her personalities, with emphasis on romance (though in this continuity it's implied her crush is small and she just likes teasing Sonic). It becomes noticeable how different the personalities are when the last arc comes and Amy does nothing action related, when before she would be right in the action.
    • Some fan theories state that The Duke of Soleanna is actually evil.
  • 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.
  • Spelunky, a discussion on the Fridge section brought this idea: The Shopkeeper has a lot of health and items. The only way for most players to get similar levels of power is via Kali's temples, which always seem to have fresh blood on them. So the Shopkeeper is probably conducting Human Sacrifice. However, the alternative alternative character interpretation is that with Kali's temples willing to take any sacrifices regardless of morality, he might have been culling the bad guys before you came along. And that because of opportunistic little jerks like the player running around, he's had to adopt the "Shotgun at the first inkling of trouble" policy lest these "heroic" adventurers try to steal from or murder him.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic naturally incorporates a lot of this into the player characters' actions. The game allows you to be a republic member but their actions can make them a Designated Hero. Likewise, an Imperial member could be a Designated Villain - the choice is once more up to you, within the limitations of what the game gives you. The game doesn't try to punish you for being a dark sided Jedi or a light sided Sith. Here's what you can get up to in game:
    • As a Bounty Hunter: Are you playing a Psycho for Hire, who is just there to cause mayhem and get paid? A Consummate Professional who focuses only on the credits and contract, not thinking too much about your employer? Are you a mercenary whose loyalty to the Imperials extends only out to their purse strings? Are you a deeply closeted supporter of the Republic who dislikes the idiots hiring you, and cheerfully sabotages them at every turn while getting paid for it? Are you merely loyal to Braden and willing to put up with whatever it takes to avenge the old man and carry on the business like he would?
    • As a Sith Inquisitor: You start as a lowly slave plucked from the auction block once it's discovered you're Force Sensitive. So, are you loyal to the Sith now that you have a chance to move among them, or have you not forgotten how badly you were treated when the collar was around your neck? Are you gathering power as to destroy your fellow Sith, or so you are never hurt again? If you are light-sided, can you even be called a Sith, as your actions undermine the Empire from within and conversations with Ashara indicate that you both seek to Take a Third Option other than the rigid Jedi-Sith dichotomy?
    • As a Sith Warrior: Are you merely a Hot-Blooded warrior who saves his brutality for the battlefield, but otherwise prefers rational behavior? A nasty Blood Knight who wants to slaughter everything in his path? A cunning player who is gathering a power base so he's practically untouchable from his fellow Sith? A Wild Card who does as he damn well pleases, no loyalty to anyone (even the Empire), and backs up his arguments with a force choke is he has to?
    • Imperial Agent: Do you believe My Country, Right or Wrong, serving the Empire despite its lack of competant leadership, fascist policies, and brutal racism? Are you a Wild Card who grows weary of your government's policies and just wants to stop the network of terrorists trying to destroy both major powers? A deep cover agent for the SIS (Republic Intelligence)? A person who has seen way too much and wants out, no matter who gets double-crossed?
    • Republic Trooper: Eagleland Type 1? A loyal, patriotic soldier with high ideals, the best example of Republic citizenry? Eagleland Type 2? A boorish, Sociopathic Soldier who shouts slogans before every battle, massacares civilians insdiscrimitely, and looks the other way when it's your side committing the abuses?
    • Jedi Consular: Ambadassador or Ass in Ambassador? The person who makes galactic politics more stable or much worse (so they have to turn to you)? A nasty Knight Templar with a tendency to leave any traitors to the Republic without their heads? The peacemaker who ends wars with a healing spell? A useless class who doesn't get to do as many cool things as the others, or the one who quietly does a lot of the back-end work so the other classes succeed on their missions?
    • Jedi Knight: Anything from a naive Wide-Eyed Idealist with a deadly weapon to a Knight Templar who is going to make Scourge's vision of taking the Sith Throne come true.
    • Smuggler: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything? A freelance business person trying to run as honest a ship as they can under the circumstances? A bloodthirsty pirate profiting off a galaxy-wide war? A privateer happy to help their Republic in a time of need for a share of the goodies? A crime boss in training? Loyal to the crew, but hang everyone else?
  • Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. are sometimes considered to be Nominal Heroes 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 huge threat.* 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...
    • 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?
    • 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.
    • For a more interesting notion, what if Wario is just Luigi in disguise, trying to strike out against Mario for hogging all the glory?
    • 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.
    • Not helping matters is the manual for the original Super Mario Bros.. It explains that Bowser had turned many of the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom into bricks... presumably the same ones that are smashed by the Brothers throughout the course of the game.
      • Or are they the individual bricks, in which case breaking them apart from each other would be helping them?
    • 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.
    • 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?
    • Waluigi. Is he truly despicable and evil ? Does he just go along with Wario´s mischievous plans simply out of fear of reprisal or because he has no other friends ? Did Luigi do something terrible to him in order to evoke his behavior ? Does he simply pretends to be a loser in order to keep the Mario Brothers off his plans ? Did he seek to become popular like the Mario brothers out of spite or out of the need for love ? Is his crush on Daisy a mere attempt to annoy and disrespect his rival Luigi, or does he really care about her ? Is Waluigi truly greedy and vain or does he simply pretends to be in order to please his only friend Wario ? Because of his extremely ambiguous origins and his complex character, he is very prone to this.
  • While we're on the subject of Tales characters, let's have a look at Tales of the Abyss:
    • Jade Curtiss: a genuine sociopath incapable of normal human emotion, or just a man so completely out of touch with his own feelings that he can't identify them when he has them, combined with a logical mind that simply sees the world differently? The game seems to point toward both explanations at different times.
    • Van Grants has this going on even within the game's canon, let alone outside it. How sympathetic you find his abusive childhood and Well-Intentioned Extremist goals, compared with his manipulation and betrayal of Luke and Asch and disregard for the lives of others except as tools, varies widely from person to person.
  • Pascal. Is she just Obfuscating Stupidity, in love with Sophie (in a creepy way), or is she just Autistic?
  • 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 Messianic Archetype 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 Evil Plan 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".
  • Azazel from Tekken. In the franchise, he's the ultimate evil. In 'Master Of Nintendo's MLP fanfiction series, he's the powerful, loyal, truly good husband of Celestia and king of all Equestria.
  • 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.
  • Ultima:
    • Lord British is a genocidal cult leader who who conquered the planet by ruthlessly crushing all who oppose him and enforcing a state religion of his own devising
    • The Avatar is an Ax-Crazy psychopath who acts as British's attack dog, and is allied with him only so he can murder everyone around him with impunity and royal sanction
  • 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"?
    • There's a whole lot of this in-universe, especially between Battler and Ange's perspective of characters. The final game was created by Battler specifically to remind Ange of the loving family who had fun together, rather than the worst characterizations that the Wild Mass Guessing 'Witch Hunt' fanatics speculated.
  • Nathan Drake of Uncharted is presented as an unlucky everyman. However, people have taken issue with this to varying degrees, with his alternate characterization ranging from merely too skilled to be an everyman to a murderer, but one you'd buy a drink for in a bar to a mass murderer to a full-blown sadistic sociopath. Nate stays jokey almost the whole time he kills the numerous mercenaries after him and sometimes seems a bit too eager for violence. For instance, there's a museum infiltration level where Nate says he doesn't want to kill anyone, but his non-lethal takedowns still include neck snaps and he throws an unaware guard over a hundred feet down into the ocean, in a series that usually averts Soft Water. You can see the guard swimming away, but even the developers admit this is a cop-out. In Drake's Deception, Marlowe actually brings this up, claiming he gets off on violence, before completely discarding that line of thought.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has a few of these:
    • Faldio's motives. Did he shoot Alicia because it was the only trump card he had and nobody else had any better ideas? Or was he just plain power-hungry and jealous of Welkin?
    • Welkin in general. Is he the sweet, good-hearted biology genius the story makes him out to be? Or are the conspicuous lapses in his intelligence hinting at something darker under the surface?
    • Jaeger. Renegade lone wolf cooperating with his oppressors just enough to keep them off his back, or opportunistic Karma Houdini out for his own best interests?
  • 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 Jerk Ass 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.
    • The Night Elves: From the Alliance perspective, a peaceful, beautiful, spiritual race; purple Na'vi with magic and big ears. From the Horde perspective, however, they're a bunch of reclusive, omnicidal, xenophobic snobs.
    • 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..............
      • During his undead life, was he a Bad Boss or a Benevolent Boss? He's shown to be both, with sending the death knights out on a suicide mission, caring very little for some of his soldier's deaths yet he mourns troops who couldn't keep going on during the third war, Thought of Kel'Thuzad as a friend instead of a servant and declared he wouldn't let his followers killed by the rebels.
    • 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 Tyrande, 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 Bastards 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?
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • 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.
      • Furthermore, even later novels set during the third war show that her We Have Reserves strategy extends to when she was still alive.
    • 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? Or is he just human, a person who tries to be a good king and father, but is held back by his Lo'Gosh persona and personal failings?
    • 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. It's possible that she started out as a kind person, then became colder as a result of fighting alone against many enemies for a millennium, but after being reunited with her beloved Malfurion, learning the value of cooperation in the battle on Mount Hyjal (she tells Jaina, "Your plan is a bold one, girl. Perhaps I have misjudged you outlanders") and joining the Alliance, opened up to others again.
    • Malfurion himself -Is he a wise and noble leader who recognizes the pointlessness of Alliance/Horde conflict, or a useless hypocrite who refuses to stand up to the Horde when they attack the Night Elves?
    • 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 Jerk Ass who represents traditional Goblin Values and is the best representation of a leader for their race? Or a callous Jerk Ass who have done so many horrible things that he is hated by everyone for good reason and is unfit to lead the goblins?
    • The Twilight's Hammer Cult- opportunists in search of power? People driven to what they believe is the only path available by the dark times? Victims of Old God brainwashing?
    • Emperor Lei Shen? A tyrannnical, fascist, Social Darwinist and Knight Templar that only sought absolute power to enslave those he deemed inferior under the delusion of doing the "work" of the Titans? An Well-Intentioned Extremist who had to commit these actions to survive and rid the Mogu of th curse of flesh? Or a visionary who brought order to Pandaria after disunity and proteted it from the Mantid despite the high loss of life? Or all three? Or just a pawn of the Zandalari in their attempt to resurrect their empire?
    • At the end of "Dark Heart of Pandaria", Grizzle Gearslip and his goblin workers have finished their mission, with many casualties, and Malkorok gives Grizzle only a fraction of the promised payment. Grizzle protests, but Malkorok says "the Warchief does not compensate the dead", and they should see an honorable death as its own reward before launching into a "The Reason You Suck" Speech against Grizzle's greed. Is Grizzle trying to get Malkorok to abide by the original terms of the contract (albeit for not completely noble reasons), only to get cheated out of his payment due to Malkorok and Garrosh's racism against goblins who died doing a dangerous job for the Horde? Or is Malkorok simply acting out of a principle of loyalty and honor (albeit which compel him to do terrible things at times), and rightly calling Grizzle out on his trying to make money off of his dead workers?
  • 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?
  • 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 Godis 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.
  • Common in anything made by Zap Dramatic, chief among them the player character(s). Since none of them are really defined, some people just like to pretend its the same guy every time.
    • A popular interpretation of Helen from Ambition is that she is the only sane woman in a world full of pretentious idiots. Her actions in "The Tryst" are interpreted as the result of years of putting up with this taking a toll on her psyche.
  • 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.
  • TGQTSBFH has a large number of alternate ways of looking at Nintendo characters.
  • RuneFactory3 has Shara. Sweet, Innocent girl who cares only about your general well being? Or manipulative bitch who has her family guilt trip you into marrying her? The fact she gets kinda nasty at times after you marry her doesn't help her case.

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