Alternative Character Interpretation / Video Games


This page got so long, we had to make subpages:
  • Ace Attorney:
    • One 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 Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. A rare case in that this is encouraged by the game, and whether the factions are good or bad depends largely on your play style.
    • 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?
  • Antichamber: The black block (the only thing in the game that you could tentatively call a character) is pretty creepy, so it's easy to think of it as an antagonist, a tease, an Eldritch Abomination, etc. But you could also interpret it as just...lost. It seems to be trying to find its way home. This also gives us an alternate interpretation of the player's role — instead of just being "the player", you're a hero of sorts. This poor black block can't find its way home, and you swoop in to save the day and personally escort it back to its proper place. With this in mind, the Gainax Ending can feel like a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Jerkass Woobie and Jimmy Hopkins is... the title's sake, a Jerkass bully.
    • Some signs to show that even if Jimmy is a bully, he has standards when he tries to bring order back to the school, tells the bullies to stop picking on weaker kids, and is storyline-wise never shown being mean to a girl or young kid. (In fact; harassing girls and kids, especially beating them up, is considered among the worst things you can do.)
  • The Chronology Nut offers up the theory that the "Revenge" in Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge refers to Soleiyu's revenge on his father for forcing him to take up the Belmont clan's responsibility (all the while stuck in Christopher's shadow) without any regard to Soleiyu's personal interests, escalating Dracula's hold on him from mere Demonic Possession to Willing Channeler and a Deal with the Devil.
    "Belmont’s Revenge, in my opinion, refers to Soleiyu's revenge against his father, against his bloodline, and against his hated destiny. Given that it causes the resurrection of Dracula and sends his father out on another death-defying adventure to stop the world's ultimate evil, that's a pretty good teenage angst scheme. There's all sorts of metaphors for growing up and accepting your situation in the world here, if you look hard enough." (beat) "Or maybe I'm just looking harder than the developers did."
  • 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.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth: Practically every single player has a different take on each Affinity choice due to personal preference and roleplaying style. The general question is each Affinity radical, conservative or willing to Take a Third Option, but some of the more common interpretations are:
  • 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: Tiberian Series: 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.)
  • Dark Souls II: Much the same as its predecessor, several characters' motivations are hard to pin down exactly.
  • Deadly Premonition
    • Thomas MacLaine. Was he simply homosexual and enjoyed dressing up as a woman or is he actually a transsexual woman? Players are divided between the first and second option, though the game neither denies or admits either option. Quite the opposite, it gives enough evidence for both, while remaining ambiguous.
    • Strangely enough, Kaysen's dog, Willie, was talked a lot about. Then Word of God kicked in. Since Willie was clearly more than just a regular dog, it was figured he was likely a deity. But was he benevolent or evil? According to the creators, Willie is the latter. He is Kaysen's keeper, his connection to the Red World and giving him information.
    • The original Raincoat Killer, a complete monster or more a mercy killer? When Harry recollects the events, the Raincoat Killer comes across as a beast, who killed anyone who came too close and even attacked his own son. Then, when the player actually experiences the events from the Raincoat Killer's point of view, he appears more like his killing the villagers was a mere act of ending their suffering the fastest way, when he realized that he couldn't stop the purple fog anymore.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Andrew Ryan from BioShock has numerous different interpretations, not surprising given his politically charged nature. Its easy to view him as a tragic figure who tried to make a city that championed free will above all else and had to become the evil that he sought to destroy in order to keep the government from his city. He could have also just been trying to create a city where he, and he alone, was allowed to reach his full potential and enjoy unmitigated freedom. From a more objective (hehe) standpoint it seems to be a little of both. While its extremely unlikely that he founded rapture just so he could be its tyrant (after all everything in the city talks about the evils of tyrants and government), he didn't act entirely selflessly and fairly either. How much of his actions are done for the sake of ideology and how much is done for himself alone is still very much up for debate.
  • "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)
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail- being filled with unintentional grey morality- has wildly interpretative characters.
    • Is General Gaius a genocidal warmongerer who only cares about his kind? Or a patriot who's Just Following Orders and risks his own life to save a friend (Dust/Cassius, the amnesiac protagonist) from brainwashing? (In particular, his dialogue conflicts a lot with the Moonbloods' portrayal of him.)
    "But Cassius is gone...as is the world we once loved. Cherish it."
  • 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 game generally 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? (The official interpretation is that none of the Daedra are truly good or evil. They all have their own goals, it's just that Azura's tend to be aligned with traditionally "good" mortals more often.)
    • 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.
    • 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?
    • By the same token, are the Blades Esbern and Delphine justified in demanding Paarthurnax killed for the crimes he committed and right to believe that, since he betrayed Alduin once, he is likely to one day betray the people of Skyrim as well, or are they just unable to get past the fact that, due to the Thalmor, they've been hunted and driven underground and can't truly trust anyone, as well as loyalty to their cause as dragon-hunters?
  • 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.
  • The Institute in Fallout 4. Are they true Science Heroes, doing whatever is necessary for the future of mankind? Deeply flawed but redeemable Well Intentioned Extremists with admirable goals who just need guidance from an Internal Reformist leader to help the synths and repair relations with the Commonwealth? Cowardly Insufferable Geniuses and slavers ranging from myopic to sociopathic, hiding behind their vastly superior tech to avoid a well-deserved retribution from the surface? Or arrogant posers whose technology and scientists are merely stolen and imitated, kept shiny with a hearty helping of slave labor?
  • 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?
  • Due to the vague nature of Five Nights at Freddy's and the sequel, the characters are interpreted differently:
    • Mike Schmidt/Jeremy Fitzgerald is either the child murderer, an innocent guy who is desperate for money, or someone who takes the job on purpose to find out the truth behind the restaurant's past.
    • The Phone Guy is either the real villain, someone who worked with the true villain, or someone who's just trying to help out the night guards.
    • The manager is either someone who honestly wants the pizzeria to be successful or is the true villain.
  • 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 (or possibly just vividly reminiscing, since it occurs on the field of his team's home stadium, where he later the best games of his career), 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.
    • The Locust themselves, while portrayed as bloodthirsty, mindless, genocidal monsters from the human's point of view, the backstory reveals that the Locust only attacked humanity first because they were certain that humanity would wipe out the Locust if they knew they existed, not to mention that the locust, far from being mindless, are all highly intelligent, tactically minded individuals.
  • 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.
  • 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 wasn't explicitly stated in the games (apart from the "Final Grunt" Easter Egg) until Halo 4. Also, he was trained in the first place to surpress rebels who really did have some 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 of which were slaves forced to fight against their will, with the Unggoy (Grunts) in particular often running from you in fear and screaming for mercy (those who don't try to suicide-bomb you instead, anyways).
      • Almost, save for the fact that he's trying to stop the Covenant from not just killing all humans, but 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 Halo: First Strike, 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.
      • Ever since 343i took over the franchise, this issue has been explored much more extensively, with the prologue to Halo 4 basically asking that very same question.note  Ultimately, we finally get to see in the games that he does have a moral sense independent from that of his superiors when he defies orders to surrender Cortana. Master Chief even goes rogue in Halo 5: Guardians when he dreams of Cortana contacting him. When he discovers her Face–Heel Turn, he is noticeably disgusted with her body count.
    • The above all applies to every Spartan-II in existence by extension.
    • The Rookie from Halo 3: 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 from Halo: Reach 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 as a child by the war, "recruited" by the military not soon afterwards, and was one of only a few survivors from a roughly 300-strong SPARTAN-III company that were almost all killed in a suicide mission before they had even passed prematurely-induced puberty. Then on Reach, he/she fails to defend Reach, witnessing the death of most of his/her teammates (who themselves share the same backstory as him/her or the Chief) and all other friendly forces, and dies alone to top it all off. Not what you would call a happy life.
    • The Elites/Sangheili: Proud Warrior Race Guys or homicidal Jerkasses? Canon seems to indicate that they don't slot into rigid moral categories any more easily than humans.
      • Proud Warrior Race Guys: They customarily welcome their defeated enemies into their ranks as brothers and forgive all sins at the end of wars, with many of them arguing for humanity to be allowed to join the Covenant rather than be entirely wiped out, and growing to later deeply regret the atrocities they had committed against humanity, with one Sangheili Shipmaster going so far as to lose his entire sense of meaning; he eventually decides to single-handedly wander a planet he personally glassed to find both atonement and a new purpose.
      • Jerkasses: Many of them are virulent racists who treat most other species abominably, even those allied to them, with the Grunts/Unggoy in particular regarded as little more than slaves to be abused. Additionally, a number of Elites, even after the Covenant was revealed to be founded on a lie, still want to finish their genocide against humanity. Additionally, even their sense of Honor Before Reason has a vicious edge to it, with torture being a common punishment for violating their code of conduct.
    • 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.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Is Watanagashi-hen version of Shion a typical Yandere or an unlucky girl with thorn in heart because her true love has been taken away from her, or Wide-Eyed Idealist that couldn't stand out living in Crapsack World and just has to snap sooner or later, an immature girl unaware of her actions consequences until it's to late, or just girl that never been loved by anyone and her actions were desperate cry for help? Was her pollyanna-esque face only a mask to hide her longing or would she fully recover from loss if she had never meet Keiichi. Or everything at the same time?
    • Are Dr. Irie's jokes about his Lolicon tendencies only jokes, or something more....
    • Rika is ripe for this. Is she a poor, innocent girl trapped in an endless game she can't escape from, or is she a selfish (indirect) mass-murderer who will make everyone else suffer for her own happiness? Umineko: When They Cry's Bernkastel is essentially the second interpretation given form. This is conveyed well in the arguably Better Than Canon Silly Hat work seen here. Although even she could be given an alternate interpretation as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • 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 in Kingdom Hearts 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.")
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
      • Actually, conversation with the Leviathans at the end of the DLC reveal that the reason they have done nothing to stop the Reapers over the millenia is because, while not beneficial to their species, the Reapers have performed their assigned task TO THE LETTER.
    • 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 Anetta 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, at least for the sake of that particular continuity: 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 obsession 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 X4 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: Guns of the Patriots, 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 MGS4 feels out of place, is that why? Actually, is Snake in MGS4 even Solid Snake at all, or Raiden in the same Mind Screw that he ended Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty 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 MGS4 she's still sporting the dyed hair and the contact lenses she denounced as fake in MGS2, and she's only seen in person by Raiden and the Colonel off-camera (and the Colonel was an AI in MGS2).
    • 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?
  • Minecraft:
    • The Enderdragon will stop at nothing to kill you, and from getting the Dragon egg, a reward you get for killing it. While usually thought of as evil, the Enderdragon could just be doing its job as a mom, protecting the egg.
    • The villagers are usually thought of as nice, innocent people, but some players think they're Jerkass conmen who are trying to swindle you out of your emeralds. Some of them will charge ridiculous prices, like 7 emeralds for an iron sword, and some will charge you more than other villagers for the same amount of stuff.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: The Reveal that the Order killing the Ender Dragon was a fraud puts Ivor in this light: did he want to humiliate Gabriel and be the hero himself as revenge for being dropped from the legends, to prove to the world the Order was a fraud, or to give Gabriel and/or himself a chance to kill a REAL monster and become genuine heroes?
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • So that may explain why in Pixels, Pac-Man is the only game where the player character is the enemy while the protagonists of the film play the antagonists of the game. Pac-Man definitely causes a lot of destruction in the city.
  • Paperboy: The default and lightest possible interpretation of the Paperboy is that he delivers newspapers to subscribers and vandalizes non-subscribers for fun or out of spite. A darker interpretation is that it was never about the papers at all and the whole thing is one big protection racket, which his superiors, and the police (who will only charge the Paperboy after he leaves the paper), are a part of. In some of the games, non-subscribers will convert to subscribers if they fall victim to enough vandalism.
  • 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: Jerkass 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.
    • Yosuke: An arrogant and homophobic guy that tries too hard to look cool or a poor guy that never had friends, so he doesn't how to act and everyone keeps bullying? Also, it's implied he sees the MC as perfect but what are his feelings?. Is he secretly jealous? Is Yosuke so pitiful he idolizes him because it's his only friend? Or does he loves the MC but would never admit it?
    • Rise: A girl that isn't ashamed to show how much she loves the MC and knows she doesn't doesn't need to be an idol to have friends or a hypocrital bitch, that keeps flirting with him and becomes a singer again as soon as she can.
  • 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...
  • Eothas of Pillars of Eternity qualifies even in-game, thanks to lack of information on his motives during The Saint's War. Outwardly, he seemed to go kind of insane, invoking A God Am I and Light Is Not Good in a campaign of brutal conquest. However, there are some characters - including those who know far more about the situation than most - who suspect he was actually the Only Sane Man among the pantheon, who took drastic measures to save the world because no one else could or would. Unfortunately, he never really explained himself, leaving the entire thing an Ambiguous Situation.
  • 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 Maniac 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?
  • 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.
  • Rune Factory 3 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.
  • 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.
  • Saya no Uta: Yousuke is a calm, quiet family man who enjoys his calm, quiet life, until Saya causes him to hallucinate the same way Fuminori does and he immediately becomes a violent psychopath whose first instinct is to kill the "monsters", his wife and daughter, and rape the only girl he can find, Saya. This happens in a matter of minutes. Considering how long it took Fuminori to sink that low, it begs the question of just how sane was Yousuke, really? Did he really go insane, or was he always two steps away from being a lunatic and Saya just happened to bring it to a boil by messing with his brain?
  • 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-tongued, 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 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 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.
      • The epilogue of Sonic Adventure 2, wherein Eggman expresses his admiration for Gerald Robotnik and states he wanted to become a great scientist because of what his grandfather accomplished, further implies that he turned to villainy at least partially out of a desire to right the injustices that led to Gerald's wrongful death at the hands of the world government, with Motive Decay possibly seeping in over time.
    • 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 stopped. Not by you, or the Confederacy, or the protoss, or anyone! I will rule this sector or see burnt to ashes around me!"
    • The Confederacy: Corrupt and despotic or just politically (and tactically) inept?
    • The UED: imperialistic aggressors or defenders of all mankind? This one's pretty clear-cut: They're canonically the former via A Nazi by Any Other Name, but it's quite literally All There in the Manual and you probably wouldn't know if you never read it.
    • 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 may be one of Mengsk loyal assassins, 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 Trek Online:
    • Admiral T'nae: Some interpret her as a Blood Knight given her open Fantastic Racism against the Romulans. See here.
    • Theoretically the main reason for the Federation-Klingon War is that the Federation is heavily infiltrated by the Undine. However, in the KDF storyline the Undine aren't even mentioned until you get to the "Cloaked Intentions" episode (where the Fedside fiasco on P'Jem gets a throwaway mention while you're decoding some Tal Shiar files). Couple that with the war having actually started when the Klingons decided to return to their conquistador days and started attacking Federation colonies, and one starts to wonder if the Undine infiltration isn't really just a convenient Pretext for War.
    • Is D'Tan a genuine reformer who is doing what he feels is best for his people and honestly wants friendship with both of the remaining Alpha/Beta Quadrant superpowers (the official interpretation), a traitor to the Romulan way of life, or a particularly shrewd manipulator who is Playing Both Sides to improve the Romulans' situation?
    • Roughly the same debate plays out regarding the Romulan Republic as a whole. Some hate them and call them "space hippies" for wanting to coexist peacefully with their neighbors rather than being the scheming villains we saw in the Star Trek: The Next Generation-era shows. (The Republic military plays more towards the honor-bound soldiers portrayal of Star Trek: The Original Series, and Cryptic used Diane Duane's Rihannsu worldbuilding extensively.) Others point out that among other things, hippies don't arm ships with thalaron generators. And then there's the guys that are just openly Rooting for the Empire and want to join the Tal Shiar.
  • Tales series:
    • 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.
    • Leon Magnus in the PSX version of Tales of Destiny: Arrogant sadistic nihilist perpetrating the cycle of abuse, or a traumatized kid forced to grow up much too soon who lashes out at everyone and anyone so they'll leave him alone? The original game only hinted at much of the abuse Leon was shown to have gone through in the remake, which took the second view and ran with it.
    • Tales of Destiny 2: Did Elraine truly believe free will to be so evil that it needed to be eliminated for humanity to be happy, or was she just Drunk with Power? As Reala points out several times, the people under Elraine's rule in the Bad Future were truly happy, even though they'd been Conditioned to Accept Horror in many ways.
    • Fortuna: Was she crazy all along, or did being abandoned by her creation right when she was finally able to come back to life drive her over the edge of despair? Was her priority really ruling over humanity, or making them happy, as she claimed?
    • Harold Berselius, from the same game: Obfuscating Insanity for her own amusement, or genuine amoral Cloudcuckoolander who just happens to also be an irreplaceable genius?
    • Pascal. Is she just Obfuscating Stupidity, in love with Sophie (in a creepy way), or is she just Autistic?
    • Cheria, from the same game: Is she a genuinely nice person with a habit of scolding pushed over the edge at times by frustration at her Love Interest, or is she a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing whom Asbel needs a restraining order against?
    • 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.
    • Yuan from the same game. Is he a cold-hearted Manipulative Bastard who couldn't care less how many regular people he has to run over in order to sprout the Great Seed? Is he madly driven by hatred for the Big Bad? Or is he genuinely making the best of a very bad situation, regretting the necessity of spilling innocent blood, but seeing it as the most likely path to succeed in saving the world, while at the same time sacrificing everything that ever mattered to him personally along the way?
    • Why couldn't we let Richter have his way when his plot wouldn't have any consequences for the human world. Then again, it would have caused him to burn in hell for all eternity, so maybe it was for the better.
    • 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.
    • Zagi from the same game deserves mention. Homicidal creepily evil dude with a thirst for blood and an unhealthy obsession with fighting Yuri Lowell; a young assassin who is the best at what he does, but has not seen enough challenge in life until he meets Yuri, which fuels him with passion and a desire to continuously battle to the death with a worthy rival; or perhaps a troubled soul who is isolated because of his profession, and in finding someone who could best him, finally has someone he can call a friend but doesn't know how to express it?
    • Some people believe Flynn to be a straight example of a Lawful Stupid Fake Ultimate Hero, while others believe he's just making the best of his circumstances and trying not to waste all the progress he's made in rising in the Imperial Knights' rank.
    • Rita: Funny Deadpan Snarker who calls people out on their stupidity, or unrepentant violent Karma Houdini who needs to be knocked down a peg?
    • Are Raven and Schwann the same person using Obfuscating Stupidity, or are they two separate personalities entirely?
    • Is Ioder entirely a nice guy, or did he pass a law outlawing homosexuality at some point before the events of the game?
    • Is Karol The Heart binding the group together and with a solid Cowardly Lion character arc, or does his cowardice and reliable tendency to run away when things get serious bad indicate he has no business going on a dangerous journey and make him a liability for the others? Is his drive to overcome his fears and emulate the Don's strength admirable, or a sign he's trying to force himself into a role that really doesn't suit him when he'd do better to look for another dream?
  • 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 MasterOfNintendo's MLP fanfiction series, he's the powerful, loyal, truly good husband of Celestia and king of all Equestria.
  • Terraria: There has been discussion about whether the player character is a Villain Protagonist. After all, while there are bosses who attack without provocation (like the Eye of Cthulhu and the three mechanical bosses), most bosses need to be summoned with an item. Others, like Queen Bee or Plantera, only attack after the player destroys their progeny. Are they truly malevolent, or just victims of a Blood Knight who destroys everything in his or her path?
  • An awful lot of people are convinced that Lara Croft is a Sociopathic Hero due to her willingness to violently gun down not just criminals and monsters, human and non-human), but also endangered animals and even security guards and police officers (though they do attack her), and also her apparent lack of respect for the ancient sites she raids. Robot Chicken even parodied this in one of their sketches.
  • 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.
    • Reimu, overworked Barrier Maiden trying her best to handle the various superpowered beings she is meant to prevent from causing trouble or a Fantastic Racist that would exterminate them all given the opportunity? Marisa, well-meaning but impetuous or a sadistic youkai hunter? Yukari, secretly protecting Gensokyo from behind the scenes, amoral Omniscient Morality License holder with the power to support it or simply a lazy woman who will get to that eventually? Cirno, a determined but overconfident and simplistic fairy or a criminally retarded moron who could forget to breathe? Flandre, a Cheerful Child that doesn't entirely comprehend her ridonkulous levels of power or an Axe Crazy monster hiding behind a facade — if there's even a facade at all? Yuyuko, intelligent but occasionally absent-minded or an airheaded ditz with a desire for food equaled only by a black hole? Alice, tsundere who just wants friends but doesn't know how to make them, the only sane woman surrounded by gibbering maniacs, or creepy, yandere doll-otaku who's best shunned? Really, pick any character and you will find at least three of these floating around somewhere.
    • In ZUN's comments on Reimu in Strange Creators of Outer World states that this applies to her in-universe. Everyone has a different idea on who Reimu is, causing her to have drastic changes in personality since no story has been told in Reimu's perspective.
  • ''Undertale:
    • Toriel is the first non hostile friendly monster you meet in the underground and she solves some puzzles for you while making sure you're not hurt. After arriving at her house, she is not only overjoyed that she has company again in a long time, she even has a room set up for you and lessons prepared to educate you. If you try to leave her so you can return to your home with the humans, she blocks the way and attacks you to see if you're really capable of standing up on your own two feet. Is Toriel an extreme case of My Beloved Smother or is she just really worried about the player character's safety and doesn't want anything bad to happen to them? It's only during the true pacifist route where you discover that Toriel and her husband had two kids of their own that died at the same time before the game started.
  • 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: When They Cry, 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?
      • Faldio: irredeemable asshole who jumped at the chance to shoot his best friend's girl as much out of jealousy as patriotism, or the only person with the guts to choose the many over the one when his back was against the wall? It's usually a matter of how you feel about the romance plot.
    • There's also Welkin: the game plays up the idea that he's a cute, well-meaning nature-nerd who only wants to save his country so he go home and be a teacher, but some fans speculate that he's got a nasty Jerkass streak, and isn't actually that smart — mainly that he seems very comfortable with ignoring Alicia's existential crisis until it's time for him to save the day, he physically assaulted Faldio because he couldn't argue with his logic, and anyone with any kind of deductive reasoning could have told that the river was shallower where there were plants growing up out of it.
      • 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?
  • 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 interpretations 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 interpretation 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 get 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 position 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 we're overthinking it.
    • Another Cataclysm example: Trade Prince Gallywix: Callous Jerkass who represents traditional Goblin Values and is the best representation of a leader for their race? Or a callous Jerkass who have done so many horrible things that he is hated by everyone for good reason and is unfit to lead the goblins?
    • 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 tyrannical, 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 protected 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?
  • The Walking Dead has this on a wider scale than most games due to the fact that, while most characters core traits remain, the way they treat you is often determined by your choices.
    • In Season One, Kenny can be either a loyal friend of Lee's who goes through things no man should have to experience but still supports Lee to the end, or a redneck asshole who gets angry at Lee for weeks because Lee wouldn't help him murder a pensioner or for other stupid reasons, and unable to take any criticism. This continues in Season Two, where he's either a determined leader who still suffers much more than others and occasionally vents his anger on people who don't deserve but is overall the most helpful member of your group, or a self-centered man who once again cannot take criticism, fails to see the error in his ways, constantly looks for someone to take his anger out on, and ultimately tries to murder the only other survivor left in your group. Regardless of what choices you made, it can't be denied that Kenny Can't Take Criticism, but also cares about more people than most others in your group.
    • Depending on a single choice, The Stranger can be either the Hero of Another Story who lost everything because Lee took everything he had left, has suffered just as much as anyone else, and had no bad intentions until you showed up, or he can be a lunatic who lost everything because of his own stupidity, chose to blame it on Lee despite Lee having nothing to do with it, talks to a decapitated zombie head, and thinks he can raise a child better than Lee despite all his problems starting off when he lost his own child.
    • Jane in Season Two. Is she an unreliable ally who only sticks around if she feels it's necessary, cares only about herself and puts AJ's life in danger while at the same time Indirectly but intentionally killing Kenny, or is she a friend who simply doesn't know how to handle being in a group, but still helpful, pragmatic and willing to make the tough decisions?
    • Bonnie is an odd one, and a Heel–Face Revolving Door to boot. She's either a lackey of the Arc Villain who tries to convince Clem that it's not so bad being a prisoner, but eventually gets cold feet and helps you escape - only to soon turn out to be fairly useless without someone to tell her what to do, unable to take responsibility if she gets Luke killed, and eventually gets cold feet again and tries to make off with all your remaining supplies, or she's an innocent young woman who's somewhat oblivious to the world she lives in, leading her to change sides, but again unable to take the strain the world puts on her.
    • Arvo — Either a crippled young man who gets robbed, loses his entire group when they try to get revenge, becomes a prisoner, harshly beaten by Kenny, and may have died off-screen in Season 2 Episode 5, or a survivor who helped turn a gang of Russian thugs against you over a little mistreatment, disrespected the only people in your group who were nice to him, came close to getting himself killed a few times, and was last seen holding the gun that shot none other than you no matter how nice you tried to be to him.
    • Lee and Clementine, as the player characters, are completely decided by your choices. They can be moral, pragmatic, kind, self-centered, assholes, or simply mute.
  • 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/AlternativeCharacterInterpretation/Videogames