In MARDEK, the main evil force, the Governance De Magi, includes an extremely creepy necromancer called Moric, who volunteered first to hunt down Rohoph simply for the pleasure of killing him and was allowed to go first because the rest of the GDM wanted to be rid of him for a while, an utterly insane member called Melchior, who at one point complained of him saying "The galaxy will soon be mine", since it would be "theirs", not "his" specifically, and when it is pointed out that he did say "ours" and was asked if he was even listening, his response was "No, I had a nice little tune going in my head. It go da da daaa da da da daaa da daaaaa da.". There are also Gaspar, who always talks in what he probably thinks are swearwords, but are actually more of gibberish, and in no particular way, Balthazar and Qualna are both quite annoying. Even considering the whole thing with the evil plan to enslave the galaxy, you almost kind of pity Anu for having to put up with them.
Things get worse in the third chapter. Mardek's a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who dwells on his best friend's supposed death, Deugan is a self-depreciating man who can't accept himself as a heroeven after he takes a Heroic Sacrifice and lives. Emela is the Water Guardian, a position that is doomed to keep herself alone for life, and can't hold a relationship with Deugan (though to be fair, it was equally his fault for that), Vehrn was an abandoned child, Zach is a Proud Warrior Race Guy who dishonored his clan and forced to become a mercenary to people who consider him as a weapon only, Donovan is the King of Goznor's son, who is forced to become king after his father's death at the end of the chapter, Sslen'ck is another Proud Warrior Race Guy whose parents were killed by undead, Solaar is an alien who was supposed to keep the Dark Crystal safe from some evil, and failed to do so, Elwyen's parents were crystallized in the last chapter, Gloria had a half-brother named Steele (more on that later), Meraeador accidently killed his parents in an accident, causing him to nearly commit suicide if it weren't for Mardek and Deugan, and of the four souls of Legion one was a Shaman killed by her husband, another was once the evil ruler of the world, a fourth went insane in the Lost Monastery, and one is The Eeyore. Even the villains aren't exempt from this, whether Steele, who is Gloria's half-brother and took a Face-Heel Turn after being shot in the face by Emela, or Muriance who is implied to be the evil Solaar was sent to stop, and is being forced by a previous incarnation of his soul to seek the elemental crystals when he really doesn't want to. Then there's Rohoph who is quickly becoming a Knight Templar due to the Violet Crystal and Qualna who really wanted Rohoph's help to destroy the Violet Crystal and was killed by Rohoph because of his Knight Templar attitude. And finally there's Enki, Mardek's Disappeared Dad, who is implied to actually be the captain of a ship from another planet. It's much easier to list the major characters who AREN'T screwed up in some way.
Tifa is too uncertain about whether or not she or Cloud was wrong about him being there when their entire hometown was slaughtered to confront Cloud about the subject.
Barret is locked into hate and anger toward Shinra for destroying his hometown and family, which he disguises as a higher political moral when really he just wants revenge.
Aerith is an orphaned Last Of Her Kind chasing after the memories of her long-lost first love in the man who is unconsciously emulating him, as well as struggling with her heritage and duty and her own personal desires.
Cid is so obsessed with his crushed dream that he berates the woman he thinks is responsible on a daily basis.
Vincent is sick with guilt over being unable to stop the woman he loved from marrying the wrong man, leading to Sephiroth being born.
Yuffie is highly rebellious against her father, believing him to be an impotent weakling who sold out their hometown's proud culture.
Red XIII believes his father to have been a coward who abandoned his mother during a battle long ago that resulted in her death.
Cait Sith is a robotic cat with an Alien Scrappy programming, but his controller, non-corrupt executive Reeve, is actually a decent, well-adjusted guy (except for the fact he apparently believes Cait Sith is somehow useful). As far as the bad guys are concerned.
Sephiroth discovers he's a genetic experiment, suffers a complete mental breakdown and becomes convinced he's God.
Rufus is a ruthless, Machiavellian bastard who sides with the winners and then screws them over; and Hojo is an Evil Scientist who commits atrocities with little or no reason. If you believe the Compilation, some of the heroes get better later through The Power of Friendship. Awww.
It's hard to find a single character in the Metal Gear series that doesn't have a horrible past and/or at least one mental condition (usually caused by that past).
As a matter of fact, it is rare to find a character with just a horrible past or just a mental condition.
Also in the game is Apathy Syndrome, a spreading mental condition that causes people to stop caring about anything. By the end of the game and its expansion the trope gets applied to every human, as it's humanity's collective death wish that summons the coming apocalypse.
Most, if not all, of the major characters of the computer RPG Planescape: Torment possess some manner of dysfunction, tragic past, or similar torment. The player character, The Nameless One, is an amnesiac immortal with a large number of dark pasts, and his party members range from an orphaned part-demon to an insane fire wizard who was turned into a living conduit to the elemental plane of fire. Most of the major NPCs are similarly tormented - many of them, it turns out, as a result of interactions with The Nameless One at some point. This turns out to be a major plot point - one of the 'powers' possessed by The Nameless One as a result of his immortality is an unconscious dominion over torment, symbolized by a tattoo on his shoulder. Whether he likes it or no, his power draws troubled and dysfunctional souls to him like moths to a flame and binds their destinies to his. Furthermore, in several cases (notably Ignus, Vhailor, Dak'kon, Morte and especially Deionarra) the Nameless One is the direct and intentional cause of this horrid past, in one of his Chess Master incarnations.
In Baldur's Gate, the character personalities are pretty one-dimensional sketches, and tend to range from quirky to the point of being weird to outright insane. In Baldur's Gate II, where the characters are better developed, not every one has a tragic past... but a good portion of them do, and all four possible Love Interests most certainly do. One is a recent widow, another was raised in an Always Chaotic Evil society and then is subject to prejudice when she leaves it, a third was subject to horrific abuse and abandonment, and the fourth has daddy issues up the wazoo. While not a romance option (he was originally supposed to be one, apparently), Valygar also has some severe problems.
Every non-Valkyrie character in Valkyrie Profile has some sort of personal tragedy that ends in a convenient Karmic Death. Even the Valkyrie was once a mortal girl who was raised by an abusive mother that was going to sell her into slavery. Her self-esteem was so low that she allowed herself to die in a field of poisonous flowers.
Final Fantasy VI also has universal tragic past syndrome. All of the characters a)are being hunted by the Empire (even before the story begins), b)are imprisoned or harassed by the Empire, c)are misused by the Empire, d)have lost a loved one to the Empire, or e)some combination of the above.
No, not all your party members were wronged by The Empire. Gau's mother died in childbirth and his father was so grief-stricken that he went insane and abandoned Gau on the Veldt, whereas Relm's father is (very) heavily implied to be Shadow, who walked out on her because of his career as an assassin; even Shadow has had plenty of problems of his own, even before selling his skills to The Empire and nearly getting killed for his trouble. Setzer is reasonably unhappy with The Empire, yet is considerably more unhappy with the time his Love Interest died in an airship crash. Since a large theme of the game is hope, and keeping that hope strong even in the face of hardship, most characters get better, but it helps that most of them have a lot of getting better to do.
Consider the team's angst levels doubled after Kefka damn near destroys the world and separates the party, thus kicking off the World of Ruin phase of the game.
Celes is the one the player first controls in the World of Ruin, and she's stuck on a tiny island with nobody around but her surrogate grandfather, Cid, who reveals that there used to be others on the island...until they all flung themselves from the northern cliffs in despair. If you don't feed the fastest fish to Cid constantly, he will die, and Celes will also try to end her life at the northern cliffs. it's possible thatthe esper Quetzalli is the only thing that keeps her from dying then and there; her only hope comes from the minute possibility that Locke is still alive as well.
Even Mog, the cutesy moogle mascot of the game (and the whole series, some might argue), gets a Funky Winkerbean-caliber level of tragedy tacked onto him when the party finds him after the end of the world. Turns out he's been in Narshe's moogle cave apparently for the whole year since the end of the world, alone, staring at the wall; if you recruited him on your first chance, he'll be amazed that you're even alive after all this time, and will re-enter the party on the assumption that he has nothing better to do. Searching the wall he was staring at yields an item that only Mog can equip that completely stops all random encounters, but Fridge Horror sets in when you realize that this "Molulu's Charm" is likely all Mog has left of not just his girlfriend, but of his entire people. And when the Big Bad asks the party what it is they're fighting for, Mog's response is simply, "New friends, kupo!" D'aww...
If one brings Cyan to Doma Castle in the World of Ruin, a demon named Wrexsoul traps Cyan in an eternal nightmare, in order to feed off the despair Cyan still feels due to failing to save his family and his king from Kefka's poison. His grief is so great that not only is he the one that Wrexsoul attacks, but when he gets better, his confidence grows so much that he suddenly masters all of his Bushido skills.
The only party member who doesn't get better is Shadow. Shadow ultimately decides that he can't let go of his past and stays behind to die in Kefka's crumbling tower.
Final Fantasy IV's main character, Cecil, spends most of the first half of the game angsting over the heinous crimes he committed at the behest of his king (who is also his surrogate father), and wielding a weapon which is known to drive its users insane. His childhood friend Kain is an orphan who hated his strict father and who is brainwashed into betraying his friends. Tellah and Edward both struggle with grief at the death of Anna, their daughter and fiancée, respectively, Rydia and Edge both saw their parents murdered in front of them, and not even FuSoYa, who resolved to guard his sleeping race completely alone for hundreds of years, gets off lightly.
Final Fantasy X being set in a world where absolutely everyone has in some way been affected by a 1000-year-old Eldritch Abomination roaming the earth and randomly snuffing out thousands (and perhaps millions) of lives, it's safe to say that the entirety of Spira is a Dysfunction Junction.
Among the main characters, Yuna lost both her parents at the age of seven and spends most of the game on a suicide mission, Tidus' abusive father disappeared ten years before the events of the game and it's implied his mother was thereafter Driven to Suicide, Wakka's entire family was wiped out by Sin, and Lulu is an orphan whose lover Chappu was killed by Sin and who is haunted by her failure to protect Lady Ginnem on the latter's pilgrimage. Rikku is a member of the despised Al Bhed race, Kimahri grew up shunned by his tribe and was eventually driven to a ten year exile by fellow Ronso, and we haven't even mention Auron yet...
Resident Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds Seymour Guado takes the biscuit, however. Half-human, half-Guado, he was considered an abomination and banished as a child by his own father to Baaj, where he lived out his lonely childhood. Plus, depending on how you play the game, his own mother helps to kill him.
Although Final Fantasy XII doesn't explore it nearly enough, all the player characters have tragic pasts of some sort. Vaan's parents died of the plague when he was younger, and his only remaining family, his older brother Reks, was killed before the game started supposedly by his trusted commander Basch. Penelo's parents and eight brothers all died in the war. Fran was shunned by her village and her older sister for believing that there was a path for her outside the village, and slowly lost her ability to commune with the Wood, which to a viera is like losing one of their senses. Balthier watched as his father was driven insane by the nethicite and neglected his family, until he couldn't take it anymore and ran away to become a sky pirate. Ashe's husband and father died at the age of 17, leaving her as the heir to a kingdom that was invaded sooon after. Basch's original home country was invaded which lead to the death of his mother, and he failed to protect the lord of his adopted country and was then framed for killing the king and locked in solitary confinement for two years.
If someone doesn't have a problem in Drakengard, they're probably going to be dead soon. The protagonist Caim is filled with Unstoppable Rage, determined to kill all of his enemies because his parents were murdered when he was younger. Leonard wanted to commit suicide because he failed to protect his family from The Empire, and really doesn't have the will to live anymore (he's a pedophile in the Japanese version, and said 'family' were his victims). Arioch is Ax-Crazy because The Empire killed her children, so now she eats babies. Seere is the closest thing to normal, but he's got issues concerning his twin sister, who happens to be the Big Bad. And those are just the protagonists - the supporting characters and villains are even more messed up!
Drakengard's spiritual successor NieR is in much the same vein. To say that the main characters are psychologically scarred for life is a gross understatement. The protagonist(depending on the version of the game) is either an already jaded man or a young optimistic orphaned boy whose entire world falls apart when his daughter is kidnapped by the Big Bad. It's also revealed in Brother Nier's backstory that he prostituted himself to buy medicine for Yonah, which made him develop a fear of people touching his hair. This has a pretty negative effect on his psyche, making him more pessimistic and murderous. The rest of the cast might even be worse off him, with Kainé and Emil having enormous self-image issues; Kainé had a horrible childhood in the Aerie due to being a hermaphrodite, and her kindly grandmother being killed by a Shade. Things didn't get any better when she was posessed by a Shade. Emil was essentially robbed of his childhood and experimented on to serve as a weapon. He hates his eyes because of their petrification powers, and he is eventually cured, but at the cost of turning into a female skeleton (the game makes it very clear he hates himself even more after this). And that's just the tip of the iceberg of people's problems in this game.
Practically everybody in Psychonauts. This is to be expected, as the game is about going into people's minds, but even characters whose minds you don't explore are usually pretty messed up, too. Even the ones who seem outright normal like Milla have hidden traumas, usually found by exploring their memory vaults.
My favorites are the preteen Stepford Smilers who are trying to kill themselves so they can pull an Obi-Wan Kenobi and come back more powerful than you could ever imagine. And no, there is nothing in the game that implies this would actually work.
Every main character in Persona 4 (except the Protagonist) has some sort of secret fear, worry, or issue secretly eating them from the inside that eventually whisks them away to the shadow-possessed Mayonaka TV, where the problem is able to freely manifest and eventually cause their death.
In the manga, the Protagonist's parents' line of work causes him to move constantly. As a result he is afraid to get close to others, lest he becomes too attached to them and is hurt when he has to leave. This causes him to be a, secretly cynical, Stepford Smiler . From the final scenes of the game it can be deduced that he gets over it because all the people he formed social links with, while living with his uncle, were actually reaching out to him without either side realizing it(in contrast to P3's protagonist). He left the town with a smile and no regrets. D'aww
In Persona 4: The Animation, the protagonist (named Yu Narukami) also has a secret fear, though it's midway into the series before this is made clear. Yu's biggest fear is that after the investigation is over, the group will go their separate ways and he'll be by himself again (possibly based on past experiences). When this is exploited by Mitsuo's shadow it causes him to have a tremendous Heroic BSOD.
Both sets of party members in both parts of the Persona 2 duology have terrible issues; the Innocent Sin party all have issues with their fathers (to the point that the Final Boss takes on a form resembling a writhing mass with their fathers serving as its limbs...), while the Eternal Punishment cast suffer from various issues that stem from adulthood in general.
In Innocent Sin, the daddy issues include: Tatsuya and Katsuya's father could not solve a particular case, and Tatsuya in particular lost respect for him; Eikichi, a Visual Kei enthusiast, is afraid of his sushi chef father and does not wish to inherit his store; Lisa, a Caucasian girl, is the daughter of two extremely Japanophile parents, and her father wants her to behave like a supposedly "traditional" Japanese girl; Maya's father, a war reporter, has passed away, and Jun's father is a nut for conspiracy theories. Jun's own mother actually spread devastating rumors of her husband to the point that he died in a clock tower and considers her looks to be more important than her son, but most of Jun's resentment is against his father.
In Eternal Punishment, Ulala, Maya's roommate, is highly resentful of her successful career and good love life, Katsuya secretly resents his career as a homicide cop (he wanted to be a pastry chef), and holds a grudge against Tatsuya for his aloof behavior towards him; unrequited love is also at work in regards to Maya, and Baofu is a former public prosecuter, presumed dead, who is living as an extortionist to avenge his partner and lover.
In Mass Effect, Shepard has a tendency to collect crewmembers with....issues. Fortunately, not many of them actually get in the way of the mission with the exception of Wrex.
Tali's father's position on her people's Admiralty Board puts her under enormous pressure to prove herself to other members of her culture, as well as causing her relationship with him to be somewhat distant and formal. In addition, she's a quarian, which means being brought up in a very paranoid society and subjected to a great deal of Fantastic Racism.
Liara is subject to prejudice from her own species due to being a "pureblood" child of two asari. Her relationship with her mother is strained even before her mother joins the Big Bad, and she knows nothing about her "father."
Garrus is a would-be Cowboy Cop who chafes at the red tape restrictions placed on him by the police force - which he joined in large part because of the expectations of his career cop father, turning down the opportunity to be considered for the Council's elite operatives in the process.
Ashley's military career is, up until the events of the game, a dead end because her grandfather surrendered a garrison to aliens during the pre-game First Contact War rather than allow civilians to keep dying. As a result, Ashley has a deep-seated suspicion of and prejudice toward aliens, making her the best example of Fantastic Racism in the game.
Kaidan suffers periodic migraines as a side effect of the implants which enable him to use his biotic abilities, and got put through Training from Hell as a teenager by an alien Drill Sergeant Nasty in order to learn to use those abilities. His excessive degree of self-control is something he cultivated after he killed the aforementioned Drill Sergeant Nasty in self-defense trying to protect his girlfriend from his abuse - and the girl was terrified of him thereafter. Despite all of this, he manages to be one of the most open minded character you can meet.
And then there's Wrex, whose entire species was hit by a Depopulation Bomb which makes it next to impossible for them to reproduce, and who at one point was an idealistic leader among his people trying to organize them into saving themselves, until his own father betrayed and attacked him, provoking him into committing patricide and then abandoning his species out of cynicism.
Shepard isn't necessarily free of past traumas either; of the possible options for his or her history, one involves growing up on the streets of Earth, one involves being orphaned in a brutal batarian slave raid, and one involves being the only person out of a platoon of fifty marines to survive an attack by monstrous, poison-spitting giant worms. Conversely, Shepard can also be the Only Sane Man and borderline on Marty Stu with the Spacer/War Hero background choices, wich essentially means s/he had an happy childhood and already made of pure raw badassery before the game starts.
It's up to the player to either solve some of those problems (Paragon Shepard) through specific side-quests (Tali, Wrex, and Garrus) or advancement in the main plot (Liara) or to finish completely screwing up those poor souls (Renegade Shepard), essentially by being a pure Jerk. Video Game Cruelty Potential to its best.
And there is Joker, brilliant pilot and navigator suffering from Vrolik syndrome that makes him unable to exert in any way. He constantly tries to conceal his angst with jokes and cocky attitude.
Miranda is a ruthless, genetically engineered Uberbitch with some serious father issues.
Jacob, perhaps the most normal playable character in the game, has a father who has been missing for the past ten years, and before said disappearance hadn't talked with him for years before that. He has also severe conscience issues as he is really good guy perfectly aware that he works for really shady organization (he hasn't quit only becuase he thinks that goverments are no different).
Jack is an Axe Crazy convict who suffered horrific medical experiments as a child.
Grunt is krogan Supersoldier who doesn't care about anything or anybody.
Mordin is eccentric scientist and a former black-ops commando who atones his work on the Genophage and who thinks that end justifies the means. Therefore he can be quite ruthless (going so far as killing his student in cold blood during the loyalty mission)even if he is a good person.
Thane is an extremely religious terminally ill assassin, who hasn't spoken with his son since his wife was murdered by his enemies.
Samara is an eerily serene Knight Templar on a quest to murder her own daughter.
Alternately, you can get Morinth, a psychotic sex vampire serial killer with a bit of a god complex.
Garrus and Tali both return as playable characters, but both are significantly Darker and Edgier:
Garrus has spent the last two years as a vigilante on the hellhole of Omega, had his squad betrayed, gets part of his face blown off by a gunship missile, and his loyalty mission involves tracking down the turian who betrayed his squad on Omega, all while he gets closer to going over the edge. He's also more cynical and pragmatic in general.
Tali is leading quarian teams in retrieving geth parts. By the time you recruit her, she's already gotten her entire team massacred twice. She gets in trouble with the Flotilla for supposedly sending active geth parts to her father for research, which then killed the team on the research ship. To top it off, her own father actually activated the parts, to test new firewalls. And if you really want to drive her over the edge, you can reveal that, exonerating her but ruining her father's name.
Zaeed devoted his life to kill a man he co-founded a mercenary group with, who betrayed him and left him for dead after shooting him in the eye - to the point where he's willing to burn a refinery full of civilians to get to his target.
Kasumi seems fairly normal, but spends a lot of time living in her dead lover's memories, preserved in a "greybox".
James Vega. A marine who was forced to choose to either save his squad or gather valuable intel that could be used to defeat the Collectors. He chose the latter and his squad perished... only for the information to be rendered useless, as by the time it could be used, Shepard had already stormed the Collector base and wiped them out.
Commander Javik. A Prothean and Last of His Kind who was in stasis for 50,000 years. Born while the Reaper-War of his Cycle had been going on for Centuries, he was raised and molded into an "Avatar of Vengeance". He is best described as the Prothean version of Commander Shepard who failed in his mission to stop the Reapers, lost his entire crew to indoctrination, subsequently spent years hunted by his former comrades and forced to kill them all. Depending on your interactions with him, he might go into full-on Death Seeker mode.
Javik's Fantastic Racism towards the "Primitives" of this Cycle is also a prevalent aspect of his character. He often comes across as dismissive of various races, bemoans their lack of potential from what the Protheans had expected from them and occasionally indulges in light-hearted mockery. Naturally this characteristic has earned him Ensemble Dark Horse status among the Fandom and the sobriquet of "The Oldest Troll in the Galaxy".
Ashley/Kaiden: The Virmire Survivor and possible former lover of Shepard's, promoted to the rank of Lt Commander/Major and later second human Spectre. The relationship with Shepard is tenative at best, with Kaidan/Ashley still unsure if the person in front of them is truly their old Commander and not some pawn of Cerberus.
Tali: She's been made an Admiral of the Fleet, and is under even more stress to prove herself, as well as her misgivings about the quarians going to war with the geth while the Reapers are tearing the galaxy a new one.
Garrus: After making a huge commotion about the Reapers, he was finally given a small task force to shut him up. Now, he's the only turian who knows anything about the Reapers, is being questioned by the Hierarchy on how to stop them, and is also worried about his father and sister, who may or may not have made it off Palaven.
EDI would be an aversion, being relatively sane, although at one point Shepard can ask if she has a programmer or designer who could be viewed as some kind of disappointing or subpar father figure, noting that with this crew, it's only prudent to ask if some kind of parental issues could come up at some point.
This is so prevalent in Knights of the Old Republic that HK-47 lampshades it in one of the funniest pieces of dialogue in the sequel, where everyone's favourite rusty psychopath mocks the group of companions the first game's protagonist picks up.
HK-47: Statement: Oh, yes. My master had quite the collection of tortured individuals that seemed unable to confront their basic personality conflicts. Let me cite some specific examples.
HK-47: Mockery: [mimicking Carth's voice] "Oh, master, I do not trust you! I cannot trust you or anyone ever again!"
HK-47: Mockery: [mimicking Bastila's voice] "Oh, master, I love you but I hate all you stand for, but I think we should go press our slimy, mucus-covered lips together in the cargo hold!"
While Bastila and Carth are the most prominent examples (possibly because they are the two possible love interests from the first game), the rest of the party is no slouch.
HK himself is indulging in some Hypocritical Humor here, since the first game sees him angsting (as much as a droid can, anyway) over the loss of his memories.
Mission is a fourteen-year-old Twi'lek who grew up as an orphan on Taris, a planet where class divisions and Fantastic Racism are as much a part of the gestalt as towering skyscrapers. Her only guidance was her brother, who abandoned her before the game begins - meaning she suffered Parental Abandonmenttwice - and who she later learns to be an unreliable Con Man.
Mission's best friend, Zaalbar, is a Wookie at a time when Czerka Corporation, with the collaboration of Zaalbar's own brother, is enslaving Wookies wholesale on their own home planet. He's also a victim in what may be the single most reprehensible act of the game's dark side playthrough: using the Force to brainwash him into killing Mission.
Jolee's senile, crazy old-man image is mostly, if not entirely, an act, and he stayed in the Shadowlands for two decades at least partly because he wanted to forget his wife's fall to the Dark Side - after he trained her to use the Force, naturally. (He may have also been seeking something a little more decisive than forgetfulness).
Canderous puts up a brave front in order to hide his growing lack of confidence in his existence as a Blood Knight and Proud Warrior Race Guy, as well as what are hinted to be massive (albeit suppressed) guilt feelings about all the civilians he's killed.
T3 seems to be the exception to the rule. Even so, however, he was commissioned by Davik Kang, the premiere crime lord on Taris, and his only plot-relevant act - the first significant thing he's ever done - is to break into a Sith base. Imagine if a Kid Hero were destined to live his life serving a crime lord, and the people who saved him only did so because they wanted him to risk his life by breaking into a heavily guarded military base, and it becomes clear that T3's character arc (such as it is) only avoids seeming deeply screwed up because it's happening to a droid.
And all this is just character-specific material. The Dark Side route offers multiple opportunities to agitate Light Side party members by committing random acts of cruelty - some purposeful, some senseless - and unlike the second game, which had an influence system, there's no mechanical penalty for doing so. Finally, by the end of the Dark Side route, you've personally killed half the party - unless, of course, you took advantage of the aforementioned Force Persuade option to make Zaalbar kill Mission.
This is the point of Silent Hill. If you don't have a tragic past, you're either a hallucination or in the wrong town. Even the first game, with its relatively bland protagonist, had Dahlia Gillespie, who traumatized her daughter so badly that the trauma took three lifetimes to sort itself out. The second game, meanwhile, set the standard that the later games followed, turning the town into an attraction for the mentally warped.
The protagonist of Silent Hill 4, Henry Townsend, appears even more dysfunctional by not having a tragic past to explain his deadpan acceptance of the surreal and sinister. For a while, by far the longest entry on that game's Wild Mass Guessing page was devoted to a theory that Henry is the real killer, and "Walter Sullivan's ghost" his delusion. It's frighteningly convincing, but was eventually surpassed in length... by an entry theorizing that Eileen is the real killer.
Many, many of the players of The World in .hack// are very, very disturbed people. It doesn't help that the game uses this against them. To be fair, most players are just fine. It's the screwed up ones that get the malevolent forces' attention.
Tales of Vesperia. Yuri despises most authority and in the game's second part alienates his best friend by killing two villains, Estelle is naive and caring to a fault, and is causing the world to die simply by existing, Karol is extremely timid and cowardly to the point he's been discharged from multiple guilds, Judith is conflicted between her longheld desire to keep her life's mission a secret and her newfound loyalty to her new friends, Rita didn't have any friends before meeting the party, and in fact was treated like a freak and an outcast by the people of her town, and Raven was brought Back from the Dead against his will by one of the major villains and forced to serve him, becoming a Death Seeker as a result. Whew.
In the PS3 Updated Re-release, the party is joined by Flynn and Patty. The former struggles against becoming a Knight Templar and the latter is an amnesiac pirate whose crew died in a horiffic manner.
Since it's a Bioware game, it should come as no surprise that this appears in Dragon Age: Origins. All of your potential recruits (except the dog) have issues. These issues tie into their Personal Quests, affect whether they approve or disapprove of your various choices, and when they might believe you have crossed their Moral Event Horizon. Alistair has dependency issues and lacks confidence in himself due to being a royal bastard orphan who spent his formative years in the repressive Chantry, Morrigan was raised by her mother alone in a swamp and was taught that she could never trust anyone but herself, Sten went berserk and killed innocent people after losing his treasured sword (a huge deal in Qunari culture) which he considered to be part of his soul, Leliana has a very Dark and Troubled Past and might actually be crazy if her "vision" is any indication that inevitably catches up to her in her Personal Quest, Zevran is a Stepford Smiler and Death Seeker due to killing the girl he loved when he mistakenly believed she was a traitor, Wynne became The Atoner after Her Greatest Failure: she was so arrogant and harsh to her first student that he ran away from the Circle; Wynne was told that the Templars hunted him down and killed him, Shale joins the Grey Warden due to having no memories of her former life as a dwarf and having nowhere else to go, Oghren became The Alcoholic and an outcast of Dwarven society after he killed someone in a bar brawl due to being a Love Martyr to his missing wife Branka who he later discovers has gone utterly batshit crazy, and a lesbian, and Teryn Loghain has...issues with foreigners, specifically Orlesians, to put it lightly.
Ah! But even the dog just lost its master in battle and would have suffered a long and painful death from darkspawn poision had you not intervened!
Not if you're a Human Noble. Then it just shares his/her tragedies instead. Wait...
Depending on the Origin, the Grey Warden isn't exempt from this either. The Origin story with the least amount of personal trauma is the Mage Origin. That the Mage Origin starts off with you fighting for your soul in another dimension against a demon in a battle of wits as a final exam and ends with you being unwittingly complicit in helping a Blood Mage (who was your former best friend) escape the Circle and can still be considered the least traumatic one says all you need to know about the others. But just for the sake of completeness:
The Dwarf Commoner Origin: the PC and his/her sister Rica are casteless Dwarves (which are treated as garbage in Dwarven society) working for a crime boss who forces the PC to do his dirty work while forcing Rica to go "noble-hunting" though that actually works out pretty well for her. In the end, the PC is forced to choose between exile, death, or the Grey Wardens. He/she chooses the Wardens.
The Dwarf Noble Origin: The PC and his/her loyal retainer Gorim are tricked into killing the PC's older brother Trian by his/her own younger brother Bhelen. Then Bhelen arranges for your father the king to witness the act. Don't kill him? Still get framed for it. Gorim gets banished to the surface and you get sent to the Deep Roads to die. You later find out that your father died of grief due to this incident.
The Human Noble Origin: Starts off happily enough; loving family, prosperous home, the works. One betrayal by the Obviously Evil family "friend" later and nearly everyone you've ever known and loved is dead. The PC has to see such delightful things like the dead bodies of his/her little nephew and sister-in-law, his/her father bleeding to death on the ground, and his/her mother staying behind to make a Last Stand.
The City Elf Origin: Second-class citizen treatment and racism, mass kidnapping during a wedding, Attempted Rape if the PC is female, actual rape of one of the PC's friends, etc.
The Dalish Elf Origin: The PC and his/her Childhood Friend (an unlucky one if the PC is female) encounter an Artifact of Doom that infects them both with the darkspawn taint. The PC joins the Grey Wardens just to have a chance of surviving the taint. The friend isn't so lucky...something you find out much later.
Lampshaded by a dialogue option when Oghren wants to join the party:
Warden: "Don't I have enough armed lunatics following me already?"
Hawke him/herself slowly loses what family they have left over the course of the game through various means, ends up inadvertently causing the Circle/Chantry civil war, and is forced to abandon most, if not all, of his/her traveling companions.
Aveline comes from proud line of chevaliers, only to fail to live up to the exacting standards of her father. She then loses her husband to the darkspawn taint in the game’s opening act.
Varric is the product of a disgraced Orzimmar merchant house exiled to the surface. While his brother Bartrand worked to repair the family name, Varric’s task was to care for his alcoholic and drug-addicted mother who never recovered from the loss of her husband five years after their exile and family status.
Merrill first loses her friend Tamlen during the Dragon Age: Origins Dalish Elf origin story and moves with her clan to the surrounds of Kirkwall. There, she discovers another Eluvian and makes a Deal with the Devil to repair it, forcing her clan to exile her.
After the events of ‘’Awakening’’, Anders absorbs the Fade spirit Justice who is darkened and corrupted by Anders’ hatred of the Chantry’s treatment of mages. He can just barely maintain control over the twisted spirit of Vengeance, who is all too eager to mete out violent retribution against its enemies both real and imagined.
Fenris is an ex-Tevinter slave hunting his former master. A forced infusion of lyrium enabled him to phase through objects but erased all of his memories prior to the infusion, leaving him with a deep-seated and abiding hatred of magic.
Isabela's mother practically sold her to a man who saw her in the market for a few gold coins and a goat; she was understandably not too upset when Zevran later killed her husband.
And from the Exiled Prince DLC, Sebastian Vael was exiled to the Chantry by his own parents, who saw him as a family disgrace and a threat to his elder brothers’ advancement. Though his initial relationship with the Chantry was rather strained, he served faithfully until his family was brutally murdered, leaving him as the only surviving heir.
Carver Hawke spends most of the game addressing some seriousSibling Rivalry issues that get worse as the story progresses. Bethany has some pretty horrific problems with self-loathing, though she still appears the most well-adjusted person on the team.
And The Administrator (the announcer), a middle-aged woman who seems to have an almost-sexual desire to watch the two opposing sides hate and kill each other. She and the above are every single character in the game itself. All ten of them. This is funnier than it sounds.
Lloyd Irving: Our hero is the most well-adjusted of the group, having been Happily Adopted by a Dwarf living outside of town after his mother was turned into a monster, forcing his father to Mercy Kill her, and his father vanished afterward, believing Lloyd to be dead. Said father later turns up as The Mole in the party, does a Heel-Face Turn into a Stealth Mentor when he finds out Lloyd is alive, and ultimately turns out to be a Death Seeker who wants his own son to be the one to kill him. Needless to say, Lloyd being the kind of hero who wants to never sacrifice anyone, he finds this pretty upsetting.
Genis Sage: A Half-Human Hybrid who's spent all his life running from Fantastic Racism along with his older sister, they've been pretending to be full-blooded elves so they can remain in the village. He befriends an elderly woman from the local Human Ranch against the laws of the village, only for the Desians to turn her into a monster and set her on the villagers, forcing Lloyd and Genis to kill her (which causes a minor Heroic BSOD in Genis), and they are then exiled for the destruction caused. He has a lot of hidden resentment against humans for their treatment of half-elves, and in fact openly states that he hates humans...except for Lloyd and the friends he's made. It's also worth mentioning that Genis, while brilliant, is only twelve.
Colette Brunel: As The Chosen One, she's known since she was about six years old that she would be expected to sacrifice her life one day in the name of saving the world. This has given her severe self-esteem issues, as she believes that the only value her life has is as a sacrifice to save everyone else. Along the course of her journey, she survives an extremely Painful Transformation into an angel, followed by And I Must Scream and Body Horror...and she bears all of it with a cheerful smile, not wanting to trouble anyone with her personal problems.
Raine Sage: Genis' older sister, she spent years on the run with her parents from researchers who wanted to imprison her in a lab and use her intelligence for their own ends, got a Promotion to Parent of a newborn baby when she was elevenwhen her parents sent her and her brother to the other world in hopes that Sylvarant would be better for them, and has spent her years since then raising herself and her younger brother, a pair of Half-Human Hybrids, in a world full of Fantastic Racism. This has given her severe abandonment issues when it comes to her parents, and trust issues when it comes to everyone. There was also an incident where she nearly drowned while they were on the run, giving her a phobia of water that she has yet to overcome.
Sheena Fujibayashi: She's a summoner, a skill so rare one hasn't been seen in generations. Her ninja village tried to get her to make a pact with a hostile Summon Spirit when she was only seven, and her inability to communicate with it led to all those with her - about a fourth of the village - being killed before her eyes. For the twelve years since that time, she's been considered an outcast and a disgrace, and she's now desperate to prove her worth by whatever means necessary.
Zelos Wilder: The Chosen One of the flourishing world, he has most of the self-worth issues around his title that Colette does...except he's cynical and world-weary instead of a Purity Sue, and therefore also believes that he has no value as a sacrifice. His father, the previous Chosen One, committed suicide, and his mother was killed when he was eight, defending him from an assassination attempt. Her last words to him were "You should never have been born", and he's well-aware that his parents' arranged marriage was keeping them from being with the people they truly loved. Claiming he has no loyalty to anyone but himself, he acts as The Mole for both the Big Bad and La Résistance when he's a part of the party, and if you don't manage to win him over with The Power of Friendship, he turns out (rather unsurprisingly) to be a Death Seeker.
Presea Combatir: When she was twelve, she volunteered to be a part of an experiment in order to pay for medicine for her sick father, and wound up implanted with a Power Crystal that slowly drained away her soul. She remained in a suppressed, emotionless, unaging state for sixteen years, with the isolationist and prejudiced residents of her home village coming to fear and despise her throughout that time. When Lloyd and the party finally free her, she finds that her father is long-dead, and she herself has become a twenty-eight year old woman with the body of a twelve-year-old girl, and no idea how to be either one.
Regal Bryant: The servant he fell in love with (Presea's younger sister) was taken away due to her unsuitability as a love interest for a noble, and sent to be a part of the same experiment Presea joined, but instead of losing her soul, she turned into a monster. When she was unleashed on the city of Altamira, she begged Regal to kill her, and he was forced to do so with his bare hands. He's overburdened with guilt regarding the entire incident, to the point of insisting that he be imprisoned for the crime of murder and point-blank refusing to remove the shackles around his wrists even after he's out of prison.
Kratos Aurion: One of the Big Bad's companions from four thousand years ago, he feels intensely guilty for allowing his former student to descend so far into madness. The one time he did try to flee Cruxis, he fell in love and had a child with a human experiment, only for her to be turned into a monster and beg him to kill her. This he did and, believing their son lost in the same incident, stopped bothering to care about anything at all, returning to Cruxis to follow the Big Bad's plan once more. When he learns his son is alive, he quickly formulates a plan that involves sacrificing his own life - at his son's hands - as a way of passing the torch and allowing his son to save the world, and actually seems a bit disappointed when his best friend steps in to save his life at the last moment.
Neverwinter Nights and Shadows of Undrentide are mostly immune to this, but your allies in Hordes of the Underdark consist of a drow out to redeem herself from past crimes and suffering from a severe case of guilt, a tiefling with rage issues who feels he has to bury his emotions as deep as possible to avoid exploding, an unjustly executed dead paladin, and a kobold who spent most of his life as the Butt Monkey of a kobold clan ruled by a dragon. It should perhaps be clarified that that last one actually joined you in Undrentide as well, and was arguably even more dysfunctional there (your character had an... inspirational effect on him).
The companions in the Shadowlords arc have some serious issues; Anera was thrown out of Celestia for daring to try to do good in the mortal realm; and Teira was betrayed by the man who had raised her and forced to use a magical effect that is currently consuming her life force to escape.
The companions in Tales of Arterra also have lots of issues: Evanine is a Fallen Princess and everyone who was ever kind to her (except for the player) has been killed; Persey has no concept of self-worth and honestly believes she is an object to be bought, sold, and used; and Montador comes from a society in which strength is valued above all and despises his own parents for weakness.
A Dance with Rogues, especially in the second module. Vico is a psychopath who has fallen in love with the player character and is trying to work out how to deal with it, Pia has had most of her friends slain in the Dhorn purge of the Betancuria thieves' guild, Anden has thrown away his home and his life to follow a woman who he loves yet believes he is unworthy of, Bran and Norah had their entire clan killed and are on a quest to find the killer (and are the most well-adjusted characters in the party, no less), and Rizzen is on the run from his own family after inadvertently witnessing his mother's embarrassment and is a realistically-played runaway drow besides.
In Neverwinter Nights 2, the only party members without a traumatic past, a mental disoder, or both are Grobnar and Zhjaeve. As for the others, Khelgar is an arrogant Blood Knight who left his clan to go on a quest to become a Monk while having no idea what they're about and just assuming that all they do is punch things, and much of his clan resent his decision to leave, claiming (perhaps truthfully) that he did it solely for personal glory. Neeshka has been oppressed her entire life due to being a Tiefling. Elanee had to watch her beloved Mere slowly become a twisted, barren wasteland due to the King of Shadows' influence, believing her beloved Druid Circle to be dead. She later learns that they're still alive, but is horrified to learn that they, with a single exception, have been driven mad by the King's influence, and is forced to kill them. Casavir abandoned his Paladin order due to frustration over their inaction over the many plights of the commonfolk, and has difficulty recognizing the value of friends and teamwork. Bishop is a sarcastic Social Darwinist with a bad case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and an equally Dark and Troubled Past. Sand was originally a member of Luskan's Hosttower (Essentially a wizard mafia), but was forced to flee for his life after refusing to continue performing their atrocities. Qara is an egotistical, sociopathic pyromaniac who thinks she's the center of the universe. Shandra Jerro lost her farm to desperate Lizardfolk, which she blames the PC for, and later becomes a target of the Githyanki due to their history with her bloodline. Oh, and she's killed by her own grandfather. That grandfather, Ammon Jerro, was originally a kind, eccentric mage who fell to increasingly extreme and flatout evil acts to combat the King of Shadows, not realizing what he's becoming until after he kills Shandra. Oh, and did I mention that he is wracked with guilt over not just her death, but everything else he did before opening his eyes? The Player Character themselves is an orphan raised in a swamp by an emotionally abusive half-elf and has a piece of the MacGuffin embedded in his/her chest. And this is just the original campaign.
Mask of the Betrayer gives us Gannayev, a hagspawn casanova searching for "a dream that truly touched him" and suffering from a more severe case of Parental Abandonment than is normal; Safiya is obeying the last orders of her now-deceased and somewhat distant mother after her contact in Rashemen was murdered; Okku has failed in his oath to destroy the spirit-eater twice now after nearly destroying the spirits of his clan in order to entrap the spirit-eater the first time and has been reluctantly roped into a wild goose chase; and Kaelyn has some pretty severe parental issues along with a major crisis of faith that has her banned from her home.
Trauma Team has a team of six playable characters, all with their own unique quirks and flaws.
CR-S01, the general surgeon, is a convicted mass-murderer with Laser-Guided Amnesia performing operations to atone for his supposed crimes and to shorten his sentence.
Gabriel Cunningham, the diagnostician, has lost the ability to care about his patients and is dealing with his mediocre parenting skills.
Maria Torres, the paramedic, is a headstrong Jerkass who always tries to do things herself and has trouble cooperating with others.
Hank Freebird, the orthopedic surgeon, leads a double life as a Hero with Bad Publicity and has trouble getting other people to understand his views on humanitarianism.
Tomoe Tachibana, the endoscopic surgeon, is the heiress of a powerful Japanese ninja clan who moved to America and became a doctor because she was tired of living in luxury.
Naomi Kimishima, the forensic examiner and a returning character from Trauma Center: Second Opinion, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is patiently waiting for her life to end.
A pretty boy experiment gone wrong who lost it completely and killed dozens of innocent people-including and in fact, mostly children including his own sister , a sheltered (and I do mean sheltered) girl who was supposed to have her life and death predetermined and yet somehow was saved, and the sole survivor of a vicious massacre of his entire military troop, brought to you via Resonance of Fate. And these are just your playable characters.
Xenogears. Be it main, secondary or side character, if they have a name, they have a tragic past. And most probably a tragic present and future too. The villains are no exception.
Touhou. When half the cast have world-wrecking power and 90% of the cast is Chaotic Neutral to various degree, this trope can't be helped. Special mention goes to the Scarlet Mansion: the mistress of the house has delusion of grandeur, her maid is blindly loyal to her, her best friend is extreme apathist, and her little sister is crazy. Oh, and their gate guard is incompetent.
Dark Souls: The cast by and large is more messed up than they appear, even if they are nice people overall. Just for example, Laurentius of the Swamp is one of the nicest characters in the game. Even then, his dialog implies he has probably never had anyone close to him aside from his pyromancy teacher, meaning the player is quite possibly his first real friend.
Rule of Rose: Each of the main characters gets this, to the point of being named in narration after their attitude problems. And they're all under 15 years old. Because, in 1930s rural England, There Are No Therapists!
Diana the Strong-Willed Princess: Caught in the middle of puberty, Diana is simultaneously afraid of growing up (hence her childish speech and position in the Aristocrat Club) and is desperate to become a woman (hence her vanity and patronizing demeanor). This is implied to stem from Hoffman's abuse of her. She's an apathetic smart-ass to boot.
Meg the Wise-Looking Princess: As the title suggests, she isn't as wise as she likes to believe. She has book-smarts, but is madly in love with Diana, and is apparently unaware that she laughs about it behind her back. She also designs torture devices. She is ranked as The Baroness for a reason.
Eleanor the Cold Princess: An emotionless young girl, who holds a high rank in the Aristocrats but is too indifferent to care. She carries around a red bird in a cage, a symbol of her desire to fly away from her life in the orphanage. The end of her personal chapter implies that she is actually incapable of showing any kind of emotion.
Wendy the Princess of the Rose: An eternally lonely young girl who fell head over heels in love with Jennifer, but didn't... handle it well... when she brought Brown home. She leads the Aristocrats against Jennifer, and eventually orders Brown's death. Walking Spoiler, beware.
Jennifer/Poor Unfortunate Girl/Prince Joshua: She endures a massive Trauma Conga Line throughout the game, and as an older woman has repressed the memories of her time at the orphanage to the point that the entire game - a confused spiel of her memories - happens.
Saying that the player's companions in Fallout: New Vegas are all messed up one way or another is an understatement to say the least. The only companions who doesn't have serious issue the player needs to help them with are Rex and ED-E who are a cyborg dog and a robot respectively.
Cass is an alchoholic and former caravan merchant with serious heart issues whose caravan was wiped out by raiders.
Craig Boone is a former NCR Sniper who has become a Death Seeker following taking part of the massacre at Bitter Springs and having to Mercy Kill his pregnant wife.
Lily Bowen is a sweet old lady who was turned into a Nightkin who served in the Master's army. She has developed schizophrenia but avoids taking her medicine because it makes her forget her dead grandchildren.
Raul is a mexican ghoul who lived when the bombs fell whose little sister and only family was killed by raiders. He is also troubled by his age and has started to doubt his abilities.
Veronica is a member of the Brotherhood of Steel who was seperated from her girlfriend and has to watch her friends and family dwindle away in a bunker because of their refusal to ender their own ways.
Namco High: Eighteen options and most of them have issues, at the very least. Some of them have full-on subscriptions.