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The Sociopath: Video Games

  • Several protagonists featured in the Grand Theft Auto series certainly qualify: Tommy Vercetti (a mobster willing to kill anyone for money and not feel any remorse for his actions), Luis Fernando Lopez (besides a thug with feel no remorse, he actually seems to enjoy) and Trevor Phillips (a Ax Crazy committing atrocities simply because he likes it).
    • And come several antagonists to this trope: Lance Vance, Tenpenny and Pulaski, T-Bone Mendez, Catalina, Dimitri Rascalov, Billy Grey and Ray Bulgarin.
  • A friendly nerdy character in Bully flat out calls Gary, your supposed "ally" in the game, a sociopath, to which the main character doesn't know what that means. It turns out the nerd was right, and all it took was for Gary to run out of medication to become a sadistic sociopathic lunatic who takes control of the entire school, ties up the headmaster, and then attempts to take over the entire town.
  • Morinth in Mass Effect 2. The mission overview after Samara's loyalty mission even says that her biotic powers would make her an excellent addition to the squad...if her "sociopathic tendencies were mitigated." Though you can kill Samara and recruit her anyway.
    • Quarian Admiral Daro'Xen displays several classic signs of sociopathy as well. She especially shows it in matters related to the geth, whom she plans to, as a race, mind-wipe and return to their "rightful place" as the quarians' slaves. Tali'Zorah flat-out calls Xen insane when this bit of info comes out, showing that even among the anti-geth quarians Xen's stance is seen as radical. Also, Xen apparently used to perform surgery on childhood toys; Tali's response is predictable. Lastly, she shows unhealthy interest in Legion (your geth squadmate), once expressing the desire to dissect the poor thing to see what makes it tick (which Paragon!Shepard is having none of, by the way).
  • Tohru Adachi in Persona 4, who initially hides behind the mask of a Nice Guy, though when revealed shows himself as a sadistic manchild who finds entertainment in ruining the lives of others with a tendency of violently lashing out at women who spurn his advances.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Vanitas seems to fit the mold at first, but the origins of the Unversed prove he is a subversion. Rather than being callous and lacking in anything but the most shallow emotions, Vanitas is comprised of nothing but negative emotions. And he creates a new Unversed with every negative emotion he has. A true sociopath would not be able to feel deeply enough to create them in the first place.
    • Nobodies are by their very nature sociopaths, since they lack the hearts required to form bonds or experience true emotions. The members of Organization XIII function at varying levels, with the exceptions of Roxas and Xion, the former of which actually does have a heart; the heart of the aforementioned Ven and the latter of which isn't even a Nobody. Another member, Axel, does gain emotional care for Roxas and Xion after hanging out with them, but it's only for them; he is still a sociopath in regards to anyone else.
      • And then Dram Drop Distance reveals that all the nobodies had newborn hearts and the ability to feel emotions all along. Bringing this trope Up to Eleven with Xemnas, the one who lied to them and made them believe they were Sociopaths all in order to manipulate them and gain control of their minds, hearts and bodies. And though he acts the most emotionless of them all, he likely had Terra's heart all along meaning he was just naturally an uncaring monster.
  • Irenicus and Bodhi from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. In their case, it's a magically caused condition, though from what we hear, they weren't exactly nice people before.
  • The real Alex Mercer from Prototype. After all, he "wasn't paid to feel."
  • BlazBlue has both of its Big Bads.
    • Relius Clover, An unabashed Mad Scientist and Abusive Parent extraordinare who, after gaining the ability to see a person's inner soul, views other human beings as tools to be manipulated or guinea pigs to be experimented on. And in what can only be considered a seriously messed up logical extreme of the page quote, he even turned both his daughter and his wife into puppets! Completely unapologetically. For Science! And then he attempted to kill his son when he demanded an explanation.
    • Hazama/Yuuki Terumi, whose sociopathy stands in stark contrast to Relius, is an arrogant and extemely sadistic spirit who greatly relishes the physical and psychological suffering he inflicts on others and feels absolutely no remorse for anyone he hurts. He was directly responsible for the creation of the Black Beast, a monster that ravaged the world 100 years ago. He was then Brainwashed and forced to join the Six Heroes to help stop it only to betray the group and kill two of its members.
  • Hitman's protagonist, Agent 47, is a sociopathic clone who is also the best assassin the ICA, Agent 47's employer, has at its disposal. He tries to avoid unnecessary deaths, but that is only out of professional pride and a desire to avert suspicion; he will murder anybody who inconveniences him.
  • Danny St. John from The Walking Dead, while Danny himself is mostly not explored, due to his limited amount of time on the game, we did find out, he was a cannibal, he killed Jolene just because she knew his secret, and he even gave Lee tips on how to cook him when he got trapped in the beartrap.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Dahlia Hawthorne from Phoenix Wright: Trials & Tribulations. She is arguably the cruelest and most evil character in the entire series, and has the longest list of intended murder victims out of any of the other killers Phoenix has encountered. At one point, she explicitly states that she has never cared for anyone or anything aside from herself, and she plots to kill Maya simply to get back at Mia from beyond the grave.
    • Also, Matt Engarde from the second game. He's so disconnected from any sort of moral compass that he honestly believes that he's innocent of murder because he didn't kill the victim himself, despite hiring the assassin who did.
    • Dual Destinies gives us the rather creepy example of Bobby Fulbright, AKA the Phantom. According to a psychological profile done by analyzing his vocal inflections, he experiences little to no emotions. However, as his disguise proves, he's very good at faking them. He gives the perfect performance of appearing happy when Blackquill says he believes in Fulbright's innocence, only for Athena to reveal that there's no indications of the actual emotion of happiness in his voice. When she tries to put his testimony through the Mood Matrix, he first comes up as completely blank. When he's called out on this, he then makes his emotions fluctuate so much that it's impossible to get a reading on him. Exactly how this works is left unexplained, but he implies that he simply trained himself to not feel emotions, hence his ability to fake them. Although it turns out that whether or not he'll admit it, he does still feel one emotion - fear, as brought on by the threat of death.
      • Likewise, Calisto Yew from Investigations seems to be made of the same stuff as the Phantom.
    • Manfred von Karma is an arguable case. On one hand, he is shown to only care about his perfect trial record, completely willing to ignore the fact that he could be condemning any number of innocent people to prison. He also considers Gregory Edgeworth getting him a penalty and ruining said perfect record to be sufficient grounds for murdering the guy and raising his son to believe he did it and grow up to be the sort of person Gregory hated. Miles Edgeworth: Investigations does have a flashback case that implies that von Karma really did care for Franziska and Edgeworth, however the fact that he pretended to want the best for Edgeworth while very clearly intending to frame him for murder all along throws into question if he really felt that way or was just faking.
    • Bansai Ichiyanagi is even worse than Manfred. Outwardly as childish and playful as Dahlia is innocent and sweet, this person is cold, cruel, calculating, and heartless, seeking only to further their career. He mistreats his own son, belittling him so much that even the usually icy Franziska feels sorry for him and actually offers him a bit of advice, due to her own experiece with a corrupt prosecutor for a father. At one point, Ichiyanagi even aids in a presidential assassination, alongside the equally black-hearted Miwa. Incidentally, this person is responsible for actually giving Manfred the penalty on his record that caused the DL-6. And he's the one who GAVE Manfred the false evidence that caused the mark on his record in the first place.
    • Really, a good deal of Ace Attorney's multiple-murder killers are either outright sociopathic or borderline.
  • Hades from Kid Icarus: Uprising. He instigates a pointless, international war that results in the deaths of millions of humans for no other reason than to harvest their souls to either create more underworld monsters and do whatever else he wants with them (As well as for his own sick amusement), and has absolutely no remorse for his actions. Even when he helps out during the Aurum Arc, it's not out of alutrism, it's only because he wants to be the one to destroy humanity. and even then, he still throws Underworld Monsters in Pit's path to hinder his progress just to screw with him.
  • Luca Blight from Suikoden II, the "Mad Prince" of the Highland kingdom. You get a good idea of his personality in his Establishing Character Moment in which he orchestrates a massacre of children training to be soldiers on his side to rally up support to restart a pointless war with a neighboring nation, while mocking their deaths and regretting not joining in the massacre. He continues to commit atrocities throughout the game, brutally killing scores of people For the Evulz including his own father, while displaying a level of sadism and Lack of Empathy that disturbs even his underlings. Even during his Final Speech, he not only displays a complete lack of regret for his horrific actions, but actually boasts triumphantly of them while reveling in his unredeemably vile nature.
  • Colonel Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss is a high-functioning example, and very much aware of it. Formerly a Child Prodigy Black Mage who tortured monsters for fun, he could have been much worse if a mentor hadn't stepped in to give him some sense of morality. As is, his old mistakes haunt him, and it troubles him somewhat that he doesn't understand what it means to end a life.
  • Syndicate (2012): Agent Merit's dossier remarks that all Agents are expected to be psychopaths, but Merit is psychopathic even by Agent standards. Also, the corporate, ethically bankrupt Syndicate society effectively fosters a general attitude that the lives of others are meaningless except to the extent they can be used to benefit yourself.
  • The Super Mario Bros. series has three notable sociopaths, usually where Vile Villain, Saccharine Show tends to be in effect.
    • Super Paper Mario gives us Dimentio who is for all intents and purposes, Mario's Kefka Palazzo and one of the most disturbing examples of this trope in a Mario game. Hiding his monstrous intentions under the veneer of the ditzy jester, he uses his superficial charm to manipulate everyone in the game in order to obtain the Chaos Heart and remake the multiverse in his own image. And it's implied that he's motivated solely by his insanity. He's also very sadistic, killing Mario and the gang with no remorse and cracking jokes about their deaths. He also views love and similar emotions as weaknesses to be exploited. His last act, however, is what hammers home his sociopathy. When defeated for the final time, he leaves a shadow of his power behind to continue controlling the Chaos Heart to ensure that everyone in existence will die with him. Meaning his last act was one that would ensure the deaths of untold trillions. There's a reason why he's considered one of the darkest villains in the Mario series.
    • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has Princess Shroob, the leader of the Shroob race. Though she has the sympathetic motive of finding a new home for her Dying Race, this motive falls horribly flat as she commits various actions that seem driven by pure sadism. Two notable examples are feeding Princess Peach to Petey Piranha in front of a Shroob audience and shooting down the Koopa Cruiser while laughing. Her Lack of Empathy also seems to extend to her sister as she made virtually no effort to free her from the Cobalt Star and showed no indication that she intended to.
    • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has put King Boo in this category. His debut appearance portrayed him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wanted to protect his fellow Boos despite his methods. His appearance in the sequel, however, shows that he's become so consumed with revenge that he'll eliminate anyone or anything that gets in his path, even sacrificing some of his Boos with no remorse. His worst act however, is when he opens a Paranormal Portal to unleash an army of ghosts. The act would also cause Luigi's dimension to collapse, putting King Boo on the same level as Dimentio in terms of sociopathy.
  • While most of the villains in Eternal Sonata are bonafide psychopaths, the two who stand out the most are Fugue and Waltz. Fugue is the sadistic Evil Genius of the group who's Establishing Character Moment has him attacking Frederic and Polka just because he's wet. Waltz is just as bad, if not worse. He creates a substance called mineral powder which is said to cure diseases, but also has a side effect of turning people into monsters. Why does he want to do this? So he can have an army to help rule the world as he feels that this is the best way for people to remember him.
  • Kyrie Ushiromiya in Umineko no Naku Koro ni displays quite a few elements of this. While she appears to be nice and smart, she also always shows a cold, calculating side, keeping either a faint smile or a deadpan expression. There are a few red flags of her sociopathy in Episode 3 and 5 (where it's mentionned that she can sometimes "think in an extremely cold and ruthless manner"), and Episode 7's Tea Party makes a full display of it. Not only does she claim that she doesn't give a crap for her daughter Ange, but she isn't overly shaken by the death of her husband and accomplice either, and is in fact rather pleased that he is out of the way. Add to that a brief Hannibal Lecture to Eva, and you have one of the scariest characters of the series.
  • Possibly Kotomine Kirei of Fate/stay night. He describes himself as never feeling happiness from the happiness of others, only finding joy in their pain and suffering, and being incapable of loving someone else. Interestingly, because he was born to a very religious man, he considers himself a "defective person" and spent most of his life trying to "fix" himself, only to give up ten years before the story. His ultimate goal is to try to understand why a good and loving God would create a seemingly inherently evil person such as himself. He is definitely cunning and manipulative, an excellent liar when he wants to be (he prefers to amuse himself with Brutal Honesty), and is charming in his own way, although the story's protagonist takes an instant dislike to him.
  • The Suul'ka from Sword of the Stars are supremely selfish and boast a huge god complex. The Suul'kas' total Lack of Empathy is especially disturbing since being Liir, they are empaths. They actively reject empathy as a weakness.
  • The Batman Arkham Series is filled to the brim with sociopaths. From the homicidal Joker, to the maniacial Victor Zssaz and Calendar Man, to the calculating Hugo Strange, to the Pyromaniac Firefly, and many, many more. Listing them all would probably take up this whole page.
  • The Street Fighter series has three notable sociopaths.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us has The Joker, as usual. Or rather, his Injustice counterpart. The Joker in the game proper is more of a Nominal Hero and doesn't get much screen time. But his Injustice counterpart take the sociopath trope Up to Eleven. To elaborate, he is the direct cause for all of the misery that happens in the game. Five years prior to the game, he planted a trigger for a nuclear bomb placed in the heart of Metropolis in a pregnant Lois Lane designed to go off the instant her heart stops beating. He also drugged Superman with Krytonite-laced fear toxin, causing him to see Lois as Doomsday and kill her by dragging her into space so that the deaths of Lois, his unborn child, and all of Metropolis were on his hands. And the reason behind this horrific act? He was tired of his constant defeats to Batman and wanted an easier opponent. While the Joker ultimately pays for it with his life, his actions caused Superman to develop a zero-tolerance policy towards crime and ultimately turns the Man of Steel into an even worse monster than he was. The fact that the Joker gives one final laugh as he dies shows he was fully aware of this fact.
    Joker: Every time you and I play, I lose. I was getting a bit bored of always losing, so I thought I'd try it on easy mode for a bit. And it was easy. It was as easy as beating a puppy to death with a kitten.
  • The Sly Cooper franchise has all four of its Big Bads.
    • Clockwerk of the Thevievus Raccoonus. A psychopathic owl and rival to Sly's family that was driven solely by his hatred for them. To that end, he turned himself into a Cyborg just so he could achieve Immortality for the express purpose of hunting down and killing each of Sly's ancestors, ending with his father. Clockwerk's Lack of Empathy is so great that he's not only incapable of feeling empathy, but he also views it as a weakness in others.
    • Neyla of Band Of Thieves. At the outset of the game she was depicted as a Interpol cop with Black and Grey Morality who assists Sly and his gang, but after Ch.3 she reveals a glimpse of her true colors when she betrays the gang and has them arrested, even framing Carmelita as well. Her true colors are fully exposed during the finale where she is revealed to be working for Arpeggio, the leader of the Klaww Gang, during which she betrays him and steals the Clockwerk body for herself. Her repsonse to Arpeggio's astonisment at her betrayal showcases her Lack of Empathy.
    Neyla: Stupid Arpeggio. I double crossed Interpol, The Cooper Gang, and The Klaww Gang, What made You think I wouldn't do the the same to you?
  • Arcturus Mengsk from StarCraft. Reviewing his key personality traits is like reading through a sociopath diagnostic checklist: superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self, pathological lying, a penchant for manipulating others to achieve his own ends, an absolutely astonishing lack of empathy or remorse for any of his actions, and an insatiable lust for power and dominance that drives his every move. He unleashed the Zerg on an entire planet populated by billions of people just to overthrow a few hundred individuals at most and establish himself as the preeminent political figure among the Terrans of the Koprulu sector. He has no qualms whatsoever about sacrificing those closest to him if it suits his purposes.
  • The Legend of Zelda series has pulled out its share of notable sociopaths over the years. In order of appearance.
    • While it's mostly a case of Depending on the Writer, most incarnations of Ganondorf are typically depicted as textbook sociopaths. A power-mad despot feels no remorse for anything and will stop at nothing to obtain the Triforce and rule Hyrule even if it means using murder and manipulation. The only exception to this rule is his Wind Waker incarnation, who was portrayed as a Tragic Villain and a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • Twilight Princess has Zant. He was a member of the Twili race who went insane when denied the title of king for his ambition to conquer the World of Light. After making a deal with an imprisoned Ganondorf for power, he seized the throne by force, turning Midna into an imp and transforming his own people into Shadow Beasts by sealing away the Sols. He then led a full fledged invasion of Hyrule, committing more atrocities along the way such as executing Queen Rutela in front of the Zoras for resisting his rule. and forcing Zelda to surrender by threatening her people. When Link and Midna unravel his plans he curses Link to remain in wolf form permanently and fatally wounds Midna by exposing her to light. All done with no remorse whatsoever. The fact that he has the gall to pass himself off as a well intentioned Knight Templar only reinforces his sociopathy.
    • Skyward Sword has Ghirahim an arrogant and extremely sadistic Demon Lord who seeks to use Zelda's life force to revive his master Demise and pursues this goal with total disregard for the lives around him. Going through his personality traits is going through a sociopath's checklist: superfical charm, feels no remorse for anything, extremely sadistic and relishes the pain he inflicts on others, and will not heisitate to manipulate others if it serves his ends.
    • A Link Between Worlds has Yuga. A vain and arrogant sorceror who at first glance seems to be a mere servant of Hilda, helping her in her quest to use Hyrule's Triforce to restore the kingdom of Lorule. At the end of the game, he reveals his true colors when he reveals that he never cared about Lorule's fate and that he was merely using her to obtain all three pieces of the Triforce and rule Lorule as the god he fancies himself as.
  • An entire sub-race of this trope is created in the latter parts of the Mega Man X series in the form of the "New Generation Reploids", Reploids with a copy chip installed which allows them to take the form of any Reploid whose artificial DNA Data is included in the chip (and which can add more Reploids not initially included on the chip by somehow extracting the data from them during battles). The trouble is, the DNA Data of Sigma, which has fundamentally merged by now with the Maverick Virus itself, was included in all the chips save for that of a prototype called Axl. This allowed the "New Gen" Reploids to voluntarily "infect" themselves, essentially turning off their consciences at will, by accepting Sigma's twisted evolution philosophy as their core interpretation of right and wrong. Very quickly this culminated in two new Maverick outbreaks, from Mega Man X8 and Mega Man X: Command Mission, both turning out to be the results of conspiracies spearheaded by a "New Gen" Reploid looking to take over the world.
  • Doctor Eggman in Sonic the Hedgehog is a family-friendly version. Firstly, he has no conscience to speak of, using living creatures as batteries and by extension, experimentation on sentient beings. He is determined to take over the world purely because he deserves to rule the world - while at the same time not being exactly clear on what he'd do afterwards. As well as this, he is always prepared to briefly ally with Sonic against greater evils, then toss him aside once he has no use. He has been known to lie without the twitch of a moustache. Most obvious is his vanity - despite his many, many failures, he continues to fight Sonic with very little variation to his methods. Continuing in that vein, he is portrayed as also being charming and polite even to his enemies. Like most real-life Sociopaths, he also lacks Character Development - while his origins have expanded over the franchise, his goals and methods remain the same.

Live-Action TVThe SociopathWestern Animation

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