Lazlow, a recurring DJ and radio host of Grand Theft Auto, was fIrst introduced as the put-upon host of the call-in radio show Chatterbox FM. Later games showcase the breadth of Lazlow's radio career (now spanning 25 years) and reveal him to be an alcoholic fame-seeker, rather than the Only Sane Man he appeared to be in Grand Theft Auto V. By 2008, Lazlow is middle-aged, divorced, despised by his parents as well as his children, and now ekes out a living as an on-the-street "journalist" in Liberty City, decrying the state of America and insulting pedestrians. As Lazlow's dialogue is written and voiced by real-life radio host Lazlow Jones, this is a form of Adam Westing. By Grand Theft Auto V, he's even worse off, as his public sexual harassment of Michael's daughter (consensual, quite unfortunately) hits Michael's Berserk Button, humiliating Lazlow in exceptionally funny and degrading ways. His radio career is also at his lowest, now working as the immature, unpopular co-host of Chattersphere who can't go a few minutes without making catty remarks host Michelle Makes.
The titular Mercenaries took a page from this in the sequel. What was once a Power Trio of balanced personalities (Chris the cool customer, Jennifer the conniving money-grubber, and Matthias the pyromaniac) tipped into all three of them behaving like Matthias. ...Who is incidentally featured on the cover. Though with the game this time around being less about the pay day from a job well done and more about the "payback" for being betrayed by their employer and shot in the ass, it's pretty understandable that they're 'pissed.' These are not very nice people.
In Condemned: Criminal Origins, Ethan Thomas is a nice enough guy, a gifted investigator, but personality-wise, he was never too impolite, despite clearly being under some MAJOR stress. Come Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Ethan's undergone about a year of alcoholism as well as some Jerk Ass power leveling. He curses all the time and is routinely impolite and distrustful towards everyone who tries to help him. This is in fact underlined by the change in his voice actor and character design (he went from an Ambiguously Brown SCU agent wearing a nondescript police uniform, to a rather less ambiguously Caucasian bum in grunge clothes). The personality change is possibly justified by the year of vagrancy and the events of the first game.
Grune from Tales of Legendia pulls this after she regains her memories of being a goddess to battle with Schwartz. Whereas before, she's a constantly forgetful and very flirtatious Mysterious Waif, she becomes rather mean and spiteful, even to the rest of the party afterwards. Even her in-battle quotes go from flighty to mocking and insulting her enemies. She notably stays this way for the rest of the game.
Saïx from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days goes from being the emotionless bastard we all know and love to smack around in Kingdom Hearts II to having his behavior borderline monster proportions in regards to Xion. Many were happy to learn that you get to fight him again near the end of the game. His beat down was much deserved. That's what happens when you talk smack about Xion like that. That's right, Roxas kicks your ass. This is especially true because Isa was a pretty decent guy in Birth By Sleep. The rest of the Org. doesn't really suffer any drastic personality changes beyond losing the ability to truly care about others, yet Isa goes from a stoic but reasonably friendly boy to the cold-blooded Jerkass Saïx.
Some fans have suggested from certain changes in Saix's appearance (the pointed ears, lightened hair color, and perhaps most ominously, yellow eyes) that Isa may have been corrupted by darkness before he turned into a Nobody, which would certainly explain a lot...
Turns out, this is because Saix is slowly turning into a Xehanort clone.
Sora (briefly) gains a level in jerkass in Chain of Memories thanks to Namine screwing around with his memories.
Eric Sparrow from Tony Hawk's Underground went from the Player's friend to the game's antagonist who was taking credit for everything you did. It seems that by the end, even the game itself is tired of him, considering that regardless of whether you beat him in the final level or not, you still win in the end. If you lose the final level, while Eric is taunting you, you simply knock his lights out and take the demo tape anyways.
Garrosh Hellscream went from being an obscure emo kid trying to find his purpose in life to being a disrespectful, belligerent, loudmouthed Jerk Ass. He suffers it again in Cataclysm, and randomly becomes racist. Despite not discriminating and even being friendly with the player in Nagrand. In short he's a walking Conflict Ball. At the same time, he also seems to get rid of a few Jerkass elements too, ironically. For instance, while he is one of the major reasons as to why the war between the Alliance and Horde has reemerged, there are things he simply won't stand for. First off, he specifically does not approve of Sylvanas raising the newly dead on the battlefield to replenish the ranks of the Forsaken. He also gets really pissed off when he finds out that one of his commanders has been attacking night elf settlements to kill civilians.
Garrosh will be taking this trope to its logical conclusion in Mists of Pandaria. The final raid dungeon is a siege on Orgrimmar itself by both Alliance and Horde, because everyone is digusted by him dropping the magical equivalent of a WMD on Theramore, killing many known characters, including Rhonin, after killing several Blue Dragons to get the necessary power source for the bomb. Many of the Horde factions are not happy about Hellscream's rule but stay out of fear (trolls, tauren) or greed (goblins). In his speech in Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, he doesn't even pretend that the other leaders are his equals and expects them to obey him or die. He wants the Alliance gone and take the lands he believes are rightfuly his (even though orcs are not native to this world). Jaina begs Thralls to take leadership back from Garosh, knowing that many would support him, but Thrall refuses. This, in turn, has an after effect of Jaina finally taking one herself. She loses her all-loving part and her rage against the Horde goes to extreme Fantastic Racism levels as she tried to flood Orgrimmar with her magic, only to be called out of it by Thrall and Kalegcos. Then when she tried to wind down, she's betrayed again that she initiated the Purge of Dalaran with a glee. She's gone as far as suggesting the assassination of the new Horde after Garrosh is defeated, which would mean the death of Thrall... something that even Varian refused. In other words, while Varian Took a Level in Kindness, Jaina ended up doing the reverse.
As of LegionVarian's death has made Genn Greymane considerably more angry and fixated on revenge to the point that his daughter is getting worried there is no way to distinguish the man from the rage.
Palom was an overeager, boastful, and sort of annoying character in the original Final Fantasy IV, but that was probably excusable on account of him being five years old. In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, though, he's kind of a dick for no readily apparent reason before softening up some.
Before the FMV games, Admiral Tolwyn, from the Wing Commander games and novels, was a gruff but overall fair person. Starting with WC3, though, he became Admiral Asshole (possibly due to typecasting of Malcolm McDowell, the actor that played him), and continued on to SpaceNazi in WC4. William Forstchen's novelizations of those two games tried to lessen that a bit, but was limited by the game scripts he was writing from.
Taki takes one between Soul Calibur III and IV. She goes from hunting demons and fighting those like Cervantes who want the power of Soul Edge to hunting demons and fighting those affiliated with Soul Edge, fighting ex-villains and people affiliated with Soul Calibur, and fighting good guys or neutral parties who might become affiliated with one of the swords. Nearly every character's story path involves Taki trying to kill them at one point. It's certainly not helped that while she does this she accuses everyone but herself of being evil and delusional and makes some verbal low blows against Siegfried and Ivy.
Within Soul Calibur III's Chronicles of the Sword mode, Abelia, your friendly rival at the start of the story and, slightly later, useful ally, turns full tilt into a Knight Templar halfway through, complete with a costume change and deeper, more aggressive voice bank.
The third game sees the Asari and Salarian Councilors take a few levels in Jerkass (contrast to the Turian Councilor). They, however, are beaten out by Quarian Admiral Han'Gerrel, who power-levels in Jerkass to the point of doing positively insane things in his attempt to wipe out the Geth, including firing on a Geth Dreadnaught while Shepard and Tali are still inside it - and Tali is not just a fellow Admiral, she's also the daughter of one of his oldest friends. He also puts his ships and crews in serious danger to force other Admirals to support his reckless actions, because the alternative is losing the heart of the quarian military. If you fail to broker peace between the Quarians and Geth, he has his ships bullrush the geth fleet. Depending on what choices you made, they either get massacred or complete wipe out the geth.
Renegade Shepard was always a jerk, and took a level in 2, but in Mass Effect 3 it's taken to a whole new levelunless you temper his/her personality with Paragon decisions at certain points. While their behavior was usually rude, condescending, racist, insulting, and did kill a number of people, it managed to have some funny moments in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. In 3 Renegade Shepard can become downright evil, causing cold-blooded murder of teammates without remorse, and isn't as funny he/she used to be in previous games. You can even tell from the "Commander Shepardis a Jerk" videos.
It's very easy to forget that Councilor Sparatus wasn't actually that bad at first. Harsh yes, but he was reasonable and actually made some good points. It was only after Shepard became a Spectre that he became the unrepentant asshole everyone remembers.
The Illusive Man was always kind of a prick, but in the third game he moves from being a morally inconvenient supporter, who could be extremely ruthless but was also one of the few to believe you about the whole "Space!Cthulhu is coming to kill us all" thing, to being an active enemy to the survival of galactic civilization whose forces brainwash new recruits, attempt to murder and/or brainwash your old friends, launch raids on human colonies to abduct new troops, attack Grissom Academy to abduct a multitude of young biotics, and run a cross between a concentration camp and a Husk factory beneath a refugee camp, out of a plan to control the Reapers that even a number of his former employees think is flagrantly insane. Eventually, it turns out he's been indoctrinated, so his more heinous actions are the result of the Reapers screwing with his head, and a fair chunk of his former seeming friendliness was a pose put on to manipulate you, which Ashley/Kaidan had warned you about during their own moment.
Maggie's father in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. When you first meet him, he's a pitiable pauper who is distraught over his daughter being kidnapped. But when Maggie comes back with a massive fortune in Skull Necklaces, he turns into a selfishly greedy bastard who won't even let Maggie get letters from her (sort of) love interest.
Ingo from Ocarina of Time. While he was never the friendliest person in the game, he was nothing more than a disgruntled employee who complained about Talon's laziness when Link was a kid. After Ganondorf comes to power, he uses the Evil King's "good" graces to take the ranch for himself, exile Talon to Kakariko Village, and proceeds to generally make life miserable for Malon until Link returns and intervenes.
Yukari in Persona 3. She was genuinely the cutie until FES' "The Answer", where she seems to have gained a sour coating over her usual sugary sweet self.
She doesn't become a jerk ass so much as go through a brief Face–Heel Turn
Zoey in The Passing in Left 4 Dead 2. Compared to her nicer and more open nature in the first game, she becomes outright annoyed and angry with some of the survivors in both teams. The reason for her change of attitude is her trying to cope with the recent death of Bill.
Anders takes several levels before and during Dragon Age II. Being possessed by an increasingly pissed off spirit that had no idea of being nice to begin with and gradually succumbing to it does not help a bit. In Act I, he's a bit grimmer than before, but still kindhearted, snarky, and occasionally goofy. In Act II, he eventually attacks (and kills, unless you stop him) an innocent mage he just saved from templars during a bout of Unstoppable Rage, panics, and retreats into a Heroic B.S.O.D.. In Act III, he's become completely paranoid of the rest of the party (except for Hawke and Varric), quick to swing between manic determination and deep melancholy, is completely obsessed with his cause, and some of the party banter implies he might be hallucinating.
The Spirit of Justice itself took a few levels in jerkass when it possessed Anders - it's explicitly stated ingame that it was overwhelmed and corrupted by Anders's anger at what was going on, and back in Dragon Age: Origins, it was actually much more reasonable and willing to listen than it is in the sequel. On top of that, it's hard to tell how much of Anders's behavior is this trope and how much is him just plain hugging the Idiot Ball, given the increasingly horrible and poorly thought out choices he makes as time goes on.
Due to how the personality system works, The player character Hawke can slowly change their personality over time to go from a nice paragon hero type or a funny charming neutral type to an aggressive asshole.
Ema Skye of the Ace Attorney series is introduced as an aspiring forensic investigator, full of useful investigation techniques and eager to meet people in the business. However, eight years later she finds herself in a job she didn't want (detective work) after doing poorly on her forensic investigation exam and her derailed dream definitely takes its toll on her personality. The Ema of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a sour and jaded woman who doesn't offer much help (unless she can use some of her forensic investigation techniques, at which point some of her original personality leaks out). By Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, Ema finally becomes the forensic investigator she always strived to be and is a much happier person.
Phoenix Wright, while a nervous wreck most of the time, is a big time First-Person Smartass. By the time Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney rolls around, Phoenix is falsely accused of using forged evidence in court and is barred from practicing law. The turn of events has Phoenix become a bit more open with his smartass remarks rather than keeping such thoughts to himself (such as comparing a mob boss' wife to a sherman whale) and is prone to acting very cryptic and aloof, which greatly annoys Apollo to no end. Phoenix returns to his old self in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies since the charges against him were dropped and he was allowed to practice law again.
Cloud does this between Crisis Core, in which he's a shy, brave, and supportive person with really bad self-esteem (with some backstory about him picking fights with the people who bullied him in his hometown), and Final Fantasy VII, in which he's a rude, cocky, reckless and obsessive person who deliberately antagonises his friends Barret and Wedge and does things like taking salary from a slum-dwelling little girl's school money. He's nicer to the girls, but also pretty sexist and won't trust them with anything on their own. He gets a lot nicer after a few hours of play, but he remains vengeance-obsessed and arrogant until his entire persona implodes halfway through the next disk.
Lucifer is far, far more cruel and insulting than he's ever been in previous installments. Even Merkabah expresses pity and sympathy for Flynn when he's forced to kill Isabeau in the Law route. In the Chaos route, Lucifer coldly brushes off Isabeau's death as if it was nothing. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse reveals why: This Lucifer isn't the Lucifer we know. He's actually one half of Satan, who serves YHVH with the goal of perpetuating the Forever War.
Gabriel fares no better - usually the sane member of the Archangels, here, she's tied with Raphael for being the worst.
While in real life Dudley from Street FighterTook a Level in Kindness between III and IV, IV takes place before III, meaning in the game's chronology Dudley went from being exceedingly polite to acting more snooty and calling opponents "gutter trash" (though he zig-zags back slightly by Third Strike.)
In BioShock Infinite's DLC, Burial at Sea, Elizabeth is much ruder to this version of Booker than she was in Infinite. Turns out that it's deliberate, since you're not playing as Booker, you're playing as an alternate version of Comstock who had taken up the 'Booker' persona.
Deep in the series' backstory, the Dragon Cult originated in Atmora, homeland of the Atmorans (ancient proto-Nords). There, the men worshiped the dragons, and the priests demanded tribute, as well as set down laws so dragons and men could live together peacefully. When the dragons and their cult moved to Tamriel, they became far less benevolent. They ruled men with an iron fist, eventually enslaving them. No one really knows why the Cult changed, though it is implied that is was the result of Alduin's desire to rule the world instead of end it.
Two entire races take a level by the time of Skyrim:
The Nords, who for much of the series (and backstory) have been a Proud Warrior Race of Boisterous BruiserHorny Vikings who would gladly swap battle stories over a tankard of mead even with non-Nords, have become bitter and disillusioned following the Great War. They have become prone to Fantastic Racism toward any non-Nords and believe that any Nord who doesn't share the mentality that "Skyrim belongs to the Nords" should be shunned as not a "true Nord". Largely Justified, as Skyrim has been divided by Civil War in which Both Sides Have a Point, making it all the more devastating which feeds the disillusionment of the Nords. (The Imperial-aligned Nords believe that Skyrim has always supported the Empire and that you shouldn't abandon an ally just because they have fallen on hard times while the Stormcloaks believe that the Empire is old and weak, exemplified by them agreeing to the crippling White-Gold Concordant with the Aldmeri Dominion to end the Great War, and that Skyrim is better off being independent.)
Tails, inexplicably, does this in Sonic Lost World. The childlike naivete and humility that defined him in previous titles was spontaneously replaced with a smug, self-centered, obnoxious, whiny, and snarky attitude. He had a falling-out with Sonic because he was interested in teaming up with Dr. Eggman to corrale the Deadly Six, even though he was perfectlyfinewith it before! The worst part is that he never owns up to it at the end of the game.
While both Team Dark members Shadow and Rouge aren't the most pleasant people to talk to, Sonic Free Riders takes their antagonistic tendencies Up to 11. Shadow's ego and Rouge's greed are inflated to the point of Flanderization and they basically treat everyone around them like dirt. And that's not even going into the horribly apathetic way they treat E-10000B, working the poor robot to the point where his circuits are overheating from exhaustion. The other teams are outright disgusted at their behavior and Cream in particular practically begs them to get E-10000B fixed.
Shadow in Sonic Boom. Shadow may be pretty agressive and destructive at times, but he's never cruel. He has a strong devotion to protect Earth, and has developed friendships with several characters. His Boom incarnation has none of these redeeming qualities and appears to be a downright evil villain, with no care for anyone but himself.
Knuckles is usually humble and easy-going, even if he is slightly blunt and hot-headed, but in games like Sonic Battle and in the Sonic Rivals series, he's more hot-headed and a bit hostile towards others compared to his usual self.
Amy started off as sweet and helpful in her earlier appearances, but in the later games due to flanderization, she has become more aggressive, bad-tempered, and is prone to hit people with her hammer with little provocation. This can be Depending on the Writer, however.
Tomb Raider: Lara Croft, a few times. First, between the second and third games, she goes from killing members of an evil cult who want to destroy the world to killing Military Police, museum guards and homeless all for the sake of finding artefacts. The 'saving the world' part only comes in for the last few levels, and by then the only humans left are on her side. The fourth and fifth games see her infamous snark taken Up to 11, making her even less civil in conversation with other people... and then the sixth game sees her running around two European cities, contaminating crime scenes, breaking into the Louvre, killing police and security personnel, and being rude to prostitutes. All to clear her name of one murder. It isn't until the reboot from Crystal Dynamics that Lara's personality dials back the jerk side of her.
Jak becomes this in Jak II: Renegade as a result of being tortured for two years straight at the start of the game. In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak was a Heroic Mime, but in Jak II he speaks for the very first time at the beginning of the game, his first words being "I'm gonna KILL Praxis!", setting the tone for his attitude throughout the game. He mellows out by Jak 3: Wastelander though.
Hoxton from PAYDAY: The Heist was a crude British robber with a mean wit, but he generally enjoyed the company of his companions. After being caught by the police and being sent to jail, Hoxton's crew break him out 2 years later in PAYDAY 2 and he has become a bigger ass hole; not only does Hoxton constantly bitches and belittles the crew (sometimes jokingly and sometimes not) for not saving him faster, he also constantly curses out and antagonizes Houston, who was Hoxton's replacement for a while. If the player has Hoxton call out to Houston, Hoxton will only call Houston by some form of vulgarity and he still does this to him if he is incapacitated.
Shannon Matthews is a cute, brainyGirl Next Door who's driven to find her missing brother Kenny. Fast-forward two years later to the second game, and she's barely the same girl. She's gotten substantially darker in both her attitude and her fashion sense, and now she berates Kenny for his "weakness" in being unable to suppress his mortifilia infection without medicine the way that she does.
Kenny himself undergoes an even more extreme example, though his shift has a very specific trigger. When he runs out of medicine to treat his infection, he mutates into a beast the size of a Buick. He becomes a major villain from that point forward, murdering Mei, kidnapping and raping Amy (and impregnating her with a monster offspring in doing so), and driving Corey to suicide before Shannon and Stan finally kill him.
Shadow the Hedgehog gets this treatment in Sonic Boom. Outside of the Boom universe, Shadow was a Byronic Hero who had his own goals, his own set of friends, and didn't care much about anything beyond that, but ultimately could be counted on to do the right thing. He considered Sonic his rival, but was willing to work with Sonic and friends when a bigger threat came along. In Sonic Boom, Shadow is little more than a Jerkass who taunts Sonic about needing help from his friends, and attacks Sonic and Tails for no reason other than "because I can." It makes his ''Boom" incarnation come off more as an arrogant bully than an Anti-Hero.
In Fallout 3, the Capital Wasteland branch of the Brotherhood of Steel were tied with the Commonwealth Minutemen as the most unambiguously heroic faction in the entire post-apocalyptic USA due to Elder Lyons abandoning his mission for searching the ruins of Washington DC for pre-war technology in favour of a We Help the Helpless attitude towards Wastelanders. By the events of Fallout 4, Elder Lyons has passed away and his (just as noble) daughter Sarah was killed in battle, leaving the Eastern Brotherhood under the control of Arthur Maxson. Under the guidance of Maxson, the Eastern Brotherhood has reverted back to the previous characterization of a conservative, borderline-xenophobic society of technology hunters, with their Fantastic Racism against ghouls, super mutants and more recently Synths kicked Up to 11. It's also implied the Capital Wasteland now exists in a form of Ordensstaat, where the people of the Capital Wasteland live as subjects in a restrictive neo-feudalist society.
Used as a game mechanic in Darkest Dungeon. If a hero gains a certain amount of stress, they have a chance to become afflicted. Afflicted heroes will be heavily affected both stats are personality wise as they become paranoid, selfish, hopeless, or even abusive towards the other party members. This includes verbally abusing or proclaiming The End Is Nigh to increase others' stress, or to refuse to give heals or cures even if heavily needed, among other things.
Guybrush Threepwood of the Monkey Island series fluctuates between varying degrees of jerkassery and kindness between games, but is at his jerkassiest in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, where he's gained a noticeable ego after defeating LeChuck in the previous game, and has no problem screwing people over to achieve his goals (including getting a cook fired so he could take his job, get advance payment and then sneak out the window, stealing the monocle off a cartographer and leaving him blindly searching for it for a lengthy period of time before returning it, and nailing Stan the used ship de-er, coffin salesman inside one of his own coffins to steal from him) Even his love interest Elaine dumped him between games because she couldn't stand him, and when he returns to her it's only for his own self-interest. Fortunately, he's still the Butt-Monkey of the series, so he gets plenty of comeuppance, and future games dial back on the whole "screwing people over" thing to have him act a little more like a good-natured if bumbling Guile Hero.