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Adaptational Heroism / Video Games

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  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • In the comics, Ra's Al-Ghul's other daughter, Nyssa Raatko, had tortured her sister Talia to the point of insanity and was generally apathetic to people. In Batman: Arkham Knight, she's the Only Sane Woman to her family, vowing to leave Gotham alone and keep the League of Assassins from shedding more blood. If you chose to destroy the machines keeping Ra's al Ghul alive, she keeps her word and if you chose to save Ra's, she'd rather die than be revived and become like her father.
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    • The Arkham Series also does this to Poison Ivy. In the comics, she's always been an Omnicidal Maniac trying to take over the world with her army of plants. However, her tragic side is heavily brought up frequently throughout the series. She's never once killed another living being, shown disgust towards other villains, and along with Mr. Freeze, one of the only cooperative villains towards Batman. This is brought up to a high point in Arkham Knight, where Ivy pulls a Heel–Face Turn and joins the dark knight on his crusade against Scarecrow. Sadly, she dies pulling a Heroic Sacrifice saving Gotham City from Scarecrow's toxin bomb.
    • In the comics, Jason Todd started out as a crime lord who pimped, dealt drugs, teamed up with Hush, cared nothing for the rest of the Batfamily, and only got worse from there, once trying to kill Tim Drake simply out of jealousy. He eventually got to the point where he'd even gun down cops and civilians if they happened to be in his way. He was also stated to be completely sane throughout. Here, most of his dirty work is under orders from Scarecrow and he even allowed civilians to evacuate Gotham before the plan went in motion. As for his mental state, he's clearly suffering from textbook psychosis, and whereas in the comics Jason was just pissed because Batman didn't kill the Joker himself, here he honestly believes Batman abandoned him to his fate. He also still cares for both Barbara and Alfred a great deal.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series
    • The Joker of all people is this, as he seems to disapprove of his fellow inmates picking on newbies. It's implied he may have ulterior motives, but it is something. If you've been good buddies with him throughout Season 2, the Joker will actually become a vigilante like Batman, and even team up with him. He is ultimately too Ax-Crazy to hack it as a hero and Batman ends up having to take him down anyway, but it ends on an optimistic note where Bruce visits "John" in Arkham, showing that he indeed believes there's still good in the man and that he's still redeemable.
    • Peter Grogan is a very minor character mostly known as the guy between Gillian Loeb and Jim Gordon who served as Gotham's police commissioner, with his initial mention in Batman: Year One saying he was more corrupt than Loeb. Here, he's an honest cop, pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Batman and Gordon noting he was a good man, which is especially ironic considering the mention of comic!Grogan being worse than Loeb came from Jim's comic counterpart.
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  • The Battle of Olympus, which is based on Classical Mythology, turns Circe from a seductress who turned visitors to her island into animals to an ally who will sell you a useful shield.
  • In the video game adaptation of A Bug's Life, Mr. Soil is Flik's confidant and guide. In the film, he's among those who look down on Flik.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Count Dracula is revealed to be this.
  • In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, this is downplayed with Obed Marsh. In the original story (The Shadow Over Innsmouth) Obed was implied to have been a Card-Carrying Villain who summoned the Deep Ones to Innsmouth purely out of Greed and who was willing to give them whatever they wanted in exchange for their gold. His journals in the game make him out to be more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, who only summoned the Deep Ones in order to save his dying city and then had to keep working with them because breaking the deal meant they would slaughter his people. His descendants are still just as evil as they ever were, though.
  • In the Dead Rising 2 spin-off Off the Record, Raymond Sullivan goes from the Big Bad (one of two, at least) to a genuinely heroic person. Conversely, Stacey takes his position as the Big Bad instead.
  • In the original Digital Devil Story novels, Akemi Nakajima was initially a Villain Protagonist who unwittingly triggered a demonic invasion of Japan, and his redemption arc is cut short when he gets possessed by Lucifer and gets killed by Izanami in self-defense. In the video game adaptation, Nakajima's villainous past is downplayed, and he successfully defeats Lucifer. Justified considering both the technological limitations of the time and the fact that the game was made and completed before the third novel was even finished.
  • In the NES version of Double Dragon III, Yagyu Ranzou (the Mission 3 boss) joins forces with the Lee brothers and Chin after being defeated in combat. In the arcade version of the game, he was simply a non-playable boss.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam:
    • Paptimus Scirocco of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a Manipulative Bastard who ultimately becomes the Big Bad of the series. In the first game he joins forces with Gundam ZZ protagonists Judau Ashta and Roux Louka, never betrays them, and by the end is even convinced by Judau to pull a massive Heel–Face Turn. Some of his Manipulative Bastard qualities are restored in the second game, which positions him as the new leader of the ZAFT characters of Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny, but as in the first game his Well-Intentioned Extremist side is highlighted over his Lack of Empathy. In the third game he becomes an outright Reasonable Authority Figure and even expresses concern for his subordinates, something he did all of once in his canon.
    • Haman Kahn/Karn, also of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (and later Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ), is a coldly cynical Evil Chancellor who is Playing Both Sides for her own interest and has molded the last surviving member of the Zabi family into a Puppet Princess who parrots whatever she is told. In the first game she joins forces with Zeta hero Kamille Bidan (who almost convinced her to pull a Heel–Face Turn in canon) and becomes something of a Defrosting Ice Queen. In the second game she joins forces with the Big Bad version of her estranged lover Char from Char's Counterattack, but ultimately it is revealed that she was acting as a Reverse Mole who intended to thwart Char all along, and the final missions sees her team up with no less than three main Gundam heroes (Amuro Ray, Judau Ashta and Kamille again) to stop Char. As with Scirocco, the third game is the most extreme version as she becomes an outright Mama Bear whose only motivation is to protect and defend Mineva (who she never showed significant emotion for in the series and was coldly manipulating the entire time).
    • Gym Ghingham of ∀ Gundam is an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight who has spent his whole life playing combat simulations and so has become a Psychopathic Manchild who sees war as a game that he never wants to end. While his background is still preserved for his appearances in the second and third games it is downplayed, with Gym being portrayed as more of a Spirited Competitor and Boisterous Bruiser (Zeta villain Yazan Gable, an actual soldier who unfortunately happens to be a Sociopathic Soldier, undergoes a similar transformation). Not coincidentally, the two characters are often paired together on missions as Bash Brothers.
    • Ribbons Almark, a latecomer to the series, is in his original canon of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 a distinctly high-functioning Smug Snake who appears to be a Magnificent Bastard due to relying on the supercomputer Veda to predict future events (including the actions of the protagonists) for him. In DWG3 little of the spiteful side he starts showing to the heroes once they grow beyond Veda's ability to predict is seen, and he is generally depicted merely as having No Social Skills rather than The Sociopath he was in his canon.
  • Joshua Graham from Fallout: New Vegas was originally supposed to be pure evil (this was in the scrapped Van Buren edition). In New Vegas, however, he is one of the Big Goods of the DLC Honest Hearts, although he still has some Blood Knight tendencies.
  • The Final Fantasy Adventure remake Sword of Mana changes Mr. Lee's character drastically - in the first game he is a boss who apparently delighted keeping girls in a box so he could drain their blood. In Sword of Mana his actions are merely misunderstood by the heroes, and survives.
  • In Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll, Go Hayato is the Warm-Up Boss you face in the first round of the first fighting tournament. In the Super Sentai-like spinoff Flying Warriors, he's a party member.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series's version of Yondu Udonta is a Space Pirate like his MCU counterpart, but unlike the films, where he kidnapped Peter Quill to take to his father, this Yondu was hired by Peter's mother to take care of him after her passing.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2 take place in an alternate universe with a few of these:
    • Lex Luthor never became a super villain, having been friends with the alternate Superman since Smallville, opted to fund Batman's insurgency and act as The Mole for Batman, and deciding to take the alternate Superman down due to him trying to take over the world.
    • Though the Injustice Joker is one of the evilest incarnations, Harley Quinn ends up getting over him after his death, working with La Résistance in the first game. The second has her discovering that Good Feels Good and playing the part of a genuine (if quite eccentric) hero in the second.
  • In League of Legends, some of the skin themes push heroic characters into villainous roles, or shift villains onto the heroes' teams:
    • Hecarim is a monstrous undead centaur creature, but in the Arcade theme, he was the hero of an arcade game in the late 1970s.
    • The Arclight/Justicar theme is about Light Is Good, but the only character in it to not be either villainous or a fairly nasty Anti-Hero in standard Runeterra is Yorick. This is most notable in the case of Vel'koz (an Eldritch Abomination reinterpreted as The Chooser of The One) and Aatrox (an Omnicidal Maniac in the standard canon, now a hero).
    • Illaoi goes from a Chaotic Neutral champion of strength above all to a hero of La Résistance in the Battlecast universe.
    • Leblanc is sort of bad in the Eclipse universe, by virtue of being one of The Fair Folk and stealing traits from the villainous Coven, but compared to her usual self, it's a huge improvement. Hecarim is there too, as a protector of the forest.
    • The benevolent Cosmic forces of the Event Horizon line include Xayah and Rakan; in the normal Runeterra, Xayah is a terrorist with issues with humans and Yordles, while Rakan is kind of a jerk.
    • Evelynn in the K/DA universe is The Diva, but that's a big improvement on a soul-stealing succubus.
    • Jinx in the Odyssey universe goes from a Mad Bomber to more of an over-the-top Lovable Rogue along the lines of a wackier version of MCU Peter Quill.
    • The members of Pentakill include Karrthus and Mordekaiser, only as heavy metal musicians instead of meaningful threats to a decent chunk of Valoran.
    • While she's the least good member of the Star Guardians, Syndra is still a Star Guardian in that universe, instead of an Evil Sorceress.
    • Antagonistic characters to join up with the tabletop RPG in the Rift Quest universe include Varus and Sejuani.
    • The Academy universe takes Darius, a brutal warlord, and Vladimir, who is for all intents and purposes a vampire, and makes them juvenile delinquents.
  • Macross 30: The Voice that Connects the Galaxy has Grace O'Connor, who was the Big Bad of Macross Frontier, but here, she's actually on the heroes' side.
  • In the Mega Man Battle Network series as a whole, most Navi counterparts of the Classic Robot Masters are mostly neutral at worst, but some actually do start out as villains (at first). Most prominent of these is Dex and his Navi GutsMan.EXE, who starts out as a bully, but becomes part of the True Companions.
  • A variation of this in Persona 5: the initial Personas of this game's party are all based off of Picaresque heroes and thieves, either from fictional stories or legends, as opposed to the more traditional pantheons of gods from prior games. Each one is represented and described in the status screen positively and tie to how each of the characters break free from the more repressive parts of Japanese society. Not all of the Personas chosen are as wholesome as the game describes, however:
    • Ann Takamaki's initial Persona is Carmen, the titular gypsy from Bizet's opera/Prosper Merimee's novella. Carmen represents Ann's defying her peers' constant Slut-Shaming and fetishizing her Caucasian features, and in turn taking control over her own sexuality; in Carmen's status screen, she's described as a Femme Fatale in a positive manner. This glosses over how the literary/theatrical Carmen is not one for meaningful relationships, usually disposing of men without a thought (one of said spurned lovers becomes angry enough to murder her in the opera), and she is also very shallow, conniving, and fatalistic.
    • Haru Okumura's initial Persona is Milady de Winter of The Three Musketeers, the spy who works for Cardinal Richelieu and Athos' wife. While it's shown that Haru has a hidden sadistic streak likely stemmed from growing up with her oppressive father, she's easily the kindest and most compassionate member of the party - a far cry from the seductive, sociopathic spy that Milady is in the novel.
    • This even extends to some of the Ultimate Personas as well, though sometimes downplayed; for example, Yusuke Kitagawa's ascended Persona is Kamu Susano'o, who was cast out of the heavens for destroying Amaterasu's rice fields and murdering one of her assistants because he was a bit restless. Over time, Susano'o would redeem himself by slaying Orochi, so he ended up cleaning up his act, but this aspect is glossed over in this game.
  • Pokémon:
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth: Of all people, Cartman is the Big Good in this game. In the cartoon, he's always been a racist asshole who only looks out for himself and uses others to get what he wants, but in the game, Cartman is one of the first characters to befriend you and provides tutorials for your character to defend yourself from enemies, something which the New Kid responds by giving Cartman his Undying Loyalty and respect. Subverted in the sequel South Park: The Fractured but Whole, where Cartman as "The Coon" still plays a similar mentor role but is eventually revealed to be the true villain of the game via his hand puppet persona Mitch Conner, though he's treated as a friend and ally again afterwards due to how he treated the New Kid in the previous game.
  • While Eddie Brock himself doesn't appear in Spider-Man (PS4), one of the backpacks you can find in a sidequest does see that he signed a farewell card to Peter, wishing him luck at his new job, which suggests he has a better relationship with Peter than other versions.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • In Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, Fonse Kagatie manipulates Queen Maria and decides to build the Angel Halo to subjugate mankind. During a Space Route scenario of Shin Super Robot Wars, Londo Bell rescues Fonse from imprisonment. He relates how the alien attack and Tassilo Vago's treachery brought about the end of the Zanscare Empire (just as Lupe Cineau had said), ending in Tassilo bringing him here a prisoner. When the party tells him that Zanscare is still active, Fonse realizes that Char Aznable must have taken control. Increasingly panicked, he tells the party they must stop Char before he achieves his misguided goal of robbing all mankind of its emotions, creating obedient soldiers as the aliens want.
    • In Super Robot Wars Destiny, much of Char's Neo Zeon and Gundam Wing's antagonists play the part of heroes, fighting against Zanscare and various alien threats. The most notable example is probably Treize Khushrenda, who at the end of the game sacrifices himself to seal away the Eldritch Abomination Big Bad. Many other games allow you to recruit antagonists of all shapes and sizes to your cause. UX includes Ryofu Tallgeese and Master Therion, to name a pair of standouts.
    • Axel Almar, one of the Schrodingers Player Characters from Super Robot Wars Advance, zig-zags this one. In Advance, he's a cheerful goofball if you choose him as your player character, or a cold enemy commander if you choose Lamia Loveless instead. In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Lamia is the good guy in the story's plot, so Axel is the villain... only he's even worse than he was as an enemy in Advance. Then the Updated Re-release Original Generations Ret Conned Axel to make him more of a Noble Demon, swinging him back in this direction as well as setting him up to appear in Endless Frontier, Original Generations the 2nd, and The Inspector (the Animated Adaptation of Original Generation 2's plotline), where he pulls a full-on Heel–Face Turn.
    • Super Robot Wars GC: Zeon deploys the Apsalus III during its second attempt to capture Jaburo. Aina is piloting it but Ginias soon assumes control over it after removing a half-hearted Aina from the cockpit. Ginias asked Norris to take Aina to safety while he pilots the Apsalas III himself in spite of his poor health, vowing victory for Zeon. In essence, Banpresto treated Ginias a lot better in GC than in the original series.
    • Because of how the Muganns come down to Al-Warth are different in Super Robot Wars X, Rossiu doesn't hold any trial against Simon.
  • Loader Bot from Tales from the Borderlands. The Bots are traditionally enemies you encounter in other Borderlands titles, but this one is the closest friend your characters have in the game.
  • Transformers: Devastation's backstory paints Nova Prime and Jhiaxus as more heroic characters, the former being an inspiration to Optimus Prime and the latter looking forward to being an Autobot, who only became villains because Unicron corrupted them, as opposed to the original versions being evil of their own volition.
  • The Wolf Among Us is an interesting example. Like the comic before it, its protagonist Bigby Wolf is The Big Bad Wolf of fairytale lore who has now reformed as the sheriff of Fabletown. Telltale's Bigby is very grounded in his morality, has the potential to be very compassionate depending on player choice, and his past deeds are a source of great personal guilt and remorse for him, which isn't the case at all in the comic where it's made clear that he doesn't regret his past deeds at all being that he operates on a strange sort of Blue and Orange Morality since he's a wolf. Even if the player chooses to play Bigby as a complete jerk who only cares about his job at the end of the day, he's still MILES more empathetic than his comic self.
    Faith: You're not as bad as everyone says you are.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Avallac'h is portrayed as being nicer than he was in the books. In the books he tried to pimp Ciri out to his king and planned to help the Aen Elle conquer the human world. In Wild Hunt, he's mellowed out, and while still fairly manipulative and contemptuous of humanity, is implied to have come to care for Ciri. He is definitely nowhere near as monstrous as Eredin.
  • Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryuu is a smug, manipulative jerk in The World Ends with You that drives the protagonist up the wall, kills the protagonist twice, and the entire plot of the game is kicked off by his desire to erase Shibuya. When he shows up Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, he's significantly nicer and much more helpful to Sora. It's almost bizarre, considering that the other TWEWY characters still have the same personality, more or less.

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