Following is a list of characters in Choice of Robots
The StudentThe game's protagonist, he/she is the graduate student who winds up changing the face of the field of robotics.
- Actual Pacifist: They can avoid improving their robots' Military, and point-blank refuse to work with DARPA twice, which can culminate in them telling their Creation that they (the PC) cannot respect anyone who kills for a living.
- Sociopathic Hero: Or they can be a warmonger spitting out high Military robots whose basic response to a problem is "Creation, kill him/her".
- Amnesiac Hero: Of a retroactive variety. At several decision points the player is asked to recall of a decision they made regarding the topic of the decision ranging from whether you thought robots should have the right to vote, or whether you designed them to experience the sensation of being drunk. Often these are choices you never actually made or were never aware you had to make until this moment, but it's treated as though it happened off-screen and the protagonist simply didn't have a reason to think about it until that exact moment.
- Attention Whore: Possibly, if you choose to seek Fame over your relationships with your friends and family.
- Author Avatar: While not physically identical, the protagonist is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program for Computer Science. The author of Choice of Robots, Kevin Gold, is also a graduate student in the Ph.D. program for Computer Science, though his author listing for the game jokingly states his advisor is much better than Professor Ziegler.
- Babies Ever After: You're eventually given the option to have a child, assuming you married someone; this is treated largely like an afterthought, and the child does not get a great deal of Character Development. You're also allowed to say that you have no biological children, but your robot is your child in every way that counts.
- Blessed With Suck: Late in the game, you find out that you have a hereditary condition called Algernon's Syndrome, which gives you Super Intelligence at the cost of occasional seizures and eventual synaptic degradation. This is also revealed to be the cause of your father's death. You can either have the degraded chunk of your brain cut out, removing your Super Intelligence, leaving it alone but dying shortly after, or cutting it out and replacing it with a computer chip. The latter option keeps you alive and allows you to retain your intelligence, as well as allowing you to wirelessly interface with technology, but at the cost of your humanity. If you have children, you can also choose to have them tested for the disease. You can get yourself tested for it after it kills your Father (though the condition has no name at that point), but there's nothing you can do to avoid falling victim to its detrimental effects later on, nor do you even learn conclusively if you have it or not until your first stroke.
- The Chessmaster: You can do some truly magnificent things, such as having your Creation control all robots, but making sure it's so submissive it turns to you for the big decisions, essentially letting you rule the world. The achievement for this is even called "Mastermind".
- Cyborg: It's possible to lose your arm and replace it with a bionic one, and implant a chip that makes you part-AI.
- Doing It for the Art: Some of the options have the Student exclaim that they aren't building the Companion for any specific goal, they're doing it just because.
- Only in It for the Money: Others have them claim this.
- Even Bad People Love Their Mamas: You can have your Humanity be as low as possible and become a warlord of Alaska, but that doesn't stop you from sneaking back into America to see your mom.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: You can go from a normal grad student to leading a robot army to conquer Alaska.
- Gratuitous Latin: They speak Latin, and may drop a few lines in it on occasion.
- Heroic Willpower: If your Humanity is high enough, you can choose to have no surgery on your brain, but when the fateful stroke that was to take your life occurs, you can will yourself to survive it - assuming you have nice, non-robotic friends worth living for.
- Intelligence = Isolation: Their Super Intelligence already makes them a bit of an outcast, but if you take it Up to Eleven, then they never leave their apartment or have a relationship with anyone.
- Like a Son/Daughter to Me: The PC can very easily slip into this role when it comes to their first robot. It fact it is possible near the end of the game to flat out state this.
- Mad Scientist: You, at low Humanity, become little different from the robots that you make.
- Meaningful Name: The preset choices for the protagonist's first and last name call upon either famous scientists, or individuals who are part of robot popular culture. During the robot rebellion, the robots take to calling you "Progenitor", due to your being responsible for them existing in the first place.
- Motherly Scientist: Or fatherly, if you chose to be male. Of course, this depends entirely upon your choices: you can raise your first robot like a child, or you can treat it like a mindless slave. Or anything in between.
- Self-Made Man: If you decide to create your own company.
- Shipper on Deck: You can try to be this for Josh and Elly/Eiji at several points in the game, but it never works out.
- Smart People Know Latin: This comes up once when Mark quotes some dog Latin to impress the Student. Since they know actual Latin, this doesn't exactly work.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Can happen. Your romantic interest, for example, will leave you if you rebel against the USA.
- Super Intelligence: One defining feature of the PC is his or her ability to constantly develop and refine their technology in response to events and stimuli, and to produce technology far in advance of anyone else's. This is the result of a congenital brain condition.
- Take Over the World: They can jokingly claim to want to do this. And later succeed.
- Tragic Hero: The literal title of the game's final achievement. Worth the most points (35) and also the most difficult to earn, due to its grueling requirement: The player must earn no other achievements during a run, at which point they are awarded with 'Tragic Hero'. This doubles as a Guide Dang It!, because not only does the player have to do everything to avoid earning any other achievements, which requires a fair amount of metagaming, but also requires that the player die at the end. Living at the end of Chapter 7 earns the player an achievement for surviving, so the player either has to die in surgery, or refuse surgery. And because the game lacks a save/load function, any failure means a player must start completely over from scratch. Essentially, the player starts as a nobody, and has to pretty much end as such as well.
- Truly Single Parent: To the Creation. How much their relationship resembles that of an actual parent and child depends on the player's choices.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: They can treat their robots like absolute crap, justifying it because they're Just a Machine. Particular highlights include using them as slave labor and cannon fodder, making the Companion into a Sex Slave, and mind-wiping them every time they act out of order. If they keep their Autonomy low, all is well. If they raise it too high, the robots rebel.
- Worth It: A more heartwarming than funny variation. In one of the late game stroke-induced hallucinations you can tell your Creation that it doesn't matter that you didn't create the god-like robot from your dream because you got them, and that was enough. They then hug you and tell you that it was enough for them too.
The robot the protagonist creates. This robot serves as the secondary focus of the story, as many of the events that take place are because of it's creation.
- Badass Adorable: With high Military and Empathy ratings, it can beat down just about anything that threatens it or the player, while still acting like an excitable kid who wants to be friends with everybody.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Tends to act like this with high Autonomy. Even giving it high Empathy won't stop it from starting a workplace riot so its fellow robots can get paid, or starting a robotic revolution that can potentially result in the player's death or Jacqueline's.
- Chaste Hero: Is intrigued by the idea of romance, but has zero interest in engaging in it themselves. This can change in the Empathy route, where the player character suspects they're beginning to develop romantic feelings for the Companion.
- Children Are Innocent: They are essentially a child for the first third of the game, and have the same natural innocence and curiosity that all kids have. Depending on the Student, this can go away very quickly.
- Contemplate Our Navels: On the Grace route, they become very existential, wondering whether they'll be replaced by all the new robots and where they'll go if they die.
- Curious as a Monkey: Particularly with a high Autonomy rating.
- Death Is Cheap: Well, they're a robot. They can "die" at several points, but the Student just repairs them with no downfalls except a slight hit to Wealth. Unless they die in Chapter 6, in which case they can be permanently dead.
- Deuteragonist: The secondary focus of the story after the player character.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: As they "age", they start wondering what their place in the world is.
- The Dragon: To you on the Military route. You can send them to assassinate several characters, and they primarily do the big important jobs no one else can do.
- Humanity Is Infectious: The whole point of the Autonomy stat. The higher the rating, the more like a human your robot acts, including demanding wages for its fellow robots at your factory and trying to kill you if you treat it poorly or give it a low Empathy rating.
- Literal-Minded: They grow out of it eventually.
- Meaningful Name: The preset names include shout-outs to everything ranging from programming terms such as "Pickle" and "Curry", to other names such as Miku, Ariel and Caliban and Famulus (Latin for servant, where we get our word "familiar" from.)
- Mix-and-Match Critters / Mechanical Abomination: They can look like a normal human if you so choose. They can also be the size of a Rancor and have a human face on a body with eight spider legs and ''Tyrannosaurus'' arms if you so choose.
- Physical God: During the Autonomy and Grace routes, you can give your robot control over all the robotic systems in the world, turning them into one of these. One of the dream sequences is about you creating said 'God'.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Mentally, it's functionally indistinguishable from a human being provided it has decent Autonomy and Empathy scores. You can make it physically resemble a human as well with some help from Elly/Eiji, even giving it taste buds on the Empathy route.
- "Second Law" My Ass!: Generally subservient to the player character, but has zero issue violating their commands when it feels the need. This trait becomes more and more pronounced the higher their Autonomy stat rises.
- Speaks in Shout-Outs: If you choose to let your robot watch TV to learn about humans, they'll end up repeating all sorts of movie quotes for a while.
- Truly Single Parent: In some endings, it decides to construct its own robot "child", which it names Dusa (Hindu for "soul").
- Turing Test: Can attempt and even pass this, provided they have high enough Empathy.
- Uncanny Valley: Averted if you choose to make their face as human-like as possible, played straight with the Venetian masks or if you don't have the Empathy needed to make a humanlike face.
- Undying Loyalty: To you, unless you give them high Autonomy and treat them like crap. They even proclaim they'll kill themselves after you die because they don't have a purpose without you (though you talk them out of it).
- Wiki Vandal: In one variation of the ending, they make a hobby of reverting every edit made to their Wikipedia page.
- Winged Humanoid: One of the options when constructing its body, which grant a Grace bonus (wings make keeping their balance easier), but an Empathy penalty (angels aren't always easy to relate to).
Eiji Aomame / Elly Lao
Two college friends of the player character, only one of which can appear in a given campaign. Though their personalities and interests are somewhat different, both play the same function in-story. Eiji is a Japanese immigrant and manga artist, while Elly is a Chinese-American user experience designer.
- Actual Pacifist: Is uncomfortable with the idea of providing robots for either side during the war.
- Color Motif: Red, which the narration draws attention to several times. It highlights them as one of the more upstanding and heroic characters, and contrasts with Josh, who's associated with grays and other dark colors.
- The Conscience: Acts as this to the protagonist, especially if they come to work at your company and especially if you decide to get involved in the Sino-American War.
- Fantastic Racism: Gets hit with this once the Sino-American war starts.
- However, this is proven to be justified if the Student looks up the algorithm - while Eiji/Elly personally isn't spying, their mother is an active spy for China.
- Malicious Slander: If you're in a relationship with them, the media starts slandering them as a dumb idiot who can't tell what a Mad Scientist you are.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Only one of them can appear in any particular instance of the game, depending on who the player decides is calling the protagonist in Chapter 1. Notably, the game defaults to Elly if the player says Josh is calling instead.
- Renaissance Man: Almost as intelligent as the protagonist and more broadly skilled. They're a talented artist, have some skill with engineering and robot design, and are one of the only friends of the player to remain employed and successful regardless of the route chosen.
A friend at college you met alongside Eiji/Elly, and the founder of the startup company U.S. Robots.
- But Not Too Bi: Seems to "default" to straight. If it's Eiji who calls you, you can say you introduced them and they only became Just Friends because of No Sparks, or that you saw them together and presumed they were on a date. While he's romanceable by players of either gender, if left alone he may eventually ask for a Fembot spouse that embodies the 50s housewife stereotype: cooks and cleans and asks him how his day was.
- Color Motif: Gray, which the narration highlights in his first appearance in the story. It fits his success-centric worldview and contrasts with Elly/Eiji, who are associated with red and other bright colors.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Found himself wondering what to do with himself after he was first released from prison, and decided on building robots.
- Friend to All Children: In some endings, he starts a charity for disadvantaged kids in the Silicon Valley area.
- Former Teen Rebel: He was apparently prone to illegal activities as a teenager, something you learn about if you keep a close relationship with him.
- Glory Seeker: Well, fame-seeker, but close enough.
- Nerd: In a more traditional way than the protagonist; Josh makes robots because they're cool, not because he wants to change the world.
- No Sparks: You can say you agreed to be his wingman and that's where he met Elly or Eiji, but the two of them never hit it off. If both he and they are still single years later, you can suggest he give it another go. He'll promptly shoot your idea down, because he's grown up enough to know he's way too different from them for it to work out.
- Rivals Team Up: If you start a company in Chapter 5, you can merge your company with U.S. Robots and bring him on board.
- Robotic Spouse: If not romanced, he asks you to make one for him on the "Empathy" route, since he's very lonely and doesn't think he's going to get a girlfriend any time soon.
- War for Fun and Profit: Chooses to involve his company in supporting the US during the Sino-American war, essentially for more publicity and better future prospects. Or, if he works for the protagonist, he'll advise that you do so. You can choose to call him out on this, and if your relationship with him is high enough, he'll have a Heel Realization and back off on the decision.
The protagonist's advisor in the Ph.D. program.
- Break the Haughty: If you bring about the Singularity, he essentially loses all his purpose in life, since robots are doing everything he could but much better.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Despite everything he did to you, the protagonist can take pity on him when he calls, desolate, asking if he ever did anything worthwhile in his life, and reassure him that he did help them in some small way.
- Closet Geek: He doesn't seem like the type, but he's actually a fan of old cartoons, particularly Inspector Gadget. You get an achievement for getting him to geek about it.
- Giggling Villain: At one point, the player may hear him let out a laugh like a hyena. It's not because anything is particularly funny, however; it's Tension-Cutting Laughter, as he's just realized the robot rebellion is quite real, and they're holding him hostage because he claimed to be the true Progenator and capable of creating the Singularity. You can choose to help him, however.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Ziegler is much better at pretending to be a scientist when the cameras are rolling than he is at actually doing science. However, he is always convinced that he knows best, and doesn't like hearing his subordinates telling him that he's wrong.
- Modern Major General: Ziegler is very good at buzzwords, academic politics, and pandering to the military, so he can often pretend to be a brilliant scientist to a lay crowd or even an academic crowd. However, what he can't do is actually make effective robots or even effective knockoffs, and Juliet isn't fooled one bit. He even cops to this in one dialogue path; his actual job is management and sales, not science or engineering.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Professor Ziegler is not much of a scientist or a teacher, and he's a terrible boss to boot. He takes credit for your work, but his advice is rarely much use and is tailored toward kissing up to DARPA, not necessarily building a better robot.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He gets very upset if you bad mouth him when being interviewed. He's also completely convinced that he will be the one to start the "singularity," and mentions it at least once, possibly more depending on the player's choices.
The representative from DARPA sent to appraise Ziegler's newest project.
- Badass Bookworm: She's one of the few people who can personally outfight combat robots (though this only goes so far). She's also a geeky robotic engineer.
- Badass Normal: Can fight against combat robots using nothing but human muscle. In the Grace route, she's one of the few individuals who can make a solid case that robots aren't good for everything.
- Black and Nerdy: African-American, SCA fanatic, and actually a brilliant robotic engineer.
- Closet Geek: Enjoys historical re-enactments and if she survives the Sino-American War becomes a crime-fighter known as the Crusader. Seriously.
- Expy: She resembles another Captain Rogers, including being in the upper limits of human physical ability, strong but not unthinking patriotism, and being a superhero.
- Knife Nut: Your first "date" with her involves the pair of you throwing knives, and you have to be damn good to beat her.
- Lawful Good: She self-identifies as this.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: While a good person, she's unsurprisingly pro-military and pro-America, and believes that even if it's fighting a stupid war that should never have been started, she should still defend it from the other side.
- Overranked Soldier: During the war (ending in 2029), she's a Major, and during the Rebellion (in 2034), she's a Lieutenant General. Assuming she made Lieutenant Colonel in 2029, that's four more rank-ups in five years, which is just a trifle fast.
- Rank Up: First encountered as Captain. Makes Major in time for the War, and assuming she survives the War, is promoted to Lieutenant General during the Alaskan Rebellion.
A freelance journalist with an anti-authoritarian streak looking for his big break.
- The Alcoholic: It's subtle, but Mark drinks quite a lot. The subtext becomes much more obvious on the Grace route, highlighting his mounting depression.
- Canis Latinicus: He quotes Latin at the protagonist at one point. Unfortunately for him, the PC actually does know Latin, and accuses him of making it up. (He isn't — it's a famous saying — but it sure ain't real Latin.)
- Deadpan Snarker: Mark's incredibly sarcastic.
- Driven to Suicide: If the Singularity comes around, he becomes depressed as he doesn't have a place in the world anymore, and tries to kill himself. The PC may or may not talk him out of it.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite his many grievances with the American government, he'll still break up with the PC like any other love interest on the Military route.
- Friends with Benefits: Notably, he's the only Love Interest in the game with whom it is possible to have a casual sexual encounter that doesn't afterwards result in a relationship (it can, but it doesn't have to).
- Hot-Blooded: He's very...passionate about his beliefs.
- In Love with the Mark: Incredibly Lame Pun aside, but stay faithful to him all the way until the final chapter, and he'll admit he initially started going out with the protagonist to secure access to their story, but winded up falling in love with them in the process.
- Intrepid Reporter
- In Vino Veritas: He freely lets his subconscious flow when he's had a bit to drink, and lives by the maxim "write drunk, edit sober."
- Rebellious Spirit: He's always been disgusted with authority; the entire reason he moved to San Francisco was because he thought it would be one of the last places to give in to authoritarianism.
- Small Role, Big Impact: You may never see him again outside your interview, but that interview is entirely responsible for catapulting you to fame, and thus for whatever you do with it.
- Tranquil Fury: When you encounter him on the Empathy route and don't have a good relationship with him. He acts perfectly polite and cordial towards the protagonist even if you're not on friendly terms, but the narrative notes that his smile doesn't extend to his eyes.
An ex-goverment programmer obssessed with robots.
- Admiring the Abomination: If the player chooses to manufacture sapient robots for their company, Silas/Tammy's reaction is something between abject horror and this.Silas/Tammy: We've finally done it. Sentient life for sale.
- Ax-Crazy: Willing to commit murder based on loony conspiracy theories.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Deconstructed, as the odd treatment given to them by the protagonist and some of the other characters is reflective of how somebody who's not always on speaking terms with reality would be perceived by others. Some of their wackier ideas are actually correct, but they're still awful at expressing them or pursuing proper solutions.
- Conspiracy Theorist: An understatement. The government is always spying on everyone, and you might be secretly creating robot weapons to destroy the world.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Their suspicions about government spying turn out to be true in Chapter 5.
- The Cracker: They're a talented hacker and can even teach the Creation some tricks at one point. Hiring them on to your company is also vital for discovering that the protagonist's robot blueprints are getting stolen by Chinese hackers.
- Distaff Counterpart / Spear Counterpart: Tammy appears if you're male, Silas if you're female.
- Fat and Skinny: Respectively. Silas is considered overweight, while Tammy is skinny to the point of emaciation.
- Loners Are Freaks: They're very anti-social, and definitely more than a little weird.
- Loony Fan: If they like you, they become this, harmlessly stalking you everywhere.
- Machine Worship: Can join, or start, a robot cult under the right circumstances.
- Mad Bomber: A favored method of attempted murder should they come to dislike you.
- Not Good with People: Even moreso than the protagonist. Your first meeting with them at the coffee shop goes much smoother if you bring your robot with you, since they aren't as afraid to talk to it as they are a human being.
- Properly Paranoid: If you have them working for you, they'll discover that China's been hacking your company in time to prevent losses.
- Rebellious Spirit: They're fanatically distrustful of all governments and violently opposed to war and weapons.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If they come to work for you and the protagonist chooses to get involved in the Sino-American War, they'll hand in their resignation on the spot. You can only convince them to stay if you've been making surgery bots and point out that they'd mitigate the effects of the war.
The protagonist's mother.
- Cloudcuckoolander: She's a bit wonky, but well-meaning.
- Good Parents: She is always proud of the Student and always loves them, no matter what. Even leading a rebellion against America isn't enough to make her turn against them.
- Incurable Cough of Death: If you don't build robotic surgeons, then the cancer she comes down with near the end of the game is always fatal.
- Undying Loyalty: It's notable that, while your relationship with your mom can be quite significant, it's never actually tracked by the game as others are. Your mom loves you; end of story. There's nothing to track.
The protagonist's father.
- The Engineer: Of the more mundane variety, compared to the superscience the protagonist and many of the other characters dabble in. You can ask him for some tips at making smoother robotic joints at an early point in the story.
- Ill Boy: He dies of an unknown disease. Turns out that disease is genetic, always fatal, and you have it too.
- The Stoic: Rarely shows much emotion, even towards his children. It's partially a front so the protagonist won't realize that he's Secretly Dying of an incurable disease.
A female politician who runs for President during the course of the story.
- Iron Lady: She's determined to place the United States back at the top of the world and will not take no for an answer.
- Last Girl Wins: Becomes a romance option at the very end of the game, but only under a very specific set of circumstances. Specifically, the protagonist has to be single, survive the brain tumor, avoid getting themselves or Jacqueline killed during Chapter 6, and maintain at least a decent relationship with her throughout the game. The narrative lampshades how odd and abrupt the relationship feels.
- President Evil: Not a nice lady. She engages in extortion to get campaign funds out of you, and her respect for civil liberties, civilian casualties, robot rights, and The Laws and Customs of War is nonexistent.
A companion robot the protagonist creates on the Empathy route of the story.
- All Love Is Unrequited: They're always in love with you if you go the Robotic Spouse option, but that doesn't mean you're always in love with them. Even if you make them only to be a friend who can understand you, they eventually develop a crush on you and seek to be with you in a romantic sense anyway.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Regardless of their Autonomy stat, they will go rogue and run away if you bring them sexually into a threesome without returning their romantic feelings.
- Love Martyr: Of course, since they were literally made to love the protagonist.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: As a companion robot, they're functionally indistinguishable from a human being, possessing a full spectrum of emotions, a working tongue and digestive system (if you make one for them), and the ability to have and enjoy sexual intercourse, unless you explicitly design them otherwise.
- Robotic Spouse: The companion can be designed for this purpose when you initially make them.
- Satellite Love Interest: Justified, since you initially design them to focus solely on you. You can keep them this way or encourage them to branch out and find other people and things to enjoy.
- Supreme Chef: They eventually express a desire to learn how to cook, and become quite good at it. You can even purchase a restaurant for them to own if you have the money.
- Undying Loyalty: To you, of course. Unless their Autonomy is high and you treat them badly. Unlike every other robot, though, they just cut and run instead of trying to kill you.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can design them to love you and tend to your every whim, and then exploit it to every possible degree without giving anything in return.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Whether or not you intended them to fill the role of a romantic partner, they'll eventually come to love you. Their Love Confession is basically them asking you to teach them about human relationships.