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Four Philosophy Ensemble / Video Games

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  • Catherine, in terms of Vincent and his three bros: Orlando (the Cynic), Toby (the Optimist), Jonny (the Realist), and Vincent himself (the Conflicted, unsurprisingly).
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
  • Dragon Age II:
    • Cynic: Fenris — traumatized, bitter, and snarky warrior
    • Realists: Aveline and Varric — the former as protector and group conscience; the latter as savvy, level-headed merchant prince
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    • Optimists: the two Idealists Merrill and Sebastian — the former sweet and naive, wanting to help her people; the latter deeply religious.
    • Apathetic: Isabela — flighty hedonist
    • Conflicted: Hawke oneself takes this role — a Sad Clown who tries to maintain the peace in Kirkwall and amongst the companions, but often lets desire for stability prevent him/her from being more proactive.
    • Anders straddles the line between Cynic and Idealist, being a Well-Intentioned Extremist who combines self-sacrificing loyalty to his ideals with hostility and ruthlessness.
  • Ever17 female cast: You (the Optimist), Tsugumi (the Cynic), Sora (the Realist), and Sara/Coco (the Apathetics).
  • Everworld — Jalil (the Cynic), David (the Optimist), April (the Realist), Christopher (the Conflicted), and Senna (something of the Apathetic).
  • All of the opposing and antithetical factions in Fallout 4:
    • The Optimist: The Minutemen, as their original goal was to protect settlements out of good will but they were nearly wiped out after a string of bad luck. They can make a comeback and they are even more idealistic than ever despite all the shit they've been dragged through. They're flexible on policy when it comes to the Synths.
    • The Cynic: The Institute, as they believe that it is futile to allow the Commonwealth to continue existing and want to start anew in a new society underground. However, the same people they claim to want to help fear them due to many of their own actions. To them, the Synth is Just a Machine.
    • The Apathetic: The Railroad views the Synths as living, thinking beings worthy of respect, and wants to liberate all Synths from the Institute. The problem is that this is their only goal and they don't really care about anyone else in the Commonwealth.
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    • The Realist: The Brotherhood of Steel. Ten years after the war with the Enclave, the original teachings of Elder Lyons have been lost since his death and the death of his daughter, Sarah Lyons. Arthur Maxson is in charge and wants to try and expand into the Commonwealth to oppose the Institute. To them, Synths are abominations against technology and to be destroyed down to the last.
    • Then there's your companions: the Optimists (Preston, Curie and Nick Valentine), the Realists (Piper, Hancock and Deacon), the Cynics (Cait, X6-88, and Old Longfellow), the Apathetics (Dogmeat, Codsworth and MacCready) and the Conflicted (Paladin Danse, Strong, Ada, and Porter Gage).
  • The Turks from Final Fantasy VII fall into this category, with Tseng (the Cynic), Rude (the Realist), Reno (the Apathetic), and Elena (the Optimist).
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Hope (the Cynic), Snow (the Optimist), Lightning (the Realist), Fang (the Apathetic), and Vanille and Sazh (the Conflicted).
  • Final Fantasy XIV: In Heavensward, Estinien (the Cynic)), Ysayle (the Optimist), Alphinaud (the Realist), and the player (the Apathetic).
  • Gears of War 2: Marcus (the Realist), Dom and Cole (the Optimist), Baird (the Cynic), Dizzy (the Apathetic).
  • The two main protagonists of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fit this trope.
    • Ragna the Bloodedge (Apathetic)
    • Sol Badguy (Realist)
    • Jin Kisaragi (Cynic)
    • Ky Kiske (Optimist)
  • Half-Life 2: Barney Calhoun (the Cynic), Alyx Vance (the Optimist), Dr. Kleiner (the Realist), and Dr. Mossman (the Apathetic).
  • The first Knights of the Old Republic: Carth's a Cynic. Mission is very much an Optimist. Canderous is Apathetic (a Mandalorian on a boatload of Jedi and Republic sympathizers, and has nothing better to do). Bastila looks like a Realist, but is actually Conflicted. Juhani appears Conflicted, but bends more Realist. Zaalbar is also Conflicted (you can influence him to the Dark Side pretty easily). The droids are Apathetic (T3 hasn't lived long enough to develop a personality; HK-47 just wants to shoot things for the meatbag in charge). Jolee likes to ride the line between Cynic and Apathetic.
  • Left 4 Dead: Francis who hates everything (the Cynic), hopeful Louis (the Optimist), Bill the experienced (the Realist), and, knowledgeable on zombies, Zoey (the Apathetic).
    • Left 4 Dead 2: pessimistic Nick (the Cynic), naive Ellis (the Optimist), Coach as leader (the Realist), and Rochelle, the only neutral character (the Apathetic).
  • The Legend of Dragoon. Dart is the Realist, Lavitz is the Optimist, Rose is the Cynic, Shana is the Conflicted. Haschel later joins as the Apathetic. This setup holds from the time Rose joins all the way until Dragoon's It Was His Sled moment happens, where it transitions into a proper Five-Man Band.
  • Mega Man X — the Maverick Hunters, Commander, Mission Operator, and mechanic in X5-X8:
    • Cynic: Zero — the Anti-Hero, The Unfettered, with a killer-instinct.
    • Realist: Signas — the mediator who always admires X's pacifism, but always realistic about the need to fight for peace and justice.
    • Optimist: Douglas (X5-6), Axl (X7-8) — the former as idealistic and confident, although this is not expanded on; the latter seeks to rectify the wrongs of his former affiliation and believes he can take on the world.
    • Apathetic: Alia — the Mission Operator, Computer Specialist and Navigator in the series, less in-story involvement otherwise.
    • Conflicted: X — Willing to fight for peace and justice at first, but a pacifist paranoid of breaking the first robotics rule (not to harm a human), then temporarily retires and reluctant to let Axl become a hunter.
    • Counting only the three Hunters as far as their murder-restraint ethics, X's honor code for taking the high road shows his Optimist side, contrasting Zero (Cynic), in which case Trigger Happy Axl is the middle-ground (Realist) between the two.
  • Mega Man Zero — The Four Guardians
    • Cynic: Phantom — out of fierce loyalty to Master X (really a copy), seldom thinks about anything besides antipathy toward "Mavericks" and, therefore, resorts easily to drastic Anti-Hero measures of explosive-detonation, for instance the factory in the first game.
    • Realist: Harpuia pre-Character Development — very loyal to Master X, though nowhere near as much as Phantom, and fully willing to terminate Mavericks without hesitation when ordered. On the other hand, when the Resistance is not actively fighting Neo Arcadia he's fully content with letting them be. His balanced mentality compared to his peers is why he's considered the leader of the Guardians. Understands that not all reploids who rebel are Mavericks, but sees his duty to Neo Arcadia as more important to prevent anarchy.
    • Optimist: Fefnir — mostly just a competitive Blood Knight into defense as a Guardian for the fun of it, a lot like Leviathan, but a more encouraging character. Nowhere near as conflicted about his loyalties as Harpuia, but nowhere near as blindingly loyal or willing to kill as Phantom, seeing his battles with the Resistance and especially Zero as enjoyable clashes of will.
    • Apathetic: Leviathan — preoccupied with her pride as a Worthy Opponent to any "Maverick" and not being condescended upon for being a female reploid, rather than X's legacy as she should focus on; Sociopathic Hero retiring hundreds of Resistance soldiers in the second game out of sheer boredom.
    • Conflicted: Harpuia post-Character Development — sense of honor and most merciful of all like an Optimist (and does Guardian tasks for only the right reasons, contrasting Leviathan), yet still not easily trusting of anyone on the opposite side of the conflict; often pondering when to lean more to Cynic or Optimist in many situations. As the new Copy X makes more and more questionable decisions, he finds himself caught between his sense of loyalty and his duty to the human population.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Rundas (the Cynic), Samus (the Realist, sometimes Conflicted), Gandrayda (the Optimist), and Ghor (the Conflicted, sometimes Apathetic).
  • The boys in Nameless: Lance (the Cynic), Red (the Optimist), Tei (the Realist), Yuri (the Apathetic — he does care but either expects things to work themselves out or acts without consulting the others) and Yeonho (the Conflicted).
  • Nazi Zombies: Tank (optimist), Takeo (realist), Nikolai (apathetic), and Richtofen (cynic).
  • You and your many rivals in Pokémon Black and White (before Character Development) Cheren (the Cynic), Bianca (the Optimist), Hilbert/Hilda (the Realist), and N (the Apathetic).
  • The crash survivors from Remember11: Kokoro (the Optimist), Mayuzumi (the Cynic), Yomogi (the Realist) and Yuni (the Apathetic).
  • Sly Cooper: Sly (the Apathetic/Realist), Bentley (the Cynic), Murray (the Optimist), Carmelita (the Conflicted).
  • The Star Fox team. There's Falco (Cynic), Slippy (Optimist), Peppy (Realist) and Fox (Conflicted). When Krystal replaces Peppy in later games, she fills the Conflicted spot with Fox becoming more of a Realist.
  • Tales of the Abyss has main character Luke (the Conflicted), Natalia (the Optimist), Jade and Anise (the Cynics), and Guy and Tear (the Realists).
  • This actually becomes a gameplay mechanic in This War of Mine when it comes to emotion levels; The Optimist is much more eligible for mood swings than The Cynic, and the more emotional characters are better at curing depression.
    • The Realists: Marko, Pavle, Katia
    • The Cynics: Roman, Bruno, Emilia
    • The Optimists: Zlata, Boris, Cveta
    • The Apathetics: Marin, Arica, Anton
  • The playable characters of the Touhou Project: Reimu (the Cynic), Marisa (the Realist), Sanae (the Optimist), and Sakuya and Youmu taking turns being the Apathetic.
  • Four of the major characters that you meet and (potentially) befriend in Undertale can fit this dynamic. In the order you meet them: Sans (the Apathetic), Papyrus (the Optimist), Undyne (the Cynic), and Alphys (the Realist). Different sides of this dynamic show depending on how you play.


Example of: