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  • Record of Agarest War: Considering how many party members join during the journey, (The story is split into generations where the hero of the next generation is the son of the previous one) it's par for the course in this story. The LoveInterest's generally show some more depth as you increase the Relationship Values. One notable one is Sherufanir. She is generally The Tease but get to know her better and she shows a clear disdain for fighting and tends to offer Ladius (2nd gen hero) a chance to run away and live with her in peace away from the war. Putting her down softly has Ladius say he has a destiny to fulfill. Her response is said with a sad and solemn tone:
    "Destiny. That word is the bane of you. (pause) and me."
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  • Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, you have various shopkeepers that can synthesize items for you. After enough times of this, they start to unlock various character scenes. Veola's scenes in particular are much more developed than one would expect from a mere side-character having her contemplating risking her life making an item to try to bring back her dead family.
  • BlazBlue also contains much depth on nearly everyone:
    • Ragna The Bloodedge, a fearful foul-mouthed figure known as The Grim Reaper who claims that he's going to take down NOL has a lot of sweet spots where he doesn't act like a jerk... and not exactly your Chaotic Good Robin Hood figure, he's not there to release the world from oppression..
    • Jin Kisaragi, a psychotic, brother-obsessed rival who is cold as ice and an utter Jerkass and Smug Snake to virtuall everyone (Noel in particular), is actually a hardworking boy who has an aspirations of being a hero, utterly protective to his childhood friend Tsubaki (and is also one of the very few people he shows a modicum of decency towards), and would eventually become that hardass hero Hakumen. His Jerkass attitude was actually magnified from his Nox Nyctores Yukianesa, when he's not influenced with it, he's actually decent.
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    • Noel Vermillion, a standing up soldier, lieutenant of Jin who was abused for no apparent reason, is actually unfit to be a soldier and only became efficient when wielding her guns Bolverk, which seals her unnecessary emotions. Also, she's Mu-12, a weapon designed to kill Gods and (before being un-brainwashed) has disdain to nearly everything.
    • Rachel Alucard, a snarky vampire that stalks Ragna nearly all the time and doesn't drink bloods but tea, has been through many iterations of time loop, remembering each iterations and has been trying to stop the malicious Terumi Yuuki from manipulating the time loop further.
    • Taokaka, a Cloudcuckoolander Catgirl who forgets things in every 3 steps, her race is actually cloned offsprings of Jubei, one of the Heroes that saved the world.
    • Iron Tager, a hulking cyborg fighting with THE POWER OF SCIENCE, and programmed to be loyal to a fault by Kokonoe, is actually a dead Ikarugan man whose soul was transplanted into his current body.
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    • Litchi Faye-Ling, a buxom, kind-hearted doctor dead set/obsessed in killing/saving her friend-turned-into-Eldritch Abomination, suffers extreme Guilt Complex, is actually dying from the same corruption that granted her power and turned that friend into Eldritch Abomination. She eventually joins NOL to save him, and this has Hidden Depths: On the surface, it looks like she's blinded by obsession and becomes a Horrible Judge of Character, trusting someone Obviously Evil, but in truth, she's Forced into Evil thanks to the corruption getting very close to turn her into abomination, and she doesn't trust those evil men.
    • Arakune, said 'friend-turned-into-Eldritch Abomination' above, only obsessed in eating Kaka kittens and hunting down Ragna's Azure Grimoire to be consumed, Was Once a Man named Lotte Carmine, whom Litchi loved... but he himself ignores her and is a glory-hound and suffers massive inferiority complex, always trying to one-up Kokonoe and constantly failing, eventually leading him to that experiment that turns him into Arakune.
    • Bang Shishigami, Highly Visible Ninja, Tokusatsu/Shonen satire character, Ikaruga War survivor, who's got a one-sided crush on Litchi, the designated Joke Character, actually is aware of the greying morality of the world, savvy enough to pull back when things come to push (as shown with Hazama), as well as possessing an inactive Nox Nyctores that could really up his relevance.
    • Carl Clover, a young prodigy who carries around a marionette he refers as 'sister' (Nox Nyctores Nirvana), very polite even when killing people heartlessly, has an utterly fucked up childhood of witnessing his sister turned into that marionette thanks to his father Relius.
    • Hakumen, a very badass Knight Templar who happens to be one of the Six Heroes, is actually Jin Kisaragi as a Future Badass who was thrown into the past during one time loop. This particular version came from a world without Noel Vermillion and is extremely crushed with the death of his lover in front of him before he made the jump to the past.
    • Tsubaki Yayoi, Noel's best bud and Jin's childhood friend, a model student and princess of the Yayoi clan of the Duodecim family, seemingly all too eager to uphold justice and is a member of the Zero Squadron, AKA the 'trash collectors'. Her dream job as Jin's secretary was taken over by Noel due to machinations of Hazama that she's not aware of, making her harbor extreme jealousy at Noel... or anyone taking Jin from her. As with above, she also IS Hakumen's lover, whereas if Noel didn't exist and she got her dream position... she'll get killed. She's unaware of this.
    • Makoto Nanaya, Noel's other best bud and a happy-go-lucky spacey Squirrel Girl who is in the Intelligence Department, has suffered a LOT from the Fantastic Racism of her race to the point she was hostile the first time she met her friends. She also is a Genius Ditz and her loyalty with her friends gave her so much willpower enough to survive passing the Boundary unharmed... Oh and that loyalty also translates into 'Anyone harming my friends will be splattered into the wall to death'. She also is a Double Agent for Sector Seven.
    • Hazama, a seemingly mild-mannered NOL agent with an affable feel and eyes constantly shut... is actually Terumi Yuuki, a total bastard who runs things (such as cutie-breaking, puppy-kicking, manipulations, mind probing and shady deals) For the Evulz and believes the only truth is despair, the rest are lies and he so want to shove that truth to be the universal truth of the world.
    • Relius Clover, Carl's father with moniker 'Mad Puppeteer', extreme perfectionist genius Mad Scientist who turned his wife and daughter into automatons, is actually thrown into the future from the past, about 80 years. Can be shoved into the Cauldron to die and survived it just fine. His goal is revealed to have a little pragmatism of creating the perfect soul and perfect human being.
    • Kokonoe, a genius Sector Seven scientist that makes less than popular (but pragmatic, and often necessary) choices who had two apprentices she drove away due to her attitude and is willing to do almost anything to get revenge on her mother's killer, places herself under constant mental strain and risk of being removed from existence if she were to slip up for so much as a fraction of a second simply so that Roy, one of her old apprentices, doesn't suffer the same fate. She's also willing to drop everything, including getting revenge on her mother's killer, if one of her ex-apprentices is going to die from something she feels she can prevent. Even if it's known to be impossible to prevent. She also has an arsenal of nukes large enough to wipe out a country if she so pleases, but she exercises more restraint than most of the cast would be able to by not using them unless she has no other options and needs results now. She's even willing to resort to self-experimentation to kill Terumi, who is responsible for her mother's death before seriously considering using her nukes.
  • Weapons dealer Mr. Torgue from Borderlands 2 loves EXPLOSIONS for being so BADASS, thinks subtlety SUCKS, and knows that the fact that 97% of all life on Pandora isn't exploding is BULLSHIT! However, there's nothing more BADASS than treating a woman with RESPECT!
    • Krieg the Psycho might be a crazed lunatic like most other psychos, but he's guided by the remnants of his past self into only killing "the deserving" and to never harm innocents. It's also shown that his true reason for joining the Vault Hunters is because he's in love with Maya, who he believes might make him sane once more.
    • Averted with Wilhelm in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! despite the poor interviewer in his backstory ECHO logs trying his very best to find them. Nisha, a sadistic gunslinger, gets a tragic backstory involving an abusive mother and a traumatic experience with a pet, and has some people she's willing to get along with. Aurelia, a haughty Egomaniac Hunter, at least gets standards. Wilhelm? He was good at fighting when he was young, and he likes money, steak, and robots. That's pretty much it.
  • The various customers of Carrie's Order Up! a shown in the end credits to have likes and dislikes you wouldn't always expect just by looking at them. For example, Anchor, a Hammerhead Shark Man, likes to tell stories, and Quincy, a Jellyfish, is into pottery and history. Carrie herself also has a passion for writing.
  • Cody from Final Fight and Street Fighter. Once a hero, now a recluse fight-a-holic who only wants to start fights and frustrates fellow liberators of Metro City Guy and Haggar to no end. However, his quotes and endings (Especially in Street Fighter X Tekken) indicate longing for the better days, when he was a hero, and he always ends up doing the right thing. He defeats (a) Seth, but he tells Guy that he only did it because "he was standing in my way".
  • Every character in Danganronpa has more depth than they might seem to have at first. Even Yamada, who initially seems like just a one-note otaku comic relief character who spouts video game references turns out to be very passionate about a certain magical girl show, that he considered saved his life when he was at a really low point, and wants to do the same for other people with the doujinshi he creates.
  • Death from Darksiders II. Arrogant Deadpan Snarker? You bet. Then you remember that the entire game is him trying to prove War is innocent, so much so that saying War is guilty is his Berserk Button.
  • Dante from Devil May Cry, Though his main persona is the same in each game, chronologically he matures quite a bit, witness his change from thrill seeking (DMC 3) to guilt ridden (DMC 1) to cool headed (DMC 4).
  • Lieutenant Katsuragi from Disco Elysium at first seems to be a mousy and not particularly interesting By-the-Book Cop. However... he drives a seriously souped-up car, and keeps the radio tuned to the punk/hardcore/metal station. He is also a patriotic Revacholian, but as the son of immigrants, he wrestles with his cultural identity and patriotism, and often comes across as trying to be more Revachol than Revachol. While nominally a Centrist and supporter of the status quo, he has at least some sympathy for the workers who turn to Communism as a way to improve their lot, and is openly contemptuous of strike-breakers, in spite of having helped put down strikes in the past. He is also a brilliant marksman, being able to consistently score in the 70th percentile on marksmanship tests in spite of being severely myopic.
  • Disgaea series and other Nippon Ichi games:
    • Adell from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, who seems the very epitome of the Idiot Hero and Honor Before Reason tropes... effortlessly solves a Geo Puzzle within moments of seeing it. As Adell himself puts it, it's not that he's an idiot- far from it. It's just that the straightforward method usually works extremely well, and so there's no reason not to just bash an opponent to death if you can. Only rarely is Adell's brain ever called upon to function- which should scare anyone who thinks about that too much.
    • Adell's rival, Axel the Dark Hero, is a doofus and a Butt-Monkey who is never taken seriously and acts like he's still a big celebrity despite his reputation being in shambles. However, he's known all along that his reputation, but continues to act like a Dark Hero because he mostly embraces the role that he has been known for. On that note, despite the Dark Hero being an underhanded prankster who stoops to various lows, but he draws the line at children. When he endangers Adell's brother during his attempt to take him hostage, Axel goes out of his way to save him. In fact, the reason why his reputation is in shambles is because one of his acts ended up scaring his brother, forcing his brotherly instincts to override his Dark Hero persona and knowing full well the consequences of it.
    • An earlier example would be Seraph Lamington from Hour of Darkness. He likes flowers, prefers to make love and not war, and appears gullible to a fault, to the point where he entrusts command of an army to his Obviously Evil right hand man. Actually, let me rephrase that last bit - he hinged the success of his plan to reunite the Netherworld and Celestia on the efforts of his Otaku Love Freak trainee and played the actions of his right hand like a game of chess, leaving fellow Out-Gambitted Vulcanus in the dark about his whole plot until the curtain fell. If there's an example of a man being smarter than he looks, Lamington would be it.
    • Valvolga from Makai Kingdom, more specifically Micky. Though he appears frightening, he's actually somewhat cowardly and easily bullied by his other two parts, Ophelia and Dryzen. However, in his battle, not only does he show how he became the General of the Star Element, his cameo in Zettai Hero Project shows he's also the only character in NIS canon to take down Bonus Boss Tyrant Baal for good.
    • Etna starts off as a fairly cranky, backstabbing, sarcastic bitch of a Prinny Squad commander who'd make an ideal evil demon. One look at her diary entries shows that she has a major adoration of the old Overlord, and went to great lengths to ensure that his dying wish was fulfilled. She even cries a little at the end of her own story mode when she realises exactly how far off track she went in relation to said promise.
  • Many characters from .hack. If you build up your relationships in the game (or check supplementary materials) you'll find something.
    • Genki Girl Mistral? A housewife, who despite her online persona, is very mature and dependable woman who becomes a mother/big sister type to BlackRose. Her Daughter, who plays Mireille, is a four year old prodigy.
    • Samurai enthusiast Sanjuro? A Japanese teacher from America who uses the Japanese version of The World to improve his Japanese.
    • Wiseman, a genius who helps the heroes throughout the series? A prodigious ten-year-old kid who loves Digimon cards and hates vegetables.
    • Piros, the goofy Heavy Axeman? A graphic designer for the game who plays to appreciate his work.
    • Atoli, the "peace and love" enthusiast who preaches tolerance and stopping to smell the roses? Turns out this is a persona to mask her cripplingly low self esteem caused by failing to meet the real life expectations from her parents and "friends". It was so bad that she met fellow Moon Tree member Sakaki on a SUICIDE website.
  • Every potential companion in Dragon Age: Origins (even Loghain — especially Loghain) has depth. Likewise, the companions in Dragon Age II.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is the case for Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized. Malacath is near universally considered one of the "bad" Daedric Princes throughout Tamriel, with Orcs being the main exception. (To them, he is their patron deity.) According to most religions traditions, Malacath was once the Aedric deity Trinimac. Boethiah (the Daedric Prince of Plots) "ate" Trinimac in order to manipulate Trinimac's followers, who would become the Chimer. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs). Despite his many malevolent traits, Malacath keeps a "garden of slender trees" that have "vines festooned with lilylike flowers wound about the trunks". In this garden, a "multitude of spheres moved, deep in the colorless sky, as distant and pale as moons". Malacath describes it as a "shadow of a garden", and an "echo of something that once was".
  • Lots of folks in the Final Fantasy series are more complex than they let on.
    • Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII is introduced as an awesome ex-Super Soldier mercenary, with the skills and smugness to match that resume. The truth is, he never actually made it into that supersoldier program. His "mercenary" personality is a mix of his old friend Zack Fair, his own idea of what a supersoldier should be like, mind-bending experiments with Jenova cells and Mako, and his deep sense of shame over not accomplishing what he'd told the girl he liked (Tifa) he would.
      • Meanwhile in the remake, it's shown that despite the fact that he protests about dancing in front of people, he can actually keep up with the owner of the Honey Bee Inn in a dance-off.
    • Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII appears to be an aloof, all-business warrior who doesn't give a crud about other people. He's acting like this on purpose. As a small boy, a close friend suddenly disappeared from his life, and he couldn't take the pain. To avoid ever feeling like that again, he adopted a persona based on what he thought an independent adult should be, trying to push people away so that he won't connect with them and thus get hurt by their inevitable parting. He confesses this to Rinoa, whose constant poking and prodding slowly got him to emerge from his shell... Sadly, she was comatose at the time.
    • Zidane Tribal of Final Fantasy IX seems like a selfless, heroic thief who lives by his own personal motto "You don't need a reason to help people". And he actually is like this... but the reason he devotes so much energy to other people is because he has no idea how to solve his own problems. He was brought into the thieving club Tantalus with no memory of where he originally came from, and this issue was never really resolved by the time we first meet him. So when the truth of this very mystery proves most unpleasant, he tries to confront it all by himself. Despite his attempts to leave his friends out of it, they counter with the trope namer of You Are Not Alone.
    • Lightning of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is cold, aloof and generally unpleasant to be around, constantly pushing people away and lashing out at others in a misguided attempt to make herself feel better. Her parents died when she was young, leaving her to raise herself and her younger sister. She confesses to Hope that she became a soldier to avoid facing her problems, adopting the name "Lightning" because she couldn't face being Claire anymore. She also tries to dissuade Hope from killing Snow, despite not being particularly fond of him herself, and even puts her life on the line to reunite the boy with his father.
  • Everyone in Fire Emblem Awakening. They all have their quirks, and some of them are rather obvious, like how Anna has the most hidden savings, being a money-obsessed merchant of rare items. However, one of the antagonists, Walhart, a Social Darwinist king has a more surprising one... Take one look at him and tell me you thought he was a vegetarian!
    • Same goes for everyone in Fire Emblem Fates.
    • This goes double for Fire Emblem: Three Houses and often intersects with Dark and Troubled Past. To name some examples: Dorothea, the class flirt from the Black Eagles house, has trouble with her self-image (to the point where one of her listed dislikes is "herself") and is shopping around for a potentially wealthy spouse because she fears returning to poverty when she gets older and her beauty fades. Sylvain, a Casanova Wannabe from the Blue Lions house, is a notorious flirt who seems like a shameless skirt-chaser, but much of his behavior can be traced to his feelings of self-loathing due to being born with a Crest, and thus being valued only because of something that is beyond his control (which is also a source of consternation within his highborn family). Hilda, from the Golden Deer house, is notorious for being lazy, but she is exceedingly talented: the reason behind her underachieving nature is because her elder brother is so skilled in nearly every way that she feels she can never measure up.
  • Say what you will about God of War's Kratos, he still cares about the children when he's not murdering everyone else for looking at him funny.
  • Golden Sun: Alex initially appears to be an anti-villain who's just going along with the villains for the ride. Turns out that he's the most dangerous one of all, and is using every other character for his A God Am I moment. It works.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Tommy Verciti, the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is generally abrasive to most people he meets, except for Earnest Kelly, the elderly manager of a news paper factory, apparently because he reminds Tommy of his father who was in the same profession. Tommy reveals to Earnest, that there was a time before he became a career criminal he considered following in his father's footsteps. This is the most he's ever seen opening up to anyone in the entire game.
    • Ray Bulgrian is introduced as a menacing and ruthless crime boss and human trafficker in Grand Theft Auto IV, but little else is revealed about him until the Ballad of Gay Tony DLC, which revealed he's a big rock-and-roll fan who spends his off time collecting memorabilia and jamming out with his right hand man Timur, and also has ambitions of owning his own sports team.
    • Brucie, also introduced in Grand Theft Auto IV and returning in Ballad of Gay Tony, is potrayed as an egotistical and boisterous adrenaline junky, but in the DLC, we get to see a more vulnerable side to him, as he has to deal with his even more arrogant Big Brother Bully.
    • Wade, Trevor's juggalo assistant from Grand Theft Auto V, is most of the time a bumbling idiot who keeps Comically Missing the Point. However, he was able to narrow down Michael's identity to just a few people in a city of millions, and after a certain point in the game he gets this line:
    My cousin Floyd says that strip clubs objectify women. But you're not objects, you're people!
  • Sol Badguy from the Guilty Gear games looks like a lazy, hardass brute, but he is actually quite brilliant, possessing a great understanding of both conventional technology and magic. There is also the matter of his rivalry with Ky Kiske: despite being the Always Someone Better due to his sheer power advantage, Sol always believed that Ky was the superior fighter out of the two ever since the beginning of their friendship and was even afraid to fight him at first. The problem, according to him, was that Ky treated every fight as an honour duel while Sol treated every fight as a battle to the death, and this point is proven in REVELATOR - Sol insults Ky's wife to provoke him into taking the gloves off, and Sol promptly got his ass kicked.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: According to the on-screen text, Vito Sardini's daughter Mimi is surprisingly the inventor of DDT.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, your entire crew is shown to have this, if you take the time to talk to them between missions.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In most appearances, Princess Zelda appears to be a typical Princess Classic on first glance. However, optional dialogue or reading between the lines often reveals her to be actually somewhat of a Rebellious Princess with borderline tomboyish tendencies. Her alter egos, the Sheikah Warrior Sheik and the Pirate Captain Tetra beautifully illustrate that Zelda not only isn't as innocent as she usually seems, but also has hidden fightings skills that one wouldn't expect from her.
    • Ganondorf, suprisingly enough, has some hidden depths. While he is almost always a Card-Carrying Villain, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (which takes place after he had been sealed for hundreds of years, twice - once in the Dark World and once under the ocean), he is much more calm and seems to regret a lot of what he did in the past. But then at the end of the game he completely snaps.
  • Mass Effect has this with most characters in the game. Stepping out of your own shadow and doing what was thought to be impossible is the main theme that stretched through the entire series all the time.
    • Ashley Williams from the first game is often considered a generic Action Girl with a touch of Fantastic Racism. Talk to her, and you'll discover she's really close to her family (memorising Ulysses because it was her dad's favourite poem) and is deeply religious, neither of which you'd notice at first glance.
    • Mordin from the second game is an even better example, having a deep characterisation right from the start - a Deadly Doctor willing to do morally ambiguous things for the greater good while still having a chipper demeanor - who just gets deeper the more you talk to him. For example, he refuses to become a Knight Templar, deliberately grounding himself by talking to his favourite nephew before going out to save the galaxy.
      • And then he takes it several steps farther in the third game echoing his line "I am the very model of a scientist salarian.".
    • The DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker is filled with it. First, Liara goes through a great deal of Character Development throughout the entire thing. Second, after killing the Shadow Broker, you have detailed dossiers on your party members which provide extra depth. Some are hilarious and some are just heartbreaking. Finally, you can show Shepard's hidden depths at the end of the DLC when s/he and Liara reminisce.
    • Legion has a few surprising cases. While he's mainly there to deliver an expo dump on how the geth work, he also shows himself to have a bit of an emotional side, with his salvaged armour and long play time on a dating sim.
    • Miranda Lawson: Coolly self-confident about her superiority over most unmodified humans and when you first meet her face-to-face she shoots a guy who's been helping you in the face. Then you can find out she has serious daddy issues, cares deeply about her "twin" sister, and is obviously distressed to learn she can't have children.
      • By the third game, she admits to being plagued with guilt for having wanted to install a Restraining Bolt in Shepard's head, having realised much to her horror that if she had, this would have made her no different from her controlling father.
    • Jack initially comes across as an unstable convict with too little restraint and way too much biotic power. If Shepard has taken the time to earn her trust, she slowly reveals a much warmer and vulnerable side, while her Shadow Broker dossier reveals she even writes poetry in her spare time. She continues this Character Development into the third game, where she's discovered to now be a Badass Teacher working at Grissom Academy and is barely recognisable from the Aloof Ally Shepard had sprung from a prison cell.
    • The krogans are explored much more deeply in the third game with the introduction of the previously unseen females. In the first two games, all krogans are shown as dumb brutes picking fights at every opportunity and blindly charging at any enemies to their death. Only Wrex is really standing out, being relatively smart and picking fights at every opportunity. The third game shows a lot more of their culture and history and also deals with other aspects of krogan life than war, showing them capable of great devotion for the good of their people and the survival of their homeworld and its culture.
      • In terms of individual krogan, Grunt in Mass Effect 2 really gets this. Yes, he's a young krogan who loves combat and acts like you'd expect a Blood Knight to act. However, if you talk to him, you find out that he's introspective and philosophical. Just look at his reasons for choosing the name "Grunt" over something more impressive-sounding. He also develops an interest in classical Earth literature (particularly Hemingway).
    • On the surface, James Vega is big and reckless. Dig a bit deeper, and it turns out that he's leaning towards becoming a Death Seeker after being forced to make a Sadistic Choice that ultimately proved unnecessary, he's considerably smarter than he appears at first look, and his command chops are impressive enough that he's been recommended for N7 training.
    • Kaidan Alenko initially appears to be a quiet Nice Guy with nothing worth noting. Once he opens up, he turns out to be very introspective about humanity's place in the galaxy, as well as his own. His restraint is born from an incident where he learned how easy it would be to hurt or kill someone by accident if he doesn't control himself, and he holds no illusions about human history and how hypocritical it would be to judge an entire race on the actions of "one ass".
  • Master of the Monster Lair: Woody, the accountant for the furniture shop, is originally a great example of a Miser Advisor: ostensibly a good guy, but totally money-hungry. This lasts until the player gets access to the Laboratory room. In the name of world peace Woody chooses to sell you the Laboratory at a 1,000 gp loss to himself.
  • Solid Snake of Metal Gear is characterized as a guy who lives entirely for fighting and being a soldier, but as the man exclaims himself, he's rather fond of dogsledding. Apparently he even participated in dogsledding competitions before Shadow Moses.
  • Metro Exodus: Stepan is a bear of a man, standing a head taller and good four inches wider at the shoulder than the rest of the already brawny Spartans, and totes heavy guns with authority and ease. Off the battlefield, he is a complete marshmallow, especially when it comes to Katya and Nastya. He offers them his bedroll and water rations without thinking twice, to the point where he is periodically out of commission due to heatstroke or fatigue, and needs Melnik or Artyom to smack some sense into him. He is also a musician of some skill, with a pleasant singing voice and good guitar skills.
  • Dr. Peace, the 9th ranked assassin in No More Heroes, is described as a corrupt police officer with ties to the mafia and a merciless Gunslinger archetype. When you finally reach the battleground, you find that he's also a fan of karaoke, and has a damn good singing voice to boot. Plus, he wanted to see his wife and daughter one last time before dying.
  • This trope is one of the Central Themes of Persona, which believes in the idea that all people are hiding more to them than what they present.
    • Persona has Reiji Kido, who initially presents himself as an angsty and cold Jerkass, but over time shows himself to be far nicer than he makes himself out to be. He's also shown to be rather skilled at magic and card tricks, things you wouldn't expect a guy like him to be good at.
    • Persona 2:
      • As you'd expect from a stoic badass like Tatsuya Suou, one of his best subjects is physical education, but he's also surprisingly good at English.
      • Lisa Silverman may be an attractive Lovable Alpha Bitch, but she also suffers from some serious anxieties.
      • Baofu may be a cynical hacker and extortionist, but the design and fighting style of his Persona, Odysseus, heavily implies that, despite claiming he's Taiwanese, he's actually native Japanese and takes heavy pride in his heritage.
      • Mizuno, Maya's superior at Coolest, is first shown as nothing more than Maya's Mean Boss who's jealous of her for her youth and good looks, but once Sumaru City gets turned into the Ameno Torifune, she's revealed to actually be a rather contemplative person who regrets never being able to fulfill her past dreams.
    • From Persona 3 onward, the introduction of Social Links makes this trope even more prevalent than it already was, with the Character Development of the main characters largely being based around revealing their Hidden Depths to others:
      • Yukari Takeba puts her guard up against others due to her harsh background. When she finally starts to open up to others, it's revealed that she's actually rather good with kids, as well as being a very emotionally mature person who actually desires to help people.
      • Junpei Iori is the Plucky Comic Relief of the main cast whose actions usually lead to him becoming butt of the joke, but the implication that he comes from a broken household pretty much all but states that he only acts like this to hide his insecurities.
      • As noted in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Mitsuru Kojiro is actually much more of a Blood Knight than her usually calm demeanor lets on, and in the final labyrinth, pushes a suspicious red button out of curiosity due to being tired of being seen as the "prize pupil" all the time.
      • Kenji Tomochika may be an Innocently Insensitive guy with a thing for older women but he's also rather fashion conscious, giving the protagonist a chocker at the end of his Social Link because he thinks he "doesn't look fashionable enough", and, ironically for someone who's oblivious to his childhood friend's crush on him, actually has a rather deep understanding of romance and jealousy.
      • As revealed in Portable's female protagonist route, Ryoji Mochizuki is actually far more intelligent and thoughtful than his Casanova Wannabe personality would make you think.
      • Nozumi Suemitsu is initially presented as nothing more than an arrogant Big Eater, but as his Social Link progresses, he's revealed to actually be a rather complicated boy who's troubles stem from a tragic rivalry with his little brother.
      • Jin Shirato is by far the least developed member of Strega in the game, but the spin-off novel Shadow Cry shows that their's far more going on with him than the game presented.
    • This trope is by far at its most prominent in Persona 4, where the initial inability of the party members to accept their Hidden Depths and character flaws is what drives a lot of the game's conflict. And again, they are explored even more in depth in their Social Links.
      • While Yu Narukami is the only member of the Investigation Team who doesn't need to confront his Shadow, with explanation that he has "nothing to hide", him cheering up Nanako with magic tricks, as well as dressing up as a stage magician for Halloween implies he has some interest in magic.
      • As revealed in Dancing All Night, Yosuke Hanamura is actually one of the most talented dancers of the Investigation Team, being only second to trained Idol Singer Rise.
      • Yukiko Amagi, even apart from the issues manifested by her Shadow, is far from the school idol that most people see her as. She has a very odd sense of humor, laughing at all but the most unfunny jokes, and greatly enjoys scary things. When one of Chie's old friends who has a superficial crush on her finds out about this, he doesn't take it well.
      • Kanji Tatsumi presents himself as an abrasive Japanese Delinquent who will beat the crap out of anyone who looks at him the wrong way, but is actually an absolute sweetheart of a guy who's very emotionally mature and has a love for traditionally-feminine hobbies such as doll making.
      • Rise Kujikawa acts like a bubbly Genki Girl, but is actually rather insightful and intelligent, and intentionally acts the way she does to cheer others up. She also seems to have a dislike for cheaters, as seen when she calls Yu out if the player flirts with her while in a relationship with another girl.
      • Shadow Teddie, already the physical manifestation of Teddie's own hidden insecurities, is also noted by Rise a "powerful presence" surrounding it, hinting that not only is it a Shadow, but is also a being created from Ameno-sagiri.
      • Ayane Matsunaga is initially presented as simply an introverted Shrinking Violet, but her Social Link reveals that she has far more going on with her personality-wise. She had some serious frustrations stemming from her delayed growth spurt, she has a lot of Suppressed Rage, she's intensely knowledgeable of music and hopes to travel the world and spread her artistic vision through music, and has a surprisingly deep understanding of other's emotional issues.
      • Tohru Adachi initially comes off as nothing more than a lazy, bumbling cop who never takes his job seriously, but is actually noted to have actually been quite a good detective prior to be transferred to Inaba, with his laziness being a result of Small Town Boredom. Of course, there's also the fact that he's actually an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer. Arena Ultimax also works to give him far more depth than 4, revealing that, despite having claimed that he only became a cop to get his hands on a gun, he actually memorized the Detective Instruction Guide.
    • Persona 4: Dancing All Night:
      • Beneath her clumsy and somewhat ditzy personality, Kanami Mashita suffers from some severe social issues, the stress caused by this having boiled over into turning her into the host for Mikuratana-no-kami.
      • Kanami's dance instructor seems like nothing more that a stereotypical Camp Gay character, but actually seems to have some rather deep emotional understanding, telling Inoue not to worry about the Kanamin Kitchen girls, recognizing they'll be back once they resolve their emotional issues.
    • Persona 5:
      • While Ryuji Sakamoto may now be a crass Japanese Delinquent, he used to be an ace track team member. Him giving Morgana the Code Name "Mona" also seems to imply he has some understanding of history (given the association with Mona Island and Ryuji's Persona, Captain Kidd), and also has knowledge of sports in general.
      • Ann Takamaki, for all her ditziness, is shown to have a keen eye for detail, being able to recognize the frustration being portrayed in Yusuke's painting that Madarame is passing off as his own.
      • It's noted by Joker that with Yusuke Kitagawa's high standards and appreciation of food, he'd actually make a good food critic if his art career doesn't work out.
      • Futaba Sakura is shown to be rather knowledgeable of Egyptian history and mythology, as seen in her Pyramid themed Palace, her Egyptian themed hacker names, and the hieroglyphics poster in her room.
      • Haru Okumura has a traditional ojou personality, but her interest include horror movies, manual labor via gardening, and also takes Joker out to drink Black Ivory Coffee.
      • Goro Akechi outwardly presents himself as an upstanding ace detective with a strong sense of justice, but admits that he's actually rather cynical, and became a detective to get back at the negative parts of society that ruined his life as a child. His new Confidant in Royal also reveals that he's a fan of jazz music. Of course, the reveal that he's The Mole for The Conspiracy puts into question how much of this is true and how much is a part of his guise.
      • When first introduced to Kasumi Yoshizawa, she's shown to be a skilled and confidant gymnast. When it's revealed that Kasumi is actually Sumire Yoshizawa, whose sister, the real Kasumi, died in an accident, leading to her having her cognition changed to make her believe she's Kasumi, she reveals herself to actually have rather low self-esteem and a serious case of Survivor's Guilt.
      • Sojiro Sakura isn't just a normal coffee shop owner, as he actually used to work for the government, during which he gained enough knowledge to correctly identify Shido as the head of The Conspiracy.
      • Tae Takemi may be a Back-Alley Doctor, but an optional hangout with Ann reveals she's also rather knowledgeable in Shinto prayer rituals.
      • Sadayo Kawakami, on top of being a teacher, is also a skilled fisher, as seen in a hangout with Ryuji. Her time as a meido also shows that she can be quite skilled at anything she puts her mind to, and she's also the only teacher who doesn't attempt to downplay turning a blind eye to Kamoshida's abuse, and genuinely feels guilty about it.
      • Ichiko Ohya may now be an entertainment reporter, but before then she was a political reporter, a quite a skilled one at that.
      • While it's never really addressed in-game it's heavily implied that Sae Niijima's father's death had a much bigger impact on her than she lets on, with her cynical attitude possibly the result of her fear of her or Makoto dying in a similar way to him. Also, an art book revealed that she also drives a motorcycle and is a skilled kick-boxer.
      • Takuto Maruki may be a psychologist driven by a need to help others, but he himself clearly suffers from some deep emotional pain, which is actually the source to his reason as to why he's researching the heart in the first place. He's also actually quite the genius, as it was his work that opened the field for cognitive psience in the first place, and in fact, has an even better understanding of the cognitive world than even Wakaba did.
      • Shinsuke Kishi, one of the Phantom Thieves' minor Mementos targets who steals credit from his employees, is implied to actually have a family.
      • As revealed in the Mementos Missions spin-off manga, Yohei Kiritani, the homeless man in the Shibuya underground walkway, actually has connections to Iwai, acting as his fence for stolen goods.
      • While it may actually just be the result of the Maruki's reality, Royal implies that Shiho Suzui, Ann's best friend, actually is a genuinely skilled volleyball player, and was only hindered from Kamoshida's constant beatings.
      • Akio Kawanabe, the director of the art student foundation from Yusuke's Confidant, was actually a close acquaintance of Madarame prior to Madarame becoming the way he is by the events of the game.
      • Ms. Chouno, Shujin's English teacher, while not as nice as Kawakami, is shown to actually feel guilty over how the Kamoshida situation was handled, and seems to actually care about her students' safety.
    • Hikari from Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, while a suicidal Broken Bird by the time the player meets her, is also shown to actually be quite the Book Worm, as well as surprisingly very strong.
    • Persona 5 Strikers:
      • Turns out that Alice Hiiragi's Alpha Bitch personality actually stems from trauma caused by bullying during her youth.
      • While it's easy to at first assume that Akira Konoe's beliefs in justice are just a front, it's later revealed that he is completely genuine in his beliefs.
      • For all her beliefs of her inhumanity, Kuon Ichinose goals are completely motivated by genuine compassion and a desire to do good.
  • According to Poker Night at the Inventory, it turns out that Heavy Weapons Guy is the only one of the characters that went to college, and while there, he earned a PhD in Russian Literature. Therefore, he is DR. Heavy Weapons Guy. So much for being the Dumb Muscle. In fact, the Russian version of Team Fortress 2 actually has him speak quite eloquently just so that Valve can avert a Dub Induced Plothole induced by this fact. He also shows a certain amount of remorse for how he got to where he is now (listen for his "sparrow" story).
  • Pony Island: While abysmal at creating video games, the devil is frighteningly competent at creating artificial intelligence executables.
  • This is taken to a horrifying extreme with Portal's GLaDOS. In the first game, she was just the usual "Kill-everything-AI." Later, this turned out to be completely justified. The woman she used to be watched the man she loved go insane running a company he loved, then watched as a byproduct of the work killed him, THEN her previous coworkers forcibly shoved her brain into a computer (this scene was supposedly to be displayed in-game as well, but was cut after it ended up sounding too much like a rape scene). After that, they effectively forced schizophrenia on her by creating Personality Cores, AI's for the specific purpose of spouting an endless stream of nonsense, which were on her for so long, she gets scared by hearing her OWN thoughts (quote below). On top of that, the system they put her in was acting like drugs to her, giving her a rush of pleasure whenever she preformed tests and increasingly making her feel awful when she stopped, while ALSO building up a resistance to the pleasure-system. By the time you finish playing Portal 2, her hidden depths make you want to cheer on her massacre against the employees. In summary: A.I. Is a Crapshoot becomes Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    GLaDOS: (on her forced schizophrenia) The scientists were always hanging cores on me. I've heard voices all my life. But now I hear the voice of a conscience, and it's terrifying, because for the first time... It's MY voice! (Beat) I'm being serious! I think there's something really wrong with me!
  • The plot of Psychonauts is largely about finding these quirky people—from Bunny Ears Lawyers to literal mental patients—and going into their minds to find out why they're that way. Among them are Milla, whose Genki Girl personality hides grief over dozens of orphans in her care dying in a fire, a White-Dwarf Starlet who seems to blame herself for her mother's suicide and a Big Bad who was driven mad by his father constantly killing and eating his pet rabbits when he was a child.
  • Billy Coen of Resident Evil 0 comes off as a rather thuggish, bitter, and cynical ex-Marine during his early appearances. As the game progresses, however, we discover he's a Knight in Sour Armour with a powerful belief in the justice system (despite it having condemned him), has a strict code of honour, plays the piano rather well, and seems to know more about Umbrella than he's letting on.
    • Easter eggs in 5 show that Chris Redfield isn't particularly patriotic and dislikes capitalism.
  • The Boss from the Saints Row series is an uncouth, foul-mouthed, violence-loving sociopath. The Boss is also undyingly loyal to their friends, and enjoys the works of Jane Austen.
    • Eddie "KillBane" Pryor of Saints Row: The Third is introduced as The Brute of the Syndicate, but over the course of the game, he proves to be far more than Dumb Muscle, being a competent strategist and a skilled PR manipulator, as well as capable of making allusions to Classical Mythology and the works of T. S. Eliot on the fly. It doesn't make him less of a Hot-Blooded, sadistic nut-case, though.
    • Of all people, Johnny Gat has quite the hidden depths to his character. Once he's saved in Saints Row 4, he confesses to the Boss that despite the virtual hell he had to go through of seeing Aisha die over and over again, it gave him time to come to terms with himself and letting go of his past. Likewise, if you have him and Shaundi together as homies, Shaundi will pour her heart out to him, saying how much she had to go through after believing that he had died. He reassures her that it's not her fault and that he won't have anything like that happen to him ever again. This all comes from a guy who kills people by the hundreds and isn't having fun unless he is killing someone.
  • In Shadow Warrior 2, we find out that the Heroic Comedic Sociopath protagonist Lo Wang personally cooks breakfasts for all his one-night-stands, and is apparently a really good cook too.
  • In Solatorobo, even Red himself is a bit surprised in Samoyede, when Elh reveals that she knows a little about flowers, despite not being the girlish type, though she claims it's only because they grew in her home village.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Shadow the Hedgehog is much smarter than he looks. Though this aspect only shows up in the awful 2006 game, it shows how dangerous Shadow can be. He was the only person in the entire game who was aware of what was really going on and sought to put a stop to it, even convincing Silver that he was duped. Unfortunately, Shadow's plan was only 99% effective as one fragment that escaped caused the last story. He does give an awesome Shut Up, Hannibal! speech in the end of his story.
      • Even before Sonic 2006, Shadow's massive backstory takes a good four games to completely reveal. He goes from being only a mysterious superweapon/black hedgehog/ultimate lifeform to a rather complex character who befriended his creator's daughter, who is killed during a government attack on the massive space station he was created in, giving him a powerful hatred for human beings in general that never quite goes away. He was created using the blood of a dark alien creature named Black Doom, who eventually comes and tries to take over the world so that humans can be food for his alien race, so Shadow kicks the crap out of him and blows up their "planet". On the outside, he's a mean, cold anti-hero. Inside, however, he's a lot deeper, and often does more thinking than the rest of Sonic's cast put together, as mentioned for Sonic 2006.
    • Silver shows a bit of this as well when he acts extremely hurt after Amy calls him out. After a heart-to-heart talk with Blaze, he decides that a Rivals Team Up is his best shot at redemption.
    • Sonic himself. He's an adventurous, fun-seeking character who seems to act on impulse rather than thinking things through, which makes him come off as too carefree and not very bright to many players, with some even viewing him as an Idiot Hero. Despite this, throughout his history he has shown that there are other facets to his character, including a caring side, a strong-willed side, and a more intelligent side capable of displaying greater cleverness and insightfulness than everyone else on occasion. For example:
      • In Sonic Adventure 2, he was able to pull off a Chaos Control with a fake Chaos Emerald. To put things in perspective, Shadow himself didn't think it was possible to activate it with a fake emerald, yet Sonic managed to do it in a single try, without having ever used the move before, which led to him earning Shadow's respect. It turns out that he was able to deduce how to perform Chaos Control just from watching Shadow use it once.
      • For most of Sonic Battle, Shadow is bent on destroying Emerl to prevent him from absorbing all Chaos Emeralds and going berserk, with his greatest obstacle being Sonic, who was protecting the robot after befriending him. Then during the second to last story, to Shadow's surprise, Sonic simply lets him take Emerl with him just after Shadow reaffirms his intent to destroy the robot. It then turns that after seeing how similar he and Emerl are, Shadow sympathizes with him and changes his mind, opting to help him instead of destroying him. Sonic had seen all of this development coming and made Emerl go with Shadow to make it happen.
      • In Sonic Rush, he's very kind and comforting to Blaze the Cat, as he can tell that underneath her cold and hostile facade is a very shy and troubled girl.
      • In Sonic Unleashed, Eggman releases Dark Gaia, a gargantuan beast made out of energy, which then becomes scattered across the planet in the form of dark energy. During night, this energy causes the behavior of people from all over the world to change, making them act more aggressive. Sonic permanently absorbed much of its energy into his body, which caused a far less subtle effect on him: went night arrives, he transforms into the infamous Werehog, who then powers himself up by absorbing even more dark energy. And yet he keeps his personality and normal behavior under this form. Near the end, it's revealed the the reason for this was that Sonic was strong enough to withstand the energy's influence. In other words, even though he was possessed by far more Dark Gaia energy than anyone else, Sonic, who has the fame of being an overly carefree person, had a willpower and a dedication to fighting for justice strong enough to resist Dark Gaia's influence without even trying.
      • His Image Song It Doesn't Matter, as well as the events of Sonic and the Black Knight show that beneath his seemingly carefree attitude, he does have insecurities, but he chooses not to let them control his life, and that's why he remains relentlessly positive even when faced with moral uncertainty and the knowledge that all things die someday.
    • The events of Sonic Lost World are pivoted partially by Sonic's recklessness and over eagerness to stop Eggman (inadvertently enabling another foe to take control instead). The story shows him coming to accept his shortcomings and showing humility over it. His usually positive approach is also tested greatly due to having clashes with his best friend Tails (who is convinced Sonic doesn't trust his abilities) and the Deadly Six succeeding in taking his allies out of commission one by one. Though he becomes more jaded as the story progresses as a result, his determination never fades.
    • Knuckles the Echidna, at least pre-Flanderization. He was originally depicted as a tough, no-nonsense, antisocial lone wolf who is completely devoted to his duty of guarding the Master Emerald and has a semi-antagonistic relationship with Sonic, seemingly stemming from his disapproval of his methods and carefree nature. However, there's a scene in Sonic Adventure in which we see him pondering on the nature of his guardian duty as the Last of His Kind, being a thankless job that forces him to live in isolation. Similarly, his Image Song from Sonic Adventure 2 has him reflecting on the hopelessness and loneliness it brings to his life. A number of official character profiles also state that deep down he envies Sonic's freedom, his adventurous lifestyle and his popularity, explaining the actual reason for his hostility toward him.
    • Similarly, Blaze the Cat started as another aloof, stoic lone wolf, preferring to do everything by herself and declining any help (at least initially), sometimes to everyone's detriment. She also acts a bit above everyone else. Despite this, she tends to panic in critical situations, and is revealed to be socially awkward and insecure, with official sources even stating that she's self-conscious about her figure. It's implied by some of her character profiles that she became a loner as a result of being shunned as a kid for her pyrokinetic powers, which she initially had trouble controlling.
    • Another pre-flanderization example would be Tails. At first glance he seems to be a Cheerful Child and Gadgeteer Genius who likes to tag along with Sonic and aid him whenever possible. However, his backstory reveals that he was bullied by his peers for his twin tails, and as a result was pretty timid and insecure until he met Sonic and received his encouragement. In addition, his story and Image Song in Sonic Adventure show that by that game he's become disillusioned with his status as Sonic's sidekick and feels he needs to find his way through life, longing to become as cool, independent and capable as his idol.
  • Spec Ops: The Line: The Radioman comes off as a stoner asshole who is detached from the insanity that is Dubai, but acquiring the intel in the game paints a different character. He was once an idealistic journalist that truly believed in the mission to save Dubai, as things went more and more to shit, it becomes more clear that his now present nature is probably a coping mechanism to help him with the horrors he has witnessed. One memorable piece of intel shows him interviewing Konrad with a hidden tape recorder. (Which Konrad did not want to be recorded on) Once Konrad thanks him for listening to him and being a friend, the last bit of audio heard is the Radioman turning his recorder off, saying that he needed to grab another pen.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
    • This is frequently invoked about Sith characters, if playing along the Light Side route;
    Vette: *Flabbergasted* Who are you and what did you do with the Sith I know?
    • The Sith Emperor's answer to the Jedi Knight's And Then What? question cements him as something far more than your average sith lord who wants power and immortality for their own sakes.
    Vitiate: You discern a fraction of reality. Beyond these stars exist other galaxies, other worlds, other beings. I will experience or ignore them as I wish. I will spend eternity becoming everything: a farmer, an artist, a simple man. When the last living thing in the universe finally dies, I will enjoy the peace and wait for the cycle to begin again.
  • Pretty much every NPC from Stardew Valley is far deeper than (strong) initial impressions would have you believe, especially the romance options. Only by pursuing friendships/romances with them will you ever find out about them.
    • Alex is well aware he's not a particularly bright guy and the knowledge eats at his confidence. He also had a complete asshole of a father, and his mother passed away early on.
    • Harvey, the local town doctor, actually wanted to be a pilot growing up, but his deathly fear of heights prevented him from pursuing his dream. You can help him overcome his fear.
    • Penny quite understandably has resentment issues with her alcoholic mother Pam for her irresponsibility while taking the time out to tutor the two small children of the rural town.
    • Haley starts out as a judgemental spoiled-rotten schoolgirl who insults your appearance often. She sheds this trait if you bond with her and even changes her life outlook entirely, going from a spoiled fashionista to an enthusiastic country girl.
    • Sebastian is initially cranky and grim, but later he warms up to the player and becomes a full-on Nice Guy; if you fully romance him, he expresses a lot of care about the animals on your farm. He also is strongly implied to harbour feelings of inadequacy with his step-father Demetrius, who favours his half-sister Maru over him for her scholarly achievements.
    • Shane, as it turns out, is struggling with severe depression and uses alcohol as a means of self-medicating. His exhausting dead-end job at the local Predatory Business and the fact that he had to take up the role of Parental Substitute for Jas after the deaths of her parents (and his close friends) probably has something to do with it.
  • Alan the forest ranger from State of Decay who looks down on survivors who can't "pull their weight", i.e, people who can't fight or handle a gun). For example he criticises Lily for being a useless freeloader when she has lupus and cannot go on missions (a point undercut by the fact she still serves a highly useful role in operating the radio back at base and providing information on the locations of supply caches, other survivors and hordes). He also is weary of newcomers and suggests abandoning survivors to their fate if they become burdens. Later in the game he gets bitten, and if you delay the quest to Mercy Kill him, he leaves a note for the group saying he's gone off to a secluded spot alone to shoot himself. Darwinistic Jerkass he was in life, he wasn't a hypocrite by expecting any different treatment from how he treated others and thought solely of the community's wellbeing even when facing his own death. The player character even comments on it.
  • In most of the Super Mario Bros. games, most of the characters are kind of one-note. But in the spinoffs (mostly the RPGs) they get a bit more depth.
    • Luigi's Mansion may have solidified Luigi's status as a Cowardly Lion, going to great lengths to rescue his brother even when he really didn't want to. But before that, Luigi's journals in Paper Mario 64 showed that he has a case of Big Brother Worship in regards to Mario.
    • While in most games Bowser is kind of a one note villain, the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series both help to establish Bowser as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who actually does care about Peach, even if he thinks the best way to show her this is to kidnap her. This finally comes to a head in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where he manages to successfully hijack the plot.
    • Peach is a bit inconsistently written, but some adaptations (most notably Super Mario Adventures and the Paper Mario series) show her as headstrong and willing to try and rescue herself.
    • And then there's Waluigi. At first glance, we see that Waluigi is Luigi´s rival, and works hard just so that he can make Luigi´s life suck. Then, at times, the character evolves into having a strong hatred for everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom, and works hard to make everyone miserable and hateful. However, the reason for that is his self-pity. Why does Waluigi act like such a massive jerk to everyone and is always presented to be an onverconfident character? Because if there is one person Waluigi hates besides Luigi, it's himself. His life is just so full of failures and bad luck (even when he isn´t doing something dastardly) that, alongside his crushing self pity and bitterness, causing him to be the way he is, harming others is the only way to make himself happy.
    • Rosalina, introduced in Super Mario Galaxy, is the elegant and soft-spoken mother of the Lumas and guardian of the cosmos, with some strong implications of Physical God. That said, she is not above letting herself go and having some fun, and as Mario Kart Wii states, she has a passion for motorcycles.
    • Ultimately averted, however, with Wario. It's a running gag at this point to set up a scenario where Wario can show some character development, only for him to prove that he really is just a greedy bastard underneath it all.
  • Tales of Symphonia, as an effect of its absurd amount of Character Development, has a few examples.
    • Zelos: on the surface, The Casanova/Handsome Lech, with a generous helping of narcissism. Turns out it's almost entirely fake, a result of his contempt for people wanting to take advantage of his position. As for his position as Chosen of Tethe'alla, which he seems to enjoy, it's actually helped spawn a self-loathing that makes him borderline (or, depending on the player's actions, actually) suicidal.
    • Colette: Pollyanna, somewhat ditzy, and friend to all living things. Hides a level of extreme insecurity and social anxiety, all tied to her fear of failure and unwillingness to burden other people with her own problems, even when it comes close to killing her.
    • Genis: Elven Bratty Half-Pint and 12 year-old genius. Actually half-elven, and develops an extremely deep resentment of humans for their prejudicial treatment of half-elves, even coming to sympathize a lot with the well-intentioned Big Bad.
    • Regal: Yeah, you know that six-foot-three muscular convict who tried to kidnap Colette when you first met him? He's actually a duke, the president of one of the world's largest companies, and one of the most intelligent characters in the party. Oh and if he didn't feel guilty for the crime he committed he'd be the strongest party member. He can throw Hadoken...
    • Kratos: Random mercenary who comes to help Colette out on her journey. Turns out to be 4000 years old, a major Double Agent who wrote the book on Black-and-Gray Morality. Also the main character's father.
      • He also had to kill Anna, the only woman he ever loved, after Cruxis (who he abandoned to protect Anna) turns her into an Eldritch Abomination and she nearly kills their infant son (Lloyd). Then Lloyd tumbles off a cliff in her arms, leading Kratos to believe everyone he cared about is dead, completely demoralizing him. While Anna had turned him into somewhat of an optimist, this cemented his cynicism.
    • Yuan: Unemotional, practical to the point of sounding uncaring and being a Heel–Face Revolving Door to both The Hero and the Big Bad, apparently apathetic at the death of his utterly devoted subordinate... was engaged to a woman who died 4000 years ago, still wears the engagement ring and searches all over the two worlds for it after having lost it. Oh, and by the way, there are a few subtle hints that he actually cares a lot for all his men.
      • He's actively working against a plan to revive his dead fiancé because of the injustices the Big Bad plans to commit once the plan is complete.
    • Raine: Genis' cold and intelligent big sister who becomes ecstatic when she's discovering ancient ruins is that way because her and Genis' mother abandoned them by an ancient ruin so they would get sucked into the world of Sylvarant, leaving Raine to raise Genis herself.
    • Lloyd: Starts the game as a typical Idiot Hero who was put down often for his nativity. Develop the skills to be a capable leader and came up with most of the plans during the second half of the game. He was also the one who figured out that Collete is loosing parts of her humanity and the Zelos is actually a double agent.
  • Sheena. Despite initially being tasked with killing Colette, she turns out to be one of the more idealistic members of the party.
  • Supplemental material for Team Fortress 2 add a lot of depth to characters, though the game itself gets in on this as well.
    • The deranged Soldier is apparently surprisingly well-read (he knows about The Lord of the Rings and has an understanding of Greek mythology) and has a bizarre talent for infiltration and deception on a wholly different level than the Spy.
    • Spy is apparently fond of children and in spite of his supposed womanizing is actually quite personally fond of his mistresses. He's also emphatically not an Ineffectual Loner; Expiration Date shows him making a Rousing Speech and attempting to make sure that the whole team will end their last days fulfilled.
    • Even a Bratty Half-Pint loudmouth like Scout doesn't like to see children being harmed, and he connects with kids quickly. Both of his life plans that we've seen so far, getting rich and getting with Miss Pauling, involve, respectively, waiting patiently and a rigorous self-improvement regiment conducted in record time. From a guy you would think wouldn't even know how to spell "wait."
    • Heavy and his family were sent to The Gulag after his father was killed for being a tsarist—it's heavily implied he tortured all the guards to death, freed all the prisoners, and burned the place to the ground because they harmed his mother and sisters. As mentioned in the Poker Night entry, he is also an erudite PhD and a teetotaler.
    • Pyro is an apparently an Idiot Savant ramped Up to Eleven, being able to run a construction company as its CEO and turn its entire board of directors into multimillionares in under a year in spite of never actually taking off his mask and perceiving everything as a Sugar Bowl.
    • Demoman is a patient, doting son to his demanding blind mother. He is phenomenally rich, a hard worker even in his youth, and proud of his work. In spite of this, he still takes time out to watch corny, gimmicky TV shows.
    • Engineer may be a hard-working Good Ol' Boy, but he's a patron of the classical arts, loves his father and grandfather and respects his history, and shows us all why you really should Beware the Nice Ones.
    • Even Sniper is shown to have a complex relationship with his often disapproving parents as well as a firm belief that his job is all about being professional...even when he isn't all that professional himself.
    • Medic... mostly averts this trope. Still, he's quite supportive of his pet bird, and even brought back a 100% dead man after helping to kill him. This took over a billion dollars.
  • In Theta vs Pi 7 Theta is actually a surprisingly skilled musician. King Pi also reveals himself to be tired of war and that was once a hero like Theta, a saviour to theta and pi alike, who's been worn down by years of defending his people.
  • Due to one of the central messages of the game revolving around opening up to others and expanding your horizons, The World Ends with You is packed to the brim with this, with the main characters showing this off quite nicely.
    • Neku Sakuraba is, on the surface, a stereotypical Emo Teen with no real regard for other people and just wants to be left alone to sulk. On the inside? A Broken Bird dealing with a huge amount of Survivor's Guilt due to his apparent involvement in the accident that claimed his best friend’s life, causing him to shut himself off from other people in an attempt to Never Be Hurt Again. He’s also a socially awkward fanboy of resident artist CAT himself, shows himself to be a lot more thoughtful and empathetic than he lets on, and is capable of giving out solid life advice that helps to change his partners for the better.
    • Shiki Misaki is a pretty, cheerful Genki Girl with a bit of a ditzy personality and a huge passion for fashion, to the point that Neku thinks of her to be nothing but shallow at first. However, as it turns out, her personality was all an act, and her physical appearance in the UG is not that of her own because it was used as her entry fee in the Reaper's Game, but of her friend, Eri, a talented seamstress who she finds herself very jealous of and feels incredibly guilt for said jealously. She’s really a Shrinking Violet who has huge self-esteem issues regarding her physical appearance and lack of talents compared to Eri though, thankfully, she learns to overcome her insecurities thanks to Neku helping her learn that it’s okay to be Shiki and that there’s nothing wrong with that.
    • Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu seems to be nothing but an Insufferable Genius that can get pretty damn arrogant and callous at times, occasionally referring to his sheer brilliance and showcasing his often haughty attitude towards others, especially Neku. He's also much more cynical than even Neku at times, showing his disdain for others and believing that people can never truly understand one another. Despite this, he is shown to have some surprising insights on humanity and later on actually shows some willingness to at least try to understand other people. There's also hints that his haughty attitude was the result of pushing away people who refused to believe him about his ability to see the UG while still alive, which made for quite a lonely existence. In the end, he also turns out to be the Composer who was planning to destroy Shibuya, with his reasoning being that the complacency of its residents would end up poisoning the world at large. However, through his interactions with Neku, the one person he pegged to never be able to willingly change throughout the game, and seeing his growth throughout the weeks, he comes to change his mind about humanity and ultimately spares Shibuya.
    • Daisukenojo "Beat" Bito comes across as nothing but a no-good thug with no self-awareness whatsoever but, in actuality, he’s actually quite well aware of how much he comes off as an Idiot Hero and hates himself for it, feeling that because of this, it has gotten the people he loves hurt. Despite his Hot-Blooded personality, Beat also reveals himself to have been a rather laid-back slacker who took life at his own pace, much to his parents’ ire, and that his dream of becoming a professional skateboarder was nothing but a Motivational Lie in order to help Rhyme, his partner/sister, out of her own depressed funk over her lack of dreams.
  • This is a bit of a Central Theme in the Touhou Project; the same person can be both good and evil, a genius and an idiot, a hard worker and a lazy bum, without contradiction, but we usually only ever see one side of them.
    • Reimu Hakurei can, depending on what material you're going by, either be a no-nonsense hardass with a single-minded focus on doing her job, i.e., exterminating youkai, or a lazy, money-grubbing bum who cares more about Get Rich Quick Schemes than doing her job, to the extent that she sometimes have to be yelled at just to get off her ass and actually do something. Some comedy is even derived from this, such as when Kosuzu, the main character of Forbidden Scrollery, sees Reimu in one of her get-rich-quick moods, which are common in Wild and Horned Hermit, and cannot reconcile this with her idea of who Reimu is but simply assumes that she has to be joking. It's no coincidence that Reimu, despite being the protagonist, has never been the central pov character in an official work.
    • Marisa Kirisame is a tomboyish, kleptomanic mythomaniac Cute Witch with a love for Wave-Motion Gun-grade spells who has seemingly accidentally saved the world a couple of times while just casually ransacking the Big Bad's lair for new magical artifacts. Under the surface, she is also (mythomania aside) one of the most honest and forthright people in Gensoukyou and a hard worker who has earned every ounce of power the hard way, a fact that she prefers not to brag about. She is also, by Word of God, the one who takes care of Reimu since she's really bad at taking care of herself and is the one most likely to give Reimu a good What the Hell, Hero? when she's being neglectful, and when Satori read Marisa's mind in Subterrenean Animism she found that Marisa's let's-steal-stuff attitude was largely a put-on, and she's honestly motivated by a far more noble altruistic desire to keep the world safe.
  • Every single major character in Undertale, and even a large number of minor ones:
    • The Player Character is not the "fallen human" you name when you start the game. The character, Frisk, is a pacifist at heart regardless of how you play. Killing monsters is explained as the fallen human, whom you named (but whose default name is Chara) and who is a manifestation of all of the player's characters in every RPG they play, taking over Frisk's body.
    • Flowey is a soulless reincarnation of Toriel and Asgore's child, Asriel. The main reason he's so sadistic is that he can neither feel positive emotions nor die, can SAVE and LOAD much like a video game player, has grown bored of his world, and is desperate to feel anything. (All of this except the latter changes when Frisk arrives, which can be good or bad depending on the player's actions.)
    • Toriel is an immensely powerful monster, as well as Asgore's ex-wife. She divorced him because, while he promised to gather seven human souls to break the barrier, it was clear that he was hoping that no humans would come. She also mostly uses her magic to cook, and is shown to be quite good at it; the one healing item she makes is the only one that completely restores the player's HP.
    • Napstablook is a music enthusiast whose mental state is largely (but not entirely) the product of missing their cousin, Mettaton.
    • Under all the silly jokes, Sans is the best warrior in the Underground purely thanks to his Medium Awareness and he's furthermore heavily implied to be a scientist with working knowledge of quantum physics. He could easily solve most of the Underground's problems if he tried, but he's aware that doing so is futile as long as someone with Determination is around to undo it all by LOADing an old SAVE File. He cites this futility as a reason for his laziness, though not even he knows whether it's a real reason or just an excuse. In addition, he seems to be aware of Dr. W. D. Gaster and his fate, and has been trying to fix a machine of some sort to bring him back into existence - sadly, Word of God has stated that he never succeeds.
    • Papyrus is more than strong enough to join the Royal Guard - he's even stronger than Undyne, according to in-game stats - but Undyne won't let him join because he's too innocent to survive a life-or-death battle. This is shown to be completely justified in a Genocide run, in which he spares Frisk/Chara from the start in an attempt to turn their life around, and doesn't give up on them even if he's killed. In addition, he may be naïve and bad at puzzles and cooking, but he's not unintelligent; he knows that the quickest way to make Undyne befriend Frisk is to frame the concept as a challenge. Finally, he only wants to capture a human and join the Royal Guard because he thinks it will earn him more friends; apart from his brother Sans and Undyne, he doesn't appear to have any.
    • Snowdrake ran away from home after losing his mother, and is trying to become a comedian to follow in his father's footsteps. His father reveals that they don't know what happened to his mother. Frisk, however, finds out by seeing her first-hand: she was merged with fifteen other monsters in a lab accident, and is still alive, but barely self-aware and on the brink of falling apart.
    • Chilldrake regularly shares his lunch with Snowdrake; he and the other Drakes know about "Snowy's" lack of parents, and are more than willing to help him get by.
    • The dogs lost all their parents in the same lab accident that made a Body Horror out of Snowdrake's mother. In this case, the parents were all merged into a single entity.
    • Undyne refuses to let Papyrus into the Royal Guard not because he's too weak (which he isn't), but out of concern for his safety. She's also a huge geek and absolutely loves anime, even if she thinks it's real. She also has a crush on Alphys and just wants her to be comfortable in her own skin.
    • Shyren is the way she is because she lost her friend to a "fall" of some sort, as well as her sister to the aforementioned lab accident.
    • The Riverman/Riverwoman may be a bit whimsical, but they know many things. No-one in the Underground knows the location of Temmie Village, except for the River Person. They insinuate that they may know about the machine Sans is working on and alludes to knowing about Flowey and how he's neither a human nor a monster. There's a lot of Guide Dang It! things in Undertale, but the River Person has advices relating to almost all of them. Dr. W. D. Gaster was Ret-Gone'd from existence, but the River Person is aware of "the man who speaks in hands." And if you've been playing for an extended period of time, they even remind you to take a break every once in a while.
    • Alphys has zero self-esteem and is borderline suicidal because she's responsible for the lab accident and has been keeping it a secret for years. If the player kills enough monsters, she actually commits suicide.
    • Mettaton was originally a ghost who was pickier about his body than either of the Dummies. The story of Alphys befriending him and building a body that would let him "be who he really is" is very reminiscent of transgenderism. In addition, despite his narcissism, he cares deeply for his cousin, Napstablook, and will be livid at Frisk if they reject "Blooky's" friend request.
    • Asgore wants to free his people from the Underground, but hates having to kill humans to do it. This internal conflict and its effect on his actions have cost him his wife, and he still misses her.
  • Until Dawn:
    • Despite Jessica being portrayed as a sexpot Dumb Blonde, the player can find out she actually has a lot of self-esteem issues and is generally insecure. Also, in chapter 3, should Mike fail to make any decisions, Jess will take the lead, can call Mike out on his hesitation and do something while chewing Mike out even further.
    • Emily is an Academic Alpha Bitch and is generally very rude and self-centered. But she is also one of the more resourceful characters, able to make a torch out of her top (even if she complains about it) and she can think very quickly on her feet as seen during the chase with the Wendigo in the mines. She can also show concern, sadness and distress when she found clues regarding Hannah and Beth in the mines and when she heard Josh was killed. It's also suggested her abrasiveness is due to her own insecurities and fear of failure. If she and Matt have a high enough relationship stat by the end of the game, she will ask the police about him in a worried tone and wonder if Matt still thinks of her as a good girlfriend.
  • A lot of characters in Xenoblade have some level of hidden depths to them, but two of them stand out the most:
    • Reyn is a self-admitted Dumb Muscle that nonetheless can be surprisingly insightful, such as the moment he calls out Shulk when he's treading into Poor Communication Kills territory; and is also more emotionally mature than he lets out.
    • Riki is a Ridiculously Cute Critter with a child-like attitude common in his species. He's also a 40-year-old father of several children who shows some moments of fatherly care and wisdom that surprise everyone, including Team Dad (and actual Parental Substitute) Dunban.
  • Yakuza: Ensemble Dark Horse Goro Majima is originally portrayed as a "boggle-eyed weirdo who dresses like he woke up naked in a pet cemetary", but every game in the series seems to add new layers to the man. By the end of Yakuza 6, his portrayal is that of an intelligent, emotional and introspective man who created the "Mad Dog of Shimano"-persona he has worn as a way of dealing with the harsh reality of yakuza life. He has also wrestled his way into the top echelons of the Tojo clan and can block the new blood without even trying. He turned at least three flagging legitimate businesses into serious money-makers. He has a keen interest in music and a very good singing voice, and will gleefully participate whenever anyone suggests karaoke (and he isn't above deliberately singing off-key to mess with people). He has a serious Big Brother Instinct, especially when it comes to kids and abused women. And he is very serious about environmentalism and recycling.
    • Old Master Sotaro Komaki shows a keen interest in youth culture and dancing. In "5", he follows Haruka's idol career intently and challenges her to a dance battle, and in "0" he is the one to introduce Majima to Osaka's underground breakdancing scene.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair often uses this trope with its characters, whose profiles are updated as more is revealed about them.
    • At first, Raiko comes off as a standard snarky Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but it's revealed that before her sister's death(which she blames herself for), she was rather cheerful and a bit of a prankster. She also had a strong sense of justice, a trait that remained after her sister died.
    • Rie initially comes off as rather scatterbrained and Book Dumb, and threw the party as a way of getting closer to her crush Taiko. Underneath that, she's quite considerate of her friends, and genuinely hopes that everyone invited has a good time.
    • Mika isn't just a somewhat annoying girl who likes to scare others, but is surprisingly caring at heart. She's the first person who actively tries to befriend Kamen after Momoko's death(even before Raiko, who'd proven Kamen's innocence).
    • Kamen is perhaps the best example, as she initially seems like a Jerkass who's especially mean to Raiko and is only nice to her best friend, Momoko. It turns out that she's a closet lesbian who had unrequited feelings for Momoko. When she found out that Momoko's boyfriend Hiro was unfaithful, she tried to warn Momoko, only to be accused of wanting to steal Hiro away. It also turns out that Kamen is the only person besides Nobara who knew Raiko before her sister's death.
    • Raiko's mother Rihatsu appears to be a rather annoying parent who likes pushing her daughter's buttons in her only scene in the main story. In an optional scene, it's revealed that she does so in the hopes of getting Raiko back to her more cheerful old self.
  • Yes, Your Grace: The game starts not long after Princess Lorsulia has started dialing up the aloof side of her personality to cope with the fact that she's now old enough to be part of an Arranged Marriage. Later, she deals with her new husband not wanting her cat inside his castle because he's allergic to it by building a little house for her cat herself. People who ran into her in the past mention her quickly forgiving a petitioner who bumped into her by accident and interrupting horse-riding lessons to help with a cart stuck in mud.
  • Octopath Traveler: NPCs aren't simply faceless characters; by using Cyrus's "Scrutinize" or Alfyn's "Inquire" Path Actions on NP Cs, you can receive information about every individual you come across, such as the woman on the farm who cares more for a test of strength than the hearts of men, or the old woman who is actually a career criminal who ended up settling down in a sleepy town by chance, perhaps to live out the rest of her days in quiet.
  • Cyberpunk 2077:
    • V might come off as a crude merc only interested in fame and glory, but they're shown to be quite intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful, emotional and loving. They're shown to know quite a lot about brain anatomy, a bit of psychology, technology and art, regardless of their past. Depending on the lifepath, they also have small areas of expertise relating to who they used to be: Corpo V knows a lot about espionage and how corps operate, Streetkid V knows about ins and outs of Nigt City and people inhabiting it, while Nomad V has experience in living outside of the city and knows a lot about cars, motorcycles and alike. They're also a cat person.
    • Johnny Silverhand is abrasive, narcisistic and seemingly dettached, but he has enough self-recognition to understand that his past behavior has hurt people closest to him, and becomes determined to become a better person. He also shows a lot of knowledge about visual art, can improvise a Noir-style narration on the spot and gives V advice about old machinery, due to having to deal with it on daily basis back when he was a soldier.
    • Jackie Welles is a Macho Latino Boisterous Bruiser from The Wrong Side Of The Tracks, who also happens to have a keen interest in animals and reads Ernest Hemingway in his free time. He's also very loving and sweet towards his girlfriend, Misty.
    • Misty might seem like an aloof goth girl, but she's also very kind and caring towards her friends. She's very much a case of Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind.
    • Judy Alvarez seems to be a detached nerd who tweaks porn in a basement all day, but if you get to know her better, you'll find out that she mostly does this work to pay her bills, and has geniuene love for the braindance technology, and wrote an article about the philosophical aspects of it for a trade magazine. She also sees how badly her coworkers are treated (due to being sex workers) and wants to stage a coup to force the club owners they work in to give them better working conditions.
    • Panam seems stubborn, Hot-Blooded and angry. If you get to know her better, you'll find out she's fiercely loyal and has a sweeter side to her, especially if you've romanced her.
    • River is a grizzled cop, but you quickly find out that he's actually very sweet and determined to help his sister and her kids due to their bad family situation (his sister is a single mother who's struggling financially). He's also a great cook.
    • Kerry comes off as an aloof Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll washed-up rockstar who has lots of casual sex and can't commit, but his romance route reveals him to be arguably the most devoted and loving Love Interest out of four available, with him writing V a song and reasurring him that he's going to stay with him untill V dies. He's also very proud of his Filipino herritage and has a deeply spiritual side.
    • All three members of "Us Cracks" are typical airheaded pop starlets in public. In private, they are shrewd and savvy businesswomen, who also take a great deal of pride in their craft and are completely willing to exercise their creative control in ways that give their management team nightmares. Their reaction to Kerry Eurodyne kicking down the door to their green room and waving a gun around ranges from boredom to fangirling.
  • Dragon Quest V: Debora has the most Character Development out of all the wives. It runs the entire course of the game, to boot, and sometimes it can be very subtle. As just one example of how subtle it gets: the evening before the bride choice, one NPC mentions that this is just as heavy a situation for Bianca and Nera as it is for the Hero, and they must be up fretting too. Check on Bianca and, and sure enough, it's true... but then Nera is, rather famously, snoozing away. Debora is the one wide awake, and gets quite flustered when you speak to her, especially if you feign non-interest in her. Even then, it seems she loves the Hero but can't bring herself to admit it.


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