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Jerkass Woobie / Video Games

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  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits: Darc was half human and half Deimos. Unlike his brother, Kharg, was unable to hide that he is half human so he was considered a Deimos wannabe. His father dies, and he has to bury him himself. He is then taken in by Geedo and treated as a slave, and treated like crap by the local Orcon. He finally starts to get a friend in the form of Delma, and even gets her brother Densimo to help. Geedo sells him out to the Drakyr, his wings are ripped off, Delma tries to save Darc's life only to be double crossed by the Drakyr, Densimo eats the pyron that he and Delma kept safe from them...then everyone just taunts him and tries to have him killed for being weak. While anyone would want to hug him...they'd want to squeeze him a little too hard when they see how he acts towards humans...
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  • Zulf from Bastion goes berserk and tries to wreck the Bastion, sics his Ura kinsmen on The Kid and Rucks, and kidnaps Zia, but at the same time, he's also one of the sole survivors of a horrible cataclysm that wiped out most of the nation (including his fiancee) and gets rejected and brutally beaten by his own people at the climax of the game. He's sort of a destructive, treacherous bastard, but at the same time, it's hard not to take pity on him.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Jin Kisaragi, believe it or not. He's a huge dick and can be called a disgrace to humanity in how he behaved. However, in the times when he was sane, he's actually a courteous man who seems to be ready to put his past as an Annoying Younger Sibling behind, until things from the past gets to him, and his Evil Weapon amplifies his emotions of the past, making him even more of a jerk than he usually is. There's also the fact that even when he worked his ass off to attain his position in NOL, his adopted family think that it's the family name that got him his position, making him feel like an outcast even in his own family. His "reincarnation" as Hakumen proves that, without said Evil Weapon, he can actually be a true hero, but still a jerk.
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    • The main "protagonist", Ragna the Bloodedge, qualifies as well. Though he does have his good sides and moments, he is for the most part rude, foul mouthed, verbally abusive and is perfectly willing to kill any and all innocent Punch Clock Villains that get in his way on his quest to bring down the NOL... In fact, it could be argued that the only thing keeping him from being an Anti-Villain Protagonist is the fact that 1) the real villains in the BlazBlue-verse are MUCH worse than Ragna could EVER be, and 2) the most active of the Big Bads have seemingly made Ragna his designated victim, and has put lots of effort into fucking Ragna's life up as badly as possible. For example by possessing the earlier mentioned Jin, Ragna's little brother, and, through Jin, cutting off Ragna's right arm.
  • Handsome Jack from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! might also qualify. Though an absolute Jerkass and the trolling Big Bad, he's also had a pretty bad life himself, suffering from physical abuse from his grandmother and verbal abuse from his Bad Boss. He set out to try to make a difference and be an actual hero, but after getting stabbed in the back by a corrupt sheriff, betrayed and permanently scarred by those he considered friends, and his daughter accidentally killing his wife with her Siren powers, he began the slide into insanity, turning the stable and rational Jack into the douchebag Handsome Jack.
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  • Clive Barker's Undying: Aaron of the Covenants divided his time between doing nothing more sinister than painting pictures of Eternal Autumn and selling them to make a living and trying to keep Bethany away from the standing stones, and who was promptly horrifically tortured to death for his trouble, and who as a result had his spirit separated from his still-living-and-eternally-dying body to act out the Undying King's wishes. He's certainly not pleasant to deal with in-game, but most signs point to his being mostly innocent. Jeremiah may or may not count as well.
  • Gunther Hermann in Deus Ex. While he's a remorseless killing machine, much like his partner Anna Navarre, listening to his dialogue and poking into his e-mails reveals fears of being considered "obsolete" in comparison to nanoaugmented agents like Paul and JC Denton. JC Denton killing Anna only reinforces this fear, driving him to swear to hunt down JC. In the cathedral level, one can even find a journal whose author mentions having heard him crying once. And it turns out, after you kill Gunther, that his superiors were playing on his feelings of inferiority.
  • Dante from Devil May Cry, no matter what version of the character you're looking at.
    • In the main timeline, he is constantly making snide remarks, complaining about money, extremely lazy (only works once a week), is in debt to all of his friends (and makes it clear that he won't be paying anyone back anytime soon), and is a major jerk to just about everyone. Then again, he consistently turns down payment (does the job anyway because it is the right thing) and refuses payment from the poor, saves the world on several occasions, takes care of Patty (to a certain extent), is shown to spare demons who are able to love and refuses to kill humans, and is shown to have a compassionate side as well as a kind side (he'll just give you a hard time). The jerkass act is to cover up the fact that he is miserable (it can be seen basically everywhere, especially in the anime; really, he never smiles except when he is slaughtering a demon or when he does a good deed!). The Woobie part is that he witnessed his mother being slaughtered while she protected him at the age of eight and believed his brother to be dead as well. He also believes that his father abandoned them at a young age and it is assumed that he basically raised himself. He finds his brother completely insane and is forced to defeat him, which leads to Vergil's apparent suicide (or so Dante believed), and forced to finally (all the while not knowing that it was Vergil) kill a possessed Vergil ten years later. His friends constantly take advantage of him (manipulating him, forcing him to pay for clothing, etc.), he is forever hunted and hated by the entire demon world (and most humans hate him because of his demon heritage), and he has no hope of ever having a normal day (let alone a normal life). During everyday life, he is constantly being shot at (Lady shoots him point blank through the forehead twice and later through the a period of six hours!), impaled (a Running Gag to be stabbed through the chest or stomach), and other things. Capcom really wanted to make sure that Dante had the worst possible upbringing and life possible, didn't they?
    • The Dante who appears in DmC: Devil May Cry is even more of a Jerkass and somewhat more of a woobie. Reluctant to enter the fight for humanity and all around abrasive to enemy and friend alike, nevertheless he fights for what's right regardless of what it takes. He grew up without a family without his memories of them, fights demons that only he can see with powers he doesn't understand and everyone he kills looks human to normal people. At the end however he refuses to put the shoe on the other foot and subjugate humanity.
  • Sebille, in Divinity: Original Sin II, may be snarky, disrespectful, and sometimes just plain mean, never mind being extremely racist towards lizards, but on the other hand, she has spent much of her life as a slave to one of said lizards (from whom she recently escaped), in which she was forced, through mind control to murder her own kind. Several dialogue options with her reveal that this has taken a very big toll on her, and the thought that she might never be free, as well as several revelations in the second act about the elves she killed, only makes it worse for her.
  • Fenris from Dragon Age II won't pass up an opportunity to remind everyone how horrible and dangerous mages are and how magic spoils everything it touches. He happens to be an escaped elven slave from a country run by power-hungry mages and lost his memory of everything that happened before the ritual that gave him his lyrium markings (which amplify his fighting abilities at the cost of causing him pain and an aversion to touching), so mages being horrible is literally all he knows of life before his escape. He has trouble adjusting to freedom, in part because his former master is still after him. He's illiterate, sucks at social interaction, justifiably paranoid, has trust issues, and often lets his temper get the better of him, for which he tends to apologize afterward. He also treats the mages in the party like crap; this is somewhat justified with Anders, as the story progresses, who is just as much of an ass, but he berates Merrill ceaselessly at the worst possible moments. Romancing him and helping him get over these issues is one of the many heartwarming moments in the game.
  • Drakengard has the protagonist, Caim. He has killed child soldiers, kicked innocent people in the face, and overall has an absolutely absurd amount of murderous rage. He has also literally watched his parents get eaten alive in front of him when he was a child, and has been fighting to protect his sister and home for most of his life. And that's just the background details; in the main story, he also watches his sister and his only friend die.
  • Final Fantasy X: Jecht. Later on in the game, he begin to see great strides of Character Development for this man. It's shown that Jecht, in his own way, genuinely loved Tidus, but could never properly express those feelings, so he tries to shape Tidus into a better and stronger man than he in his own way. This is further compounded when Jecht realizes that he'll never be able to return home. And as such, he decides to be Braska's Final Aeon, seeing it as a chance to finally be of some worth somewhere. Only this ends up backfiring, as due to the continuation of a 1000-year status quo, Yu Yuvon possesses Jecht and slowly reshaped him into the next Sin. It was all for naught! So, over the course of several years, Jecht was trapped in an And I Must Scream situation of almost unparalleled magnitude. It was only by luck that he and Auron were able to orchestrate the majority of the game's events, and even this plan was simply constructed so that Jecht could be felled by his own son.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn:
      • Soren. He's cold, harsh, brutally honest and with the exception of Ike regards everyone with indifference at best and contempt at worst. But he's also led one hell of a shitty life including Parental Abandonment, prejudice and physical beatings just for being who he is, not learning to speak until he was at least eight years old, and the one person who bothered to reach out to him disappeared and didn't remember him when they were reunited. First you want to slap him, then you want to give him a hug.
      • The Black Knight Zelgius when you find out he led the same kind of life Soren did. In fact, even his family hated him if a flashback is any indication. The only one who truly cared about him was his master, Sephiran, and he's another story. The "Jerkass" part comes from the fact he killed Ike's father in front of Ike and threatened to kill Ike and Mist if Greil wouldn't give him Lehran's Medallion. He's at the very least very honorable and is a sympathetic antagonist overall, compared to Ashnard, Lekain, and Izuka. His death is also played for tragedy.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening
      • Severa is a Bratty Teenage Daughter to her parents, quite the Alpha Bitch towards the closest thing to a best friend she has, and can be incredibly harsh to anyone she crosses paths with. However, under that facade there's a terribly wounded girl who once seriously misjudged her mother out of fear and told her things she should have not said — and said mother died in battle before Severa could apologize, which wrecks the girl with guilt. Not to mention there's how her mother's fame has given her a massive inferiority complex, and how she and her friends are among the few survivors of one hellish Bad Future. Now, can someone punch this girl to the ground, and then give her a bear hug?
      • There's also King Gangrel. He commits some true atrocities in the first part of the game, but it's possible to recruit him near the end, and if you do — boy does he have some Hidden Depths. You find him seeking out a living as a pawn for an abusive bandit chieftain, and he's long since realised how horrible he was during his time as The Caligula. He feels that he's crossed the Moral Event Horizon and can never be forgiven for what he's done, which drives him into crushing depression, though he tries to atone for his sins anyway. If you go through his supports, you find out that he started life with nothing, and when he took the throne he initially wanted to help his people before he allowed the power to corrupt him to the core. Worst of all, Chrom has been so deeply wounded by Gangrel's evil actions (which led to either the Heroic Suicide or the Trauma-Induced Amnesia of his beloved older sister Emmeryn, depending on whether you played her Paralogue or not), that he absolutely refuses to ever forgive him. And the person who can be either his best friend or his wife, the Avatar, isn't very convinced of his sincere intentions at first. To add to the drama, the only other character besides the Avatar that can give him another chance is Emmeryn, of all people. In the Hot-Spring Scramble DLC, her forgiveness utterly breaks him.
    • There's no shortage of these people in Fire Emblem Fates:
      • Takumi has gentler sides that come out with his family and subordinates, but it's also true that he brings quite a bit of his own grief on himself. Most of his behavior can be traced back to his frighteningly low self-confidence and his mistakenly believing that no one in his family loves or even cares for him. This is the main reason he can act so abrasive, as he is resentful of the Avatar for being lavished with love and attention, even when the Avatar isn't to blame for it and doesn't deserve it either. It's especially strong in Conquest, though his aggression towards the Avatar does have some justification, his resentment is strong enough to make him far more liable to Anankos' More Than Mind Control.
      • Niles's Dark and Troubled Past left deep scars on him, both physical and psychological, that turned him into a sadistic person who enjoys bursting the bubbles of people who've lived charmed lives; his supports have stated that he savors the moment where he can personally force people to feel pain and suffering for the first time. This is thanks to being abandoned by both his parents and the gang who pretty much raised him, the latter instance leading to a Despair Event Horizon, and his growing up in wretched poverty that led him to steal. It's also heavily implied he was sexually abused in some instances, though it doesn't define him the way his abandonment issues do.
      • Rhajat was an incredibly lonely Dark Magical Girl who truly doesn't know how to change it, and she does get Pet the Dog moments (like her supports with her potential moms, or those with Selkie). On the other, she at very least starts as a creepy jerkass to almost anyone around her, and her localized supports with the Avatars do crank up some of her worst flaws rather than her good sides.
      • Jakob is a handsome and skilled Battle Butler who is a huge jerkass to almost anyone but the Avatar and can be needlessly harsh to his son and fellow butler Dwyer. On the other hand his loyalty to the Avatar is not about sucking up but completely genuine, and it comes from his Dark and Troubled Past in which he was badly neglected by his Blue Blood parents before being abandoned in the Nohrian court so they'd become their servant, and the Avatar was the first person who ever was kind to him.
  • Ghost of Tsushima has Ryuzo, the prideful leader of the Straw Hat Ronin and childhood friend of Jin Sakai. Yes, he does betray Jin by joining the Mongols who are invading Tsushima and inadvertently causes the death of Yuna's brother, but it wasn't a very easy choice for him to make. After all, he's only a mercenary ronin struggling to keep his group of ronin together after losing their leader and a good number of their men on Komoda Beach, and all his attempts at keeping them fed fail miserably. He's also shown to instantly regret changing sides after Khotun Khan forces him to burn a hostage to make the defenders of Castle Shimura open the castle gates. It's also established that the main reason why Ryuzo is a mercenary in the first place is because Jin had defeated him in a tournament that, had Ryuzo won, could have allowed him to become a full-fledged samurai and improve his own life. Ultimately, Ryuzo's betrayal turns out to be for nothing, as Jin ends up killing all of the Straw Hat ronin before killing Ryuzo himself.
  • In the Grand Theft Auto series:
    • Sean "Sweet" Johnson from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Yes, he is a gangster, who says, with pride in his voice, that he robbed people to finance his mother's operation. But all he wants is to build his gang on respect and loyalty rather than money, to keep his neighborhood dope-free and to wreak righteous vengeance on those who try to get his friends hooked on crack. He is betrayed by the people he trusted more than anyone and sent to prison, while said drug dealers run rampant in his absence, nearly sending him over the Despair Event Horizon. Oh, and both his mother and little brother were killed by drug dealers.
    • Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auto IV. Sure, he is a career criminal, but we cannot forget that he is the GTA protagonist with the most tragic, awful and dark backstory. He witnessed several war crimes and horrors when he fought in the Yugoslav Wars such as child murder, mass murder and rape. After the war, he lived in extreme poverty, decided to contact a Russian mobster and things just got worse for him, he was blamed for the sinking of a ship and was chased by the Russian mafia all over Europe. In Liberty City, he committed crimes because of the circumstances and ends up losing a loved one.
    • Grand Theft Auto V: Trevor Philips, who was, apparently, abused by both parents (probably sexually by his mother), was permanently grounded from the Air Force because he was mentally unstable, met his best friend, Michael, started drifting away from Michael before he was apparently killed in a bank heist gone wrong, found out 10 years later that not only was Michael alive but living in the same state, meets up with him again, their relationship slowly frays more and more over the course of the game... and 2 of the 3 endings are downers for Trevor. In ending A, he's burned alive and is Killed Off for Real. In ending B, Franklin kills Michael, meaning his dearest friend is dead and one of the few people Trevor completely trusted betrayed him, and he cuts off all contact with Franklin. Of course, there's still one way to get Trevor a sort of happy ending, but when all of that shit's happened to you, it's really not that surprising that Trevor became a batshit insane meth dealer/addict and black market weapons peddler.
  • The Origami Killer aka Scott Shelby in Heavy Rain gets abused by the hands of his father, along with his twin brother, John, tries to help him by getting their father, but refuses. This is how he becomes the villain that he is. His goal is to find a father who can give up his life to save his son. How does he do that? Kidnap the son and place the father through sadistic tests. If you played the level where it's the last one where Scott is playable, then you can have sympathy for him.
  • Hyrule Warriors has its Big Bad Cia. Prior to the events of the game, Cia was originally a kind person who served as the Guardian of Time, watching over the Triforce and the different time periods. During which, she fell in love with Link's reincarnating spirit even though he was eternally bound to the spirit of Princess Zelda. The feelings of doubt this created left her vulnerable to Ganondorf's corruption, which drove her insane with jealousy and caused her to declare war on Hyrule in a massive attempt to Murder the Hypotenuse. As the game progresses, she goes to increasingly desperate measures, even going so far as to use her own life force to bolster her magic, knowing full well this would kill her. And indeed it does.
  • I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream: Nimdok is an old man with a poor memory who is constantly being burnt alive. In his prime, he was a Nazi scientist who sold out his Jewish parents and mutilated countless people in his experiments. He is horrified when he regains his memories, but no matter what you do, he is told repeatedly that he cannot make up for what he did, and will end up in hell for his crimes.
  • Despite killing a lot of people, betraying a ton of others, and generally making everything around them worse, there's something deeply tragic about the duo of Kane & Lynch .Both were, at one point, normal men with families who ended up losing everything - Kane's two year old killing himself by accident, with his wife dying and his daughter turning away from him later on, and Lynch unwittingly murdering his wife in a fit of psychosis. Both became violent criminals, and yet, over the course of two games, one can tell neither of them enjoy their criminal lifestyles. Come Dog Days, it becomes clear that the two are sick and tired of it and want to live normal lives, but are unable to due to their destructive tendencies. At their core, they are both desperate, broken men trapped in a cycle of crime and violence, likely for the rest of their lives.
  • Kingdom Hearts: DiZ, a.k.a. Ansem the Wise. He gets betrayed by his apprentices, whom he loved like family, and thrust into a realm of nothingness that drove him half-mad. In his desire for revenge against his apprentices, he becomes a Jerkass and does many morally questionable things, and in the end, is overcome by guilt once he realizes this. To atone, he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Kingdom Hearts from Xemnas. It doesn't kill him, but sends him to the realm of darkness, where he once again must endure a lonely period of banishment.
  • Kain of Legacy of Kain could be the poster boy for Villain Protagonist, being the main protagonist of the series and a cold, bloodthirsty, manipulating, selfish schemer. However, he's only this way because he's learned that everyone in the world, stretching back and forwards through time, wants him dead. Why? Mostly because it it's Kain's destiny to save the world by conquering it (long story), and a lot of people are trying to take over Nosgoth too. This leads to him staking the existence of the space-time continuum to reclaim his proper destiny that others have robbed him of. His incredibly selfish and jaded outlook is spawned partially by all this, and partially by the fact that he was corrupted with the insanity of Nuprator just seconds out of the womb and so was pretty much ascertained from birth to grow up to be a bastard.
  • Mass Effect 2: Jack! Nothing in that woman's life has gone right, leading to us nearly forgetting that it's turned her into a Sociopathic Hero with a persecution complex. It's also worth mentioning that the player can effectively turn her into even more of a woobie. She has been used and abused all her life and believes that everyone in the galaxy is only interested in themselves and what they can get out of other people. If Shepard chooses the Renegade sex option when she confronts him, that just confirms her belief, meaning she will continue to forever circle the drain of self destruction, making the realization that you could have been her first true friend and yet refused so much worse.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, at the end of Brûz the Chopper's sidequest line, Brûz himself becomes one. Sure, he shanked you in the back, threw you off a balcony, stole your fort, kidnapped your dudes, and tried to kill you, but his final fate is absolutely horrifying - Talion and Celebrimbor shame him and turn him into a hysterical, sobbing, deranged wreck who can only babble about how "it's your fort, not mine" and such. Seeing him in this state is very uncomfortable, and inspires many a player to put him out of his misery the next time they see him.
  • Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes. He's a perverted fanboy who kills for money and enjoys it, but he's being conned the whole time and, when he finds out, genuinely feels bad about killing all those people for no real reason. His parents were also killed by his first love who, he later discovered, was his half-sister, who revealed that she had been molested on a regular basis by his father. Poor guy's trapped in an endless cycle of violence. No wonder he wanted to "find the exit".
  • Octopath Traveler: Derryl from Ophilia's Chapter 2. While he can be a jerk to his friend Emil, losing his mother and the one memento he has of her is unsurprisingly hard on him. Ophilia, an orphan herself, sympathizes with him even as she gently calls him out on how he's treating his friend.
  • Odin Sphere's Ingway is a Manipulative Bastard who curses the man his sister loves with a Baleful Polymorph in order to keep the two of them apart, and who lies to, uses, backstabs and otherwise jerks around a substantial percentage of the rest of the game's cast in the service of his own personal goals. It's hard not to feel some sympathy for him, though, when you know his whole story: he and his twin sister Velvet were forced to renounce their mother and claim they didn't love her in order to avoid being executed along with her by their grandfather, and believe that she cursed them and died hating them for their betrayal. It turns out that Ingway caused the disaster that destroyed the entire country of Valentine by making the Crystallization Cauldron go out of control... which he did in order to keep his father, King Odin of Ragnanival, from being killed in battle against Valentine's superior forces, but the effect was much greater than he'd anticipated. To make matters worse, Odin promptly claimed the Cauldron without showing Ingway any trace of gratitude, affection, or compassion, instead dismissing him with a callous, "Well done, traitor," and leaving him to cope with the guilt of having wiped out his whole country for a man who wouldn't even acknowledge him as his son. His actions over the course of the game are one part trying to find a way to escape the curse of death that's on him, one part Calling the Old Man Out, and one part genuine but often misguided selflessness that backfires horribly about as often as it actually helps anything.
  • Portal 2 gives us Cave Johnson, the insane CEO of Aperture Science. He is a Bad Boss of the highest degree, and doesn't care very much what happens to his employees. Yet still, most of the things he and his company invented were by accident. He wanted to make a diet pudding, he made the propulsion and repulsion gels instead (a pair of gels that are definitely not to be consumed). He had a similar intention with the conversion gel too, and even tried it on himself...only to find out that it is deadly as all hell and works better as portal conductors. On a related note, he definitely spent more time testing his products than actually marketing them due to how horrible Aperture was at that particular task. This eventually leads to his downfall as he eventually goes bankrupt and, in his last moments, he uploaded his assistant's consciousness on to GlaDOS so that she would be able to run the facility in his place (despite the fact that she did not want to). In short, he would have been a millionaire and an everyday hero if he had at least a little more sanity and some marketing ability, and the sense to use that ability.
  • Silent Hill 2: While how sympathetic James is a matter of debate amongst fans, there is no doubt about the plight of these two characters he meets on his journey through Silent Hill:
    • Even in a game where depression is a central theme, Angela Orosco stands out as an exceptionally pitiful character. From a young age, her alcoholic father Thomas — and her brother, in the novelization — raped her repeatedly, and her mother only exacerbated the hopelessness of her plight by telling her she deserved it. She killed her father in self-defense before fleeing to Silent Hill, struggling with thoughts of suicide, and finds herself tormented by a monster she believes to be her father. The last time she meets James, she asks for him to return her knife and ascends a burning staircase to her demise when he refuses.
    • Maria is a tulpa of Mary Shepherd-Sunderland who shares her memories, personality, and attachments, and unlike Pyramid Head, is an independent entity on at least some level. When she discovers the truth about her nature as a torture implement created by Silent Hill, she nearly shoots herself before accepting her destiny in the hopes of earning James' love. She meets up with him only to get separated from him later, and sobs when she finds him again. Throughout the game, she is killed repeatedly by Pyramid Head before facing off with James and attempting to kill him when he rejects her. Once she's at his mercy, all she can do is repeat his name over and over again. To drive the nail in further in one ending, it's implied that even though she got what she wanted from him, she is about to suffer the same fate as Mary.
  • Soul Series: Aeon Calcos, also known as Lizardman. While he's served as a minor villain and by Soul Calibur 5 is a frightening man-eater with a case of Rage Against the Heavens, it's hard to find fault with why he hates the gods; he was a hero loyally fighting evil in Hephaestus's name before a rain of Soul Edge's power drove him temporarily insane and let priests of Ares turn him into a monster. Upon recovering his memories, Aeon is consumed with bitterness as he realizes his god abandoned him when he needed him the most, and is now caught between a man that wants revenge on the Jerk Ass Gods and his bestial side, which wants to eat people. What makes it worse is nobody knows or cares that Aeon was a good man before outside forces turned him into a monster.
  • Super Paper Mario: Count Bleck, before becoming a flat-out Woobie. He may be an Omnicidal Maniac, but he's also both a genuine Benevolent Boss to his minions — giving them hope after their various Despair Event Horizons, no less — and a Tragic Villain who snapped after his father's Disproportionate Retribution against Tippi. The fact that he not only wants to be defeated out of remorse, but also seemingly sacrifices himself to undo everything he started doesn't hurt, either.
  • In the Tales Series:
    • Tales of Destiny: Leon in the original is cold and unpleasant, makes it clear he hates the party, and uses shock tiaras on party members when he's particularly upset with them. He's also been abused by his father his whole life and is finally blackmailed into betraying the party and getting himself killed because his father is holding the only person he cares about hostage. His woobie status is emphasized by showing even worse abuse at the hands of Hugo including being beaten into a five-day coma and his jerkass traits reduced in the remake, making him more of a straight Woobie.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Zelos Wilder. He's a jerk, pervert, and totally lazy, and betrays the group a few times, feeling the need to side with the side he thinks is the strongest. If you talk to him at Flanoir, however, you find out that he had to watch his mother die from an assassination attempt aimed at him. Her dying words were that he shouldn't have been born. He also says that his parents were forced together, which causes him grief. His people only see him as the Chosen and not as a person. If you choose Kratos's ending, Zelos betrays you, further solidifying his Jerkass status, but he also says, smiling the whole time, that he did it because Mithos promised to transfer the Chosen title to his sister. He also suggests that he's generally tired of living. The manga adaptation delves further into his backstory to reveal his father abandoned him and committed suicide over an exposed affair when Zelos was a little kid, Cruxis recruited him when he was fourteen (because that's the perfect age to find out your whole life's been a lie) and dying was the end goal of his grand schemes because he felt everyone would be happier if he wasn't around. Ouch.
    • There's plenty in Tales of the Abyss.
      • Luke starts out as selfish, ignorant brat and a mega Jerkass, but right from the beginning you feel for him, because his memories of his childhood are completely gone, and since losing them, he hasn't left the manor. One moment he'll be obnoxiously blaming Tear for abducting him, the next he'll say in a horribly soft voice, "so that's what the sea looks like..." The Jerkass part becomes worse once he's named ambassador to Akzeriuth, but then the game breaks him over and over again, giving him a massive and justified inferiority complex and putting him through loads of horrible deaths, sacrifices and other traumas. He ends up becoming a much friendlier and more likeable person in the process, so by the time he offers his life to destroy the miasma, hearing him plead "I don't want to die!" is downright heartbreaking.
      • Asch is even more of an unrepentant Jerkass than Luke. He's unwavering in his cruelty to everyone, especially Luke, his replica. But he has an extremely justified reason for it, and when you learn that Luke basically stole his life in Baticul, including his childhood love interest, his hatred for Luke makes a lot of sense. He then spends the entire game trying to fix everything by himself, constantly fails due to circumstances beyond his control, and, of course, dies in the finale.
      • Jade is a milder version on both fronts; his Jerkassery is mostly limited to his occasionally extreme disregard for the sanctity of life and his near-constant snarking that borders on verbal abuse. His sense of timing is cringeworthy, and he'll often torment the others in his group even in their weakest moments. However, he has a very Dark and Troubled Past, and while he doesn't necessarily understand death or sympathy all that well, he tries desperately hard to do the right thing. Eventually, once he starts realizing the horrible consequences of inventing fomicry, he becomes increasingly miserable and repentant. It all culminates in an extremely heartwarming moment where, after declaring that the only way to stop the miasma is for Luke to pull a Heroic Sacrifice, he cracks and admits he doesn't want Luke to go through with it, because he considers him a friend. Aww.
  • The Talos Principle: Elohim and Milton, in different ways. Each attempts to way the User for their own reasons, yet at the end of the day they are just doing exactly what they were created to do, despite (or perhaps as the direct result of) their creators' failing to anticipate that they too might gain sentience.
  • Anna Williams, of the Tekken series. She's a Professional Killer who willingly serves as bodyguard to a member the evil Mishima clan, and is locked into a bitter, violent feud against her sister, Nina. However, unlike the thoroughly ruthless and cold-blooded Nina, we get many strong hints that Anna has a very well-Hidden Heart of Gold underneath it all. The original reason for their rivalry was that Anna resented being The Unfavorite to their father for wanting to have a normal life rather than follow in his footsteps and enter the assassin trade, and she has tried more than once to put the conflict to rest and have a healthy relationship with her sister (with Nina brutally shutting it down each time). Even on the rare occasion where Anna gets a victory over Nina, she's usually content to simply embarrass or show up her sister, as opposed to gravely insulting, injuring, or even [in one non-canon instance] killing her, like Nina is prone to do instead.
  • The Turing Test: TOM. While he's supremely arrogant and dismissive of human intelligence and reasoning, to the point of considering mind-controlling humans to be doing them a favour, and feeling perfectly justified in imprisoning the crew on Europa for the rest of their lives or killing them rather than letting them escape, it's easy to feel sorry for him during either of the endings. Either he ends up killing someone he regarded as a friend, leaving him shocked and seemingly unable to believe that she's really dead, or he can't bring himself to kill her, and she kills him instead, even as he pleads with her that he's not ready to die. Either way, and regardless of whether you agree with his reasoning, it's clear that the combination of his programming and events on Europa have put him in a situation where he feels that he has no good choices.
  • Flowey, aka Asriel Dreemurr in Undertale. In the neutral path, he's just a ginormous Jerk, but if you walk either of the other paths, you learn in great detail whyhe was brutally murdered as a child for refusing to fight back against his attackers, then unintentionally resurrected as a flower without a SOUL, unable to feel kindness or love as a result. In the Pacifist route, he briefly goes back to being his normal self, allowing him to tearfully apologize for what he's done— made even more sad because he knows this state is temporary, and soon he'll go back to being the SOULless asshole he was all game, and in the Genocide route, you become an even worse monster than he ever was, and— controlled by your determination to empty the underground of its inhabitants and the corrupted spirit of his deceased adoptive sibling— and if you make that final move, you brutally slaughter him just because you can.
  • Liesolotte from Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume. You'll want to reach through the screen and hug her, telling her it'll be alright...then break her ribs when you see what she did to Rosea in the "A" and "B" paths. (Heck, even what she tried to do to you.) To wit, the main source of conflict between the two is that they were expelled from the archmage's court because they were suspected of killing the archmage. Neither of them did it, all the know is that they didn't do it and think the other did it but saw their inability to own up as cowardice and this turned into hatred, resulting in either Rosea stabbing Liesolotte, Liesolotte stabbing Rosea, or them stabbing each other to death. however, as it turns out, neither of them did was Fauxnel - who even admits to doing it. Essentially, there's nothing they can do.
  • LaCroix, the Camarilla Prince in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. For all his ambition, ruthlessness, devious schemes, and the fact that he's the main antagonist in all but one of the possible endings, he's so damn ineffectual that he winds up coming off as more pathetic than villainous. Hell, unless you side with him, he doesn't get so much as a boss fight in the end. You just shrug off his attempt to dominate you and slice'n'stab him with a letter opener off his desk in a cutscene.
  • In the Adam Cadre Interactive Fiction work Varicella, the young king-to-be Charles is a sadistic, bratty, unlikeable powder keg as a result of his constant physical and sexual abuse from his "teacher", religious minister Bonfleche. Because everyone in the palace seems more concerned with grabbing power rather than addressing the unhealthy atmosphere within, Charles is eventually guided to becoming one of the most hellishly violent and ruthlessly competent kings of all time.
  • The Warcraft universe has a few examples:
    • Fandral Staghelm is a racist who believes that night elves are the only true druids, is quite rude and patronizing toward players who do his quests, and, in Stormrage, works with the villain, helping to trap Malfurion in the Emerald Nightmare and trying to corrupt Teldrassil. It is, however, revealed that his wife died giving birth to their son and his son was brutally executed in front of him during the war of the Shifting Sands. Fandral's going astray is the result of seeing a hallucination of his son, and his mind is completely broken by essentially losing his son a second time. Even after being restored to some semblance of sanity after being brought to the Firelands, he's far enough over the Despair Event Horizon that he would rather destroy the world than live without his child.
    • Sylvanas Windrunner died a brutal death at the hands of Arthas during the invasion of Silvermoon before being raised as undead, and also lost many of her people to her. Even after being freed of the Lich King's control, she is uncertain what future awaits her, especially in the wake of the Lich King's defeat, and sees her existence as an undead as a form of torment. She is also incredibly ruthless to the Forsaken's enemies and tends to be fairly cold to those with whom she interacts. Sylvanas' woobification has grown to such tremendous levels that she's one of the Warcraft franchise's most notable example of a Draco in Leather Pants.
    • Varian Wrynn has a great deal of responsibility for the escalating Horde-Alliance tensions, and is hot-tempered and impulsive, often with many negative consequences. However, as a child, he lost his father to Garona and saw Stormwind overrun (influencing his negative view on the Horde), lost his wife to the Defias riots, and now has a strained relationship with his son Anduin, which motivates him to try to work on his temper and keep his Lo'Gosh persona in check. He may often make bad decisions, bud he has been through quite a bit, and while some of it is his fault, he has been motivated to change himself.
    • Genn Greymane, a grumpy old man by nature, walled his nation off from the Alliance after the Second War, abandoning them to the Scourge. In the years since then, his kingdom was attacked by the Worgen, he himself got bitten, and in Cataclysm, the Forsaken invade Gilneas, forcing him to swallow his pride and turn to the Alliance for help. To make matters worse, his son dies in that same invasion.
    • Sylvanas' sister, Alleria Windrunner, becomes this in Beyond the Dark Portal. She had to watch her homeland devastated in the Second War, during which her brother Lirath was killed by orcs. In response, she becomes obsessed with revenge and death, and becomes far more openly cruel towards others, including her lover Turalyon, which forms a rift between the two. As much of a jerk as she is, it's also apparent that her behavior, like that of many Jerkass Woobies, is also self-destructive, and her companions alternate between being upset at her actions and being worried that she'll ultimately get herself killed in her quest for vengeance. Thankfully, she comes to see her love for Turalyon as more important than her revenge, and gets off the path she's on.
  • The World Ends with You: Neku Sakuraba is the 15-year-old snarky protagonist of the game. At first, he's extremely cold to the party members on his journey through the Reaper's Game because as it turns out according to Another Day, he lost his best friend before dying and couldn't handle the grief so he shunted himself off from people. It's only through Shiki Misaki's coercing that he is able to trust anyone again. When they win the first game, Shiki gets taken as his entry fee because the Big Bad knew her connection to Neku and he is forced to play another game. There he examines Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu, his enigmatic new partner's memories and finds he was killed by Joshua. When he is about to confront Joshua about this, he is ignored and Joshua instead helps him defeat Sho Minamimoto but is supposedly killed by Minamimoto's Level i Flare, revealing that Joshua was shooting at Minamimoto who apparently shot Neku. Later on, it's revealed Joshua is the Composer and the man who Neku stopped was trying to save Shibuya's UG. Then Neku finds out Joshua really did kill him, and after defeating Megumi Kitaniji, Neku is given a game of quick draw. Despite all the hell, Joshua put him through, Neku is unable to shoot Joshua and gets shot instead... again. Afterward, though Neku returns to life and finally has friends again and truly trusts them now, and lamenting that while Joshua was a jerk, he still spared Shibuya.
  • Cpt. Mark Bannon from World in Conflict. He seems like a Neidermeyer who always disobey orders from Col. Jeremiah Sawyer. This has led to the death of French Commandant Jean-Baptiste Sabatier, and the killing of many innocent Soviet civilians. But once you learn about his backstory, your opinion on him had changed. First, he had a telephone call with his step father. Then afterwards, his treatment by Sawyer. But by the end of the Cascade Falls mission, Bannon redeems himself by volunteering for a holding action against an overwhelming Soviet force. He apologizes to the Colonel before he, along with his company, perishes in the nuclear explosion.
  • Yakuza 3: Yoshitaka Mine is a genuinely vile figure, but, at the same time, his backstory is just so full of tragedy and emotional trauma you can't shake the feeling that if someone had hugged him literally once when he was a child, he would probably have turned out pretty much OK.
  • Ayano Aishi a.k.a. Yandere-chan, the Villain Protagonist of Yandere Simulator is worthy of pity, as her backstory is shown in this video. Her father frequently took her to doctors in an attempt to explain her genetic mental health problems and crippling apathy. From a young age, she knew that she was "different" and wanted to experience emotions like normal people, yet still remained frustrated that she couldn't. Also, her parents frequently argued about her condition. Because her father worried and kids bullied her, she soon learned how to pretend to be normal, but not truly connecting with anyone, as her father probably knew she was faking it. Whenever she talked to her mother about it, she'd just deliberately ignore it, downplay the situation or enable her future Yandere tendencies. It doesn't excuse anything she does, but anyone can understand why she's so desperate to have Senpai.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2:
    • Bill Williamson comes off more sympathetically than in the first game. Before joining Dutch's gang, he witnessed the atrocities of war, was dishonorably discharged from the army and lost his father to dementia, something he fears he may have inherited. He tries to pull his weight in the gang but everyone brings up his screw-ups instead. He is foolishly loyal to Dutch as the man had saved him when Bill was at his lowest and refuses to realize that by the end, Dutch isn't as great as Bill believes to be.
    • Molly O'Shea may be an Alpha Bitch who can be insufferable to the rest of the gang but you can't help but feel a bit bad for her if you take the time to see how life is like for her at the camp. Her lover Dutch frequently neglects her and doesn't take her seriously, as does the rest of the gang. Then she gets drunk and confesses she is the traitor as a desperate cry of attention to Dutch, only to be gunned down. It's made worse that she isn't the traitor at all and died a pointless death.
    • Dutch himself qualifies once his Sanity Slippage worsens. He begins to cross lines that he normally wouldn't and become suspicious and hostile towards John and Arthur, his two most loyal members. Though it's not hard to see why he is so full of anger, as he lost his closest friend Hosea, his plans keep getting the gang into more trouble with the law, he suspects there is a traitor in the gang and doesn't realize that the traitor Micah is deliberately corrupting him to make more mistakes and turning him against Arthur and John.


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