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Shell Shocked Veteran / Video Games

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  • Auron in Final Fantasy X, he's even got the scars to prove it.
  • Cyan Garamonde in Final Fantasy VI is a rare example of having their Heroic BSoD happen in-game.
    • Shadow from the same game is also implied to be of this trope. Just have him sleep at the inn while playing as him and you'll see dreams relating to his past.
  • Cloud from Final Fantasy VII is a prime candidate for post-traumatic stress. He even spends a large portion of the game in a coma!
    • Although he gets better by the end of the original game, Advent Children shows that he's far from fully recovered from his traumatic experiences.
  • Metal Gear Solid is made up of these characters. Solid Snake, in particular, was nearly completely emotionally crippled by war by the age of thirty and had to work his way out of it again. Big Boss's Start of Darkness showed the beginning of his slide, but he didn't recover. Even the young Raiden gets in on it, having been one of Africa's Child Soldiers.
    Snake (laying a cloth over the face of a womannote  he just killed): I don't need a handkerchief.
    Otacon: Why?
    Snake: I don't have any more tears to shed.
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  • When she was alive, Spooky scared a man suffering from PTSD. He ended up killing her.
  • Kratos from God of War displays traits of a Shell-Shocked Veteran. This may be one of the reasons why he is such a ruthless Sociopathic Hero.
  • Kratos from Tales of Symphonia exhibits tendencies of this trope from the very beginning. As you get further out in the game, the party learns that he has a very, very long and rocky history to explain it.
  • Most of the main cast of Final Fantasy XII, one way or another, though it seems to be played straightest with Basch.
    • Penelo lampshades how the party are a group of this trope, pointing towards the war between Rozarria and Arcadia as the cause of it. Rightfully so actually.
  • Spoofed in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where one of the guests on a radio talk show, Entertaining America, is a washed up action movie hero who earnestly believes everything that happened in his movies, including his friend dying in Vietnam, happened for real. And the host gets shot and killed by him when he calls him out on it.
    • Also in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the player is tasked with sneaking into Colonel Fuhberger's house to steal his stock of Cold War era weapons. Anytime the player makes a noise that slightly stirred the old soldier from his sleep, he can be hear yelling things like "GET OFF MY RIDGE, YOU VIET CONG BASTARDS!" In his dreams, he is back in the war.
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    • Then turned around and played terrifyingly straight in Grand Theft Auto IV, with Nico Bellic. You don't need to come up with complex justifications for any crimes he's committed; fighting in Eastern European civil wars, he's seen the very worst a human being can do. It says something about how bad a place is when going to Liberty City is an improvement.
    Niko Bellic: You remember, during the war... we did some bad things, and bad things happened to us. War, is where the young and stupid are tricked by the old and bitter into killing each other. I was very young, and very angry. Maybe that is no excuse.
  • The Psychopath Cliff in Dead Rising is a Vietnam vet caught in a flashback; he ambushes you from the vents and wields a machete. Once you take him down, he comes to his senses, and tells you as he dies that he went back to the war on seeing zombies devour his granddaughter.
  • Gears of War:
    • Marcus Fenix.
      Carmine: Hey, are you the Marcus Fenix? The one who fought at Aspho Fields?
      Marcus: Yeah.
      Carmine: Hey, cool!
      Marcus: Not really.
    • Dom, too.
      [after encountering some grub holes]
      Carmine: I used to have nightmares about those things when I was a kid.
      Dom: Shit, I still do...
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  • In Kingdom Hearts, Leon occupies this role, having changed his name (from Squall Leonhart) out of guilt over being unable to save his world from The Heartless.
  • Ciel in Tsukihime claims to be one of these, but we only see her through the eyes of Shiki. From the reactions of others to her and some of what she does even to him, it's likely true. After all, she goes fufufufu.... Oh, and she's actually in her mid twenties despite looking the same age as Shiki or younger, and unlike Arcueid has actually lived for most of that time.
  • After a nuclear explosion kills 30,000 American troops in Call of Duty 4, the sequel introduces General Shepherd, who turns out to be The Chessmaster who essentially started World War III just so he could avenge his fallen troops and exploit the full military might of "the most powerful fighting force in the world" on anyone and everyone he wanted.
    Shepard: Five years ago, I lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye, and the world just fucking watched.
  • The Warcraft universe has several. Varok Saurfang and Farseer Nobundo come to mind. (Those two even qualified by being on opposite sides of the same conflict.)
    • Drek'Thar feels remorse for the atrocities he committed as part of the Old Horde, and because the Forsaken commit similar deeds without feeling anything, he refuses to help them.
  • Bao-Dur from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
    • It's heavily implied that the Exile has this even worse then Bao-Dur; the game doesn't even allow (canonically) her to recount her experiences in the war, or any other part of her life. Other characters remark on this in her absence.
    Kreia: Do you speak of all your battles? Or are there some you wish to forget?
  • It was hinted at in Metroid's manga although how much was actually Samus's PTSD is never elaborated, especially when the ending has her defeating and mocking Ridley. Another hint at it was in the ending of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, where she sits in thought reflecting of the allies she was forced to kill.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Depending on dialogue choices, Commander Shepard from the series can fit this trope. If the right dialogue is chosen, s/he's cynical and bitter with major emotional scars from his/her past experiences. And s/he's especially this in Mass Effect 3 where it becomes pretty clear how emotionally burned out s/he really is. Particularly since 3 really highlights the fact that Shepard never really dealt with the trauma of dying in the previous game and has been simply putting on a brave face for everyone's benefit. Joker once mentions his concern that Shepard's vitals recorded by their armour registered them as being presently under more stress than they were at Elysium/Torfan/Akuze, just in their normal resting state. S/he has a recurring nightmare of being in a forest full of shadowy figures/ghosts, and the whispers of all the teammates and crew members who have died over the course of the trilogy. Depending on your choices, that can be a lot of voices. Fortunately, though, after two games of playing Warrior Therapist to his/her party members, Shepard's friends return the favor this round. The next line after the page quote is:
      Garrus: ... Before your friend picks you up, dusts you off, and tells you you're the best soldier he's ever known.
    • Also a few of the background characters, most particularly Corporal Toombs, the only survivor of the Akuze incident (except possibly Sole Survivor Shepard). His appearance in the game consists of holding the man who engineered Akuze at gunpoint, and if you don't talk him down, he can't even find peace in death.
    • There's a volus in Noveria who exhibits a particularly bad case after Doing What He Had To Do: sealing an asari colleague in the hot labs with the rachni so they wouldn't escape and kill him and the others. Two years later in the sequel, you receive an email from him saying that he hopes this is his purgatory and that he "really" died trying to save her (but if not, thank you).
    • There are several side-quests and NPC's dealing directly with post-traumatic stress, with one NPC's name literally being "PTSD Soldier", an Asari commando who was forced to kill a young girl (heavily implied to be Joker's sister), after her crying from a broken leg threatened to alert Reaper forces. If Shepard uses their Spectre authorisation to grant her request to carry a gun "for defense", upon returning to the Citadel she's revealed to have turned the gun on herself.
    • A few NPCs in Mass Effect: Andromeda are vets of the Skyllian Blitz, who evidently signed up to go to another galaxy to get away from flashbacks and night terrors. Unfortunately for them, they wind up on the doorstep of another war, and it's mentioned in one e-mail that the bad guys in this fight use tactics that mash right on one veteran's Trauma Button.
  • Fear Effect: Glas, especially since he was a soldier, and has now taken to binge drinking and playing games of Russian Roulette.
  • In Quake III: Arena this trope applies to many of the characters from previous Id games, especially from the Slipgate and Stroggos wars. Wrack, Grunt and Major are said to be this.
  • Resident Evil delves into this, particularly in the later games.
    • Chris Redfield is portrayed as such in the Resident Evil 5 viral campaign, which focuses on him trying to put the traumatic events of the game behind him. The next entry, Resident Evil 6 doubles down on this, with Chris's campaign heavily focusing on the heavy toll his work has taken on his psyche. After losing his squad during a mission, he spends several months as an amnesic drunk until his Number Two, Piers, drags him back into action.
    • Jack Krauser is strongly implied to be this in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. To put it simply, he held a long, extensive, and distinguished service in the military as a SOCOM operative, and also underwent mercenary business whenever he had any days off from SOCOM, he has spent enough time on the battlefield to sense something is terribly wrong in an area due to it "smelling like a battlefield," and lastly is unable to function in regular society and thus needs the battlefield to function. This last part is ultimately what drives his Face–Heel Turn by the time of Resident Evil 4, as a serious injury to his arm that he received during his fight against Hilda Hidalgo essentially resulted in SOCOM firing him due to it never recovering.
    • Even Leon S. Kennedy is not immune to this trope, particularly in the CGI film Vendetta. Similar to Chris's situation in 6, Leon is traumatized by a botched mission that killed his entire team and forced him to put down their reanimated corpses. Chris and Rebecca find him making friends with an empty bottle of liquor and not in the mood to help. It takes Rebecca being kidnapped to bring him back to his senses.
  • By the end of the game in Radiata Stories in the human path, Jack leaves Radiata, too shell-shocked with what he's done after being reinstated as a Radiata Knight by killing a lot of nonhuman characters, Ganz leaving him after finding out that he killed his father while being semi aware that Gawain may not have killed his father, and finally Ridley dying on him.
  • in Valkyria Chronicles, one of your Gallian militia snipers, Catherine O'Hara, was also a sniper during the first Europan war. Despite her friendly demeanor, she clearly has a number of mental scars from her experiences. It's later revealed that she once ran out of ammunition and was helpless to watch a friend of hers get killed; She always has more ammo than the other snipers, but she panics if she ever runs out.
  • Spec Ops: The Line has John Konrad and quite a lot of his 33rd infantry battalion suffering from various stages of PTSD. Your squad quickly picks it up as well — Martin Walker is already implied to have initial stages of PTSD from his past in Afghanistan, which blossoms during the game into full-blown mental degradation. By the end, Walker is either dead by suicide or essentially catatonic.
  • Lara is this at the end of Tomb Raider. A crewman of the fishing boat that picks up the Endurance survivors specifically mentions Lara's Thousand-Yard Stare, and Word of God is that one reason for her drive to continue her adventures is to "keep running" and avoid having to come to terms with the things that happened to her and what she had to do to survive on the island.
  • BioShock Infinite: Booker was traumatized when he participated in the Battle of Wounded Knee — to put it in perspective, it was more of a massacre than a real fight.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 3 features a Sorceress named Gem, who suffers this quite badly, judging by her dialogue in the Shadow of Death campaign. Through the urgings of one of her friends, she moved to the continent of Antagarich to escape the horrors she had endured during the Succession Wars. In the very first mission we get treated to infrequent prompts between in-game weeks of Gem's nightmares, starring her Rampart forces being butchered by the undead.
  • In Dwarf Fortress your dwarfs can attain the personality trait "doesn't really care about anything anymore" if they witness too much violence. Players actively try to make their dwarfs like this, because dwarfs who do care can be driven Ax-Crazy if too many of their friends die.
  • The player characters of NAM-1975, as shown in the intro and the back cover.
  • Implied to be the fate of everyone in Risk of Rain, if they survive.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Patrick's former profession as a soldier left him with some psychological scars, the Gel'ziabar Stone, and a life debt owed to Jeremiah Covenant.
  • When your Roman party ambushes a few goblins resting by a campfire in Nethergate, they are surprised that the greenskins act like war-weary veterans instead of behaving like savage beasts they are supposed to be.
  • In League of Legends Teemo's "Omega Squad" skin plays this trope straight, as a Darker and Edgier version of Teemo after so many fights.
  • Non-combat variant: In The Lost Crown, the Station Master's account of the Apple Train derailment suggests his father became this after witnessing that terrible calamity. The fact that his father was the one who'd tried to shift the stuck tracks and to warn the train off with a lantern, but failed in both attempts, more than justified such a diagnosis.
  • Halo: It's taken a very long time to surface thanks to both Chief's mental training and his sheer force of will, but by the time of Halo 5: Guardians, some cracks are beginning to break through. The Chief has been pushing himself non-stop instead of taking some time off, and in Blue Team's intro cutscene, he can't stop his hands from shaking as he pilots his Pelican. Both are telling signs of PTSD. Considering that he's experienced the loss of nearly all his fellow Spartan-IIs and Cortana, his going AWOL to follow a dream of Cortana is a relatively mild response.
  • Slim of Evolve is one of these, with good reason. The events of The Third Mutagen War killed all his friends, turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid, placed his homeworld under strict rule, put a massive bounty on his head, and apparently involved 'hurtling naked through deep space'. By the events of the game, he's hiding in the wilderness of Shear and suffers severe PTSD, repressing all memories before and of the war, including his own name.
  • In Firewatch, it turns out that Ned was this. He served in the war and was discharged due to personal issues.
  • At the very end of the classic Traffic Department 2192, player character Velasques has become one of these. Particularly stands out since she starts the game as a full-on Hot-Blooded Cowboy Cop on a non-stop Roaring Rampage of Revenge - seemingly determined to singlehandedly wipe out every last soldier of the Vulture Cult Army for killing her father in front of her when she was 11. But after several campaigns, seeing countless fellow officers and friends die during the course of her crusade, narrowly avoiding death numerous times (including being blown up and patched back together again as a cyborg at one point) and more or less directly causing the destruction of her homeworld - all for her vengeance... she's just so, so tired.
  • Bastion from Overwatch is a robot, and the Last of His Kind from the Omnic War many years ago. His origin story, "The Last Bastion", reveals that he reverts to his original Killer Robot programming after hearing or seeing anything that reminds him of the Omnic Crisis. He reverts to his sentry mode and starts shooting everything in sight after mistaking a woodpecker for machine-gun fire, and downloading the memory of one of his fallen Bastion units shows him a vision of the war, with a Crusader clearing away many of his kind. After the vision, he reverts back to his programming, intent on hunting down humans, but his new bird friend Ganymede snaps him out of it.
  • The Bloody Baron from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the most Warts and All portrayals of this trope in gaming, as the horrors of what he'd seen on the battlefield drove him to become The Alcoholic. This, in turn, causes him to become distant from his wife, which causes her to cheat on him, causing him to kill her lover in a jealous rage before hitting her (as she was trying to kill him for this), and thus starts roughly 20 years of an absolutely wretched relationship for everyone involved.
  • Quite a few characters in the Trails Series end up becoming this thanks to the events of the series that have ravaged the land.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has Loewe and Joshua, being the survivors of a Doomed Hometown which started the Hundred Day War, ends up being shell shocked at the horrifying experience that Joshua, who was still a child at this point, was mentally catatonic and Loewe had nowhere else to go but to join with Ouroboros to judge humanity.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has Rean Schwarzer whose had to experience at least three wars (the Civil War in II, the war for Crossbell in Divertissment against Calvard, and the off-screen North Ambria campaign before III) that by the third game, he'd rather prefer to stay as a military instructor. Unfortunately for him, the government still has his number and orders him to do their bidding with him just plain giving up and accepting his assignments because of his status as a national hero.
  • The Veteran from Town of Salem is described as "A paranoid war hero who will shoot anyone who visits him." by the game. His ability is to go on alert at night and to kill anyone visiting him, Friend or Foe.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog, especially as depicted in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog, is heavily implied to be suffering from untreated PTSD after the massacre of most of the ARK's civilian population, including his friends and de facto family. Police and alarm sirens cause him to have flashbacks of helplessly watching his childhood friend killed in front of him as she tried to eject him to safety in an escape pod.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors: One of the victims to be saved as a soldier whose eyes will bug out should an enemy come near.
  • Kent from Stardew Valley is a soldier, and comes home during year 2 with trauma from his service in the military. He has a hard time bonding with his sons, wanders around Pelican Town feeling lost and purposeless, and when you give him food he really hates it reminds him of his time stuck in a POW camp. He can't even tolerate hearing his wife make popcorn, his former favorite snack, because the sound of the corn popping triggers his PTSD. While you can intervene on his wife's behalf and befriend him, there's no way to completely help him overcome his trauma.
  • Fallen London: It's one thing to invade Hell. It's another to invade Hell and fail. It's yet another to invade Hell, fail, be kept there as a POW, with mind, body and soul intact, and at the tender mercies of the locals, only to come home only to find that your wife no longer loves you, or anything else, because she sold her soul for your release. That's what happened to the Regretful Soldier. It's no wonder he spends most of his time getting drunk and hunting things that should, by rights, kill him.
  • It's one of the modifiers which can be acquired in Battle Brothers. If one of your recruits is killed in battle but turns out to survive the encounter, they will receive a permanent injury which results in various permanent debuffs (depending on the injury). One of them, "Traumatized", is basically PTSD, and results ingame as low willpower/morale, worse than average attack dodge, and a late position in the order of turns.
    This character has been to the other side. Faced with his own mortality, the experience of dying and coming back has left him a broken man.

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