Follow TV Tropes


Unintentionally Unsympathetic / Video Games

Go To

     Final Fantasy 
  • The Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core wants you to feel sorry for Genesis, who is suffering a genetically degrading disease and is so desperate for a cure he's allowing Hollander and Lazard to use him. Except he's an arrogant, long-winded jerk, the injury that triggered the disease is his own fault for showing off, and you could make a strong case that if he hadn't started his rebellion against Shinra, the events that set Sephiroth's Start of Darkness in motion might not have happened. Hell, Genesis seems to be amused when he reveals Sephiroth's origins to him and watches him begin to fall apart for it, yet we're supposed to feel sorry for him.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake has the character of Leslie, who, as revenge against Corneo for killing his girlfriend, decides to start working for him until he's in a position to kill him. Except that by working for Corneo, he explicitly helps him condemn multiple womennote  to the same fate his girlfriend suffered.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: Marche, the main character, is supposed to be in the right in destroying the parallel universe Lotus-Eater Machine of Ivalice and returning to the real world he and his friends came from. However, Marche often comes across as cruel to his friends, who all have better lives in Ivalice than the real world. Specifically, his disabled brother Doned can walk in this world, while his friend Mewt's mother is alive in Ivalice and his alcoholic father Cid is healthy as a result. To make matters worse, there are people in Ivalice that do not seem to correspond to real people, suggesting the possibility of a Dream Apocalypse should Ivalice cease to exist. Marche does little to address his friends' issues besides telling them that escapism isn't healthy, causing him to come off as selfish in destroying an arguably better world simply because he wants to go back, everyone else be damned. There are many fans who believe him to be a Villain Protagonist as a result.
    • One reason that the whole game was criticised back in 2003 was that viewers thought none of the protagonists were very sympathetic. Issues with Marche aside, Mewt came off as a spoilt crybaby making laws stronger just because. Ritz was seen as flat out petty because all she wanted was to have naturally red hair. Doned the Ill Boy was the only one who was seen as sympathetic due to his wish being to walk and run like a normal kid... Yet at the same time, he proceeds to throw his own brother under the bus and hires multiple thugs in an attempt to rough him up. On top of that, the kids basically wish for their classmates to freeze to death in the snow, and beat their corpses up for the hell of it.
  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Folka, otherwise known as the Veritas of the Waters. The audience is supposed to feel sympathy for her being emotionally broken after 700 years and finally brainwashing herself into a Card-Carrying Villain in order to keep going with her friends' plans. However, the acts she commits under said brainwashing include flooding a city, brainwashing a peaceful esper into mindless violence, and killing Elle, one of the main characters' brothers. Most fans took the brainwashing as a weak excuse seeing as she did it to herself knowing full well there would likely be consequences. While Nichol pursues her to get revenge, the rest of the party talks him out of it. Compared to Citra, who feels she must atone for her villainous actions even well into season 2, Folka's villainy is never so much as mentioned again, leaving the fans feeling like she'd been too Easily Forgiven by both the cast and the narrative. In season 2 she also falls in love with Nichol, brother of the man she killed and her own descendant. Fans were Squicked, finding the prospect of such a relationship uncomfortable. Her story event also failed to garner much sympathy for her, as she abandoned her husband and child as soon as the going got tough, getting her labeled by fans as a deadbeat mom in addition to all her other flaws.

     Fire Emblem 
  • Michalis of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is supposed to be a Tragic Villain, with the wise sage Gotoh expressing pity for the burden that his crimes have put on his soul. Trouble is, those crimes are killing his father so that he can seize the throne and ally Macedon with the Big Bad after too long chatting with Gharnef. Then he dupes his little sister Maria and makes her a hostage in Dolhr, with orders that she be killed if his other sister Minerva tries to pull a Heel–Face Turn. While it's understandable that Maria (who's a healer and still a child) would save her brother, it's hard for players to find his story all that sympathetic or his redemption arc in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem very satisfying. And to make matters worse, in the remake, once he's miraculously brought Back from the Dead, rather than having an epiphany (which could have made his redemption having a meaning), he instead reverts to his tyrannical personality like nothing happened in the course of both games and got a happy end on top of it. Anyone wonders why they usually opt to leave him dead afterwards?
  • Travant from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is in a similar boat. He's intended to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist, a good man at heart who's driven to extreme actions for the good of his country, which is suffering from extreme poverty. Unfortunately, we're introduced to him by seeing him ambush Quan and Ethlyn, massacring their armies, murdering Ethlyn in cold blood and talking their newborn child hostage to force Quan to disarm himself just so he can kill him more easily, and taking the baby to raise as his own afterwards. And when we meet him in the second generation, he doesn't seem to show any hint of remorse for what he did. Most players cheer at having Quan's son Leif cut him down, rather than feel bad for him. The midquel Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 seems to have realised this and tried to correct it. Unfortunately, the only way for them to do so was to reveal, out of nowhere, that Eviler Than Thou villains manipulated him into killing Quan and Ethlyn.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has Carlyle. The head of the Jehannan military, he nursed a Bodyguard Crush on his country's beautiful Queen Ismaire, but eventually sells his country out to the Grado Empire when it becomes apparent she'll never reciprocate. He seems to be intended as a Tragic Villain driven to evil by unrequited love, but in practice comes off more as an Entitled Bastard who uses I'm a Man; I Can't Help It as a justification for treason.
  • Dragon King Dheginsea in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. To avoid a prophecy that states The End of the World as We Know It would come if all of Tellius went to war, he ordered his nation of Goldoa into a state of total isolationism, with Goldoans being forbidden from providing military aid to, conducting diplomacy with, or even trading with any other country, just so, in the event of a war, there would be one country that technically isn't involved. He does turn out to be sort of right, but he could've been less of an ass about it. What really seals this though is that when the prophecy comes true and Ashera reawakens to destroy the world, he decides to side with her, despite having absolutely nothing to gain from this and contradicting his entire motivation before; the only justification he gives is essentially "We had our chance and blew it, now we have to give up." It almost feels as if this was only done to give the player a dramatic boss fight. That last part is lampshaded and discussed: the other Laguz rulers are outraged when he explains himself, and will call him on his BS if they come to blows. After the fight they all agree he got exactly what he deserved and only barely stop short of Speak Ill of the Dead, and only because the much more sympathetic dragon Prince is standing right there.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening we have Panne, who is similar to Lethe from the Tellius games, a member of an animal-like race (Laguz for Lethe, Taguel for Panne) who are discriminated against by humans. Unfortunately, we only know this when reading Panne's supports and she's such a relentless asshole to everyone, including people who are supposed to be her allies and are simply trying to get to know her better, that she becomes a very unlikable character, though she does soften up towards people later on. Unlike with Lethe, we are never shown any characters discriminating against Panne for being a Taguel, so her constantly antagonistic behaviour towards everyone (including calling humans "man-spawn") makes her look bad when she's supposed to have a perfectly legitimate Freudian Excuse from being one of the few Taguel still alive in Ylisse. The fact her son, Yarne, gets on fine with humans despite being a bit cowardly, doesn't do anything to net Panne any points either.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • The Camus archetype as a whole is prone to this — for the unaware, "a Noble Top Enforcer, traditionally a very strong boss, who is established to be a decent person and seems like they'd be recruitable, but refuses to switch sides and must be killed." The intended audience response is a Player Punch that you had to kill a good person and a lesson about how even good people can sometimes get wrapped up in bad causes... but oftentimes, the main villain the Camus works for is so Obviously Evil that it stretches credibility, and their rebuttals to the very good arguments made by other characters that they should switch sides amount to "nuh-uh, I don't want to", making them come off as less tragic and more Too Dumb to Live. (Though, oddly enough, the original Camus does not qualify for this, as he had the spark of brainpower needed to switch sides.) Xander is particularly notorious for this in the Birthright storyline (and to a lesser extent in Revelation), claiming that his Obviously Evil father is not just that, even though he saw him do bad things, such as encouraging the Avatar to execute defenseless defeated prisoners and threatening to execute them when they hesitate. As revealed in Conquest, he's supposedly aware that his father is not exactly a good person, as he and his other siblings have learned to find ways to get around Garon's most cruel orders without earning his anger.
    • Hana, one of Sakura's retainers. Mostly Hana is a decently popular character, but in her Supports with Corrin she comes off like a jerk, namely because she's mad at Corrin over being kidnapped as a toddler, because they made Sakura cry.
  • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia:
    • Celica comes across as this at the end of Act 2. During her conversation with Alm, she criticizes him for going to war with Rigel, and after she leaves, the game seems to suggest Celica's in the right and that Alm should apologize... key words being 'seems to'. Specifically, Tobin says Alm should apologize because he thinks it would help, simply not wanting to see them at odds. However, Gray tells Tobin that apologizing just for the sake of doing so could also be wrong, as not all arguments are purely right-vs-wrong. Meanwhile, Alm himself, while feeling down about the things Celica said, sticks to his beliefs because he thinks it's the right thing to do - even when he does apologize to Celica later, it's an on-the-spot reaction to realizing he was Innocently Insensitive to Celica's princess status (even though he couldn't have known this at the time), rather than her automatically having been right. In addition, the audience knows that Alm isn't going to war on a random whim, as he explicitly makes it clear he has no desire for power like she seems to think/fear, and is trying to protect Zofia (which he also attempts to explain to Celica). Furthermore, Rigel is the aggressor in most categories, such as deliberately violating the peace treaty and sealing away Mila. Celica refuses to listen to Alm when he tries to get this across to her and storms out, making her look more like a spoiled brat having a tantrum because Alm isn't doing what she wants than anything else, especially since Celica knows Alm is unaware she's the true heir to Zofia and she's banking on Mila's help to solve all their problems rather than taking a proactive approach herself, making her pleas for peace seem wishy-washy and hypocritical, to boot, since she only fights when she feels she has to.
    • We're supposed to feel sorry for Rinea because she's a shy, gentle woman who is turned into a Witch after Berkut sacrifices her, but the problem is, Rinea is such a Flat Character that it becomes difficult to care about someone who has so little personality or impact. She has absolutely no influence on the story at all, she exists to signify Berkut's morality. She has pretty much no dialogue with any other character, she has no ambitions of her own - when Berkut is having a Villainous Breakdown, Rinea tells Berkut that she never wanted to be Empress in the first place, leading you to wonder exactly why she chose to get engaged to the heir to the Rigelian throne if she doesn't even care about ruling and her first appearance has her whining about how terrible war is while Berkut is a Proud Warrior Race Guy and Frontline General. There are plenty of characters in this game who don't like violence and fighting, like Tatiana, Silque and Genny, but they still contribute in an effort to help by healing their allies, but Rinea never contributes anything in the story and seems content to just sit in the background and wring her hands while Berkut sinks further into instability. Celica herself wants nothing more than the war to end, but knows she has to fight to make that a possibility despite the personal sacrifices she has to make. Arguably, becoming a Witch is the only time Rinea does anything important and it wasn't even her choice to do so. You could completely remove her from the story and nothing would change.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • Leonie's support chain with Byleth has earned a decent amount of criticism due to Leonie's frustrations at Byleth's lack of knowledge about Jeralt's life. She acts very hostile, accusing them of taking their father Jeralt for granted, and when she attempts to apologize in the B-support, she loses her temper again in the end. The fact that this support can only happen after Jeralt dies comes across as extremely poor taste as she makes the issue about herself and doesn't even remotely try to console Byleth. While Jeralt is an important mentor for Leonie, she comes across as very entitled about him, not to mention that Jeralt can't have been her mentor for that long because otherwise Byleth would have met her before arriving at Garrag Mach. She does admit when you speak to her after Jeralt's death that this must be even harder for Byleth than it is for her, but it's quite easy to miss and when the player tracks down Kronya in the Golden Deer route, Leonie says she's determined to have her revenge. She also has the highly-irritating habit of attributing any skill that Byleth has to Jeralt's teachings and it takes some extreme prodding for her to acknowledge that Byleth is a strong warrior in their own right.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors:
    • Rowan, one of the Original Generation main Lords of the game and the younger sibling in his family. He and his older sister constantly bicker about who doesn't get to inherit the throne of their homeland, Aytolis; Rowan wants to be a knight and wander the land freely (a la Ephraim), while Lianna finds herself too weak and unsure of herself to rule. Support conversations reveal that despite Lianna being the older sibling and being widely supported by the people, male heirs can be preferred, making it as likely for Rowan to rule. Rowan reveals to Xander that he doesn't want to be king because his and Lianna's father was an ill man who wound up dying rather young, and Rowan believes that becoming a king weakens a warrior and leaves them unable to protect those they love. Rowan is divisive enough, but this blatant disrespect towards the hardships that royalty goes through in ruling a kingdom won him over with absolutely no one.
    • The twins' mother, Queen Yelena, the epitome of a Neutral Female who pretty much hangs her head in resignation towards her children's squabbles and doesn't even bother trying to end them until after she's rescued from near-death at the hands of Velezark and King Oskar. Her solution? Make both siblings regents of the kingdom. Seems nice in concept, but heaven knows what kind of conflict that Aytolis would end up in because of that choice.

  • Ken in Persona 3. Granted, he did lose his mother, but his planning to kill Shinjiro and then himself isn't something that anyone, except maybe Takaya, wants. While Shinjiro is guilty of manslaughter, his popularity and the fact that he's willing to accept being killed for what he's done, save for the fact that Ken will then have to live with the guilt Shinjiro bore for years (a lesson Ken ignores) makes him somewhat more sympathetic by comparison. The official English localization doesn't help, as it's implied that rather than feel guilty over Shinjiro's death, Ken's angry that he didn't get to kill Shinjiro himself.
  • Persona 4:
    • Ryotaro Dojima comes off as this. Throughout the game, he often suspected the Protagonist of getting involved with the murder mystery. Okay, a bit understandable since the murders started around the same time he came to town, and it's his job as a detective to find the pieces. During his Social Link, he and the Protagonist start to bond, but all of his Character Development immediately gets derailed when the killer sends a threatening letter to the Dojima residence. Dojima's first instinct is to completely distrust the Protagonist, regardless of whether you completed his Social Link or not. Then, in the biggest What an Idiot! moment in the game, he takes the Protagonist to the police station to interrogate him, and leaves Nanako, his seven-year-old daughter with no self-defense experience, home alone. This leads to Nanako getting kidnapped and put into a life-threatening coma, and not once is he ever called out on his negligence.
    • Chie often acts like an unrepentant Jerkass to Yosuke (and on some occasions, the Protagonist) regardless of whether he deserves it or not, but the game always seems to want you to side with her. She assaults Yosuke for minor infractions (like for breaking her DVD that he promised he'd pay her back for beforehand). She often extorts him as a way to pay her off for her DVD, even though what she gets off of him paid her back many times over. She even uses Yosuke's money without permission to buy Teddie an expensive outfit and gets defensive when Yosuke rightfully called her out on it. Despite her behavior, she always gets away with it.
  • Persona 4: Arena Ultimax:
    • Sho Minazuki, the main antagonist. It has been displayed that he has had a horrid upbringing, which was actually similar to the upbringing of the orphans who would become Strega in Persona 3, and it's mentioned that his adoptive father, Shuji Ikutusuki, tried to kill him at one point. He's reprimanded through and through as he deserves, and is ultimately left to his own devices in the end. Seems all well and good, except for the fact that Yu and Labrys, more or less the protagonists of their respective routes, continually forgive him and insist that because of his upbringing, and because Sho feels he cannot form bonds without fighting, Sho cannot be held at fault. Sure, he's under the thumb of the Malevolent Entity the entire time, but Sho's been shown to be psychotic, unforgiving, gleeful in harming others, and extremely immature. It gets worse when you find out that Igor is even trying to give him the power of the Wild Card, despite Sho being the last person one would expect to be able to use it, what with his entire motivation for all the harm he causes boiling down to "friendship is stupid and I'll prove it".
    • Akihiko, at the end of Arena, seems to find value in protecting others and chooses to live out that desire by becoming a police officer. In Ultimax's ending, he plans to establish some connections with Officer Kurosawa for his job with the Shadow Operatives, despite the fact that he wants to leave that group someday. He regularly slacks off of college, desires to aimlessly train like he did at the start of Arena (which he dropped out of college to do), and is extremely rude towards Aigis, who's more or less been forced to babysit him for the classes that Mitsuru is paying for. Even with his connections, chances are high that he'd need said college education to become an officer (most police-related occupations in Japan do). If Mitsuru didn't value him so much, Akihiko would basically be an incredibly ungrateful moocher with no life goals.
  • Persona 5:
    • Corrupt Corporate Executive Kunikazu Okumura, the fifth Arc Villain. He’s meant to be seen in a more sympathetic light than the other targets due to Haru’, his daughter’s, genuine love for him and his gruesome death on live tv. This can, for some people fall flat, given how Okumera overworks his employees to dangerous degrees, is implied to have ordered the deaths of his competitors, and is willing to sell his daughter to a man he knows is an abusive sexual predator for his own gain. Royal makes things even worse as during his shadow’s boss fight his cognitive clone of Haru is deployed to suicide bomb the thieves as a last resort to stop them from stealing his treasure, showing he is perfectly fine with sacrificing his own daughter to save himself.
    • Morgana comes across this way when he abandons the party in September. After Futaba joins, he starts to feel useless since she's taken over the role of Mission Control, and the breaking point that causes him to leave the group temporarily is Ryuji making fun of him by calling him a 'useless cat'. This presses on Morgana's already developing insecurities that he is no longer needed in the group and Ryuji's comments only further tear down his already degrading sense of self-worth. What can make Morgana a case of this in the eyes of some is that he is always mocking Ryuji's intelligence pretty often and rudely, so it makes him look like a Hypocrite who can't take what he dishes out. Ryuji is portrayed in the wrong for mocking Morgana, especially as further comments by him to downplay how much he cares only result in Morgana becoming defensive right when he was about to let his guard down. Morgana never gets called out for constantly berating Ryuji, and continues to mock him after things are resolved.
    • The traitor Goro Akechi has gotten this treatment from a lot of fans, who believe their Alas, Poor Villain moment after their reveal was heavy-handed and poorly executed, as the Phantom Thieves asked them to rejoin even after multiple people died from their own selfish whims, including Futaba's mother, Haru's father, and Joker in the bad endings, in addition to causing mental shutdowns that ruined a lot of Tokyo and hurt a lot of innocent people which seems to undermine how the Phantom Thieves treated most of their targets, where they force the targets into a life of atonement, while making it clear that no matter how much they atone, they can never be forgiven for their crimes. It can be considered though that the Phantom Thieves are more sympathetic to Akechi because of similar age and also because like others in their group, they were forced into a rather difficult circumstances by corrupted adults that manipulated them. Most of the group were forced to do things they didn't want to and had felt the desire for revenge against those that put them into that position, making Akechi far more relatable and redeemable than middle-aged adults that actively enjoyed being corrupt. However, many players were still not convinced by the game's attempts to shove most of the blame to the heavy, pointing out that even though the heavy is the one who gave the orders, Akechi's murder of Okumura and cognitive Joker show that he actually take pleasure in his killings, not to mention the fact that he was the one who approached the heavy offering his services as a hitman. All in all, Black Mask's detractors at best argue that they deserve at least some culpability.
    • Eiko from Makoto's Confidant events gets this, too, despite being a minor character. She's dating a host called Tsukasa, who is a swindler that uses his looks and smooth-talking to date multiple girls, calling them nicknames like 'Princess' so he doesn't have to remember their names, then breaks 'expensive' things to get them to agree to help play off the debt, then sells them off into prostitution eventually. Eiko reacts to Makoto's concerns by brushing them off, accusing her of jealousy, or of trying to steal Tsukasa away, which unintentionally scares all the sympathy away even though she is clearly the victim of grooming. While Makoto does try to explain why she is probably so defensive, it takes up a lot of the Confidant events, and Eiko didn't make it easy to help her, even if she does appreciate it afterwards. It does tie into Makoto's backstory nicely, but Makoto cared for Eiko more than most players did.
    • The sixth Target, Sae Niijima. Consumed by her work, she tends to neglect Makoto to focus on it and lashes out at Makoto for prying or expressing opinions with which she disagrees, going so far as calling her "useless" and saying "all you do is eat away at my life" in response to an offhand comment at dinner. While stressed, this was a fairly vicious comment to make, especially because if she was more attentive, she might have noticed Makoto was struggling at the time. Additionally, she threatens Sojiro with charges of child abuse to make him give up information on Wakaba Isshiki. Much of her actions are shown fairly unsympathetically on purpose due to her antagonistic role. While she softens up, the pressure on her is high, and with her father's death traumatising her into not trusting the legal system to ever be fair, it's understandable, but she is forgiven fairly quickly in game considering how harsh she previously was.

     Tales series 
  • Tales of the Abyss:
    • Arietta. Despite being one of the villains, she's portrayed as a poor girl who lost her parents in the events of Hod years prior to the story, was raised by ligers and can talk to them, before being intergrated into human society. She's supposed to be seen as pitiful, because she used to be a Fon Master Guardian, but was removed from that position two years ago, making her feel thrown away from Ion, whom she loved. The reason she was removed was because Ion died and was replaced with a replica, who had no memories, so it would have been easily discovered, had the new Ion not remembered the years he had spent with Arietta. Even the heroes feel sorry for Arietta. But she spends the game whining about how she lost her position, whining at Ion when she sees him and getting into petty fights with Anise, all while blaming Luke, Tear and Jade for having killed her adoptive liger mother and refusing to listen to any explanations. Arietta even killed people and paid a major part in the overtaking of the Tartarus, early in the game, so she's got blood on her hands. It's very difficult to like her even when she dies later on.
    • A big reason for the Broken Base surrounding Anise herself can be attributed to this trope as well. She was blackmailed by Mohs to spy on the player's party with her gullible parents held hostage. This act of spying would eventually lead into Ion's death. Anise felt absolutely guilty over this, and rightfully so. However, her way to deal with Arietta was to spare her from the Awful Truth about Ion, which Anise says would devastate Arietta's mind. The fans still hated Anise for this, and the hatred wasn't quite unfounded. After witnessing her party members growing so strong, she should have confessed to them without harming anyone. On top of that, Anise was on board in blaming Luke and giving snarky death suggestions on him after Akzeriuth, which was believed to be not quite Luke's fault (He pulled the trigger, but it was due to Vaan's manipulations), thus she's pegged as Easily Forgiven for causing Ion to die.
    • Many players felt like the party members blaming Luke is hypocritical as the major reason that Luke ended up trusting Vaan was because, despite showing he's extremely sheltered and has no idea how the world works (including having to be taught the concept of bartering), they regularly ignored him and tell him to shut up and refused to explain why he shouldn't do the thing that lead to Akzeriuth or not trust Vaan.
  • Tales of Symphonia:
    • Chocolat, a woman the party encounters in Palmacosta. We first see her refusing to sell cheap Gels to some Desians and they threaten her, only for her to scoff at them and say Governer General-Dorr will protect the citizens of Palmacosta. Later on, the party returns to the city to find the leader of the Palmacosta Human Ranch, Magnius, is in the plaza and about to hang Chocolat's mother. Even though Chocolat is horrified, she still mouths off at Magnius and insists that Dorr won't let them get away with it. When Lloyd's group manage to save Cacao and drive Magnius away, Cacao thanks them but Chocolat tells them she doesn't believe in Martel, which is bordering on blasphemy given that Colette is the Chosen of Mana. Later on, Chocolat is kidnapped by Magnius to lure Colette to the Human Ranch. When they show up and attempt to save Chocolat, Magnius taunts Lloyd over his failure to save anyone from the Iselia Human Ranch and causing Marble's death. Chocolat freaks out because it turns out Marble was her grandmother and she refuses to listen to Lloyd and Genis when the latter tries to explain they tried to save Marble but had to Mercy Kill her and allows Magnius' henchmen to take her away to another location. It's obviously supposed to come off like a tragic failure for Lloyd, but it's easy to dismiss Chocolat as being a stubborn idiot who refused to listen to the party and believed Magnius over them, and antagonised the Desians needlessly in the first place because she thought Dorr would keep them safe when it turned out Dorr was actually under the thumb of the Desians all along. Later the group encounter Chocolat again at the Iselia Human Ranch and she's still incredibly sullen and ungrateful towards Lloyd, even though other prisoners in the Ranch told her that Lloyd and Genis were kind to Marble and Forcystus turned her into a monster.
    • Colette herself can fall into this category despite being a main character. She was selectively bred to be a vessel for Martel and a lot of terrible things happen to her over the course of the game. The problem is, so much of the game is dedicated to rescuing Colette or saving her, and many of her problems could have been solved way earlier if she's just told someone. In the first instance, it's justified, as she allows herself to lose her humanity as an Angel because she believes it's necessary to save the world and her destiny to do so. But the longer the game goes on, the more frustrating it is that there's yet another problem Colette refused to tell the group about with the justification that "they'd only worry." For instance, it turns out Colette's Cruxis crystal is slowly making her sick, a disease that will eventually crystallise her entire body at its final stage, but Colette constantly lies and tells everyone she's fine. The party only find out about this accidentally and by this point she's already covered in scales, meaning the party are forced to race against the clock to save her and gather the ingredients to cure her, including the enemy base itself. Then there's her dependency on Lloyd and how often Colette is kidnapped and needs rescuing, despite the fact that when she begins the process to turn into an Angel, she's given Super Senses, incredible strength and wings (which she gets to keep even when her humanity is restored). Yet what does she do when she's kidnapped at the Tower of Salvation and the party are surrounded by enemies? Scream for Lloyd to save her instead of trying to do anything to get out of the situation herself. Yet Lloyd gets called out for not being able to protect her and the party keep reminding Lloyd that he needs to rescue her, even though the entire world will be destabilised if Martel is successfully resurrected and the group only scold Colette about never speaking up near the end of the game, and only very mildly at that.
  • The Big Bad of Tales of Vesperia is supposed to be a Fallen Hero / Well-Intentioned Extremist wanting to create a utopia at any cost. In theory, it's a great idea that fits in with the game's overall Order Versus Chaos theme. The problem? He claims to be behind everything that we see in the story. This not only doesn't make much sense (considering that so many of the villains seem to be working against one another) but it also means that he is directly responsible for all of the corruption that he claims he is trying to stop. The fact that the full extent of his plan is not explained in the main story (instead being relegated to many sidequests with obnoxious requirements) and the fact that his English voice, of all people, is D.C. Douglas - a man who excels at playing Obviously Evil Large Hams, and who plays Alexei's Laughing Mad Despair Event Horizon moment as a straight-up Evil Laugh - means that he comes across more as a cheesetastic over-the-top pantomime villain when he should be a tragic Anti-Villain. While this is not necessarily bad per se, since Alexei's Laughably Evil antics have become rather memetic within the series' fandom, it's clear that the character really didn't come across as the writers intended him.
    • Flynn wants to try Cumore and Ragou for their crimes and bring them to justice within the laws of the system, something Yuri was cool with. However, due to their connections as Alexei's workhorses, they were free to manipulate and abuse the system to their own ends, including getting released for their crimes with no punishment. Ragou and Cumore were completely unrepentant to their crimes, including Ragou feeding his townspeople to monsters for kicks if they couldn't keep up with his exorbitantly high taxes. Many players don't find themselves hating Flynn personally (in fact, many see a man wanting to do the right thing being bound and screwed over by legal red tape), but ended up sympathizing with Yuri far more than intended because if Yuri hadn't taken to vigilantism, more people were going to die by their actions there and then.
  • Tales of Graces: Lambda is supposed to be seen as sympathetic to the player, but the attempts to make Lambda come across as sympathetic are shallow. Lambda is an entity that had no purpose in life other than to destroy things. In the final dungeon, the player is subjected to seeing flashbacks to Lambda's past, where he was eventually given a body to inhabit and was then constantly being experimented on and tortured. The player is supposed to feel bad for Lambda because he had to endure such horrible things and left him with no purpose other than to destroy things... which doesn't work because Lambda's entire purpose was to destroy things to begin with. Just before the final boss fight, Lambda is throwing a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, Asbel manages to shut him up by simply asking "And Then What??" Lambda's Stunned Silence is proof that he didn't really have any plan beyond that, which further drove away sympathy for him.
    • Asbel can come across this way to some players. He's a hot-headed, somewhat gullible hero and refuses to think that Richard actually needs to be fought, citing that The Power of Friendship will be enough to get him to see sense. Asbel comes across as condescendingly compassionate to his brother, who was sold to a different family by their father in an attempt to avoid an inheritance feud, and thinks all of his relationships can be picked up as they were 7 years ago, despite Asbel having basically cut off all contact to his family and friends. There's also the fact that Asbel considers his own life to have been horrible, even putting it on-par with Lambda's continuous torture, despite Asbel having told off his strict father at the age of 10, ran away from home to join the Knight Academy, and managed to fulfill his dream of becoming a knight within a few years.
  • Tales of Xillia 2: Alt!Milla is considered this In-Universe. She comes from an alternate dimension, where she managed to get rid of Exodus at a young age and, hence, did not need to be the Lord of the Spirits any longer and is living a rather human life with her sister Muzét. Said sister has been blinded by an attack while protecting Milla and denied re-entry to the Spirit Realm, which has resulted in her abusing Milla for the past fourteen years. When Alt!Milla gets accidentally transported into the prime dimension, she needs to deal with the reality that her world was not real, is now destroyed and that her appearance has caused Prime!Milla to disappear into the abyss between dimensions, as well as that she actually has no real place in the prime dimension. Unfortunately, Alt!Milla decides to be repeatedly abrasive with others, whines about how her world is destroyed and in general does nothing but wallow in her misery. It gets to the point that Gaius calls her out on her behavior.
    • Elle. She's a young girl, separated from her father and on a journey to the Land of Canaan. She's taken under Ludger's wing and tries to act adult, but is still a child in a situation that she isn't ready for and understandably lashes out, as a kid is wont to do. She's also revealed to be part of a fractured dimension, meaning that she'll disappear if they wish for all fractured dimensions to disappear, leaving her to consider herself a fake, similar to Alt!Milla above. Exactly how sympathetic she is to people can vary, though some of her lashings out leave her looking beyond selfish for a child's standards.
  • Tales of Hearts: Hisui, older brother of love interest Kohaku, ended up this way due to the bad translation job the game received. Instead of being a protective older brother upset that protagonist Kor (is believed to) broke his sister's Spiria and removed all her emotions, he's immediately hostile towards him from the get-go despite meeting before that event. Then, after her Spiria breaks, he's even more hostile towards him, which, fair, but he crosses a number of lines by repeatedly bringing up Kor's dead grandfather (who Hisui supposedly respects) just to hit him harder, still blaming Kor after learning that it isn't his fault that Kohaku's Spirit broke, and overall acting like a general sociopath to people he meets even when they don't deserve it. Notably, none of this beyond his (justifyable) anger towards Kor when he doesn't know Kohaku's state wasn't his fault was present in the Japanese version.

Other examples:

  • Ratchet in the original Ratchet & Clank game. He's meant to be an Anti-Hero at the start, and some of his faults are intended to be part of his character arc. His attitude also becomes somewhat more understandable when you know his retroactive backstorynote . Even so, Ratchet comes off as an outright bully during the second act of the game due to his incredibly selfish and petty revenge-oriented goals, and some of the things he does to Clank, who is the only thing that keeps him from going over the edge into outright villainy, are unreasonably cruel. Yes, he does learn to be a better person, but it's after he fulfills his revenge, not in spite of it. Insomniac Games themselves realized they went too far in making Ratchet a hotheaded punk, and fixed this from the sequel and onward, making sure to tone down Ratchet's worst qualities and make him come off as having matured into a truly good and sympathetic person.
  • One of the main criticisms of the story of the StarCraft franchise, and in particular Heart of the Swarm, is that Sarah Kerrigan lost the "Woobie" in Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds a long time ago.
    • As leader of the Zerg Swarm, she murdered billions of people in Brood War and deliberately spurned any chance of redemption, even manipulating Raynor's good nature so she'd have an opportunity to betray him and murder his friend, Fenix. In the original context, she did all of this out of spite and greed. Heart of the Swarm tossed in a Retcon to explain away all the horrible things she did in Brood War and StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty (she was implied to be mind-controlled by Amon), which didn't really work because not only was there no indication of mind control in those games, but she retained an identical personality and acknowledged the continuity between herself pre-zerg and post-zerg rather than invoking That Man Is Dead. Part of the problem is that Brood War Kerrigan is actively sadistic, e.g. letting Zeratul live after forcing him to kill Raszagal because she thought it was funny, taunting Raynor about killing his friend Fenix by saying he'd have wanted to die in combat, and taunting DuGalle about the fact that she's going to kill all his surrendering men and offering them a chance to make a futile run so she can have fun hunting them down. This is clearly done to build her up as a Hate Sink, but the audience is denied their basic narrative catharsis by the later attempt to Retcon her into a Tragic Villain.
    • Advertisement:
    • But it's Heart of the Swarm, where she unambiguously has free will even post-retcon, where it becomes effectively impossible to sympathize with her. In short she spends the whole game ordering her Swarm to invade Dominion worlds and protoss colonies and kill everyone they see, effectively acting the same way she did in Wings of Liberty where she was supposedly mind-controlled. The only change is that now she occasionally shows mercy, like letting Warfield's injured troops evacuate. However, she still causes mass death, destruction, and chaos across the sector and subjects innocent bystanders and helpless prisoners to horrifyingly painful deaths all for the sake of venegance - and she's treated as a justified Anti-Hero because her target is Arcturus Mengsk. This culminates in a scene where the latter has Kerrigan at his mercy and, before delivering the killing blows, points out that even though he's a bloodsoaked tyrant Kerrigan is far worse than he is, an accusation that she has no real response to. Raynor then saves Kerrigan from being killed by Mengsk's MacGuffin and enables her victory, even though Mengsk is objectively right and Raynor may as well be siding with Nazi Germany at that point.
    • Wings of Liberty seemed to know this was the case because it has a subplot where Zeratul barges in and yells Raynor and the protoss that they can't kill Kerrigan, no matter how much everyone should want to, because she's The Chosen One and needs to be alive if they're to defeat Amon. Then when the finale comes in Legacy of the Void Kerrigan and her zerg turn out to be almost entirely irrelevant to the plot with Artanis and his protoss (with Raynor as The Lancer) accomplishing every victory of note. Which they probably could have done much easier if Kerrigan hadn't messed with their operations all throughout Heart of the Swarm while simultaenously exhausting both the zerg and terran militaries in a pointless war. Kerrigan only plays a last-minute roll in the Epilogue campaign.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Kenny as a Jerkass Woobie can strongly invoke this. Despite his multiple Freudian Excuses (i.e his strong care for his family and an abusive father), his ridiculously violent actions and his disregard for everyone who isn't his family can cause intense dislike from many players. It also doesn't help he's a huge Hypocrite who is perfectly fine having Clementine witness him smash a elderly man's skull but prevents his son Duck from seeing Carley/Doug's body, depending on who survived the encounter in the medicine shop. Worse still, Kenny endangers everyone by keeping an infected Duck among the survivors, knowing Duck is going to turn into a zombie, but Kenny ruthlessly killed Larry when he had a heart attack, and only might have turned. Kenny is also a Dirty Coward more than few times, and if Lee doesn't agree with every single one of his choices, Kenny will say Lee's never done anything for him, even if he helped Kenny save his family twice.
      • Season 2 somehow makes Kenny even less sympathetic, as despite finding new love (Sarita), he continues to be a massive Jerkass and antagonizes complete strangers. He also treats Clem like his Replacement Goldfish for Duck, and even makes choices for her. But if Clem tries to stop Kenny when he's beating up Arvo, he'll hit her by accident, showing even Clem is at risk from his "care".
      • The start of Episode 4 really makes it hard to sympathise with Kenny. As the player is forced to cut off Sarita's arm when she's bitten and Mercy Killed, either way Kenny screams at Clem for her actions, conveniently forgetting the time he killed Larry for the same reason. Kenny hasn't learnt any lesson by the end of the season even when he's responsible for the group falling apart. You can kill Kenny during his fight with Jane (see below), but it's treated more like a Mercy Kill and less like a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment.
    • Carlos, Sarah's father, falls under this. While he has his daughter's safety in mind, his coddling just makes everything worse. It never occurs to him that she needs training with weapons, cooking skills, and anything else that would help her survive if he were to die. When he does die as the result of a walker horde, Sarah becomes too traumatized to help herself. Even if Clementine elects to try and save Sarah, she still ends up devoured, screaming for her father to save her.
    • Arvo. Clementine and Jane first meet him when they're looking for a place for Rebecca to give birth to her baby. Here, you have a choice: you either rob him of his bag of medicine or you let him leave with it. If you steal it from him, he, justifiably, gathers his posse to attack you and your group. If you let him leave with it, he gathers his posse to rob you anyway. On the latter side, this makes it hard to sympathize with him as he gets the shit kicked out of him by Kenny.
    • Jane, at least in the final episode. Here, she makes her most bone-headed moves, which is strange for someone who survived this long. While Kenny becomes more dangerous over the course of the Season, Jane crosses the line by a) repeatedly bringing up his dead family during their fight in the truck, b) faking AJ's death to "show Clementine his true nature", and then c) expecting to be saved during her fight with Kenny. On the other hand, one of the endings is for Clementine to save her, realize Jane was antagonizing Kenny intentionally to "prove he was unstable", and abandon her for it, allowing Clementine to Pay Evil unto Evil.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • Mass Effect 3
    • The Catalyst is probably one of the most extreme examples. Both his presentation and creator commentary pretty much indicate that he is intended to come across as some sort of Anti-Villain who had to resort to extreme measures in order to accomplish its task (i.e., he created the Reapers in order to end organic-synthetic conflicts), and that the choices he gives you at the end are meant to be similarly extremely morally ambiguous acts for the greater good. However, to many a fan, his reasoning is extremely nonsensical at best, and at worst exemplifying utter hypocrisy. Furthermore, the choices he gives pretty much throw the whole theme of the franchise down the toilet. The Extended Cut fixes this slightly by allowing you to question the Catalyst's logic (though only in somewhat vague terms), and it becomes clear that it's more a case of A.I. Is a Crapshoot. The Leviathan DLC expounds on this further when you meet the Catalyst's creators and realize it really was just following its protocol; they just forgot to program it to not turn on them, too. It leaves a less sour taste in player's mouths than the original scene, but caused debate as to whether this was intended from the start or if this was a retcon to placate the angry fanbase.
    • Tevos, the asari councilor, becomes another example in the third game. While she's initially presented as the "good" councilor when compared to the Jerkass turian Sparatus and the more neutral salarian Valern, her actions in the third game make her look like a colossal hypocrite. While refusing to send help to Earth to fight the Reapers could be seen as cold pragmatism to defend her own people, the fact that she denied Shepard's warnings about the Reaper threat throughout the two previous games, even after Shepard saved her life from one at the end of the first game, is the reason why all life in the galaxy is unprepared for the current Reaper attack to begin with. And while equal blame could be laid at the feet of all councilors, save Anderson, for refusing to listen to Shepard's warnings, the third game reveals there's another prothean beacon on Thessia with information on the Reapers and that the asari have kept it hidden in order to insure their superiority over other races, in violation of their own laws. The fact that the vast majority of the asari were just as ignorant of this as the rest of the galaxy is the only thing keeping the entire species from falling under this. This means that unlike the other two councilors, Tevos actually had the means to find out about the Reaper invasion and prepare, yet she did nothing. Yet, no matter what, Shepard is forced to feel sorry for her when the Reapers cause the fall of Thessia, even though that, as well as the all the deaths caused by the Reapers in this cycle, was only possible through her inaction. (By way of contrast, while Sparatus was, if anything, even more dismissive of Shepard's claims than Tevos, in 3 he's the first to give Shepard a mea culpa speech.)
    • Quarians manage to score a species-wide example. Even before the third installment, some fans were averse towards them for their role in the Geth-Quarian war and their willingness to spark the conflict again. Mass Effect 3 makes them even less sympathetic, by having them attack the Geth in the middle of the Reaper invasion and portraying their actions in the "Morning War" as even less justifiable. The Quarians were supposed to be sympathetic since they were unaware of the truth, but they continue the attack even after learning this, with only Shala'Raan expressing second thoughts but unwilling to risk doing anything until the last moment. It seems as the designers wanted to make the arc's final choice between saving the Quarians or the Geth as morally ambiguous as possible, but they overestimated players' sympathy for the former and - to the creators' surprise - letting Quarians die out ended up being more popular choice by far.
  • Dragon Age II has the Mage-Templar conflict at the center of its plot. While the narrative tries really hard to portray the two factions as being morally grey, a common criticism of the game is that both sides come off as deaf-to-reason Jerkasses. The one person they both are willing to listen to, Grand Cleric Elthina, gets this too; she's clearly supposed to be a Reasonable Authority Figure desperately trying to keep things together and failing despite valiant efforts, but her refusing to do anything but talk about compromise (while also never providing any picture of what a "compromise" might entail) while both sides (and elements of her own church) pile up the atrocities comes off as Head-in-the-Sand Management bordering on Stupid Neutral.
  • The dwarves in Chrono Cross are supposed to come across as a race who has been victimized by the excesses and the greed of humanity as a whole, and call humans out on not being able to live in harmony with nature. The intent is to make the player feel bad for killing them, but the fact that the dwarves were conducting an operation of ethnic cleansing on the fairies, while at the same time doing the same things they accuse humans of doing prevents them from getting sympathy. The fact that the game itself fails to see the hypocrisy of it all, in favor of putting all the blame on humans, (even the fairies blame the humans, rather than the dwarves who are actively killing them) is a sore spot for many players.
    • There's also the matter of the demihumans. They constantly try to push the Green Aesop the game has going, and often bash humans for not living "in harmony with nature" the way they (the demihumans) want. The aesop falls flat because humanity is kind to nature, having only one city, which is remarkably very clean and produces no visible pollution. But what really makes them this is an alternate ending where they take the now-unoccupied areas humans used to live in and proceed to live there without changing anything, making them just as bad as the humans they hated so much.
  • Delilah Copperspoon the witch and bastard sister of the late empress from Dishonored 2 is a textbook example. When both were children, Jessamine Kaldwin broke an irreplaceable heirloom and pinned the blame on her. As a result, Delilah was whipped and her mother was fired from the palace kitchen, both ending up in debtor's prison where the mother died of infection after a fat guard broke her jaw. Delilah was thrown out and used the last of her cash to buy a child's coffin to fold her mother in. In response to this, Delilah pays a visit to Jessamine's innocent daughter Emily. (Who Delilah had previously attempted to pull a Grand Theft Me on when Emily was ten, with the implication that she would have been either killed or permanently trapped by this.) She leads a violent attack on the palace, needlessly murdering every maid and bystander in the building, then either petrifies Emily or does the same to her father and only family before leaving the girl homeless—unwittingly doing the exact thing to Emily that she had suffered from herself. Despite this, the supporting cast of the game desperately tries to rationalize Delilah's actions. The Outsider even claims that Delilah is the smartest person alive (despite her being so bad at her new duties that the palace becomes flooded, runs out of power, and fills with rat swarms while the empire is thrown into anarchy) and that she's suffered more than anybody in the world. Not only has Emily been through all of the same, but she saw her mother get stabbed right in front of her when she was 10, was kidnapped twice, held prisoner in a whorehouse, and several of the people taking care of her were executed by firing squad. Anton Sokolov even claims that Delilah doesn't deserve to die for what she has done, and that she simply has a talent for "imagining the world as a better place".
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The way that Vamp's death scene is set up, with Naomi cradling him in tears as he slowly passes away from his various wounds after having his immortality-inducing nanomachines suppressed, is clearly meant to make the players feel sympathetic for him and his tortured existence. The problem is that Vamp is never depicted as anything but a complete bloodthirsty monster; murdering dozens of innocent people and inflicting immeasurable suffering to the main cast (including murdering Otacon's sister purely out of spite), and is completely unrepentant for his crimes - his sudden Death Seeker status is solely because he can't die rather than out of any sort of repentance. Vamp had a horrible past, and the nanomachines arguably made it even worse, but he's still such an awful human being that it's nearly impossible to actually feel sympathetic towards him (his Draco in Leather Pants-ing fangirls notwithstanding).
    • Solid Snake even offers a counterpoint to the idea that a tragic past makes you sympathetic (in the same game, no less). When talking about the B&B Corps, Drebin retells the horrible lives of each of the members, but Snake shoots it all down by saying that, at some point, a terrible life stops being an excuse for your actions. Yet, MGS4 expects that same line of logic to work on a character with more reason for the player to hate.
    • Revolver Ocelot, if you look his actions across the series as a whole he’s pretty unsympathetic. You’re supposed to see him as a kind of Tragic Villain due to his Undying Loyalty to the Boss his mother and later the love of his life Naked Snake aka Big Boss which justifies all his terrorist actions. But even then that doesn’t excuse the fact Ocelot happily worked for the Axe-Crazy Vologin in MGS3 who tortured Naked Snake and even got picked up a love for Cold-Blooded Torture over it. Even after the Boss and seemly Big Boss die Ocelot still works with for the latter’s evil clone son Liquid in MGS1 and viciously tortures Big Boss’s other clone son Solid Snake whom he tried to kill many times. The result paints Ocelot less like a complicated and sympathetic triple agent and more like an antagonistic nutcase.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Ada Wong. Although she’s a Femme Fatale Spy we’re still supposed to root for Ada due to her Dating Catwoman relationship with Leon, implied Dark and Troubled Past, occasional Pet the Dog moments with other protagonists and the actual villains of the games generally being more villainous than her. Except none of this changes the fact Ada is still complicit in multiple acts of bioterrorism, even working for the likes of Wesker and shows zero remorse for her actions which involve selling super viruses to her employers likely resulting in more outbreaks. Also despite her mutual infatuation with Leon, Ada has no problem using Leon’s feelings for her own personal gain and betrays him frequently which does put her in a very unsympathetic light.
    • Helena Harper from Resident Evil 6. She's been blackmailed by villains who kidnapped her sister and turned her into a monster while they were at it. Unfortunately, her actions trying to save her sister led to an entire college campus turning into zombies, as as well as the deaths of 70,000 people. Even if you do feel bad for her at first, watching Liz die from the infection and her lovable father fall apart into heartbreakingly narmy tears will make quick work of that pity, and it only exacerbates when the infection spreads from the campus into the entire town, every person Helena and Leon meet ending up dead by the end, especially with the whole town getting nuked. It also doesn't help that she whines about her sister for the entire game.
      • From the same game, Chris Redfield falls into this trope in Chapter 3 of his campaign, where he makes stupid decisions that ultimately kill all his men, Piers included in an attempt to get revenge for the first time he lost an entire team, and acts in a way that’s meant to make him seem tragic, brooding badass but makes him come off more as an jerk instead.
    • Eveline from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was engineered to be a Walking Wasteland bioweapon and programmed to desire a family as a means of spreading her infection. Pretty sad setup, but when a character is lashing out at injustice and wants to keep the audience on their side, it's really important to set the amount of sadistic cruelty, arrogant taunting, and evil laughter they display as close to zero as possible. Eveline uses all three of those things to an excess, making it clear that she's well aware of the pain and suffering she causes, and that she enjoys it. When Eveline whiningly asks why everyone hates her near the end, many players had no trouble giving an answer.
  • Within the Neptunia series, the games generally did a good job portraying the heroes as heroes and the villains as villains. The third game, Victory, had a lot of problems with this matter; the writers seemed to have declined to write actual personalities for the characters in favor of just writing one joke for them and then basing their contribution to every scene they're in around that single joke, which had dire consequences.
    • The eponymous main character Neptune has become even lazier than she was in Mk2, spending years without doing anything (so much so that she actually lost all her levels from the end of the last game) and being an ass to anyone who calls her out on her laziness. Even worse, she treats her beloved sister very badly, especially in what's supposed to be the Good Ending.
    • We have Plutia, with one side of the fandom loving her endearing laziness and her HDD mode as sadistic Iris Heart, and the other side thinking that her normal form is a lazy idiot and her HDD form an overpowered and bitchy jackass whose only reason for existing is to rape everybody.
    • This has the side effect of making the villains Unintentionally Sympathetic, as not only are they the ones going up against insurmountable odds (seven random people who aren't the most united working together against Physical Gods), their motivations of overthrowing the CPUs (who can be lazy, arrogant, sore losers and pretty illogical) can be pretty sound.
    • However, one villain has this problem. Rei, normally, is sympathetic. However, like Iris Heart, her HDD mode kills her character, making her an intolerable hypocrite unwilling to acknowledge her mistakes and actually deserving her ten thousand years of loneliness.
    • The remake, Hyperdimension Neptunia RE;Birth 3, is a big Author's Saving Throw that addressed many of these concerns. Neptune is much more eager to get things done, implies she's been on off-screen adventures during the timeskips, and has a much better relationship with her sister. Plutia was made less of a toxic influence, Iris' sadism was made much less sexual, and both forms are more emotionally intelligent than she's letting on. The villains make more satisfying antagonists by sheer dint of the heroes being more heroic. And where plot points demand the party do jerkass things, the characters themselves heavily imply they know it's a recycled script and transparently try to get the scenes over with painlessly. For the most part, it seems to have worked.
  • Metroid: Other M: Adam Malkovich is supposed to be a stern but fair leader who genuinely cares about the protagonist Samus Aran and a competent commander. However, his actions on screen show him treating Samus with a mixture of condescending rudeness and cold indifference. Despite the fact that at this point she has a successful career as a bounty hunter and as a mercenary for the Federation who destroyed the entire base of the pirates, he still doesn't consider her as his equal and allows her to join his crew on the Bottle Ship only if she strictly follows his orders. Which leads to the infamous Authorization System. Samus cannot use any of her equipment, even her defensive gear, until Adam says she can. At one point of the game, Adam asks you to go to a lava-filled area, and waits until you've been slowly cooking yourself through the area for something like fifteen minutes before realizing he should probably authorize use of the Varia Suit (a suit that protects you from deadly heat and convection, which no other game in the series has ever required you to traverse a superheated area until you've acquired it). Eventually Adam does something heroic when he saves Samus from a Metroid... by shooting her in the back while it's threatening her! For those reasons, many players were apathetic during his death scene and horrified by the implications of him coming back as a computer in Metroid Fusion.

    Something repeated about Adam, over and over, is that he's willing to sacrifice things that he cares about for the greater good. The game certainly shows a lot of him sacrificing things... not so much on the "cares about" front. There is never a point in the game where Adam exhibits any affection or care for those around him or under him (including his own family), nor is there a point where he grapples with the difficulty of sacrificing something important to him (even a flashback to when his brother died showed him not even batting an eye as he ignored Samus' pleading to let her go save him and ordered a part of the ship jettisoned). Even in his "Heroic Sacrifice," he states that the only reason he is sacrificing himself and not Samus is that Samus is more able to finish the mission. Because of this, Adam comes off less like a man willing to make hard decisions and more like a sociopath who views everything and everyone as nothing more than disposable assets.
  • League of Legends:
    • The developers have stated that all of the factions are mostly neutral, including Demacia and Noxus. However, with how Noxus is portrayed as being filled with various Social Darwinists and sadists who are very brutal and sinister in doing their jobs, not to mention often taking the 'bad guy' role during cinematics... Well, we have a reason Noxus is often considered the Always Chaotic Evil faction.
    • Something that comes out even worse with Demacia. Initially and after the lore reboot, they were set to be the The Good Kingdom. Built on the principles of chivalry, duty, honor, justice, community, and helping others in need. It was added that they also were founded as a refuge against the dangers of magic, following the devastation of the Runic Wars, to provide a home to all those escaping from the lethal and uncontrolable sorcey unleashed. The problem is, that they keep doing this by persecuting their own mages in order of "treating their illness", or exiling them. To the point that this has sparked a magical revolution inside their frontiers. Which would make for a fine shade of gray... if it wasn't for the fact that said prosecution is ALL we are shown in Demacia stories. We are being constantly TOLD that Demacia has a strong sense of community, where everyone helps each other, and admires the heroes and defenders of the capital, who protect the less fortunate. But we are only SHOWN constantly how angry mobs in the villages attack mage hunters that come from the capital, looking for mages of poor families, who they incarcerate and "treat" with painful magic supressing medicines. And how those same distrustful mobs set fire to houses of neighbours they suspect of being mages, all the while the heroes of Demacia think about how "this isn't their Demacia", and "the people of Demacia are normally good and helpful of each other". It doesn't help either when said heroes either come out as a resentful Knight Templar, or as an hypocritical mage that won't doubt in using torture to escape mage hunters. Meanwhile, all stories showing the good qualities of Demacia of acceptance and generosity, could be count with a hand that had less fingers than normal.
  • There is a version of this trope that led to a bit of a Broken Base in BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma. Litchi Faye-Ling has taken swing into Anti-Villain against her will and her arcade shows that she has a big remorse in fighting her friends and is not pleased with her superiors. All in all, it led to her being 'sympathetic'. However, in story mode, after having her attempts to be 'good' again was undone via time reset, she's later shown to still continue aiding Relius to 'recreate the world' under the goal of 'creating a world where Lotte Carmine exists', to dissuade her grief of losing him now that he couldn't be saved. At that point, the base broke: some still considers her sympathetic and tragic like what was intended in the Arcade Mode because among other things, she's pushed beyond her limits and sees no other 'option' to save Lotte, and she still shows dislike and remorse to what she must do, proven with how she tried to stop Carl from joining her, others follow this trope and lost any sympathy for her because... is saving one person and alleviating your own grief and guilt when no one else could worth aiding an equivalent to a genocide that involves herself and other characters that cared about her?
    • A big blow against her is that the person she's trying to save constantly begs her to stop trying to find a cure because he knows he's already doomed and to just go to their old boss, as she can at least save Litchi from suffering his same fate. Notably, he's also almost never lucid unless he's around Litchi (who he loves and wants the best for), and he hates their old boss with a violent passion, so it takes a lot of effort for him to do that. It makes her come across as self-serving, as she's ignoring what Lotte Carmine wants simply because she doesn't want to try to move on.
    • This ends up being revealed as one BIG misunderstanding that might even throw Lotte himself into the trope himself. After constantly ignoring his pleas, but at least wisening up to distance herself from the bad guys in Central Fiction, Litchi finally found a legit cure. What did Lotte do? Blatantly refuse and say that he's in the Boundary by his own choice of researching things from there without restrain, and thus rendering every sacrifices that Litchi made, even if it's self-serving, All for Nothing by revealing himself to also be self-serving. One could argue that Lotte had to play the Cruel to Be Kind card in order to make sure Litchi stops for real and not going off to make things worse for herself, but you'll have to take extra effort to see the alternative, thus for some, he didn't garner much 'victim sympathy' himself.
  • Valkyria Chronicles players sometimes end up taking a dim view of Alicia because of her melodramatic whining about her superpowers. Her life doesn't change at all after she becomes a Valkyria, the only difference is that she has the option of killing enemy soldiers with a lance instead of a rifle (and she's deadlier with the rifle), and that since she's an orphan, she now has some idea of who her birth mother must have been. She ignores all of this and instead goes on to have a screaming temper-tantrum that very nearly burns her entire squad alive because she just wants to be normal... even though her powers are completely under her control and she can use them, or not use them, at her discretion, and she doesn't realize it until her boyfriend tells her it's all gonna be okay. Which is exactly what she does, she just never uses her powers again.
  • Mr. Sohta from the horror RPG, Misao. In the end, the game tries really hard to make you feel sorry for, or at least forgive him due to his backstory, but by that point he has killed at least two girls and committed various other awful acts and it's generally considered too late. During his playthrough of the game, Markiplier puts it best:
    Markplier: (reading game text) "You're really a nice person Mr. Sohta... just a little awkward sometimes. And I like you for who you are." Even though you're a murdering psychopath!
  • Kratos in the earlier God of War games definitely falls under this. While clearly not heroic we’re still expected to root for Kratos in his rage against the Jerkass Gods such as Ares who tricked Kratos into killing his family and Zeus (his father) for cursing and manipulating Kratos. Hard to feel sorry for Kratos though, as even without the God’s involvement he’s still a violent Spartan whose callousness and disregard for innocent life was evident from the start, even the event that sparked his Roaring Rampage of Revenge the death of his wife and child came about when he was sent by Ares to go kill a temple full of Athena’s followers and Ares neglected to tell Kratos that his family was in there, which doesn’t change the fact Kratos was still going ruthlessly kill a temple full of defenceless people in the first place. Even in God of War 3 Kratos for all his Pet the Dog moments with Pandora fails to acknowledge how his actions make him just as evil as the gods, as he will infamously shove innocent women in gears just to keep a door open, kill men who have done nothing to him and ultimately does more catastrophic damage to Greece than any of the gods could’ve done.
    • For this reason the fourth instalment has Kratos mellow out into a self-hating man trying to start anew with his son Atreus. Older Kratos also won’t attack anyone who doesn’t attack him and his son first, making him justified in his bloodshed unlike the previous games.
    • Speaking of the fourth game Freya becomes this at the end due her decisions regarding her son Baldur. Having received a prophesy that Baldur will die, Freya in a full Mama Bear mode uses her magic to make him immortal, this alone would’ve been reasonable and understandable but Freya further curses him so that Baldur can Feel No Pain either. This backfires as Baldur becomes agonised unable to experience pleasure and turns him into a Ax-Crazy lunatic. While his anger towards his mother is vicious, Baldur did beg repeatedly for Freya to lift her spell and she refused every time. Making Baldur‘s attempts to kill her Unintentionally Sympathetic, not helped by the fact after Kratos saves her by killing Baldur for real Freya screams at him swearing revenge. The game paints her as a misguided Overprotective Mom when she’s really just a paranoid witch who turned her son into a psychotic monster.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: You can tell by the time the player returns to Los Santos that the game really wants the gamers to sympathize with Sweet after everything he went through during the years CJ left Liberty City after letting their younger brother get killed five years prior. While yes, it is true CJ had been selfish during the years he spent on the East Coast, he has returned to make up for his past mistakes and even kept their younger sister Kendl safe after Sweet is hauled to prison. Yet after CJ finally is able to bail him out of jail, Sweet chews CJ out for leaving his home for opulence and moving on up to a better life. Sweet loses all sympathy by 1) showing absolutely ZERO gratitude towards his younger brother for working his ass off to bail him out of jail, and 2) blaming him for the downfall of the gang even though Sweet himself is the leader who should have been brought the gang on its feet while CJ was away all those years. Not to mention Sweet claims that CJ was doing it all for himself, despite the fact that again, CJ actually went through hell and back to get him out of jail in the first place and even did most of the work to move up on top. Moreover, it makes Sweet come off as a genuine hypocite since right after being released, he was just about ready to take a sample of the crack, which would have been the case had CJ not intervened the last second. Is there really a wonder why he's considered one of the most unpopular characters of the game?
  • Mermaid Swamp gives us the old man. He reveals that he felt sorry for the 'mermaids' his family had kept for years and wanted to return them, but due to the strange fascination that they have on the men of the Tsuchida family, he was incapable of actually doing anything to them, so he used the protagonist and her friends to do it for him. While this could make the guy very sympathetic to some players, the fact that it's only revealed in the Golden Ending makes it difficult to actually feel it, because one is more likely to get any of the other endings, which are all bad, first. And the fact that said old man is anything but helpful in those endings makes him less sympathetic. In the other endings, he's more inclined to abuse Rin's insane state than actually help her and kills some of the characters.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • The Kobali are put under the light in Delta Rising. They weren't particularly liked for their Grave Robber ways when they showed up in Star Trek: Voyager, but the Kobali Battlezone missions as well as "Dust to Dust" make them even more unlikable as we come to find out that they've been resurrecting dead Vaadwaur and the Vaadwaur want them back. It gets worse when it is revealed that they have the body of the original Harry Kim. So much so that Harry Kim takes the Kobali to task for their actions, despite the fact that it goes against the Prime Directive and that they're supposed to be our allies.
    • The Past Iconians in "Midnight", the same individuals who are waging genocidal war against The Alliance in the game's present, but met 200,000 years in the past, are presented as a Higher-Tech Species that was unfairly attacked and bombed into the Stone Age by a coalition of other species whom they had refused to give their technology to under an Alien Non-Interference Clause. Some players considered this inadequate reason for later atrocities like causing the Hobus Supernova in an attempt to exterminate the entire Romulan species.
    • The Time Police in the Temporal Cold War arc, for picking and choosing which time travel is "good", e.g. Kirk kidnapping humpback whales from the 1980s, and "bad", e.g. reverting a genocidal Time Travel attack on the Na'Kuhl homeworld, which they oppose for little more reason than that it's (ostensibly) one of the events leading to the creation of the Temporal Accords in the first place.
      mithrosnomore: This means that they (Walker and co.) are fine with changing the timeline so long as it works to their favor. It doesn't make the TLF any better, but it does make Walker and co. a bunch of self-serving hypocrites that are fine with changes that benefit them but not those that change the fate of others.
  • Sonic Lost World: So a major conflict in the game is how Tails starts feeling like Sonic is beginning to lose faith in him in favor of Eggman, and just wants to be of use to his hero. However, this ignores the fact that 1) Eggman is the only one capable of disabling the machine since he was the one who made it. and 2) Tails makes no objections to even allowing him to help in the first place. In fact, this has the side effect of making Sonic Unintentionally Sympathetic, as he's treated negatively for his earlier actions that kicked off the plot despite his genuine remorse and trying to make amends. The plot is firmly on Tails` side of the conflict and in the end, Sonic apologizes for "not trusting him enough". And the whole conflict ends up being moot anyway when Tails just randomly disables Eggman's machine to begin with.
  • Nilin of Remember Me traces everything back to her mother losing her leg in a car accident when she was a kid. The story definitely portrays Nilin as being an undeserving victim, but her character development over the rest of the game tends to undermine it. Her self-centered behavior in the game implies that her behavior as a child, and her willingness to use her remix ability to just make Scylla out to be a bad driver and herself a perfect angel and dodge all the hard work and consequences, are not simple childishness or immaturity as much as they are inherent character flaws.
    • Nilin's mother is, interestingly, also this. She's unable to let go of the fact that Nilin's misbehaving during the lead-up to the car accident isn't what directly caused it. By the time the accident happened, Nilin had been behaving properly for a short amount of time... yet Scylla takes her eyes off the road to lecture her when she sees a red light at an intersection, which caused the accident. Quite possibly the entire story could've been much different if she didn't take that very moment to throw common sense out the window and decide to take it out on her daughter.
  • While Undertale tries to make you feel sorry for Dr. Alphys, she came across more as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing to a few fans. Not only does she run a Monster Protection Racket with Mettaton so she can insert herself into the player's adventure as a hero, but her experiments with determination and monster souls lead to the creation of both the Amalgamates and Flowey. And while none of that was on purpose, the fact she didn't tell anyone about what happened actively made things much worse. Those still leave a bitter taste in a few fans' mouths, especially since she never apologizes or even confesses to the former, despite it being entirely her fault. It's hard to blame her entirely for the latter, since it was an experiment ordered by King Asgore that had Gone Horribly Wrong, and she had no idea what would happen. Either way, she suffers no consequences for either of these behaviors in the game's Golden Ending, while one of the more sympathetic characters ends up suffering a terrible fate, making a Bittersweet Ending. Cruel players who would feel so inclined don't even get to Kick the Son of a Bitch, as she can't be fought at all and conveniently isn't even encountered at all during a Genocide run, meaning you don't even get to threaten her let alone take her down.
    • To some extent, Undyne and the monsters who try to kill you, assuming you're not doing a Genocide or a very violent Neutral run. The story treats any killing of a monster as something horrible... But plenty of these monsters are also actively trying to kill you. While the You Bastard! comments are accurate when it comes to the player, and while the extent to which the lack of sympathy those monsters might elicit is unintentional at least partly depends on the player (there are comments in a Pacifist run that compliment the player for their willingness to Turn the Other Cheek), In-Universe those monsters don't know that the player exists and don't know that you can reset (except Flowey and Sans). Therefore, and even if Blue-and-Orange Morality is often at play, most of the monsters seem surprisingly okay when they have to murder a child. Also, Undyne's words about how you're an "evil" force standing in the way of everyone's "hopes and dreams" lose a lot of their impact, especially in a Pacifist run, when you remember that she's saying it to a child. (And contrary to other monsters, she has seen Human History / Anime, so she probably knows the difference between an adult human and a child.) For an anime fan, she doesn't seem to realize that hurting children is almost always a trait displayed by the villains. The fact that she remains hostile even after you spare her and even if you continue a Pacifist run (until you befriend her of course) may also make Undyne lose some sympathy.
  • This trope is the reason why Nix from Infamous 2 is so disliked among the fandom. She's meant to be portrayed as a Jerkass Woobie with a tragic past involving the deaths of her parents at the hands of Bertrand, but this Freudian Excuse is flimsy at best and does little to justify her violent streak. The Evil choices she advocates for Cole are outlandishly, stupidly evil, and make her come off as a borderline sociopath. This is especially in contrast with Kuo and Zeke, who are far more sympathetic and have more character depth in general. note 
  • Luka in The Wonderful 101. His mom died and he blames the superhero team the game is named after for not being able to save her. That part's fine and sympathetic. What isn't is how he genuinely wants to ally with the GEATHJERK forces, who are trying to destroy Earth, and even aid them by leaking inside technology and weak points in the planet's defenses. Making matters worse is the timing of his Heel-Face Turn, which is after he finds out that his mom is technically alive through the defense robot Platinum Robo. Still wanting to side with GEATHJERK even after their Dragon reduced Blossom City to a pile of ruins floating in the sky speaks a lot about him. In spite of all of this, Wonder-Red and Wonder-Pink both bend over backwards to downplay his behavior and at worst he's supposed to be seen as misguided and driven too far with revenge (one of the game's main themes). He does make a full Heel–Face Turn and even joins the team as Wonder-Goggles, but it's hard to feel sorry for the kid who was absolutely willing to destroy his entire planet all because he thought his mom died, and only went back to the heroes after finding out she isn't dead.
  • Patroklos in Soulcalibur V is shown to be a self-righteous, sociopathic racist who remorselessly murders an innocent man in the opening cutscene of the game. He's also supposed to be the protagonist. You're supposed to feel sorry for him because his mother is dead (implicitly causing his father to later die of a broken heart) and his sister was abducted when they were children. His relationship with Pyrrha (said sister) is supposed to be his redeemable trait, but that even gets thrown out the window when he finds out she's Malfested—one of the very creatures he's spent most of his life hating and the targets of the Witch Hunts throughout SCVand the intended bearer of Soul Edge. He runs away from their battle and vows to kill her if he ever see her again, which he temporarily does due to being easily controlled by the will of Soul Calibur, who is a major Knight Templar where Soul Edge is concerned. The only reason Pyrrha survives is because Edge Master sends Patroklos back in time after he manages to break free of Elysium's control. Supplemental materials would focus on Patroklos' time spent in Istanbul with his teacher-slash-presumed Parental Substitute Setsuka and indicate that Pat knows he's unworthy of following Sophitia's legacy as a "holy warrior" yet can't bring himself to openly admit it, presumably in an attempt to make him less unlikable, but the damage was already done, leading to Patroklos quickly becoming one of the most hated characters in the entire Soul series. Sure enough, Soulcalibur VI would be a Continuity Reboot that wipes the slate clean, effectively erasing Patroklos altogether to the relief of everyone.
  • Tekken
    • Nina Williams is always, always, always presented as a super-cool badass who we're supposed to root for in her rivalry against her twin sister Anna; the two animated films based on the series and the spin-off game Death by Degrees all depict Nina as the hero and Anna as a craven, pathetic villain. The main series, though, has shown Nina be extremely vicious, cruel and abusive towards her sister, even on occasions where Anna has sincerely tried in good faith to bury the hatchet between them, and has gone so far as to outright murder Anna —along with numerous other innocent people— in at least one [non-canon] ending. If Nina's Character Shilling weren't so obvious, it'd be easy to assume that we were meant to sympathize with Anna instead (who's no saint herself, but comes off as amoral at worst instead of, y'know, evil).

      Tekken 7 takes this further as the reason Nina’s default outfit is a torn wedding dress (beyond Fanservice) is that it’s Anna’s wedding dress which she used infiltrate her sister wedding with a G-corporation executive with mafia ties and murdered him at the altar. While it’s explained Nina was just following orders, it just adds to her aforementioned cruelty of Anna whose rage against her sister is more sympathetic than it already was. Then immediately after fleeing the wedding, Nina runs into her son Steve and after explaining his birth rejects him as her child since her egg was taken and fertilised to make a Supersoldier without her consent. Nina’s dislike of Steve just for being born is hardly fair since it’s not his fault and Heihachi is one who ordered her egg taken while she was a Human Popsicle, yet Nina serves him faithfully. Both cases paint Nina not as a badass Dark Action Girl but a sociopath who couldn’t care less about her own family.
    • Jin Kazama’s actions and motivations in Tekken 6 firmly put him here. While Jin was never supposed to be a paragon, we’re still supposed to root for him in his fight against his father Kazuya and grandfather Heihachi, except Tekken 6 has him pick up the Conflict Ball and plunge the world into darkness by taking over the Mishima Zaibatsu himself. His reasons for doing so are revealed that he apparently needed to create negative energy energy to awaken the Azazel who will destroy the world and Jin wants to kill it to create peace on making him a Well-Intentioned Extremist. While the exact nature of Azazel is never fully explained, there’s little to indicate Azazel would’ve awakened without Jin’s actions meaning the end result is that Jin incited World War 3 just to kill a big monster whose death doesn’t even effect world since conflict and evil still continues to exist, meaning Jin’s mass tyranny and redeeming Heroic Sacrifice was All for Nothing.
      • Jin’s other excuse is that killing Azazel (as he believed) would cure him of the Devil Gene, so Jin threw the entire world into chaos in the slim hope of curing himself. This just makes Jin look incredibly selfish and unsympathetic and flies in the face of everything his mother Jun taught him.
    • Heihachi himself in Tekken 7 becomes this, as his Freudian Excuse is fully revealed. It’s explained in a Flash Back that what really sparked off the overarching conflict with his son Kazuya, was that it was it his wife Kazumi who had the Devil Gene and was he forced to kill her in self defence when Kazumi went One-Winged Angel and he even sheds Manly Tears over it. While it’s quite tragic, Heihachi loses a lot sympathy points when instead of just sitting down and explaining it all to his poor grieving son like a sane and rational father would do, he beats the shit of Kazuya and throws him off a cliff. Heihachi says he did it to stop Kazuya becoming like his mother and uses the fact that Kazuya survived as proof of his cursed blood, but this reasoning backwards since Kazuya only activated the Devil Gene is solely because Heihachi threw him off a cliff in the first place. In the end it just makes Kazuya despite his demonic nature look justified in eventually killing his father who abused and tried to kill him unfairly.
  • Jake Conway in Ride to Hell: Retribution. We are supposed to sympathize and root for him because his brother has just been murdered by the Devil's Hand and he decides to go against them as revenge for his brother's death. But the lengths he is willing to go and the sheer amount of innocent people he murders to accomplish this makes him as bad, if not worse than the very bikers that he hates. Case in point, when he encounters an electric fence his solution to the problem is to kill a bunch of innocent truckers, steal their fuel truck, then drive it to the power plant, killing any police that tries to get in his way, and when he enters the plant, he kills all the workers trying to defend the dam, then shoots the fuel tank in order to blow up the power plant just to shut down the electric fence. Disregarding how much potential damage it could do by shutting down the power source for at least four states, this plan is needlessly elaborate and cruel considering that he could have just found a tree to jump over the fence or even used the truck to knock it down with minimal innocent casualties.
    Ross: Jesus this guy is the worst thing to ever happen to this town!!!
  • The Legend of Dragoon has a few examples:
    • Miranda, the First Sacred Sister and final party member. Her backstory would normally garner a lot of sympathy: She was unwanted (and beaten) by her mother. Her father was a lush who also beat her. She would run away and spend all of her time wandering a glacier until she was adopted by Queen Theresa. During the story, Rose is also a unwarranted bitch to Miranda, telling her Miranda isn't as capable with the White Silver Dragoon Spirit that rejected Shana in favor of Miranda when Miranda is just as capable in the actual game. However, before we reach that part, we meet Miranda for a bit. She's shown to be hot-tempered, immature, and a poor leader - and prone to punching guards who displease her.
    • Miranda's mother was supposedly trapped in a loveless marriage to a drunk. That's pretty sympathetic. However, she also beat her own child (who was an infant, no less) in order to deal with her pain. That's not sympathetic. Then, she ran away with another man to escape the loveless marriage. That's sympathetic. But when Miranda saw this, she reveals she never bothered to mention that she had a daughter, and abandoned her. That's FAR from sympathetic. During the final dungeon, Miranda fights a manifestation of her mother, who comes off as apologetic, and reveals that she had actually had remorse for leaving Miranda and tried to come back for her. Yet every time, Miranda's father chased her away (rightfully so) and when he died, Miranda had been taken in by Queen Theresa. You have to forgive her to continue - many players disagree with this and feel Miranda's mother got what she deserved.
    • Rose can fall under this as well. She's cold, aloof, standoffish, and antisocial at the best of times - not to mention directly and openly antagonistic towards Miranda. Some players found her backstory not enough to justify her behavior, and were grateful when Miranda slapped her in Disc 4.
  • Life Is Strange.
    • Chloe Price, to a faction of the notoriously Broken Base. The entire game revolves around Max's reconnection with her, in the form of Chloe dying and Max using her rewind powers to save her life. While she is supposed to be seen as flawed, her tragic backstory and Broken Bird tendencies aren't necessarily enough to redeem her selfish, arrogant attitude, or her tendency to do stupid things that get her killed. One infamous example was when David caught her with her weed, and if Max didn't hide, she'd immediately throw Max under the bus, but if the player denied it, the game will basically guilt trip you for letting Chloe get in trouble. Another moment was when she asked Max if she could steal money from the Principal's office purportedly to be used for a fundraiser to help disabled students (though there's also a rather strong undercurrent that it was actually a bribe to cover up the misbehavior of the son of the richest man in town) so she could pay off her debts that she got herself into. This also contributes to the player base reactions to the endings, since how much the player cares about Chloe, and Max's relationship with her, factors heavily in both of them.
    • Among fans who do sympathize with Chloe, conversely, her mother Joyce is commonly seen as this. Her reaction to the death of her beloved husband was to hook up with an obviously unstable man who is about as much the opposite of her late husband as humanly possible, before her daughter was even done grieving, and take his side against Chloe's in virtually every issue unless Max reveals he's been spying on her without permission. It's often pointed out that Chloe's misbehavior would likely not have occurred at all had her mother been more supportive to her following her father's death.
    • Blackwell Academy's Principal Wells is supposed to be a good person held back by his out-of-control students and the town's corruption, but to most fans he comes across as a blathering incompetent. As touched on above, it's also heavily implied at one point that he accepts kickbacks from Greater-Scope Villain Sean Prescott, meaning he's feeding said corruption himself.
    • The sequel has Karen, the mother of the main characters, Sean and Daniel, have a lingering presence including her appearance from Episode 4 and 5, which they never saw since she divorced from their father Estaban. The reason for the divorce? She feels that she's not cut out for a family life. A bit selfish, but not horrific since she did give full custody of the kids to Estaban. But while the game tries to make her seem sympathetic by showing that she realizes that she made foolish choices and is regretting it, she never even bothered to be a part of her sons' lives - to the point where Daniel doesn't even know what she looks like when he first meets her and initially feels nothing (granted, he was brainwashed by a cult leader at the time, but still). Many fans have pointed out the Double Standard by feeling that if it was Estaban and not Karen who left the family, it would have been nowhere near as sympathetic. Even her parents, Claire and Stephen, for all their feelings of not being Estaban's biggest fans, at least made an effort to form a relationship with their grandsons and help out their son-in-law, causing a good portion of the fans to see her as a bit of a deadbeat.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has an example where sympathy is properly placed right up until going a step too far: Lao. Initially he's an implied Death Seeker because his wife and child were screwed out of their positions on the evacuation ship by rich and influential people who "bought" their way on board. This much is fine, as the characters are tactful and Lao doesn't Wangst in front of the player at all. No, his choice of action is to sell out humanity to a race openly bent on genocide. When this is revealed, Lin and the Player Character will automatically stand in front of Lao to stop Elma shooting him - despite the fact that Elma would be completely justified in a field execution, and this act of mercy directly enables the destruction of humanity's best hope for the future - an outcome that could have been easily predicted. Needless to say, many players consider the traitor's ultimate fate to be a total slap on the wrist.
  • Lusamine, the Big Bad of Pokémon Sun and Moon is supposed to garner sympathy from the player due to once being a loving woman and caring mother who went down a dark path due to grief over losing her husband and being exposed to a potent mind-altering toxin from an Ultra Beast, and is given the possibility of redemption down the line. However, more than a few players found this unwarranted as said toxin it less of a mind-control drug and more of something that strengthens her worst traits and their sympathetic traits are regulated to post-game backstory and hearsay while any seemingly good traits shown in-game are a lie. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon changes Lusamine to be more sympathetic. In these two games, due to there being no toxins to worry about, the character is instead trying to save the region from being endangered by Necrozma. That said, it's awfully hard to find out where the truth lies in the whole emotional and verbal abuse of her children - or to even find a justification for the foundation's experiments.
  • Bede in Pokémon Sword and Shield. Sonia casually saying that he has no family and was taken in by the chairman was an attempt to gain sympathy for the character after he is disqualified from the Pokémon league. Even Gym Leader Opal tries to shill him by saying how he was used and then discarded when they no longer needed him...which of course is a giant lie. He was kicked out of the league for his own bad behaviour and using one of the chairman's Pokémon to destroy a historical monument, to say nothing of the fact that he acted like a entitled, condescending, self absorbed asshole up to and beyond that point. Basically, we're expected to feel sorry for Bede because the consequences of acting like a Spoiled Brat actually caught up to him. His trainer card does portray his past as fairly dark, and Bede does chill out later on, but the lack of portraying him in a sympathetic light in the actual story context until he had already done a bunch of bad staff, was not a great way to generate sympathy for him.
  • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, it can become rather difficult to actually sympathize with Clive when you go back and watch the cutscenes where his giant mecha death machine rises above ground and begins attacking London. It'd take an extreme case of conveniently empty buildings to claim that no innocent people were killed, especially given that a lot of the buildings that are crushed are actually shown with lit up windows, as if to indicate directly that, yes, a ton of completely innocent people are in those building, and are now dead thanks to Clive's deranged revenge scheme.
  • Stardew Valley:
    • Pierre is the representation of the "Mom and Pop" business, in contrast to the Predatory Business that is JojaMart. Obviously, the player is suggested to sympathise with him, but he shows himself to be somewhat of a business-minded individual concerned mostly about profit, just like JojaCorp is. He mentions that holidays are good for business and that he should think up more to drum up business, is considering making his store a chain, and wanting to kiss-up to the governor in hopes of getting a tax break. What's more, if you sell your crops to him, it's implied he sells them for a markup and claims he grew them himself. While JojaCorp is seen as the bad guy in the overall "story" of Stardew Valley and Pelican Town, it's hard to see Pierre as a "good guy" and more a lesser of two evils. Especially since he might become your father-in-law if the player decides to marry Abigail.
    • Demetrius is a scientist with a daughter Maru, who is following in his footsteps. Maru's two-heart event has him immediately saying that he doesn't want anything to perhaps change her future, implying he's not very fond of you getting close to his daughter. While this may be somewhat reasonable, he does come off as quite possessive and maybe even inconsiderate of what his own daughter desires. On top of that, there's the way he treats his step-son Sebastian; i.e. that he basically ignores his entire existence, and doesn't really try to hide the fact that Sebastian is The Un-Favourite.
  • Connor's "The Eden Club" mission of Detroit: Become Human ends with the choice between killing the rogue Sex Bot or sparing her. While the latter is presented as the more moral choice, since that Traci fell in love with another android, was afraid her customer would hurt her, and just want to live free with her love, the facts are that: 1)The human she murdered didn't actually hurt her, she just thought he was going too, 2)she and her partner just fought and tried to kill Connor and Hank, and 3)the choice has to be made while she's charging Connor at the end of the fight.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:
    • Crow Armbrust gets this due to his desire for revenge against Chancellor Osborne, and the fact that he's the leader of a terrorist group called the Imperial Liberation Front. The story tries to make him sympathetic because he wants to avenge his dead grandfather, who protested Osborne's attempt to annex Jurai into the Erebonian empire but was outvoted by the rest of Jurai's politicians. However, Crow's grandfather died of natural causes, not because of anything Osborne did. Also, the actions of the Imperial Liberation Front have caused a lot of destruction in the group's desire for revenge that would've been worse had Class VII not intervened. For instance, the False Flag Operation the group tries in Chapter 3 of the first game almost started a war between Erebonia and Calvard, the two biggest nations on the continent. They also planned to launch a Weapon of Mass Destruction at the city of Crossbell, just because Osborne was attending a trade conference in the city at the time. There was also the fact that the group was responsible for starting the civil war that makes up the focus of the second game when Crow sniped Chancellor Osborne in broad daylight. Yet despite these actions, Rean and the rest of Class VII don't care and just want Crow to come back to Thors and live out the rest of his school life before graduating.
    • Rean and the rest of Class VII get this from the fanbase due to their desire to bring Crow back to Class VII, while barely bringing up the fact that, as mentioned above, he's the leader of the terrorist group that started a civil war. Some fans think the group is selfish and has Skewed Priorities for caring more about the well-being of one person than the damage said person caused. Fans have also pointed out how the homes and loved ones of Class VII ended up in the crossfire of ILF's schemes more than once, such as Gaius' homeland nearly being dragged into war due to the False Flag Operation during the field study in Nord, Rean's sister Elise being kidnapped and drugged during the Heimdallr field study, and Machias' father Carl almost getting killed by one of ILF's leaders due to Guilt by Association. These examples and more would give Class VII plenty of personal reasons to despise Crow and the Imperial Liberation Front, yet even with these reasons, Class VII never loses any sympathy for Crow, and they still consider him a member of Class VII, seemingly prioritizing him over their homes and loved ones.
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • Although it's a stretch to say that Caesar's Legion is supposed to by sympathetic, there are a lot of remarks to the effect that it is meant to be a factor in the game's Grey-and-Grey Morality, with a number of characters remarking a preference for them over other factions, citing their ability to make the wasteland safe as opposed to the humanitarian, but bureaucratic NCR. A lot of discussions involving them treat them as at least an equal choice compared to the other possible options. However, their extreme violence, slaving, and misogyny, their Ludd Was Right policies, their dependency on a military dictator, and the cutting of any Legion-controlled area that wasn't a brutal warcamp left many players confused as to what their upsides were supposed to be. The Wasteland has very few modern conveniences and is full of slaving, raping and killing psychopaths? Obviously, the solution is to institutionalize all those things and put a psychopath in charge! And even if you think the NCR are full of it, there are two other possible factions that sidestep its issues in a much better-adjusted fashion. Tellingly, Legion playthroughs are statistically the least common by a fairly wide margin.
    • Ulysses is meant to be a sympathetic villain who, after seeing the only wasteland society he found promising totally destroyed by the player character, decided to both get revenge and tear down the institutions of the wasteland. However, his logic is so flawed that many players did not find him sympathetic at all. For one, the player character did not intentionally destroy the valley; they were simply a courier who delivered an anonymous package, which later turned out to be bomb. In addition, because this job happened before the beginning of the game, the player themselves had no agency in it. Ulysses’s criticisms of Wasteland societies and institutions are obvious Author Tracts that many players found pretentious and annoying rather than profound. Finally, his “solution” is to basically destroy all civilization in the Wasteland, including potentially millions of people, for the crime of having flawed governments. Essentially, players felt that the main writers expected Ulysses to be sympathetic simply because they agreed with many of his ideals, completely disregarding that players may not hold the same ideology.
    • The game tries to make the Great Khans look sympathetic due to the Bitter Springs Massacre and the sorry state they're in during the events of the game, but aside from Bitter Springs, they don't really deserve a player's pity. In the first two Fallout games the Khans were an Arch-Enemy to NCR since the time it was just the village of Shady Sands, and have raided and preyed on them for decades. When the Khans left California and came to the Mojave, they remained the aggressors when NCR came to the region too and the Khans attacked their settlers. Papa Khan himself proudly admits that "When the NCR came to the Mojave, we thought they would be easy pickings. We raided their caravans, their towns, their camps - they couldn't stop us." While this information is presented, it's spoken and forgotten as if it were an irrelevant detail. The player is given no dialogue options to reflect on this nor any dialogue options to confront the Khans' evil or hypocrisy. Meanwhile, the Bitter Springs massacre is treated as a deep and important moral issue that the player comments on several times, and the player is naturally allowed to call the NCR's actions horrible. The best ending for the Khans involves them leaving the Southwest and carving a "mighty Empire" in Wyoming. This is treated positively as an oppressed people rebuilding their supposed "glory", with no mention of the vast suffering almost certain to occur in the Great Khans' idea of a "mighty Empire". Outside of their past, in game the Khans do little to deserve sympathy between their manufacturing and selling drugs to the Fiends, to the ways they raise their kids from what Bitter Root describes his childhood, and how they want to join the Legion just for revenge. Nevertheless the player is implicitly forced to agree with their status as oppressed victims of evil NCR aggression, despite the fact that they ultimately are responsible for their own failures.
  • YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG: Alex is a pretentious, self-centered, and flat out grating hipster who constantly engages in poorly written Purple Prose and treats the whole world and his friends as though they revolve around him and his needs. Eventually, alternate versions of him destroy the world due to their negative personality traits consuming them, and in one ending he can choose to join them. While the character was not initially meant to be sympathetic, even while trying to atone for what his other selves did he comes off as just as narcissistic and pretentious, leading to people cheering when he dies rather than taking the moment as the tear-jerking Heroic Sacrifice it was meant to be.
  • Mitchell, the protagonist of Hunt Down the Freeman, is meant to be a Villain Protagonist, to be sure, but the intended angle is less "monstrous asshole you incidentally play as" and more "broken man driven to do something terrible out of the desire for revenge." But the fact is, said "revenge" is against Gordon Freeman, and the reason Mitchell wants revenge is that (he believes) Gordon attacked and scarred him during the Black Mesa raids while Mitchell was part of the HECU. What was the purpose of the raids? Gunning down hundreds of unarmed scientists and researchers as part of a coverup, including Gordon. So essentially, he decides to dedicate his whole life to killing this one man, for his unforgivable crime of defending himself. Mitchell literally starts working with the Combine, going so far as to raise up an army of Child Soldiers, effectively turning his back on the human race, so that he can get his revenge on some guy who smacked him in the face with a crowbar a few decades ago.
  • Ana in Need for Speed Heat. She's meant to be seen as a victim and rebel who lives for the freedom of street racing, and is held back by her "coward" brother Lucas who tries to run his garage on the right side of the law. For all of it, the plot goes out of its way to repeatedly prove Lucas's concerns are completely valid, and Ana's antics end up costing him everything he's trying to protect. Meanwhile, the city has ample legal street racing options if Ana wasn't so stubborn about breaking the law just because it's part of her street racing fantasy. Only the cops being comically corrupt stop Ana from being the Villain Protagonist.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has one character named Dominico. He has a servant named David, who he treats like crap. Given that even the characters in-universe think he's a mean person, we're obviously not supposed to like him. But despite how cruely he treated David, David still puts his life on the line and loses it to protect him. This causes Dominico to realise he did not deserve someone as nice as David as a servant, and he changes his ways to honour his memory. The problem is that the PS2 version went too far in establishing Dominico as a Jerkass, so even if he's supposedly learned his lesson, he was such a jerk that it's very hard to believe he truly did learn his lesson. The 3DS version of the game removed one Kick the Dog scene, thus making it show that while Dominico is a Jerkass, he's not, 100%, a dick.
  • The Last of Us Part II: Abby was portrayed as having undergone redeeming Character Development after brutally murdering Joel as revenge for their killing her father, realizing it wasn't worth it and thus deservingly gets better off than Ellie who would remain consumed with revenge until the ending. This rang hollow to many due to Abby's continued cruelties such as gleefully attempting to kill Dina after learning she was pregnant stopping only because Lev told her to while Ellie is guilt ridden after realizing Mel who she killed was pregnant and her other actions and ultimately struggled and chose to break the Cycle of Revenge unlike Abby. Abby's karma of losing her friends and pet dog to Ellie's Roaring Rampage of Revenge was seen by many instead as everyone but Abby suffering for it.
  • From Arknights is the villain Skullshatterer, who was meant to be seen as a Tragic Villain because of his Dark and Troubled Past. As a kid, he was infected with Oripathy, and thus had to deal with the Fantastic Racism that comes with it in the game's setting, including being arrested as a child and taken away from his family. This ended up in him eventually joining Reunion, a terrorist organization fighting for the rights of people infected with Oripathy. However, this all fall flats because he's a huge hypocrite. He accuses Rhodes Island, another group trying to help the Infected through more peaceful means, of being traitors to the Infected because they attacked his Reunion soldiers. He conveniently ignores the fact that his soldiers attacked them first, so it was either self-defense or death. He also ignores the number of people who died from Reunion's actions so far, including the destruction of an entire city. His soldiers are also shown attacking innocent civilians in the slums of Lungmen, including people infected with Oripathy, which contradicts Reunion's goals. Even when Amiya tries pointing out these things, Skullshatterer refuses to listen to her and insists Reunion is justified in their cause, and as he dies he bitterly accuses her of "once again" putting the lives of those who oppress the Infected above the lives of the Infected themselves, refusing to the end to take any responsibility for his actions. This has caused fans to see him not as a Tragic Villain, but as a self-righteous hypocrite who is no better than the people who oppressed the Infected in the first place.
  • Project Wingman: While exactly how sympathetic Crimson 1 is supposed to be remains an open question, by the time he gets around to his big "The Reason You Suck" Speech, he doesn't deserve to say a word of it. At the very least, he's long proven himself a Kool-aid drinking Federation poster boy, and all his other excuses fall just as flat. He claims to be hunting down Monarch to prevent further conflict, but it's obvious to everyone it's a personal vendetta. He claims the Federation would have quickly brought lasting peace, except his flights' first real loss to Monarch was also the turning point of the war with Cascadian Independence forces gaining ground ever since. He calls Monarch a savage dog and warmonger, when it's long since been clear that Peacekeeper squadrons are nothing more than Federation attack dogs responsible for some of the worst escalations. He claims the independence war is pointless since the Federation will be back in fifty years, but the Federation has been rapidly cracking at the seams since the second Calamity. Finally, his one sympathetic facet might have been being a Well-Intentioned Extremist Cascadian national who truly wanted the best for his country, except he just dropped a Fantastic Nuke on the country's last remaining urban centre, killing both side of the war and countless civilians after a cease-fire had just been announced and de-escalation was gaining momentum, delaying reconstruction by decades just to get a clear shot at Monarch while justifying his actions with all of the above. Overall, his every word rings hollow and he makes himself much more of a destructive menace than any amount of mercenary involvement in the war.
  • Super Robot Wars K protagonist Mist Rex is a refugee from a peaceful planet that was destroyed by the Big Bad. Stranded on Earth and feeling responsible for his homeworld's destruction, Mist uses his experience to ensure the villain cannot do any harm to Earth. While K presents a fine and dandy story of a Failure Knight that, on paper, would make Mist a sympathetic hero to root for, in practice, Mist is an insensitive Jerkass who badmouths his allies for doing things that would equate to a Culture Clash to him yet he acts like a Hypocrite by not sticking to what he preaches himself. Worse, Mist has no idea when to keep his mouth shut for the duration of the game's narrative, even when he fights for a genuinely good cause, thus leading players to forget that he's The Hero of the story and not some Villain Protagonist. It stands to reason that Mist has earned The Scrappy status so much that he's become the most despised Super Robot Wars protagonist ever by a wide margin (as a reminder, the protagonists for most installments in the franchise tend to be liked, but never outright hated).

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: