Get the Skinny on bad guys that had good intentions.

Video Game Villains Who Weren’t Actually Bad

Get the Skinny on bad guys that had good intentions.

Have you ever heard of the saying "so bad it's good?" Usually the motto has something to do with an idea (or a Sharknado) but have you ever considered this could be used for a person? Specifically, a video game villain?

Is it possible to do bad things but with good intentions? Not getting into psychological and socially acceptable debate, it is possible and some of the so-called video game antagonists over the last few years have proved that to be true.

Here's a list of some of the best villains who really had a good heart. 

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Dragon Age 2

Character: Arishok

I still remember when I saw the first advert for Dragon Age. The minute I saw Arishok fighting against Hawke on the stairs after beheading a guy, I knew he was going to be the Big Bad but after the game, he really wasn't anything like I thought he would be. 

I'm not saying he was disappointing, but when they say 'looks may be deceiving', Arishok is a perfect. Sure the guy might be a massive, imposing figure but he's as cuddly as a teddy bear. Well, maybe not exactly, that but he never meant to cause any trouble. I mean the guy didn't even want to come to Kirkwall, let alone stay there, but a shipwreck and a mission to uphold in finding a sacred Qunari artifact leaves him with little choice.

He really is a case of duty-over-everything only to become the subject of blatant racism, a handful of fraudulent misdeeds against his people, and a witness to a host of terrible acts of a corrupt government. Can you really blame him for cutting a guy's head off and eventually taking over a city? He just wanted to go home.


Character: The Master

The Master, without a doubt, is gross. However, it is ironic as his gross state goes hand in hand with a seriously gross miscalculation of bettering the world. 

In the game, a host of animal mutants are attacking human survivors leaving the once human The Master frantically searching for the origin of the mutants in hopes to understand them better. Unfortunately, during his research he fell into  a vat of F.E.V..

Whether it was an epiphany prior to falling into the vat or caused after the horrific change, The Master decides to fix the mutant-on-human attacks by turning all the survivors into mutants and create a utopia. 

Obviously he meant well... but it was just a really bad idea. 

Mass Effect

Character: Saren

Saren is certainly a case of "no good deed goes unpunished." Sure, he isn't the best of the best, he's had a pretty shaky track record and that's putting it nicely but that doesn't mean he can't put all that energy into something good. Sadly, it backfired and gave everyone the wrong impression. 

While Saren may have attempted to wipe out humans himself, his fierce sense of duty propelled him into siding with the Reapers in hopes to show that the organics were worth keeping around. Too bad that only caused him to become indoctrinated and a pawn to the Reapers. 

Final Fantasy X

Character: Seymour

If you really look at Final Fantasy as a franchise, the game really has some serious religious undertones as well as social commentary on the idea of church and state. Good ol Maester Seymour certainly is a perfect individual for such commentary.

However, the commentary isn't just about religion but the idea of "for the greater good." Seymour might seem like a shady character with some ridiculous hair, but his desire to become Sin and kill everyone isn't unwarranted.

As a child he was traumatized with the death of his mother at the hands of Sin and instead getting therapy and aspiring to a real career, young Seymour decided he wanted to grow up and become Sin. Yeah, he forced Yuna into marriage and did a bunch of other things, but he just really wanted to end the suffering of the world. 

Had he dialed back the whole Sin thing and wanting to kill everyone and just left it at ending world suffering. He would have been a perfect candidate for serving in the United Nations. 


Character: GLaDOS

We all know GLaDOS as an aggressive-passive-aggressive human-hating robot, but she came from humble beginnings. As we find out in Portal 2, GLaDOS was originally created so Cave Johnson could upload his consciousness to her to avoid moon rock poisoning induced death. Unfortunately, he died before then leaving his assistant Caroline to take his place. 

But I'm not arguing that Caroline is what's making GLaDOS heartless, in fact Caroline is hardly the cause as she is later deleted from the core. I'm arguing that GLaDOS is a robot and is programmed to facilitate tests, no matter how deadly they are to the participant. We really can't fault her for that.

She's just doing her job. 

Gears of War

Character: Queen Myrrah

Queen Myrrah is essentially a mother who just wants to save her children. A mother's love certainly can be misunderstood, but hardly evil when coming from the heart. 

With the Lambent running rampant and entering the final stages of the lifecycle, Myrrah enlisted the help of Adam Fenix to kill the Lambent without killing the Locusts. Sure, she clearly didn't care about human life but, to her, Locusts had just the same right to life as the humans. 


The Legends of Zelda: Wind Waker

Character: Ganondorf

Ganondorf's story is like a movie. A poor boy who grows up with nothing and seeing there's better out there decides he wants to give his family a better life. 

After living in a desolate dessert living the life as a thief and then seeing the splendor of Hyrule, you really can't blame him for taking the path of evil. Honestly his intentions were nothing but the best but -like with many instances of power- it all went to his head. 


They say "no sympathy for the devil," but not every villain is as devilish as their antagonistic title gives. A look into their backstory can easily shed some light on a heart you didn't think was there. Of course, not every villain has good intentions either, but there are plenty of them out there.

Who are some video game characters that you can't help but to sympathize with?


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Dani Gosha
Designer, gamer and geek culture writer.