All Game Characters Are Identical
You know who we’re talking about. The kind of characters you wouldn’t be able to pick out from a line-up of one…
Gears Of War series
Marcus is heralded as a poster child for the bald space marine cause, which is something of a crock as the man constantly wears a bandana. Thus, we have no idea what’s under there – it could be the greatest ’fro of all time. Still, from a design perspective he hits all the ‘inspired’ notes: wonderfully macho, massive, pinhead… while others may have stolen the crown in recent years, we can’t forget Fenix’s contribution to the cause.
JOHN “SOAP” MACTAVISH
Modern Warfare series
We understand that on a battlefield it doesn’t help to have the most extravagant of looks, as this will likely attract sniper fi re. This was no doubt the ‘inspiration’ behind the fantastic design of Soap – a character you only remember because you think he might be Turok. As a result of his amazing ability to blend in with any blank surface, Soap has never once been fired at by snipers*.
*May be a lie.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that after creating a world that can be moulded as the player sees fit using an array of special weaponry and after coming up with that name, LucasArts would have no ‘inspiration’ left. Look at Brody’s face and admit you would be mistaken for thinking that. While his game may have fallen by the wayside, Jet lives on as a prime example of what can be achieved in modern character design.
Turok (dinosaur hunter) was once from a different school of design: he was originally of Native American Indian origin, with long, fl owing locks and bird feathers in his hair. Evidently that wasn’t good enough for the 2008 reboot of the character, and ‘inspiration’ had its merry way with the design. What we were left with is something that will go down through the ages as a man who forgot about his heritage and had terrible hair.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent
Sam has been through a few designs in his near ten-year career, but nothing has ever been as ‘inspired’ as his Double Agent incarnation. Obviously whoever designed Fisher this time was keen to give him the look of a man you wouldn’t remember the face of even when you were still looking at his face. A key skill for any spy is the ability to blend into their surroundings, so this must rank as Sam’s finest hour.
Mass Effect series
Players are able to make whatever face they want for their commander, but it is with BioWare’s original version of Shepard that the true skill behind this ‘inspired’ character shines through. It’s one of the few games we didn’t bother to make our own hero on, simply because we couldn’t resist getting lost in the barren, featureless wasteland that makes up his identikit facial features. It’s a shame the ‘inspiration’ didn’t carry over to the female side.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed series
This one’s a bit unfair, as Starkiller’s actually based on the look of a real human. As such it’s not so much ‘inspired’ design as it is ‘inspired’ acts of creation with chromosomes and DNA and all that gubbins. Nevertheless, Starkiller is one of the finest examples of a man who could murder everyone in the room using only his mind and you still wouldn’t remember what he looked like.
WILLIAM AUGUSTUS GREY
Why Capcom decided Bill should have a helmet on we don’t know – it’s not like this is real life, we could accept a man forsaking safety by not donning protection. But why do we care so much? It’s because Grey is an oddity – he has hair. This mixes ‘inspiration’ with a new- fangled concept some are referring to as “inspiration”. Bill represents the exciting future of character design, mixing old and new.
Red Faction: Guerrilla
This one’s a bit unfair, as Starkiller is act… oh wait, we got mixed up there. This ‘inspiration’ is hard to keep track of. Mason is another grand example of everything going right in character design. He has the smooth, round head of a man you simply have to respect. He has the facial features of a man with no facial features. He has ears. Red Faction’s Alec Mason has the total package and is a credit to ‘inspiration’ everywhere.
The absolute pinnacle of ‘inspired’ character design and unarguably one of the most imaginative and thoughtful pieces of artwork ever commissioned by a company. How this came about from a sports game we’ll probably never know, but it is true that great things are often found in unexpected places. Wait – what do you mean he’s a real person? Well this throws the whole top ten on its head. We’ll have to have a recount.