Sometimes, you just can’t predict how people are going to react to something. Game developers create a character with the expectation that players will have one reaction only for them to go the opposite route. For example, look at Teemo from League of Legends (pictured above). He was obviously designed to serve as an adorable mascot character for the game. While he’s had his share of success with that, many know him better as the single most frustrating assassin character in the game and has garnered the apt nickname of “The Devil Himself”. This list will be looking at six characters that had similar reactions that must have caught their designers by surprise and looking into why they received the responses they did.
6) The Great Fairy (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
With her long hair, heavy makeup, and distinctly un-Nintendo attire, there is only one thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Great Fairy: NIGHTMARE FUEL! Early 3D games were a time where the uncanny valley ran rampant and character models would often just look off. I’m guessing the reason that survival horror games had such a renaissance during this period is because it was the best time to make something look disturbing. Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask generally used this to their advantage with truly horrifying models and animations for their enemies. However, when the team tried to design a character with the opposite intent, the result was the most unsettling monstrosity in the entirety of either games. Not helping matters is the fact that she lets out a blood-chilling banshee wail every time she appears. Hyrule Warriors recently tried to update her appearance (pictured above), but the damage has already been done for many and she shall always remain a living nightmare.
5) Silver the Hedgehog (Sonic ’06)
I honestly feel bad for Silver. In any other circumstances, his telekinetic powers could have been revolutionary and he might have warranted his own spin-off series. Instead, he made his debut in one of the most infamous games in the Sonic franchise and became the poster-boy for most of the game’s problems. His post-apocalyptic time-travel backstory remains one of the greatest examples of a narrative trying far too hard and yet not nearly hard enough. What truly sealed his fate as one of the most hated characters in the series was how much Sonic ’06 failed to deliver on the concept of his telekinetic powers. This resulted in some of the worst controls in a game already built off of terrible controls. Well, the telekinetic powers do get a chance to shine, but it’s at the worst possible time with the incredibly cheap boss fights you have against Silver. Sega has kept him around and has tried to make him a mainstay of the cast, but the damage has already been done and IT’S NO USE!
4) Villager (Super Smash Bros for Wii U)
The Villager from Animal Crossing was originally considered to be playable in Super Smash Bros Brawl, but he was dropped early on because the idea of seeing such a cheerful and carefree character getting involved in a fight just seemed too ridiculous. Cue his inclusion in the latest installments on Wii U and 3DS and everyone immediately labels him as a crazed axe-murderer. People took one look into his lifeless, doll-like eyes and saw nothing but the soul of a bloodthirsty monster. Maybe he just wasn’t included in Brawl because the developers feared the unholy terror that they were bound to unleash.
3) O’Neal (Aliens: Colonial Marines)
Everyone hates escort missions. We can accept when we fail due to our own mistakes, but failing a level simply because the friendly AI that you’re stuck baby-sitting did something stupid is the worst punch in the gut that a game can give you. Everything from Daikatana to Epic Mickey 2 has been largely undone by the inclusion of these digital parasites that call themselves your friends. I could have filled this list with frustrating computer companions that only prove to be a greater threat than any actual enemy, but I’ve decided to focus specifically on O’Neal from Aliens: Colonial Marines.
O’Neal is your typical giant teddy bear-type of character; he’s big and gruff, but has a heart of gold underneath. He’s supposed to be the best friend you could ask for when facing done ravenous xenomorphs. There’s just one problem: he’s in Aliens: Colonial Marines, a game so historically awful that Sega and Gearbox were actually taken to court for daring to release it on the unsuspecting masses. O’Neal follows suit with being horrible at everything he does. Worse aim than a Star Wars stormtrooper? Check. Standing in narrow hallways for no reason other than to block your path from critical objectives? Check. The worst part is that you can’t even turn him off by having a second player like in most other games that stick you with an AI partner. Even in co-op, O’Neal will still insist on being the third-wheel and getting in the way of both players. Don’t you ever wish you could turn on friendly fire and knock the stupid out of these guys? Well…
2) Dino Baby (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)
While escort missions are notoriously hard to get right, good ones aren’t entirely unheard of. For example, look at the section of Conker’s Bad Fur Day that has you escorting an adorable newborn dinosaur. Not only is he invulnerable to damage, but he’s actually more capable in a fight than the character you’re playing as. While Conker’s frying pan has a long wind-up and only stuns enemies, the dino baby can easily gobble up anything that comes near it. Yeah, he gets stuck on corners every now and then and generally slows you down, but that’s a small price to pay for essentially playing on godmode. If anything, he’s escorting you. Actually, can we just ditch the drunken squirrel and play as this champion instead?
Alas, it seems Rareware underestimated their own abilities and expected people to react to the dino baby the same way they do to most escort characters. At the end of the level, you are forced to lead your superior onto a sacrificial alter and watch him meet a gruesome end in order for you to progress. It’s the one point where the game’s dark sense of humor actually goes too far. Whenever I think of the cruel choice that this game forced me to make, I feel a little less bad about the fact that Rareware is now doomed to make Kinect minigames for the rest of eternity and license out their IPs to more capable developers (like the people who made the Battleship shooter).
1) Foxy (Five Nights at Freddy’s)
You can never truly anticipate how people will respond to fear. Some flee while others fight, and others still merely embrace their fate. And then you have the truly bizarre reactions that can best be described as an extreme form of denial. Nothing may be a better showcase for this than the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s is your biggest threat in the game as he’s the only one that doesn’t rely on catching you off-guard in order to get you. He can charge directly into your office and attack faster than you can react. The only way to keep him at bay is to constantly check your cameras and make sure he stays behind his curtain, which makes you vulnerable to all of the other haunted animatronics. If it wasn’t for this one threat, each night wouldn’t nearly be as difficult as they are.
Strangely enough, Foxy has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, characters in the series. Several fans of the series, rather than recognize Foxy as the menace that he truly is, have crafted theories that Foxy is actually a good guy whose just checking in on you if you don’t check in on him for too long and that you just die from shock rather than him attacking you. There is also a plethora of fan art out there that I dare not link you to nor attempt to describe. To each their own, but you’d think people wouldn’t be drawn toward a screeching serial killer en masse.
What other characters had public responses that surprised you? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Depending on the response we get, your suggestions may be featured on a follow-up article in the future. Until then, keep your eyes peeled for that Villager. I don’t trust that guy.