Top 10 Video Game Characters That Need Better Backstories

Script written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

These characters are great, but their backgrounds aren’t really fleshed out, fully realized, or are just not very detailed. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Video Game Characters That Need Better Backstories.

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Special thanks to our user “Nero CS” who suggested this idea using out interactive suggest tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest


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Top 10 Video Game Characters that Need Better Backstories

Come on, you can give us something a little better than that! Welcome to and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten video game characters that need better backstories.

For this list, we’ll be looking at video game characters whose backstories are slightly lacking. Keep in mind we aren’t saying that these video game characters are bad, but rather for whatever reason their character histories aren’t that substantial.

#10: Mario
“Super Mario Bros” series (1985-2010)

He’s the poster boy for Nintendo, has saved the Mushroom Kingdom and bested the Koopa King on multiple occasions. But what do we know about our favourite plumber? Well, that’s literally it. He’s a plumber who got roped into searching castles and saving princesses. He’s proficient in driving, soccer, party games, tennis, combat and interstellar travel…but the only thing we know about him is he used to scrub toilets for a living. The original Cartoon show showed that the Mario Bros got sucked down a bath drain and ended up getting warped to the mushroom kingdom, but maybe we can have a bit more complexity than that? What about a deeply rooted fear or turtles…?

#9: Seth
“Street Fighter IV” (2008)

Modern fighting games have shown us that it is indeed possible to include good storytelling and character depth. Even Street Fighter managed to accomplish it with characters like Akuma. However, the antagonist of the series fourth main outing’s history is paper thin compared to some of his counterparts. The leader of Shadaloo’s weapon division, we get fragments of story that show Seth is one of many artificially engineered creations, and hosts a new World Tournament in the hope of capturing Ryu. Chances are you won’t be able to get a full picture of his character until you’ve completed arcade mode with each fighter, and even then it’s not much to go on.

#8: Mona Sax
“Max Payne” series (2001-12)

Femme fatales are par of the course in video games. Some can be fun, some can be complex, and others can be heavily underwritten. Making a brief appearance in the first game, Mona was presented as a cold-blooded killer with a sexy edge to her, only to become a playable character in the sequel. While she’s most certainly a badass and her complicated relationship with Max Payne is intriguing, not enough time is given to cement herself as a fully-rounded character. We know she’s a proficient contract killer and cares deeply for her twin sister, but that’s about it. As such, the neo-noir romance element that the game prides itself on falls woefully short.

#7: Commander Sheperd
“Mass Effect” series (2007-12)

Lower your assault rifles! We’re not disrespecting our favourite Spectre. The choices that players make throughout their war against the Reapers, the relationships they share between crew members and the Paragon and Renegade choices certainly lend themselves to the creation of a unique character. However, during the series’ inception, players were only given 2 sets of 3 options for their Sheperd’s past, one for you past, and another for your military career. there are side missions and nods to their military history, diving deeper into these choices would have elevated the character to even higher levels in comparison to what we were given.

#6: Protagonists
“Pokemon” series (1996-)

With each new generation, players were introduced to new Pokemon, new legendaries, rival trainers, gym leaders, the elite four and villainous organisations. Characters like N showed that the games weren’t all just copy and pastes of each other, but could expand into new territories and deal with new subject matters. So the obvious questions remains – why haven’t the protagonists changed at all?! Players remain trapped as the silent trainers who want to be the very best like no one ever was, without any differentiation … And with the exception of Gen 3, without any Dad’s. We’re not asking to get rid of the character’s aspirations, but throw in some conflict or differingbackstories once in a while.

#5: Doom Guy
“Doom” series (1993-)

Part of Doom’s charm is the sheer lack of logic and balls-to-the-wall gunplay, spearheaded by the manliness of our favourite silent space marine. With the mission to take out the entire forces of Hell single-handedly, the only vocabulary he needs are excessive violence, built-in chainsaws and a whole lot of awesomely futuristic guns. We’re not saying we don’t enjoy eviscerating the legions of hell singlehandedly, because we do, but there’s no denying the herald of Doom is certainly lacking in backstory. We’ve seen testosterone-filled death machines in the past, and if anything a well-thought out foundation only adds to the awesomeness. He may want to take a page out of B.J Blazkowicz’s book.

#4: Simon Belmont
“Castlevania” series (1986-2014)

The endless battle against Dracula and his minions has produced a number of notable characters throughout this gothic series. Alucard and Soma Cruz have made for troubled yet intriguing protagonists, plagued by their connection to the Vampire King. And then there’s Simon, the original Vampire Killer, and…well that’s about all there is to it. Armed with his trusted whip and sense of duty, he sets out on multiple occasions to defeat Dracula and his familiars. Being up for a bit of vampire slaying is all well and good, but a little more of an insight into the Belmont clan of vampire hunters would have been handy.

#3: The Prince
“Prince of Persia” series (1989-2013)

Even back when he was nothing but low-res pixels, this nameless prince of ancient Persia was kicking ass and saving princesses…even though we didn’t know a thing about him. Several decades on and various reinterpretations later and…we still don’t have a clue about his history. Despite pushing the boundaries of platformers, using interesting mechanics such as time-travel, and even grabbing Nolan North as the official voice, it always comes back to the unknown protagonist trying to save some incarnation of a damsel from evil, with plenty of jumping along the way. We understand having no name is an aspect of the series, but come on, give us something! Maybe a name to start with?

#2: Alyx Vance
“Half-Life 2” (2004)

She’s the ideal partner for helping Gordon Freeman take on alien threats, we know she’s the talented daughter of Dr Eli Vance and a prominent resistance member, but there’s still so much untapped potential for her. Much like the long-awaited Half-Life 3, we’re waiting to find out more about her background and fill in the gaps. We know she was held at the Black Mesa Research Facility for a good portion of her childhood and how she dealt with the Combine invasion for most of her life, which would be awesome to see from a first-hand perspective, but until we finally get closure on Mr Freeman’s adventures, we’re left in the dark when it comes to Ms Vance.
Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

Banjo and Kazooie
“Banjo-Kazooie” (1998-2008)

“Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)

“Mortal Kombat 4” (1997)

#1: Samus Aran
“Metroid: Other M” (2010)

We’re all familiar with Samus Aran, the intergalactic bounty hunter who takes on the worst criminals and monsters in the galaxy. Raised by the Chozo, serving and eventually leaving the Galactic Federation and battling against the infamous Mother Brain and vicious space pirate Ridley; her backstory is etched into gaming history. So what’s the problem? Other M, that’s the problem. Giving new light to Samus’ time as a soldier in an effort to give more detail to her character backfired horribly. She’s portrayed as frightful, immature and constantly undermined by her old commander. Um, Nintendo, not sure if you remember but Samus Aran is a BOUNTY HUNTER, she doesn’t take crap from anybody!

Do you agree with our list? Which video game character do you think needs a better backstory? With new top tens published everyday be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo!

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