5 Memorable Antiheroes in Video Games

As wise as they are skilled, many video game characters can save the world without breaking a sweat. But some games flip the tables on the very notion that main protagonists must be perfect in every way.

Either morally ambiguous or psychologically unstable, these grey characters show how nuanced storytelling can be in the gaming medium. While not outright bad guys, the following antiheroes don’t belong to the wholesome category – but they remain unforgettable, nonetheless.

5 Memorable Antiheroes in Video Games

Ellie Williams

Joel Miller is the unequivocal baddie of The Last of Us. As multidimensional as he is, this smuggler trying to navigate a chaotic post-apocalyptic world is never portrayed as a good guy. But he ultimately grows a soft spot for the immune teen he’s escorting in the hopes of creating a cure for humanity. The touching father-daughter dynamic between both protagonists is the focal point of the story, highlighting the stark contrast between a hardened Joel and a wide-eyed Ellie.

Hence, fans were all the more shocked when the naïve – if slightly sassy – girl they remembered returned as a cold and merciless killer. The Evolution of Ellie into a vengeful antihero is one heart-wrenching narrative arc. Yet, this bold creative choice arguably paid off to flesh out her character.


Next up is another character driven by revenge. A former Spartan warrior tricked into killing his family by Ares, Kratos enacts a bloody vengeance against the Olympian god to take on the mantle of “God of War” as payback. Throughout each of the series’ Greek episodes, he performs several morally questionable actions and goes on extremely violent rampages.

His seemingly brutal and oblivious personality is counterbalanced by moments of genuine care for mankind, however. He is also assailed by guilt until the Norse era has him come to terms with his divine nature as he mentors his son Atreus. Long story short, Kratos is a tragic figure in pure ancient Greek fashion.

Harrier Du Bois

Disco Elysium’s Harrier “Harry” Du Bois isn’t exactly superhero material. With a greasy mullet, red drinker’s nose, and swollen face, the looks alone of this washed-up detective paint a rather unappealing picture. Several years before the events depicted in-game, he began a mid-life crisis that led him to wake up in a sordid hostel room. As he tries to get rid of his hangover, the player character struggles to remember his identity due to a severe case of drug-induced amnesia.

Even so, he must uncover the truth behind the strange criminal case he’s been assigned to elucidate. Through a clever system of internal dialogues, players get to immerse themselves in Harry’s psyche. More gratifying, they can shape the personality of this self-destructive – yet oh-so-relatable – antihero as the plot progresses. And forging a connection that leaves an enduring impact only more accomplished characters could dream of.

Kazuma Kiryu

Kazuma Kiryu is possibly the most famous reformed mobster in gaming. Appearing in eight mainline, not to mention two more entries on the way, the Dragon of Dojima has been driving the Like a Dragon series’ success for a decade. While Kiryu can be rough around the edges, he is still decent enough to run an orphanage. These philanthropic tendencies do not stop him from beating down random foes in the streets or managing hostess clubs.

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Arthur Morgan

Red Dead Redemption II would not have gone down as one of the best RPGs to date without a strong central character. And Arthur Morgan strikes a compelling balance between ruthlessness and sheer humanity. While this outlaw strives to survive as part of a Dutch criminal gang, he’s never entirely devoid of guilt.

His inner conflicts add an extra layer of complexity to an antihero journey perhaps more engrossing than that of his predecessor’s, John Marston. If anything, Arthur’s shortcomings come off as more realistic when placed in the harsh context of the Old West, making him the perfect companion to explore the highs and lows of a declining American frontier.

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