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Most Dysfunctional Families In Games


No family is perfect. Some hide terrible secrets, some have warped senses of duty and honor, whilst others openly bare their troubles for the world to see. Many people can trace their traumas and primal wounds to various periods of their childhood, be they small or pivotal in shaping who they are today.

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Video games have their fair share of dysfunctional families. Whether by blood or not, these games show how families can take it to the next level of crazy and bizarre. From familicide to incest, these families highlight how messed up human beings can get, yet show that fiction and the natural world aren’t that far apart either.

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7 The De Santa Family – GTA 5

One of the most dysfunctional modern families players can encounter in gaming, the De Santa family is something out of a trash reality TV series and is the very definition of toxic. The family consists of 4 members: Michael, Amanda, and their 2 children Tracey and Jimmy, who are constantly at each other’s throats. Every member of the family verbally abuses one another and attempts to use each other for personal gain whilst engaging in self-destructive behavior.

With endless affairs one after another and copious amounts of drugs and drinking, it’s incredible that the family has managed to stay under one roof for that long. A prayer to each person out there who has to personally deal with families like this!

6 The Ryan Family – Bioshock

Despite creating one of the most ingenious and progressive cities of its time, Andrew Ryan eventually betrayed everything he stood for. A broken man who unknowingly created a broken family, Ryan murdered his mistress (Jack’s mother) when he discovered she was dealing with Frank Fontaine, Ryan’s nemesis.

Instead of trying to make amends with his son, Ryan reveals to him what he is and always was with one of the most iconic speeches in gaming history – a slave and a tool. In a morbid turn of events, Andrew Ryan then orders his son to kill him in an attempt to end his own life on his terms. How selfish and traumatizing. Thankfully, should players choose the “good” ending of Bioshock, Jack raises a small family of former Little Sisters and helps them live normal lives.

5 The Kenway Family – Assassin’s Creed

The Kenway family had a profound impact on the Assasin-Templar war in the 18th century with members being on both sides and assuming high-ranking positions. The Kenways were no strangers to tragedy and death was a frequent visitor to their legacy.

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Fighting on both sides of the war, the family was bound for conflict. This came to a head when Haytham, a prominent Templar and Grand Master came into conflict with his son, Ratonhnhaké:ton, a budding assassin, resulting in patricide. Though things cooled after that, the bloodstains of the past remain, for who can forget murdering family.

4 Samara And Her Daughters – Mass Effect 2

Nearing almost 1000 years, Samara is not to be trifled with. An Asari Justicar with years of experience with biotics and as a warrior, Samara is a staunch ally when she joins the Normandy and helps Shepard with his plight.

Players later learn that Samara has three daughters who suffer the same genetic defect by being Ardat-Yakshi, a condition that effectively kills someone during the melding process (essentially sex with an Asari). Although two of her daughters are cloistered away, one of her daughters, Morinth, went rogue and currently lives a life of murder and violence. Samara devotes herself to hunting down her daughter (which takes centuries to do!). If players do Samara’s loyalty mission, they can then choose who to keep alive. Talk about settling a family therapy bloodbath!

3 The Strenger Family – The Witcher 3

The Bloody Baron questline is perhaps one of the greatest plot arcs in video game history. The characters, family drama, pacing, and twists that take place are done so masterfully. Despite the dramatization and stakes involved, it’s still relatable, which is why it has such a lasting impact on gamers.

In the beginning, players make a deal with Philip Strenger, the turncoat Temerian soldier that has taken up rule and residence at Crow’s Perch. Geralt is tasked with finding Philip’s missing wife and daughter in return for information about Ciri. What unfolds is a dysfunctional family drama that reveals all the skeletons in the closet and deep wounds that can’t be undone. Captivating yet painful, the questline reveals the difficulties and pain of relationships within families, as well as the enduring love that persists throughout all of it.


2 The Mishima Clan – Tekken Series

The Mishima clan from the Tekken series probably takes the cake when it comes to being dysfunctional. Known for their distinct karate style, four generations of the Mishima family and their scions are trying to murder one another (that or publicizing their abuse over each other).

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The man that appears to perpetrate all these issues lies with Heihachi, a man obsessed with power and beating his kin to a pulp. Heihachi seals away his father, and pushes his 10-year-old son off a cliff to ‘test him’. Meanwhile, Heihachi adopts another son to make his trueborn son jealous whilst fathering an illegitimate child, only to abandon the said child. To top it off, Heihachi attempts to murder his grandson. No wonder such issues persist in that family.


1 The Van Der Linde Gang – Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2

Though not a biological family, the gang was essentially a family that looked after its own and tried to live as freely as it could, away from the laws and jaws of civilization. Despite showcasing some of the most iconic and most loved characters in video game history, the Van der Linde gang sure had its troubles. During the events of Red Dead Redemption 2, the gang was forced by its leader, Dutch, to carry out increasingly dangerous and life-threatening heists and missions to retire in paradise. But there never seemed to be an end to these daring heists. Of course, the group never did get their paradise and the eventual breakup of the gang saw many key members dead or already long gone.

Things took a turn for the worst when John Marston was forced to hunt down his former family, eventually dispatching them. To top it all off, the jewel and hope of the crew, Jack Marston, grew up to become an outlaw himself, against the hopes of his parents.

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Far Cry 4 Pagan Min with hands touching his face on left, The Last of Us Marlene on right

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