Video Games with great Character Development?


Hmm… speaking of a main character that will never speak, Ace Combat series does this well, with the development focused either on your anonymous MC or your relationship with the wingman.

Perhaps, the best example is AC Zero, where your MC has their reputation rise from being a pilot-mercenary hired by a minor faction to fight against a nation that created the first combat-aircraft, up to a man that stopped a terrorist organization that launched V2 on all major nations’ capital; and he had to do that by fighting his very own wingman! With a laser pod attached to both your craft!
Just imagine how badass your pilot MC is :laughing:


Hope you don’t mind me randomly popping in.

I don’t know if these classify as “proper” video games (like the ones mentioned above), but I have been a big fan of RPG Maker games for years, and find most of them (ones I played at least) have fantastic game development.

Some of these include:

  • Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea
  • The Gray Garden
  • Mogeko Castle
  • The Crooked Man
  • Ib

Ofc, these are all my personal opinions though, so they’re obviously very subjective. XD


I would definately take the name of dark souls. One of my favorite vidoe games include poekmon sun and moon, Dark souls, Forza motorsports, etc. anybody here with similar choices.


When it comes to character development, JRPGs are worth looking into. It’s done quite differently from the traditional Bioware RPGs, in the sense that it’s a linear story that the player follows rather than influence, and yet those games are a lot more character-driven, sine there’s no need to have the MC as a blank slate that the player has to fill (which does provide great opportunities for character development, but you can also end up with a character that’s exactly the same than at the beginning, only with more levels)

In that respect, Tales of the Abyss and Final Fantasy X were especially well done in my opinion.

Other than that… Life Is Strange and it’s prequel are all about character development, basically.


I could never get through FFX. Tried several times, too. I have heard there are good characters in that game, guess I never made it far enough in to meet them. The main guy was just kinda grating.

I know I mentioned Jade Empire before, but I really do have to stress this, especially since it is out on mobile. The characters are fun, memorable, and they change based on how you play. If you’re Closed Fist, some get dragged down with you into becoming more cruel and hardened by your influence. But not all of them, that’d be too easy.

Besides, where else do you get a minor celestial being to act as your personal traveling shopkeeper?


Undertale has great character development and plot
Fire Emblem (Most of them at least)
Solatarobo (I love the anime style art as well and its pretty cool for a DS game)
Rodea the sky soldier (most have not heard of it I understand which makes me want to cry)
Bendy and The ink machine (because Micky Mouse was not scary enough.)
Final Fantasy (X, IV, IIV)
Legend of Zelda (except Hyrule Warriors…eww)
Yokai Watch (some will disagree)


The Fall is a side-scrolling adventure game I was pleasantly surprised about. It dealt with AI in one of the most nuanced ways I’ve seen in a game, with ARID’s personal journey through the game being compelling, funny in a terribly morbid way, and absolutely heartwrenching at times. Only problem: way too short.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall is a robust and lovely game, in a woefully underutilized setting, that managed to invest me in the Berlin Free Zone and the colorful band of outcasts and outlaws that inhabited it. And, again, it provided some times I needed to step away from the computer to cool down. Poor Glory.

Pillars of Eternity is a rare treat: with the exception of one or two unavoidable events, it feels like I actually have freedom and agency in an open, vividly detailed, and absolutely bleak world. Never have I been so happy to be thrust into a horrible world wracked with violence, prejudice of pretty much every stripe, and utter existential horror. And, of course, the companions are top-tier. Even Durance, the biggest tool in the game, ultimately is a tragic and complex character.

All three, I would say, are some of the best achievements I’ve seen in character development.


Far Cry 3 has some good character development for its protagonist.


Throwing a couple more in here - will try to present an eclectic selection and focus on less traditional styles of storytelling, as people already have JRPGS and the like covered pretty thoroughly. Hope these suggestions help as these are real treasures of the industry::

Valkyria Chronicles: Turn-based tactical combat game set in a fictional European conflict - it’s a real gem, combining excellent mechanics with an engaging story and a wide variety of lovable characters. Also provides huge amount of ability to customise - from weapons and armour to the members of your Squad itself. Want to play with only ladies in your squad? Or only warlike people - or perhaps a Squad made up of pacifists and intellectuals? You can!

Characters can experience permadeath in this game, too - the perfect mechanic for ensuring you work hard to protect your chosen Squad. When a character you favour gets into a dangerous position, you’re much more motivated to get their ass out safely.

Finally - perhaps most importantly - it has a distinctly anti-war message underpinning it. This is not a shallow experience: your Squad fights bravely to defend its homeland, of course, but everyone wants to go home alive at the end. They’re fighting to protect their peaceful civilian way of life, not for glory, riches or land. War games which preach anti-war messages are often fantastic, and this is no exception. Really recommend this game; its style and presentation is quite unique and its world/story/characters certainly surpass expectations.

Video: Introductory Cutscene
Quote: “Once the war is over, the real work will start.”

Brothers in Arms: Squad-oriented tactical FPS set in WW2 France. Developed as an antidote to the Call of Duty / Action Hero style of FPS games, this game sees you drop into France leading a squad of paratroopers.

Mechanically it has a very fresh design - to succeed you must utilise your squad effectively using tactics and maneuvers to outwit and outflank the enemy. In terms of story and characters, it set a new industry standard within the FPS genre - instead of being focused purely on the player as the Hollywood-style Lone Hero Who Saves Everyone, you’ll journey through the story experiencing firsthand just how necessary teamwork is to succeed.

The characters and story are incredibly engaging; you’ll grow attached to your squad, and once your motivations for keeping your men alive change from “I want to win” to “I gotta get these boys home safely to their families” the game has done its job.

The link above is the first entry in a series of three (with a long-awaited fourth entry now confirmed!). The Brothers in Arms series is a very fresh approach to an old and often cookiecutter genre - if you aren’t wholly adverse to FPS-type games, this is definitely worth looking into.

Video: Introductory Cutscene
Quote: “We jump together. We all come home together.”

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Seriously. Playing through the story will take you on a long and complex journey, watching your character, his friends and enemies, and the world around them grow and evolve into something almost unrecognisable - although it’s obviously a silly and violent game, the actual story and character content is engaging from start to finish, and the adventures you’ll undertake and the mysteries you’ll solve are very well written and have a true sense of progression and evolution.

If you never took the time to play this before, it’s definitely worth to have a try over Winter this year - it’s a true classic which offers much more than mindless violence; particularly with reference to the continued issue of institutionalised police racism in North America. You can play this game mindlessly, as a child, or with a critical and analytical mindset which will enable you to further enjoy and understand the complex issues underpinning the story and world; a fictional world which reflects the unfortunate realities of our own.

Video: Introductory Cutscene
Quote: “Home. At least it was before I fucked everything up.”

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes | The Phantom Pain: Though released separately, these are the same game. Ground Zeroes is the Prologue chapter, and The Phantom Pain is the rest of the game. I’m not going to risk spoiling anything at all, but… playing through this game from start to finish will leave you thunderstruck. The actual emotions vary from person to person - the story, particularly the ending, is a famously divisive experience - but one thing is guaranteed: you’ll remember it.

Similar to San Andreas, you could play through this game with a childlike notion of violence - “yay, guns!” - and have a great time. Alternatively, with some small notion of how awful war truly is, you’ll see an incredible journey as your character, his friends and enemies deal with extreme trauma and stress as best they can. Delivering another strong anti-war message, this game opens a window into a typically-unexplored area in war games - the aftermath of defeat and its consequences not just for the organisation, but for the individual souls it’s comprised of.

This is a rich and humanising experience, and I can’t recommend it enough. It certainly has some flaws, this is undeniable, but the experience functions regardless. Play this game as a demon consumed by the fires of hell and vengeance, or a horrified victim of the terrible traumas of war. Or rather, both; this is a mature story, with enough “wow, cool!” moments to keep it entertaining, but packed full of demonstrations of the evils of humanity’s penchant for warfare.

Video: Introductory Cutscene
Quote: “Why are we still here? Just to suffer? Every night, I can feel my leg… And my arm… even my fingers… The body I’ve lost… the comrades I’ve lost… won’t stop hurting… It’s like they’re all still there. You feel it, too, don’t you?”

Hope this writeup helps some people find new and rich experiences to enjoy! These obviously aren’t secret games nobody really knows about, but they are games that are often vastly undervalued for their story, characters and worldbuilding: I think there’s often a perception that if it’s not a JRPG or VN, it won’t have a proper story and plot - this is demonstrably false. Enjoy! :dizzy:


I would say that as she’s become one of my favorite female characters in games ever, Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn.

She goes through some great character development, from shackled by the laws and religious precepts of her Nora society as a Nora Outcast to uncovering her mysterious connections to the machines who now oversee Earth and the forces and people of eons before who caused its destruction and revival. She can be compassionate, angry, determined, brave and incredibly resourceful, ultimately leading her to become a beacon of hope for not just her own people - the same people who had shun her and her mentor - but numerous tribes of warriors across the land in an effort to defeat an emerging force of darkness.

“I guess… I would have wanted her to be… curious. And willful — unstoppable, even… but with enough compassion to… heal the world… just a little bit.”

(Doesn’t hurt she’s also played by the awesomeness who is Ashly Burch, the lady also behind Chloe of Life is Strange and Cassie Cage of Mortal Kombat X, two other pretty well developed characters in their respective stories.)



Sorry. I had to do it xD


Not to mention Vergil is awesome, or at least he looks awesome. In fact his look is my inspiration for how I want my mc in @Avery_Moore 's game to end up dressing near the end.

Both the Devil May Cry and the Metal Gear series feature lots of cute guys, but sadly no real m/m romance.

Speaking of Vergil and evil twins, I miss @ashestoashes018 Citadel game where we get our very own evil Twin. Also Hero unmasked was fun, though there we only get our twin back near the end and they’re not evil of course.


Plenty of food for fan fiction though! Raiden x Vamp much? :kiss:


Vamp and Scott Dolph were an item, apparently, not that we ever saw them together. And Volgin and Ivan in MGS3.


Oh shit you’re absolutely right! Totally forgot haha, that’s fantastic! Who says love can’t bloom on the battlefield anyway? :two_hearts:


Uncharted, witcher 3, devill may cry 3, dark souls 3, watcraft 3, MGS3, LiS, Heavy Rain, the wolf among us.


To be fair I’m not sure how one sided Volgin and Ivan’s relationship really was, given how aggressive Volgin’s sort of passions appear to be when Snake inpersonates him, but to each their own. :stuck_out_tongue:


Good question! I’d never considered it was anything but consensual on both sides. His pants had the lightning bolt on, which I’d like to think was a voluntary choice :slight_smile:


A lot of MGS popped up here, and one think I always remember is The Boss’s death at the end of Snake Eater, then how Dr Strangelove informed us about her choices and life during Peace Walker.

I think it’s one of my favourite series for character development, especially considering that a lot of characters are introduced with each game but are fully fleshed out and interesting.

The Character’s I loved from the moment they’re introduced are: The Boss, Sniper Wolf, The Sorrow, Fortune, Emma Emmerich, Chico, Jetstream Sam and Dr Strangelove.


MGS games have always had great character arcs, to the extent I find Big Boss is more of an interesting character than Solid Snake as far as I am concerned.