221: Parting Ways With Our NPCs

Parting Ways With Our NPCs

Sometimes it's hard for game designers to let go - they spend weeks, months, even years creating characters out of thin air, only to watch them recede into the distance after the series stalls. Brenda Brathwaite speaks with a number of prominent designers about the NPCs they miss the most.

Read Full Article

Makes you wonder how Bungie ever got over a game without Masterchief...or how many nights Kojima spent pouring drinks over how he was moving on from Snake...

Sergeant Avery Johnson and Captain Jacob Keys. If you really want to make yourself cry, read the Halo books.

The best part about parting with NPCs is creating new, better ones!

I never spent enough time with Drazic and Rodan to get attached to them...well, until near the end, when their good-natured buddy dynamic started to wear me down, and I began to wonder if I really needed to get Vi Domina and RFS-81 back, or if I should just go to Ascension Peak with these guys. I guess I feel kind of the same way about all the RPCs I used extensively in that game...which was basically those four and Sparkle, granted, but still.

I can definitely sympathize.


An NPC so good, so weird, so funny, that he deserved his own spinoff. Every time I apply my foot to the backside of evil I think of him.

The best part about parting with NPCs is creating new, better ones!

Sometimes the NPCs don't mesh as well with the situation/story as before though. Some are just at the exact right time.

I can really sympathize with missing NPCs. Even as a tabletop gamer I feel that. When I create an NPC that I really love I want to keep them around, but alas they must end at some point. I think the worst is to put so much effort into making an NPC or an enemy really cool and not getting the right reaction from the players. Seeing something you absolutely love mocked and ridiculed by your player characters. Even when you've put a lot of effort into designing an interesting boss battle with a boss you've spent a lot of time and effort on (I do concept art for my own D&D campaigns) creating, which is conquered after about 3 or 4 rounds. I recently had an experience where I designed a mini-boss encounter that I thought would be cool and difficult for the players which they defeated in (no joke) 2 rounds. I was pretty bummed.

I almost get this sense of sadness when I finish a game because I know I'll never see those characters again doing something new. I think that's one of the reasons for the popularity of the sequel, people want to see all their favorite characters again and I can only assume the developers have similar feelings on the matter.

I just knew before clicking on the comments that someone would mention Minsc. "Go for the eyes, Boo!"

Morte from Planescape, and HK-47 from Knights of the Old Republic also come to mind.

The best written NPC ever was Kreia in KOTOR II.

Seriously, she's like the Prince Hamlet (the character, not the play) of video games. So much ambiguity and hidden depths...

Brenda, a great piece with one physically painful error I can't believe any fan of Lonesome Dove could ever make, it's Augustus "Gus" McCrae and his partner Capt. Call. As the single greatest and most beloved fiction character since Falstaff I know you will be leaving a serious palm print on your forehead over not refreshing your memory when you wrote that "Gus McCall" reference.

But the substance of every other word you wrote is terrific. Great job, all kidding aside, when only a single not very important error is the only negative thing in the whole piece.

As a player, I really really miss Durandal from the Marathon series (Bungie's glory days). Talk about a multi faceted character! He left deep marks in my perception of NPCs that last to this day. Poetic, psychotic, grand, self centered - very human and also very alien. And through all the games, just bright green words on a black background.

The best written NPC ever was Kreia in KOTOR II.

Seriously, she's like the Prince Hamlet (the character, not the play) of video games. So much ambiguity and hidden depths...

Don't forget the treason and the insanity. Oh the treason and the insanity.

I miss Bat Girl... I only knew her for about an hour, but what a violent and beautiful hour it was.

Great piece. I'd love to hear more of these stories. I know I get the same feeling with D&D characters (PC and NPC both) when campaigns fall through with no resolution to story arcs. At least with D&D you can reuse ideas directly. Not so easy with games.

Floyd from Planetfall.

No can defense.

NPCs die all the time, but Floyd was essentially a *child,* and to have a death scene where a child was brutally murdered....It was rough. I don't think anyone could get away with that now. Heavy Rain comes close, but even then it's nowhere near as brutal. And yet Heavy Rain had a LOT of folks talking about how unpleasant that aspect of the story was...


Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here