Synyster Graves

Betrayal is an Art

by on Mar.25, 2022, under Gaming

Spoilers for Far Cry 4, Final Fantasy 7 and Resident Evil ahead! You have been warned!

The best bad guys are the ones which as evil and malicious they are, you can see where they are coming from. First ones which spring to mind for me are any of the Far Cry antagonists like Pagan Min in Far Cry 4 or Vaas Montenegro in Far Cry 3. While they are there to be hated, there’s a part of you that empathises with their perspective. I’d even include the Governor in The Walking Dead series, for me I could see why became mad and despotic. What becomes even more poignant is when you’re introduced to them they are on your side, and when the twist comes and they turn, it makes the narrative even more intriguing and they become an iconic villain.

On the converse, having an antagonist who’s backstory is just being a bastard for the sake of it, or to further their own means solely makes it a bit one dimensional for me, like a 100% selfish twat of an antagonist makes the narrative slightly boring for me, and I’m left wondering why you’d just create a character to be hated for the sake of it.

Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min is one of my favourite antagonists

Gaming gives us many of these well created characters which for me become some of the greatest adversaries for me which start off on the same side as you, and then turn on you and yet you can see why they did it. As previously mentioned, my mind goes to Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min straight away. He invites you to his villa, gives you a succulent meal (albeit he leaves the table to torture someone) but still returns completely civil. He has this charisma about him and when you read into the storyline, he actually loved AJ Ghale’s mother and Lakshmina was actually his daughter! Plus once you complete the game you realise Amita and Sabal are just as insane for corrupt power, if not more than Min, meaning you’ve been fighting for the wrong side the whole time. It’s just those people got to you first and so naturally you believe everything they said even though they had an agenda which solely fitted their own means. In my book, they’re the assholes of the game, you just got to look at all perspectives first to realise that, but the Far Cry games are very well written that you don’t ever think to do that until the very end! They you realise that their betrayal is actually the real twist in the game! This is why I say that betrayal is an art if done right.

Sephiroth is probably one of the greatest villians of all time in gaming!

Another iconic villain in gaming history through all the entire Final Fantasy franchise is Sephiroth. He starts off on the same side as Cloud Strife, they’re comrades, brothers in arms; until he learns of his origins. One of the most important philosophies in life is not forgetting where you come from, and when Sephiroth learns his true origins, he tries to take revenge on the world by summoning the Dark Materia. You know, in a strange way, can you really blame him? His whole life must have felt like a lie. Thus I find this storyline intriguing because on the surface the betrayal looks like Sephiroth’s, he’s trying to destroy the world, but if you think about it, the world betrayed HIM! Sure maybe destroying everything is an unnecessary escalation, but you can see where he’s coming from. Again a cleverly written storyline turns the perspective of betrayal on it’s head if you choose to read it that way, which makes it iconic for me. Plus One Winged Angel is an epic soundtrack to display his reverence.

Albert Wesker – the ultimate betrayer

Finally for me one of the greatest betrayers has to be Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker. From being the commanding officer for the S.T.A.R.S. team in the first Resident Evil, it turns out everything went to shit because of him, he was a double agent working for Umbrella the whole time. This is a totally different feeling of betrayal and sucks you in to a natural hatred and longing to defeat him, culminating in that ridiculous boss battle at the end of Resident Evil 5. But throughout, he’s the name on the lips of anything Umbrella and you want to take him out. But look at it from his perspective, he was a mole, he was doing his job, he wasn’t just doing it all for personal gain, he got augments from Umbrella to make him a super soldier. Whether you choose to see that perspective is up to you, that’s how I looked at it and as a result consider Wesker to be one of the best and iconic villains in gaming history.

So this is it, I don’t want to over-analyse three of the best antagonists in too much detail but to only say I find looking at the perspectives of their experiences and motivations to be enlightening, which fleshes out their character arc to great effect. Only listening to one side of the story actually deprives you of the experience and on the surface, they seem like a despotic betrayer, and yet you can see where they’re coming from when you open your mind and are willing to consider a different side of the same story. Blindly listening to the first person you come across and taking it as gospel says more about yourself than the person you choose to condemn. But when it’s written so beautifully, betrayal truly can be an art, you just have to see the reasons behind it.

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