9 half-assed game character designs

Sometimes, it's just easier to take the half-assed approach in life. Why tidy all of that crap clogging up your room when you can just stuff it under the bed? Why bother putting yourself through six years of baffling questions and migraines on Lost when you can just read a synopsis of the ending on the nets? And why go to the effort of designing an original, inventive game character when you can just borrow ideas from other developers or stick a shiny pair of shades on your protagonist? Below, you'll find some of the worst offenders of this noble, half-assed philosophy

The Chimp

Making a half-assed appearance in: Super Mario Galaxy 2

We really feel guilty over typing even a single negative syllable about Mario Galaxy 2. After all, the damn thing is probably the greatest platformer ever made. Still, its so-so simian deserves a right royal shoeing for his phoned-in design.

Just look at that lazily created banana muncher. His art style doesn’t even match the rest of Galaxy 2’s colourful cast. OK, so we can just about accept he’s a generic ‘edgy’ character, who’s been so cynically produced he makes Poochie from Itchy and Scratchy look like a bold expression of inventive expression. But at least make him look like he fits in with the rest of the fat Italian's universe.

Above: Spot the odd one out. Hmmmmmm...

The Shigger would be rolling around in his grave if he saw this shit. If y'know, he was dead and… eh, probably hadn’t given final approval on the Chimp’s design.


Making a half-assed appearance in: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Irony truly is a cruel bitch. The thing about Starkiller’s appearance, no matter how half-assed the final version may appear, is it probably took months of redesigns and meetings to get this guy approved. Uncle George is notoriously picky about the characters that get inserted into his galaxy far, far away and it’s likely LucasArts had to run loads of version of the samey Sith by him.

Too bad all that effort still ended up with him looking like a generic extra from the prequels. Honestly, his design just smacks of risible, committee approved, money man thinking. Han Crewcutkiller has been purposely programmed so he offends no one. And his full on evil outfit seen in the Sith Ultimate Edition is even more uninspired. Seriously, it’s just Vader with Boba Fett’s helmet.

Above: Now that's some creative thinking 

It’s not that he’s a terrible character, it’s just… we don’t know how to finish this sentence. He’s basically Luke, if he’d been forced to have an Imperial haircut, then had all his personality removed by one of those scary-ass things with needles the Empire use on the Death Star.

Adam Jensen

Making a half-assed appearance in: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Ooh, guess who’s just seen the Matrix… ten years too late. Human Revolution will no doubt be an incredible game. But is this really the best Eidos Montreal could come up with on the character front? The shades, the skin-tight black clothing; it’s clear Jensen is rocking some serious Keanu envy.

There’s nothing really wrong with the guy. It’s just the fact he looks so knowingly ‘cool’. As if the developers have just gone through a massive checklist of things that would appeal to teens in their bedrooms who can’t quite grow chin hair yet.

Above: You said it, Adam

Designer facial hair? Check. Mysterious scars that’ll make him oh so alluring to futuristic space wenches? Check. A pair of surgically attached shades that must be worn at all times? Hells yes. Thankfully, we’re confident Adam’s game will show infinitely more imagination and ambition that his generic design.


Making a half-assed appearance in: Singularity

Anyone, remember that Alyx Vance chick? She was pretty awesome, right? Strong, independently-minded and she looked great in a tight pair of science jeans. So why shouldn't other devs just copy Half-Life 2’s brainy beauty when they need to come up with your own heroine?

Above: And we are done. Who wants a margarita?

Well, that’s exactly what developer Raven seemingly did when making Singularity. Kathryn (who saves main character Renko) could pass for Vance’s sister. Alright, so maybe not a sister. But at the very least a whiny second cousin with a bit of an accent. We’d call shenanigans, but then again, Singularity is pretty much just a poor man’s Half-Life 2, given a quick dab of BioShock paint.


  • THISENDSNOW - December 28, 2010 7:07 a.m.

    Starkiller should not be on here, Sam Witwer whom Starkillers voiced by & modelled after ( there look-a-likes like exact they did a perfect job taking Sam & making him Starkiller. Hes sexy & shouldnt be on here end of story. Hes gonna zap yo ass wit force lighting nigs, so don't hate the Starkiller. He's epic.
  • chaoticCLOWN - July 13, 2010 6:26 a.m.

    i agree with all of the characters on this list. cole is the one that i disliked the most. i thought the voice was completely unnecessary to say the least. i kind of like his make over though. mainly because im a huge sam fisher fan and thats what he looks like, a young sam fisher haha
  • Felixthecat - July 12, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    The Piantas don't fit in with the Mario universe? Of course they do, they're one of my favourite Mario species in fact. They add much needed colour into Mario SUNSHINE (The name itself implies that the game is supposed to be vibrant) and match every other Mario character in terms of art style. Same goes for The Chimp. I don't know why Ryu isn't on this list though, he's pretty boring to look at. Same goes for some Mortal Kombat characters, Scorpion is pretty much a yellow Sub-Zero (Well, he WAS a yellow Sub-Zero in the original MK's).
  • ryno - July 12, 2010 3:50 p.m.

    in Red faction geurila his name was Alec Mason
  • Spybreak8 - July 12, 2010 6:05 a.m.

    Kirby's ace in the whole = he can be anyone you want him to be haha.
  • TheSugarRay - July 12, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    miller time = Karioke?
  • AuthorityFigure - July 11, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    Are you criticizing art-style or concept? You seem to be atlernating... Kirby is very inventive conceptually...
  • Sebastian16 - July 11, 2010 6:19 a.m.

    Am I the ONLY one who actually likes Cole's appearance and grisly voice? I thought it gave character, but alright...
  • super0sonic - July 11, 2010 5:42 a.m.

    You know I really disagree with this whole article. yah.
  • sharkweek - July 11, 2010 4:27 a.m.

    Man Starkillers outfit looks just like Mandalore's from KOTOR3 with maybe three changes
  • MassEffect2 - July 11, 2010 4:09 a.m.

    wait I thought you guys said that singularity was a good game?
  • SwampRock - July 11, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    This article honestly made me kind of mad. All it seems like is a bunch of flaming, saying that anyone who is bald is generic. And what the fuck is wrong with kirby, he's fucking kirby asshole he's a pink goddamn puff and he changes everytime he absorbs someone, so I don't quite see where you were going with that
  • quicksilver_502 - July 10, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    actually, with regards to adam jensen i saw a video where it turns out he's mostly based on the games art diretcor, who th character designers sketched while looking for inspiration. on the other hand, i suspect he wasn't dressed like he was about to enter the matrix. still, i rather like the look of him. at least he's not bald.
  • Loupcho - July 10, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    Obviously the person who wrote this article didn't know anything about Kirby's origin. When HAL laboratories decided to make a game for anyone to pass and therefore enjoy they needed a hero, so for testing they made the blob that is kirby today as a dummy before coming up with a protagonist. During game development the developers grew to love the dummy who's name was originally popopo and so they decided to stick with him. It probably still seems half-assed but his origin is what made him unique; they didn't just keep him because they couldn't be bothered making someone to replace him.
  • philipshaw - July 10, 2010 10:13 a.m.

    I have to agree with most of these but I like the old Cole design compared to the Nathan Drake alike new design
  • Limbo - July 10, 2010 5:14 a.m.

    How can you put Kirby on this list? His design is perfect for the role he plays, which is sucking up enemies and taking their outfits. Kirby should be simplistic because he takes his enemies designs. Also, what's with this website hating Sunshine? It's one of my favorite 3D Mario games because it's different from the others and allows for some unique gameplay. Sorry, Gamesradar, but this article failed in my opinion. You're still my favorite gaming site though :D
  • FinderKeeper - July 10, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    These guys all look like Commander Shepard (Mass Effect). Even Kirby... think about it... half-finished, bald, blank canvas of a character... :-p
  • TyeTheCzar - July 10, 2010 12:24 a.m.

    How DARE you insult the likes of Kirby. Heretic! Shun the nonbeliever!
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - July 9, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    I appear to be the target audience for Deus-Ex then, he looks TOTALLY RAD ...And I can't quite grow chin hair.
  • ZenPhoenix - July 9, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    It would seem that many developers think the world is only made up of generic-looking intelligent women and gravelly-voiced, brooding jocks. How boring it would all be if that were true. You'd think as technology increased, they might be more inspired to truly craft unique characters along with their stories, but, alas, that seems too much to ask for. At least there are a few standouts, which provides some hope.

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