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.

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  • liam - July 9, 2010 11:07 a.m.

    I thought I was the only one who thought Kirby himself was too... Simplistic.
  • Chardan - July 9, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    Yeah, Kirby is from another time though, when the kind of design was rather cool (well too me). I disagree with the chimp, as I thought the design and glasses were intentionaly cheesy, but I'm a mad fanboy so I'll just shut up now.
  • Seabread - July 9, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    I lreally liked Starkillers Vader-esque skin, especially as it comes with teh DLC levels meaning you've already offed Vader and stolen his image. Dark Lord o th Sith? PAH! nuts to you Ani'! And why does inFamous look like a totally different character? the first one's ginger and the second one's dark haired. what gives? also his face looks altered. did his super electric powers melt his features requiring surgery?
  • oufour - July 9, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    okay, this is the first gamesradar post i completely dislike. maybe if a word other than "half-assed" had been used i'd be more inclined to agree, but this just sounds like your saying all these characters are...bad. i mean, if you had said "top 9 un-refined" to "top 9 unfinished" characters maybe i'd (and most likely other people) would agree more, but half-assed sounds so...negative.
  • jonno469 - July 9, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    Is it just me or does starkiller look the spitting image of Samuel Witwer (play Davis in series 8 of Smallville). Check it out!
  • lozarian - July 9, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    @oufour It's supposed to be negative. They're lazy, barely passable attempts at character creation that insult anyone with more than 7 chromosomes. "We need a guy that can break stuff" "QUICKLY, BREAK OUT THE MUSCLEBOUND SKINHEAD MESH!"
  • Chardan - July 9, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    @jonno469 Thats because the Character is modeled in his likeness, as he provides the voicework and the CGI suit stuff. Quite good at it too, if I miht add, makes Starkiller an engaging character, he does.
  • db1331 - July 9, 2010 12:47 p.m.

    Ugh, I am so tired of every male video game character having a shaved head and an action movie-inspired name. I'm going to make a pitch to one of the big developers about a game starring Skyler Torne, a man with a mysterious and troubled past who also shaves his head and speaks in an intense whisper. We will work out storyline details later.
  • nighthawk205 - July 9, 2010 12:47 p.m.

    First, I'd like to say that this was an entertaining article and that Kirby looking like a half-assed character design is SOOOO true. However, as Chardan pointed out, saying that Starkiller is half-assed is like saying Miranda from Mass Effect 2 is half-assed. She looks like a typical sexy woman. Both were modeled based off of their respective voice actors. Now, maybe you claim that that is a half-assed approach, but many people like to see that in a game.
  • Xplosive59 - July 9, 2010 1:06 p.m.

    im guessing coles voice is like that cause of the explosion and the dust from said explosion
  • Gable - July 9, 2010 1:08 p.m.

    Cole McGrath is a clone of Niko Bellic.
  • Rhymenocerous - July 9, 2010 1:17 p.m.

    That Alyx Vance picture is one of the greatest things in the history of mankind. That is all.
  • Conman93 - July 9, 2010 1:29 p.m.

    Lol, poor Cole! I wonder will he ever be full assed
  • werdwood93 - July 9, 2010 1:34 p.m.

    originally luke skywalker was to be called starkiller that how halfassed it was
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 9, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    Adam's look (as far as his face goes) is based on one of the dudes working on the game, but I have to admit the first time I saw him I was not happy, and I still think he looks a little Neo as you said.
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - July 9, 2010 1:55 p.m.

    kirby was white when he was designed
  • Zackaro - July 9, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    Starkiller can be seen in the film The Mist, he gets killed tho :(
  • db1331 - July 9, 2010 2:46 p.m.

    Also, the chimp doesn't bother me. I see him in a "The coolest kid you knew in the 80's", ironic kind of way.
  • Crofto - July 9, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    I agree with all except the Chimp in SMG2 (and those dudes from Sunshine, to an extent). That Chimp totally rocks those gegs, and that little clap he does to give you a star is a personal highlight for me. =D
  • Ensoul - July 9, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    Kirby's awesome. Leave Kirby alone. /fanboy Isn't it possibly that Kirby was purposefully designed to be simple? His whole gimmick is to absorb enemies powers and use them; his visual would match the power. I'm not sure it would make much sense from a design stand point to have this super distinct character if he's just going to be morphing all the time. In fact by keeping him simple you actually make him more distinctive. Completely agree with the over used bald gruff speaker though. (>")>

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