9 half-assed game character designs

Cole MacGrath

Making a half-assed appearance in: inFamous & inFamous 2

Alex from Prototype could have just as easily been included in this list with Cole. But being a man who… eh, regularly sports a leather jacket/hoodie combination, I though it better to direct the laser targeted bitching onto MacGrath. And look, it’s another generic bald man who’s lacking in the scalp department. Why, what’s this? A leather jacket and fingerless gloves. Man, you so get me Sucker Punch. This guy clearly hates the Man and won’t take no guff.

But I’m not fully sold yet. I better hear him speak. Jiminy Jillickers, a raspy, James Earl Jones deep delivery that sounds like Cole’s been huffing 40 a day. Now that’s a man’s man. All be it a horribly unoriginal, ‘rushed out the door five minutes before the whole dev team ordered takeaway’ man.

Above: Are we the only ones who feel horribly inadequate right now?

Seeing the error of its generic ways, Sucker Punch has since given inFamous’ lead an Oprah-esque extreme makeover for the sequel. And to be fair to the developer, it has made a seismic design breakthrough with MacGrath this time: hair. Actual, ‘not even a comb over’ hair. What an age we live in. Now’s that’s creative character design at its fourth wall-destroying best.

The Piantas

Making a half-assed appearance in: Super Mario Sunshine

Another half-hearted character from the Mario universe that sticks out as much as a buffet of mushroom stroganoff at a convention for the fair and ethical treatment of Goombas. Like the Chimp, the Piantas just don’t fit with the existing cannon of established Mario characters. Hell, they’re essentially just giant noses in grass skirts.

Above: Please observe this genuine, 100% Photoshop free, Sunshine shot

They look like placeholder characters Nintendo just couldn’t be bothered to replace. Though considering how awkwardly the black sheep Sunshine sits alongside the other 3D Mario games, it’s hardly a surprise. Just console yourself with the fact they made you want to stove your head in with your Gamecube slightly less than that bastard Bowser Jr.

Darius Mason

Making a half-assed appearance in: Red Faction: Armageddon

You know the main guy in Red Faction: Guerrilla you forgot about 7.2 seconds after putting down the pad? Well now you get to play his no doubt equally generic and monotone grandson in Armageddon. High five, anyone? Awww, c’mon we’re excited here. Don’t leave us hanging.

What, are we the only ones super pumped about controlling a half-assed, tattooed bald guy? Oh. If this really is what average Johnny Game Developer thinks passes for cool, then we despair about humanity. Well, the game character designing part of it, anyway.

It’s like the designer at Volition couldn’t think of any creative characteristics, so just threw a bunch of clichés at the fan and hoped the faeces stuck. We could maybe accept the tatts, slaphead, sleeveless vest and Minority Report knock-off space glove if Mason was, say an Albanian circus performer who rode about Mars on a unicycle. But unless the series has taken a major narrative detour, we can’t see that happening. So we guess we’ll just have to put up with Mr. Baldy Space Dude's half-baked design.

Above: Now that's what we're talking about


Making a half-assed appearance in: Surprisingly, loads of Kirby games

Ah Kirby, we can just imagine the concept meeting for this one.

Designer one: “So I’ve pencilled us in for a nine hour brainstorming session. They’re keeping the office open for us especially. Who’s got the menu for the sushi place down the street?”

Designer two: “You know it’s happy hour in that new karaoke bar in Shibuya, right?”

Designer one: “I see….. sooooo, we all happy if we just go with that half-assed pink circle? Great. Now lets go get wrecked.”

July 9, 2010


  • 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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