Quiz: name these 10 painfully generic video game characters

Who the hell is that?

When a video game character is well designed we remember them for years. Ezio from Assassin's Creed 2, Nathan Drake from Uncharted, Vaas from Far Cry--most Rockstar characters--these are examples of excellent visual design meeting great scripting and acting to produce someone truly memorable. Sadly, not all video game characters are created equal. Some are barely created at all; Frankenstein's monsters built from generic power armour, every-man haircuts, stubble, and a strong desire to appeal to a wide demographic.

In fact, we think that some modern characters are so devoid of personality or distinguishing features that we've created this GR Quiz to see if you--our knowledgeable gaming readers--can identify them. A few ground rules: the following are all either the protagonists of their games, or very prominent AI or co-op characters. All the art used is official, and they're all from well-known, current-gen games.

Can you name them all? Leave your guesses in the comments...

1. The classic genero-man

Ah, behold the vacant stare of a man who is so painfully generic, he's even struggling to remember his own name. Or is he sat inside his futuristic, military heli-chopper, considering some kind of career change? Florist? Salsa Instructor? Supermarket check-out assistant? No, he'll probably just stick to killing people.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

2. Genero-man, Nic Cage style

This chap is cool enough to be a stunt-double for someone who looks a bit like Nicholas Cage in a low budget, made-for-TV biopic about Nicholas Cage. His generic-beard lets you know that he's an experienced guy, someone has killed many things. He's a survivor, not some clean-shaven newbie who hasn't even strangled his first alien with a KitKat wrapper.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

3. The haunted genero-man

Oh, the things this man has seen! His wide-eyes and lengthy stubble let you know that this character has had trauma in his past. He has depth. He's got too much depth to consider shaving, or to listen to what that secondary female character stood behind him is saying. This man has stared into the abyss, into the eyes of Satan himself... or worse--he went into the wrong dressing room at a pop concert and caught the Jedward ghost-clowns twerking each other while X Factor's Wagner watches silently, intently from his stool in the corner of the room. Pity haunted genero-man.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

4. Sexy genero-man

Hey ladies! This generic man looks a bit like the buff chap who you thought was looking at you in Coffeebucks this morning, but it turned out he was trying to figure out what flavour syrup he wanted in his skinny mocha-latte. He's the kind of guy who models underwear in his spare time, appears at every party ever, but couldn't point out Russia on a map of the world. "Is that a type of ice-cream?" he asks.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

5. Mysterious genero-man

Who is this generic man with the mysterious past? He must have a terribly interesting past, probably spent traveling the world--no, the galaxy--being some kind of pirate-secret-agent-sexy-banker hybrid. Ooh, isn't he fascinating. He definitely hasn't spent the last three years behind the counter of WH Smiths at Leicester Forest motorway service station, selling pasties and horrifying pornography to truck drivers. NO SIR.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

6. The genero-rebel

Hey, man, don't keep this guy down. Don't harsh his aura, because he will totally kick your ass. This guy is the generic rebel; the guy who fights against everything the bad guys believe in, because he's totally secure in his own opinion and could never, ever be wrong. As a result, Genero-rebel can't stand injustice--it really sets him off--and the only way to cure the wrongs of his world is with bullets, fire, and harshly-worded emails.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

7. Genero-bros

These guys are tight. They spend all their time together, kicking ass, killing bad-dudes, and occasionally spooning under the starry night sky. Every game that features the genero-bros has at least 3 face-buttons dedicated to elaborate high-fives, painfully limiting the script-writer's potential for developing their personalities beyond 'lump of meat 1' and 'lump of meat 2'.

Can you name these characters and the game in which they appear?

8. Genero-lady

Men don't have the monopoly on generic character design--oh no. There are plenty of generic female characters in games, who range from sassy to stern as they faithfully support their more important male protagonists. Some even get their own starring role. They're often pressed straight from the Lara Croft mould, and given as manly a personality as possible, to make sure that The Key Demographics don't feel too weird. Phew.

Can you name this character and the game in which she appears?

9. Tough-guy genero-man

Arguably, every genero-man acts like a tough guy. Needless aggression is a great substitute for genuine character depth or personality development. For the unlucky few, though, the tough guy act is literally all they have to define themselves. They don't even have a crazy tattoo on their face, a bionic body-part, or clothing with a distinctive neon trim. They just have a stern look and a tough-guy haircut.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

10. Other-race genero-man

Being a generic video game personality isn't just for beefy white-guys with sharp stubble? No, sir. Having a bland, indistinct look transcends race and religion to make sure that EVERYONE is having a good time when they play games. Other-race genero-man is a proud hero with a name and personality that in no-way stereotypes his entire race. Right? Oh...

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

Bonus Genero-man!

Ok, this guy is kind-of a cheat. He's meta. He's a comment on generic video game character design who sadly falls into his own trap, like a bee reeling around in its own honey.

Can you name this character and the game in which he appears?

How did you do?

That's the end of the quiz. How many characters did you correctly identify? If you got all ten--well done, you know your games. The average score for a GR editor was 4-5 out of 10... We'll post the answers on the next slide in this gallery, so if you don't want to see them, don't click through.

Want to read about some characters who you can actually identify? Check out our list of the 100 Best Heroes in Games. And, for a look at the dark side, here are the 100 Best Villains in Games.

Remember--only click to the next slide if you want to CHEAT at this quiz and get the answers.

The answers

Answers below--they're written in white text, so highlight them with your cursor to reveal.

1. Jet Brody - Fracture
2. Jim Peyton - Lost Planet 3
3. Isaac Clarke - Dead Space (pictured in DS3)
4. Jake Muller - Resident Evil 6
5. Alec Mason - Red Faction Guerrilla
6. Connor - Homefront
7. Salem and Rios - Army of Two (pictured in AOT: 40th Day)
8. Nilin - Remember Me (haha)
9. Jack Slate - Dead to Rights (pictured in DTR: Retribution)
10. Rico Rodriguez - Just Cause 2
Bonus: Matt Hazard - Eat Lead: Return of Matt Hazard

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy has been writing about games since 1999, when he nagged the Editors of his University newspaper so much they let him start a brand-new video games section. After that he worked in print mags for over 10 years before switching to the murky world of online editing, when he became Executive Editor on GamesRadar. Now he uses his ill-gotten power and influence to write endless, beard-stroking think-pieces on Destiny and Game of Thrones. Spoil the latest episode of the show, and he will cut you.
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