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Which Do You Prefer, Villians to Be Mysterious or Have Some Sort of Backstory?

shogun_zidane

将軍 ジタン
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Location
Stock Pot Inn in the Knife Chamber
So I got back in to my survival horror roots and have been playing Silent Hill and Resident Evil and I thought to myself, "wow pyramid head is terrifying". He just pops in at random and you have no idea who or what he is. Nemesis on the other hand has a little backstory, you know he is a Tyrant variant and that he is dispatched to kill S.T.A.R.S. These are just examples but overall what are you guys' thoughts or opinions on the matter, menacing and mysterious or fleshed out and known? btw sorry if this thread has already been created.
 

Skunk

Floof
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Dec 31, 2011
Location
New York
Gender
Nonbinary
The question you ask really depends on the game. If the game is more mysterious, then a mysterious villain who has part of his/her/its backstory revealed late in the game works well. If the game isn't necessarily mysterious, but the villain is slightly kept without a backstory early on then develops one later, then a villain with a backstory is whom I would prefer.
 

Igos du Ikana

Maldorok
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Location
USA
The question you ask really depends on the game. If the game is more mysterious, then a mysterious villain who has part of his/her/its backstory revealed late in the game works well. If the game isn't necessarily mysterious, but the villain is slightly kept without a backstory early on then develops one later, then a villain with a backstory is whom I would prefer.
Personally, I disagree, but only because that's the form most games have taken; it's begun to get a bit old. I think if the game has alot of backstory and the villain is mysterious I feel as if it's a fresher experience then just the same old "one-way" focus games are taking.

Anyways, I prefer to the game to have alot of backstory but revealed to you slowly so you don't know everything right from the beginning. I guess Mass Effect 1 is a good example in that you don't realize who the actual threat is until the very ending of the game, and by that time you start to feel for the person who was your enemy. Oh, I guess spoiler warning?
 

JuicieJ

SHOW ME YA MOVES!
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Location
On the midnight Spirit Train going anywhere
The question you ask really depends on the game. If the game is more mysterious, then a mysterious villain who has part of his/her/its backstory revealed late in the game works well. If the game isn't necessarily mysterious, but the villain is slightly kept without a backstory early on then develops one later, then a villain with a backstory is whom I would prefer.
Derpy took the words right out of my mouth.
 
Like the others have said it does depend on the game. A scary random creature doing weird things to weird things is just weird and effective if you're in a weird place that is actively trying to kill you like Silent Hill.

Personally I love surrealism though and i like to see odd and scary and un-understood things happening for little or no reason other than to just screw with you (which is a big reason why i like silent hill) but I'm not adversed to a bad guy having a backstory becuase they need it in most cases.

What i do hate though, if a backstory is to be given is for it not to be as cliche as hell, i want it to be interesting. Skyward Sword is the most recent example I have of this 'there is a big bad guy you haven't met properly yet, he is so hardcore he had a big war' - like that is supposed to scare me, if you trot things like that out to give a bad guy some backstory then at least hammer home what he did, give me a cutscene of him being scary, show me the end result of his evil thus far, show me what he can do, have him kick my *** and show me that he means business, don't give me hear-say then drop me in with a stranger. Give me something satisfactory, this goes for all villains for the future.
 

octorok74

TETTAC
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Location
Joliet, IL
I prefer mysterious villains. I like trying to figure out why this person is doing all these things. What is the motive. A backstory gives it away and simply tells you to stop them. I want to be almost torn between wanting to stop or not even though the game requires I do. That mysterious aspect I love with villains and I would love to see it more.
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2012
Location
Probably roleplaying
I prefer villains with backstory. It irks me when I'm just killing some random threat. What if he has other motives? I think and overthink everything, and I always want to think there's another solution. I want to know their motives, their story. I may refuse to kill a baddie if he's too mysterious. That said, even "He's a big, bad Inky who hates color and wants to control Chroma City" is enough for me to kill him. I just like games with plot development. An antagonist in a story is a character, in fact, it is the most important in my opinion. Without an antagonist, where would the conflict be? So they should matter just as much, and to me, knowing nothing means the developers don't care.
 

Ventus

Mad haters lmao
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Akkala
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Hylian Champion
It really depends on the game. If I'm dealing with a game full of mystery, then the main villain too must be mysterious -- even moreso than the game itself. Eventually the series can open up on the villain's origins and motives and what not (as Resident Evil eventually did with Albert Wesker), but for the one game in which they make their debut, the main villain must be mysterious.

On the other hand, if the game is so chock full of lore, I'd expect nothing less than the main villain being explained. Games like Skyward Sword fail in this respect, and I feel the games shouldn't penalize themselves. :(
 

ihateghirahim

The Fierce Deity
Joined
Jan 16, 2013
Location
Inside the Moon
Progress makes perfect

I would like a villain i don't understand, like Demise or Ganondorf's first appearance. They are threatening and you want to know their motivation and origin. Then they are given more backstory overtime and different games. They slowly evolve into the perfect villain. I want Ganondorf and or demise to evolve into complex villains.
 

DarkestLink

Darkest of all Dark Links
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
"Mysterious" is a poorly used term in this fandom. Basically, "mysterious" replaces "Lack of character". A sense of mystery is fine and a villain does not always need a reason to be evil, but I do expect some backstory from villains. A cause for motive is good (Zant) but is bad when it becomes contradictory (tWW Ganondorf).
 

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