Game development nowadays takes more time than it did 20 years ago. Gone are the days when we used to get a new GTA game every year, or the days when we even had news of a new GTA game, for that matter. But what we hate even more than long production times and waiting is low-effort, half-baked games. Most of the time, the combat system doesn’t feel developed, the game is buggy on its own, and the bad character design really stands out.
Character design is a very important aspect of a video game. It’s the one thing that can make or break a game, as we’ll find out later in our list. They either suffer from main character syndrome and don’t really feel unique to the player, or they’re stuck too far in the background when the plot requires them to be front and center. Either way, this bad character design can ruin the whole experience for players, and we’re here to stand against it!
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 worst character designs in video games. Keep scrolling to find out if your most hated character made it to the list!
What We Mean by Bad Character Design
But first, we have to define what bad character design means in the first place.
Many elements can contribute to bad character design. As we said, their personality can be too obnoxious to listen to throughout the game or they may not stand out at all despite having to. It could also be a lack of morality or perhaps the opposite end of the spectrum, too much morality.
Of course, some reasons could also be completely gameplay related. The character may not have the best skillset or their stats could be too low for us to enjoy playing them. They could also be extremely difficult to play and even harder to master.
As you can see, there are a lot of criteria that go into deciding whether a character’s design is good or bad. However, we’ll only be taking into account the visual design of the character while making our list.
Top 10 Bad Character Designs in Video Games
Without further ado, we think these 10 characters are probably the worst-designed characters in video game history. Take a look at this collection of bad character designs!
#10: Bedman | Guilty Gear Xrd
The game itself differs a bit from the series’ traditional hand-drawn sprites, instead opting for cel-shaded graphics created in Unreal Engine 3. And while Guilty Gear Xrd was a decent enough game on its own, Bedman was definitely the worst character in it.
It goes without saying that his character design was lazy and a bit too obscure to be that good. The character itself is mounted to a metal robot bed and he’s basically unconscious in every battle. And as it turns out, he’s not even alive after Guilty Gear Xrd. He really just makes his bed do everything for him by possessing it.
#9: Meat | Mortal Kombat 4
While most Mortal Kombat character designs are good, this one deserves a fatality for its uncomfortable design. Even though Mortal Kombat is a bit of a gory and violent game in itself, it turns out that they actually can take some things a little bit too far.
It’s hard to imagine this character has a fighting chance against any other character in the Mortal Kombat series. He’s just a human being with meat all over, no skin, no hair, nothing. We can barely even see any bones in the equation.
But let’s set aside the fact that the visuals of the character look extremely uncomfortable. In a game such as Mortal Kombat where gore is pretty much the standard, doesn’t it feel very unoriginal to see a character who starts that way in the first place?
#8: Leopaldon | Guilty Gear Isuka
Up next on our list of the worst character may definitely grab your attention. While he is definitely a step up from Bedman in the sense that he’s the one doing the fighting instead of his bed, that doesn’t excuse the other poor design choices.
All things considered, Leopaldon is still a freeloader. He rides around in the mouth of some large creature along with his dogs and fights people from the safety of its mouth. First, we don’t even want to imagine how badly it smells there. Does that thing ever brush its teeth? We think not. Second, you’ll need to take a few good looks at the character to even figure out what’s happening in the sprite. Talk about complicated.
#7: Mokap | Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
We’re starting to notice a trend with fighting games here, aren’t we? It may be hard to tell from the name, but Mokap is actually just a guy in a motion-capture suit. Not a good look for him, especially when you look at the rest of the character roster in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. Mokap stands out for all the wrong reasons, really.
This character’s design just seems a bit ill-fitting for the universe he was created for. He doesn’t stand out. There’s nothing special about him, nothing that would make players want to pick him. We suppose that’s why he has become an Easter Egg that was completely erased from the game’s story.
#6: Sylvie | The King of Fighters XIV
If you were looking for excessive character design, you’ve come to the right place. Sylvie may be one of the most overdesigned characters we’ve ever seen. Over the top doesn’t even begin to describe the number of colors you can see in this one photo. The only reason we can kind of excuse this behavior is the fact that she has a zany persona.
Still, King of Fighter XIV is a phenomenal fighting game with a great cast of other characters that help cover up Sylvie’s awful design choices. Who doesn’t love a bit of Luong in their King of Fighters XIV games, right?
#5: Spyro | Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
We never would’ve expected Spyro of all characters to end up on this list. But let us explain! We promise Spyro deserved a better character design than what he got in Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
The character designers probably meant to make this character look more serious and dragon-like. Unfortunately, something must have gone awry during the design process, because he just looks a little silly and frankly a bit creepy in Skylanders.
It’s almost as if they tried to breathe a bit of new life into him and ended up taking away everything that makes Spyro Spyro. We bet you didn’t even know it was Spyro until we mentioned it!
#4: Abigail | Street Fighter V
This Andre the Giant-inspired character seems to have taken a bit of a detour in Street Fighter V. Essentially, Abigail has suffered the same fate as Spyro from the previous entry. We promise Abigail doesn’t usually look this silly, believe us!
Abigail originally appeared as a character in Final Fight (1989), where you fight him as a boss in the penultimate stage. However, he appeared as a playable character for the first time in Street Fighter V. His original design compared to his current design just has a few uncanny differences. Why does he have tires on his arms? Why does his face look like that? Seems like we’ll never know.
#3: Rufus | Street Fighter IV
Continuing with the trend of Street Fighter characters being unsettling, at number three we have Rufus. Although it’s hard to decide which character design is worse out of these two, we can safely say Rufus takes the crown here.
And hey, we’re all about body positivity here. However, this is more about his outfit and how horrid yellow looks on Rufus. For a fighting game, it’s hard to take Rufus as a serious character rather than a bit of a joke. But hey, if he feels comfortable wearing that silly outfit while trying to kick his opponent’s ass, more power to him, we suppose.
#2: All the NPCs | The Witcher
Although the Witcher series later became one of the best video games to come out in the last 10 years, the original Witcher game didn’t age that well. We just can’t seem to understand how it’s possible to reuse the same models so many times and still get away with creating a great game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt down the line.
Don’t get us wrong, the models themselves are not that bad. But the fact that you’ll see the same 5 NPCs scattered all around really doesn’t help the game feel any less bland. However, the matter becomes even worse when you realize some more important characters also get reused models, which is a sad sight for such a popular franchise.
The #1 Worst Character Design in Video Games
Although Forspoken has been one of the most anticipated games coming from Square Enix in the last few years, the first trailer and main character design really didn’t do justice to all the hard work put into the game.
Contrary to most characters that we’ve mentioned so far, there’s actually nothing wrong with what Frey looks like. However, there’s everything wrong with how she acts throughout the entire game.
Many players have reported feelings of exhaustion after spending a few hours playing through the game and listening to her dialogue. Her conversation with her talking bracelet companion, Cuff, really brings out how badly written the character truly is.
It’s a shame, really. We were kind of looking forward to Frey being a good video game protagonist. Unfortunately, Forspoken lived up to its rumors of awkward and cringy writing.