2. Jason Brody – Far Cry 3
Stranded on a secluded island and forced to adapt to hostile, violent surroundings to survive – this may sound identical to the plot of the Tomb Raider reboot, but while Lara Croft spent the whole game perpetually falling down a series of unending chasms, Jason Brody’s development follows a path of his own decisions, consequently making him a far more engaging protagonist. Initially a wimpy tourist shaken by the murder of his tough older brother, the violence Jason uses to rescue his remaining friends gradually leaves its mark on him. Through their brilliant character interactions and one of the most interesting villains of a generation, we experience how he becomes increasingly detached from his old life and the friends he did it all to save.
“I never thought I’d be able to kill someone. The first time it felt wrong. Which is good, right? But now… it feels like winning.”
1. Garrett – Thief Series
Cynical, sarcastic, egotistical and misanthropic – what is there not to love about gaming’s greatest master thief? Those of us sick of the dull, humourless intel-dumps that used to plague the space between game levels were always in for a treat when Garrett read his sardonic pre-mission monologues. Glad to provide sharp-witted observations on the seedy city underbelly we would sneak through, his dry humour was just the surface of an astonishingly well-realised character. Unlike the protagonist of the 2014 Thief reboot, original Garrett never romanticised his work – characterising thievery simply as a means of survival and self-interest. His callous front would occasionally subside when dealing with a select few of his acquaintances, letting us glimpse a softer heart beneath his viciously acerbic attitude. In a nutshell, every word Garrett spoke conveyed far more personality than the average protagonist can in an entire game, and that’s why he deserves to top this list.
“I’ve always equated feelings with getting caught, they both get in the way of my money.”