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Article - 'Cruel Intentions IV - Introducing Evil' by Xanqui

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004


The forth article in Xanqui's "Evil" series. Includes excellent ways to introduce the protagonists to the foe of the game!


There are all different types of evil characters, but introducing them can be a challenge. This article will explain some different ways of introducing your evil characters. This won’t be like the other Cruel Intentions articles because it won’t go into the details of how to make your character evil. I hope you enjoy it.

Opening Scene –
Some games introduce the villain in the very beginning of the game, even before the player meets the main character. The villain could be standing in front of a burning village that he destroyed, or he could be in the process of creating some evil contraption that he plans to destroy the world with. This scene should take place before the opening credits if you want the right mood. From the end of this scene, you have one of many options. You could either go straight to the opening credits, go to the contraption destroying a part of the world and then to the opening credits, or go to the main character who does whatever and then go to the opening credits.

Near the beginning of the game –
Many other games introduce the villain after the opening credits and after the player has met the protagonists. There are many different ways of introducing the villain now. You could have the villain appear in front of the protagonist and have a battle between them, and the villain runs away. If you want to show the villains true power here, make it to where the player cannot win the battle. Or you could have the character almost beat the villain, and the villain runs away.
Or you could cut to the villain in the process of destroying something or building that evil contraption.

The Villain is a Member of the Party –
Here’s where it gets interesting. Perhaps your villain was supposedly a protagonist, when in fact he was a member of the player’s party all the time. But you don’t want something lame like, “Oh, by the way, I’m a bad guy and I’m going to kill you.” That will ruin it. Instead, you could have the villain abandon the party when they need him the most. Or the villain could have set up a trap and when the trap catches them, the villain starts laughing.
Dialogue is very important for something like this. Most importantly, the main character has to be shocked that he was betrayed. A very old cliché is “I knew you’d betray us!” If the character knew that he would betray him, why’d he bring him along in the first place?

Villain is Related to Main Character/Party Member –
“Luke…I am your father!”
Ah, the best line in the history of movies, followed by “Yippee Kaiyay mother f-“ erm, never mind. Whether the villain is related to the main character or another character, the shock factor should be the same. Of course, there are the exceptions of the character knowing about it all along. But we’ll focus on the shock factor here. Make sure that the character’s response to finding this out fits that character. Most of the time, a headstrong, bulky guy won’t cry if he finds out that his sister was evil. Perhaps he would punch something, or take out his anger by yelling at everyone. But if the character is emotionally weak, then let them cry.

Villain Never Knew that he/she was Evil –
This is a rare one. The villain turns out to be evil, but probably does the evil things while sleeping. The discovery of this must be found late in the game, after the player has become emotionally attached to the character for the ultimate effect. Dare I say it; The Legend of Dragoon did a great job of showing this.

[!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!] In the Legend of Dragoon, one of the characters turned out to be the “Black Monster” or whatever it was called, but the player doesn’t find this out until late in the game. But this character was the coolest character in the game.
[/!!!!Spoiler Alert!!!!]

This kind of revealing can be expressed in many different ways. Perhaps another villain explains it to the character, or the character finds some evidence that makes it clear to him or her. Or, like in the Legend of Dragoon, the character was afraid to reveal it to everyone else, and finally gave in and told everyone.

Well, that’s all I have for this article, though it is longer than most of my other articles. But before I end it, I do have to remind you that background is important, and should always be expressed for just about everything in your game. Whether you want to consider this a Cruel Intentions article or not is your choice, but I gave it that name because it dealt with the villains.

Oh, and if you think that my articles about evil are good, please tell me. I love to write about villains, and I have a lot more to say about them. The articles probably won’t be called Cruel Intentions, nor will they relate to the intentions of the villains. But I’ve yet to get into characterization of villains.

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