Talion, Crash Bandicoot, Lara Croft and many more. The main characters in video games get all the credit. But what about those fleeting NPCs that support our heroes?
There are NPCs in almost every game we play, some we love, and some we hate. Others stay in our minds for some time, others are easily forgettable. We’ve had a think and here are our favourite NPCs from games gone by.
Ratbag – Shadow of Mordor
The first real ally you meet in Shadow of Mordor is Ratbag the Coward. Ratbag is a selfish Uruk with no redeeming qualities that you partner with simply because you can help each other out. He might sound like the worst NPC ever but trust me, you’ll grow to love him and his little ways.
Aku Aku – Crash Bandicoot
Not much is known about the mysterious Aku Aku beyond that he’s a human spirit reincarnated as a mask (and, of course, his love of shouting gibberish whenever you find him in-game).
Aku-Aku guides Crash and his friends through every game in an affectionate fatherly sort of way. To be honest he doesn’t really do much in the grand scheme of things but just look at that face though! Isn’t it…well… kind of… well… actually it’s kind of creepy…
Ah screw it. It’s too late now. He stays on the list.
Professor Oak – Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow
Way back in the mid 1990s this guy introduced us to the world of Pokémon. Whether it’s rescuing you from that tall grass or introducing you to your one true life partner (Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle) everyone has a fond memory of this Pokémon Prof. Even if he does send a ten-year-old child to pick up his mail with only a level five Pokémon as protection.
Shout out to his obnoxious grandson who didn’t quite make the list.
Lydia – Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
For almost everyone, Lydia is the first travelling companion received in Skyrim and will accompany your character throughout
the game. Is she impressive? No. Is she interesting? No. Will you accidentally murder her multiple times throughout the game? Yes. Don’t try telling me you never accidentally Fus Ro Dah’d this lady off a mountain.
With possibly the most “what now, bitch?” line we’ve ever heard in a video game – “I am sworn to carry your burdens…” – she’s not only decent with a sword but pretty sassy too.
Nick Valentine – Fallout 4
Oh Nick. Where to start? First impressions are a bit off for Nick. Who is this shady robot detective running his business from a converted Diamond City shack? Why does he have the memories of a pre-war human?
Nick’s backstory is pretty interesting so you should definitely try and make time for it. Sure, giving him directions is janky AF but he’s a synth so I guess we’ll let him off! Plus, he’s hands down more interesting than most other companions in Fallout 4 *cough* Preston Garvey *cough*.
Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan – Unchartered
Sully is Nathan Drake’s partner in crime and the reason Nate gets into the treasure hunting business. The story of how these two meet and become friends is told over several instalments but it really builds into a relationship you can believe in over the course of the series.
Despite all the twists and turns the story in these games takes there’s always one constant. Nate and Sully are going to be BFFs 4 eva.
Winston Smith – Tomb Raider
Constant butler and occasional narrator, Winston Smith, is Lara’s household slave and a huge fan favourite. He rarely has lines of dialogue but whenever he is involved in the story at least he’s interesting.
My favourite video game activity of all time involves Winston. Don’t tell me you didn’t love locking him in the fridge.
Delilah – Firewatch
I’ve never come across a more genuine and realistic character in a game. Getting to know Delilah over the course of Firewatch’s story is a real pleasure. In the game, she’s your only contact with, well, anyone, and you very quickly grow attached to her.
As the game progresses and your relationship is tested, you’ll find yourself genuinely conflicted over your feelings for her which can even impact how much you learn about her.
After forming such a close bond with Delilah an unfortunate set of circumstances at the end of the game will leave you feeling heavy hearted and even led to me to make one of the saddest (and definitely most melodramatic) decisions I’ve ever made in a video game.