So today, we’re taking a look at a few of those transformations with our list of the top 10 video game characters that have changed the most. These characters change just like the Mesa from Warcraft changes to Mesa prime build in the new version of Warcraft.
Mario’s aesthetic has remained pretty consistent over the years – for the most part, his physical changes have been derivative of changes in technology and graphics progress. Gone are his 8-bit days, with newer generations of gamers being more familiar with Odyssey’s 3D Mario over the two-dimensional version. That being said, regardless of what Mario game you play, the title character is hands down the most recognizable figure in the videogame industry, and that’s a big win for Nintendo.
While McCree may be the newest character on our list, the changes to his character stats in Overwatch have been swift. McCree is an example of a character who has been nerfed – meaning, he’s gone from a character with impressive stats, down to one that’s got lesser merit, due to an update that was aimed at evening out overpowered characters in the MMO.
While Blizzard intended to balance McCree out, his bullet damage from his alternate fire dropped from 70 to 45, which is a pretty big blow. He’s not the only character in Overwatch to have suffered the woes of nerfing – Widow maker underwent similar changes. McCree sounds like one of the funny steam names.
Meanwhile Mario may be the most recognizable video game character in mainstream pop culture. Pac Man is arguably the most influential, being the first gaming mascot, being established back when arcades were kings. He was the first example of how much potential a mascot or recognizable character could have when it came to the video game industry and drawing in new audiences. Not to mention that the Pac Man game itself has had a HUGE influence on the games and developers that succeeded it, from Wolfenstein 3D to Doom to Grand Theft Auto and even Metal Gear.
But back to how much Pac Man has changed over the years – for a simple character, it’s a simple change, another 2D to 3D adaptation, with Pac Man even getting some limbs in the process. And unlike many of the other characters on this list, Pac Man’s original incarnation is just as well known as his current one – if not more so – with the character and his initial game even appearing in the collections of the Smithsonian and MOMA museums.
Speaking of bright yellow icons, let’s take a look at one of Nintendo’s beloved characters– the electric rat Pokemon known as Pikachu. Pikachu has always been globally adored, to the point where critics have even argued that the character is oversaturated when it comes to the world of Pokemon – considering how many generations of Pokemon there has been, Pikachu’s poster boy status is more than synonymous with the brand – Pikachu is practically marketing tool and ‘entry point’ that some fans of the franchise have even grown to loathe.
Aside from Pikachu’s symbolic progression over the years, the electric Pokemon has undergone an interesting physical one that many see as problematic – the character has gone from a chubby cute creature too much leaner in recent years.
Kratos’ change is not a physical one, but rather, an emotional and mental one. With the latest addition to the God of War franchise quickly approaching, Kratos’ fans are looking forward to seeing a more matured version of the god slayer – one that has now become a father and spends the latest game navigating new foreign mythology with the boy. He’s also sporting a beard now, and that’s pretty cool.
First introduced back in the 2001 Capcom hack and slashed Devil May Cry; its demon hunter protagonist Dante became a big hit. He was kind of like the Kratos of the very early 2000s. With his cutting personality, kick assmoves and a look that is undeniably hard to forget, he became a bit of an icon in the gaming world. By the time the follow-up game Devil May Cry2 was released, Dante had gone through some changes – he had progressed physically, now being a more aged hero with a more matured personality – a lot had changed, minus his famous red jacket.
Thank god. Fans had mixed feelings. Then we got Dante’s Awakening, the prequel game, which brought us back in time to much younger Dante. But the biggest change of all is in the 2013reboot of the game, which pretty much overhauled Dante, starting the story off in his early days as a demon hunter, and he had a completely new look that didn’t bode well with fans. Many feel it was an attempt to ‘westernize the game and reintroduce it to North American audiences.
While his personality may not have been altered throughout the years, Link’s physical appearance is perhaps the most dynamic out of any video game protagonist. Compared to a character like Mario, who, despite multiple slight changes and redesigns due to technological progress, Link has been subject to a lot more inconsistencies, right down to small colour changes in between his earlier games. He’s also suffered some pretty big stylistic changes, like the way he appears in Wind Waker and Spirit Tracks. Despite this, he remains massively iconic in the world of video games.
3 Scorpion Alongside Sub-Zero
Scorpion is arguably the most memorable character of the Mortal Kombat Franchise. Initially starting as simply the ninja character that wore yellow and had a kick-ass harpoon, Scorpion would eventually be given a paranormal backstory – he was the ghost of a man that Sub Zero killed who was allowed to return to avenge his death. His first Fatality even revealed a bare skull beneath his hood. By the time the third Mortal Kombat rolled around, the two now had a distinction physically, with which was only further adjusted over the years.
Scorpion would gradually get more detail, his eyeballs would continue to be glassy and undead, and by the time 2002’s Deadly Alliance Popped up, the character even had a burning skull. Since then, his outfit has changed from iteration to iteration, but the paranormal character has always remained a major staple in the series.
Jumping back into the world of Pokemon for this number, let’s talk a little about Red. Red isn’t a character – more so, an avatar that players project themselves onto while they head out on their mission to become Pokemon masters. Most associate the character with Ash Ketchum- the Pokemon trainer with VERY similar traits in the Pokemon anime. This extends to your Rival, Blue, who is Gary Oak. And boy has they evolved over the years.
Sorry, couldn’t resist. In addition to that, later Pokemon games outside of the Kanto region gave you the ability to choose between other avatars, including the option of being female or male, some feeling a little bit more outlandish than others. Which game featured your favourite?
1 Lara Croft
If you lined up all of Lara Croft versions from now to 1996, you’d probably have your mind blown a little. At her core, she looks the same – brunette with a braid or ponytail, wearing some variation of a tank top, a utility belt, shorts and boots. Initially, her in-game design consisted of 540 polygons, with 1996 to early 2000s versions of her being biologically disproportionate and hyper-sexualized.
While the character has always maintained her curves, even in her most recent iterations, she looks more realistic these days – not just in terms of her face looking less polygon and more human, but in the way she dresses, moves and behaves in the game. It’s like she’s a real woman! Whoa, look at what a little three-dimensional character development can do.
And that’s that! If you’d like to know more about these characters, we recently made a list of the top 10 most iconic video game characters and some crossover, so definitely check it out.