Today being Father’s day for U.S, Canada and UK (Sorry rest of the world!) we take a moment to reflect upon those characters who have overcome their own shortcomings and imperfections to provide emotional and physical support for their fictional families, for better or for worse.
Here’s Our Top 5 Favorite Video Game Fathers
5. Ethan Mars – Heavy Rain
The first up on our list is questionable in itself, with people often referring to the protagonist of Heavy Rain as a poor father considering his inept ability to keep an eye on his eldest son (Jaaaaason!) in public, arguably resulting in his death. The fact of the matter is that despite losing the connection with his other son Shaun, he risks life and limb (literally) in order to save his life. Of course this depends on how the player decides to pursue the story but ultimately Ethan’s motives remain the same.
4. Edward Kenway – Assassins Creed IV
Morally ambiguous, outlandish, crass and carefree; Edward Kenway is not exactly the ideal role model when it comes to parenting and it’s also the most controversial entry because out of the list he has the least screen-time with his children – limited to only a very short cutscene. Through his escapades Edward is unaware of being a father, forgetting the responsibilities of his past and running a mock in the Caribbean seas, but despite all that he has built up and gambled everything on, when he makes the discovery he immediately leaves it all behind to return to a more ordinary life as a family man. It’s due to this dedication and sense of duty that Edward earns his place here, it’s not always the Father’s fault if the son turns into a bad seed – Looking at you Haytham!
3. Michael De Santa – Grand Theft Auto V
Ok so Michael isn’t exactly the nicest of guys, in fact he’s a wise guy. He’s selfish, takes his family for granted, his daughter is an exhibitionist wannabe party animal and his son is an almost socially inept drug taking adolescent. Michael is a TERRIBLE father, that is at the beginning of the game though. Oddly enough for a GTA title we get to see some actual character evolution for a change instead of the standard ‘Let’s take over this city’ agenda, like an opposite motivation of Walter White he starts criminal activity again because he misses the thrill of it but as the story progresses he realizes that it’s all for his family and begins to try to rekindle those connections that he once squandered. Not a perfect father at the start, neither is he one by the end of the game but his heart is in the right place (for the most part) and it’s an odd character progression that we don’t often see translate very well from silver screen to interactive media without coming across as forced or hammy, but in the case the writing and performance is a rare exception.
2. Joel – The Last of Us
Joel is another tortured soul and like Ethan Mars also experiences a heavy loss in the opening Act. During the beginning it is shown the Joel is a single father who is having to struggle keeping the balance between his work and his home life. When an infection spreads and society suddenly breaks down he attempts to flee with his brother and daughter Sarah, who is tragically shot and dies in his arms. Jumping two decades later we find that he lives a very solitary life with few acquaintances, but ends up embarking on a long journey to escort a young girl named Ellie through military checkpoints and beyond the husks of infected people formally known to be human. The relationship between the two begins with Joel trying to keep himself at a distance due to the nature of what the world has become, but overtime the two learn to rely on and care for each other to make sense of the harsh environment that they must live in, where Joel eventually has to make the ultimate choice – Ellie or Humanity.
1. Lee Everett – The Walking Dead
Strangely enough Lee is the second person mentioned who is actually a father figure rather than primarily having a biological connection on screen. What probably makes him stand out above the others is that from a videogame stand point he is rather unremarkable as he is constantly self deprecating and has no extraordinary abilities, but he is an incredibly well rounded and humble character. Being another game of moral choice would usually leave player outcomes ambiguous, however the inclusion of young Clementine by the protagonist’s side elicits an almost natural instinct for protection, and as such you really feel the bond that grows between child and carer. Because of the inherited comic book art style so much of their relationship is told through facial expressions rather than actions, where the tiniest wrinkle can tug on the firmest of heart strings. It really is a story about Lee’s redemption and learning to forget the past in order to present the best of himself for the benefit of Clementine’s well being, both mentally and physically, and how despite both losing their families they can once again find comfort in each others presence to rekindle that most human of connections to make for some truly touching and memorable moments.
So there you have it, our top 5 favorite video game fathers! Do you agree? Who would you have included in your list? Let us know in the comments!