If all the protagonists were nice and all the antagonists were evil, fiction would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it? This is where the longtime grumpy archetype with a heart of gold comes in. These characters are, on the inside, lovely human beings, but that doesn’t stop them from being surly, antagonistic, and generally a source of grumpy remarks.
Some of these characters have played starring roles in some of our favorite games. Others are stalwart allies who balance loyalty and grumpiness. Bad vibes aside, these characters have a place in our hearts.
ten Cranky Kong – Donkey Kong Country
Here we have it. The OG itself. The first Donkey Kong. However, age has caught up with him and the former giant ape is now a bit smaller in the Donkey Kong Country games. Cranky Kong is aptly named. It never lacks barbs and has no coldness – TNT is do not an appropriate response to a boombox being too loud, Cranky.
He still clearly cares about his family, as he watches over them and tries to guide them with helpful advice. The Heart of Gold can be a stretch with Cranky, but when it comes to pushing, he comes out of retirement to help fight the Snowmads and take over the island in Tropical Freeze, so Cranky deserves at least some credit.
9 Victor Sullivan – Uncharted
For Lethal Weapon fans, Sully has what can only be described as a Murtaugh aura to him. Basically, he complains about everything, gets annoyed about everything, but is just a nice, loyal fat guy. Sully is hard to pin down; at first you’re probably on the lookout for that inevitable heel bend, but it never comes.
Sully is strong behind Nathan and is an always positive figure in his life. Throughout the Uncharted games, Sully is that friendly face you’re always happy to see again, even if that face often comes with a healthy dose of grumpiness.
8 Tellah – Final Fantasy 4
It might be unfair to call Final Fantasy 4’s Tellah grumpy because he’s going through a pretty tough time when you meet him. However, it’s impossible to separate the image of Tellah from the man who angrily assaulted Edward and called him a “spoon bard”.
Tellah is usually in a constant state of anger. His anger feeds him; it is its main driving force. However, it is also inherently good. He helps whenever he can and he sacrifices himself for the greater good.
7 Chris Redfield – Resident Evil
So, there’s no denying that Chris has had a tumultuous career, but this dude only has three facial expressions, and all three are just different types of grimaces. Chris is a guy who clearly cares about the people around him, although he could use his words better – just talk to Ethan, Chris, you’d have avoided all the mess that is Resident Evil Village.
Yet Chris spends most of his time barking commands and existing in seemingly frustrated space at all times. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
6 Hades – Hades
If there’s one person you can be sure isn’t much fun at parties, that person is Hades. Almost everything he says is acerbic. It has hundreds of lines of dialogue, and almost all of them are cranky. However, beneath that grumpy exterior is a man who loves his son.
A man who wants the best for him and cares about him; even if he has a funny way of showing it. Hades is a big part of what makes the game great, as he’s a character that works on many levels. And hey, have you met his family? If we were to face this lot, we might also be quite grumpy.
5 Falco – Star Fox
It is a warlike bird. Falco is often sullen, always irritable, and generally not a friendly bird. However, he is reliable and he has a good heart. He sees Star Fox as his rival, which is probably related to his bad temper, as it kills him to recognize the interstellar fox.
However, throughout the Star Fox games, Falco is always ready and willing to help. He’ll almost certainly complain about it, but he still shows up – and that’s what matters most.
4 Barrette – Final Fantasy 7
Say what you want about Barret, but this man really does make an excellent effort. He’s the type of guy who takes responsibility and carries a lot on his shoulders, so it’s no surprise that he can be a bit disagreeable. He’s trying to save the world, while raising a daughter all by himself (pun intended). He has a lot to do.
Despite his extremely rough exterior, throughout Final Fantasy 7 Barret has been shown to be extremely caring. He is loyal to his friends and, as shown by an outsider like Cloud, he opens up to people fairly quickly (despite pretending not to). In the end, Barret is just a big teddy bear…with a gun in his hand…and a bad temper.
3 Geralt – The Witcher
To be honest, if we spent all our time doing people’s dirty work and our main reward was everyone hating us and cursing our name, we’d probably be pretty grumpy too. Geralt’s bad temper is only improved by the cast of characters he has around him.
Each new companion, each more lively than the next, offers a new foil to Geralt’s bitter remarks. However, in the end, Geralt is a true hero and has a knack for doing the right thing. He mumbles to himself while doing so.
2 Arthur Morgan – Red Dead Redemption 2
By the time we meet Arthur, he’s already a seasoned outlaw. With that experience comes a certain level of grumpiness. Arthur is a man who will get the job done, and he is extraordinarily reliable, but he will mumble under his breath while he does it. He is also, fundamentally, a good man.
Sometimes he disagrees with his own innate goodness, but eventually, over the course of Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur fully embraces him. Arthur is far from a perfect person and he is responsible for some sordid affairs, but he ends up making it up for the people who matter and he does his best to make amends with the people he has wronged.
1 Sojiro Sakura – Persona 5
Sojiro doesn’t make a good first impression. In a game that doesn’t seem particularly fond of adults, Sojiro is just another condescending, antagonistic voice in the crowd: until you get to know him, of course. Because once you’ve spent time with this crisp coffee connoisseur, you begin to see that he cares deeply.
He constantly puts his own skin on the line. And, when needed, he’s willing to sacrifice anything to do the right thing. Sojiro is easily one of the best characters in Persona 5. He is the emotional core of the game.
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