When we think of video game characters, we often imagine the protagonists like Duke Nukem, Marcus Fenix, Samus Aran, Link, etc. We tend to forget that besides the badasses, video games are filled with characters much less lucky.
Be them protagonists or NPCs, these gaming Bad Luck Brians have drawn the short stick, which made their life more than a little bit miserable. In this article, we’ll introduce you to thirteen of the most unlucky characters to ever grace PCs and consoles. Here’s our list of the unluckiest Bad Luck Brian’s in gaming history.
|God of War (PC)||2022-01-14||Action||Sony Interactive Entertainment||55%|
|Resident Evil 4||2014-02-27||Adventure||CAPCOM||81%|
|Resident Evil 4 HD||2014-02-27||Adventure||CAPCOM||77%|
|The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Special Edition||2016-10-27||Adventure||Bethesda Game Studios||75%|
|Hello Neighbor||2017-12-08||Adventure||Dynamic Pixels||90%|
|Gears Of War||2006-11-07||Adventure||Epic Games|
|Gears Of War 2||2008-11-07||Adventure||Epic Games||14%|
|Gears Of War 3||2011-09-20||Adventure||Epic Games, Inc.|
|Gears Of War 4||2016-10-11||Action & Shooter||The Coalition / Black Tusk Studios||66%|
|Tomb Raider (2013)||2013-03-04||Adventure||Feral Interactive (Linux)||76%|
|Rise Of The Tomb Raider 20 Years Celebration||2016-02-09||Adventure||Crystal Dynamics||89%|
|Shadow Of The Tomb Raider||2018-09-14||Adventure||SQUARE ENIX||82%|
|Max Payne||2001-07-25||Adventure||Remedy Entertainment||33%|
|Max Payne 2||2003-10-14||Adventure||Remedy Entertainment||57%|
|Max Payne 3||2012-05-31||Adventure||Rockstar Studios||4%|
Ship Captain - God of War (2005)
|Initial release date:||2005|
|Developer:||Santa Monica Studio|
We begin our list with quite possibly the most unlucky character of the God of War series. In the first installment of the franchise, Kratos travels across the Aegean Sea towards Athens, currently ravaged by Ares’s wrath, the titular god of war.
The ship is suddenly attacked by Hydra, a monstrous, three-headed sea serpent. As the crew scatters in fear, the captain pleads to the gods for mercy only to be eaten by one of Hydra’s heads.
Our good captain deserves a place on our list not only for his grim fate at the jaws of Hydra but how much of a doom magnet he is. Kratos encounters the captain several times throughout the franchise.
In the first installment, he seals his fate by casting him down Hydra’s throat to retrieve a key. During the encounter with the Barbarian King in God of War II, the captain is summoned as one of the King’s undead minions, only to be slashed to pieces by the Blades of Chaos.
In God of War III, the Captain is last seen in Kratos’s vision, still cowering in fear from the God of War. Say what you will; the Fates had it out for this guy from the start!
Kratos - God of War franchise
|Initial release date:||2005|
|Developer:||Santa Monica Studio|
Another character of the God of War franchise to be burdened with terrible luck is the protagonist himself. Kratos was once a brave Spartan warrior. During a gruesome battle, our protagonist found himself on the verge of defeat.
It was then when he made a deal with the god of war, Ares – eternal servitude in exchange for victory. Kratos got what he wanted – with the Blades of Chaos given to him by Ares, he defeated the enemy army – but the price he had to pay would make him wish he died on the battlefield.
Bad luck follows Kratos throughout the entire franchise. The now-classic opening quote: “The Gods of Olympus have abandoned me. Now there is no hope.” shows exactly how bad things were for the Ghost of Sparta. After becoming the Champion of the Gods to pay for his misdeeds as Ares’ servant, he is denied absolution.
After taking Ares’ throne, he is betrayed by Zeus and other gods. And after waging war against Olympus on the side of the Titans, he is betrayed once again by his newfound allies. Even in the most recent installment of the franchise, Kratos is followed by the ghosts of his past. He tries to teach his son how to survive and fend for himself to break the cursed cycle of Fate. As there are more games in the series to be released, Kratos’ luck might yet turn for the better.
The policemen escorting Leon to the village - Resident Evil 4
|Initial release date:||2005|
Generally speaking, being an NPC in a Resident Evil game bodes poorly for your chances of survival. Most of the characters the protagonist encounter along the way end up dead and/or zombified by T-Virus mutants.
The same fate is shared by the two policemen who escorted special agent Leon Kennedy to the small Spanish village, where he hoped to find clues to finding the US President’s kidnapped daughter.
After parting ways with the cops near a seemingly abandoned house, Leon is attacked by an infected villager. The cops flee the scene leaving him to find his way to the village alone. Leon finds their car crashed into a tree, with one of the policemen dead and the other nowhere to be found.
The mysterious disappearance of the officer is resolved when Leon reaches the village and finds his mutilated corpse left to burn in the village square. Our protagonist then realizes that the village hides more secrets than the infected and a mysterious cult they seem to be members of.
Whiterun Guard - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
|Initial release date:||2013|
Many video game NPCs win the hearts of the players with their memorable lines. But the guard of Whiterun Hold is probably the author of the most quoted meme to come out of the fifth installment of The Elder Scrolls series.
This nameless entry of the citadel has also been cursed with quite a misfortune. As he tells the player character, he used to be an adventurer, just like them. That is until he took an arrow to the knee 🙂 This short exchange has been a source of various memes for years.
To this day, you can find some seriously hilarious examples, proving that even the most offhand quote can become the source of a good meme, thanks to the power of the Internet. As for our unfortunate guard, we can only wish him well and hope that he can go on another adventure if and when his shirt knee finally mends.
Nicky Roth - Hello Neighbor
|Initial release date:||2017|
Some people have been blessed with decent neighbors. The kind who greet you with a cheerful “Howdy, neighbor!” every time they see you, invite you to a dinner for no reason other than being nice, helping out with cleaning out the garage, or organizing a yard sale.
These kinds of neighbors should be cherished and appreciated. You could’ve always been cursed with a creepy loner who spends too much time in his basement. Just like Nicky Roth, the protagonist of Hello Neighbor. Nicky first meets his neighbor as a child. Curious as he was, Nicky decided to sneak into the man’s house and find out the secret of his reclusiveness.
What he didn’t know was that he was walking straight into a trap and that his neighbor was a dangerous psychopath. As Nicky solved various puzzles to escape the house, the neighbor was hot on his trail. Years later, he returns, driven by childhood trauma, to figure out the truth behind his former neighbor’s odd behavior. Nicky’s ordeal at the man’s house and his inability to move on from the traumatic experience more than guarantee him a place on our list of the unluckiest game characters.
Gromit - Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo
|Initial release date:||2003|
Wallace and Gromit are a pair of popular characters created by Aardman Studios. The adventures of a wacky scientist and his loyal, no-nonsense dog had become cinematic hits, big enough to warrant a dedicated video game.
Thus Wallace and Gromit in Project Zoo came to be. The game puts the player in control of Gromit, who has to rescue his careless master once again. As the pair goes to visit the local zoo to see the baby polar bear they’ve adopted, they find the place closed.After infiltrating the zoo, they realize it’s been taken over by their old adversary – Feathers McGraw, who plans to exploit the animals to turn the zoo into a diamond mine.
As the player controls Gromit throughout the game, they can get a glimpse into a life of a dog with quite an irresponsible owner. For all his virtues, Wallace is careless, gullible, and in constant need of a rescue. Having such an owner would drive any pup nuts. But, despite his unlucky position, Gromit shows loyalty only a loving pet could be capable of and rushes to his master’s side whenever needed, using Wallace’s wacky contraptions to clear the way of any obstacles.
The Carmines - Gears of War franchise
|Initial release date:||2006|
If you’ve ever watched anything Star Trek-related, then you are familiar with the concept of a “redshirt.” To those who are not, here’s a brief rundown – redshirts were basically cannon fodder in the older installments of the Star Trek franchise.
The crewmembers wearing red shirts often fell victim to whatever enemy the crew of the Enterprise was facing. Later on, the term became fandom slang for an unimportant character, a cinematic version of an NPC. In Gears of War, redshirts were replaced by the Carmine brothers, the most unlucky characters of the franchise.
The Carmines were loyal friends and brothers in arms to Marcus and Dom, the series’s protagonists. They were also very prone to getting killed in all but two installments of the series. Anthony, Benjamin, and Gary gave their lives fighting against the Locust. Their sacrifice will be remembered by millions of players who enjoyed the GoW series and laughed at the hilarity of each brother biting the dust in subsequent games.
Lara Croft - Tomb Raider (2013)
|Initial release date:||1996|
Everybody remembers Lara Croft. The brave lady archaeologist ruled the imaginations of the players throughout the late 90s-early 00s. But after a few hiccups and a semi-successful restart, it was time that Lady Croft became someone else.
Instead of being an ace-ace-of-all-trades, 2013’s Lara is a greenhorn thrown into a situation way above her paygrade. Lara’s adventure on Yamatai was cursed from the start, not only thanks to the mysterious forces ruling the island. The bad luck started with Lady Croft’s ship crashing, her being kidnapped by hostile natives, and receiving a horrible, gashing wound in an attempt to escape.
And things only went worse from there. Accused of recklessly leading her crew into danger, betrayed by the fame-hungry scientist, and having her friend kidnapped by the leader of a merciless cult – all that and more happened to Lara Croft on one of her most unlucky ventures, one that would shape her to become the Tomb Raider we know and love in the future (past?) installments.
Max Payne - Max Payne 3
|Initial release date:||2001|
Max Payne’s life wasn’t easy – he saw his family killed, lost his job as an NYPD homicide detective, went on a bloody crusade against a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical company, and finally killed the son of a mob boss, thus becoming a target for every scumbag and bounty hunter on the East Coast.
No wonder he needed a vacation, and when an old friend from the police academy offered him a security detail job in Rio de Janeiro, Max was more than happy to accept. What he didn’t know was that bad luck would follow him across the border, putting in danger anyone who came in contact with him. The plot of Max Payne 3 sees the protagonist dig himself deeper and deeper into trouble.
First, his boss’s wife is kidnapped by a street gang, then the boss and his brother are killed, and so is the wife. At the same time, Max finds himself at odds with a mercenary crew and an elite police force, heavily funded by a corrupt politician (who also happens to be the other brother of Max’s late boss).
Under such circumstances, any sane person would run with their tails between their legs. But the thing about Max is that he’s not quite sane, with his collapsing mind kept together only by painkillers and liters of booze. A man such as Max will not run, not until he’s fought up with the ones who wronged him and put a solid dose of lead in their heads.
Pirates of Libertalia - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
|Initial release date:||2016|
The pirate colonists of an island of the coast of Madagascar don’t appear in the game proper. Their presence, however, is seen in various installations and buildings Nathan Drake will explore in search of the legendary pirate treasure.
The lore we learn about those who believed in the pirate utopia offered by the most degenerate captains of their age paints the picture of truly unlucky idealists who believed the words of madmen and liars.
According to the game’s lore, the founders of Libertalia stole all the gold and treasure from those who sought refuge in “the pirate utopia.” After the colonist found out about their founders’ trickery, they staged a revolution in which most of the wronged colonists had perished. With no one to question their authority, the founders turned against each other, ultimately being killed in one poisonous swoop by Captain Henry Avery – the one who offered them the paradise built on lies, meant only to acquire him more fortune.
Nathan Drake - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
|Initial release date:||2007|
Another character who suffers misfortune throughout the course of the fourth installment of the Uncharted franchise is Nathan Drake. Having put his treasure hunting days behind him, Drake tries to enjoy the mundane life with his wife, Elena.
But when one last adventure shows up at his door, in the form of his believed-to-be-dead brother Sam, Nathan abandons the comforts of the family life and throws himself back into the world of danger. While the first installment of the series was called “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune,” this one might as well bed dubbed “Drake’s Misfortune.”
On his quest to find a legendary pirate colony and save his brother from the debt he owes to a ruthless drug lord, Nathan will have lied to his wife and messed with a PMCs hired by his rival for the treasure, only to find out that the circumstances were not as dire as Sam presented them. And while in the end everything works out fine – Nate makes peace with his wife, saves his brother, and defeats the villain – all the trouble he’ll have to go through to achieve that makes him really, really unlucky.
Miles Morales - Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
|Initial release date:||2020|
Being a teenager isn’t easy. Being a teenager and a Spider-Man is even harder. Miles Morales knows something about it. On top of his everyday duties, like doing his homework or helping out his mom, he works with Peter Parker to keep New York City safe.
When Peter announces that he’s leaving New York for a couple of months, Miles is left with the difficult task of being the one and only Spider-Man. With two new rival groups fighting each other on the streets and putting innocent people in danger, Miles will have his work cut out for him.Miles’s unluckiness comes in all shapes and forms, suitable for the game full of superheroic action and teenage drama.
As the new Spider-Man, Miles has huge shoes to fill, and his lack of experience makes him an easy target for those who see Spider-Man as a menace. On top of that, he has to fight not one but two rival organizations – power-hungry Roxxon Corporation and the Underground, a technologically advanced street gang. And when Phin, Miles’s best friend/girlfriend, turns out to be the leader of the Underground, the bad luck meter of our new Spider-Man hits the roof. Give that kid a break, will ya!
Mario - Super Mario Bros.
|Initial release date:||1985|
You probably know this feeling: you open your fridge, expecting to find a tasty treat waiting for you there, only to realize someone already ate it. This is what Mario, the protagonist of Super Mario Bros., goes through on a daily basis.
Time and time again, he races to reach the castle, in which Princess Peach is being kept at only to be told the famous line: “Thank You, Mario! But Our Princess is in another castle!”. Mario’s bad luck stems from his infatuation with Princess Peach, the ruler of Mushroom Land. When evil Bowser kidnaps the princess to force her into marriage, Mario doesn’t hesitate and races to the rescue.
Often quite literally, because the game times your progress through the level. After fighting hordes of enemies and avoiding obstacles standing in his way to the castle, he’s told by Toad that the Princess was never there, thus beginning another level of running and jumping. Seriously, at some point, Mario should’ve realized that maybe, just maybe, she’s not worth getting eaten time and time again by carnivorous plants. On the other hand, what wouldn’t we do for the love of our life?
Fame and (mis)fortune
As you can see from our list, there are plenty of characters in video games that could go up for the title of the Bad Luck Brian of the industry. Whether it’s the Carmine family, who keep losing their sons in the war with the Locust, or Mario, obsessively pursuing Princess Peach, who is somehow always in “another castle”.
The decision of who is the most unlucky Bad Luck Brian of our list we’ll live to you, dear readers. After all, there is nothing people like more than commenting on other’s misfortune and arguing how much worse their luck has been.