EverydayPatrick To this day, Eggman has stayed as my favorite gaming villain. I collect all of his plushies.
This is adorable.
My favorite big bad in a video game, concept-wise, is probably Bilan from Dark Savior.
First, his name is Bilan ビラン, and that is probably meant to be a phonetic adaptation of the French word « vilain » which means… The bad guy! Or the villain, you dirty word-stealers with no proper idea or care how you’re supposed to pronounce them. So that’s pretty cool and straightforward. Unfortunately « Bilan » means balance sheet instead so uh that did not work out so well.
Now, I am sure many of you here know the premise of Dark Savior already, but the reason Bilan is remarkable is not its design or backstory or even its fight, but rather how differently Bilan impacts the story and player experience depending on what happens in the first few minutes of the game.
The beginning acts both as a tutorial and a time trial, spent on a boat on its way to a remote penitentiary island. Bilan, which storywise the hero has already captured (which is a rather uncommon in media res plot device in a video game) escapes from their cell and, depending on your actions, you will either:
• Arrive too late to save the captain and let Bilan escape to the nearby island.
• Arrive just in the nick of time and kill Bilan as it was about to murder the captain of the ship, hence leading to a different story with a different bad guy.
• Arrive just in the nick of time and… Get killed by Bilan, leading to a joke parallel scenario.
• Arrive before Bilan, save the captain and some of the crew, shut yourselves in and let it escape, leading to yet another parallel scenario.
I find it both so clever and so elegant to transform the opening tutorial into a completely different level once you approach it from the perspective of a speedrun because you have learnt to master the game, and to make your accrued skill determine a different story that will still re-use many locations and characters but change whether they become your enemies or your friends depending on how Bilan derailed their own plans or impacted their lives (and deaths).
Bilan can either be your worst nightmare or a mere afterthought, or a balance sheet I guess, but rather than making it an ominous presence lurking over your shoulder until the very end and the culmination of a grueling odyssey with a memorable final boss fight, it is most impactful as your very first challenge and enemy encounter, based on how differently you approach it from your accumulated experience with the game.