They’re gruff, tough, and they’ll blow your house up. These seven tough guys in video games endear players with their grumpy and cantankerous attitudes while still managing to charm us with their sense of humor. Though many characters like the Master Chief and Agent 47 are emotionally-reluctant protagonists, their silent nature lacks clear sympathetic qualities, thus omitting themselves from this list. They may be blunt in their delivery, but one way or another these hardened lone-wolves remain relatable.
Spoiler alert, and warning about colorful language used in the videos to come.
1. Canderous Ordo (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
After defeat in the Mandalorian war against the Republic, Canderous Ordo became a mercenary for hire on the planet Taris. Looking for some sort of redemption or a calling to quell his honorless meanderings throughout the galaxy, Ordo teams up with the protagonist to defeat Darth Malak. Along the way he’ll antagonize and pick apart the people you try to help as well as the other companions accompanying you on your quest to save the galaxy from the tyrannical Sith. Canderous can be seen here flustering the often uptight Bastilla Shan, a snobby but tolerable Jedi, all for the delight of the player.
Badass quote: “We Mandalorians have a saying. A warrior who doesn’t hope for battle has no hope during battle.”
2. Zaeed Massani (Mass Effect)
That gravely cigar-soaked voice is that of none other than the late Robin Sachs. Though Zaeed isn’t an attractive companion for all players, his blunt sensibility and general badassery is enough to attract anyone looking for a buddy that’s, well, not willing to openly accept that you’re buddies. Zaeed is the kind of guy whose temper is always bubbling at about 98%, just barely keeping everything from boiling over, and when it does, even if over a crane-game, things get real, fast. Like he says in the video, he’s an “all-in kind of guy,” making him an excellent companion for taking on mercs, aliens, and the Reapers at large. Just don’t invite him to any dinner parties, otherwise, as you Citadel DLC veterans know, he’ll be rigging your apartment with explosives, just in case.
Badass quote: “Rage is a hell of an anesthetic.”
3. Sergeant Avery Johnson (Halo)
Sgt. Avery Johnson: smack-talking extraordinaire. His gruff tenacity is matched only by his sense of humor. Johnson is a clear fan favorite and deservedly so, since every scene where he’s present no doubt includes his signature antagonistic wit. The sergeant is by no means a pushover though, having been a part of the Spartan-I program preceding the iconic Master Chief’s Spartan-II upbringing, Johnson loves guns as big as his words.
Badass quote: “Men, here is where we show those split-chin, squid-head, sons of bitches that they could not have picked a worse enemy than the human race. We are going to blow the hell out of those dumb bugs until we don’t have anything left to shoot ‘em with! And then, we are going to strangle them with their own living guts! Am I right, Marines?”
4. Brucie Kibbutz (GTA IV)
It’s not that Brucie is necessarily a tough guy, but more accurately that he’s trying to be one. His bull shark testosterone “supplements” help fuel his amped up diatribes about womanizing and fitness. This fan-made music video does great justice to his character overall, highlighting his pimpin’ fly boy style that’s ultimately a shaky facade for his homosexual tendencies. It’s OK, Brucie, we love you just the way you are: swoll and crazed. Now hit me, come on!
Badass quote: “Stay alpha, bro.”
5. Captain John Price (Call of Duty)
Captain Price might not have the comedic flair many of the entries on this list possess, but how outwardly funny are you going to be if you’re the human version of the Terminator like he is? Price has participated in so many wars and conflicts dating all the way back to the World Wars, that you half expect him to be mentioned in actual real documentaries, fighting Nazis or the Viet Cong. Price means business, and it’s no wonder Call of Duty players recognize and love him so much. The man has probably killed more people than the total casualties of entire wars.
Badass quote: “History is written by the victor…’cause all you need to change the world is one good lie and a river of blood.”
6. Trevor Philips (GTA V)
Obviously, Trevor’s the craziest among the group, but the fitness fanatic Mary-Ann seems like a match made in h … ell. If he’s not trafficking drugs, robbing banks, or waking up on rooftops in a drunken stupor, he’ll be spewing out tirades about pretty much every aspect of society and life. Regardless of his exploits and lack of hygiene, Trevor’s actually a reliable guy when it comes to the professional execution of crimes. He’s ironically more consistent in getting jobs done without hiccups than the other two more sane protagonists Michael and Franklin. As nutty as he is, he’s often the mastermind behind it all. His moral bankruptcy in no way represents his financial stability, and in that way, he functions a lot like The Joker from Batman. Insane but productive.
Badass quote: “I am diversification personified… or personification diversified.”
7. Augustus Cole (Gears of War)
Before the war with the Locust Horde, “Cole Train” was slammin’ fools in Thrashball and assuredly throwing some weights around because his arms are like most men’s thighs — if most men were champion body builders. A consummate soldier as much as he is an athlete, Cole spends a lot of time sawing enemies in half with his Lancer chainsaw and spouting out Ric Flair inspired quips. Cole Train’s flamboyant nature makes it no mystery why fans love him so much.
Badass quote: “WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”