Just as video games grow and change, so do their characters. Several gaming personalities have evolved with their franchises, and this is often reflected in their designs. However, it can sometimes work on thin ice.
If developers have a design that works, changing it can easily undermine its appeal. Unfortunately, many popular characters fell victim to it. Artists can add unnecessary details to a clean look, remove what made the original design unique, or start all over again. In the end, however, the public was left with an inferior product. Rather than significant growth, these redesigns are poor imitations. If it is not broke, do not fix it.
8 spyro the dragon
This little lizard is one of the most beloved platforming mascots, and a lot of that is down to its design. It’s pretty cool that Spyro is a dragon. However, he stands out among these mythical creatures while being unmistakably one of them. It sports sleek proportions, an unorthodox color scheme that’s always pleasing to the eye, and a smug cup full of youthful personality. Adding anything to its streamlined design would seem unnecessary.
Reboots are mixed in this respect. Although the Legend of Spyro trilogy maintains the simplistic appeal of the hero, the same cannot be said for Skylanders. This toys-to-life title uses Spyro as a selling point, but the once-proud dragon now looks like a roadkill. The dark colors, wrinkled muzzle, caveman-like forehead and Pac-Man-like mouth are devoid of personality. In a cruel twist of fate, Spyro is now one of the misshapen monsters he used to fight. Because of Skylanders popularity of the series, fans were stuck with this error until the Reignited Trilogy restored the dragon to its former glory.
seven Sly Cooper
This master thief might be a raccoon, but he’s definitely stylized. the original Sly Cooper the trilogy has a comic book aesthetic. His characters are anthropomorphic animals with exaggerated features and low textures. Later attempts pushed the series in a more detailed direction, yielding mixed results. PlayStation Move Heroes copies the original design with more textured fur. Meanwhile, Thieves in time and PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale finding a nice middle ground between realistic and cartoonish.
The proposed film, on the other hand, failed in this balance. In the trailer, Sly has an ill-fitting outfit, dirty fur underneath, and facial features all mixed together, with more animalistic touches like whiskers. These changes make the hero seem slimy rather than suave. It’s just a blessing that this movie never saw the light of day.
6 Dante (Devil May Cry)
This blunder is emblematic of bad redesigns in gaming, since it discards what made the original so special. The smart-mouthed monster slayer changes slightly over the first few the devil may cry titles, but he still sports the red overcoat and flowing silver hair. It’s a little “anime” for some people’s tastes, but that gives it an identity among other action protagonists. Moreover, it is a good indicator of his demonic ancestry.
As such, it’s baffling that these distinctive aspects disappeared on the reboot. DmC: the devil can cry turns Dante into a random guy on the street. He dresses like a slob with a black hoodie and a grungy tank top. Finally, he ditches his silver locks for a black fade that makes him look like a member of a boy band. The developers clearly tried to reach out to kids at the time, but spat in the face of longtime fans. No wonder the next entry goes back to the familiar demonic hero.
5 Dr. Eggman (Sonic The Hedgehog)
An easy target in the Sonic the franchise would be the initial design of the hedgehog in the 2020 film or the maligned aesthetic of Supersonic Detonation, but his sworn enemy was vandalized long before. How fitting that this example is from the lowest point in the series: 2006 sonic the hedgehog.
The mistaken view of this anniversary entry is a more realistic direction, meaning a world populated by photorealistic humans. Eggman is a vile hybrid of this approach and his more exaggerated appearance of yesteryear. He still sports iconic features like an oversized mustache, big belly, flamboyant jacket, and slick undertones. However, these are all held back and rendered with details they shouldn’t have had. As a result, the villain is creepy in a way the developers never intended, similar to a Terminator with an Eggman suit.
4 mega man
Since its inception in 8-bit, Mega Man has been one of the most stylish gaming heroes. His series has gone through many stylings, but he still has the blue power suit with oversized gloves and boots, equipped with a built-in blaster. To top it all off, a lean, youthful appearance with big anime eyes. It should be easy to translate such a character into a crossover, especially one as animated as Street Fighter X Tekken.
Fans were about to have a rude awakening when the cybernetic hero finally emerged. The Mega Man character model here brings back the vomit yellow costume from his original box. He accentuates that revulsion with a middle-aged beer casing and mean mug belonging to a dopey henchman instead of a confident hero. This version is so obviously disrespectful that it looks like a joke. Unfortunately, that’s not the only time the designers let Mega Man down.
3 The Joker
Speaking of fighting games, The Joker has had his share of misfortunes in this genre as well. Batman’s nemesis might not originally be a game character, but his redesigns are no less repulsive. Injustice 2, the DC brawler sequel to NetherRealm, brings back the Clown Prince of Crime for an artificial cameo, but he ditches the classic costume and vest that fans recognize. Instead, he’s shirtless and covered in tattoos. He completes them with a dirty jacket and greasy hair. This Joker looks like Jared Leto’s maligned version of suicide squad crossed with a failed punk rocker.
Unfortunately, NetherRealm isn’t over, as they’re recruiting The Joker again as a guest fighter forMortal Kombat 11. He may have regained his signature outfit, but his rounder frame makes him look like a Halloween costume instead of a twisted supervillain costume. I hope they will succeed Injustice 3.
Another armored action hero from the classic era, Bomberman is hard to hate. He is a small stick figure with no facial features except for his eyes, which are little more than pretty dots. It’s a minimalist design, but that allows him to embody the same innocence as Mario. He cements that impression with his white, pink, and purple outfit. Considering these aspects, you’d think it would be one of the last candidates for a “dark and gritty” reboot.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens to him with Bomberman: Act Zero. This 2006 title gives the hero humanoid proportions and adorns him with imposing armor, complete with chains and an integrated scar on the helmet. He’s basically the poor man’s Doomguy. All trace of innocence is lost. Once again, however, the developers realize their mistake and return the brave protagonist to his previous design for subsequent games.
1 Every character in Captain N
Throughout the 80s and early 90s, the folks at Nintendo were full of themselves. They made countless cash grabs and outsourced their IP addresses to unworthy hands, believing that consumers would buy anything with their brand on it. Nothing exemplifies this state of mind better than Captain N. In this cartoon, a child teams up with iconic characters from the game to save the kingdom, but these characters are totally unrecognizable.
Pit of Child Icarus no longer a high-flying thief with ancient Greek flair; it’s a red-haired Cupid with the frame of a Rugrats dismiss. Mega Man is a pasty jerk with a short stature, sharp eyes, and a chain-smoking voice. CastlevaniaSimon Belmont goes from a medieval warrior with a primitive side to a big-chinned fathead with feathered hair and a mountaineering jacket. Finally, Mother Brain of metroid, rather than a cranial Cyclops, is a wad of bulging-lipped chewing gum. The showrunners removed any appeal behind the characters, making them downright painful to watch. The fact that they thought the fans would accept these abominations is insulting.
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