Often, in video games, it is the antagonistic forces that players often remember more vividly than the heroes. Having a great organization or character to face off against that feels opposed to the main characters deepens the player's connection to the world and its characters. This is great, as it allows more perspectives to be presented in the game. But antagonists also typically come equipped with a cool factor or interesting character quality that makes them stand out. That said, here are the Best Video Game Antagonists of 2023.
For the first entry on our list of the best video game antagonists of 2023, we have Geppetto. Lies of P, for those unaware, is a Souls-like total that has its narrative shaped around the Pinocchio fairytale. Sticking much more closely to the tale's dark roots, this game is not for the faint of heart. In the game, players are cast in the role of Geppetto's favorite “son” as they attempt to battle the puppets gone rogue around the world. Throughout their journey, players will encounter fierce bosses. All with a healthy dose of creepy atmosphere as they traverse the game's world.
Through this journey, players will quickly start to notice something amiss with Geppetto's story and how it relates to the player's character. Meanwhile, the puppet-maker's intentions of reviving his son can be somewhat understood. It is what he does in pursuit of this goal that makes him a fantastic antagonist. This does a great job of slowly leading the player to a conclusion that leads to a number of choices for the player to make. All in all, Geppetto is a great antagonist for his respective story and one of the best video game antagonists of 2023.
For our next entry on our list of the best video game antagonists of 2023. Here we have Celestia from Genshin Impact. As many Genshin Impact fans know, Celestia's motivations and actions have continuously aired more on the side of evil. Serving as the primary motivator for the player to traverse Teyvat in the first place in search of their sibling, there is much reason to dislike Celestia. The most recent motivator for opposing Celestia is their treatment of the recently explored Hydro Nation of Fontaine.
For those unaware, Celestia is solely responsible for the dissolving of Fontaine's people, and it is up to the Traveler to stop them. As is the case with many of Genshin Impact‘s villains or antagonists, Celestia is wickedly powerful. This can be seen in the fact that they have been responsible for the eradication of several significant civilizations. With a reach of this magnitude, it should come as no surprise that they have held onto power for so long. In short, Celestia is undoubtedly one of the best video game antagonists of 2023.
3. Kraven the Hunter
We are following up on our last entry with another phenomenal antagonist. For fans of the lore of Spider-Man, the inclusion of Kraven the Hunter in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is fantastic. First, he is one of the more prominent and well-liked villains within the webslingers rogue gallery, and second, he poses perhaps the most interesting philosophical questions. His quest to find the strongest specimens for battle made him, no doubt, a formidable foe to face up against. The villain's blending of primal philosophies, coupled with modern technology, makes for a great juxtaposition.
In the game, as is the case in the comics, Kraven seeks to have a glorious final battle, ultimately leading to their death. This thirst for actual competition has led Kraven down some dark places. This led him to cut a swathe through almost all of Spider-Man‘s rogue gallery. This is no easy feat, either, as the villains of the Spider-Man universe are compelling in their own way. Although this might have been the player's first interaction with Kraven, he undoubtedly left a strong impression. For these reasons, we consider him to be one of the best video game antagonists of 2023.
We are switching things up for our next entry. Here, we will cover Ultima from the recently released Final Fantasy XVI. In terms of sheer gravitas and presence on screen, Ultima is a fantastic antagonist. With Ultima serving as both the final boss and main antagonist of such a bombastic game, there was a lot of potential to live up to. Luckily for players, Ultima not only stole the show when on screen but also caused fights with them to punctuate many of the main events of the game. This not only serves to deepen the players' desire to defeat this foe but also gives us more screen time with them.
The player fights Ultima at a number of different points in the game, so players slowly see the progression of Ultima's power, as well as their own. This all culminates in a climactic, bombastic battle with “Ultimalius.” This battle not only manages to capture the cinematic nature of Final Fantasy XVI‘s phenomenal gameplay but is a great challenge as well. All around, in terms of stellar video game antagonists, Ultima stands as one of the best in recent memory.
1. Osmund Saddler
For our final entry on today's list of the best video game antagonists of 2023, here we have Osmund Saddler. In terms of both performance and threat to the game's main character and world, Saddler is certainly impressive. He serves as the primary antagonist opposite Leon Kennedy in Resident Evil 4‘s remake. The leader of the cult depicted in the game Los Illuminados, Saddler, when on screen, has a charisma that has amassed many followers. Through the use of chemical & biological weapons, Saddler has managed to control the populace around him.
Defeating this leading figure within the cult of Los Illuminados is no small feat for sure. Players must progress through almost the entirety of Resident Evil 4 in order to thwart this villain. In doing so, however, they will reach the end of the game. That isn't to say that this encounter is a cakewalk either, far from it. The boss fight between Leon and Saddler is one that has multiple phases, with Saddler taking on multiple forms during the battle. In closing, Osmund Saddler is a fantastic example of what a video game antagonist can be in 2023.
So, what's your take on our picks for the Best Video Game Antagonists of 2023? Do you agree with our picks? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.