10 Best New Video Game Characters Of 2017

Are these characters set to join the pantheon of greats?

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There are really only two types of video game character: Good and bad.

Developers only ever seem capable of rendering either truly great characters, who feel so lifelike it's as if they're real people, or really bad ones, who move and act and talk in ways that mean the illusion of the game comes crashing down. Compare the characters of Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us, for example, to the stilted nightmare that was Sara Ryder from Mass Effect: Andromeda. There's a big difference.

Every year, as new games are released, we're treated to a host of never before seen characters, most of whom will disappear from our memory banks the minute the game's over - not because they were particularly bad, but because they were forgettable, or inferior to other aspects. Resident Evil 7 was great, to cite a recent game, but its lead protagonist, Ethan, was nothing to write home about.

Sometimes, though, a new character can feel like a huge revelation: an original creation with a real personality, brilliant voice acting, genuine charisma, and the built-in ability to elicit a genuine response in you, the player. Sometimes it doesn't even take all that: a truly original design can burn a character into your retinas forever.

2017 had its fair share of terrible and mediocre characters, but it also gifted us with some super memorable ones, too: here are the year's 10 most unforgettable...

10. Cappy (Super Mario Odyssey)

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Super Mario Odyssey is without a doubt one of the most delightful games ever made by a group of human beings sitting in an office in Japan. Not only has it made the Nintendo Switch a must-buy console (now that you can buy both Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Fire), it redefined platforming for a new generation of players. Basically, it's the Super Mario 64 of 2017.

One of the biggest parts of what makes Odyssey so great, of course, is the implementation of new character Cappy, who is essentially a hat with eyes. You're probably think, "Jesus, Nintendo are really running low on ideas, a talking hat?" but you'd be totally wrong about that: Cappy is certified adorable.

Somehow, this loveable item of headwear manages to remain charming despite the fact he only ever speaks to you via text boxes and a few cutesy sound effects.

Cappy could have felt lame, but given he's such an integral part of the game, in the sense that you rely on him constantly to do everything, you, the player, can't help but care about this guy - especially since, like Mario, he's out on a quest to find his own long lost companion (his sister, a tiara named, uh, "Tiara").

Here's hoping that Odyssey doesn't mark the last time we get to see Cappy in action. He feels so integral to the Mario universe now, after all.


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.