GOTY 2016: Best Character

This year we've brought back our category awards to recognize achievements in specific areas of game development. There are ten awards in all, with two new ones being awarded every day this week. Keep checking back for more winners!

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Best Character: Prompto Argentum, Final Fantasy XV

Square Enix | November 29, 2016 | PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Runners-up: Dorothy, VA-11 HALL-A; Uncle Death, Let It Die

While the Final Fantasy series has had some quite memorable characters throughout its history, few would be considered to be believable. It’s rather remarkable, then, that Final Fantasy XV managed to create four young men who wouldn’t feel all that out-of-place in the real world. But out of all of them, Prompto stands out with the most personality. 

The best characters are defined by their weaknesses, not their strengths. Prompto is an insecure person who overcompensates with jokes and walks that line between charming and obnoxious. He’s the smallest of the four and the least capable. Whereas Gladio and Ignis have clearly defined roles as guardian and mentor, Prompto is the friend, and Noctis dearly needs a friend on the journey to provide perspective and keep him centered. Gladio and Ignis serve; Prompto supports.

Prompto is also narratively responsible for one of the more endearing mechanics in the game. His skill is photography and will take candid shots (and later selfies) during the adventure that are viewable when the party rests. These shots are taken when exploring, fighting or at pit stops. It’s really a remarkable bit of programming that the shots can be exciting and well done but also look off enough to seem like they were actually taken by a human and not an AI.

When it comes to believable characters in games, the devil is in the details — and Final Fantasy is full of details, some fascinating, some mundane. While the rest of the story and characters aside from the four heroes lacks the same amount of depth, the amount of personal characterization they see is something I would very much like to see given in future RPGs and video games as a medium.  — Tyler Martin