Oof, there’s a lot of good characters this year, I find it hard to settle on any of them.
After some thought I’ll cast my vote for Pascal from Nier: Automata.
Pascal is a beam of light in the dismal conflict driven world of Nier:A, he’s a kind leader of a sanctuary of robots disconnected from the network, a pacifist, and just a really lovable character.
He’s probably the most unique and emotionally resonant character in the game and he’s got an interesting and tragic arc that I really appreciated. (spoilers below)
While arguably idealist to a fault, he’ll shepherd his flock away from conflict, choosing not to interact with the horrors of this world at large. Eventually his sanctuary is found by the virus infected machines, and with no way of defending themselves they flee to the oil plant.
Pascal has to tear himself away from his pacifistic values to defend his children from hordes of invading machines (by using a giant goliath mech, btw). Turns out before this went down, Pascal had been teaching his robot children about emotions from philosophy books, as a sort of passing of knowledge in case he passed on too, I suppose, and finds them having committed suicide in their despair.
Pascal is heartbroken, unable to contend with his deep loss he asks you to erase his memories.
It’s a tragic arc, one I found deeply affecting, and few video games this year have left me in more of an emotional mess.
Aloy - Horizon: Zero Dawn
Wyatt - Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Sigrund - Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Goro Majima - Yakuza 0
Kass - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Pig - Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus