The Snubbed List

by Matt Bertz on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM

When you throw 18 editors together and have them campaign for their favorite characters of the decade, not everyone leaves the room happy. Trimming the list to the 30 characters that defined the generation wasn’t easy, and many worthy candidates just missed the cut. Here are 10 characters that Game Informer staffers fought for, but ultimately didn’t make the list.

Altaïr – Assassin’s Creed

Altaïr only starred in the first game of the series, and he was kind of an entitled brat. However, players were just seeing the beginning of Altaïr’s story. In the time between the first and second entries, Altaïr brought the order of Assassins back from the brink of corruption, briefly bridged the gap between his organization and the Templar, and tirelessly searched for the pieces of Eden – research that Ezio just piggybacked on later. Altaïr’s rise to power is no less dramatic and impressive than Ezio’s – it’s just most of his transformation into a peerless master assassin took place off-screen. –Joe Juba

Carl “CJ” Johnson – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

While Niko Bellic is widely acknowledged as the Grand Theft Auto series most nuanced character to date, CJ Johnson from San Andreas set the stage for the ambivalent, troubled GTA IV protagonist. Drawn back to gang-infested San Andreas by the death of his mother, CJ must strike a delicate balance between his loyalties to his family, his old gang, and the corrupt cops that seek to manipulate him. He could have easily been another gangster stereotype, but by the end of San Andreas we see CJ as a flawed, but ultimately good man who did the best he could in the worst of circumstances. – Matt Helgeson

Isaac Clarke – Dead Space

Isaac Clarke is forced through an ordeal that would cripple most space marines. What makes Isaac’s journey through that nightmare so impressive is that he’s not a military grunt with years of combat training, he’s just an engineer trying to survive. Without speaking a word, Isaac gives us a deep glimpse into his tortured psyche. Isaac is a tormented individual in search of his lost love when he encounters the Red Marker, an ancient alien artifact that drives most men mad with hallucinations. Not only does Isaac manage to combat his own battered subconscious, but he ends up saving the universe from the spread of a deadly alien menace. That’s a true definition of hero in my book. –Ben Reeves

Max Payne – Max Payne

Before Rockstar started dabbling with film noir genre with L.A. Noire, the company published another gritty pulp tale starring a former NYPD cop whose life spirals out of control. Not many people could withstand the firestorm of personal torment Max Payne has endured. Over the course of two games, he lost his family to junkies, watched his best friend die, suffered a tarnished reputation, fell in love with a femme fatale assassin, got betrayed by his new partner, and eventually watched his new love interest die in his arms. If you could distill all of Max Payne’s bitterness and anger into a rock, it would be a 500-carat diamond. Max doesn’t have that luxury, so instead he uses his introverted rage to fuel his vigilante sense of justice, dispensing anger in the form of bullets. Dirty Harry would be proud. –Matt Bertz

Raiden – Metal Gear Solid

Raiden underwent a transformation over this decade that was more profound than any other on our list. No one was more hated than this blonde-haired, untested soldier when he yanked Solid Snake from the spotlight in Metal Gear Solid 2.  However, his reappearance in Metal Gear Solid 4 drew more comparisons to the fan favorite cybernetic ninja Grey Fox than the whiny kid with relationship issues from 2001. Gamers would have balked at the idea of a Raiden-only MGS game before his transformation, but we’ve been psyched for Rising ever since we caught a glimpse of his true potential. –Dan Ryckert

Revan – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Whether you walked the light or dark side of the Force, it’s hard to forget Revan. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the looming shadow of his presence hangs over everything, and the Revan-centric twist at the heart of the story shocked the gaming world. Only when we learned that our main character was actually this mysterious figure did the pieces all come together. Journeying through the galaxy with this force-wielding powerhouse, players got an early taste of the morally ambiguous character-driven stories that would define BioWare games in the years to come. For that reason alone, the Force will always be with Revan. –Matt Miller

Sam Fisher – Splinter Cell

Before Splinter Cell first released in 2002, it was easy to assume that Sam Fisher was simply a poor man’s Solid Snake. But the Third Echelon operative quickly won over gamers thanks to his quiet and deadly efficiency, gruff yet sarcastic demeanor, and the willingness to disobey orders that he doesn’t believe in. Though Fisher endured a four-year break after Double Agent, he came back with a bang in Conviction as an older, angrier Jack Bauer type with no one to answer to but himself. Just because he couldn’t do the splits between two walls anymore didn’t mean he was any less dangerous to terrorists and mercenaries the world over. –Bryan Vore

Sackboy – LittleBigPlanet

Sackboy’s everlasting charm and expressive versatility never fails to leave us in stitches. Though he doesn't say a word, Sackboy still has the profound ability to communicate through a wide range of facial expressions and body movements. Inject a bit of Sackboy swagger with the PlayStation 3’s Sixaxis technology and this teeny character can move and groove with the best of them. With the slew of character customization options offered by developer Media Molecule, Sackboy can assume the role of astronaut, stuntman, and more. His adorable look and larger-than-life personality made him an instant PlayStation icon. Not bad for an eight centimeter tall burlap bag. –Annette Gonzalez

Faith Connors – Mirror’s Edge

While Faith’s most distinctive attributes may be her prominent tattoos, she garnered just as much media attention for her vocation-appropriate physique and clothing – a rarity amongst female leads in action titles. Combined with strength, intelligence, and perseverance, Faith’s tough demeanor in a petite package had her running heads and shoulders above the crowd of cookie cutter female leads. We hope to see more of the fiery anti-establishment courier in the coming years. –Meagan Marie

Agent Francis York Morgan – Deadly Premonition

Deadly Premonition is a divisive game – even its most ardent defenders admit that it has issues – but everyone I know who played it agrees that Agent Francis York Morgan is one of the most interesting video game characters of the past few years. York (you can call him that; everybody does) passes long drives by talking to Zach, who may be an imaginary friend. He sees the future in his morning coffee. His methods are bizarre, but his unshakable confidence and his appreciation for small-town charm make him endearing. Like many residents of Greenvale, York keeps a few secrets to himself, and he becomes even more compelling as these mysteries come to light as he works to solve a gruesome murder. –Jeff Cork