To celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, Game Rant takes a look back at some of the gaming industry’s best Irish characters of all time.
Now that St. Patrick’s Day is upon is, it seems like everyone is ‘Irish For A Day’, as overpriced t-shirts seem to enjoy declaring. With all the focus on the Irish today, we thought we’d spend a little time reflecting on some of the gaming industry’s most prominent Irishmen.
These characters have a special place in our hearts (and hard drives), and we’d like to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by shining a light on some of the best Irish game characters from the last several years.
Patrick McReary (Grand Theft Auto 4)
One of Grand Theft Auto 4’s more memorable characters (who doesn’t perpetually ask you to go bowling), Packie is the youngest of the McReary crime family. Niko is introduced to him when assigned as protection for a cocaine deal that goes south, and the fighting Irishman grows closer to Niko after being impressed with his skillset.
Packie is one hell of a gunman, and basically exudes loyalty to those he befriends. He also brings gamers one of the best robbery missions of all time (Three Leaf Clover), which is one of the most difficult missions of the entire game.
Packie may have been given the classic Rockstar stereotype treatment (though perhaps not so far as Red Dead Redemption’s Irish, who is literally just a drunk old man named after an entire Country), but something about the energetic Irishman made him an instant fan favorite. He also appeared in both The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, and is even an employable heist character in Grand Theft Auto 5.
Frank Bilders (Far Cry 2)
Bilders hails from Northern Ireland, but we’re going to include him all the same. He was raised in an IRA family, grew up smuggling arms through the Republic of Ireland, and was known to break a few kneecaps and let bullets do the talking as he progressed through the ranks.
In short, Bilders could have been a Sons of Anarchy character, but the brutal enforcer plies his trade in Far Cry 2 instead. He’s one of the game’s many playable characters, and certainly isn’t someone we would like to be enemies with.
After serving time in prison, where rumors stipulate that Bilders continued his work for the IRA and was involved in the murder of several loyalists, Bilders was offered amnesty in exchange for services getting the dirt on ‘more dangerous’ prison inmates. He flew the coop straight out of Ireland for good, where he continued a career of drugs, intimidation, and in general being one of the gaming industry’s most underrated enforcers.
Shay Cormac (Assassin’s Creed Rogue)
Born to Irish immigrants in New York, Shay grew up to be a Colonial Rite of the Templar Order and the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Rogue. Shay had a rough childhood, but living in a rough part of town allowed him to hone his swordsmanship and fighting abilities. This led to employment with the Assassins, but a morale dilemma eventually leads the Irish assassin to renounce his loyalty to them, having refused to follow orders from a group who would shrug off the mass death of innocent lives.
This theme recurs again throughout the game, and Shay’s actions exemplify what makes him so much of a badass: he has the skills to do anything he wants and be a top-tier killer, but he chooses to fight for the innocent people who can’t defend themselves.
Rogue may not have been the greatest Assassin’s Creed title, but it certainly gave us one of the best Irish-American characters to date. He’s the Batman of Assassin’s Creed, except he misread the part about not killing.
Okay, okay, we know! Atlas the character is an Irishman, but it’s all an act. Now, would you kindly let us continue? Atlas is one the most well-written characters of all time, and his twist-ending storyline led to BioShock becoming one of the gaming industry’s biggest successes.
Atlas is a revolutionary figure in the underwater colony of Rapture, and was able to build a resistance of disillusioned citizens and rally a force against Andrew Ryan. Atlas is a working class Irishman with a Dubliner accent, and he chimes in on the short wave radio as the player’s guide. Atlas is a figure shrouded in mystery, and astute players may notice subtle hints about him strewn around Rapture as they progress through the game.
Eventually, it is revealed that Atlas was actually Frank Fontaine the entire time, and everything from Atlas’s wife and kids to the Irish accent were a hoax. Perhaps the most truly Irish thing about Atlas is that he is so convincing. With a BioShock Collection rumored to be in the works, gamers may be able to relive Atlas’s deceit soon enough.
He may have been a lie, but we’re counting the character of Atlas on the list – he’s too good of a character not to acknowledge.
Sean Devlin (The Saboteur)
The ultimate freedom fighter incarnate, Sean Devlin is a man of the people. The Saboteur is an underrated game, and was the swan song of the now defunct Pandemic Studios. Sean Devlin was a simple mechanic before the Nazi invasion of France, where he happened to be situated as the invasion unfolded. The personable Irishman was eventually drafted into resistance forces, where his talent for sabotage made him a force to be reckoned with.
Though Sean was reluctant to join the resistance, it’s remarkable how embedded the Irishman gets in aiding a country which isn’t his homeland to begin with. The stalwart Irishman is good in a fight, great with explosives, and has the added benefit of being a pretty suave ladies man, too. He may not look like the most dangerous Irishman out there, but we’d like to see anyone else single-handedly lead the resistance of Nazi-occupied France.
That’s our list of the top 5 Irish videogame characters (honorable mentions go to Nina Williams from Tekken and Jack O’Hara from Commandos)! Let us know if you agree with the list – we’d love to hear some more Irish video game characters get some recognition.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone!