Whether it’s Arthas in Warcraft 3 and then WoW or Viego in League of Legends or other older characters like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, characters with big swords and white hair are very common in video games. If one thinks that the main goal is above all visual, because white hair allows for a very interesting contrast with dark clothes, then in fact it happens that these characters have a common inspiration, which does not stop with their physical appearance.
If the physical similarity between Arthas and Viego is obvious, it’s far from being the only common point connecting the heroes. First of all, they are both kings of their kingdoms, whether it be Lordaron for Artas or the King of Vigo, which is not named because he disappeared for more than a thousand years. The actions of the two rulers will then cause their kingdom to fall, before it becomes a threat to their entire planet, for completely different purposes. Arthas loses himself in search of a way to protect his people and is possessed by Frostmourne, while Viego wants above all to bring the woman he loves back to life. Although the goals of the two characters are different here, they are both at different times in their history, spurring their inspiration.
Now is the time to introduce you to Elric de Melniboné. The latter is a pillar of fiction, and although he is less well known than Conan or the characters in The Lord of the Rings, his influence is just as important in the genre as the works mentioned. It was also presented as the Anti-Conan par excellence. Unlike the Cimmerian, Elric owns everything from the very beginning of his story. He is the emperor of his people, the trainer of dragons, and the best magician in his world. Only Elric is a last-class albino and is very fragile. Without the many drugs that he and/or the drugs of the alchemists had created, it would be impossible for him to move. Unlike Conan who seeks to pursue his destiny to become king, relying on his physical strength, Elric seeks him to escape from them as he searches for a way to stop relying on drugs or his cursed sword Stormbringer that provides him with strength through the exchange of souls.
Elric will end up destroying his empire, destroying his city to save the woman he loves (who is also his cousin, the Elric dynasty is presented as too decadent) who is being held hostage by his jealous cousin. Here the similarity with the Viego is quite obvious. In the following events, Elric will kill his cousin because Stormbringer (his sword) is in possession of him. This is the huge point he has in common with Arthas, whose father was murdered by order of Frostmourne. Although we present him here as the character who inspired many other heroes, Elric was also influenced by works that preceded him, especially in the Shakespearean books where we can find characters with characters very close to Prince Albino. However, the character who influenced him the most is Zenith the Albino, one of the main antagonists of the Sexton Blake series of novels, which tells the adventures of the detective of the same name. Besides the physical aspect, the two characters also share some similarities in personality.
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While the main similarities between Arthas, Viego, and Elric are obvious, those linking him to Sephiroth are more subtle. Some of them are visible from the beginning of the characters, as they both received an education aimed at making them someone they didn’t necessarily want to become (Emperor of Elric, elite soldier of Sephiroth). Moreover, the two characters are indirectly responsible for the death of their mother who goes from life to death at the time of birth. Finally, the two heroes are not human: Elric is a Melnibonéan (a race of the Moorcook universe, which can be vaguely compared to the Dark Elves of Warhammer for their appearance and habits) while Sephiroth has extraterrestrial cells and is the fruit of unhealthy experiences. But their biggest common point is elsewhere, so we might as well warn you that the next paragraph is going to be a death spoiler (yes, because the plot about his empire is only a prelude to Elric’s saga, so the spoilers were minor).
Sephiroth and Elric try in vain to escape their fate, only to eventually realize that they have always been manipulated by higher entities. Even their ultimate goals are very similar, as both have the ultimate goal of destroying their original world in order for a new world to emerge. The treatment is different, of course, because if the player’s goal in Final Fantasy is to take on Sephiroth, the reader on the other hand is led to support Elric’s goal and actions (having their worlds not really the same at the time of their destruction, the context is very different). A little icing on the cake, Sephiroth and Elric are both female killers, whether it’s Aerith for Sephiroth or Cymoril and then Zarozinia for Elric.
Although Elric and Sephiroth share many commonalities, no formal connection has been made between them by the creators of Final Fantasy VII, who never cited him as an inspiration. However, as mentioned in this article, there are too many similarities between the characters’ appearance, stories, and motivations that they shouldn’t spark their curiosity. The unconscious influence has been forgotten because for the Japanese audience too ambiguous may be less focused on Western literature, or simple coincidences, everyone is free to make up their own opinion.
This passage was also a real headache, in order to decide if it was appropriate to mention it because the two characters were not officially linked at all unlike Arthas whose developers admitted that they were partially inspired by Elric (as well as the actions of the Spanish powers during the discovery of the American continent, another point in common with Viego which also has Hispanic inspiration). However, the similarities between the two characters (Elric and Sephiroth) are too important to ignore. For example, we didn’t quote Dante from the Devil May Cry series, because despite the physical similarities (white hair, black sword), the two characters have nothing in common in their stories, characters, and goals.
Today, Elric is present in novels and comics but also in comic strips. There is also a role-playing game, which takes place in the Young Kingdoms, the world of the albino wizard. Perhaps one day, she will finally have the right to edit her video game, even if it seems difficult at the moment. Note that this difficulty is not technical but rather lies more in the narrative. Elric is above all the story of a person who is desperately trying to escape his fate, but in the end he has almost no control over his life. To respect this atmosphere, we will need a game in which the actions of the players have almost no effect, while the latter will do everything to deviate from the game’s story. This is not at all in line with current video game standards, explained in part by the absence of albinism in this medium.
Over the years, Riot Games members have become masters in the art of thrills. Just, there’s a lot of sarcasm about League of Legends, and it’s a good idea to make an explanation sometimes. This is what Reav3 did about Bel’Veth.