The Daily Five: Best Mute Heroes

April 18, 2013 | By | 53 Comments

While well-written protagonists are always welcome, more often than not they’re not as compelling as their writers wish they were. They gruffly say something about Bravo Team or Point Bravo or what have you, then we roll our eyes and blow something up. Who cares.

We think that there’s something to be said for the strong and silent type. Sometimes, silence speaks volumes. Sometimes, introductions peter out and we just get on with the list of our favorite silent protagonists in gaming.

Chell (Portal)

The choice between Chell and Half-Life’s Gordan Freeman was surprisingly simple. When you’re playing as Freeman, it’s implied that he had a pretty normal social life before everything went to hell. He’s employed as a scientist, after all; it’d be nearly impossible for him not to interact with people both on and off the clock.

Chell, meanwhile, is pretty much locked up by herself. We don’t know for sure what her origins are, but she has no one to talk to but a psychotic, murderous robot. Having to survive on pure instinct, her ability to constantly foil certain death despite no experience with the outside world is damned impressive.

Yu Narukami (Persona 4)

That’s the name that Persona 4’s protagonist was given in the official anime, but you can name him whatever you want — I went with Walter Danger. Walter (I’m calling him Walter, so deal) is an outsider, like so many others. He’s just living with his uncle for a year in the sleepy town of Inaba, and he has to quickly make friends at a new school.

Walter managed to do this with flying colors. Not only did he become friends with a great group of misfits, but he was also a beacon for them to overcome their personal demons. He was their rock. Most of all, he can kick a shadow’s ass like no one’s business. He’s especially good at that last one.

Red/Ash (Pokemon)

This entry can really be about any of the Pokemon protagonists over the years as they’re all treated more or less the same, but our hearts truly belong to the very first Pokemon Master. Once again, you can call him whatever you wish, but the cartoon went with Ash, so we will too.

In Pokemon Red and Blue, Ash went on a perilous journey through various caves, forests, and several major cities in the Kanto region, all despite being a child. He was able to capture and tame all manner of Pokemon, including imposing creatures that almost any other child would run away from. On top of that, he single-handedly took down a major crime syndicate. What did you do when you were still in elementary school? Not all of that, I bet.

Pages: 1 2

  • Aleks

    Wander doesn’t belong on this list. He calls out to Agro and speaks to the Temple Spirit at decent length (as far as silent games go) at the beginning. Also, although they never are never “voiced”, both Link and Yu communicate openly with other characters in their respective games via (albeit limited and infrequent) dialogue/response option. I guess I’m a bit confused about the criteria of eligibility for this list.

    • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

      A silent Protagonist isnt someone that cant say anything, they talk in the game world but you never hear or see his lines, a silent protagonist is one that doesnt engage in a conversation nor he express his point of view. P4MC only names his Personas and make shouts but he never formulate a line unless the player does so.

      An unvoiced protagonist isnt as SP because he still has a definitve personality and point of view.

      The best way to describe them is that if the character doesnt have a text box then it is a Silent Protagonist.

      • Sam

        This isn’t “silent” protagonists it’s the Top 5 MUTE Heros/Protagonists. Mutes don’t talk in any way shape or form including audible voices and text.

        • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

          But voiceless characters do talk. If you cant hear them doesnt mean they dont speak, they interact with other characters. A mute Hero would be Cain from Drakengard that he cant speak no matter what, or in this case Chell as well.

          Yu Narukami can talk, you select his dialogue options and you can see him talking with characters in the for of “You were talking with X person”.

          What we have here is a misinterpretation of the archetype of Silent Protagonist, by the definition of a mute only Chell qualifies in this list.

    • Mew Mew

      Silent protagonists say little if anything, except for the various preset responses to conversations. Like Vahn from Legend of Legaia. He never gets any real lines in the game. He only “speaks” when you pick an answer from a few given choices in response to a question or comment by someone else. It’s implied that he speaks to everyone he meets, but you never actually see the dialogue. This is generally what is meant by “silent” in games. A character with no extensive dialogue, and therefore little to no preset personality. You can decide their personality for yourself as you play.

  • insp

    What about the unnamed protagonist played in Grand Theft Auto 3??

    • Your Mother

      Exactly wat I was gonna say, they named
      him Claude though!

    • jon

      didnt you play GTA S.A.?

  • James Tracy

    You totally missed slippy toad. Horrible list

    • Dogosse_Giar


  • Gabriel Quant

    Snake Eyes?

  • Orosa

    Where on earth is Gordan Freeman im pretty sure he wouldave been number 1

  • flippedtee

    Crono from chronotrigger!

    • KetakuShai

      Crono wasn’t a mute. There were hidden side notes of him speaking.

      • mattwo

        Well by that logic every persona protagonist and Chell don’t count.

        Chell’s not a mute and Persona implies the protagonists do in fact talk.

  • MrSpoiler15

    Nope. Mute heroes are stupid.

  • Eddy

    Just one thing , Ash and Red wasn´t the same person, just find it , red is a pokemon master in the original manga , and ash is the protagonist of the tv show, and never was a pokemon master he´s just another common trainer

    • Mew Mew

      Red is Ash. They make that pretty clear. Just as Blue is Gary. The only reason Ash isn’t a Pokemon Master in the show is because they want to keep milking that show for all they can get from it, and people probably wouldn’t like it if they suddenly got rid of him and Pikachu and replaced them with some random new person and Pokemon.

      • Mark Merriman

        Ash is the failure of a trainer anime counterpart of Red.
        Red is a battle genius and Ash just won’t die

        • Bob Motec

          Read Manga 1 while watching the 2002 Pokemon series episode 1

      • Lord Julius

        Red and Ash are completely different. Ash is only Red’s counterpart, but that doesn’t mean he’s him.

      • Sam

        Red and Ash are two completely different people

    • Your Mother

      What about Blue?

      • “NoShit” face

        Nobody knows for sure but I’d like to think that she turned into the deranged and out of sorts Team Rocket trio, Jessie, James, and meowth.

    • “NoShit” face

      There was an original Pokemon show aired in Japan that had most, if not all, the elements that the manga has. Only problem was, it was WAY too violent and had actual guns used by Team Rocket. There was this one episode that gave whoever watched it (mostly kids) seizures so they had to cancel it. I myself saw a few episodes and let me tell you, it was WAY better than the Pokemon now.

  • Yamaneko22

    No Suikoden hero? :(

    • Bob Motec

      What about Jak From the Jak and Daxter series

      • TokiyaRaseri

        Jak didn’t speak in Jak and Daxter but in the sequels, he talked. a lot.

  • Flood Runn

    What about Blob from De Blob?

  • lolez

    what about GORDON FREEMAN???!!!! how can you put Chell but not friggin GORDON?!!!!!

  • dylax

    what about the protagonists in bioshock 1 and 2?

  • Tingle the Fairy

    Obviously Navi should be on this list 😛

  • Drew

    What…Ness should be there.

  • Huxley

    Jak from Jak & Daxter for goodness sake!

  • zeldaeevee64

    ive played shadow of the colossus and wander can speak. he does in the first few minutes of the game where dormin explains your task to you

  • lightningbarer

    heroic, that little green monster broke into my house and broke all my pots(stealing the family jewels I hid in them) then broke into the family chest and stole our magical blue candle. He’s no hero, he’s a goddamned thief.

    • Daniel

      Stopped at “family jewels”

  • mattwo

    Red and Ash are actually two different characters, Yellow is not canon to the games and the games and anime have two very different continuities. In fact, the Pokemon Adventures manga stays truer to the game continuity, but not completely. Kind of like the Megaman NT Warrior Manga(who’s localized name is incredibly misleading, course in japan the anime, manga, and games are all labeled Rockman.exe but each have their own continuity, as I implied, with the Manga’s being closer to that of the games).

  • Donagal

    Link technically is not a mute in twilight princess all the text in green is link.

  • Jacob

    what about thee chosen undead or the dovakin

  • SecretCow

    You completely left out Gordon Freeman. Tsk tsk.

  • pukka-pie

    Erm… Mario?!

    • “NoShit” face

      Dude… he talks… A LOT. we just don’t understand ’cause he speaks in gibberish. Kinda like Sims only less comprehensible.

  • That guy

    Dangit people! There’s only 5 spots on the list.

  • bob

    Yu Narukami does talk idiot.

  • Menno

    At least they didn’t include Gordon Freeman, although i do miss Claude from GTAIII.

  • LunaTheUmbreon

    Red and ash ARE NOT THE SAME PERSON, it drives me insane when people say they are the same person. because THEY ARE NOT. Red beat the pokemon leauge and became the strongest trainer ever. while ash can’t even beat the pokemon leauge , not to mention his pikachu lost to a level 5 snivy.

    • “NoShit” face

      Amen to that. Ash is only based off of Red minus all the supper cool stuff and he’s not even on par with the Pokemon Master, Red, and his trusty pikachu.

  • Asuna Ilano

    What about the God eater Player Characters? Oh wait, they talked in the end. Also, Persona 3 MC/Minato Arisato (manga)/Makoto Yuki(Movie), Vahn from Legend of Legaia and serph from Digital Devil Saga.

  • GAMARO374

    U have forgot the Saints Row Protagonist in SR1 He was mute on that game, playa!

  • Reneid Klein

    What about the main character of Dragon’s Dogma?

  • Yuu

    This list is completely ruined because you called Red Ash. Red came BEFORE Ash and is much,much better. They officially refer to him as Red, anyway. Not Ash.

  • Jake

    I don’t think this list is the “best”, the best would be characters that actually allow you to connect despite being silent. You don’t connect with the pokemon person do you? His rival calls him a loser and nothing happens besides the fact he’s called a loser. Nothing happens. How is that one of the best?

    If we’re going by the best, something such as “The Rookie” from Halo 3: ODST would be more suitable for this list. He is silent, but you connect with him, you feel what he might be feeling. That game relied on the character being mute to tell it’s story more effectively. Half of these games do not do that, they are silent because it would be silly, and for a game such as Pokemon it was aiming at making you the character there. I can’t speak for the other half, I haven’t played them but good grief what a bad list.