Top 10 Highest Paid Characters in Video Games


beer snob
Premium Supporter
Feb 16, 2009
Milwaukee, WI
Imagine if video game characters were sport athletes or movie stars. Which video game characters would have the highest paid salaries? I wanted to give a different take on the “Top 10 Video Game Characters” best-of lists we see so often in video game journalism. This usually leaves out characters that have faded away (such as Sonic) or characters that have died or only appeared in one game (although they may have shown some staying power). It also gives room for new characters that have made a big impact in recent years. These are ranked in order from the character who would receive the least amount to the ultimate paycheck for their next game.

10. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)

As the main protagonist of the game and next in line to become an elite “Spectre,” Shepard gives the player in control the feeling of being a complete badass. Shepard undertakes several different missions and does whatever he can to get them done. Well worth the money.

9. Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell)

Sam Fisher Made his debut in gaming on the Xbox with Tom Clancy’s “Splinter Cell” series. As Fisher you can spy, steal, destroy, and assassinate to ensure that American freedoms are protected. But if you’re captured, the U.S. government will disavow any knowledge of your existence.

8.Kratos (God of War)

Kratos made his first appearance on the Playstation 2 with the Greek mythology inspired God of War. Kratos is easily one of the most barbaric and ruthless characters in video games history. As an outcast and the mortal son of Zeus, the character is eventually becomes the God of War. Paired with his patented chain blades, he can wreck havoc and destruction on his foes. With God of War 3 coming out on the Playstation 3, there is no peak that Kratos can’t handle.

7. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life)

If you have played a FPS on the PC at any point then this name should be familiar. Gordon Freeman is an unlikley game character by today’s standards. As an astrophysicist working for Black Mesa, Freeman made a small error when he was working with hazardous materials. We all know what happened after that. Half-Life first shipped in 1998 and has been called one of the best PC games of all time. Gordon didn’t disappoint when he came back for a second appearance on Half-Life 2. Since then, he has been appearing on episodic content via episode 1 & 2, with episode 3 in the works.

6. Ryu (Street Fighter and countless versions of Capcom vs. stuff)

It may be surprising to see a fighting character on this list, but there is no question if you have played arcade games at some point. You know who Ryu is. From his legendary rivalry with Ken to his token fireball, Ryu is one of the franchise’s most beloved characters. With Capcom still turning out fighting games, Ryu is still their go to guy and mine, too.

5. Samus Aran (Metroid)

This woman in a robotic suit comes in at #5. Samus had a strong showing back in the Nintendo golden days with the NES and SNES, but disappeared from the scene with the release of the N64. Samus made a strong comeback on her remake debut on the Gamecube and switched from a 2-D side-scroller to a 3-D first person shooter. Samus has never been stronger than on the Wii thanks to Metroid Prime 3 and Metroid: Other M already has most gamers salivating.

4. Master Chief (Halo)

Chief made his debut on the Xbox back in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved. Since then, he has been arguably the most popular character on the 360. Though some believe Chief could be losing steam with so many Halo games produced in a short amount of time, the sale numbers say otherwise.

3. Solid Snake (Metal Gear)

Solid Snake first appeared in Metal Gear in 1987 on the MSX2 system and was quickly ported to the NES. Snake was a rookie recruit for a Special Forces unit FOXHOUND. It’s amazing that a lot of the themes and plot twists that were used in the very first Metal Gear are being rehashed for a new audience of gamers. However, unlike the previous two characters, Solid Snake wasn’t a huge success over night . He didn’t make it big until his debut on the Playstation in 1998 with Metal Gear Solid. Since then, Solid Snake has turned everything he has worked on into gold.

2. Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Link is one of the oldest video game characters on the list. He first appeared in The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo in 1986 in Japan. Just like Mario, he has appeared on every Nintendo console and is often regarded as a fan favorite of all video game characters of all time.

1. Mario (Mario and Donkey Kong)

This plumber is responsible for starting the whole home-gaming craze that has blown up into a multibillion dollar industry. He first made his debut as Jumpman in the Donkey Kong series. Jumpman then graduated to his current name Mario when he appeared in Super Mario Bros., along with his brother Luigi. Mario has also appeared on every Nintendo console and is the most recognizable game character in pop culture.

I hope you guys enjoyed the read. Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with the list.

Jan 28, 2009
Manteca, CA
haha. I had a felling mario was gonna be on top. Glad to see Snake so high on the list. Not that I think he should be lower, but to people who aren't everyday gamers or nothing he isn't well known.