Tier List: The Best Goths in Video Games

Tier List: The Best Goths in Video Games
Goths, front and centre. It's time to rank your fits. (Image: Arc System Works / Bandai Namco / Capcom / PlatinumGames / Kotaku)

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for us to immerse ourselves in the signature styles of video gaming’s greatest and most fashionable goths, as well as those whose fashion sense makes them goth-adjacent.

My guiding philosophy in assembling this tier list was choosing and ranking characters based not just on who fit the aesthetic through general mood and fashion sensibilities alone, but whose outfits serve a higher purpose for the characters that wear them. Characters on the lower tiers simply wear the clothes, while characters higher up exude “big goth energy,” sporting clothes that have become an integral part of their personality. There are just too many characters here for us to give each one a little time in the spotlight, so for this slideshow, I’ve selected a few from each tier that I think are emblematic of what that tier brings to the table. Let’s get started, gamers.

D Tier: Pray for them

Not even death could make you cool.  (Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku) Not even death could make you cool. (Screenshot: Bungie / Kotaku)

Crow (Destiny 2, 2017)

They call him The Crow for god’s sake. Destiny 2‘s most recently minted Guardian, formerly known as Uldren Sov, Awoken Prince, and rebel without a cause, would be just as much at home in a John Hughes movie as he is sulking about in Bungie’s loot shooter. It’s not just that his skin’s the colour of pale lavender-infused milk and he’s got a mop of black hair that makes him look like Edward Scissorhands with a perm. The Crow also can’t stop talking about how unjust the universe is, and how he died that time, and how maybe the righteous jocks in the Vanguard are just self-serving and full of shit. Literally you will be trying to land headshots on alien bugs who worship the Darkness to punch the latest objective on your Destiny 2 time card and he will be like, “Look at it…like an animal twisted in wire.”

C Tier: Low-key

This bat has fashion sense and winged eyeliner that can poke your eye out. (Screenshot: Sonic Team / Kotaku) This bat has fashion sense and winged eyeliner that can poke your eye out. (Screenshot: Sonic Team / Kotaku)

Rouge (Sonic the Hedgehog games)

Rouge the Bat has always been one of the stranger aspects of the Sonic franchise. Where most characters in this universe exhibit wildly inhuman proportions, she comes equipped with very distinct features that denote her as the series’ de facto alluring character. Sadly, it doesn’t always work.

In terms of fashion, Rouge’s combination of skintight bodysuit and leather armour is pretty plain. It’s almost like her designers dug deep into a box labelled “SEXY” and threw a bunch of pieces together willy nilly. I’m sure she has her fans, and to them I say go with god, but she just doesn’t impress me.

C Tier: Low-key

Moxxi's top shelf fashion had a chokehold on the cosplay community.  (Screenshot: Gearbox / Kotaku) Moxxi’s top shelf fashion had a chokehold on the cosplay community. (Screenshot: Gearbox / Kotaku)

Moxxi (Borderlands 3, 2019)

Just with her looks, with her black-and-white-and-red colour scheme and painted face and black hair, it’s obvious Borderlands bar owner Mad Moxxi would make the list. Her promiscuous nature and love of violence oozes a goth sensibility even if her outward appearance can come into conflict with the stereotypical goth aesthetic. For a time, her outfit, which crosses the boundary of clown swankiness with a hint of gothic sensibilities, had a chokehold on the cosplay community which it still hasn’t recovered from. But she isn’t as unapproachable as she might seem upon first glance. Underneath the veneer, you could probably see her at a Halloween party asking if you’re drinking enough water.

C Tier: Low-key

Nico gave Dante the Faust hat and he decided to make it everyone's problem. (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku) Nico gave Dante the Faust hat and he decided to make it everyone’s problem. (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku)

Dante (Devil May Cry 5, 2019)

In his sprier, woohoo pizza days of Devil May Cry 3, Dante was the standard-bearer for gothic fashion in video games.. Dante made easy mode selectable for other gothic video game characters when he fought his twin brother Vergil in the rain while wearing a trench coat and a leather strap across his pecs. But in his older age, the goth himbo has gained some tenure and has gotten more lowkey and utilitarian with his fashion sense. Although his fit in DMC5 isn’t smoking sexy style, he still hits the jackpot when it comes to rocking a gothic fashion style for the business of devil hunting.

B Tier: Non-conformists

Try as she might, her fit couldn't woo Ghost Rider.  (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku) Try as she might, her fit couldn’t woo Ghost Rider. (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku)

Morrigan Aensland (Darkstalkers, etc.)

For my money, there’s no fighting game character more iconic than Darkstalkers’ Morrigan. Sorry, Ryu.

Sure, her background as a succubus may give developers licence to go a little overboard with the sexiness at times, but Morrigan’s looks are almost always used to underline the power she wields in the Darkstalkers mythos. And while most eyes might be drawn to her outfit, I gotta give it up for the small set of wings on her head. It’s a bold design decision that could have come off as goofy in the wrong hands, but the various artists who have depicted Morrigan throughout the years nail the look more often than not.

B Tier: Non-conformists

Piers walks to the beat of his own drum and I respect him for that.  (Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku) Piers walks to the beat of his own drum and I respect him for that. (Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku)

Piers (Pokemon Sword and Shield, 2019)

Piers pretty much hates everything besides Marnie, his pokemon, and rock ‘n’ roll. He’s the only dark-type gym leader in the series (unless you count Marnie, who technically takes over for him), which in itself is pretty goth. He’s based on British rock stereotypes of the 70s/80s, so I always think of him as a Clash wannabe. Both Piers and the punk rock movement he’s based on reject mainstream ideas, hence why Piers is the only gym leader without a stadium or dynamaxing. He’s too cool to be popular and have encores. He also pays groupies called Team Yell to follow Marnie around and cheer her on, which I think is just so wholesome yet kinda metal at the same time.

As far as his fashion goes, his signature mic is covered in spikes, which seems awfully dangerous, but maybe that’s why there’s a skull on it too. His hair doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It looks more like tentacles, or like he sheared an Obstagoon and just placed the fur on his head. I’m also about 90% sure he wears eyeshadow. All in all, he’s got that punk rock/goth look down to a T.

B Tier: Non-conformists

Venom understood the assignment.  (Screenshot: Arc System Works / Kotaku) Venom understood the assignment. (Screenshot: Arc System Works / Kotaku)

Venom (Guilty Gear Xrd, 2014)

Even though he’s wearing his guild’s uniform, Venom manages to bring his own style to it by rocking an open vest, showing people that he doesn’t slack on abdominal crunches or in his wardrobe. Not many fighting game characters are skilled enough to coordinate their outfits and tie their look into a billiards gimmick, but Venom pulls off a masse fashion fit. Dude even has “Settle with Elegance” and “British Elegance” written on his clothes to tell people who aren’t in the know what’s up.

B Tier: Non-conformists

Not much to add with this caption, I just think she's neat.  (Screenshot: BANDAI NAMCO / Kotaku) Not much to add with this caption, I just think she’s neat. (Screenshot: BANDAI NAMCO / Kotaku)

Eliza (Tekken 7, 2015)

Eliza is what I like to call AGAB: assigned goth at birth. This sleepy vampire woke up from her long slumber and found herself as a canonical DLC character within Tekken 7’s universe as Emilie De Rochefort’s alleged sister. Although her outfit checks all the boxes for what you would assume a gothic lolita vampire in Tekken’s lore would look like, she stands out with her sick devil horns. Is she sure she isn’t part of the Mishima clan?

B Tier: Non-conformists

Thanatos just is.  (Image: Supergiant Games) Thanatos just is. (Image: Supergiant Games)

Thanatos (Hades, 2020)

C’mon. Dude’s the literal personification of death. Can’t get more goth than that!

B Tier: Non-conformists

Very dandy indeed.  (Screenshot: Arc System Works / Kotaku) Very dandy indeed. (Screenshot: Arc System Works / Kotaku)

Slayer (Guilty Gear Xrd, 2014)

Why is Slayer on this list, you might ask? He’s a damn vampire with gorgeous side-swept hair, an exquisitely tailored black suit, and he smokes out of a pipe for crying out loud. With the monocle as the cherry on top, Slayer’s chic is danger time for anyone who wants to step to him. While you are caught off by his flair, he’ll slash into you with his fingertip-like claws. He can get in close for a little neck play to regain health, turn into a bat, and do it all while staying gentlemanly and polished. He’s the epitome of a vampire loverboy and if that’s not goth enough, then I don’t know what is.

A Tier: Big Goths

Getting my arse kicked at the start of Hades was worth it to see Megaera and her dope garb. (Image: Supergiant Games) Getting my arse kicked at the start of Hades was worth it to see Megaera and her dope garb. (Image: Supergiant Games)

Megaera (Hades, 2020)

Set aside the whip, the bat wings, the heavy makeup, and the Hot Topic wardrobe. Megaera, one of the Erinyes (a trio of sultry demi-gods from the Greek mytheme), radiates goth bona fides beyond the superficial plane. She’s a main character in Supergiant’s terrific roguelike, Hades, wherein her subplot is worthy of a Cure album: Bound by destiny to protagonist Zagreus, the two of them are ill-fated lovers locked in an eternal struggle of love and hate. He’s trying to break out of hell. She’s tasked with stopping him. Oh, yeah, and they used to date. Someone page Robert Smith.

A Tier: Big Goths

Tae's subtle doctors outfit oozes chic goth fashionability. (Screenshot: CloverWorks / Kotaku) Tae’s subtle doctors outfit oozes chic goth fashionability. (Screenshot: CloverWorks / Kotaku)

Tae Takemi (Persona 5, 2016)

Setting aside the troubling reality that she’s an adult woman who potentially dates a young teenager in Persona 5‘s protagonist (unfortunately she’s not the only one), Tae Takemi is a stone-cold fox. Her simple outfit — a slim, black dress accented with a red belt, strappy heels, and a choker — makes her personal sense of style obvious while also maintaining an air of professionalism when combined with her lab coat.

These punk rock sensibilities carry over into Tae’s casual outfit. She trades the simple dress for one with a spider-web design, as well as a short leather jacket and some ripped leggings. Persona may be a series known for having a distinct style, but Tae blows everyone who came before her out of the water.

A Tier: Big Goths

Marnie is killing the Pokemon fashion game.  (Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku) Marnie is killing the Pokemon fashion game. (Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku)

Marnie (Pokemon)

A bit more of a softie than her brother Piers, Marnie is also perpetually angry. According to her league card, “Marnie won’t change her expression even when she gets angry, but once something sets her off, she stays angry for a long time.” That might sound off-putting, but it doesn’t stop groupies from following her every move, though she isn’t interested in fame. Not unlike her brother, she’s too cool to care about popularity. However, helping her hometown was the reason she became a pokemon trainer in the first place, so she clearly cares about her fans.

I’d say she’s a bit less punk/goth-looking than Piers, but she’s still wearing a leather jacket, choker necklace and spiked boots. Not as in your face as Piers, but still a great goth look.

A Tier: Big Goths

V knows Google Earth is always taking pictures. Even in the middle of a demon uprising.  (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku) V knows Google Earth is always taking pictures. Even in the middle of a demon uprising. (Screenshot: Capcom / Kotaku)

V (Devil May Cry 5, 2019)

When you sift out the preppy, power-obsessed coffee grinds that are Devil May Cry’s Vergil, what you have left is the mellow, refreshing cold brew that is V. Tattooed, poetry reading, and cane wielding, he’s pretty much the video game version of that one TikToker who drinks Starbucks and calls viewers “darling.” While the other devil hunters air guitar and quip with their taunts, V is an intellectual who will read poetry and even causes a symphony to play as he conducts his familiars Griffon, Shadow, and Nightmare to style on their opponents before he lands the finishing blow. Don’t worry, he’ll be gentle.

S Tier: The Cream of the Crop

There is no such thing as a coincidence. I am perceiving you, Seer.  (Screenshot: Electronic Arts / Kotaku) There is no such thing as a coincidence. I am perceiving you, Seer. (Screenshot: Electronic Arts / Kotaku)

Seer (Apex Legends 2019)

Although I’ve yet to play Apex Legends, Seer has managed to transcend the game itself, cross my gaming fault lines, and skyrocket himself into S Tier on this list. His wiki describes him as “an icon of the shunned, the unaccepted, and the unabashedly original” and I have no choice but to stan. His fit is serving effortlessly with his crop top and futuristically tactful cowboy aesthetic. He might have been born under a bad omen, but the only omen his fit is serving is envy to those taken out by him in the Apex arena.

S Tier: The Cream of the Crop

If you need to learn how to dress like a badass Umbran witch, ask your mum. (Screenshot: PlatinumGames / Kotaku) If you need to learn how to dress like a badass Umbran witch, ask your mum. (Screenshot: PlatinumGames / Kotaku)

Bayonetta (Bayonetta 2, 2014)

Not many video game characters outside of her life partner Jeanne can say they’ve rocked their hair as a Met Gala-level outfit while attaching guns, chainsaws, bows, and swords to the heels of their feet, but Bayonetta came dressed to kill. Whether she’s rocking the beehive, pixie cut, or braids, she shows up ready to kill some demons and look fitted out while doing so. Her reach is so irresistible that even Mama Monster herself, Lady Gaga, is a fan of the Umbran witch’s work, and took some inspiration from her in the “Rain on Me” music video. Bayonetta’s influence transcends time and space.

S Tier: The Cream of the Crop

Excuse me? Mummy? Sorry. Mummy? Sorry.  (Image: Supergiant Games) Excuse me? Mummy? Sorry. Mummy? Sorry. (Image: Supergiant Games)

Nyx (Hades, 2020)

You can’t get any more fashionable than the “Mother of Night” herself, Nyx. When asked how many accessories she would wear before gracing the other Greek gods with her presence, Nyx boldly decides to wear her entire boudoir and somehow makes it work. Although her fit has a lot going on, her purple and gold-trimmed dress and bewitching jewellery complement her pale complexion like a fine science. She even has the cosmos itself in her hair. Her fit came to step on necks, yet she’s always there to lend a helping hand, making her all the more deserving of all the nectar you earn in Hades, and of being at the top of this list. Long may she reign.

The Goth Fashion Tier List

Feast your eyes upon my tier list.  (Image: TierMaker) Feast your eyes upon my tier list. (Image: TierMaker)

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and suffice to say I’m nearsighted when it comes to all the game’s I’ve played and all the gothic characters that exist within them. If you disagree with my picks or have some suggestions of your own, I’d ask that you bury me gently in the quote retweets and let me know which characters you would add and how you would rank my list.

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