Every video game has a villain. It’s a given, but most games just shoe-horn villains into the game out of obligation and never really seem to fit. In the recently released Triangle Strategy, there are many villains but only one truly shines through. That being Gustadolph, the Archduke of Aesfrost. But before I can talk about him, I do have to issue a major spoiler warning for a lot of story beats in the game. So do not continue reading unless you have at least completed chapter fifteen in Triangle Strategy.
Why Gustadolph is a Great Villain
His not-so-threatening name aside, in the span of a few chapters in Triangle Strategy he does so much. He invades and captures Glenbrook in a swift and ruthless fashion, but there’s much more to this than that. To break it down, Dragan threatens to hand over the secret resources in the mine to Glenbrook if he isn’t made the Prime Minister of Aesfrost. So in response, Gustadolph has him murdered, using the letter he sent to weasel his way out of responsibility. But Serenoa and the main cast were there trying to protect him so he pins the blame on them.
A perfectly calculated move that gave him reason to capture the kingdom of Glenbrook. But he went so far as to have General Avlora kill one of the princes in front of Roland when you arrive at the scene. Then the next day beheads the King in front of his subjects then orders Serenoa to hand over Roland. This was to have him executed as well. But if you hand him over, the same day he’ll be in jail and Gustadolph tells Roland that he plans to marry his sister so he can keep control over Glenbrook.
Roland heard of his father’s death, saw his brother die, and while sitting in a cell, he is told to his face by the man who orchestrated all of this, that this man is going to marry his last living relative. He rubs so much salt in the wound that I couldn’t help but smile watching this play out.
A Cold, Careless Personality
After marrying Cordelia, Gustadolph ignores her and just uses her as a puppet to control Glenbrook. While allowing his younger brother and sister, Thalas and Erika, to watch over her when he isn’t around. This was when I realized that he just doesn’t care about anyone. Seeing as he even belittles General Avlora and Erika as well. When the arranged wedding between Serenoa and Frederica came to be, he only did it out of obligation for a past agreement during the SaltIron war.
He saw an opportunity to kill Dragan when he knew he wouldn’t have to bear any responsibility. As well as using that situation to wage a war on a neighboring kingdom and wipe out half of the royal bloodline. When you kill Thalas and Erika in chapter fifteen, he doesn’t bat an eye at the news of his dead siblings. All Gustadolph viewed them as, including Dragan, Frederica, and Cordelia were just tools to help him strengthen his grip on Norzelia.
He’s a cold, narcissistic sociopathic monster that I couldn’t help but admire watching as he did all of this. Most villains can be lenient or even nonsensical in their actions. But the role he plays in the story is fantastic. The best part is that he isn’t the main villainous force in Triangle Strategy. That belongs to the saintly seven of Hyzante. Believe it or not, he did have a goal to achieve against them personally.
Ending a Crippling Monopoly
In Norzelia, there is only one flow of salt, and that belongs to Hyzante. As such, if you are the only provider of something you can do as you see fit with it. Like taxing it heavily for the monetary gain of their kingdom to the point of corrupting the other nations. In all of the heinous acts performed by Gustadolph, he wanted to grow his power to combat Hyzante to end their monopoly. There are definitely more ways he could’ve gone about this, but he wanted to do it all himself.
Gustadolph as both a character and a villain is someone I’m going to remember. I was not expecting Triangle Strategy to have someone this cruel in the story, and I just wanted to show some appreciation for all of the work the developers put into him.