Well, looks like the latest bios have got a lot of folks worried about Zaun’s very own Machine Herald!
The first thing to say is that it’s great to see so many people leaping to the defense of this misunderstood(?) genius. The second is, to borrow a phrase from the late, great, Douglas Adams… Don’t Panic.
The perception you’re getting of Viktor is largely from Jayce’s bio, and if ever there was an unreliable narrator, it’s him. Sure, from Jayce’s point of view, Viktor might seem like a complete and utter psychopath, bereft of a moral compass and utterly devoid of humanity. But what of Viktor’s point of view? Might what’s he’s doing be entirely misrepresented? Might there be a good reason behind it (even if what he’s doing might be - from outside perspectives - be seen as reprehensible?).
The reaction is also likely coming from people reading about the place Camille visits in her short story, but I can imagine Viktor’s response to seeing what those people are doing in his name… I can imagine him being incensed at this perversion of his grand philosophy, this naive, quasi-religious cult that has grown around his ideas and which has - to him - woefully misinterpreted his vision. Viktor plays the long game and knows that greatness cannot be achieved without cost. Does that make him evil? Perhaps to the folk who pay the price initially, but what of the folks who’ll reap the benefit in the long run? What will history say of Viktor? That’s the legacy Viktor is concerned with, not the fragile, emotional and short-sighted people around him.
So, no, we absolutely don’t want to paint Viktor as a pantomime villain, twirling his metal mustache, but nor do we want to turn away from the dark deeds he’s doing in the name of his Glorious Evolution. When Viktor’s bio lands, it’ll provide balance to the perception. Will it reveal the truth? Well, it’ll reveal Viktor’s truth, and the reality will likely lie somewhere in the middle. Perhaps shrouded by a fug of the Gray, but, hey, that’s Zaun for you…