Sans (サンズ, Sans) is a major character from the indie-developed RPG Undertale. While his origins are largely a mystery, he and his brother Papyrus are some of the quirky characters that can be encountered and befriended or murdered in the Underground, the game's main setting.
Sans is a skeleton monster who lives in the frosty town of Snowdin, alongside his brother Papyrus, in a cavern populated by monsters underneath the surface of the Earth. The player character, Frisk, first encounters him after leaving the Ruins. He is seen tagging along with Papyrus as the latter attempts to capture Frisk, but consistently fails. Papyrus's schemes, though clearly passionate, are easily foiled and appear to stem more from a desire for recognition and service to his fellow monsters than any sort of malice; Sans, meanwhile, informs Frisk about these schemes well in advance and only appears to participate in them to encourage his brother's pursuits. This relationship puts the duo in a sympathetic light, and after befriending Papyrus, Frisk has the option to visit his and Sans's house.
In terms of physical appearance, Sans is a squat, humanlike skeleton with a constant toothy smirk and bags underneath his eye sockets, which have floating white pupils. He wears a light blue hoodie with a gray hood, a white tank-top, black shorts with white lining, and white shoes (later updated to become pink slippers). He is about half the size of Papyrus. At first, Sans appears to be a laid-back, flippant character; he has a fondness for sophomoric gags and practical jokes. His dialogue text is presented with a typeface resembling Comic Sans MS, usually in all lowercase (in contrast to the standard font used for most other characters, a monospaced typeface resembling the Windows system font Fixedsys). However, as the game progresses, it becomes clear that Sans is more self-aware than he lets on.
In the "Neutral" route of the game, Sans is encountered in the Last Corridor late in the story. Here, Sans "judges" Frisk, revealing that experience points and levels are directly linked to how willing they are to inflict pain and death on others. His speech will change depending on the course of action that the player takes throughout the game, with special dialogue if they killed Papyrus (which is notably not presented in his usual font). He also reveals that he is aware of the game's saving and loading mechanics — viewing them as a method of controlling time and space — and he encourages Frisk to do the right thing. At the end of this route, Sans phones Frisk and informs them about the end result of their actions on the monster community, dependent on which events were initiated and if any boss monsters were killed.
In the "True Pacifist" route, meaning every encountered monster is spared from defeat and befriended, Sans's soul is among those stolen by Flowey, a diabolical flower who seeks to absorb every monster's soul for himself. The player must confront the lost souls of Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, Toriel, and Asgore to return their souls and free them. After Flowey is neutralized, Sans joins the rest of the now-freed monsters on the surface world.
If the "Genocide" route is taken, meaning every encountered monster and all random encounters are killed, Sans battles Frisk in the Last Corridor in a last-ditch effort to stop them. In this fight, he uses extremely swift and highly unpredictable attacks, typically utilizing "Gaster Blasters" (laser guns that resemble skulls); in addition, his attacks inflict a rapid health draining effect referred to as "Karma", representing punishment for the torment inflicted by the player's actions. While Sans only has a single hit point, he consistently avoids all of the player's attacks until the very end, where he decides to simply not attack, thus never ending his turn in the battle. To finish the fight, the player must wait for him to fall asleep, allowing them to defeat him in a single hit. He then limps away, dying off-screen.
In Deltarune: Chapter 1, Sans makes a cameo appearance as a resident of Hometown (which is the hometown of the main protagonist, Kris), now owning and operating a grocery store.
As a costume
Sans appears as a downloadable Mii Gunner costume as part of Round 3 for Ultimate, with one of his Gaster Blasters as the Mii Gunner’s arm cannon. Sakurai notes in its reveal that Sans was a popular request. Upon downloading the costume, a new remix of Sans's boss theme MEGALOVANIA is unlocked as an additional music track in the "Other" category, arranged by Undertale creator Toby Fox. In contrast to most other costumes, Sans appears as a fully modeled character; his "mask" is just his head, instead of a mask with the Mii's face visible like other character-based costumes, such as Tails, Knuckles, or K.K. Slider.
Sans's reveal trailer holds many references to Undertale. When he is introduced, he is shown standing on Ω form PictoChat 2's textbox against a dark background, referencing the FIGHT menu in Undertale. All other stages where he is shown use pixelated graphics, referencing Undertale's use of pixel art as its main graphical medium. He dodges a Villager's up tilt (in which he uses a stick), and then a female Villager's Killing Edge swipe. These two Villagers respectively reference Frisk and Chara, along with their signature weapons, the Stick and the Real Knife. Additionally, behind the male Villager is a plate of spaghetti, likely referencing the food Papyrus comments on cooking, while behind the female Villager a hot dog can be seen, referring to the hot dog stand in Hotland run by Sans. Finally, a Fire Flower is briefly shown in front of him before a yellow Piranha Plant (which likely references Flowey, the main antagonist in Undertale, and his face mimicry ability) inherits it. He is never hit during all of his gameplay footage, as he rolls, spot dodges, and perfect shields every incoming attack. This is a reference to his unique boss mechanic in Undertale, where he would keep dodging any attack from the player throughout the battle.