I don't see how it's 'poorly researched.' They made a list about their best/most influential characters of the decade, they should be able to pick their choices without someone saying "WHY ISN'T LIGHTING ON THIS LIST" or "WHY IS ANYONE FROM RDR HERE." Why not anyone from Red Dead Redemption? John Marston was an excellent character and well worth the title of one of the most 'influential' characters of the decade. Our RPGs of the decade list had a large amount of SMT titles, I'm sure someone somewhere is going "What? SMT games? Not even close! FFX was the best, those fucktards." To me, the people in this thread criticizing the list are equally idiotic.
"This is poorly researched!" Okay, how? "The characters on this list suck because my favorites aren't in here!" Big deal. Make your own top 30 list if you're so indignant.
If the list were qualified as "our favourite", then everything you've said would be true. This would all be whining over nothing. But it's qualified as "most influential", which requires that you actually pay some attention to how much influence these characters have actually had.
By default, I'd assume that "influence" here means having impact on the mass perception of video game characters, somehow affecting pop culture (even if just within the subculture), or gaining mass recognition in some way that is not only lasting, but also meaningful.
Calling it early is the first problem. If it were something like the Portal phenomenon with GLaDOS, you might be able to say "instant classic", but even then it'd be difficult, because it could be a flash-in-the-pan and fade out really quick. GLaDOS hasn't, making her an appropriate candidate for this list.
But RDR's characters? Not one of them has made a lasting impression on the gaming community, nor the wider geek community. Nico Bellic at least has general recognition. Now, it may just be that RDR's cast needs to build up some steam, which is why calling it early like this is bad, because they may or may not matter. Similarly, Dragon Age has been out long enough to call it, but its characters have left no lasting impression on the wider community, so why are any of them up there?
It seems very much like this is an "our favourites" list, not a "most influential" list. There just isn't an argument that supports the second kind of qualification. I'm not arguing for the whiners who want Lightning or someone else they like up there, I'm arguing for a better qualification process. Again, does Auron belong up there? Well, I like him a lot better than I like Yuna, but I can't argue for him. Auron was a one-shot, and he didn't really have any "influence" whatsoever. Yuna on the other hand? Again, look at what she did for the cosplay community. Look at how much press coverage she got because of X-2 being the first real FF sequel. She's become a poster girl for all that. I think that matters a lot when you want to talk about influence.