Top 10 Saddest Video Game Character Deaths
Welcome Top10Archive! Before we continue any further, we’d like to inform you that this list is a spoiler alert! The death of our favorite characters, regardless of the medium, can affect us in ways we never expected. Video games are no exception, tugging at our emotional strings with some truly heart-wrenching deaths. For this spoiler-filled edition from Top10Archive, we break out the tissues as we go through the ten saddest deaths in gaming.
Dom Santiago – Gears of War 3
Many have pegged the Gears of War series as your typical action-packed “guy game”, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have heart. In Gears of War 2, Dominic Santiago – long-time friend of series’ protagonist Marcus Fenix, is forced to euthanize his own wife. Part way through the third installment, after suffering with his loss for some time, Dom offers the ultimate sacrifice for the good of his fellow Gears. When the quartet find themselves cornered by the tenacious Locust and glowing Lambent, Dom risks his own life to ensure his fellow soldiers can escape. Fenix’s reaction alone to the loss of his best friend and comrade made this a hard hitting death, amidst an otherwise fast-paced, action oriented title.
Soap MacTavish – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The Call of Duty series is not known for its ability to draw anything from gamers outside of pure adrenaline, but when one staple character met his demise, gamers surely felt it. John “Soap” MacTavish was playable in the first Modern Warfare, being switched to a supporting, non-playable character for the two sequels. In Modern Warfare 3, after being with gamers for quite a while, MacTavish was killed in an explosion. What followed was the collective weeping of gamers across the country like some kind of synchronized coyote pack, especially when gruff Captain John Price starts to lose his cool as well.
Aerith Gainsborough – Final Fantasy VII
It was the death heard around the gaming community. Final Fantasy VII‘s animated art style and quirky little avatars makes it seem like a children’s game, but if there’s one moment that refutes this entirely, it’s the tragic death of the gentle-hearted Aerith. While trying to protect the planet with Holy magic, Aerith meets a tragic demise at the hands of the game’s antagonist, Sephiroth, just as Cloud and his party arrive to protect her. In retrospect, Aerith‘s death is fairly predictable, but it still draws saddened cries from gamers when Sephiroth’s odachi pierces her flesh.
Gray Fox – Metal Gear Solid
The Cyborg Ninja Gray Fox was introduced as a villain to the game’s hero, Solid Snake, but anyone that knows the Metal Gear Solid series understands that first impressions can often be skewed. By the end of the game, Gray Fox is revealed to be Frank Jaeger, a former soldier that once fought alongside Snake before being manipulated to face off against his former colleague. After his previous defeat, Jaeger is modified into the Cyborg Ninja and seeks only one thing – a final confrontation with Snake. In the end, Fox realizes the importance of Snake’s survival and sacrifices himself despite their sordid history.
John Marston – Red Dead Redemption
John Marston may not have been the picture of saintliness, but his death at the end of Red Dead Redemption is still tragic and depressing nonetheless. Gamers play the bulk of Redemption controlling Marston, learning that, while he is no perfect human being, he is willing to atone for past mistakes. John is able to succeed in his goal of hunting down his former gang at the implore of the government, but he is far from given the amnesty he was promised. Instead, the government agents he worked for turn on him, murdering him despite Marston’s compliance with their requests throughout the game.
The Boss – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
In the Metal Gear Solid series, not everything is as it seems. The Boss, soldier for the U.S. government and one of the game’s main antagonists, was Naked Snake’s mentor and sole mother figure. This, alone, makes the necessity to kill her a complicated situation; but things get worse afterwards when Snake learns that The Boss was employed by the government to infiltrate enemy lines by staging a defection to locate a large sum of money known as the Philosopher’s Legacy. The Boss‘ final mission was to die at the hands of her protege to separate the United States from the events and, essentially, break the hearts of every gamer.
The Joker – Batman: Arkham City
Surely, you never expected a villain to make it on this list – but the death of a villain as iconic as The Joker definitely brings with it a little sadness. After torturing Batman through Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, The Joker succumbs to an illness spawned from his use of the toxic Titan Formula in Arkham Asylum. Though The Joker may have been a psychopath and responsible for the deaths of so many innocents, it’s hard to say goodbye to a character so influential to a series. In this case specifically, the relationship between The Joker and Batman is an undeniable necessity in the Batman gaming franchise.
Reggie Rowe – Infamous: Second Son
The relationship between Second Son’s siblings, Delson and Reggie Rowe, may have been a tad generic, but voice actors Tory Baker and Travis Willingham give the character’s a chemistry that sucker punches us right in the feelings. Especially when Reggie, older brother to protagonist Delson, meets an untimely demise while helping his brother. Throughout Infamous, it’s hard not to deny how predictable Reggie’s death is, but the character’s likability will have you refusing to believe it in the back of your mind. When it does happen, your heart is bound to break, like after watching Forest Gump’s girlfriend walk out on him for the second time. “I still love you Jennay”.
The Colossi – Shadow of the Colossus
This one takes a while to sink in – in fact, considering your main goal through Shadow is to slay the monstrous colossi, you never expect to feel any remorse over it. That is, of course, until you realize that your merciless killing of these towering beasts is a manipulation of the entity Dormin, who is simply trying to escape from the “prison” that they hold him in. Players aren’t privy to this knowledge at first and when it hits that they’ve just spent hours killing 16 innocent, lumbering creatures for an evil entity’s own good, it would seem that the game starts playing you instead, by tapping your emotion buttons.
Duncan – Dragon Age: Origins
Accompanying the player character for a good portion of their journey is Duncan, the commander of Ferelden’s Grey Wardens. Unlike many on this list, Duncan isn’t given some grand ceremony and nobody really weeps for him, except for those playing “Dragon Age: Origins”. Amidst a fierce battle against the Darkspawn, Duncan and his men are overwhelmed by the horde. Duncan does get one last victory blow as he takes down the towering orc that crushes his King Cailan to death. At the top of the game, he takes on the roll of characters like Obi Wan Kanobi, acting as the lead protagonists’ mentor before his inevitable and tear-inducing death.