Before I begin, it is important that you know that this article is full of major spoilers. With that out of the way, we present to you ten surprising deaths throughout gaming history that have had a noticeable emotional impact on gamers. In fact, most normal people probably see the depth of our gamer sorrow and deem it wildly unhealthy.
Aeris (Final Fantasy VII)
It’s an unwritten rule of video game character obituary lists to at least mention what is perhaps that most agonizing death in all of JRPG-dom. Yes, Aeris (or Aerith) from Final Fantasy VII dies at the end of the first disc, and we all cried. So there you have it; I have officially fulfilled my duty in the “mentioning Aeris at least once” department. Now let’s move on.
The Joker (Batman: Arkham City)
Sure, the Joker was never really some damsel in distress or some misunderstood hero, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t completely blindsided by his death at the end of Arkham City. And it was no less shocking when the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC ended with no surprise cameo in sight. We’re pretty sure that even Batman himself never saw this one coming.
Metroid (Super Metroid)
Nintendo struck pure gaming gold with Super Metroid on the SNES. Samus Aran traversed hours of perilous platforming action hot on the trail of the baby Metroid, only to find a shattered tube that once contained it. This led to one of the most shocking moments in early gaming as the now-adult Metroid sacrificed itself to give you its life force so you could destroy the infamous Mother Brain.
Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)
Talk about walking into one hell of a setup. From the very beginning of Shadow of the Colossus, Wander is unwittingly on a path to destruction as he slays giant beasts in order to save someone dear. The end result was both shocking and tragic as he became the very monsters he sought to destroy. Sure, he was reborn as some weird little demon baby thing, but that doesn’t make his death any less tragic.
Mordin Solus (Mass Effect 3)
I know Mass Effect is full of choices, and it’s up to you to mold your own ending, but I’m referring to my own personal experience here. In Mass Effect 3, when Mordin seized the opportunity to redeem his race by reversing the crippling effects of the Genophage on the Krogan race, he knew that he would not be returning to rendezvous with the rest of the crew.
Bill (Left 4 Dead 2)
Few video game moments were more shocking than coming across Bill’s lifeless body near one of the generators in Left 4 Dead 2. With little to no explanation, fans were left wondering how he met his fate until new DLC followed. We couldn’t help but get attached to Bill’s witty remarks and in-your-face attitude in the original Left 4 Dead, and finding out he didn’t survive simply broke our hearts. I think it’s safe to say he will be missed.
John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
Whether or not you chose an ultimately redemptive path for Red Dead Redemption’s John Marston, you couldn’t escape his inevitable fate at the end of the game. This one hit us especially hard, since this event put his son Jack on the very path that Marston worked so hard to protect him from throughout the entire game. Oh, the irony!
Lee Everett (The Walking Dead)
Raising a child is no small task. Now just imagine how those responsibilities are amplified by a zombie apocalypse.
Based on the player’s choices, Lee Everett can be either a loving father figure or a no-punches-held brute, but no matter what you choose, “Clementine will remember.” It all leads to an inevitable “death” that will play tragically sad songs on our heartstrings for years to come. Hopefully you raised Clementine well.
Desmond Miles (Assassin’s Creed III)
If you’ve been playing the Assassins Creed series, it’s probably safe to say that you’ve invested more than just a few hours of gameplay. You’ve surely grown attached to several characters that have all met fates that left them bewildered as to what their own piece of the conspiracy puzzle ultimately meant. The end result (so far, anyway) is that all this leads to a great truth and a sad sacrifice by Desmond Miles in hopes of saving the world from destruction.
Big Boss (Metal Gear Solid 4)
The complexities leading up to Big Boss’s final moment are worthy of an entire article of their own. In an attempt to sum it up in a single paragraph, though, let’s just say he’s a character who’s had to sacrifice every part of his being—mind, body, and soul—in order to do what he felt was right for his country. Obviously, Big Boss’s death can’t be summed up in one word, or even in this extremely vague paragraph, but it is one event that will be remembered forever by true Metal Gears fans.