Not all video games are violent, but many include the devastating demise of fan-favorite characters. Whether they are a villain, a companion, or even the main character, the loss of life is always affecting. In fact, these types of moments often stick with players long after they've put down their controller or switched off their PC.
Death is the great leveller, and even the most popular video game characters are only (theoretically) mortal, so one day they're going to have to meet their fate. However, not all video game casualties are created equally, so which one is the most memorable?
Aerith Gainsborough is central to the plot of Final Fantasy VII, so both Cloud and the players are in for a shock when Sephiroth descends on her while wielding the Masamune and strikes her down. Her upbeat and positive attitude is a bright spot in an otherwise dark world, so the loss of Aerith is that much more impactful.
Watching the typically reserved and moody Cloud rush to Aerith's side to catch her as she falls lifeless to the floor - all while her theme music plays - is enough to make any player teary-eyed.
Sacrifice is a surefire way to make a character's passing feel memorable, and Tidus is no exception. The protagonist of Final Fantasy X realizes that after he and his companions defeat Yu Yevon, he will also perish as he is part of the Fayth - people who gave their lives to vanquish Sin. His purpose is fulfilled with the defeat of Yu Yevon, and he disappears.
The scene where he slowly fades away into nothing is arguably one of the best cutscenes in the game. He says his goodbyes and hugs Yuna one last time before passing right through her, leaping off the ship into the Farplane to meet the spirits of his friends.
Telltale's The Walking Dead is a somber experience to say the least, and the fate of Lee Everett wraps a nice tear-stained bow around the whole game. After so many in-game hours of apocalyptic survival, Lee gets bitten by a walker and slowly wilts away.
Worse still, he has to say goodbye to young Clementine; depending on the player's choice, she either leaves him to turn or takes up the arm to end his life herself.
The Last of Us sets the tone of the game before the title card even drops. Players take control of a young girl named Sarah who's apparently the daughter of the game's true protagonist. As the outbreak starts and chaos ensues, players navigate through the mayhem and try to keep her safe.
There are no happy endings in The Last of Us, though. Sarah is shot while in her father's arms. He can't protect his daughter and neither can the player.