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.
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.
John Marston is the protagonist of the first Red Dead Redemption, so players naturally spend a lot of time with him. After the main events of the game, John finds himself on the bureau and US Army's hitlist. They strike his ranch, and John realizes the only way to save his family is to sacrifice himself.
It's difficult to forget watching John walk out of his barn to meet the firing squad. Though his life comes to a grisly end, he can rest easy knowing he kept his family safe.
After spending the entire game with Arthur Morgan, there is nothing the player can do to save him. No matter which of the four endings the player gets, the hardened outlaw's fate is inescapable. Either Micah takes Arthur's life or Arthur eventually succumbs to tuberculosis, ending the adventure once and for all.
It is easy to grow attached to Arthur, wanting a better life for the misfortunate outlaw. He has seen so much adversity already, so ending his story with his own demise seems both fitting and terrible.