- Beloved video game characters that quickly win over audiences may not last long, despite their unique design, warm personality, and impressive strength.
- Fan-favorite characters like Kaede, Shinjiro, and Joel meet untimely and tragic deaths, leaving a void in the hearts of players.
- Characters like Ethan, Ghost, Grey Fox, and Aerith make a lasting impact on players before meeting their unfortunate demise, creating memorable moments in their respective games.
While some video game characters need a few hours to grow on players, others become fan favorites at first sight. Oftentimes, characters that are rough around the edges are meant to slowly show their softer side throughout a game’s story, earning audiences’ sympathy and compassion. However, when a character happens to check all the right boxes for audiences, like having a unique design, warm personality, and impressive strength, it can sometimes mean that character is here for a good time, and perhaps not a long time.
10 Video Game Deaths That Still Haunt Us
Sometimes a video game death scene is so powerful that the game over haunts us for days on end. These 10 examples really stuck with us.
Killing off fan favorites isn’t exactly a new concept and shouldn’t be a complete surprise, but every now and then, a beloved character unceremoniously meets their end right when the game’s events seem to have just gotten started. Here are some fan-favorite video game characters that managed to win over everyone’s hearts despite the short time they had in the spotlight.
Major spoilers ahead!
6 Kaede Akamatsu
Killed: Beginning Of Game (First Execution)
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
The news of Danganronpa V3 was a big deal to long-time fans, as it was the first installment of the main series that was to feature a female protagonist. Kaede quickly became a fan favorite even before the game’s release, giving audiences the female representation they had been wanting for ages.
However, in a dramatic twist, Kaede is found (wrongfully) guilty of the very first murder in the infamous Killing Game. Although Kaede wasn’t actually guilty of committing the first murder on the unsuspecting Rantaro, she was still quickly executed and passed the protagonist torch to the Ultimate Detective, Shuichi Saihara.
5 Shinjiro Aragaki
Killed: Halfway Through Game (Permanently Removed From Party)
- July 13, 2006
Shinjiro Aragaki is Persona 3‘s quintessential “jerk with a heart of gold.” Held back by the guilt of his past with the other Persona-users, Shinji deals with his trauma and sadness by isolating and pushing others away. However, after just a bit of digging, it’s clear that Shinji’s tough-guy act is a front and that behind it all, he is a caring, kindhearted person who would do anything to protect those around him.
However, right when players are finally getting to know the real Shinji (or making him their sweetheart in the female protagonist’s route), Shinji selflessly sacrifices himself to save a fellow S.E.E.S. member’s life, forever leaving a void in both the player’s party and heart.
4 Ethan Winters
Killed: Beginning Of First Game
Ethan Winters was initially made to be a faceless shell for the players to be fully immersed in the world of Resident Evil 7. However, somewhere along the way, he had evolved into a complex, tragic character that forever had a lasting impact on the RE series.
While many other RE protagonists are trained professionals, Ethan begins his journey as a simple man in search of his missing wife, making all the feats he has accomplished that much more admirable. However, before Ethan had his chance to solidify his place among the rest of the beloved RE cast, it was revealed by RE8 that he actually had been dead all along. In a heartbreaking twist, Eveline reveals to Ethan that he is one with the mold found in RE7 and that he had been “dead” for most of the two RE titles he starred in.
3 Ghost (Simon Riley)
Killed: Near Halfway Through Game
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
- November 10, 2009
Ghost (real name Simon Riley) is one of the most prolific characters to come out of the entire Call of Duty series. There was something about the mysterious, masked Brit that charmed players; making them root for him during every scene and mission he was in. However, it was during the fifteenth mission, “Loose Ends,” that the player character (Roach) realizes that General Shepherd intended to betray Task Force 141, too late to stop him from shooting both Ghost and Roach before coldly taking off with the extracted data.
Every Call Of Duty Campaign, Ranked
From the original Call of Duty to the most recent title, the franchise has enjoyed a history of incredible campaigns. For the most part.
By the time the player hears Captain Price’s warning about Shepherd over the radio, it’s too late. Of course, every mission is dangerous, and casualties happen, but the heartbreaking part of Ghost’s death was how close he was to freedom and getting Roach and himself home safely.
2 Grey Fox (Frank Jaeger)
Killed: Beginning Of “Solid” Series
Metal Gear Solid
- October 20, 1998
- Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Grey Fox was initially introduced into the Metal Gear story back in the very first game, during the Outer Heaven incident where a rookie Solid Snake was sent to rescue him. Grey Fox made a return in the second game, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, but this time as an enemy to Snake during the Zanzibar incident, seemingly being left to die after their battle.
Fans were ecstatic to see Grey Fox return once again, still alive and (maybe not so) well, in the first installment of the Metal Gear Solid series. While this new cybernetic version of Grey Fox was by far the most popular, it was also when he had suffered the most. Grey Fox unfortunately only had a single game to show off his new gear, as he then meets his demise at the hands of Liquid Snake and Metal Gear REX near the end of the very first MGS1.
1 Aerith Gainsborough
Killed: End Of First Disc
Final Fantasy 7
- January 31, 1997
Aerith’s sudden death at the end of the first disc of Final Fantasy 7 was a core memory (albeit, not a happy one) for many long-time gamers. Aerith wasn’t just a background character, she was part of Cloud’s main crew and even served as a playable character, making her death not only affect players’ hearts but also their parties.
The game’s initial release was also during a time when easily accessible internet guides were not really an option, leaving players in the dark about whether this death was preventable or not. Many players thought to themselves, “perhaps there’s a way to save her,” replaying the end of the first disc over and over, desperately trying to save their beloved healer.
The 9 Saddest Video Game Deaths
Deaths can be defining in video games and these are the saddest of them all.