Feature

Characters Who Died Under Our Watch, Part 2

by Joe Juba on May 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Sometimes characters don't have a reserve of extra guys to give them a second chance. Sometimes, they just die. When its set up as an integral part of a game's narrative, watching a beloved character die can be a moment that is simultaneously memorable and heart-wrenching. We've paid our respects to departed heroes before, but a lot of games have come out between then and now. Several new characters have fallen, and we're here to bid them a fond farewell. Note: This article is full of SPOILERS, so read at your own risk.

Johnny Gat

In a selfless move that saves the lives of other Saints, Johnny Gat single-handedly steals a plane and holds off an advancing crew of rival gang members. It turns out to be too much for the hotheaded Gat (who played key roles in both previous Saints Row titles), but at least he dies doing what loves: shooting. Or does he? Given the fact that players never witness his death, speculation about whether or not Johnny Gat actually kicked the bucket runs rampant. Until Saints Row IV resolves the debate, he goes on the list. We owe him that.

Lee Everett

Whether you know The Walking Dead from the comic, the show, or the game, you're familiar with one consistent truth: people die. Even so, that knowledge doesn't dull the pain from this shocker. After spending five episodes fighitng off walkers and protecting Clementine, Lee gets the lethal bite that seals his fate. When this happens to a central character, you almost some sort of serendipitous event to save them at the last minute ("Great news, Lee! We found a cure!"), but no such luck. At least he gets the chance to exchange some final words with Clem.

Cole MacGrath

Players are presented with two choices at the end if Infamous 2. In the canonical ending, Cole activates a device that kills almost all of the conduits (i.e. super-powered people) in the world, himself included. It seems like a high price to pay, but the death of those thousands save billions, since the device also wipes out a deadly plague. Zeke takes Cole's body out on the ocean to say goodbye, and their boat is struck by a lighting bolt, hinting that Cole may be alive. Like Johnny Gat, we're going to keep Cole on the Dead List until Infamous 3 proves us wrong.

Booker DeWitt

As realities bend around Booker and Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite, it becomes clear that the villain Comstock is more than he appears. In the last scene, Elizabeth reveals that killing Comstock doesn't solve anything, because there are an infinite number of Comstocks spread out among dimensions. The only way to stop him is to kill him before he became Comstock...when he was called Booker DeWiit, and looking for salvation. To close the loop, Booker forgoes his baptism and rebirth and allows multiple Elizabeths to drown him.

Commander Shepard (for real this time)

If a player was really terrible at Mass Effect 2, there was a chance Shepard could die at the end. That was enough to get the character on our last list, but Shepard earns another spot after the events of Mass Effect 3. Faced with three choices to stop the extinction of humanity (and some other races), Shepard needs to decide what shape the galaxy's future will take. Will it result in the loss of all inorganic life? Will humans and AI become one weird species? In most cases, no matter what the player chooses, Shepard's life is the price.

Anyone Max Payne Is Supposed To Protect

Whether it's his family, Mona Sax, or the Brancos, teaming up with Max Payne is practically a death sentence. The deaths of practically everyone around Max are interesting because the real sense of loss comes from someplace surprising. Players get attached to these characters, but instead of feeling sorry for losing them, the real tragedy is how their deaths affect Max. Remember when Max was just a carefree, smiling family man? Every person he loses chips a little more humanity away, and it's sad to see what's left of him.

Cortana

In Halo 4, Master Chief is once gain saving humanity...except this time, that isn't his biggest problem. Cortana, the AI who has been with him since the series began, is on the verge of becoming rampant (aka "crazy"). She believes that it might be possible to repair her, but as their mission progresses and her condition worsens, the outlook grows increasingly grim. At the end, she sacrifices herself to defeat the Didact and save Master Chief, but the victory is a hollow one. The day may be saved again, but Master Chief loses his only real friend.