As the narratives in video games improve, and oh have they improved, fans develop a stronger bond with the characters in them. So when fans develop a stronger bond or empathy with characters, the more devastating the effect if one of those characters were to tragically die. After all, Stephan King says the key to writing an effective narrative is to "kill your darlings." Usually, you can see the deaths coming up, however the following deaths just came so suddenly or brutally that they hurt all the more.
It shouldn't need to be said for the a list like this, but this article contains major shocking spoilers! Best make your heart steel before continuing.
Left 4 Dead 2 - Bill Dies
Left 4 Dead and its sequel were and continue to be the most enjoyable co-op shooters and zombie survival games in recent years. Fans were a bit frustrated when Valve announced left 4 Dead 2 without giving closure to the original group of survivors, though. Through Left 4 Dead 2 DLC, the story of Zoey, Louis, and Francis continued, but there was one character missing—Bill. When the characters from both games crossed paths, Bill was missing, only to be found dead and crumpled up by a generator, telling the silent story of his sacrifice. His sacrifice was later told through the DLC aptly named "The Sacrifice."
Poor Bill, popped one too many pills…
Isara from Valkyria Chronicles
Casualties are common in both video games and warfare. So it is only natural that a video game (especially a JRPG) about war would have some casualties. However, what makes Isara's death so utterly devastating was that she was the youngest of your ragtag squad. Isara falls to a sudden sniper shot from out of nowhere, as commonly happens on the battlefield. After she is shot, they take her to the sniper-proof protection of a tank in which you watch her slowly fade away in her brief moments.
It's one of the moments that make those who played Valkyria Chronicles into such dedicated lifelong fans.
Tidus from Final Fantasy X
I sat here for a solid fifteen minutes debating on if this one counted. Does it count as a shocking death if the character wasn't real in the first place? Would it just be more of a sad ending to a game (because it was)? Regardless, I deem that it counts! Sure, this wasn't exactly a shocking death as the Fayth told you if you kill Sin you were going to disappear, however it still didn't make it any less devastating. You do all that work, save all that world, and boom! You just disappear with your already dead mentor. You don't even get the girl, man.
To be fair, though. If you were going to disappear, nose diving off an airship into the abyss is the way to do it.
Gears of War 3 - Dom's Death
While it may seem that the bro-tastic shooter series that is Gears of War wouldn't have any of those girly moments taking away from the ultra violence and testosterone, it actually did have one moment that may have brought a few tears to many a bro's eye. After Dom discovered the fate of his wife in Gears of War 2, he became a shell of the man he once was in the third game. However, like a true soldier, he stuck by his squads back to help defeat the locust menace. Eventually, the Delta squad gets their backs up against a wall and it looks like no one will survive. Dom sacrifices his life so that his squad can live.
Who knows, maybe Dom was just being selfish so he could finally be with his wife again.
Everyone in Tell Tale's The Walking Dead
Tell Tale has found a way to master the video game narrative, making those that play their episodic games highly involved, attached, and empathetic to their characters. None more than those who play their Walking Dead game. There is something about zombie apocalypses that just make you root for all the characters. Throughout the game, you are tasked with tough decisions, which almost always lead to the death of a character.
The blood is on your hands with those deaths, buddy.
That is essentially what makes every one of them so hard. Especially the ones that you cannot stop even if you wanted to. Oh, Carley…
Aeris from Final Fantasy 7
Anyone who has played Final Fantasy 7 knew this one was coming. Fun fact, it is actually impossible to not include it in a list of shocking video game death, possibly even illegal. It is easily one of the most talked about deaths of all time. It combines a beloved character who has the potential to become a love interest of the main character and the sheer surprise of an unforeshadowed death. You spend all that time trying to find her, and then BAM! There is not much more to say about this death that hasn't already been said in some way.
I personally love watching Aeris die, every time. I'm a Tifa fan and if you understand the interaction between Tifa, Cloud, and Aeris like a woman does, you can plainly see she is a ho. She needed to get got.
Ghost and Roach from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
No matter your opinion on the Call of Duty franchise, there is no denying the sheer power of the scene where Ghost and Roach are killed. You are rushing away with your stealthy friend to not get ripped apart by overwhelming odds, when suddenly your salvation is in front of you. Your commander in a helicopter with his hand reached out to pull you aboard.
When suddenly, out of nowhere, he shoots you both! Players are still conscious as Roach when Ghost and himself are covered in gasoline and burned. It hurts your heart. The betrayal, the sudden death, dying with a brother you have come to know and trust. It hurts. Sadly, the franchise went downhill in story quality after that game.
John Marston from Red Dead Redemption
After everything that polite bandit turned slave to the law John Marston goes through to kill his old bandit friends so he can finally have a peaceful life with his family, they kill him. Those 5-0 pig lawmen kill him! John Marston goes down like a man, staying behind so his family can flee and facing the barrage of bullets standing up. Which, if you had played Red Dead Redemption up until that point, you would expect from him. However, it doesn't make it hurt any less.
There are two lessons to take away from Red Dead Redemption. No amount of good deeds can clean a bad past and don't trust no police.
Lessons to live by.