Some video game deaths are so emotional that they stay in our memories forever. These 13 characters have some of the saddest deaths in all of gaming.
Lee Everett (The Walking Dead)
In a game about making choices, the player shapes what kind of person Lee Everett becomes. Regardless of decisions, Lee helps the young girl Clementine and is determined to protect her with his own life, if necessary.
When he becomes infected and close to turning into the living dead, the player must make a tough choice: have Clementine shoot Lee to prevent him from potentially harming her, or tell Clementine to leave him to prevent her from experiencing the trauma of murdering him. Both options are very much tear-inducing.
Roach and Ghost (Modern Warfare 2)
In one of the biggest betrayals in gaming, playable character Gary “Roach” Sanderson and the likable Lieutenant Simon “Ghost” Riley are shot point-blank by General Shepherd. Shepherd, who previously fought alongside the men, wants to take credit for their mission and be seen as a national hero.
Roach and Ghost’s bodies are soaked in gasoline and burned to destroy all evidence, and what makes it worse is that it is all shown through Roach’s perspective, meaning he probably meets his fate by burning to death. Shepherd’s senseless betrayal makes their deaths incredibly sad and infuriating.
Related: Saddest Deaths in Video Games on The Mary Sue
Aunt May (Spider-Man)
May, the aunt of our protagonist Peter Parker, is only a supporting character in Spider-Man, yet her death is extremely emotional. She becomes infected with the disease that is spreading throughout the city, and she continues to help others until the very end due to her selflessness.
Before her death, May reveals to Peter than she always knew he was Spider-Man. Having one dose of antiserum to save her, he must make the difficult decision of letting her die in order to use the antiserum to cure the plague.
Chloe Price (Life is Strange)
Chloe can die multiple times in Life is Strange, or not at all, depending on the choices you make as her best friend Max. One of the most notable times is during the alternate timeline in which she is paralyzed with a collapsing respiratory system, and you can choose to honor her request to end her suffering.
Even sadder is at the end of the game if you can decide to go back in time and sacrifice her to prevent a powerful storm from destroying Arcadia Bay. In this situation, Nathan Prescott shoots and kills Chloe, and she dies alone on the bathroom floor thinking nobody will even miss her.
Baby Metroid (Super Metroid)
It might seem odd that a non-human character that is supposed to be an enemy can have such a depressing death, but here we are. The baby Metroid that Samus raised from a hatchling after it imprinted on her is kidnapped by Ridley at the beginning of Super Metroid.
At the end of the game, Samus is reunited with her adopted child; the baby Metroid saves her at the last moment, sacrificing itself by giving her all of its energy. Mother Brain then shoots at the baby Metroid, killing it instantly, and its remaining particles fall onto Samus like snow.
Nicole Brennan (Dead Space)
Nicole is the girlfriend of protagonist Isaac Clarke, and much of their communication in the game is through video logs as she works on helping survivors of the outbreak.
Isaac is led to believe she is still alive until he watches a video log of her committing suicide to avoid being killed and converted by Necromorphs. Isaac’s guilt over her death and the betrayal by Kendra are the driving forces for the remainder of the game.
Dom Santiago (Gears of War 3)
Despite his tragic past, Dom is an outgoing and likable member of his squad. His death is incredibly sad, especially since he also sacrifices himself to save others.
When he and his squadmates find themselves trapped in a hopeless situation, Dom drives his truck into a fuel tank, causing it to explode, which kills both himself and the Locust enemies. His final words are to his wife, which makes it even sadder since he knows he is dying in order to save her.
Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)
In Shadow of the Colossus, the player takes on the role of a boy named Wander whose goal is to slay sixteen colossi in order to resurrect a girl named Mono.
Wander succeeds, though it is clear that his mission has profoundly affected him. In an emotional end to his journey, he is seen as possessed and is killed, so sadly he does not get the chance to reunite with Mono as he intended to.
Vesemir (The Witcher 3)
Vesemir is the experienced father-figure to Geralt and one of the oldest witchers known. In the Witcher 3, Vesemir is killed while trying to fight off the Wind Hunt in Kaer Morhen.
Ciri, princess of Cintra, is prepared to surrender herself to save Vesemir, but instead, he stabs his opponent to save her. In retaliation, his neck his snapped and he is killed instantly. It’s a devastating loss because the player thinks for a moment that he will in fact be saved.
Sarah (The Last of Us)
Many characters’ deaths in The Last of Us are emotional, but the first one hits harder the rest. Sarah, the young daughter of the protagonist Joel, is killed within the first 15 minutes of the game while the two try to escape the city.
Sarah is shot by a solider and bleeds to death in Joel’s arms. Her death is powerful because it sets the tone for the game early: nobody is safe, no matter how young and innocent, and it teaches you that you can only do so much to protect the ones you love in this apocalyptic world.
Mordin Solus (Mass Effect 3)
Mordin Solus, the salarian scientist and professor, is the amiable recruit and friend of Commander Shepherd. There are certain conditions in which he can be saved, but most endings have him dying heroically after the player has built a bond with him.
His death is exceptionally tragic: he sacrifices himself by climbing to the top of a tower to ensure the cure he created is properly distributed before dying in an explosion. “Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong” were his last heart-wrenching words to Commander Shepherd.
Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII)
Arguably one of the saddest deaths in the entire Final Fantasy series, Aerith’s murder is unexpected and devastating. She is a popular character due to her kind nature, and the scene in which she dies has a strong emotional impact on the player.
Sephiroth, the game’s villain, attempts to control the hero Cloud and force him to kill Aerith. Cloud resists, but Sephiroth appears anyway and murders her by impaling her with his sword. The shock value puts it at the forefront of players’ minds when they think of depressing deaths in gaming.
Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)
Arthur Morgan, the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption 2, can experience a powerful transformation in his character throughout the game, starting as a ruthless outlaw and growing into an altruistic hero.
He knows he will die after his tuberculosis diagnosis, so his death isn’t surprising; instead, it’s sad because you know his time is limited and you can’t stop it from happening. Morgan ends his life as a hero, selflessly saving John Marston and his family from Micah Bell.