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Top 10 Shocking Video Game Deaths (ft. Todd Haberkorn)

VO: Todd Haberkorn WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
We can guarantee no one saw these Video Game deaths coming! Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 shocking video game deaths. In this list we'll be looking at games such as Batman: Arkham City, The Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.

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There are some things you just can’t prepare yourself for. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking Video Game Deaths.

For this list, we’re looking at the times when video game characters were killed off totally out of the blue. As long as nobody saw it coming and the death in question is permanent, then it’s liable to make the cut. It goes without saying, but there are major spoilers ahead. You have been warned!

#10: The Joker

“Batman: Arkham City” (2011)

For as long as we can remember, the Joker has constantly tested the Dark Knight’s moral code; making him question if it wouldn’t be in everyone’s best interests to do away with the Clown Prince of Crime. That being said, nobody expected that the Joker would ever actually die, let alone in a critically acclaimed video game series like Arkham. At the conclusion of “Arkham City,” Joker seals his own fate by accidentally destroying the cure for his own self-inflicted blood disease. It’s the least he deserves for all the people he’s murdered, yet watching Batman symbolically carry his lifeless body fills us with a twisted sense of sorrow. Who’s laughing now?

#9: The Rapture Booker DeWitt

“BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea” (2013-14)

The Booker-is-Comstock revelation was shocking enough on its own, but Elizabeth’s subsequent quest to kill every version of her father across all their alternate realities was a whole other level of horrific. After spending the first episode in Rapture’s underbelly looking for Sally (a young girl Booker lost while gambling) Elizabeth suddenly turns on her companion. As it happens, Sally's been turned into a Little Sister, and has her Big Daddy murder Booker while Elizabeth stands by and watches callously. It’s made even worse by the fact this version of Elizabeth is also killed, though we don’t find this out until Episode Two. Jeez, even Columbia is starting to look happier by comparison!

#8: Eli Palmer

“Far Cry 5” (2018)

It’s fair to say that the majority of protagonists found in FPS' are also mass murderers. The “Far Cry” franchise is certainly no exception; and while you generally get to choose who you do and don’t kill, “Far Cry 5” decided to take all that agency away. After another mind-bending encounter with Jacob Seed, the Deputy is brainwashed into murdering ally Eli Palmer. Eli’s death won’t necessarily pull on anybody’s heartstrings, but as the leader of the local militia battling the Seeds, he was still a pretty likeable character and vital to the cause – making his death at your own hands come straight out of left field.

#7: Sarah

“The Last of Us” (2013)

Naughty Dog certainly knew the perfect, soul-shattering way to prepare us for the darkness of this masterpiece, and it all took place within the opening thirty minutes. After being introduced to Joel and the adorable relationship he has with his twelve-year-old daughter Sarah, the game proceeded to rip it all away via one hell of a prologue. After their car crashes in the middle of a pseudo-zombie apocalypse, Joel flees with Sarah, only for them to be cornered by a soldier under orders to shoot anybody he comes across – infected or not. While Joel survives the encounter, Sarah isn’t so lucky, and bleeds out right in front of her father's eyes.

#6: Ethan Forrester

“Game of Thrones” (2014)

In keeping with the tradition of the books and the show, Telltale Games aimed to continue George R. R. Martin’s habit of killing off as many characters as possible, as shockingly as possible. Despite this, Ethan Forrester’s brutal murder at the hands of Ramsay Snow still came out of nowhere – mainly because Ethan was only a kid. Attempting to gain the Forresters’ lands after the death of the family patriarch at the infamous Red Wedding, the Bastard of Bolton ends up going to his usual extreme when he violently stabs Ethan in the neck. Whelp, so much for negotiations.

#5: Dominic Santiago

“Gears of War 3” (2011)

This endearing soldier spent most of the series searching for his missing wife Maria, a character arc we were pretty sure was going to end in tragedy. Turns out his depressed wife disappeared after their children were killed by the Locusts on Emergence Day, paving the way for Dom’s highly personal stake in the ongoing war. His story doesn’t get better from there, as it’s ultimately revealed that his wife was converted into a Locust. In “Gears of War 3” he truly becomes a martyr for the cause, sacrificing himself to strike a blow to the Locusts and rescue his comrades.

#4: 2B

“NieR: Automata” (2017)

Considering this game has numerous branching paths (boasting a different ending for every letter of the alphabet) not everyone will have been witness to this particular demise. As the logic virus causes chaos among the YoRHa androids, primary character 2B finds herself infected with it, facing a slow and agonising death as a result. While the game offers some hope that 2B may overcome the virus, this never comes to fruition. Subsequently, the rogue unit A2 becomes the game’s replacement hero after she mercy kills 2B. Unfortunately when third protagonist 9S witnesses this, he misunderstands the situation, swearing revenge. We know how you feel Nines, 2B truly was the android of our dreams.

#3: John Marston

“Red Dead Redemption” (2010)

Nowadays, Rockstar have a bit of a reputation for killing off their main characters – but the tragedy of outlaw John Marston was something nobody was expecting. After he finishes assisting government agents track down and kill the members of his old gang, our favorite cowboy was promised a peaceful life, only to be betrayed at the last moment. John’s last stand ends in him outgunned and shot to pieces, serving as a punch in the gut for everyone rooting for him to finally escape his violent past once and for all. At least we can take solace in the fact he was able to save his family...

#2: Ghost & Roach

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” (2009)

General Shepherd has a special place down in video game hell. After all, he’s a traitor, the cause of most of the problems in Modern Warfare’s narrative, and lest we forget; he murdered Task 141 soldiers Roach and Ghost! Revealing his true colors with his untimely betrayal, Shepherd continues fanning the flames of the US’s destructive war with Russia. While he does get his just-desserts in the form of a well-aimed knife to the eye, that doesn’t lessen the blow this vindictive and insane superior officer dealt.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:

Lucy Stillman
“Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” (2010)

Goro Akechi
“Persona 5” (2017)

#1: Aeris

“Final Fantasy VII” (1997)

Sephiroth doesn’t have a reputation as one of gaming’s most diabolical villains for nothing, you know. No, we’re not talking about the time he destroyed Cloud’s entire village. If your personal stake in the story wasn’t high enough already, then just wait until you see the One Winged Angel descend from above and impale everyone’s favourite party member. Brutally stabbed while trying to summon the only spell capable of thwarting Sephiroth’s plans, Aeris’ death is one of the most distressing scenes to ever be rendered in a video game. Just you wait Sephiroth, you won’t be smiling when I go Haber Strife on your ass!

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