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Game Characters Who Sadly Died In 2020

In many video games, narrative and mechanics are only part of the equation. Without memorable characters, a video game might not have much of an impact. If it weren't for Nathan Drake's lovable doofiness and everyman charm, gamers might not care about the Uncharted franchise or even the developer Naughty Dog. If Far Cry 3's Vaas Montenegro hadn't been a charismatically psychopathic fruit loop, gamers might not cherish the game — and Ubisoft probably wouldn't keep copying its systems for subsequent Far Cry titles.

However, all good things must come to an end. Real humans don't live forever, and neither do video game characters. The difference is, video game developers have full control over the fates of their creations. Sometimes these deaths are heartbreaking. Sometimes they're satisfying. Sometimes they're even a mix of the two.

Here are all the important video game characters who sadly died in 2020. Just be warned: There are spoilers ahead.

Joel - The Last of Us Part 2

The Last of Us is a brutal take on a zombie apocalypse. Some people try to retain their humanity while surviving hordes of ex-humans, while others gladly shrug off their morals to stave off death for a few more days. Joel is the epitome of the latter, and whether you like it or not, he receives his just deserts in The Last of Us Part 2.

In The Last of Us, Joel starts off as a character who only cares for himself. However, when he is forced to escort Ellie, they connect, and he seemingly begins to view her as a surrogate daughter. But then he kills doctors and guards who want to sacrifice Ellie and use her biopsied brain to manufacture a vaccine that could exterminate the cordyceps zombie plague. In the end, Joel selfishly saves Ellie, and that costs humanity a promising chance at survival.

Fast forward to The Last of Us Part 2, and Joel meets Abby, whose father was killed by Joel before he could operate on Ellie. Abby spent many years searching for Joel, and he just shows up in front of her like a gift-wrapped sign of providence. So she does what any revenge-driven person would do: blows off his knee and beats him to death with a golf club. Thus Joel's life — full of tragedy, bad decisions, and failed repentance — comes to an abrupt end in The Last of Us Part 2.

Lord Shimura (if you choose to kill him) - Ghost of Tsushima

In Ghost of Tsushima, everything ties back to Lord Shimura. You play as Jin Sakai, the nephew of Lord Shimura. You participate in a brutal rush at Lord Shimura's command that ends in crushing defeat. Invading Mongols capture Lord Shimura and torture him. And, most important of all, even though Lord Shimura taught Jin a strict code of samurai honor, Jin throws it all away to drive back the Mongols, rescue Lord Shimura, and free his land.

To be fair, Jin's gamble pays off. Despite abandoning a code of honor he once cherished, he achieves more by abandoning his samurai ways than he ever did by following them. Jin discards Lord Shimura's teachings to save Lord Shimura, and what does he get in return? Lord Shimura's disapproval. Even worse, a shogun demands Lord Shimura kill Jin for the crime of casting aside his honor.

Since Lord Shimura is a slave to honor, he refuses to take Jin's head without a fight. If players win the duel, Lord Shimura requests that Jin kills him to prove Jin still has some honor. While players can spare Lord Shimura if they choose, they can fulfill Lord Shimura's wish and kill him. There is a sad irony behind the act of saving a man, only to have him demand you kill him to prove your honor.

Jessie and Wedge (maybe) - Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Many gamers expected a beat-for-beat retelling with Final Fantasy 7 Remake. However, the game remixes the original's plot and weaves the changes into a new metanarrative about the main characters trying to defy destiny, and reality taking offense to their free will.

Throughout Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the game's reality uses spectral agents (i.e., Whispers) to ensure events play out as they did in the original Final Fantasy 7, including character deaths. For instance, players team up with Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge, all of whom are still members of the eco-terrorist group Avalanche. They still fight against the Shinra Electric Power Company and risk their lives to protect innocent civilians from Shinra's illegal activities.

In the original Final Fantasy 7, Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge die defending the slums of Midgar from Shinra, but in the remake, only Jessie dies. Wedge avoids his original fate of falling to his death, but reality goes Final Destination on him and uses Whispers to suck him out a high tower window. However, players never see his body, so Wedge's death is more implied than definitive. As for Biggs, the game ends by revealing he escapes death. Plus, some gamers spotted a small detail and took it as a sign Jessie is still alive.

Audiences might have to wait for the next entry in the remake saga before we learn if Wedge and Jessie truly died.

Midas (probably) - Fortnite

After Epic Games prefaced Fortnite's second chapter with a black hole that consumed servers and gamer attention spans, audiences thought they had seen every trick in the Fortnite playbook. Then for the second season of the game's second chapter, Fortnite went for a super spy theme, complete with mastermind Midas at the helm. This man created a device he hoped would destroy the Storm that repeatedly consumes the map, but he flooded the game's island instead.

You would assume that Epic Games had big plans for Midas. He might not have succeeded, but Midas isn't the kind of guy who gives up easily. However, his story had apparently run its course in Fortnite. After ten weeks of life, Midas came face to face with the hungry business end of a shark. No epic confrontation, just a quick demise in the Fortnite Chapter 2 – Season 3 trailer.

Of course, masterminds in super spy movies have a tendency to survive seemingly fatal events, so he could be alive. Then again, shark attacks tend to be as sudden as they are deadly. Whether or not the shark actually killed Midas, he will always remain alive in the hearts of little children, especially those who wear the Midas skin during Fortnite matches.

The real Kasumi - Persona 5 Royal

One of Persona 5 Royal's selling points was the promise of new teammate Kasumi Yoshizawa. Much of the game's marketing material featured her front and center, but as it turns out, players were sold a lie — sort of. It's complicated.

At a certain point in the game, players discover Kasumi's dark secret: She is actually the twin sister of the real Kasumi, Sumire Yoshizawa. Before the game's events, the real Kasumi saved Sumire from an oncoming car at the cost of her own life. Grief-stricken, Sumire visited a psychiatrist. Normally, this would result in the psychiatrist helping her move on from the tragedy, but the Persona franchise filed a restraining order against normalcy a long time ago.

As luck would have it, Sumire's psychiatrist had a Persona that could alter people's cognition, literally letting them view the past through rose tinted glasses and thus perceiving a different, "happier" present reality. However, this power has strange effects on certain people, and in Sumire's case, it made her think she was Kasumi.

While players never meet the real Kasumi, Sumire's enforced delusion kept what was left of Kasumi alive. When the truth bomb twists the plot around, the last remnants of Kasumi finally die.

Coqui and Rezek - Disintegration

Disintegration is an first-person shooter and real-time strategy hybrid where you pilot gravcycles — actually floating weapon platforms — and command squads of robotic soldiers (who have squishy human brains). Even though its single player campaign introduces a variety of characters, the game isn't afraid to kill them off.

Disintegration's campaign focuses on a ragtag team of reluctant heroes trying to defeat Black Shuck and his army. The self-appointed levity dispenser, Coqui, volunteers for a solo mission to retrieve a powerful MacGuffin: the preserved brain of a roboticist. Unfortunately, Black Shuck capitalizes on the mission and kills Coqui. Players can revive fallen allies, but since Black Shuck skewers Coqui's brain during a cutscene, there's no saving him.

Players are naturally driven to fill Black Shuck full of holes. However, instead of killing him, the main character drags Black Shuck's mangled body back to HQ. This unintentionally leads to the death of another character, Rezek. Black Shuck goads Rezek into fixing him in exchange for the safety of Rezek's friends and family. Black Shuck is anything but a man of his word, however. He betrays Rezek and kills him, too.

Unfortunately, Disintegration ends before players confront Black Shuck again, so everyone who played the game will have to wait for a sequel to avenge Coqui and Rezek.

Soldier - Team Fortress 2

If a voice actor is talented enough, they can instil the spark of humanity in a character and immortalize them. If the actor's performance is truly breathtaking, players will associate the voice with that character, sometimes to the point of honoring the character to mourn the actor's passing — even though the character is alive and well in their fictional world.

In April 2020, Rick May died after contracting COVID-19. He is best known for the roles of Star Fox 64's Peppy Hare and — more recently — Team Fortress 2's Soldier. In every Team Fortress 2 match, Soldier is shot, stabbed, exploded, and flambéed multiple times; but he has yet to die within the game's canon — and lore expanding comics. However, when May died, the TF2 community treated May's passing as though Soldier had died for the last time and wasn't coming back.

Content creators poured their love for May's portrayal of Soldier into tribute videos and art, and many players held in-game memoriams. Gamers still use Soldier to rain down rockets in Team Fortress 2, but for a short time, the internet acted as though May and Soldier were one and the same, and mourned the deaths of both.

Ryo Aoki - Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon starts off simply, and as the story progresses, the plot weaves a complicated web of backstabs, conspiracies, and side stories about adult diapers. Typical weird Yakuza fair. The story revolves around the main character, Ichiban Kasuga, who willingly went to prison to save his yakuza clan head's son. However, during Ichiban's incarceration, the son died, except not really. He faked his death, assumed a new identity (Ryo Aoki), and became Tokyo's governor.

You might assume Aoki became a politician to distance himself from his yakuza past, but you know what they say: A tiger can't change its stripes. He's just as corrupt as he always was, and it's up to Kasuga to stop him. The game climaxes as Aoki is exposed and almost commits suicide, but Kasuga talks him down and convinces him to surrender. Happy ending, right? If he's on this list, that's a great big "No."

Right after Aoki makes all the arrangements to hand himself over to the police, Aoki's loyal lackey Souta Kume walks in from off-screen and fatally shanks him in the liver. Aoki bleeds out in Kasuga's arms, albeit at peace.

Everyone - The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope

In most Supermassive Games titles, you control a host of characters, make choices that impact relationships, and try to get everyone out alive. The more characters who live, the better the ending, with the best endings reserved for players who ensure all protagonists survive the night. But the latest entry in The Dark Picture Anthology series, Little Hope, is rigged from the start.

Little Hope starts with a house fire that kills an entire family. The game then time skips many years forward when their doppelgangers are trapped in the town of Little Hope. They search for a missing bus driver and are hounded by demons that look like them. The mystery builds as you try to discover the connection between the look-alike demons and the time-displaced doppelgangers. The answer is mundane, yet terrifying: guilt-fueled delusion.

No matter who "lives" or "dies" in Little Hope, each ending reveals that all along, one character — the bus driver — was the tragic house fire's sole survivor. Everyone else is just a mental phantom based on the family members he lost that day. They haven't been alive for years, but his guilt won't let them die.

The Tinkerer - Spider-Man: Miles Morales

People close to superheroes named Spider-Man have a habit of dying. Peter Parker lost his Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy (among others, depending on continuity), and the curse extends to the other Spider-Men/Women. Case in point: Miles Morales. In Into the Spider-Verse, Miles' Uncle Aaron is killed, and in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Miles loses his best friend — who also serves as his worst enemy. It's a running Spider-trope.

Early into the game, players are introduced to Miles' girlfriend Phin, as well as the game's main antagonist, The Tinkerer. Later, the audience — and Miles — learn the two characters are one and the same, and Miles also reveals his identity to Phin. This eventually leads to a climactic battle between Miles, Phin, and an overloading power reactor. Before the reactor can turn Harlem into Chernobyl, Miles absorbs the energy, which prevents the meltdown but starts overloading his body.

Instead of running away, Phin makes the ultimate sacrifice and launches Miles and herself into the atmosphere, where Miles can unleash the energy with minimal casualties. Miles survives the explosion — and terminal velocity fall — but Phin does not. It's more heroic a death than most Spider-Man characters receive.

Ivarr - Assassin's Creed Valhalla

One of Assassin's Creed Valhalla's most eccentric characters is Ivarr Ragnarsson, better known as Ivarr the Boneless. Based on the real Ivarr the Boneless who purportedly couldn't walk due to brittle bone disease, the game's Mickey Rourke look-alike has a penchant for torturing Saxxon spies and flaying kings alive. Throughout the game, Ivarr serves as a faithful, if crass, ally in your quest to conquer medieval Britain. Until you have to kill him.

Despite helping Eivor, Ivarr is a ticking time bomb of murder. He eventually goes too far and kills innocent people in cold blood, just to get back at the man who gave him a scar. These acts of savagery force Eivor to accept Ivarr's fight to the death challenge. What follows is a long and bloody battle that involves numerous plunges off cliffs and more than a few cheap shots from Ivarr.

However, since Eivor is the main character of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, they eventually win, kill Ivarr, and send him off to Valhalla in a blaze of glory atop a funeral pyre ship. You can't get more Viking than that.

Jackie Welles - Cyberpunk 2077

When CD Projekt Red unveiled Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay, the studio also introduced gamers to V's literal partner in crime Jackie Welles. The 48-minute video showed how Jackie and V complimented each other and became a deadly duo. Cut to E3 2019, and CD Projekt Red showed off another trailer, this time featuring the death of Jackie, the victim of a job gone wrong.

Given Cyberpunk 2077's (and The Witcher 3's) open-ended nature, this had to be only one possible outcome out of many, right? No, turns out the company spoiled Jackie's ultimate fate a year before release.

No matter how V and Jackie meet in-game, whether they are longtime friends or find themselves on different sides of a gun, they are eventually hired by Dexter DeShawn to steal a biochip. Regardless of what happens in the heist, the job goes south, and Jackie is fatally wounded. You can decide what to do with Jackie's body, but you can't make any prior choices that don't end up with him six feet under.

On the bright side, Johnny Silverhand steps into Jackie's second-stringer shoes shortly after they're vacated. Although, that might be a cold consolation since Jackie is flesh and blood and Johnny isn't.