Players normally expect a decent story-line when it comes to their games, especially when it comes to RPGs. Nobody wants re-skinned versions of older games that are slightly upgraded being released year after year; we’re not all Call of Duty fans, obviously.
With a great story, however, comes some emotional baggage on the side of characters and their over-arching plot; times when the character has to go through emotional anguish in order to move their story forward in some way. And it’s times like these where gamers collectively got something in their eye. We totally didn’t cry, we swear. We just, uh…the sun was in our eyes.
Obviously, spoilers ahead. And you might need a tissue, for all of that ‘dust’ in your eyes. Here are some of the most emotional video game moments in history.
Aerith’s Death – Final Fantasy VII
You can’t have a list of emotional video game moments without bringing up Aerith’s death in Final Fantasy VII – at this point, it’s almost a cliché. However, there’s a reason why Aerith’s death is almost always brought up – for many, it was the first big emotional moment they experienced in a video game and it hit deep.
Throughout the course of FFVII, players formed an emotional bond with all of the main characters in the game. And that hatred for Sephiroth had to be borne out of something, with his typical ‘I’m going to destroy the world!’ motives not being nearly enough for gamers.
Clearly, something had to be done for players to care about Sephiroth meeting his end and that seed of hatred sprouted with his heartless murder of Aerith. The fact that he took the life of one of the best healers in the entire franchise only adds a sense of irony to the death.
Max Finds Peace – Max Payne 3
When we first meet Max Payne, his life is on the verge of being upended and left in ruins. As we start off the first entry in the trilogy, Max is about to find his wife and child murdered. It’s from here that we follow Max through the seedy underground in a booze and pill fuelled quest for vengeance.
All throughout Max’s story, we expect him to succumb once he finally takes out who he feels is responsible for his wrongdoings. Years of rampant drug and alcohol abuse finally taking its toll on the protagonist. By the finale, Max has been haunted by the death of his family.
After years, we wouldn’t expect Max to finally keel over once taking out the bad guys; however, what we get is Max, finally after getting the vengeance he rightfully deserves, walking off into the sunset, beginning the new, quieter life that he so painfully needs.
Cortana’s Death – Halo 4
Throughout the Halo franchise, Master Chief and Cortana went together as well as an HD TV and a new console; they fit together seamlessly, and once you have them together, it’s hard not seeing one without the other. But that’s exactly what 343 Industries decided to give us with Halo 4.
The finale of Halo 4 was shocking, but not entirely so; after spending years with Master Chief – and players – Cortana is succumbing to Rampancy, the AI version of Dementia. Players expect either a mournful bowing for Cortana or Master Chief to find a cure.
343 still manages to bring a twist to the installment, however, teasing a death of Master Chief that never actually happens. Cortana turns herself into a sacrificial lamb in order to ensure that our protagonist is able to continue defending the galaxy, albeit defending it without his chief confidant.
Dom’s Death – Gears Of War 3
With his wife’s death being the emotional low point of the previous entry, the developers of Gears of War 3 needed to outdo themselves. While the eradication of the Locust was obviously a must, the developers needed to wrap up some individual storylines first, with Dom and chief protagonist Marcus’ stories being the most vital.
While Marcus needed to find and save his father, Dom needed redemption; he needed to not only do his duty as a soldier but also as a widower grieving over the loss of his wife. Trying to single-handedly take out the Locust Horde seemed his only way of doing that.
With him making peace with his wife at her family grave, Dom needed to redeem himself in his own eyes. He has to do what he can to ensure the Locust were defeated. With his team cornered and no other options, Dom saw only one way to ensure the defeat of the enemy; taking an armored car and driving it through several dozen Locust before it explodes leaving him dead, but joining his wife in the afterlife.
Clementine – The Walking Dead (Season One)
Throughout the entire first and second season of Telltale’s Walking Dead series, we’re shown just how vulnerable Clementine is; after all, she’s just a child stuck in the middle of the apocalypse, heavily dependent on her older saviors. During this time, though, we see her grow as a character and she’s able to handle herself when she needs to.
As much as we see her grow, it’s unavoidable that we’d see her stay vulnerable. While she’s still a child, and nothing drives this home harder than the end of Season 2. Though choices matter throughout the entire franchise, one fatality is unavoidable no matter what decisions are made; Lee, Clem’s only guardian left has been bitten and needs to be put down before he becomes a zombie. With all she has learned throughout the series, Clementine manages to do what she must. However, her reaction to a number of shadowy figures drives how just how scared and alone she is.
What emotional video game moments did we miss out on? Let us know in the comments below!