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5 Video Game Endings That Broke Our Hearts

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Most games are fantastical. But sometimes, even the most unreal story can become so surreal. In fact, games are known to incorporate sad endings that grip people’s hearts and etch the characters’ journey at the core of our memories. It’s how we remember characters for years to come, and the most likely reason you’d want to get your hands on the next title. 

That said, tugging heartstrings is a tough art to master. If you’re curious which games, hands down, carry home the ‘sad endings craft’ award, these top five video game endings that broke our hearts are a good place to start. Let’s dig in.


5. Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colussus is an action-adventure game first released in 2005 for PS2 and remastered in 2018 for PS4 consoles. Termed a sad experience through and through, director Fumito Ueda takes players through a somberly captivating and provoking story. The story follows Wander, a young man in a desolate realm, and his loyal horse, Agro. Right off the bat, players are faced with a conflicting task to kill the creatures called Colossi in a selfish attempt to bring the princess, Mono, to life. He’s warned though, that each kill could take a great toll on him. 

Soon, Wander begins to feel the shadowy powers grow on him and not in a good way, no less. He’s growing more pale and veiny, and his eyes, cloudy. In the end, he grows horns and meets a gruesome death stabbed through the heart. It’s hard not to feel betrayed. On one hand, Wander bringing Mono to life feels like the main quest. On the other, players soak in way too deep only to realize they’ve been playing the bad side all along. Even with Wander’s original good intentions, Shadow of the Colussus doesn’t stop you from feeling like an absolute prick. For what it’s worth though, we’ll for sure remember Shadow of the Colussus for years to come. 


4. Grand Theft Auto IV

Talk about the American Dream gone awry – Grand Theft Auto IV is here for the mature, morbid drama to remember years past. This 2008 action-adventure takes a hard turn from the GTA games’ colorful, lighthearted endings we’re used to. Fresh off the boat from the Eastern European war, Niko Bellic moves to Liberty City to forget his horrific past and start a new life. 

In an up-and-down all-around tossing-and-turning of the so-called American Dream, players are having to face wrongful murder and revenge-seeking extravaganza. There are plenty of mobsters to fight, his cousin Roman needs help with his financial troubles mostly, any illegal means necessary, and he has a bone to pick with someone who killed his friends in the war.  

In the end, Roman’s stories of how good he’ll be living in Liberty City turn salty, and Niko’s dragged into a dramatic loop of either dealing to help his cousin out or going on his personal vendetta to seek revenge. He can only pick one path, and just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse, each choice will lead to the death of a loved one. We’d love to save Roman or Kate, or both guys, but this one’s a personal ending every player must fight through to the end.


3. Red Dead Redemption

After the Grand Theft Auto IV insane ride, Rockstar put out another mature, morbid action-adventure 2018 title for the books. In Red Dead Redemption, players have federal agents and bounty hunters hot on their heels as they rob, steal, and fight their way through America to save their lives. A robbery went wrong, and it’s the price Arthur Morgan and Dutch Van der Linde have to pay. Playing fugitive already tugs at heartstrings, but the ending sure was something else. Arthur wants to turn a new leaf, hey it’s never too late to seek redemption, and he succeeds at winning us over. 

In a cinematic showdown of selfless retribution, Arthur sends his wife and son to safety and goes out to fight enemies barricaded in their home. The glorious final stand ensues as he steps out solo, and takes down as many gunmen as he could. Eventually, he’s outnumbered as he takes his last breath drowning in a sea of gunshots. Overall, it’s one thing to catch a stray bullet, but a whole different story watching Arthur Morgan meet his tragic end all alone.


2. The Walking Dead

Video Game Endings That Broke Our Hearts

Well, here come the waterworks all over again…

Telltale Games released several episodes of The Walking Dead in five parts. Each one has its own fair share of pain and dark scenes. It’s expected though, with a world unleashing with zombies out for blood, there’s bound to be in-a-frenzy killings and survival instincts kicking in regardless of emotional attachments. 

Speaking of emotional attachments, Telltale Games has players pulling the trigger on their zombied father (seeing as you’re only but a young child wanting to survive). It’s incredibly astounding and heartbreaking, mostly the latter. There’s the option to turn around though, and run like your life depends on it, because it does. Regardless of how you choose to proceed, this is the final goodbye you’d make to your father in a dark, violent situation you have no control over.


1. The Last of Us

5 Video Game Endings That Broke Our Hearts

Topping our list of  video game endings that broke our hearts is The Last of Us. 

The Last of Us thrives on emotional, provoking storylines. So it seems right to experience a compelling ending that breaks our hearts. With two human survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, Ellie and Joel form a situational father and daughter relationship. They’ve been through thick and thin, and have grown interdependently on one another. So when it’s time to face the death of either one, Ellie’s death to be precise, Joel won’t have it and he wipes out an entire civilization to protect her. 

It’s not over just yet as once Joel escorts Ellie out of the hospital in a sea of blazing bullets, the two have a confronting conversation. Here, Joel lies to Ellie, and it’s heartbreaking seeing her trust in him slowly fall apart in a mere second. 

And that’s it for the top five video game endings that broke our hearts. Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

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Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.