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The Best Video Games Where you Die at the End

VO: Todd Haberkorn WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
The best games tell great stories, and sometimes those stories involve the main character not making it through to the end credits. Welcome to MojoPlays and these are our picks for the best video games that kill off the main character at the very end.

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Games Where You Die at the End

Well that’s not where we thought it would go. Welcome to MojoPlays, and today we’re looking at eight games where you die at the end.

“Halo: Reach” (2010)

By the time “Halo: Reach” was released in 2010, we were well used to playing as the unstoppable hero. Master Chief was a take-no-prisoners badass who always saved the day, and even though “Halo 3” left him floating in space, he still emerged victorious over his enemies. And, you know, didn’t die. That all changed with “Reach.” In this installment you played as Noble Six, the newcomer to the UNSC special ops unit Noble Team. After fighting through the initial invasion of the Covenant, the game’s thrilling climax sees you transporting Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn before dying in a valiant last stand against the enemy. It’s a fantastic bridge to the events of “Halo” and adds incredible emotional depth to the franchise’s mythology.

“Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)

While this game’s ending IS rather ambiguous, the fate of Wander is not. Or, at least the fate of adult Wander is not. After taking a girl named Mono to a mysterious land, Wander is tricked into slaying sixteen colossi under the pretense that doing so will revive her. After defeating the final colossus, Wander becomes possessed by a seemingly evil entity named Dormin and is eventually sucked into a magical whirlwind that turns him into a horned baby. Yeah, we’re just as confused as you. The meaning of this is still being debated, even all these years later, but what we do know is that the Wander we played as is no more. What the baby signifies is up to you.

“Outlast” (2013)

With all the harrowing experiences Miles Upshur went through within Mount Massive Asylum you’d think there would be light at the end of the tunnel. After seemingly destroying the entity causing all of his problems known as “the Walrider”, things quickly take a turn for the worse when Miles finds himself possessed by said being. Struggling to escape while critically injured, things go from bad to worse as he encounters Dr. Wernickle along with his security forces. The player is helpless as Miles is swiftly gunned down while the screen fades to black.

“BioShock Infinite” (2013)

“BioShock: Infinite” plays a little loosey goosey with the whole time thing, and as such, the ending is either seen as a stroke of genius or an incomprehensible mess. At the end of the game, Booker is drowned in a river to prevent Comstock from ever existing. However, the game has a happier ending than it lets on, as we see a version of Booker from 1893 awaken to the sound of a crying Anna. The Booker we know may be dead, but there exists a Booker out there who never sold his daughter to Comstock. We hope they enjoy a happy life together.

“Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII” (2008)

“Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII” is another prequel that beautifully instills pathos and depth into a series’ mythology. In this PSP title you play as Zack Fair, a young member of Shinra’s private army. Fast forward a few dozen hours, and the climax sees Zack defending Cloud from Shinra’s forces in one of the most dramatic sequences in the entire franchise. But despite his valiant effort, Zack is fatally wounded in the battle and gives the famous Buster Sword to Cloud with his dying breath. Even though we all knew it was coming, it was still brutally difficult to play through and witness Zack’s final moments. Now that’s a sign of fantastic writing.

“Persona 3” (2007)

“Persona 3” has two endings, depending on player choice. If you kill Ryoji, the SEES lose their memories of the Dark Hour and celebrate graduation, unaware of the approaching apocalypse. If the player spares Ryoji for the true ending, the silent Protagonist defeats Nyx and SEES regains their memories during graduation. As the graduates approach Aigis and the Protagonist, Aigis vows to protect him while he dies in her arms. The screen fades to white, the credits roll, and we all wipe that sneaky tear that had the audacity to roll down our cheeks. The “Persona” stories may be off-the-wall crazy, but they always contain a beating heart at their center, which is clearly evident by this beautifully humane ending.

“The Walking Dead” (2012)

Do we really have to relive this horrible tragedy? OK, here we go. In the penultimate episode, Lee investigates a walkie talkie only to become the victim of a sneaky zombie attack. We had over a month to emotionally prepare ourselves for his death, but seeing the weakened Lee dying in front of Clementine still hit us like a freight train. Not only does the ending reinforce the brutal and unforgiving nature of this zombie-filled world, but it also reminds us of just how video games can impact us when good writers are involved. It’s disappointing to see what happened to Telltale, because coming back to this game just reminds us of the squandered talent.

“Red Dead Redemption” (2010)

Even all these years later, “Red Dead Redemption” remains the king of surprising and affecting video game deaths. Yes, “Red Dead Redemption 2” had Arthur’s poignant demise, but at least we had time to process the inevitable. In “Red Dead Redemption,” we naively held onto hope. Unfortunately, those hopes were squashed with the brutal realization that John was fated to die. The final dead eye sequence and John’s subsequent death are devastating. However, it’s also brilliant game design, as it takes away the player’s agency and kills off the main character of an open world game. They can’t do that! Can they? Well, they did, and it broke our hearts.

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