8 Emotional Video Game Deaths (We Couldn't Help Laughing At)

What a rotten way to die.

Heavy Rain Jason
Quantic Dream

Video game storytelling has had a lot of catching up to do in comparison to movies and TV. There's no shame in it; this is still a young industry, and the limited technology of previous generations meant that gaming stories could only gesture at being "cinematic".

This, of course, was compounded with limited budgets that meant experienced, costly actors were out of the question. A lot of older games were loved in spite of the voice acting and performances rather than because of them, with the likes of Resident Evil becoming infamous for their dodgy line deliveries.

Still, that didn't stop developers from trying to deliver serious stories that tugged at the heartstrings. Some managed to pull it off as well, with the likes of Hideo Kojima delivering cinematic plots in stylish and impactful ways. As a result, there have been plenty of character deaths in the gaming pantheon that are fondly remembered today.

Other developers though... well, they weren't quite so fortunate. The following deaths are certainly still remembered today, but absolutely not for the reasons their creators originally intended.

8. Cole Phelps (LA Noire)

Heavy Rain Jason

Cole Phelps is such a t*t.

I mean, I love him, but the man is absolutely unhinged, and always about two seconds away from accusing some poor fool of being a sex offender.

Still, despite his, er, eccentricities LA Noire used its runtime to get you behind the troubled LAPD detective. Sure, he had his issues, but his heart was ultimately in the right place, and you wanted to see him snuff out the corruption that was rife throughout the city's biggest institutions - especially when that idealism gets him publicly disgraced and demoted to a desk where he can't cause any trouble.

In the final missions Cole attempts to redeem himself for his past sins and pave the way for a better future, ultimately finding himself in a sewer shootout with a bunch of other do-gooders. With the water rising though and coming in fast, the gang have to escape and, wanting to finally be the courageous one, Cole makes sure everyone gets out in one piece.

Ultimately he realises he's not going to be so lucky, and after a curt goodbye, is swept away by the current.

On paper, this ending should work, but in the moment it's completely jarring. It's an odd, dissatisfying way for the hero to go out, and the awkward suddenness of the drowning leaves viewers tittering out of disbelief.


Writer. Mumbler. Only person on the internet who liked Spider-Man 3

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.