The GTA franchise is a series of open-world games in which violence is commonplace, resulting in numerous on-screen deaths. However, some deaths may affect you more than others, especially after you’ve spent more time with the characters and learned more about them. Additionally, Rockstar Games is an expert storyteller and has mastered the art of creating believable and likable characters over the years.
As such, most GTA players become emotionally attached to these beloved characters and their in-game deaths become deeply painful. Here’s a list of the most tragic deaths in the series, including those of protagonists, supporting characters, and even antagonists.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the opinion of the author.
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5 most tragic deaths in GTA games
1) Michael DeSanta
Michael’s death is not the canon ending of GTA 5, but you can choose to kill him if you want. This leads to one of the darkest endings in the game, and it seems like the writers are also trying to make you feel guilty if you choose to kill the character. Michael seems genuinely happy to learn that Tracey has been admitted to college, which is when the player, as Franklin, reveals his plan to betray him.
If the player changes their mind at the last moment, while Michael is hanging from the edge of a tower, and decides to pick him up, Michael will headbutt the player (as Franklin) and let go, as a final act of defiance. It’s a tragic turn of events and one of the worst betrayals in the series.
2) Johnny Klebitz
Johnny Klebitz was a likable protagonist in the GTA 4 expansion The Lost and Damned, and his death came as a shock. It almost seemed like Rockstar Games was insulting his own creation by giving Johnny an embarrassing appearance in Grand Theft Auto 5. They made him an addict with no self-respect, which is very different from the character in GTA 4.
Many of Trevor’s actions in the game, such as the infamous torture scene, seem to have been created solely for shock value, with Klebitz’s humiliation and murder being the most gruesome and unnecessary. It was a terrible send-off for a playable protagonist from a previous game.
3) Victor Vance
Victor Vance’s death didn’t affect players at all when GTA Vice City came out, as he was just another character they never got to know in the first place. However, when Vice City Stories made him a protagonist, everyone learned more about him. It turned out that he was the most noble main character in the franchise and never wanted to be part of the criminal underworld.
He was dragged into this life because of a corrupt superior in the US Army and because he desperately needed money to treat his younger brother’s asthma.
4) Big Smoke
Big Smoke’s betrayal was a turning point in GTA San Andreas and is often considered one of the biggest betrayals in a video game. He was someone CJ and Sweet could trust blindly, and his endearing and fun nature also attracted players to him.
In the end, the game gets really emotional during Big Smoke’s death when CJ asks him why he betrayed them. He responds by saying that he got “trapped in the money, in the power,” but he also reaffirms that he doesn’t regret anything.
5) Roman war
Roman’s death is one of two different endings in GTA 4, and it’s definitely the worst option. Roman is the reason Niko comes to Liberty City, and he stays with Niko through thick and thin. He had his flaws, such as being in debt due to his gambling habits or not having the courage to defend himself. However, at the end of the day, he was a good man and had not killed or hurt anyone.
That’s why his death seems so unjust; it’s like Roman is paying for Niko’s crimes. After his death, Niko feels incredibly alone and guilty, which is certainly the most disheartening way to end such a great game.