7 Times You Had to Die for Important Reasons, Sorry

Published 3 years ago by Jane Douglas

We're sure you understand

You spend most of your time in videogames trying not to die, then occasionally you hack your way through a thousand faceless goons to reach the bit where, it turns out, your death is unavoidable. But there is plenty of difference between losing your last health point to the 831st henchman and going down in a scripted blaze of glory, and it's not just whether or not you get to respawn. Consider these seven times your canonical death was necessary for important reasons, sorry. Beware of spoilers ahead for several games, though nothing newer than 2013.

Sometimes the reason your death is required is as simple as continuity, such as in Halo: Reach, where you buying the farm is a fixed plot point, necessary for lining the story up with that of Halo: Combat Evolved, for which it is a prequel. The inevitability of Noble Six eventually getting a Covenant energy sword in his or her throat makes their death all the more poignant.

Other times, your mandatory death as player character is an essential part of a game's narrative payoff, for the sake of karmic balance or in keeping with serious themes. According to Old West justice and cowboy genre convention, John Marston must die in Red Dead Redemption to be red dead redeemed.

Call of Duty's Modern Warfare sub-franchise, on the other hand, turned killing off player characters into a go-to story device, to the point where three out of five of the playable guys die in surprise twists partway through the game. It's easy to forget the impact it had back in the first Modern Warfare, when it was fresh and surprising. Who can forget the sorry fate of Sgt. Paul Jackson atop a mound of irradiated rubble and flaming helicopter parts?

We hope you feel better about those unavoidable deaths, now you know how important they were. For another franchise-defining Modern Warfare trope, how about videogames' eight manliest bromances?

About the author

Jane Douglas
Jane is co-editor at Outside Xbox, where she writes words and makes videos. She enjoys dialogue trees.

comments powered by Disqus