Zack Fair ruins sword

Every year, players get to experience great new narratives through the latest and greatest games, stories that are filled with excitement, tension, and plenty of sad moments. These stories are typically also populated with memorable characters. Whether they are playable protagonists or intriguing NPCs, many of them leave an impression — especially when the worst happens to them.

The importance of these characters to the overall gameplay experience makes the deaths of these characters into some of the more memorable moments in gaming history. From the majestic realms of "Final Fantasy" to the deadly plains of "Red Dead Redemption," the way a beloved character spends their final moments is often talked about for years afterward. 2022 was no different in this regard. Here are some of the video game characters that we lost in 2022.

Beware of major spoilers ahead for the following video games.

Brok – God of War Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarök Brok Concept Art

Brok was one of the standout new characters introduced to fans with the release of 2018’s "God of War." Kratos and Atreus frequently meet with Brok to get side quests, upgrade their gear, and even help him repair his relationship with his brother Sindri. Brok was hard to not love thanks to his sardonic nature, gruff exterior, and dry sense of humor.

In "Ragnarök," players continued to interact with Brok as Kratos and Atreus tried to find a way to avoid Odin’s wicked plans and the end of the world. Towards the end of the game, however, it is revealed that Odin was spying on them the entire time by impersonating Tyr, the Norse god of war. Odin reveals his deception by stabbing Brok and then teleporting away. Brok ultimately dies from his injuries, which is made all the sadder as players have to watch his surviving brother Sindri try to work through his grief. It remains to be seen just how much this trauma may have changed Sindri for the worse.

Zack Fair (again) – Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion

Crisis Core Final Fantasy 7 Reunion Zack Fair

The grand retelling/celebration of "Final Fantasy 7" continued in 2022 with the release of "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion." A remaster of a prequel originally released for the PSP, "Reunion" gives players the opportunity to learn the tragic story of Zack Fair before the events of "Final Fantasy 7." It provided further details on Zack’s relationship to Aerith, Sephiroth’s origins, and even how Cloud came to earn his iconic Buster Sword. However, the game is also absolutely heartbreaking.

One of the most upsetting moments is the death of Zack Fair himself, arguably one of the most iconic scenes in all of "Final Fantasy." The scene arrives at the end of the game, when Zack and Cloud are running away from Shinra after discovering the evil nature of the company. The two get cornered by a small army of Shinra’s forces, and Zack ends up sacrificing himself to prevent them from finding Cloud.

The scene culminates in Zack lying in a pool of his own blood, which is surprisingly graphic for "Reunion," as Cloud runs up to him. The two share their final words and Zack gives Cloud his Buster Sword to carry on his legacy. It is a touching moment that also helps set up Cloud’s motivation in the main game, making it even more impactful for experienced fans. Those familiar with "Final Fantasy" lore know that Zack is destined to die, but it still hits hard all these years later.

Mia – Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Young Mia

"Dying Light 2: Stay Human" tells the story of Aiden, a nomad in the zombie apocalypse who is searching for his missing sister, Mia. This investigation leads players through every nook and cranny of an entire city, hoping to find any hints of where she went. While doing so, players are also shown flashbacks, revealing Aiden’s relationship to his sister, as well as the reveal that they had medical tests performed on them against their will when they were younger.

Eventually, the player is able to track down Mia, finding her in a facility run by the same doctor that experimented on them as children. During the final mission, players infiltrate the complex with the help their friend Lawan — and ultimately have to decide whether to save Mia or Lawan. In a truly upsetting twist of fate (and game design), regardless of which person the player chooses, Mia succumbs to her wounds and dies.

Savathûn – Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

Destiny 2 Savathun Witch Queen trailer

Another year means another "Destiny 2" expansion, and 2022 brought loyal fans "The Witch Queen." The expansion’s story was the culmination of years of lore-building through the game’s seasonal content updates, building up to the rise of the Hive God Savathûn. Players had been anticipating her arrival in the story ever since killing her brother Oryx in "The Taken King" expansion for the first "Destiny." The death of her brother led Savathûn to influence the story of "Destiny" through subterfuge and deception, making her arrival all the more exciting for fans who picked up on the clues.

Savathûn’s goal in "The Witch Queen" was to steal the Traveler from the Vanguard for herself, and players were shocked by the reveal that she’d found a way to take power from the Light herself. This kickstarted a fascinating new direction and storyline for the shooter that culminated in a climactic battle against Savathûn.

Savathûn was ultimately defeated, but taking her down will likely be a boss fight that "Destiny 2" players never forget. It’ll be hard for "Destiny 2" to top this one in 2023.

Varl – Horizon: Forbidden West

Horizon: Forbidden West Varl

"Horizon: Forbidden West" saw players travelling to an all new region of the "Horizon" world with series Aloy and a cast of new arrivals. In this strange new land, Aloy meets Varl, a fellow member of her home tribe, the Nora. Upon meeting, they quickly form a connection due to their shared heritage. Players watch as their friendship grows and changes over the course of their journey.

This makes Varl’s death at the hands of the Far Zenith organization all the more impactful. Varl’s death occurs when he accompanies Aloy to the machine factory known as Cauldron GEMINI, where he keeps watch to protect her. When Far Zenith arrives, however, he is quickly killed by their superior weapons.

After Varl’s death, he is buried near the player’s base, laid in a position where he can face the Sacred Lands. To make things even more bleak, his death on the mission prevents him from ever learning that he was going to be a father, as his partner Zo was pregnant and was planning on telling him after he returned home.

The entire cast, if you’re not careful – The Quarry

The Quarry characters

Supermassive Games’ horror titles have carved out a niche in the genre for themselves since the release of "Until Dawn" in 2015. The studio’s games feature cinematic horror experiences filled with large casts of characters (often played by recognizable actors), all of whom can survive or die in a wide range of ways, depending on player decisions. This uncertainty raises the stakes for just about every scene and makes each playthrough feel unique.

"The Quarry" joins "Until Dawn" as one of Supermassive’s more unpredictable tales. The game follows a group of counselors at a summer camp who are attacked by various supernatural entities. This results in every character in the game being able to die in numerous gruesome and highly detailed ways. Characters can get decapitated by monsters, accidentally shoot one another, or get caught in massive explosions. The gore is enough to make anyone squeamish. Basically, don’t get attached to anyone if you’re not completely confident in your decision-making skills.

Marissa Marcel – Immortality

Immortality Marissa Marcel

"Immortality" is a unique mystery game that tasks players with scouring through three fictional movies and behind the scenes footage of their production to discover what happened to actress Marissa Marcel. The search for answers in all of the footage can feel laborious, but it’s also a process filled with tension and intrigue as players slowly begin piecing the details together. Eventually, the player discovers that Marcel died, and even witnesses footage of her final moments.

At the end of "Immortality," Marcel takes her own life while filming a scene for her final movie, lighting herself on fire. Her hope is to immortalize herself on film and to become a legend through this shocking and gruesome action. The game is an FMV experience, meaning that all of its scenes are played out with footage of real actors. This makes Marcel’s final moments all the more terrifying, as it looks more realistic than 3D graphics would be able to render.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Hugo – A Plague Tale: Requiem

A Plague Tale: Requiem Hugo Close Up

Both entries in the "Plague Tale" series are extremely morose affairs, set in a medieval world that is nearing complete and utter destruction at the hands of a terrifying disease. The games follow the siblings Amicia and Hugo, two children who attempt to navigate the world and survive together. As they navigate the dangers of their world, they are forced to make difficult decisions and deal with the heartbreaking consequences of their actions.

The hardships that the two siblings go through together forges an incredibly strong bond between them and the player, who can’t help but fall in love with them along the way. "A Plague Tale: Requiem" comes to a climactic conclusion when Hugo’s powers over the disease consumes him. Players are left in suspense as Hugo tells his sister that he must be killed to end the threat. The player must then decide if Amicia or their friend Lucas will do the deed.

The game briefly leaves the player in suspense before revealing through a very emotional cutscene of Amicia visiting Hugo’s grave. The scene can be brutal to watch, especially since the end of the game leaves it unclear if Hugo’s death truly saved the world.

Batman – Gotham Knights

Batman death introduction Gotham Knights

Leading up to the release of "Gotham Knights," the developers of the game clarified to fans that Batman was truly dead in its storyline (per IGN). Sure enough, when the game was released, players were treated to a lengthy introduction cutscene that showed Batman getting beat up by Ra’s Al Ghul. In the end, Batman is caught in an explosion he sets off to stop Ra’s Al Ghul from escaping and terrorizing Gotham.

Players instead take control of Robin, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Nightwing as they step up and take over for Batman as Gotham’s protectors. What the developers didn’t tell fans was that Batman returns to life late in the game’s story, having been resurrected by the Court of Owls with a Lazarus Pit. Players then have to endure watching Batman die a second time at the end of the game, as he sacrifices himself again to destroy the Lazarus Pit and foil the Court’s schemes.

Bayonetta(s) – Bayonetta 3

Bayonetta 3 Bayonetta new look

The story of "Bayonetta 3" introduced players to the series’ multiverse, establishing that the previous titles followed different iterations of the titular Bayonetta. We learn this when the Bayonetta from the first game is brutally killed. From there, the story follows a group of Bayonettas as they fight against an entity capable of traveling between dimensions and killing various Bayonettas to take their power for himself.

The story culminates in the main Bayonetta of "Bayonetta 3" dying while sharing a touching scene between her and her lover, Luka. He holds Bayonetta as she dies and is carried down into the underworld by spectral arms. It is a surprisingly somber moment to end such a bombastic and high-energy game, which honestly helps give it even more weight. While the developers have confirmed that it is not the end of the "Bayonetta" series (per Polygon), it is still an emotional moment for fans who have grown attached to the character. The real question is: Will this Bayonetta stay dead, or is it true that you can’t keep a good witch down?

Father Piero – Pentiment

Pentiment Father Piero talking to Andreas

"Pentiment" is a subdued game, filled with human hardships and explorations of materialism through a medieval lens. In the first act, players follow an artist staying at a small clergy in the fictional village of Tassing. While he is there, a visiting nobleman is murdered and one of Andreas’ friends, Brother Piero, is blamed for the act. Andreas works to clear his name by solving the murder himself, but has to do so within only a few days.

Andreas ultimately finds another member of the village who pleads guilty, resulting in Brother Piero being let go. Afterward, Andreas leaves Tassing to try and make a career for himself as an artist. In Act Two, he returns to Tassing after being gone for seven years. Upon his arrival, he discovers that Brother Piero died of natural causes in that time, resulting in a morose scene in which Andreas visits the grave of one of his oldest friends to say goodbye. The twist may seem cruel, but Andreas was able to buy his friend a bit more time on this earth.

Millicent (Elden Ring)

Elden Ring Millicent NPC

Like all of FromSoftware’s "Souls"-like games, "Elden Ring" includes numerous NPCs to talk to players and hand out quests. One of the most impactful of these is the quest the Tarnished can take for Millicent. Like many characters in the game, Millicent suffers from Scarlet Rot, which leaves her in constant pain and has cost her an arm.

Ultimately, no matter how hard the Tarnished fights for her, Millicent is doomed by the end of the questline. Though the Tarnished is able to temporarily free her from the effects of Scarlet Rot, it is not enough to save her. Players can either challenge Millicent and end her themselves, or else find that she has accepted her fate. As she explains to the Tarnished, she’d rather die as herself than be turned into something worse by the Scarlet Rot. While the quest has a sad ending appropriate for the game’s tone, there is some comfort for players who see her quest all the way through. Even so, this is just one of the many tragic stories hidden in the lore of "Elden Ring."