Please be aware that this post may contain spoilers!

Many game developers try their best to bring the best of experience a player could have when playing games. With this, the innovation of games has continued to grow over the years. We now have new features that arise; Ray Tracing, VR, Ultra High Definition Games, and many more that have never been experienced before by the old generation.

The saddest moments in video games include games like Gears of War, Mass Effect, The Last of Us (and The Last of Us 2), Halo, The Walking Dead, Life is Strange, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and many more. We’ll look at some of these moments in more detail.

Emma Emmerich death in Metal Gear Solid 2

Despite these very cool innovations, there is one thing however that will never be obsolete no matter how advanced the technology could go – and that is for a game to have its own unique story. Whether you play the oldest of games like the first ever Mario or Pacman or play the newest triple-A titles like Final Fantasy XV, the developers will always incorporate a story on their games no matter the genre.

Stories that will usually focus on the protagonists winning, though there are some that include moments that could sometimes bring tears to our eyes – moments that are just too sad.

How video games can bring up various emotions

While all developers try their best to bring the best graphics quality and superb overall gameplay experience, they will also always have a separate team for their game’s storyline. As a matter of fact, it is always the game’s story or at least plot that will be created first before anything else.

From scripts to actual scenes, the storyline team will do their best to bring up emotions in their consumers. Their job is to make you feel immersed in the game by means of the story’s plot, and they will do what it takes to do that – and incorporating sad scenes are not an exemption.

We can’t also forget the importance of a good soundtrack, which is specifically designed to illustrate the scene and punch you in the gut with feeling.

Adding sad moments to a game story can be a risky decision and most of the time experimental in nature. Remember that all gamers are manipulated by the games that they play, and knowing that there is something negative that has just happened that they could not reverse can bring various emotions.

They may feel more submerged in a positive way, but they could also end up really disappointed if the scenes were not planned properly.

However, there are some games that really have nailed it in terms of incorporating sad moments in their storyline. These games have the saddest moments in the whole gaming history, but still got the best of reviews and feedbacks from gamers.

Get your tissues ready because this will hit you right in the feels. These are in no particular order.

Gears of War

There are quite a number of sad moments in Gears of War, but the saddest moments probably are the deaths of Maria Santiago (Gears of War 2), and Dom (Gears of War 3). Maria, Dom, and Marcus were childhood best friends. Maria and Dom got married and had children later on.

Dom ending Maria’s suffering

One day an accident took the lives of their children and parents, and due to depression, Maria decided to have herself be exiled. Dom and Fenix did their best to look for Maria, and one day they found her in one of the Locust’s prison camps.

Maria was severely tortured in that camp by her captors. She was injured enough that she couldn’t even recognize Dom. Fenix and Dom knew she would soon breathe her last, so Dom took it upon himself to end her suffering.

Dom got withdrawn and extra-vengeful against the Locusts, and during their ‘Mission to Mercy’ operation (GoW 3), Dom sacrificed himself to death by destroying a fuel tank that took an entire horde of Locusts and Lambent forces that have trapped his comrades.

Dom sacrificing himself to save his team

The Last of Us

The Last of Us is a great story of both horror and survival. It’s one of those zombie-apocalypse-like types of games, but what differs Last of Us from other games on this genre is the story. The scenes and emotions are always too intense.

Who could forget the prologue of the game, where the main protagonist, Joel, loses his daughter Sarah? As they try to reach a survivor’s camp, the guard just shoots at them and Sarah gets mortally wounded. It’s the most heartbreaking start of a game I’ve ever seen.

Sarah’s death

Another sad part that can’t just be left untold is the death of Henry and Sam. Henry and Sam were brothers, who made friends with Joel and Ellie. At some point Sam got infected, and when he was about to attack Ellie, they had to do something to stop him, unfortunately killing him.

After that Henry couldn’t bear what happened to his little brother and shot himself to death in front of Joel and Ellie.

The Last of Us 2

Released in 2020 after seven long years of waiting, many fans of the first game were disillusioned and quite a bit upset.

Joel’s death by Abby’s hand not even 2 hours in the gameplay was intended as a shock value. Most gamers were expecting Joel to die somehow but so soon in the game without playing him for more than 5 minutes, that felt like a low blow for some.

The Last of Us 2 - Joel's death scene
Ellie witnessing Joel’s death

Not to mention the torture by a golf club after he had his leg nearly amputated by a shotgun. Add Ellie witnessing his death and pleading for them to spare him and imploring Joel to get up, you get a scene that was deeply upsetting and made many cry.

At the end of the game, Ellie loses her fingers and therefore is unable to play the guitar like Joel had taught her. Everyone she loved had left her and after a brief flashback with Joel, she leaves the guitar behind.

Mass Effect 3

This sci-fi game has always been one of the best in terms of the gameplay until now. It also has great visual graphics, and the storylines were always good to look at. With that said, Mass Effect Andromeda has dozens of sad moments too, but the saddest probably is that of Mordin’s death.

Mordin’s death

It is worth mentioning that the whole mess going on was due to Mordin’s scientific creation, but he did his best to undo this by creating the cure which cost him his life. His death was so sad because he wasn’t brave at all to make the ultimate sacrifice.

He was so scared, really scared to die. He was trembling and his voice as he sang was wavering – evident of severe fear. He sacrificed his life to upload the cure that saved Krogan and the whole galaxy.


Another sci-fi on our list is Halo. This first-person shooter game is definitely a must-try for everyone. Halo just as other games have its own storyline, and the scenes usually consist of battles and victory.

Even though it is full of victories and triumph, there are also some few sad moments in this game and it turned out that one of them became one of the saddest moments in gaming history.

Cortana’s goodbye to John

John (Master Chief) is the main protagonist of the story, helped on his many missions by an artificial intelligence named Cortana. Sadly, at the end of Halo 4, Cortana has to sacrifice herself to save John.

Cortana had only enough battery to save John, so she used her last energy to save him from the ship. Cortana without a doubt had the saddest goodbye scene ever created.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead game is inspired from AMC’s TV series “The Walking Dead”. This zombie apocalyptic game became famous because of its TV series counterpart. The gameplay I would say is good, but really not that much, though it is the story that brought this game’s ratings to skyrocket.

The saddest moment in The Walking Dead I would say was Lee’s death. He got bitten on his wrist by a walker and it is up to the player (playing a little girl named Clementine) to decide his faith.

Clementine and Lee

Clementine can choose to either shoot him, leave him there to reanimate as a walker or not do anything, which means that the game would decide based on the decisions made during the playthrough.

Either way it’s a terrible end for Lee, given that he lost all his family and took Clementine under his wing and taught her how to defend herself.

Assassin’s Creed

Though the Assassin’s Creed games have each different storylines, they don’t shy away from sad and tragic scenes.

In Assassin’s Creed 2, Ezio witnesses the hanging of his father and two brothers, who have been falsely accused of treason. In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Desmond Miles is forced to kill Lucy Stillman because her allegiance to the Templars would have catastrophic consequences if she got hold of the Apple of Eden.

Desmond killing Lucy

Assassin’s Creed 3 was full of sad moments, from little Connor (Ratonhaké:ton) witnessing his mother’s death, to him killing his own father.

Assassins Creed 4 I think had the most emotional ending of the previous games. While Anne Bonny sang ‘The Parting Glass’ song, Edward watched as a group of sailors turned into his friends who have passed away during the game.

Edward’s dead comrades

Life Is Strange

If we are going to talk about a game that focuses on the story rather than the gameplay, then Life Is Strange will seriously be on our top list. Life is Strange is a graphic adventure game that is being played in third-person.

The main protagonist of this game is Max Caulfield (you can read more about her backstory here), and she has the ability to manipulate time by rewinding it so she could get back to the past. She can do so by using photographs that she had taken.

Max witnessing Chloe’s death

She also has the ability to see the future. With her gift, she was able to save numerous lives by preventing future events from happening and as well as going back in time to undo some decisions that would result in a catastrophe later on.

This may look like a game filled with happy scenes, but it’s actually the whole opposite. The game is filled with sadness and despair, especially the part where she had to choose which one she would save – her best friend Chloe, or the whole Arcadia Bay.

This game will for sure capture your emotions, and while it is cool to have special powers like what Max has, looking at what she had to go through may let you think otherwise.

That Dragon, Cancer

Just like Life is Strange, this game is also something that focuses more on the story rather than the gameplay. This game, however, is pretty much different from others because this is based on a true story. As a matter of fact, the creators of this game were the ones who experienced it themselves.

The game revolves in the story of Ryan and Amy Green with their son Joel. Joel was diagnosed with cancer at the early age of 12 months, and the whole family struggled to prolong and to fight for his life until it finally reached its tragic end after 4 years.

The game is an exploration game from both third and first-person perspective. There will be abstracted scenes where you will need to decide which decisions to make, and these choices were the exact same decisions the Greens had to make when they were fighting for Joel.

The game touched the hearts of many gamers worldwide, and a documentary was also produced to commemorate the Greens’ struggles in fighting for something they’ve eventually lost.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy has been one of the best, if not the best RPG of all time. The creators of this game are one of the pioneers of the RPG and JRPG genre, and it’s surely one of the first to incorporate equally all of the vital features in a game – very good story, very good gameplay, and very good graphics.

There have been numerous sad stories in some of the Final Fantasy series; deaths of supporting characters, a tragedy in the story, and even failing entirely like in the case of Final Fantasy XIII-2. So, it’s a thing for the series to have a very unpredictable and sad story, and Final Fantasy XV is just one of them.

Luna’s death

We thought that the death of Luna in Chapter 10 would be the saddest part, but just after defeating the final boss came the worst ever tragic event – Noctis died! Noctis, the main protagonist of the game had to sacrifice himself to end Ardyn and Starcourge’s madness.

I would say that Noctis’ death is the saddest in the whole Final Fantasy franchise.

Metal Gear Solid

The story of Metal Gear Solid consists of war, betrayal, and sci-fi that resulted in some of the most graphic scenes in gaming history. There are stories of triumph and vengeance which can be satisfying for the one who’s playing the game, but there are also numerous sad stories that we just can’t leave untold.

Death of Big Boss

One of the saddest that is worth mentioning is the death of Emma Emmerich. Emma went through a lot of obstacles to upload a worm cluster virus to disable GW, but as she was about to reach her destination, she was stabbed by Vamp that made her bleed to death.

Some other sad moments are the deaths of Big Boss and Naomi. These two fictional characters held vital roles in some of the MGS games, and their death scenes were so emotional in nature that even the toughest hearts would melt.

Resident Evil Village

Horror genres aren’t immune to sad moments and Resident Evil Village is no exception. There are a few sad moments in the game, like Elena losing her father, but the one that got me the most was the ending.

Resident Evil Village Ethan Winters' Death
“Watch over her, teach her to be strong.” – Ethan Winters

I found the death of Ethan Winters, the game’s protagonist, absolutely heartbreaking. He had gone through so much (starting in Resident Evil 7) and he spent the whole game looking for his daughter Rosemary and in the end gave his life to protect those he loved.

Honorable mentions

Many other games have nailed the heart-wrenching moments but I couldn’t possibly fit them all here, so I decided list a few more as honorable mentions below:

  • To the Moon
  • The ending of SOMA
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Midna says goodbye
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Fi says goodbye to Link
  • Red Dead Redemption – John Marston’s death
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 2 – Eli’s death
  • Bioshock 2
  • NieR: Automata


It’s often said that art imitates life (and video games are an art form) and that’s also true with video games. While the settings may be unrealistic and the characters fictional, they can bring up a wealth of emotion.

Sad moments in video games can have the same effect on people the same way sad movie scenes, music or books can have.

What is the one saddest moment in a video game that got you the most? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Comment by Fashionable Assassin
    Fashionable Assassin

    I’ve seen or played a lot of these scenes and they are all very sad!! Nice article!

    • Comment by Dana - owner

      Thank you for your comment! While these moments are very sad, I’m really glad they exist!

  2. Damn, so many moments, the ones that always surprised me were the ones from Gears 2 & 3.
    For a game with an arguably “macho” aesthetic the scene where Dom ends Maria’s suffering is just heartbreaking, which only makes Doms sacrifice in 3 more gut wrenching..”bet you never thought it would end like this? huh maria?”
    The most recent one for me though being The Last of Us, mother of god, it also speaks to the power of the writing in that game, that because its an old game and ive been so late in playing it, i KNEW about that scene, but witnessing it while playing it myself, the closest to fully crying at a game i think ive ever been!

  3. Comment by AKS

    Nothing from Nier: Automata? That’s amazing to me.

    • Comment by Dana - owner

      I haven’t played every game in the world, so of course I missed something. What scene was the saddest for you in Automata?

  4. Comment by Akira

    Noctis’ death is nothing compared to Zack’s final battle on Crisis Core


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