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PlayStation Franchises That Killed Off Their Main Characters

Gamers who grew up in PlayStation households know Sony has an impressive lineup of exclusive franchises. Titles like "God of War" and "Uncharted" have been a major selling point for the consoles over the years, with many fans citing them as their primary reason for buying a PlayStation. These exclusives tend to be big-budget AAA games with cinematic visuals designed to show the console's full capabilities. Many also give players an engaging narrative, making these games memorable long after the graphics and gameplay have become outdated. They aren't all fun and jokes like "Crash Bandicoot" or "Ratchet & Clank," though. More than a few of these stories have been bittersweet.


Long-time fans may have noticed that many of PlayStation's exclusive franchises feature the devastating deaths of important characters. Of course, it isn't the first to do this, but there appear to be more emotional death scenes in these titles than the norm. Some have even gone so far as to kill off the franchise's protagonists. This is an unconventional (if not unheard of) practice since it means that developers will have to change the playable character for the franchise to continue. Here are a few of the most memorable main-character deaths. 

Beware of spoilers ahead for "Shadow of the Colossus," "Resistance: Fall of Man," "Infamous," and "The Last of Us."

Wander - Shadow of the Colossus

"Shadow of the Colossus" is recognized by fans and respected publications as one of the best PlayStation exclusives ever. Players become Wander, a young man seeking to resurrect his friend Mono who the Lord Emon sacrificed due to her "cursed fate." To achieve this, he and his faithful horse Agro are tasked by a collective entity called Dormin with traveling to the Forbidden Lands and slaying the 16 colossi that reside there – though he is warned that he may have to pay a heavy price to bring her back.


Most of the game is spent traveling the Forgotten Lands battling the massive monsters. After defeating the colossi and losing his horse, Wander is confronted by Lord Emon and his men. His body broken by the final battle, Wander attempts to crawl his way to Mono, seemingly empowered by Dormin's dark magic. However, Lord Emon declares that Dormin was using Wander and that he is now possessed by the dead — ordering his men to kill Wander. At this point, Wander falls to the ground and is enveloped in darkness, becoming possessed by Dormin, who reveals that they had been split into 16 parts by Emon's ancestors, but they are now whole. In the conflict that follows, Emon manages to complete a ritual that opens a portal that absorbs Wander and Dormin before he and the other soldiers destroy the bridge connecting to the Forgotten Lands. It's only after this that Mono awakens.


Nathan Hale - Resistance 2

Fans from the PS3 era might remember a sci-fi action shooter called "Resistance: Fall of Man" and its sequel, "Resistance 2." In a universe where the humans were too busy fighting off an alien invasion for World War 2 to happen, these games follow an American soldier named Sargent Nathan Hale and his battle against the Chimera. Starting in Russia and spreading rapidly across Eurasia, one of the most dangerous things about the invaders is that they can infect humans with a virus that artificially evolves them into opposing soldiers. This happens to Hale at the beginning of the game, yet he survives the infection. It quickly becomes apparent that the Chimera virus gives Hale enhanced strength, speed, and regenerative abilities — which he uses in the fight against the alien threat.


In the second game, Hale comes into contact with a hyper-intelligent Chimera called Daedelus, who he later learns was once a human soldier named Private Jordan Shepherd. A Russian doctor named Fyodor Malikov later explains that the virus had progressed too far in Hale and that the same thing would happen to him within hours. Nevertheless, Hale manages to defeat Daedelus in the time he has left, absorbing even more Chimera power. Having been entirely taken over by the virus, however, his subordinate Corporal Joseph Capelli tells Hale that serving under him was an honor and then shoots him, abruptly ending the game.

Cole MacGrath - Infamous 2

Another short-lived PS3-era protagonist was Cole MacGrath of the "Infamous" franchise. The series begins with Cole as the sole survivor of an explosion that decimated a massive portion of the fictional Empire City. However, Cole soon learns that the event has granted him electricity-based abilities, and some other inhabitants begin developing powers too. The choices Cole makes throughout the story and how he uses his powers in the city can change how he is perceived and what powers are available to him. Still, all paths lead Cole to a showdown with his future self, where he learns about a super-powered entity called 'The Beast' that will eventually eradicate all life.


The second game primarily revolves around the preparation and eventual fight against The Beast. Cole and his allies flee to the plagued New Orleans-inspired city of New Marais, where they follow a lead on an amplifying device called the RFI. Cole eventually learns the Beast is NSA agent John White and that he's trying to save people. Players learn the plague is caused by the power-granting explosion from the first game, and conduits like White and Cole aren't affected by the disease.

Cole can survive by wiping out 99.9% of humanity and joining The Beast. But according to "Infamous Second Son," the cannon ending was to use the RFI to wipe out the plague, saving humanity and killing all conduits, including Cole, in the process.


Joel Miller - The Last of Us Part 2

Of course, no list of deceased PlayStation protagonists would be complete without one of the most heartbreaking video game deaths of the last decade: Joel Miller. "The Last of Us" is another PlayStation franchise renowned for its incredible storytelling. The first game primarily follows Joel, a survivor in a post-apocalyptic America that's overrun with people infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus, which turns them into zombie-like creatures. Joel is tasked with escorting a girl named Ellie, immune to infection, to a resistance group trying to manufacture a cure. However, after finally reaching the base at the end of the first game, Joel learns that killing Ellie is the only way to get the cure. Not willing to let that happen, Joel kills everyone in the hospital to save her.


The second game jumps years forward. Joel ends up working with a character named Abby to survive an onslaught of infected, only for her to later turn on him and beat him to death in what could be one of the most difficult-to-watch scenes in video game history. What follows is a tale of revenge between Ellie and Abby, with the player later learning that Abby's father was one of the surgeons Joel killed and that his death was a consequence of what he'd initially done to save Ellie.