Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feat..."/> Greetings! This is our weekly GameSided Roundtable feat..."/>

GameSided Roundtable: Emotional Character Deaths

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Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)

As far as I’m concerned, the plot of Mass Effect 3 as good as ended with the death of Mordin Solus. Mordin is an example of the masterful storytelling and character development that Bioware excelled at until the last 15 minutes of the game. I’m a completionist, so I had befriended Mordin and gotten all of his little quirky conversations. We talked about analyzing seashells on a beach somewhere, I listened to his quips and banter with Eve, he tried to set me up with my shipmates, and he sang me the “Scientist Salarian” song.

His death moved me in a crazy way–I didn’t WANT him to die. I wanted him to live, and stay with us, but his sacrifice was also his redemption for experimenting on the Krogan. Mordin had to die, not only for the cure but also for himself and his story. His death is more powerful than any of the others because of Mordin’s constant honesty, his dedication to his work, and the gradual transformation into caring about life more than the thrill of discovery. He was the very model of a scientist Salarian.

Daniel George (Twitter)

At the end of 2012, Steam had put out a sale on The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. Just a week after the first season finished, dumping half the price to pick it up seemed like a no-brainer, based on the buzz surrounding the tales of Lee Everett and Clementine.

Getting back into adventure games, little did I expect to enjoy such a linear game with surface-level combat and “gameplay” mechanics. It was because the narrative was crafted so beautifully between the two protagonists, giving off a real “us versus the world” feel that goes hand-in-hand with a zombie apocalypse. While there were crushing heartbreaks in the deaths of side characters, nothing felt quite as gut-wrenching as when Lee was bit by the zombie in the street near the end of Episode 4.

The fact that you can see his slow descent into zombification is a big part in why his death affected me. Losing all humanity while on a death mission to save your surrogate daughter is a scene that’s hard to stomach. When he finally does save Clementine, only to succumb to his sickness and die handcuffed to a radiator, you see both the death of the protagonist and the death of the innocence in the 9 year-old Clementine, setting herself up for Season 2 and surviving the zombie wasteland. Plus, having Clementine shoot Lee feels just, making the death that much harder, emotionally, to deal with.

The characterization of Lee Everett and his interactions with party members, building a rapport, lends a great deal of support to the horror of his downfall. Consequently, all but one or two deaths total from the entirety of Season 2 gave me nothing, emotionally. The party-building interactions with Lee Everett helped solidify The Walking Dead as a contemporary decision-based adventure masterpiece, one that will be hard to top.