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Eight tragic video game couples

Bayek & Aya 2
Image: Ubisoft

Just like in real-life, relationships in video games aren’t always that rosy. Sometimes true love is stricken by unfortunate circumstances. In other cases one falls madly in love with another but the feelings aren’t fully reciprocated. It’s sad, we know, but that’s life. And without these tumultuous relationships many of the great games we know and love just wouldn’t be the same.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a short list of eight of the most tragic video game couples, whose lives together are cut short or made horribly complicated for one reason or another. So sit back, relax, and maybe cuddle your loved one while you read about some of the most unfortunate relationships in video games.

Though be warned: there be spoilers in these ‘ere words!

1. Rad mac Raith & Antea Duarte – Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew

Although they’ve been together quite a long time when the story of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden begins, tragedy starts quite early into this story-driven adventure by Don’t Nod.

Both Banishers, making a living by sending the souls of the deceased back to where they belong, the lives of Red mac Raith and Antea Duarte are thrown into disarray shortly after arriving in New Eden. Coming up against a powerful entity unlike anything else they’ve ever faced, Antea’s life is cut short and Red is left for dead.

Nursed back to health by an unknown benefactor, things are already bad enough for Red, who now faces a life without his beloved partner. But then he senses her presence. It seems Antea cannot rest until her killer is dealt with, which means returning to New Eden. And there’s another thing to consider: if Red can harvest enough spiritual energy by taking the lives of those he meets on his travels, he might be able to bring Antea back from the dead. But should he? It’s a dilemma that obviously wears heavily on him, but ultimately the choice is yours.

In any case, you’ll surely agree that Red mac Raith and Antea Duarte are one of the most tragic couples in video games. Also, you should very much play Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden.

Read our review of Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden

2. Bayek & Aya – Assassin’s Creed Origins

Bayek & Aya
Image: Ubisoft

Bayek and Aya’s story is a tragic one indeed.

When their son, Khemu, is inadvertently killed by Bayek after being abducted for unknown reasons, their relationship is strained as they split up to hunt down those responsible. Throughout the game, however, you can just tell that Bayek and Aya have a deep love for another.

They kiss, they hold hands, they make love; there’s a real tenderness to Bayek and Aya’s relationship. But rarely are they able to spend any real time together, what with Aya’s servitude to Cleopatra in addition to both of their lust for vengeance.

As they work their way through those who need to brought to justice, they soon realise that Egypt needs people like them to look out for its people from the shadows, and upon forming the Assassin brotherhood decide to go their separate ways. Of course, both are visibly upset about the decision, but at the same time they know they can never go back to simply being partners.

Read our review of Assassin’s Creed Origins

3. Mary & James Sunderland – Silent Hill 2

Mary & James Sunderland
Image: Konami

Sometimes, good people do bad things.

Silent Hill 2’s James and Mary were a happily married couple who seemingly used to visit the sleepy lakeside town of Silent Hill frequently. But then Mary died.

Three years later, James finds himself visiting Silent Hill alone, believing that he’s received a letter from Mary saying that she’s in their special place. “It’s ridiculous. It couldn’t possibly be true!”, James proclaims. And he’s right. Because the fact of the matter is he killed Mary three years ago because he couldn’t cope with seeing her suffering.

Whether his crime was carried out through mercy or malice, there’s no doubt that James sincerely loved his wife; why would he head back to Silent Hill otherwise? Though it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether he dwells on the past or comes to terms with his actions and moves on with his life.

4. Cloud Strife & Aeris Gainsborough – Final Fantasy VII

Cloud & Aeris
Image: Square Enix

Okay, so maybe Cloud and Aeris (or Aerith, depending on where you are in the world) weren’t ever officially a couple, but you get the impression that they are very close as you work your way through the first third of Final Fantasy VII.

Cloud first meets Aeris while fleeing from from a terrorist attack he’s just committed – blowing up a Shinra Mako Reactor in Midgar. He meets her again when a second Mako reactor attack goes wrong. After coming to her rescue, their relationship blossoms.

Before they can ever display their affection for one another, however, Aeris foolishly goes off alone to the Forgotten City. Cloud and his friends rush to join her but get there too late; the despicable Sephiroth skewers her like a kebab right before their eyes. Cloud is heartbroken, obviously, and carries her body to a nearby lake so that her life energy can be released back to the planet.

If you didn’t cry at this moment when playing Final Fantasy VII you were probably dead yourself.

5. Ellie & Riley – The Last of Us: Left Behind

Ellie & Riley
Image: Naughty Dog

Ellie and Riley are close friends, but the world they have found themselves in is one fraught with danger.

Running off together to an abandoned shopping mall, they have fun before Riley discloses that she’s joined a militia group known as the Fireflies, and has been stationed in another city. The news comes as a shock to Ellie and they argue, but she soon comes to terms with Riley’s decision.

After having a dance together when Riley plugs Ellie’s walkman into a sound system, however, Ellie begs Riley not to leave, expressing her true feelings with a kiss. Their happiness is short lived though, as the infected are drawn by the noise of the music and pursue Ellie and Riley who eventually both get bit. Ellie survives, as we all know, but Riley… well, she doesn’t make it.

6. Chloe Price & Rachel Amber – Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Chloe & Rachel
Image: Deck Nine

In Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Chloe is a girl that is finding life hard. After her father died in a car accident and her best friend Max moves away, she feels alone. But then she meets Rachel.

Chloe and Rachel are similar, yet also very different. Both are angry at the world and want to lash out. But while Rachel is popular, Chloe is a bit of an outcast. Over time, however, they develop a strong yet stormy relationship based on the understanding of one another’s feelings. Though it’s a relationship that we learn comes to an unfortunate end.

By the time that Life is Strange picks up three years later, we learn that Rachel has gone missing. And towards the end of the series it is revealed that she was actually murdered. It was a shocking moment when we originally played through Life is Strange, but knowing how close Chloe was to Rachel makes it even more powerful.

Read our review of Life is Strange: Before the Storm

7. Gabriel & Marie Belmont – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Gabriel & Marie
Image: Mercury Steam/Konami

Gabriel Belmont was a member of the Brotherhood of Light, a holy order of knights who protect the people from supernatural creatures. Sent to the Lake of Oblivion by the Brotherhood to investigate a spate of attacks, he becomes embroiled in a series of unfortunate events when the spirit of his dead wife contacts him.

Explaining to Gabriel that the world is in great danger, she indicates that the Lords of Shadow have the power to save the world. It’s only towards the end of Gabriel’s adventure, however, that the true nature of the Lords of Shadow is revealed.

Believing he could bring his wife back from dead, Gabriel defeats one lord after another, obtaining pieces of the God Mask that is said to hold such power. Eventually he learns that he has been but a pawn in the machination set into motion by Satan, who wishes to once again rise to the heavens. Coming to terms with the fact that it was actually he who killed his wife while being under the influence of dark powers, what pushes Gabriel over the edge is the discovery that the God Mask doesn’t have to power to bring the dead back to life at all.

Distraught and with little meaning left to his life, he eventually becomes Dracula. Though while vilified, he still fights the powers of darkness, preventing Satan from fulfilling his nefarious plans.

8. Sebastian & Myra – The Evil Within 2

Sebastian & Myra
Image: Tango Gameworks

Sebastian and Myra Castellanos, along with their daughter Lily, were once a happy family. But then things went wrong.

First, Lily was presumed to be dead as a result of a house fire. Then, Myra suddenly disappeared. Sebastian understandably took it hard, but his dedication to his job enabled him to work through his loss. That is until he came face to face with MOBIOUS’ STEM system.

In The Evil Within 2, Sebastian learns that Lily didn’t die in a house fire after all. He willingly re-enters the STEM system against his better judgement to save her. Then, in another shocking twist, he discovers that Myra is in there too; she disappeared all those years ago because she suspected foul play with the reported death of their daughter and caught wind of MOBIUS.

Hoping to once again be reunited outside the STEM system with both his wife and daughter, Sebastian does all he can to save them – but Myra has changed. Now a monster wishing to keep Lily in the STEM system for her own safety, Sebastian reluctantly fights his wife. Emerging victorious, he tries to get both Lily and Myra to safety, but his wife insists on staying behind to shut down the STEM system for good.

Read our review of The Evil Within 2

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!