10 Video Game Characters Who Were Forced To Grow Up Too Soon

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Life is not easy for a video game character. If they are not shot, relentlessly chased, or stalked by a mystical entity from outer space, they are grappling with their past and the trauma that comes with it. Sometimes these protagonists and characters find their childhood untouched by these events. More often, however, it shapes them for the rest of their lives.


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Some characters, through circumstances created by themselves or otherwise, are forced to grow up long before their years. Some are driven to carry a prophetic burden, while others simply cannot escape their doom. However, these characters have matured, one thing is certain: it happened far too soon.

ten Max Caulfield Starts Playing God In Life Is Strange

A student at the prestigious Blackwell Academy, Max watches her childhood best friend, Chloe Price, die at the hands of another student. After the incident, she discovers she has the power to turn back time and begins to use it to help Chloe unravel the disappearance of a girl named Rachel Amber.

Through life is strange, Max witnesses traumatic things, often over and over again as she rewinds time to fix them. She and Chloe even discover Rachel’s body, and by the time the credits roll Max hasn’t left any space for being a child.

9 Ness must save the world before going through puberty in Earthbound

In Earthbound, when Ness and her friend Pokey decide to investigate the site of a meteorite crash, they couldn’t have expected to find themselves on a perilous quest to save the world from an alien force.

There aren’t many words that can accurately describe the kind of journey Ness is on. In addition to the Giygas, Ness must deal with zombies, alternate dimensions, and the betrayal of one of her closest allies while still a child. After it’s all over, Ness’ struggle doesn’t stop, as the one who betrayed him sends him a taunting letter to remind him that there is unfinished business.

8 Atreus is stricken with grief and a legacy he doesn’t understand in God Of War

2018 God of the war introduced a sickly young boy named Atreus to an unsuspecting audience. Atreus is the son of Kratos and a woman called Faye, who is revealed to be a Frost Giant later in the story. The game begins with Faye’s death hitting Atreus hard, as Kratos has been a semi-absent father for most of his son’s life.

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Atreus’ dual heritage causes him other problems, including falling into a coma after using his own Spartan Rage and mercilessly killing a helpless enemy. In the end, Atreus has largely come to terms with who he is thanks to his father, but is plagued by prophetic visions, with his unique legacy being something only he can handle on his own.

seven Aloy’s fate cast her from her tribe in Horizon

In Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden Horizon West, Aloy was created by GAIA to, essentially, save the world. However, due to Aloy’s unusual design, she was immediately shunned by her tribe, who believed she was unnatural and a curse.

Aloy has spent her entire life with only her adoptive father, Rost, for company. He taught her everything she knew before he was murdered before his eyes. From that point on, Aloy had no choice but to go off on her own to not only save the tribe that shunned her, but to save the world and avenge her father.

6 Makoto Naegi is the unwitting participant in a deadly game in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

All the characters of Danganronpa games, with a few exceptions in Ultra Desperate Girls, are high school students. Makoto Naegi is the original protagonist of the first game and the first character that players take control of as Monokuma forces Naegi and his classmates into a murderous game.

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During Trigger Happy Havoc, Naegi must not only discover the bodies of his friends, but also win the trials that follow to avoid his own execution. Between simply trying to survive and watching those he loves succumb to despair, Naegi is never the same after his murderous gaming experience.

5 Ciri is the daughter of fate in The Witcher 3

Ciri only ever wanted a simple life, but her and Geralt’s intertwined fates, along with the fact that she had Elder Blood, meant that her life would forever be full of adventure and tragedy. Ciri lost both her parents and her grandmother in her youth, while unsuccessfully pursuing Geralt, whom she knew shared her fate.

Ciri’s time as a witcher was traumatic and difficult, and her life from then on became full of running away from anyone who would harm her. Unable to have a peaceful life with Geralt and the rest of her witcher family, Ciri felt no solace until the end of The Witcher 3in that moment, she had seen things that would leave her forever changed.

4 Grunt was fully developed and confused in Mass Effect 2

Grunt literally never had a childhood. Being the only tank-born krogan in existence, he was created by Warlord Okeer to be a genetically perfect example of his species and was tanked onto Shepard’s ship in Mass Effect 2 almost fully developed.

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Due to his lack of a true krogan upbringing, Grunt was violent and unpredictable, but had great loyalty to Shepard, who did everything he could to help him mature. Grunt only had a few months to figure out his existence, connect with his people, and help his beloved commander save the world, while not even being two years old.

3 Cloud Strife led a life of pain that erased his identity in Final Fantasy

It can be said that Cloud suffered as soon as his father died. Shut out by the other kids in his neighborhood, blamed for Tifa’s early near-death experience despite being the one who saved her, and failing to achieve SOLDIER status due to his lack of skill are just a few of the traumas he had accumulated as a child.

Cloud then became even more traumatized after the genetic experimentation, so much so that he took over the memories of his dearest friend and ally, Zack Fair, after Zack’s death. This all happens before Cloud’s standout game, Final Fantasy VII, in which he is only twenty-one years old. And all this is not even half of what he had to endure.

2 Sora was thrust into worlds he didn’t understand in Kingdom Hearts

Sora’s journey begins at just fourteen years old, but he manages to retain his childlike optimism and naivety for far longer than most of the other young protagonists. However, most fans don’t believe that Sora is over seventeen in kingdom hearts 3a game in which his personality and outlook on life began to be affected by the journey he’s been on.

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This means that in just three years, Sora has fought the darkness, seen his beloved friends taken from him time and time again, and traveled through worlds he didn’t even know existed. Before reclaiming Riku and Kairi, the fate of their world rested solely on his shoulders, and even now it’s clear he has a much bigger role to play than anyone else.

1 Clementine fought against all odds in Telltale’s The Walking Dead

When players encounter Clementine in Telltale’s The Walking Dead, she’s a sweet, shy eight-year-old girl who clings to protagonist Lee Everett after they run away during the zombie outbreak. At the end of the first game, she is forced to let Lee turn around or shoot her herself, an event that shapes her for the rest of her journey.

Eventually, Clementine gains custody of a young boy named Alvin Jr, or AJ, and she mirrors Lee’s adoption of her in his adoption of AJ Becoming his mother at just thirteen, Clementine not only toughened up for his survival but also for AJ. She matures beyond her years and does everything she can to keep him safe.

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