Most gaming heroes are undeniably goodhearted, but some have questionable morals. While a few heroes on this list accidentally killed their offspring, the rest intentionally murdered their own children.
For most of the entries on this list, the heroes perform filicide because of bizarre circumstances. Whether they’re dealing with demonic possession, the zombie apocalypse, or murderous children, these heroes use their strange circumstances to justify the killing. Of course, we don’t have to support their reasoning: individual players determine whether these heroes act righteously or evilly.
As if filicide isn’t already a moral mess, some games give you the option of killing children for the parents (particularly games set within the zombie apocalypse). Instead of letting you save the children, you must fully consider the nature of murder. Should you let the heroes murder their kids, or should you assume that responsibility? If you believe nobody can justify murder, these situations force you into viewpoints you wouldn’t normally consider.
Some of the heroes on this list are actually quite evil. Whether they descended into villainy or have always acted evilly, these characters are playable protagonists and “heroes” of their games. We can’t help but sympathize with the characters we play—although we can’t forgive all evil. Whether they performed filicide through selfishness, accidents, or personal justification, these 15 gaming heroes murdered their own children.
15 Kratos—God Of War
Kratos may not be the most virtuous hero in the gaming world, but—unlike most of the heroes on this list—he’s not completely responsible for his filicide. As the most powerful warrior in Greece, Kratos gained the attention of the gods. Ares selected Kratos as his champion. In order to make Kratos the “perfect” warrior without ties to any nation, Ares planned the deaths of Kratos’ family. As Kratos raided a town, Ares teleported Kratos’s wife and daughter into the town—causing Kratos to unknowingly murder his own family.
This tragic backstory initiates the plot of God of War. Devastated by his loss, Kratos travels to the Underworld to revive his family. When he fails to save them, he avenges them by murdering Ares.
14 Kilrogg Deadeye—Warcraft
Kilrogg Deadeye appears throughout the Warcraft franchise. Although he doesn’t play a huge role in the later, story-heavy Warcraft entries, he commands the orc armies of the first two Warcraft games. Kilrogg maintains his command through brutal orc tradition: whenever an orc wants to become chieftain, he must battle the current chieftain to the death. As an aged chieftain, Kilrogg has murdered multiple orcs within his tribe—including various sons and grandsons.
Despite his increasing desire to protect all orcs from death, Kilrogg never steps down from his commanding role. Kilrogg duels his children to remain the leader, and he dishonorably murdered his father to become chieftain. Even if you respect Kilrogg’s strength, such a hypocritical orc probably doesn’t deserve the title of chieftain.
13 Kenny—The Walking Dead: Season One
The third episode of The Walking Dead: Season One revolves around Kenny and his deteriorating family. At the episode’s beginning, a zombie bites his son, Duck. Duck’s condition slowly worsens, forcing his family to consider his inevitable death and revival. His parents decide to permanently end his life. When they take Duck into the forest, you hear a gunshot expecting Duck’s death—but Katjaa actually killed herself.
At this point, you have a choice: either you or Kenny must shoot Duck (Kenny may choose to spare Duck, but that choice isn’t up to you). The limited options might be unrealistic, but Telltale obviously wants a specific moral dilemma. Do you let Kenny execute his original plan and end Duck’s life on his own terms, or do you spare Kenny the pain of killing his own son?
Kenny only kills Duck in some playthroughs. 81 percent of players kill Duck so Kenny doesn’t have to.
12 Torque—The Suffering
The Suffering defies video game conventions through its alternate endings. Your actions throughout the game affect not only Torque’s future but also his past. Torque’s past remains a mystery until the game’s end: he was imprisoned for murdering his family, but we don’t know the accuracy of this accusation. If you play the game virtuously, Torque watched criminals kill his family. If you act evilly, Torque truly murdered his wife and two children. A third, neutral ending shows Torque accidentally killing his wife while the children kill themselves; Torque only murders his offspring in the game’s worst ending.
While we expected The Suffering’s alternate endings, we weren’t prepared for the game’s alternate flashbacks. With a variable backstory, The Suffering brings interactive gameplay to a whole new level.
11 Kain—Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver
Although Kain usually functions as the antiheroic protagonist of the Legacy of Kain franchise, he acts as the antagonist in Soul Reaver. The previous game ended with a choice: Kain could sacrifice himself to protect the world or save himself and endanger the world. Soul Reaver follows the second ending, causing Kain to turn into an evil, selfish ruler. Kain’s increasingly villainy eventually leads to filicide: Kain executes his son, Raziel, at the beginning of Soul Reaver.
As the playable protagonist of Soul Reaver, Raziel comes back to life and seeks vengeance on his father. Kain eventually convinces Raziel to join forces with him, causing the two to work together in later games. While we enjoy Kain’s return as a playable character, we’re surprised Raziel would so easily forgive the father who murdered him.
10 Darth Vader—Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
Most games portray Darth Vader as an antagonist like the original Star Wars films, but Rogue Leader briefly gives Vader the role of protagonist. After completing Rogue Leader’s campaign and earning enough points, you can unlock two secret levels. Controlling Vader, you protect the original Death Star in the first level and destroy the Rebels in the second mission. As the hero of the Empire, Vader kills all who resist him—including his son, Luke Skywalker. We only see Luke die, but we assume Leia also died in the attack on Yavin.
Not all fans enjoy this alternate ending, but many players appreciate the opportunity to fight with the Empire. Playing as the powerful Darth Vader is immensely satisfying—although we regret the deaths of Luke and Leia.
9 Oswald Mandus—Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
As the amnesic protagonist of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Oswald Mandus knows nothing of his children’s whereabouts. You explore Oswald’s 19th-century mansion searching for his twin sons, all while evading terrifying Manpigs. Following the voices of his children, Oswald revives the Machine beneath his mansion—and remembers that he sacrificed Edwin and Enoch to the Machine. After foreseeing the twins’ deaths in World War I, Oswald builds the Machine to destroy humanity before it destroys itself. Because the Machine needs human sacrifices, Oswald kills his children so they won’t suffer in the future.
Oswald clearly regrets his actions, for he destroys the Machine. His guilt produces terrifying hallucinations; the dead children constantly speak to him, and when he enters their bedroom he sees them ripping their hearts out.
8 Shao Kahn—Mortal Kombat
A lot of fighting games pit family members against each other, but most label defeats as KOs to stay “family-friendly.” Mortal Kombat, on the other hand, abandons censorship and insanely escalates its violence. After beating your enemy to a pulp, you finish them off with a violent Fatality. Fans enjoy the variety of gruesome Fatalities, which range from cannibalism to ripping out your rival’s spinal cord.
Shao Kahn performs some devastating Fatalities—even on his own daughters. Every character in Mortal Kombat fights brutally, but Kahn treats any opponent with zero sympathy, including Kitana (his adopted daughter) and Mileena (his genetically engineered daughter).
Kahn is extremely evil but also a playable character, making him a “hero” for multiple players. Who else will defend Kahn’s tyrannical title?
7 Charlie Kane (aka Yellow Jacket)—Twisted Metal (1995)
When playing through Charlie Kane’s campaign of Twisted Metal, you search for Charlie’s lost son, Marcus Kane. Marcus disappeared years ago as a child. Without a family, Marcus developed into an insane serial killer: Sweet Tooth, the signature clown of the Twisted Metal series.
In Calypso’s deadly tournament, Calypso grants the winner a single wish. Charlie enters the tournament to ask Calypso what happened to his son. In order to win the tournament, however, Charlie must kill all the contestants—including Sweet Tooth. Failing to recognize his son, Charlie destroys Sweet Tooth without hesitation. When Charlie wins the tournament and learns that he murdered his own son, he leaves filled with regret. Despite his good intentions, Charlie entered Calypso’s tournament for the wrong reasons and suffered the consequences.
6 Lorraine—The Park
Although Lorraine seems like a caring mother at the beginning of The Park, the rest of the game questions her selflessness. You search for Callum throughout the game while Lorraine recounts her life with Callum. While she clearly loves Callum, it’s hard to determine the extent of her love. She questions her happiness throughout the game: at times, she believes life would be better without Callum.
When you finally find Callum, the Bogeyman possesses Lorraine and forces her to grab a knife. However, he vanishes just before she stabs the knife into Callum’s chest. Based on how you interpret the psychological horror’s events, you can blame either the Bogeyman or Lorraine (who very well could have hallucinated the Bogeyman) for Callum’s death.
5 The Sole Survivor—Fallout 4
Players experience the world of Fallout 4 as the Sole Survivor, a parent searching for their son, Shaun. While the Sole Survivor spends 210 years in cryogenic sleep, the Institute interrupts Shaun’s slumber. Shaun’s only a baby at the beginning of the game, but he’s 60 years old for the majority of Fallout 4. Even though the Institute kidnapped him, Shaun remains with the Institute and becomes their leader (granting him the ironic title of “Father”).
Due to Fallout 4’s open-ended gameplay, you can kill Shaun anytime during the game. For players who choose not to murder Shaun, Shaun dies of cancer at the end of the main storyline. However, most players end up killing or at least opposing Shaun due to his evil actions. The Institute kidnaps people and replaces them with synths, prompting players to end the Institute’s tyranny and kill Shaun.
4 Viola’s Dad—The Witch’s House
The Witch’s House wonderfully manipulates our definition of “hero” by placing us in the shoes of the villain. Trapped in the house of Ellen (an ancient witch disguised as a child), you must destroy her magic and escape the house. Players assume they’re controlling the innocent, virtuous Viola—but you find out at the game’s end that Ellen took control of Viola’s body. Viola now lives within the mute, blind, legless body of Ellen. Trying to regain her body, Viola pursues you within your own house.
Once you escape the horrifying house, you run into Viola’s dad—who mistakes you for the original Viola. When the real Viola shows up in Ellen’s body, Viola’s dad immediately shoots her. The ending is absolutely devastating: Viola dies at her father’s hands, knowing Ellen will ruin his life.
3 Isolde—Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age has a lot of bizarre stories and quests, but “The Arl of Redcliffe” includes one of the most interesting stories in the franchise. In order to keep her magically gifted son, Connor, at her side, Isolde disguises his magic. This prevents him from learning magic at the Circle Tower. Because he lacks magical training, Connor is possessed by a demon—a demon which can be dealt with in multiple ways. Depending on your choices during and before this questline, you can confront the demon in either the physical world or the spiritual world.
If you physically confront the demon, you must battle and kill Connor. While Isolde initially resists, she realizes her possessed son will always suffer. She volunteers to take his life, at which point you may either kill Connor yourself or let Isolde murder her own son.
2 Heihachi Mishima—Tekken 2
In the first Tekken game, players battle Heihachi Mishima as his son, Kazuya Mishima. Heihachi definitely deserves the title of villain: when Kazuya tries to avenge his mother (who Heihachi killed in self-defense), Heihachi throws his five-year-old son off a cliff. Kazuya survives through a demonic pact and swears vengeance. This leads to the events of the first Tekken, where Kazuya enters Heihachi’s fighting tournament and defeats him.
Unfortunately, Kazuya turns out to be even more evil than his father. Taking over Heihachi’s corrupt company, Kazuya uses his demonic powers for evil and hosts another tournament. Heihachi rises as the protagonist of Tekken 2 to defeat his villainous son. Instead of simply usurping his son, Heihachi murders Kazuya by throwing him into a volcano.
1 Samara—Mass Effect 2
To gain Samara’s loyalty in Mass Effect 2, you must help her find and kill her daughter, Morinth. Both Samara and Morinth wield immense biotic power, but Samara helps people while Morinth seduces and murders strangers. To stop the serial killer, Samara asks you to become her next victim. Right before Morinth kills you, Samara approaches and battles her daughter.
Because the two asari are equally powerful, you determine who wins the battle. If you help Samara kill her daughter, Samara remorsefully leaves with you. If you aid Morinth, she replaces Samara aboard your ship. Samara and Morinth look almost exactly alike—and Morinth perfectly imitates her mother’s voice and behavior—so nobody knows of Samara’s disappearance except you and her daughter.