Plenty of video games have incredible casts of characters that rival those in literature, film, and television. In many cases, however, they are unrelatable. In the Call of Duty franchise, for instance, most people playing cannot relate to the experience of war, but we find them intriguing and badass, and they make playing these games more entertaining. Similarly, the cast of a series like Mass Effect has the same problem: we can't relate to people trying to save the galaxy from sentient alien ships and fighting AI's.
Grand Theft Auto has a similar conundrum. Few players can relate to gang members, organized crime leaders, or, well, whatever you call Trevor Philips, but the themes in the games are far more relatable, like having to earn money, looking out for one's friends and navigating the game of life (just with more guns and hookers) In short, the game is more down to Earth. Obviously, we'd be lucky never to have to go through what any of these characters deal with but there are few series out there that boast an eclectic cast quite like the ones we've seen in GTA.
Of course, given the tone of the franchise, we are rarely treated to any "good" characters in the moral and ethical sense of the word. Rather, there are just different levels and shades of "bad." While vandals, violence enthusiasts, and killers are everywhere, there are a special few in each game who are true maniacs, deserving of the title "savage." Here are fifteen of the most savage. Whether they be murderous, intensely cruel in spirit, or just repulsive in other ways, characters from Grand Theft Auto V.
As we'll see throughout this list, there are different ways to be savage. Some "savage" characters practice wanton violence, others betray anyone they can to get things done, others just have no respect for human life, and the last group are just people who are barely human in general. Josh Bernstein isn't particularly violent, but he is still savage in the sense of treating people like absolute garbage and not caring for anyone but himself.
He's a Strangers and Freaks character. Bernstein is a down-on-his-luck real estate agent who first asks Trevor to sabotage "For Sale" signs of his competitors. In exchange, Bernstein hooks Trevor up with a hooker. Later, we learn that Bernstein is forcing his wife to sleep with various strangers and criminals who her husband hires to do his dirty work.
Later on, Bernstein gets Trevor to torch his house to collect the insurance money. He betrays him, and brings along the police, trying to get Trevor tossed in prison. At this point, the player has the option of killing Bernstein. While it does bring police attention, it is worth it to rid the GTA world of this scumbag. I mean, forcing your wife to sleep with strangers? Savage AF, indeed.
Described by Trevor Philips as "inbred hillbilly twats," the O'Neil brothers are little more than very minor antagonists for his business, but during their brief time in the game, they are undeniably savage. They are presented as a group of inbred imbeciles, living on a family farm in the middle of nowhere, and doing little other than cooking meth and behaving like the lowest forms of human life. Trevor attacks their farm/meth lab compound, taking out most of these guys, but several had left the area prior to the start of the mission. They are taken care of later. While the O'Neil's aren't the most violent or scary of the savage characters in the game, they are recognized as being beyond rural, and closer to something almost feral
Of the three protagonists of the game, Franklin is the most well-adjusted. Given that he was primarily raised by his grandparents until they died and then cared for by his aunt, one might think he'd end up far worse. Compared to the thugs he meets through the game, Frank is actually an honest, caring, genuine guy. Of course, he's also an absolute savage, who racks up quite a body count over the course of the game, killing cops, other gang members, and anyone else who gets in his way. Franklin's level of savagery is very much based on player input, however. If he chooses "option 3" at the end, and keeps Trevor and Michael alive, then he isn't very savage at all, and demonstrates true loyalty to his friends, but if he kills either one, that's savage betrayal.
The Altruist Cult actually has very little impact on the game. There is an option, when playing as Trevor, to bring random event characters to the Altruists' hideout in the mountains. It is heavily implied that this cult isn't interested in new recruits to their cause, but rather kill these people and cannibalize them. Plenty of murder takes place in this franchise, but at the end of the day, there is something next-level-savage about eating other humans. The Altruists are a bunch of truly sick puppies to be paying people to bring them victims for their feasts.
Zealous fans of the GTA series will have remembered the radio DJ Lazlow Jones from other games. An interesting fact about this character, he is voiced by Jeffrey "Lazlow" Jones, an American talk show host who has also written and produced for Rockstar.
The character he plays in the game is not as savage as some of the gang members, torturers and murderers in these games, but in terms of sexual deviancy, there are few other characters as dirty as Lazlow. He is known for having been fired from several jobs over sexual misconduct and has been arrested a few times for sexual crimes. In GTA V he is the target of a couple of Michael De Santa assaults for trying to have his way with Tracey.
Wei Cheng is the Triad gang leader in Los Santos, and when we first hear of him, his son Tao and an interpreter are considering Trevor Philips Industries as a business partner for their meth operation in Blaine County. The Aztecas attack the meth lab while Trevor is giving his potential customers a tour of his business, and the Triads decide to work with the O'Neil brothers instead.
Later on, Cheng's men kidnap Michael and hold him hostage in a meat packing facility, thinking Michael is Trevor's gay lover. Cheng tortures Michael and orders that he be executed in a gruesome way (it involves the meat plant), cementing his savage work as a gang leader.
Harold Joseph, more commonly known as Stretch, gets out of prison in the early stages of GTA V and gets back to work in the gang lifestyle with Lamar Davis and Franklin. Of course, we find out gradually over the course of a few missions, that Stretch changed sides in prison and was working for the Ballas the whole time. He almost gets Lamar killed later on in the game, when the three protagonists have to assault the sawmill to save him. If the player chooses not to have Franklin kill Michael or Trevor, and instead takes out their enemies, Stretch gets what he deserves. Betraying your gang and trying to get homies killed? That's savage.
The series of missions that include Beverly Felton are probably among the most irritating of the Strangers and Freaks missions. Beverly is a paparazzo, and tails celebrities with ruthless diligence, photographing them at their most sensitive times. Most of the missions involve car chases and end up putting celebrities' lives in danger, simply because Beverly has an obsession with famous people and doesn't think they deserve any privacy. Among his victims is Poppy Mitchell, essentially the GTA world's own Lindsay Lohan, who gets into a serious auto wreck while being chased by Franklin, Beverly, and the cops. Beverly's crimes may not be the most serious in the game, but his obsessive aggression when it comes to stalking celebrities is enough for us to classify him as a real savage.
We'll get to Michael De Santa later, but for now, we decided to choose one of his family members. Overall, the entire group including Michael, Amanda, Jimmy, and Tracey are an absolute mess of a family. Amanda and Michael are constantly at each other's throats, the kids are miserable and Tracey is basically in the process of becoming an adult film star during the events of the game. Jimmy is on another level though, and is the kind of pathetic savagery with which we as gamers are familiar.
He's a ruthless online troll, mocking a minor celebrity with a disabled child, and consistently makes homophobic slurs at those against whom he's playing video games. He's immature and what most of us we imagine our opponents look like while playing Call of Duty online. With regard to Jimmy, we don't use the description of "savage" in any positive way. This type of savage is stupid, annoying and in Grand Theft Auto, it is absolutely hilarious.
Over the course of any GTA game, we the players, put up with a lot of despicable actions by our characters and that is part of the beauty of the game. Michael De Santa is a character that is hard not to relate to. He wants to do well by his family, but has difficulty being the man they need him to be. At the same time, as a career criminal, De Santa kind of represents something many young men consider at one point or another; a life of crime.
Of course, he has very little in the way of morals, and is willing to do just about anything necessary to earn money, and this, of course, includes assault, robbery, and plenty of murder. Only a true savage has a body count as impressive as this guy.
The Border Patrol themed missions are hilarious, and feature two lunatics hell-bent on ridding Blaine County of illegal immigrants. Joe and Josef are an interesting duo, and while Joe is what we imagine an overly-zealous civilian border patrol enthusiast might be like, Josef is Russian, speaks next to no English, and barely even seems to know what is going on. Most of the people they round up are American citizens, and of course, they are brutalized when they resist. The Civil Border Patrol members do get what they deserve, however, when Trevor brutally kills both of them after meeting one of their victims, and realizing what the duo have been up to.
FIB Agent Steve Haines is one of those filthy, repugnant government officials who uses his position to do whatever he wants. Haines' goal is the advancement of his own career, and many of the missions he has the main trio of characters complete are aimed at getting the FIB more funding. He'll do just about anything to achieve these goals, including ordering hits on people, and of course, he "supervised" Trevor torturing Ferdinand Kerimov.
Finally, if that's not enough, he callously tells Franklin to kill Trevor at the end of the game, but of course, the choice is up to Frank.
While it would be hard to label Mexican-American drug lord/businessman Martin Madrazo as a good guy or bad guy within the story of the game itself, we can say with absolute certainty that he is an absolute savage. He mistreats and cheats on his wife, as we know, and Patricia really wasn't that bent out of shape over getting kidnapped by Trevor. Madrazo is also quick to anger, and in GTA Online, hires the player to kill or rough up witnesses and competition. Madrazo also calls the player in a fit of rage if he doesn't receive a call about a job in a certain amount of time.
When we first meet the impressively wealthy Devin Weston, he seems like an ambitious billionaire, and while a little impolite, he produces some cool missions: stealing cars as Trevor and Franklin, and Weston hooks Michael up with Solomon Richards, the iconic filmmaker. Later on, however, we realize that Weston is as crooked as they come, and when Michael prevents Weston's lawyer, Molly, from taking the film to Liberty City (she, of course, got sucked through a jet engine), Weston sends Merryweather agents to Michael's house to murder Michael's family. Weston is also the guy who tries to turn the three protagonists against each other, telling Franklin to kill Michael.
Weston is the dirtiest businessman in a city full of dirty businessmen, and given his disregard for ethics and human life in general, we can't help but consider him highly savage.
If you're not sure why we chose Trevor Philips as our numero uno on this list, we suspect you didn't play the game, or just didn't pay attention. To call Trevor an animal would be far too charitable. Rather, he's some kind of other-worldly sentient vortex of destruction and mayhem. Whether it's his rampage missions, stomping out Johnny and then talking to Johnny's brain matter on the bottom of his boot, or just the general wake of destruction Trevor leaves everywhere he goes, the guy is about as savage as a video game character has ever been. While a real-life Trevor Philips would be some kind of terrifying, the fact that this creature is confined to a video game screen keeps him a hilarious, savage character, whose wanton, maniacal destructive personality makes for a phenomenal gaming experience.