Its not me, its you
The life of a video game protagonist is hard business. Its full of worlds to save, and things to shoot, and quick-time events to barely survive, and more things to shoot. Thankfully most heroes don't have to go it alone, because even when they don't have a party at their heels, they can usually count on a love interest. The main character's faithful and abiding companion, this beloved is their shoulder to lean on, and no matter how rough things get, they know at least this person will never let them down.
But, you know, being the beau of a video game protagonist isn't easy either. Sometimes it's easy to weather the protags character faults and dumb decisions--like their weird need to conserve ammo despite being inches from death--but other times it can be a real mental strain. And if their hero tops that all off by being a thoughtless jerk? That can drive a paramour to a curt break-up, harsh reprimand, or a swift bout of murder. Here I have nine such love interests who got sick of their heroes' nonsense and decided to do something about it. Oh boy, it's going to take a lot more than roses and chocolate to fix this mess.
SPOILERS AHEAD for the following games:
Prince of Persia (2008)
Shadows of the Damned
Dragon Age: Origins
Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Elika (Prince of Persia)
It's a shame that the 2008 Prince of Persia reboot went without any follow-up, because that leaves too many gamers without any exposure to the Prince's confidant, Elika. She's the best AI companion a player could ask for, jumping in during fights and saving the reckless royal from death-by-stupid on multiple occasions. There's even a puzzle involving Elika doppelgangers that you solve by leaping into a ravine because only the real Elika will save you. That's why it's so heart-crushing when she gives her life to complete their mission, but you have to respect that kind of noble sacrifice.
Or not, if you're the Prince. Unwilling to go on without her, he destroys all the work they've done over their entire journey so he can drain the life force needed to bring her back. Since she was fully aware what she was doing by giving her life, Elika is NOT happy when she wakes up and ends up leaving out of frustration at the first opportunity. Well that didn't turn out like you wanted, did it hero?
Trish Dailey (inFAMOUS)
You almost want to give Cole the benefit of the doubt and say that his girlfriend Trish was hasty in breaking up with him. He didn't mean to hurt her in any way, and he's really sorry, and he would totally take it back if he could! Except that what he did was blow up an entire city and kill her sister, which is a bit trickier to get over.
inFAMOUS' romance subplot (and I use the term loosely) revolves around Cole trying to win back Trish's trust after the revelation that he caused the catastrophe that led to her sister's death. Cole can make his way back into her good graces by doing right for Empire City and its people. However, Trish refuses to take any crap if he swings toward the dark side, berating him for making selfish choices that put others in danger. If Cole's particularly greedy and awful throughout his adventure, Trish will tell him that she's ashamed of what he's become and that he's squandered his God-given powers with her dying breath. Ouch. That's a bolt to the heart.
Tifa Lockhart (FF7: Advent Children)
This one may be cheating a bit, since it happens in Advent Children, but you gotta admit Cloud had it coming. Throughout FFVII, Tifa is Cloud's rock in the Lifestream, giving him unwavering support even when she has to dive into his subconscious to do it. She continues to encourage him when they start a new life together in Edge, despite his renewed descent into mopiness and the way he ignores his new family. Still, she stands behind her man, immovable in her conviction--until he almost lets his self-imposed guilt trip stop him from saving their kidnapped kids. Then she's pissed.
She doesn't exactly lose her head or punch him into next week (which she easily could), but she's clearly had enough of his shit. She berates him for thinking he has it "so damn hard" before dropping an ultimatum in his lap, "a memory, or us," which is a big part of what finally snaps him out of his funk. Yep, Tifa's a smart one, and she knows when to take off the kid gloves.
Paula (Shadows of the Damned)
Paula spends pretty much the entirety of Shadows of the Damned looked unassuming and damsel-like. A supposed casualty in Garcia Hotspur's fight against demon-kind, this innocent lady is kidnapped by the lord of the underworld, and the game is decorated with images of her being tortured in various ugly fashions. So when he finally saves her and takes her into his arms, it's a bit surprising how she chokes and eats him alive.
Once the two meet up in the depths of wherever the hell this is, she asks some pretty good questions about why she was made to suffer all alone for Garcia's personal vendetta against the king of Hell. She shifts into crazy town by demanding to know why he didn't die with her (also by turning into a winged angel-devil and trying to butcher him), but she raises some important points that Garcia takes to heart. Though she says she'll never forgive him, and he's got pretty good reasons not to forgive her, they work it out and live insanely ever after. Shine on, you crazy diamonds.
Leliana (Dragon Age: Origins)
There are a lot of things a girl can forgive. Asking about her "forbidden fruit" on a first date? Meh. Refusing to let her gentle priest friend come on your adventure? Surely you had your reasons. But defile the sacred ashes of the prophet to whose teachings she's devoted her life? No girl's gonna let that one slide, especially Leliana, whose affection for the Warden won't stop her from trying to put you in the ground.
Like with everything else in Dragon Age, your choices affect whether or not Leliana tries to smack you down. You can keep her as a romance option without any conflict if you don't defile the ashes of the prophet Andraste. If you do and she sees it with her own eyes (and your Intimidation stat isn't high enough, and), she'll go for the throat and you'll be forced to kill her. While she won't attack you if she's back at the camp, she'll only stay long enough to shout at you a little before leaving in disgust. Either way, not the best move for your love life.
Caroline Scott (Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag)
The ladies love a bad boy, right? Despite hearing from literally everyone that Edward Kenway was an irresponsible, drunken knave, Caroline Scott had enough faith to give marrying to him the ol' Welsh farm-hand try. In response, Edward set out to prove himself by being an irresponsible, drunken knave. Aww, crap. She took it on the chin for quite some time, until he revealed his plans to become a privateer to make his fortune. At that point she promptly left him, to his great shock, because he's a few doubloons short of a treasure chest.
Despite her estranged husband's protests, Caroline held to her decision, refusing to go back to him. He then proceeded to prove she'd made the right choice over and over again, spending five times as long at sea as he'd promised and writing home about once a year, if he remembered. Honestly, she probably would've been way better off without him, if her dad wasn't an even bigger jerk who gave her smallpox and refused to buy her medicine. Poor girl can't catch a break!
Ziio (Assassins Creed 3)
The Kenway men are inept at holding onto good women. Like his father, Haytham stumbles into the company of a beautiful lady--a Mohawk warrior named Ziio who doesnt take crap from anybody--who finds him attractive despite his personal failings. After some early adversity they start a relationship, which goes up in flames when Ziio isn't willing to tolerate Haytham's lies and crazy schemes. Yes, just like daddy taught him.
The estrangement starts once Ziio picks up on Haytham's Templar affiliations, and it becomes apparent that he's a little too into the "enslave everyone for peace" camp for her taste. Then when she finds out he reneged on a promise to kill a British official for her (that timeless courtship ritual), she blows her stack, accuses him of manipulation and says she never wants to see him again. By then she has her son to think about anyway, and doesn't want him growing up around that kind of influence. And hey, Connor doesn't even have a girlfriend to estrange by the end of AC3, so he's doing good so far!
Jaina Proudmoore (World of WarCraft)
Sometimes relationships just don't work out. Sometimes it's financial issues, sometimes it's two people growing apart over time, sometimes your boyfriend massacres a village full of innocent civilians and becomes a vessel for the dark lord of the undead Scourge. These things happen, and you gotta do what's best for you. Just ask Jaina Proudmoore, who jumped ship on her beloved Arthas when he expected her to take part in mass genocide. It's okay to say no!
Childhood friend and puppy-love crush to Crown Prince Arthas, Jaina had an on-and-off relationship with the prince until they made it official... right around the time the kingdom was besieged by the undead. But hey, you can't time these things. While she stuck by Arthas at first, his efforts to eradicate the Scourge got more and more intense, until he made the call to raze an entire town because some of its people had eaten Scourge-tainted grain. Jaina promptly peaced out and left Arthas to his slaughtering, and never saw him again until he became the Lich King. She still loved him and all, but come on--you gotta have boundaries.
Tanisha Jackson (GTA 5)
Tanisha is a pretty reasonable lady with a good head on her shoulders, but she might as well have a second one for how out-of-place that makes her in GTA. In a world where the hero's favorite past times involve kidnapping, extortion and massive drug deals, Tanisha is shockingly non-descript, wanting nothing fancier than a family and stability. Even before GTA 5 gets rollin' she knows that her boyfriend Franklin will never be able to give that to her. So she breaks up with him, and spends the entire game sticking to her guns.
Despite Franklin's constant bids to win her back, Tanisha remains firm: she wants security and even though she loves him, she knows that will never be Franklin's reality. While she does get on him for being a jerk and forgetting his friends, she never demands that he change, or even expects him to. She eventually moves on and gets married, and Franklin's big turning point is when he accepts it and wishes her the best of luck. Wait, a healthy relationship that ends amicably? Do I have the right disc in?
Baby come back
You gotta admit, our heroes had these blow-ups coming one way or another, even if you think murders a bit much. Which of these love interests are you cheering on? Who was too harsh on their SO? Did I miss any beaus with a break-up on the tip of their tongue? Like any guys? Please, I looked so hard. Anyway, say so in the comments below, and learn from these mistakes. Video games can teach us so much.