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GTA Games: Ranking all the main characters from worst to best

(picture credits: video games evolution, Youtube)
(picture credits: video games evolution, Youtube)
Rahul Bhushan

The GTA franchise has always been known for its brilliant open-world, soundtrack, engaging storylines, and most importantly: colorful and memorable characters.

The GTA franchise is rich with characters that stay with you long after you complete the game. From deranged psychopaths to a Scarface-like crime boss, there is a wide spectrum of character personalities in the game.

While the franchise has gained a reputation for creating memorable protagonists, there are some that were not as memorable and failed to create much impact in the games.

Ranking All GTA Protagonists From Worst to Best

(Dis)Honorable Mentions:

These characters were perhaps the least developed and not offered enough for them to be memorable.

1) All Selectable Characters from Grand Theft Auto (1997) and Grand Theft Auto II (1988)

Grand Theft Auto(1997) Characters
Grand Theft Auto(1997) Characters

Examples: Bubba, Divine, Kati, Mikki, Troy, Kelly, etc.

These were all characters with little to no back story or unique personality, and hence, cannot be ranked.

2) Mike from Grand Theft Auto Advance

Mike from GTA Advance
Mike from GTA Advance

3) GTA: Online Protagonist

The GTA: Online protagonist is essentially a blank slate for the player to subject their personality too. Therefore, they cannot be ranked.

All Protagonists- Worst to Best List:

12) Claude

Claude from Grand Theft Auto III
Claude from Grand Theft Auto III

Claude is the protagonist from GTA III who even makes an appearance in GTA: San Andreas. Not much is known about Claude, and he isn't even referred by his name in the games.

Claude is a silent protagonist and doesn't ever speak. However, he is a very capable individual who gives off the 'strong and silent' vibe. He is dangerous, but severely lacks personality.

11) Toni Cipriani

Toni Cipriani
Toni Cipriani

Toni Cipriani from Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories feels more like a caricature of the mobster stereotype than a full-fledged character. He lacks much of a back-story apart from the fact that he was essentially born into the Mafia.

Tony Cipriani lacks much of a personality, but is however a compelling character with enough potential.

10) Huang Lee

Huang Lee
Huang Lee

Huang Lee was the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, and is a spoiled rich kid from Hong Kong, and a member of the Triads.

The character's journey begins when his father is killed in Liberty City. Huang Lee is a character that could have been so much more than he was in the game.

He even makes an appearance in Grand Theft Auto IV.

9) Victor Vance

Victor Vance from GTA: Vice City Stories
Victor Vance from GTA: Vice City Stories

Victor Vance was first seen in GTA: Vice City in the opening cut scene of the game where he promptly dies of a gunshot from Diaz's mercenaries.

He is then seen as the protagonist of GTA: Vice City stories and is a compelling enough character. A former soldier who was kicked out of the army for dealing drugs, by being coerced into it by his superior.

Victor Vance is a force of nature, as he single handedly takes down the Mendez Cartel and establishes the Vance Crime Family, along with his brother Lance.

8) Johnny Klebitz

Johnny Klebitz
Johnny Klebitz

Johnny appears as a protagonist in Grand Theft Auto IV Episodes from Liberty City: The Lost and Damnned as the President of the The Lost MC.

Johnny is an intriguing character with several vices of his own that he must contend with while also ensuring the prosperity of The Lost MC.

The character tip-toes along the lines of being a parody, but is compelling enough to be a good character. His death comes along the hands of Trevor Phillips himself in GTA V, as Johnny had fallen into the addiction of crystal meth.

7) Franklin Clinton

Franklin Clinton
Franklin Clinton

Franklin is perhaps one of the coolest characters in a GTA game, and one of the smartest. He is a former gang member of the CGF and seeks to get out of his neighborhood's gang violence.

His reluctance towards the allure of gang life is what makes him compelling. His ambitions are bigger than his peers' as he wants to make something of his life rather than just needless violence.

6) Luis Fernando Lopez

Luis Fernando Lopez
Luis Fernando Lopez

Luis appears in GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony as Tony's bodyguard and is a very well developed character. He has a rich back-story that gives enough context to his personality. He is trustworthy, reliable and extremely smart.

After leaving behind his gang life after repeated incarceration, Luis comes across legendary nightclub owner Tony Prince who recruits him as his bodyguard. The two share a great relationship, and Luis is an extremely likeable character.

5) Trevor Phillips

Trevor in GTA 5
Trevor in GTA 5

Perhaps there is no other character on this list as terrifying as Trevor Phillips. Michael from GTA V had this to say about Trevor, "He is hell walking on earth", and he might well be.

Trevor is a force of nature who is capable of causing ungodly amounts of chaos and violence. He takes pleasure in causing harm to others and makes no excuses for it.

His lack of pretense and justification around his actions is what makes him such a compelling character.

4) Niko Bellic

Niko Bellic in GTA IV
Niko Bellic in GTA IV

The story of Niko Bellic is one of the most grounded stories in a GTA game ever. Niko isn't after causing violence or becoming filthy rich.

His sole purpose of coming to Liberty City was that he could live comfortably in a new country without his traumatic past catching up to him. However, he would never find peace in Liberty City as he gets roped into organized crime.

Niko is one of the most unique characters in a GTA game as he unwillingly resorts to his criminal ways.

3) Carl Johnson

CJ in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
CJ in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Quite possibly one of the funniest GTA protagonists on this list, CJ or Carl Johnson is a fan-favourite. A former gang member who returns to his hometown in Los Santos after hearing of his mother's death. Carl must uncover the truth behind his mother's death.

Caught in gang wars and government conspiracies, CJ becomes the unwilling hero of the story and is fondly remembered as being one of the most likeable characters.

CJ is charming, funny but also dangerous as he single handedly brings down the Ballas and ensures Grove Street Families becomes the most powerful gang in Los Santos.

2) Tommy Vercetti

Tommy in Vice City
Tommy in Vice City

Tommy Vercetti is the game equivalent of Scarface's Tony Montana, and he even resides in a mansion inspired by the famous movie character. Tommy is an extremely clever and capable individual who takes over Vice City by force.

Tommy always means business and never loses sight of the bigger picture. He is one of the smartest characters in a GTA game, and even when he is blindsided by his allies, he comes out on top due to sheer will and grit.

1) Michael de Santa

Michael de Santa
Michael de Santa

He is one of the most realistic characters in a GTA game ever. All GTA characters have been relatively young, spry and quick to resort to violence.

However, Michael is an ageing, unhealthy, retired bank robber who would much rather relax by his pool with a cigar than be out causing mayhem. However, Michael de Santa, formerly known as Michael Townley is legendary bank robber who has quite the rep.

His struggles regarding his anger and violence is what makes him a realistic character with very real problems.


Edited by Utkarsh Rampal

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