GTA: Is Niko Bellic the best protagonist in the series?

Niko Belic might just be the most complex protagonist in the history of the series (Image Credits: Wallpaper Cave)
Niko Belic might just be the most complex protagonist in the history of the series (Image Credits: Wallpaper Cave)

The GTA franchise, a brand that is synonymous with excellent writing in video games, is one that revels in its satire. No one could have predicted the cultural significance of the GTA franchise back when it began as a top-down "cops and robbers" game.

Over the years, Rockstar Games have made it somewhat of a habit to grab headlines through the GTA franchise. The games, for the longest time, have been a hotbed of controversy that simply invites debate and arguments through its very nature of existence.

"Violent", "crass", "immoral" and "voyeurisitc" are just some of the adjectives thrown at the GTA franchise on a regular basis in the conventional media. However, Rockstar have stuck to their guns by putting out provocative entertainment.

Rockstar and the GTA franchise revel in the supposed "vilification" of the games in the media and among the gaming community. However, there have been times where GTA ditched the glamorous allure of the media spotlight in place of a more honest and grounded piece of writing.

Is Niko Belic the best protagonist in the GTA series?


The protagonists of the GTA franchise have been the lens through which the player experiences the game. Characters have ranged from over-the-top Tony Montana types to violent psychopaths.

However, one protagonist truly stands out in a sea of over the top, and some would say, "glamorous" criminals. Dressed in track pants and multiple layers of winter clothing, Niko Bellic might just be the most complex protagonist in the history of the series.

Niko's dark past is checkered with a history of violence as a young soldier in the Serbian army and his dealings in human trafficking and other various criminal activities.


Despite a clearly tortured history, Niko isn't devoid of any charm. The character is a goldmine for one-liners and witty quips. Characters, throughout the events of GTA IV, repeatedly point out Niko's razor-sharp wit and humour.

The character's journey revolves around him trying to escape his past identity- that of a cold-blooded killer. His struggle throughout the events of GTA IV sees him wrestling with the idea that he may never be able to lead a quiet life.

In comparison to the other protagonists in the franchise, Niko has no ambitions of vast amount of riches or criminal dominance. He is a man looking to protect those closest to him while also grappling with his need for vengeance.

There are layers upon layers to be analysed when it comes to Niko, which is rare for GTA protagonists. Therefore, without question, he ranks on the very top of the best-written characters in GTA history.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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