Top 10 GTA protagonists of all time, ranked

Which GTA protagonist is the most likable? (Image via @HosseinDibaArt, Twitter)
Which GTA protagonist is the most likable? (Image via @HosseinDibaArt, Twitter)

GTA games are known for more than just their vast open environments and the opportunities they present. The games would not have been as interesting without their protagonists. Each of them is distinct and memorable, with diverse origins and aspirations.

This started with GTA Vice City and only expanded with the introduction of the HD Universe. This article ranks ten of the best protagonists according to their appeal.

Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.

Ranking some of the best protagonists from the GTA franchise

10) Toni Cipriani


Toni is a soldato for the Leone Crime Family in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

He remains loyal to Salvatore Leone throughout the story, and the in-game missions don't deviate much from this pattern. His relationship with his mother provides a personal angle, but that's all there is to it.

Toni isn't given much room to express himself in the game, and players don't get a good sense of who he is. Players learn more about him in GTA 3 than in Liberty City Stories.

9) Luis Lopez


Luis Lopez had every right to be a well-rounded character. He has friends and family in Liberty City that he cares about, and his devotion to his boss Tony is admirable.

However, his storyline appears to lack quality, with his relationship with Tony being the only thing the game manages to explore.

In the end, he is reduced to nothing more than a henchman who is ordered about by everyone else. Despite this, The Ballad of Gay Tony manages to be a fun game with a diverse set of missions.

8) Victor Vance


Victor Vance possibly shows more depth and personality than any other 3D Universe character. Unfortunately, since GTA Vice City Stories was a handheld-exclusive title, it never managed to be as popular as the mainstream titles.

This also meant that many players never explored Victor's storyline. Victor Vance is a deeply tragic character. He doesn't have any true allies and is manipulated by everyone, including his own brother Lance.

7) Franklin Clinton


Franklin is frequently overshadowed by Trevor and Michael, the two 'bigger' characters in GTA 5. However, his contribution to the story is vital, and his special ability is a rather useful one for a game that revolves around driving vehicles.

Franklin helps in maintaining an uneasy alliance between Michael and Trevor, and it is he who decides the ending.

6) Johnny Klebitz


Johnny is the first and only biker protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

He's an interesting and fleshed-out character who fits the part of the mean and tough biker. However, there's a lot more going on behind the scenes, which shows that he's very much human.

Unfortunately, Rockstar decided to kill him rather unceremoniously in GTA 5. His character development in The Lost and Damned was also scrapped.

5) Tommy Vercetti


Tommy Vercetti is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable Rockstar Games characters, and he is often used to represent the franchise.

He was voiced by Ray Liotta, making for a more authentic mobster from the 80s. Tommy is an impatient man and is somewhat prone to violence.

He is not as calm as CJ or Franklin, but he is a visionary like them. Despite his temperament, he is a rather intelligent guy who surprises players with his ingenuity.

4) Trevor Philips


Regardless of how players feel about Trevor, his impact on the story of GTA 5 cannot be overlooked. On the surface, he appears edgy and even stereotypical, but this does not appear to be the case on closer inspection.

He is devoted to his friends but merciless to his foes. However, he also manipulates some of them, like Wade and Floyd. He is not a good person, but he has plenty of redeemable qualities.

3) Michael De Santa


Although there are three playable protagonists in GTA 5, and Michael is one of two who can be killed off, he often feels like the main character. He is the first playable character, and every other character is tied to him and his storyline.

He often comes off as pitiable at times, but he overcomes his flaws in the game, which makes him admirable. He gets his life in order and addresses all of his issues. This distinguishes him as a memorable and complex protagonist.

2) Carl "CJ" Johnson


CJ's high ranking on this list is primarily due to nostalgia. However, CJ is indeed the first GTA protagonist to receive much attention from Rockstar. He was a visionary who could express a wide range of emotions and always had something witty to say.

Players in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are taken on a personal journey during which they grow attached to Carl. As a result, the plot feels very personal. Young Maylay's voice-acting also adds to the character's credibility.

1) Niko Bellic


Niko is by far the most relatable character in the series. This is due to his mentality rather than his experiences. He is not a cold-blooded sociopath, nor is he detached from reality.

In an attempt to escape his past, he wishes to live an honest life, but he finds himself drawn back to it. His attempts to grapple with his own fate give him a level of complexity not often seen in video game characters.

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Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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