GTA is a franchise founded upon brutal acts of violence, so some players wish to see which protagonist is the most ruthless.
Every GTA protagonist has performed an unforgivable act. After all, these characters wouldn't be protagonists if they died near the beginning of the game trying to do things the peaceful way.
Ruthlessness is the name of the game in a life of crime, with some protagonists approaching it in a more organized manner. However, there have to be some protagonists that perform more questionable acts for fewer reasons than others.
It is important to note that this list does not involve optional stuff that is not tied to the general game. For example, side missions will be considered, but randomly killing civilians won't be considered as that is based solely on the nature of the game (although an exception could be made for one protagonist given the circumstances).
Top 5 ruthless protagonists in GTA
#5 - GTA Online Protagonist
The GTA Online protagonist is a tricky character to rank. Considering a lot of what the GTA Online protagonist does is based on the player's own actions, there are varying degrees of how ruthless they might be.
In terms of sheer carnage, this protagonist is up there with the other protagonists of the series. Like Claude Speed, the GTA Online Protagonist is quiet and accepts whatever job is thrown to them. What does help separate this protagonist from the others is that the player may actually feel their wrath.
Considering how many people play GTA Online, players worldwide have seen hackers, griefers, and other toxic individuals ruin their gameplay. If ruining a real person's gameplay isn't ruthless, then what is?
#4 - Carl Johnson
Carl Johnson is easily one of the most popular protagonists of all time. However, some actions in the game can paint him in a different light. One prime example is burying a construction worker in cement for hitting on his sister.
Imagine destroying a construction site and killing people for something as minor as that. Some players claim it's "out of character," but CJ, like Tommy Vercetti, participates in gang warfare to claim as much territory as possible.
CJ is easily one of the most likable protagonists, but there's definitely a ruthless side to him.
#3 - Niko Bellic
Many of the crimes Niko Bellic did before the start of GTA IV are utterly ruthless and hard to look past. Now, Niko Bellic largely calms down by the end of the game, but the player has to keep in mind that this protagonist has committed some war crimes.
Interestingly enough, Niko Bellic also has the highest canon kill count in the game at 47 characters (and that's not counting optional murders).
Liberty City is a ruthless place to live in, so some players do justify the actions of Niko. However, others are divisive in their opinions, leading him to a spot on this list of the top five most ruthless protagonists (even if his current character isn't the most ruthless per se).
#2 - Tommy Vercetti
The Harwood Butcher, Tommy Vercetti, is the most ruthless protagonist of the 3D era of GTA. He runs the largest drug empire out of the GTA protagonists (so many people are suffering from it offscreen) while having zero hesitation in killing another person.
A true sociopath to the end, Tommy Vercetti has completed several acts of crime without much care. Considering he's still likely to be the kingpin of Vice City for several years after his game ends, who knows how many lives he might've ruined.
#1 - Trevor Philips
Trevor Philips is the embodiment of chaos and a harbinger of death and destruction everywhere he goes. For some fans, simply killing Johnny Klebitz made them hate Trevor, but that's only the tip of the iceberg for what he's done.
Trevor Philips has been involved with cannibalistic cults, meth, and more while unapologetically getting into trouble with various characters of GTA V.
Now, Trevor does have a sweeter side to him, so he isn't entirely devoid of sympathy. Still, there's a reason why fans associate him with degeneracy and ruthlessness.
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