Although his situation with Michael De Santa is complicated, some GTA 5 players do feel sorry for Trevor Philips.
The main conflict within the GTA 5 story is between Michael and Trevor. Their relationship is on rocky terms after the latter figures out the former's betrayal. While Michael does try to justify his actions, more than a few GTA 5 players take Trevor's side. Surprisingly, he is sympathetic in this situation.
That's not to say Michael didn't have valid reasons to do what he did. He was looking out for his entire family. Meanwhile, Trevor had nothing left to lose; he barely had any friends. However, Trevor did consider Michael to be a friend. He ends up getting the short end of the stick in GTA 5.
Why Michael De Santa is less sympathetic than Trevor Philips in GTA 5
Trevor was lucky to be alive - Brad unwittingly took a sniper hit for him. He was never meant to survive. Nonetheless, Michael's past demons haunt him several years later when Trevor returns to action. Some GTA 5 players feel Trevor had every right to be angry with Michael, given what he did.
Context on why Michael betrayed Trevor in Ludendorff
Back in the day, Michael and Trevor used to rob several joints in the Midwest. However, the fun didn't last forever. Michael barely got along with Brad, another partner-in-crime for Trevor. Together, both Trevor and Brad were powder kegs ready to explode. Michael felt backed into a corner here.
Eventually, Michael set up a deal with FIB agent Dave Norton. With a wife and two children, he made the choice to cut ties with his criminal partners. They set up a sting in Ludendorff, the location for the next bank robbery. Trevor and Brad would die in the process, while Michael would survive and start a new life.
One would think Michael has a reasonable mindset in this matter. Trevor was considered a major liability. Michael needed to get out of there and fast. That's only scratching the surface level, however. Beneath the emotional layers of this betrayal, some GTA 5 players feel sorry for Trevor here.
Michael was still a two-bit snake looking out for himself
At the end of the day, criminals look out for themselves. Michael looked at his life in the long-term. However, he still took the easy way out. With the help of Dave Norton (thanks to a monthly bribe), Michael avoids jail time and lives the life of luxury. He was a complete sell-out to his so-called friend.
Meanwhile, betraying Michael was not a possibility for Trevor. When Brad suggested they cut ties with him, Trevor nixed the idea straight away. Michael was a close friend (or at least he thought he was). To someone like Trevor, Michael gave him a purpose in life.
Unfortunately, Michael was more than willing to take it away from Trevor.
A matter of loyalty - Trevor's defining trait and why it makes him likeable
Whether it's friends or family, loyalty is important to Trevor. He grew up in an abusive household, which caused him to develop abandonment issues. Although his friends are few, Trevor will do anything for them. When he thought Brad was still alive, Trevor wanted to break him out of prison.
By comparison, Michael mainly shows loyalty to himself and his family. He wanted to move on from his criminal partnership with Trevor. Eventually, they reconciled their differences by the end of GTA 5. However, two of the three endings paint Michael in an unflattering light with Trevor.
The non-canon endings provide more insight
Needless to say, GTA 5 goes to show how Michael is more likely to kill Trevor than the other way around. There are three different endings in GTA 5, two of which result in the death of Michael or Trevor.
If Franklin chooses to kill Trevor, Michael helps out. When Trevor crashes his vehicle into a gas tank, Michael will set him on fire if the player takes too long. Although somewhat regretful of his actions, Michael tries to justify himself. However, he could've given him a merciful headshot instead.
Meanwhile, Trevor refuses to assist Franklin if he goes to kill Michael. Once the deed is done, Trevor cuts all communication with Franklin. He values loyalty and friendship above all else. Despite his differences with Michael, Trevor did care deeply about him and his family.
In summary - Trevor is more loyal than Michael
GTA 5 is not about black or white morality; there are shades of gray here and there. Whether or not players agree with what Michael did, Trevor had every right to be angry at his betrayal.
It should be noted Trevor did leave Michael to die when the latter was kidnapped by the Triads. However, this was right after he found out about Michael's betrayal. Trevor wasn't in the right state of mind at the time, along with his unresolved mental issues. Of course he was going to be mad at Michael.
Eventually, time heals all wounds. Given what they've been through, however, Michael tends to be far less of a friend to Trevor. As a result, some GTA 5 players sympathize with him more.
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Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.