Friendship is an important aspect of our day-to-day lives. From the little things they do to make us smile to the most major crises we encounter in our lives, a good friend can really change how people approach life. As important as friendship is in real life, it also plays a huge role in developing characters in video games. Video game friendships can also teach us a lot about what friendships can and should be. In honor of these connections, I’m going to run down my favorite friendships in gaming!
10. Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth – BioShock Infinite
When the events of BioShock Infinite start to unfold, Booker is set solely on getting to Elizabeth so he can repay his debt. Meanwhile, Elizabeth alternates between seeing Booker as both a liberator and a captor. Over the course of the game, these two unlikely friends are thrust together to accomplish a common goal, and in doing so, grow to really care for each other. Booker even makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect Elizabeth from further harm. As shown in Burial at Sea Episode 2, Elizabeth also thinks very highly of Booker, calling out to him, saying, “You were my only friend.” Even without knowing their true relationship, it’s hard to say that Booker and Elizabeth aren’t close.
9. Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan – Uncharted
Whenever Nathan Drake goes off on one of his crazy adventures, you should expect to find Victor Sullivan close behind. As Drake’s partner in crime, Sully is there to help get him out of tight situations, as well as to crack jokes and lighten the mood as he sees fit. The bond between these two fortune hunters is only strengthened by events from Nate’s childhood, which ultimately creates a father/son feel to their friendship. Whether it’s Sully putting up with Drake’s crazy plans or Drake coming to Sully’s rescue, the two have an unbreakable bond that will last throughout the ages.
8. Sora, Riku, and Kairi – Kingdom Hearts
Sora, Riku, and Kairi are a great example of how solid friendships can be formed amongst a group of friends. Growing up together on the Destiny Islands, the three naturally became close friends. They even planned to travel and see different worlds together! Things weren’t meant to be, however, as the trio got separated during a Heartless assault. Sora, missing his friends, made it his mission to find them. By drawing on the power of these friendships, Sora was eventually able to accomplish his goal to rescue Kairi, though Riku remained controlled by the darkness. One of the biggest lessons Kingdom Hearts has to offer is that of the power of friendship, and it proves to be successful in getting that message across.
7. Medic and Heavy – Team Fortress 2
When it comes to sheer domination, there’s no better duo than Team Fortress 2‘s Medic and Heavy. One of the most common strategies in the game features the Heavy rushing out into the open while the Medic is making him invincible with his Übercharge. This duo, when used correctly, can have a major impact on the flow of each round. Outside of the gameplay itself, however, a look at the “Meet the Medic” introduction video indicates that the Medic and Heavy get along well, even joking during the surgery. Heavy shows that despite the Medic’s craziness, he still trusts the doctor, charging headfirst into the oncoming BLU team. Trust is a big component of any friendship, and few characters show more trust in each other than the Medic and Heavy.
6. Tidus and Wakka – Final Fantasy X
Though they should be separated by a thousand years, Tidus and Wakka quickly formed a bond that couldn’t be broken. When Tidus washed up on Besaid, Wakka was the first person to go to him and see how he was holding up. Over the course of the game, this relationship only gets stronger. Towards the beginning of the game, Wakka gives Tidus his deceased brother’s sword, symbolizing the close, brotherly relationship the two characters have. The relationship between Wakka and Tidus really speaks to me, because I have a great friend who is essentially a brother to me, and has been for over a decade. It’s the type of bond that very few people will ever achieve, but that’s what makes it so great.
5. Trainers and Their Pokémon – Pokémon
Pokémon, as a game, places heavy emphasis on the exploration of the world around you. Traveling from city to city, encountering all kinds of Pokémon species and trainers, and growing with your team through battles stand at the core of the popular franchise. Friendship has been a neat mechanic of the game since Pokémon Yellow Version, with certain Pokémon evolving due to maintaining a strong bond with their trainer. Ultimately, whichever Pokémon you have with you during the gym battles or the Elite Four, you’re a team, and you wouldn’t be there without them. Like real friends, you won’t go through your life without a good support system to back you up.
4. The Investigation Team – Persona 4
Bound together by their ability to enter the TV world and save the victims who finds themselves trapped inside, the members of Persona 4‘s Investigation Team become great friends over the course of a year. With the help of the other members, Yukiko, Yosuke, Teddie, and the rest overcome many struggles, learn to accept their true selves, and grow as people. Real life friendships should do the same. Friends should be there to support you in tough times. They should also allow you (and even help you) to grow as a person.
3. Ellie and Riley – The Last of Us
A friendship forged by trials and tribulation, the relationship between Ellie and Riley certainly got off to a rocky start. Even when things got going the first time, a sudden disappearance by Riley almost threw a wrench in things. Ultimately, this friendship flourished, eventually turning into romantic feelings before being cut short by Riley’s death. Somehow, Ellie survived, but at the expense of having to deal with survivor’s guilt. Throughout the events of The Last of Us, Riley serves as Ellie’s motivation to make it to the Firefly lab to reverse-engineer a cure. Some friendships are so powerful that they transcend even death, and Ellie and Riley’s friendship is one such case.
2. The Boss and Johnny Gat – Saints Row
The Boss and Johnny Gat have a long history together. Johnny quickly rose to second-in-command of the Saints, where he and The Boss became close. Johnny’s death in Saints Row 3 long haunted the boss, and when there was even the smallest chance of him still being alive, The Boss jumped at the chance to try to bring him back. When The Boss was taken to Hell, Johnny risked his life to rescue him/her from Satan himself. Gat and The Boss are both willing to lay everything on the line to help each other out. This dedication to each other helps cement their place as one of the best friendships in gaming.
1. Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian – Mass Effect
Over the course of the three Mass Effect games, no one friendship comes close to matching that of Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian. From Shepard telling Garrus, “There is no Shepard without Vakarian,” to Garrus jokingly saying, “If this ends with the both of us dying in a giant explosion killing a Reaper, just remember. I took the kill shot,” these two exemplify the ideal friendship. Friends should be there for you, no matter what. Shepard and Garrus have an undying loyalty to each other and it’s a beautiful thing. This friendship, in particular, spoke more to me than any other relationship in gaming, so much so that I occasionally call one of my best friends “Garrus” to symbolize the bond we have.
There are few things better in life than a close friendship. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great friends in my life, and I truly hope everyone else does as well. To my Garrus, I want to thank you for always inspiring me to live up to my fullest potential and for being there for me through all my hardships. I’d truly be lost without you. To anyone who is a friend to someone else, thank you for everything you do. Surely, you have made a great impact on someone, and you never truly know just how big that impact can be.
Do you think that there are better friendships in gaming? What does friendship mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!