Tearjerker / Starbound

  • Pre-1.0, almost every PC's reason for leaving their home and race behind was somber. The Human because Earth is destroyed, the Floran and Avian because they're outcasts, Hylotl because of the Floran wars, the Apex is escaping the torture and constant surveillance, and the Glitch would likely be executed for self-awareness.
  • Just listen to some of the more sad tracks like "Mira" and "Tranquility Base". Doesn't make it any less awesome though.
  • You can find an Avian temple. At the top are two Avians who were supposed to jump off the edge. Talk to them and they say the following; "I can't do it. I... I just can't."
  • The beginning of the game, doubling as Nightmare Fuel. You are attending your graduation from the Protector's Academy, to be part of the Space Police and acquire your Matter Manipulator. The sun is shining, everything is at peace... and then, during the ceremony, the Ruin emerges without warning and starts destroying the entire planet, killing untold millions in the process. You barely have time to take the Matter Manipulator and escape to a damaged shuttle, as you dash through corridors filled with tentacles, debris and the corpses of your friends and comrades. And after all of that, when you've escaped from the dying Earth, you're left stranded in orbit of some alien world in the darkness of space, completely alone.
    • Almost every Protectorate-related speech - including the Codex entry on your duties as a Protector - includes a single phrase that sounds significantly Harsher in Hindsight: "Wherever you may go, you will always have Earth to come home to."
  • It's hard to not feel some form of pity towards Big Ape. Specifically, the original Big Ape, before he got Brain Uploaded and his uploaded mind rewritten by Apex scientists into the 24-hour full Sinister Surveillance dictator that he is now. Most of his original personality is pretty much dead and gone, and he may not even have been a harsh dictator before he was rewritten. It's kind of a Mercy Kill when you have to destroy him in the Apex mission.
  • The backstory of Asra Nox, the leader of Occasus: As a little girl, her home colony was attacked and burned to the ground by alien marauders. She was adopted and raised by Esther Bright, and allowed to join the Protectors. However, her deep-rooted hate of non-humans caused her to be influenced by the Ruin, leading her to betray her mentor and adoptive mother in order to bring about the end of the galaxy as we know it.
    • We learn this through Esther Bright's journal, which contains a first-person account of Esther's reaction to Asra's rise and fall; adding the tragic Adult Fear of seeing your adopted daughter grow up into a genocidal villain.
    "I tried to reason with her, but she WOULD NOT see sense. Her excitement became rage, incensed by my 'ignorance'. I reached out to her but she pushed me away. I pleaded with her but to no avail. She left. My Asra, my little girl, is gone."
  • After the player destroys The Ruin's heart, it explodes with the player inside, actually killing them. The reactions of your companions is just tragic as they all hang their heads down in sadness. Thank goodness the final bit of The Cultivator manages to save you, but sacrifices itself in the process.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Tearjerker/Starbound