- For other members of the Bellic family, see Bellic.
Niko Bellic (Croatian: Niko Belić) (Serbian: Нико Белић) is the playable protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV. Born 1978 in Yugoslavia, he worked as a soldier in the Yugoslav Wars during adolescence; as a young man he worked as a smuggler across the Adriatic Sea. In 2008, he moved to Liberty City to get rich with his cousin Roman, but instead ended up involved in a life of crime.
Life is complicated. I've killed people, smuggled people, sold people. Perhaps, here... things will be different.
Niko Bellic talking to Ilyena Faustin.
Early life and family
It is suggested during "The Cousins Bellic" that Niko and Roman are Serbian when Roman says Niko's English is "better than my Serbian". Their nationality is addressed in a handful of other missions, and hints at the same conclusion.
Niko grew up in the same village as Roman, with their mothers and their fathers (who were brothers). Niko and Roman's fathers were abusive alcoholics, whom they both despised; Niko's mother, Milica Bellic, was a long-suffering woman, unhappy that her son grew up in such a harsh place. In a conversation with Patrick McReary, Niko reveals that he had a brother who died during the Bosnian war. According to the dialogue in the mission, Taking in the Trash, Niko dreamt of becoming an astronaut when he was a child. In a conversation with Dwayne Forge, Niko says in the place he grew up, they did not have electricity until he was twelve.
Niko grew up in the harsh environment of the Yugoslav Wars, and became a soldier himself as a teenager (The Yugoslav Wars being between 1991 and 1995, this means Niko was only 13-17 years old at the time). Niko says that he was betrayed "ten years ago", making it closer to 1997 or 1998 (although Florian claims that its was "twelve or thirteen years ago" in a phone call after the mission That Special Someone). He served as a helicopter pilot and an infantryman during the war, and during the mission Easy Fare, Roman alludes to him driving a tank (although given Roman's lack of first-hand experience, this is not necessarily true).
During the war, Niko both witnessed and committed numerous atrocities, which led to his cynical perspective on life, and a certain degree of regret, depression, and emotional detachment. Eventually, Niko's unit of fifteen men (most of them friends from his village) were ambushed by enemy forces, and all but three were killed: Darko Brevic, Florian Cravic, and Niko himself. Niko concluded that either Florian or Darko had sold the group out, and he vowed to uncover and kill the culprit, not only to gain revenge, but also to hopefully 'close the book' on the incident, and move on with his life.
Work was hard to come by following the war. In 1998 Niko's cousin, Roman had already moved to America to start a new life in Liberty City. Niko tells Kate McReary that after Roman left Yugoslavia, Roman's mother was raped and murdered but to spare Roman further devastation, he told him she died in a house fire. Niko did at least one prison stint in Europe (that was definitely not for his war crimes as Niko would either be in prison for life or executed) , then worked as a human trafficker for Ray Bulgarin. During a smuggling run from Yugoslavia to Italy the ship sank in the Adriatic. Niko swam to safety, but everything and everyone else was lost. Bulgarin believed that Niko had intentionally scuttled the ship and stole his money; the gangster's reach was too great within Europe, so Niko joined the merchant navy to escape Bulgarin's influence.
|Spoiler Warning: Plot and/or ending details are in the text which follows.
Life in Liberty City
Niko spent seven months with the cargo ship Platypus, which eventually headed for Liberty City. Niko, his shipmate Hossan Ramzy and others got off the boat to live in Liberty City, possibly permanently, hoping to live the American Dream. His cousin Roman sent emails to their entire family saying he lived a lavish life with several luxury homes, sports cars and girlfriends. Niko was also "looking for that special someone", namely revenge on a former war buddy who accepted a bribe and got most of the group killed. Of the three survivors - himself, Florian Cravic and Darko Brevic, he knew Florian was living in Liberty City.
Upon arriving in Liberty City, Niko realized that Roman's stories of success were entirely exaggerated; he actually lived in a small, decrepit apartment, ran a small taxi depot in Hove Beach, and owed gambling debts across the city to several powerful criminals such as the Albanian and Russian mobs. Niko begins committing crimes while handling Roman's two loan sharks - fighting off Dardan Petrela while working off debt for Vlad Glebov - and assisting Roman's regular customers such as Little Jacob in criminal activity. He also begins dating Michelle, a friend of Roman's steady girlfriend Mallorie Bardas.
A short while later Niko kills Vlad after he found out Vlad was having an affair with Mallorie, and Niko and Roman are immediately kidnapped by Vlad's bosses Mikhail Faustin and Dimitri Rascalov, who are major figures in Liberty City's Bratva. Niko ends up working with Faustin. Faustin has Niko murder a member of the The Lost Motorcycle Club Jason Michaels for seeing his daughter, Niko eventually follows Faustin's rash order to kill the son of dangerous Russian mob leader Kenny Petrovic and is even employed to use a rigged truck to blow up one of Kenny's garages.
Later, Dimitri talks with Niko in private, and convinces him to kill Faustin in order to be spared of Petrovic's wrath. Dimitri finally reveals that he is working with Ray Bulgarin when Niko goes to collect on the Faustin hit. Ray Bulgarin appears and tries to have a goon slit Niko's throat. Niko manages to escape with the help of Little Jacob. However Roman's apartment and cab depot are torched, and they are forced into hiding, using Mallorie's cousins' place in Bohan.
Mallorie puts Niko in contact with Manny Escuela and Elizabeta Torres for more work. Elizabeta, in turn, introduces Niko to Irish hood Patrick "Packie" McReary, Lost MC Vice President Johnny Klebitz, and North Holland Hustlers leader Playboy X.
At one point Little Jacob had some off Elizabeta's coke stolen from him. Niko shows up and she hires him to go retrieve the stuff. After Niko successfully retrieves the coke he meets up with Little Jacob, only Michelle shows up as well, she reveals to Niko that she in an undercover agent and forces him to work for United Liberty Paper, a front company for a very secretive law enforcement agency. Elizabeta is eventually arrested and sentenced to 300 years imprisonment.
Through his work with the McReary Family, Niko becomes an associate of Ray Boccino and the Pegorino crime family. Meanwhile, Roman receives an insurance payment from his burned-down property, uses it to restart his business and finally becomes rich as according to Niko, Roman is a rich chopping board indicating that he is wealthy. Roman then buys a luxury penthouse in Middle Park East for both of them to live in.
After doing work for Pegorino capo Ray Boccino, Boccino gives Niko the location of Florian, who turns out to be innocent in the ambush during the Yugoslavian Wars. Furthermore, Florian had changed his name to "Bernie Crane", came out as a homosexual and began secretly dating Liberty City's anti-gay deputy mayor Bryce Dawkins. United Liberty Paper, with help from Gambetti don Jon Gravelli, finally tracked down Darko Brevic in Bucharest and kidnapped him for Niko. Brevic confesses to accepting the fatal bribe because of his heavy drug addiction, and the player chooses whether or not Niko kills him or lets him live as punishment.
Niko is later asked by Don Jimmy Pegorino to help with a heroin deal and work with his bitter enemy, Dimitri Rascalov. In the endgame, the player chooses whether Niko cooperates or kills Dimitri before the deal takes place. If Niko participates, he is betrayed by Dimitri as expected. Either way, a hitman fails to kill Niko at Roman and Mallorie's wedding, and Niko wants to kill Pegorino. However, depending on Niko's choice, either Roman Bellic or Kate McReary is killed at the wedding. If Niko chooses revenge he tells Roman that he should have done the deal, and if Niko does the deal he tells Dimitri that he should have killed him at Hove Beach. Both Pegorino and Dimitri are eventually killed. At the game's end, Niko muses on the American Dream and concludes that it is a hollow promise, which no one can achieve.
After Grand Theft Auto IV
At the end of the game, a Weazel News report states that Niko is wanted for questioning by the police (although not as a suspect), for the events at his cousin's wedding. It is assumed Niko steers clear of the questioning as he already dealt with the situation personally.
It is unknown what happens to Niko after the events of Grand Theft Auto IV, however it can be assumed that after the Revenge ending Niko stays in Liberty City as Roman and his new family are pretty much all he has. As all of the people who would want to kill Niko are dead anyway, he wouldn't feel as if he needs to look over his shoulder anymore. Even Ray Bulgarin had been recently killed elsewhere by Luis Lopez unbeknownst to Niko. It should be noted that coming up to the end of the game, Niko reveals to Kate McReary that he doesn't want to live the crime life anymore, so it appears that he may have ceased and cut all of his criminal ties. Meanwhile in the Deal ending, Niko tells Mallorie that "Your child will never worry about anything", suggesting he would have taken care of his dead cousin's child. Niko also mentions to Phil Bell that he is leaving the criminal life.
In Grand Theft Auto V Niko is mentioned directly a few times. Lester Crest mentions an Eastern-European (Niko) who was known for making big moves in Liberty City, but has since been quiet (retired), and thus become hard to contact. Later in the mission The Paleto Score, if Patrick McReary is chosen for the heist, Michael De Santa, Trevor Phillips, and Franklin Clinton are all discussing their first score. Patrick mentions his first score was nothing big, but brings up the Bank of Liberty heist, mentioning Niko by name. During his description, he states that Michael Keane was killed, Derrick McReary is dead by this point, and that he presumes Niko is dead. Therefore it is assumed that Niko and Patrick cut ties with each other completely by the end of Grand Theft Auto IV. This would have obviously been whenever Packie left for Los Santos via a flight at Francis International Airport towards the end of 2008.
Niko's Lifeinvader page can be seen on Jimmy De Santa's laptop in GTA V. A few of his friends can be seen to the side, Brucie Kibbutz, Little Jacob, and Roman and Mallorie Bellic. This means that Roman is still alive, and the Revenge ending is canon, so therefore Roman is alive, and Kate McReary is deceased. This is known because Lifeinvader did not exist throughout the events of Grand Theft Auto IV or any time beforehand. It is assumed to have been founded by Jay Norris at his parents' house sometime between 2009 and 2013, so therefore everyone with a profile could only create them during that time period.
Niko is very protective of his family and loved ones, particularly his cousin Roman, whom Niko constantly has to worry about due to his gambling habit, and Roman has an indiscreet nature of frequently getting the pair into trouble. He is withdrawn among strangers, but has good manners, and shows a softer side with love interests like Kate McReary and Michelle; that said, the horrors of war, both witnessed and perpetrated by Niko, have given him a great sense of guilt, and an ambivalence about the value of human life — he warns away pursuers and expresses regret over his past violence, but also feels that killing is all that he can do, readily taking on jobs which necessarily involve murder. He has an explosive temper when he is betrayed, manipulated, or his loyalty is questioned, but he is also quick to help the defenseless and unfortunate, even those he merely meets in passing; he apparently possesses a sense of idealism which was wounded by his wartime experiences. Unfortunately, such a split attitude leads to hypocrisy — Niko, for example, appears to genuinely sympathize with the McRearys' grief over the demise of one of their brothers, despite having secretly committed that murder himself.
Niko's bitterness at the murder of his friends during the war has consumed him, and he is unable to let it go, taking on several highly dangerous jobs merely to enable his quest for vengeance. Several of his friends, most notably Roman, urge him to find a new reason to live, and there are many morality choices for Niko to emphasize his trait.
Niko's businesslike manner usually leads him to behave more maturely and cautiously than his acquaintances, although with acquaintances like Brucie Kibbutz, Bernie Crane and Roman, this is no surprise. He has an apparent distaste for illicit drugs, turning down Little Jacob's offer of marijuana and warning against Packie's cocaine habit; he also finds it distasteful to traffic in cocaine and particularly heroin, although this may be due to the heavy jail sentences they attract as much as any moral qualms. He is skeptical of American mainstream culture, which he sees as shallow, hypocritical and debauched, and has trouble relating to Roman's fascination with the country.
Niko has a certain degree of pity for other people, even random strangers, and feels obliged to help others who cannot help themselves. Most missions involve Niko doing jobs for money, particularly one occasion, after meeting a troubled young girl, Marnie Allen; he even gives her some of his own money multiple times to help her out.
Niko almost always refuses alcohol when it is offered to him (he asks for water in the mission Ivan The Not So Terrible) except for the mission The Holland Play where Playboy X pours him a glass but immediately before taking a sip, Niko changes his mind and puts the glass on a table. There is a scene where Niko does drink a glass of Vodka (on the rocks) in the mission One Last Thing while talking to Jimmy Pegorino, but this is understandable considering what he has just been through. Niko (who has a couple of bottles of alcohol in his Middle Park East Safehouse and also tells Little Jacob that he likes vodka) does however enjoy a drink, but knows the time and place for it. He refuses alcohol outright in instances where he needs to keep a sharp mind, such as during missions.
LCPD Database record
First Name: Niko
Place of Birth: Unknown
Affiliations: Linked to Russian and West Indian Criminals in Broker
- 2008 - Grand Theft Auto
- Recent immigrant to Liberty City from Eastern Europe.
- Appears to be avoiding allegiance to one particular criminal organization.
Naming and language errors
The surname "Bellic" would not exist in the Serbian, Bosnian or Croatian languages, as these do not allow consecutive consonants (i.e., the double-L in "Bellic"); "Bellic" is also pronounced with a hard 'c' ("bel-lik") throughout the game — Niko himself uses the incorrect pronunciation when introducing himself to the receptionist at Goldberg, Ligner and Shyster in the mission Final Interview. A proper pronunciation would use a hard 'ch' (as used in-game with the names "Darko Brevic" and "Florian Cravic"); a more authentic rendering of Niko's surname would be Belić. At one point, Florian, speaking in his native Serbian, pronounces the name correctly; "Bellic" may simply be an Anglicized version of "Belić".
The first name "Niko" is distinctively Croatian. However, it's possible that Niko is a shortened nickname for the Serbian name "Nikolaj". In the mission Final Interview, Tom Goldberg asks, "What's [Niko] short for? Nikolai?" Niko does not respond and no one else calls him "Nikolai" in the game.
Niko's voice actor, Michael Hollick, is American, and the accent he assumes for Niko is not a Serbian one; Niko's spoken Serbian is frequently mispronounced or wrongly emphasized.
Ironically, a Croatian preview of the game uses his incorrect rendering of his name.
- As Niko is either a protagonist or not a traveling companion in each GTA IV-era game, he's not assigned a favorite radio station. However, he tells Little Jacob that "this city has some incredible music" and that he is a keen reggae fan. He tells Pathos and Patrick McReary that he listens to rap a little bit, but he is not a crazy fan.
- In the opening cutscene of The Lost and Damned during the mission Clean and Serene, Niko can be seen in the background roughly brushing past a pedestrian, right before you hear the LCPD report of the motorcyclists wearing no helmets. Oddly, Niko shouldn't even be seen in Alderney, as this contradicts GTA IV; at the time of the mission, Niko is restricted to the boroughs of Bohan, Broker and Dukes.
- Niko appears to be visually inspired by Sasha from the movie Behind Enemy Lines (2001), which takes place in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war. Sasha's clothes are even available to buy in the Russian Shop. Early game art of Niko were depicted to resemble Sasha more so than later during development. It was implied in an interview with Russian actor Vladimir Mashkov that he was once offered the role, and he was aware that Niko was based on his character.
- Niko, similar to Florian Cravic, has a scar on his left eyebrow.
- Niko had a childhood crush on a girl from his village, named Mila Tadic. Roman will confirm this during friend activities.
- In artwork and earlier screenshots, Niko had often been seen wearing fingerless gloves. The files still remain in the PC version (confirmed) and can only be used with an in-game trainer. Obtaining them in the game without modding is impossible. The reason why they have been removed from the final version of the game is unknown, but it is likely due to the fact that they are not very inconspicuous.
- In early beta versions of GTA IV, Niko had slightly thicker hair and sometimes he can be seen with a buzzcut, neither of which appear in GTA IV, but still exists in the game files.
- Niko, along with Patrick McReary, can be fought and killed in The Ballad of Gay Tony mission Ladies Half Price. Niko and Packie have a colossal amount of health, and their deaths do not affect the story .
- Vladimir Glebov calls Niko "Yokel" multiple times in the game. Yokel is a derogatory term for people who grew up in poor countries.
- Niko was a speeder and daredevil before he even left his home country, as Roman comments that he is still a crazy driver.
- In a conversation with Manny Escuela during Escuela of the Streets, he claims that he stalked a woman in Europe, however the reason is never stated.
- One of Niko's girlfriends, Alexandra Chilton, frequently reveals on her blog that Niko has a very large penis, comments refer to his "bulging package" and how "well-hung" he is. After Niko sleeps with her for the first time, she writes on her blog that she is to discuss this with her friends, Heidi & Paige. Alex also comments that he can be rough and kinky, including a session where he "bullfrogged" her over a washing machine, which she recorded and spanked her with a frying pan, amongst others. She also writes how she once had to steam clean her whole flat after he left. Alex wonders if all Europeans are like that, which also ties in with Niko's cousin, Roman, and his attitude towards sex, as who is often on the prowl for young college girls.
- It can be noted that without the player's control, Niko will never hit female pedestrians. For example, when Niko carjacks someone, the animation can sometimes see him punch or kick the occupant of the car, but he only does this to male drivers. If the driver is female, Niko will just pull her out of the car and not harm her. Rockstar Games included this so as to fit with the personality that had been created for him. Also, some Random Character missions require Niko to beat up men for assaulting women. The only time Niko hits a female without the player's input is during the two-part mission, I'll Take Her, where he punches and knocks out Gracie Ancelotti in order to stop her behaving erratically when he tries to kidnap her for the McRearys, and later when she is tied up, he slaps her to get her attention for a photo to prove to her father he has her held hostage. This is directly referenced to in TBOGT by Luis Lopez, when he also hits Gracie to shut her up during Ladies Half Price.
- There is a possible reference to Niko in a competing game, Saints Row. There is a commercial featuring a man named Vlad with an East European accent (Jason Zumwalt, the same voice actor that voices Roman), with hints that he is a human trafficker, and claims he is willing to have the player's family killed.
- If Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend is played after Pest Control, Niko tells Packie that he has intentions of going after Bulgarin.
- Niko is currently the only protagonist to originate from Europe, although Tommy Vercetti and Toni Cipriani have European roots.
- Niko was voted thirteenth in the 2011 edition of the Guinness World Records for the Top 50 favourite game characters.
- Niko Bellic is mentioned in an episode of Criminal Minds, a young serial killer who like video game took the nickname of Niko Bellic but one main character knew that's the name of the main character of a "very famous video game".
- During the GTA IV storyline, Niko wipes out 6 gangs which are the Faustin Family, East Holland Drug Gang, Rascalov Family, Albanian mafia and the Pegorino Family. He may have also ended the Ancelotti Family, since two Capos, the Underboss and several members were killed by Niko Bellic. He was also involved in the end of the Lost MC Alderney chapter since Niko killed Jason Michaels and Jim Fitzgerald.
- Niko Bellic could be the most popular Grand Theft Auto protagonist to date. A Grand Theft Wiki poll showed that 1826 users thought Niko Bellic was the best protagonist.
- Niko's immigrant status is uncertain, and arouses the suspicion of the LCPD and FIB. Although Niko often protests while fleeing police that he "has [his] papers", Roman says that Niko does not have a visa.
- Although Niko does not make an appearence in Grand Theft Auto V, he was mentioned directly and referenced twice throughout the game.
- Niko Bellic, in his default outfit, resembles Mark Renton, the main protagonist of the 1996 film Trainspotting. The fact that both the film and the Grand Theft Auto games were created in Edinburgh, Scotland makes the similarity more striking.
- If the player plays as Trevor in GTA V during Patrick McReary's random encounter and takes him to The Altruists, Patrick states that Trevor is similar to Niko: an 'ice cold killer, look of murder in his eyes'. He also tells Trevor that despite this, the two still became friends.
- If the player switches to Michael De Santa in GTA V sometimes he will be in his dining room with Jimmy De Santa and Tracey De Santa, Jimmy is looking at Niko's Lifeinvader page on his laptop. It appears that Niko has given up his life of crime and is living a normal one with Roman which was what he wanted to do when he moved to Liberty City. From what we can see on his profile, he appears to be happily moving on with his life. He has even put up a few pictures of the sights in Algonquin.
- By the events of GTA V in 2013, as Niko is retired, it appears he still keeps in touch with his remaining friends and family, including Roman, Mallorie, Brucie, Little Jacob, and Dwayne (if spared in The Holland Play which is likely canon) as they are pretty much all he has left after the events of GTA IV, as Packie had moved to Los Santos. This is evidenced by the fact that he has a majority of them on his friends list on Lifeinvader.
- GTA IV
- As the protagonist, he appears in every mission.
- The Lost and Damned
- Clean and Serene
- It's War (mentioned only)
- Action/Reaction (mentioned only)
- Buyer's Market
- Heavy Toll (mentioned only)
- Roman's Holiday (mentioned only)
- Collector's Item
- Credits (TLAD)
- Knowing Me, Knowing You (voice only)
- The Ballad of Gay Tony
- GTA Online
- Character Customization
Early game art of Niko Bellic, with the later removed fingerless gloves visible. The design of his track jacket was also different, originally appearing with two layers instead of one; the final design of his track jacket appears to be a combination of the two layers, down to the color.
Alternate artwork of Niko Bellic.
Alternate artwork of Niko Bellic in a similar drab, featured commonly in later promotional materials, as well as GTA IV's box art. The turtleneck sweater is depicted as red instead of gray in game.
Artwork of Niko Bellic.
One of the earliest publicly released in-game screenshots of GTA IV, depicting an early Niko Bellic model, which follows the design seen in the aforementioned early game art.