- For the other members of the Bellic Family, see Bellic.
- "Life is complicated. I've killed people, smuggled people, sold people. Perhaps here...things will be different."
- ― Niko Bellic
Niko Bellic (Serbian: Нико Белић) is a character in the Grand Theft Auto series who appears as the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV and a supporting character in The Lost and Damned and in The Ballad of Gay Tony. He is also mentioned by Lester Crest and Patrick McReary in Grand Theft Auto V. The player can choose Niko Bellic as their parent model in Grand Theft Auto Online.
Niko grew up in Yugoslavia, where he fought in the Yugoslav Wars. He later worked for organized crime syndicates as a hired-gun in Liberty City. Ever since the Yugoslav Wars ended, Niko's main goal in life was to find and kill one of two men: Florian Cravic and Darko Brevic, for one of them betrayed and nearly killed him during the Wars. Niko is the cousin of Roman Bellic, son of Milica Bellic, and the cousin-in-law of Mallorie Bardas-Bellic.
Early life and family
Niko was born in Eastern Europe, most likely the Balkans. It was implied that his father was an abusive alcoholic. His mother, Milica Bellic, was 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 mentions the place he grew up did not have electricity until he was twelve. In a conversation with Kate McReary, Niko says that he found out his aunt (Roman's mother) was raped and murdered, some time after Roman's departure to the United States; knowing Roman would be even more devastated if he knew the true circumstances of his mother's death, Niko covered up what happened, telling him that she died in a house fire.
Niko grew up in the harsh environment of the Yugoslav Wars, and was a teenage soldier of presumably the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People's Army or its many aligned Serbian paramilitary forces and militias (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.
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 hometown) were ambushed by enemy forces, but Darko Brevic, Florian Cravic, and Niko himself survived. 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.
Niko had trouble finding steady work after the war. Niko's cousin, Roman, had already moved to America to start a new life in Liberty City while Niko spends the next decade working in the European criminal underworld, leading to a period of incarceration. After his release from prison, he began working for a human trafficking ring led by Ray Bulgarin; when a boat involved in the operation sank in the Adriatic during a smuggling run into Italy, 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. Niko also recalls to Roman Bellic that a bar had burnt down in Europe and there was only one bottle of Vodka left and they sat down and finished it off during the conversation in Roman's Sorrow.
Events of GTA IV
During the game, Niko says he moved to Liberty City because he wanted a new life by living the American Dream, but when he does arrive in Liberty City, he has nothing except Roman. Niko parted ways with Hossan and the Platypus crew there, partly to reunite with his cousin, and partly to track down Florian Cravic, who had moved to Liberty City after the war. Roman had been boasting of great success in Liberty City, but in truth, his assets amounted to a small, gritty taxi depot and rundown apartment, and he was saddled with heavy debts due to his gambling habit. Niko would assist Roman in his taxi business, and protect his cousin from the loan sharks who were harassing him. Roman's connections eventually led to Niko making friends with the Little Jacob, and taking work with the Russian Mafia, setting in motion the events of the game.
After killing Vlad, Niko is nearly killed by Dimitri Rascalov & Mikhail Faustin; but spared. After killing Mikhail, Dimitri reveals his connections with Ray Bulgarin and turns against him, even trying to kill him. Niko and Roman were then run out of Hove Beach in Roman's Sorrow, in which his Broker Safehouse and Roman's taxi depot were burnt down. It is at this point that Niko becomes a hitman and an associate of many. Mallorie Bardas, Roman's girlfriend, introduced him to two contacts, Manny Ecsuela, and Elizabeta Torres. Niko develops affiliations and becomes a worker of the McReary Family, Playboy X, Dwayne Forge, the Pegorino Family and some others over the course of the game. Maximizing his hatred of Dimitri, Rascalov gets Roman kidnapped.
Niko eventually becomes in forced contact with the United Liberty Paper, who blackmails him into doing some "country-protecting" work. Also, Ray Boccino managed to help Niko find Bernie Crane; when he confronts him, Bernie, begging for forgiveness, claims he is not only a homosexual but that he is not the one who betrayed Niko (despite escaping). Niko forgives him and actually begins helping Bernie with his life.
The U.L.P. successfully manages to get Bellic Darko Brevic in That Special Someone. Taking into consideration how it will make Niko feel and how Darko is actually living a bad life, Niko is unable to decide whether to kill him. Before choosing, Darko reveals that he betrayed Niko for only $1000, enraging him. The player then decides if he will kill Darko or let him live.
Niko's immigrant status is uncertain, and arouses the suspicion of the LCPD and FIB. Although Niko often protests that he "has his papers" while fleeing police, Roman says that Niko does not have a visa. This is further evidenced in a Liberty Tree article about the death of the Platypus's captain, Zorba Philippidis, which states that none of the crew possess visas.
Life Post-GTA IV
If Niko chooses to do the deal with Dimitri, he possibly pursues a relationship with Kate McReary after some time to recover from his cousin's death. Niko likely gives up his life of crime and stays close to his friends as they are there for him. Also, Niko says to Mallorie that her child will need not to worry about being fatherless, hinting Niko will help take care of her child and assume a fatherly role.
If Niko chooses to seek Revenge on Dimitri, Niko's love interest is killed, so all he has left is his cousin and friends. He most likely gives up his life of crime and tries to live a normal one with Roman, as is hinted by the comments made about him in Grand Theft Auto V.
Grand Theft Auto V
Not much is known about Niko's life during the events of Grand Theft Auto V. It is hinted that he has completely given up a life of crime, and has now retired. While setting up for the first heist, Lester Crest mentioned to Michael De Santa that he knew "an Eastern European guy making moves in Liberty City," but dismissed the idea as "he went quiet." This would hint that he'd continued his life as a career criminal for a few more years before leaving it, especially if he was able to gain such notoriety as recently as 2013.
Later while on a heist, if Packie was chosen for the job, begins talking about his most successful job in Liberty City, and then mentions Niko, saying that he was someone to be feared, then reveals that he doesn't even know what became of him, and presumes Niko dead. Although it is possible that Niko has cut all ties to his previous criminal lifestyle and is probably retired.
Niko has brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a facial hair that looks somewhat "scruffy" 5 o'clock shadow, that fits his 'thug' appearance very well. Niko isn't as heavily muscled as Luis or Johnny and he's more slender than both of them. Still, Niko has enough physical strength to hold his own in a fistfight and he's capable of pulling himself up on a ledge after hanging by his straight arms. Niko is most likely 5'11" (based on Yugoslavia average male height and by comparing Niko's height to other characters in game) making Niko about as tall as the American characters in game but shorter than Yugoslavia average height. This would make Gerald and Ray be about 6' tall while Patrick and Little Jacob about 5'10" tall. Niko has a scar running through his left brow. He most likely got the scar during the war but it's unconfirmed. Niko's body is 'average' and Bernie Crane said Niko "is still in great shape" and asking if Niko works out, to which Niko answered he doesn't work out but his dangerous lifestyle keeps him active.
In artworks and earlier screenshots, Niko had often been seen wearing finger-less gloves. The files still remain in the PC version 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 buzz cut, neither of which appear in GTA IV, but still exist in the game files.
Personality and traits
- Niko: "I'm not cold."
- Roman: "You're cold... all you care about is revenge and getting your own way."
- ―Roman giving his opinion on Niko.
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. 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. Niko is prone to violence after being angered and 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 McReary's grief over the demise of one of their brothers (either Derrick McReary or Francis McReary), despite having secretly committed that murder himself. This makes it highly possible that Niko is a pessimist.
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 business-like 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, much like Carl Johnson. He frequently turns down Little Jacob's offers for marijuana and warns Packie about his 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 and hypocritical and has trouble relating to Roman's fascination with the country. However, he reasons that being in America is far better than back in Serbia due to the country's instability and misery.
Niko also exhibits dislike for American conservative politicians, whom he considers to be hypocrites. An example is Bryce Dawkins, whom Niko says is a "bullshitter" for giving homophobic speeches and preaching about family values to gain political power when he himself is bisexual. However, a conversation between Niko and Kiki Jenkins reveals he considers himself neither liberal nor conservative, and that the war gave him a highly cynical view of politicians in general.
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. He is also surprisingly calm when speaking to authority figures, even those as powerful as Francis McReary, who he simply asks for more money from, much to the disappointment and frustration of McReary. He is usually never emotionally disturbed by anyone besides figures from his past, such as Darko Brevic. If Niko kills Brevic, Niko will hesitate for a moment before unloading 12 shots into Brevic's body uncontrollably, even after Brevic's death after about the 6th shot. The only other figure that has visibly disturbed Niko is Eddie Low, who Niko is understandably creeped out by. This can even horrify the player to an extent, such as when Low makes comments about all the people he has murdered in gruesome ways, or Low's clinginess towards Niko for being his 'friend'. During his encounters with Low, Niko's eyebrows are raised and his mouth is open in disbelief. Otherwise, Niko's face is usually very serious.
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 had just been through. Niko does seem to 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
Naming and Language"Niko" means "Nobody" or "nothing" in the Serbian and Croatian language. The surname "Bellic" would not exist in the Croatian, Serbian or Bosnian 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 'Belic'. At one point, Florian, speaking in his native Serbian, pronounces the name correctly; "Bellic" may simply be an Anglicized version of "Belic". Going by that custom, Niko's real name may be Nikola Belic, however this is also unknown. The surname "Bellic" is likely derived from Russian, rather than Serbian.
The first name "Niko" is distinctively Croatian, rather than Serbian — the Serbian equivalent would be "Nikola". In the mission Final Interview, Tom Goldberg refers to Niko as "Nikolai", although this is an assumption on his part — he begins their interview by saying, "Hello, Niko! What's that 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.
In Other Media
Niko was voted 13th in the 2011 edition of the Guinness World Records for the Top 50 favorite game characters. His name was incorrectly spelled "Nico Bellic."
Niko appears to be visually inspired by Sasha from the movie Behind Enemy Lines, which takes place in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war. Sasha's clothes are even available to buy in the Russian Shop.
Sasha's actor Vladimir Mashkov later confirmed in an interview that he was asked to play "a man with a dark past, with a slightly rumpled appearance" in an unnamed video game, whose producers liked his performance as Sasha. Given few details about what he was being asked to do or what for, Mashkov thought it was a questionable proposal and not very interesting, and he turned it down. Only later did he learn that the game was GTA IV.
- The Lost and Damned
- The Ballad of Gay Tony
- Casing the Jewel Store (Indirectly Mentioned)
- The Paleto Score (Mentioned; only if Patrick McReary is selected for the heist.)
- GTA Online
- You can choose Niko Bellic as a father in Grand Theft Auto Online, if you purchased Collectors Edition.
Characters murdered by Niko Bellic
Main Article: Murders Committed by Niko Bellic
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- In the Grand Theft Auto V mission, Casing the Jewel Store, Lester Crest mentions an "Eastern European man" that made it big in Liberty City as a possible candidate to join Michael De Santa's group however, he was claimed to have "gone quiet" and thus become hard to contact.
- Niko is referenced in an episode of the TV Series Criminal Minds. In the episode, a missing child is reported as being named "Niko Bellic." The senior agent Rossi immediately catches on: "Niko Bellic is the name of the main character of Grand Theft Auto IV." His co-workers stare at him in disbelief, to which he replies, "What? I know things."
- Niko has unique quotes for when failing missions. He will say things like "Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!" or "Roman, I never should have read your fucking emails and stayed away!". He seems to blame America for failing the missions.
- According to some dialogue, many characters think Niko is a sociopath. This however was not proven, but it is debatable because of how Niko -- at least until his phone call with Roman after Pest Control -- seems to show no remorse whatsoever for all his murders.
- Niko's hair went through different designs. The beta hair style was the "helmet hair" type hair, then a buzz cut, then finally his new hair in the alpha is a Cesar mid-buzz cut.
- Niko meets both DLC protagonists during the story missions, Johnny Klebitz during the missions Blow Your Cover and Museum Piece, and Luis Fernando Lopez during the missions Three Leaf Clover (although the two don't exactly meet), Museum Piece, and Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, and Niko almost runs him over after he exits the building after the mission I luv LC.
- Niko had a childhood crush on a girl from his village, named Mila Tadic. Roman will confirm this during friend activities.
- 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 reckless driver before he even left his home country, as Roman comments that he is still a crazy driver.
- A conversation with Manny Escuela during Escuela of the Streets, he claims that he stalked a woman in Europe, however the reason for that 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, among 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.
- Niko is seen a couple times on the commercial for VIP Luxury Ringtones. As he is seen wearing a yellow Perseus jacket, the Russian cap from the Russian Shop, and a pair of white sunglasses, which never made it into the game.
- Apparently Niko was arrested in 2008 for Grand Theft Auto, this is a nod to when GTA IV was released and obviously a nod to the title of the series
- In GTA V, when Jimmy is using his laptop he has Niko's Lifeinvader page open. He stalks Burger Shot and has various pictures of Liberty City. Roman Bellic, Mallorie Bardas, Little Jacob, and Brucie Kibbutz can also be seen on his Friends list.
- Niko's last name, Belli(c) means "war" in latin.
- Not much is known about Niko after the events of GTA IV. Packie McReary says in GTA V that he was "someone to be feared" and he assumes him dead. However, he most likely says this because after GTA IV's main storyline, Niko decided to lay low and live a normal life, without crime.
- He seemingly doesn't care to be arrested by the police, as when being arrested by a police officer, sometimes Niko would say "Ok, arrest me, moron" however, when it comes to things he cares like his family, and money, he will fight off the cops.
- In GTA V, one can find a wanted poster for Niko on a table near a trailer in the Grand Senora Desert.