|For other uses of the name Bellic, see Bellic.|
- "Life is complicated. I killed people. Smuggled people. Sold people. Perhaps here...things will be different."
- ―Niko Bellic in GTA IV's first trailer, Things Will Be Different.
Niko Bellic (Serbian: Нико Белиж, Niko Belić) is the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV and a supporting character in The Lost and Damned and 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 or Darko Brevic, for one of them betrayed and nearly killed him during the Wars. Niko is the younger cousin of Roman Bellic and the son of Milica Bellic.
Grand Theft Auto series
Early life and family
Niko was born in Yugoslavia in 1978. 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 dreamed of becoming an astronaut when he was a child. In a conversation with Dwayne Forge, Niko mentions the house where he grew up in 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 were fought between 1991 and 1995, which means that 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 in a European penitentiary. 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 Sea 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. During Roman's Sorrow, Niko reminds Roman of an occasion in Europe where they encountered a bar which had burned down and there was only one bottle of vodka left, so they sat down and finished it off.
Events of GTA IV
- "More people want me dead than alive. I'm working for the Mafia. The police and a government agency are both on my case. I kill and steal to scrape together a living so my cousin can fritter it away online and pay off debts...and all the while? People are trying to kill us! What is fun?"
- ―Niko Bellic
Niko spent seven months on the cargo ship Platypus, which eventually smuggled Niko into Liberty City.
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 a derelict 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 Little Jacob, and taking work from the Russian Mafia, setting in motion the events of the game.
After killing Vladimir Glebov, Niko is spared by Mikhail Faustin, although Dimitri Rascalov wanted him and Roman killed. After killing Mikhail, Dimitri reveals his connections with Ray Bulgarin and turns against him, even trying to kill him. Niko and Roman flee Hove Beach when their apartment and Roman's taxi depot were burned down. It is at this point that Niko becomes a hitman and an associate of many. Mallorie Bardas, Roman's girlfriend, introduce him to two contacts, Manny Escuela and Elizabeta Torres. Niko develops affiliations and becomes a worker of the McReary Family, Playboy X, Dwayne Forge, and the Pegorino Family, to name a few, over the course of the game. Maximizing his hatred of Dimitri, Rascalov gets Roman kidnapped.
Niko eventually becomes in forced contact with an International Affairs Agency front under the name of United Liberty Paper, who blackmails him into doing some "country-protecting" work. Also, Ray Boccino managed to help Niko find Florian Cravic. When Niko confronts him, Florian, who nows calls himself Bernie Crane, begs for forgiveness and 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.
As a sign of gratitude towards Niko for his work with them, the U.L.P. locate Darko Brevic in Romania and smuggle him into Liberty City. Niko confronts Brevic, who confesses that he sold Niko's army unit out for $1,000, which he used to fund his heroin addiction. Enraged at the fact his unit were betrayed for such a paltry sum, Niko holds Brevic at gunpoint. Whether Niko kills Brevic or not depends on the player's actions.
After his confrontation with Brevic, Niko meets Jimmy Pegorino again. Pegorino asks Niko to do a heroin deal with Dimitri Rascalov. Niko is reluctant to do so, because of the bitterness between himself and Rascalov. The conclusion of the storyline depends on the player's decision.
If the player chooses to do the deal with Rascalov, he will betray Niko again and send a hitman to assassinate Niko at his cousin's wedding. Niko survives and eventually kills the assassin, though his cousin Roman is killed during the shootout. Enraged by this, Niko chases Rascalov, who killed Jimmy Pegorino, throughout the city before confronting and killing him on Happiness Island.
If the player chooses to take revenge on Rascalov, Niko fights his way onto the Platypus ship, which Rascalov is loading with heroin, and confronts Rascalov over his earlier betrayal of Niko. Niko executes Rascalov, which leads to the downfall of the Pegorino family. Angered at Niko's betrayal, Pegorino attempts to assassinate him in a drive-by shooting at Roman Bellic's wedding, but instead kills Niko's girlfriend Kate McReary. To avenge Kate's death, Niko, along with his friend Jacob Hughes, chases Pegorino throughout the city before confronting and killing him on Happiness Island.
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, 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
- "There was a, an eastern European guy making moves in Liberty City, but... nah, he went quiet."
- ―Lester Crest to Michael De Santa about Niko.
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 of 2013.
Later while on a heist, if Packie was chosen for the job, he begins talking about his most successful job in Liberty City, and then mentions Niko, revealing that he doesn't even know what became of him, and that he is "probably dead". It is possible though that Niko has cut all ties to his previous criminal lifestyle and is retired.
If Michael survives the game, one potential scenario in his house sees his family gathered around the dining room table. Jimmy, Michael's son, is viewing a Lifeinvader page on a laptop. By using a camera to zoom in, the page is revealed to be that of Niko Bellic, complete with an image of the character. He now lives in Broker, still working as a taxi driver for Bellic Cab Service, and still in contact with Mallorie Bardas, Little Jacob, and Brucie Kibbutz who all liked his latest status, and a Happy Birthday note for Roman which was posted recently. Either the Revenge ending was the canonical ending of GTA IV, or this was simply an easter egg.
A wanted poster for Niko can be seen on the porch of a house just west of Sandy Shores. This, with his Lifeinvader activity, leaves the possibility that Niko may still be alive.
Niko has brown hair and hazel eyes. He has facial hair that resembles a "scruffy" looking 5 o'clock shadow, which 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. Several characters throughout the story call Niko "big guy" or "big man", which likely means that he is of tall stature and/or heavy build. Niko has a scar running through his left brow. He most likely got the scar during the war, however, this has not been confirmed. Niko's body is of 'average' build, but characters like Bernie Crane mention that "Niko is still in great shape." Later, Bernie asks if Niko works out, to which Niko answers he doesn't work out but his dangerous lifestyle keeps him active. People consider him to be "above average" build despite his slender appearance.
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 indiscrete 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 McRearys' 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 illegal drugs, much like Carl Johnson and Victor Vance. 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 empathy 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 (one for every member of Niko's army unit who was killed) into Brevic's body uncontrollably, even after Brevic's death after about the sixth 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. Niko goes to drink it, but 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.
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.
LCPD Database record
Naming, errors and languageThe name "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 Anglicised version of "Belic". Going by that custom, Niko's real name may be Nikola Belić. The surname "Bellic" is likely derived from Russian rather than Serbian, which is incorrect.
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 emphasised.
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 2001 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.
Grand Theft Auto IV
- As the protagonist, he appears in all missions.
The Lost and Damned
The Ballad of Gay Tony
- The player can choose Niko Bellic as a parent in Grand Theft Auto Online if they purchased the Collectors Edition or transferred their GTA Online progress to a next-gen console.
Characters murdered by Niko Bellic
Main Article: Murders Committed by Niko Bellic
Heinous crimes commited by Niko Bellic
- Blowing up Kenny Petrovic's garage
- Doing a deal with Johnny Klebitz and Playboy X
- Stealing coke from the Old Hospital on Colony Island
- Murdering Tom Goldberg
- Murdering Derrick McReary or Francis McReary
- Murdering four union leaders of a construction site in Castle Gardens
- Assaulting the Triangle Club and killing the Trunchez Brothers
- Rescuing Roman Bellic from the Russian Mafia
- Murdering Eduard Borodin
- Robbing a bank in Chinatown
- Murdering Tony Spoleto and many other Ancelotti family members via car bomb
- Smuggling fake notes into the country
- Breaking Aiden o' Malley out of prison and later killing him
- Killing Isaac Roth and many of his allies
- Killing Charles Matteo, many of his Russian bodyguards and blowing up the Old Sprunk Factory
- Escaping from a police sting operation set up by the FIB and the LCPD
- Murdering three of Dimitri Rascalov's henchmen on a speed boat chase
- Murdering Kim-Young Guk
Other Crimes Committed (player-determinant)
- Grand Theft Auto
- Resisting Arrest
- Mass Homicide
- Violating Gun Control laws
- Dangerous Driving
- Driving under the Influence
Grand Theft Auto IV Artwork
Grand Theft Auto IV Screenshots
Grand Theft Auto V
- 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 should have never read your fucking emails and stayed away!". Based on some of his comments, Niko seems to blame the country for failing 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. This is most likely untrue as Niko is shown to have a firm grasp of right and wrong pertaining to some of his more morally questionable actions. It is much more likely that Niko is indifferent to bloodshed given his violent upbringing.
- 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 slang term for people who grow up in rural areas.
- Niko was a reckless driver before he even left his home country, as Roman comments that he is still a crazy driver. When destroying Roman's cab during Easy Fare, Roman will joke on how Niko always blows up normal cars but doesn't crash "the tanks from back home".
- In a conversation with Manny Escuela during Escuela of the Streets, he claims that he stalked a woman in Europe (and knows the right distance to keep behind the target vehicle). The reason for this is never stated, but he could've been joking.
- 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 and 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 someone is often on the prowl for young college girls.
- 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.
- His file will remain in the database even if the player goes the whole game without getting arrested at all.
- In GTA V, one can find a wanted poster for Niko on a table near a trailer in the Grand Senora Desert.
- Niko's favorite radio stations are Liberty Rock Radio and Vladivostok FM. Niko also appears to like The Vibe, as when he is in a taxi and asks the driver to change the station, he may sometimes say "You know The Vibe? It's great music". Niko also mentions that he "likes rap a bit", but is not a "crazy fan". During friendship activities with Little Jacob, Niko mentions that "this city has some powerful music", and tells Jacob that he likes Bobby Konders, the DJ on Massive B Soundystem. However, Niko's favorite station will ultimately be down to the player.
- After stealing money from the cash registers found in various places around Liberty City, there will be a delay before Niko says something like "forgive me" for stealing the cash.
- In GTA V, inside the Yellow Jack Inn, one can find a picture that appears to be Niko driving a Tow Truck.
- Niko is the most combat trained protagonist of the entire series at the start of a game.
- In GTA V, a homeless man can be found holding a sign that begs for money and it says that "some Serbian men" robbed him, this could be a reference to Niko.
- The surname Belić means is derived from the word "belo", which means "white" in the Serbo-Croatian languages; if Niko's name is directly translated into English, it would be "Nicholas White".