I had to play the game outright before I seriously commented on this though I've made a few passing comments here and there. I'm not going to spoil anything other than saying that
This is quite long but this has been going around my head throughout playing the story and I think about storylines/writing/characters and such way too much .
Anyway there's a load of things that are really offputting about the whole thing and I cannot understand why Rockstar would do it this way. Killing Johnny? Fine. He was my favourite character, but fine, if you want to make your new protagonist have a fairly big impact but here's the thing, Trevor killed him in a completely cowardly way when Johnny was giving him a break.
The result is that almost anyone who liked and identified with Johnny will almost certainly despise Trevor right from the off. Not respect, despise. Do you really want that in a protagonist? I don't get this at all, it's pretty well established throughout the story that Trevor is a crazy lunatic who just does what he feels like. Killing Johnny in this manner was completely unnecessary and it makes Trevor impossible to identify or sympathise with, which is a horrible characteristic in a protagonist. The irony of course is that people who don't give a damn about identifying/sympathising and such may like Trevor but they don't care for identifying with characters and most of them probably don't even watch cutscenes anyway.
To make matters worse, he clips Terry and Clay too, characters who we know really well, we know their stories, we know their backgrounds, we know what makes them tick. All of them. Terry's exwife he still loves, the fact he believes the government is run by five men and elections don't mean anything, Clay's army background, his love of sex and women and they get offed like random mooks, not even special mooks, just the random guard who gets a line in a cutscene.
At least with Terry and Clay its a bit more of a 'it's a him or me' situation. Had Johnny died this way, in a 'blaze of glory' for lack of better words and Trevor just happened to be the better man at that time, rather than just being offed in such a cowardly way, it wouldn't have left such a bad taste in my mouth throughout the entire story and made me loathe any moment I am forced to play as Trevor.
The extra sad irony is that Trevor and Johnny are actually quite similar in their beliefs and although Johnny has a far more stable personality the spirit they both have is very similar. Both characters have been rejected by society, both don't care much for the 'man' and both want to be allowed to be themselves. This may have resulted in people liking Johnny also liking Trevor but any of that was thrown away with this silly move. A similar if not better effect could have been created if he was offed in a different way, showing Johnny being a comparatively broken man could have still being displayed.
As for Johnny himself being out of character due to being clearly broken its difficult to say. A key feature or some would view it as a 'weakness' of Johnny's character is that he cares too much. Consider all he's been through.
- Horrid upbringing. Hanging with Billy Grey could not possibly be good and there's bits and pieces about it.
- He wanted to be an army man but unlike his brother he didn't go down that path because he believed (correctly) that the army was corrupt and only about the fat cats getting richer rather than 'serving his country' and protecting those he cared about.
- His on/off affair with Ashley boils down to him caring too much about people who he believes are under his 'protection' and of course it is fitting that she would be the death of him.
- The Lost became corrupted by Billy's lunacy and selfishness. Despite the fact it was meant to be a safe haven from the usual temptations of corruption, it was corruption which ended up tearing the gang apart including Brian's grab for power (with Agent Jones manipulating him of course full well knowing what would happen...)
- Jim 'died'. More on this later.
- He had to burn down the clubhouse because it was no longer what he believed in or fought for and felt he had to cut the connections finally so he would stop caring.
There's other stuff but that's the main gist. Johnny and to an extent Terry and Clay have had such a horrific and sad life despite obviously having a lot of talent and skill and it ending up meaning very little. It isn't exactly difficult to see why they would turn to meth or other things that would get them off their heads.
Strength of will can only be pushed so far and Johnny's was just pushed a mile too far and he became a broken man in consequence. I don't think even at his darkest moment he would honestly hug Trevor, seeking a hug isn't outside the realm of believable based on how much adversity he's been through. He's always had to appear strong to his fellow members and puts the weight of the world on his shoulders with all of its corruption and bullsh*t, he simply ended up being crushed by it.
Now back to Jim briefly. I'd like to go on a bit but maybe another topic/post this has gone on far too long already. Jim's death as I have mentioned elsewhere is highly odd to me.
The big thing I think is odd that the two million dollars worth of unmarked bills Johnny stole from the Libertonian is completely unaccounted for. It was last seen in Jim's possession, yet when 'Jim' was killed it was nowhere to be seen. Johnny didn't have it, Niko didn't have it, I doubt it went into some account or whatever for the Lost because Johnny would have made a bigger deal about splitting it between himself, Angus, Terry and Clay so where did it go? We obviously know where the diamonds went, but what about the money?
The second thing is that the person who Niko kills and is eventually identified as Jim Fitzgerald looks nothing like the Jim we know. Granted it could be a simple retcon but based on the two million dollars worth simply disappearing, I can't help think something is up. With that sort of money, it would be pretty easy to fake your death, especially knowing how corrupt the LCPD is. Have Jim's wife Jackie identify random biker as Jim, toss a bit of cash to change the record, poof, Jim disappears and gets away with his kid and family away from The Lost and from Ray's goons with a nice load of cash. He didn't want to turn his back on The Lost but Jim knew sh*t was going to hit the fan and he made a call. This is hinted at the very start when Johnny says if Billy made him choose what would he do...
It's probably wishful thinking but I kinda hope it is true and we get some DLC with Jim as one of the three protagonists with Angus doing mission planning like Lester does. Maybe in North Yankton? Or still in Los Santos? Who knows...
It'd make it easier to swallow Johnny's poorly written death, that's for sure...
Edit: I posted a shorter version to Rockstar's mouth off. Some I've spoken to like this line of thought *shrug*