Behind The Game: Niko Bellic… before GTA IV.

Life is complicated. I killed people, smuggled people, sold people. Perhaps here, things will be different.
–Niko Bellic, Grand Theft Auto IV

Many of you playing GTA IV, are aware of the current missions and only some of Niko Bellic’s past. We feel it’s important to decipher the criminal mind behind Niko Bellic all before he arrived to America!

niko bellic Behind The Game: Niko Bellic... before GTA IV.

Name: Niko Bellic
Age: 30 years old
Weight: 187
Eyes: Brown
Born: Croatia

Notable Characteristics: Scar over his left eye, limps off his left leg, European accent

Background: Niko grew up in war-torn Serbia. He is an illegal immigrant hailing from the Balkans who arrived in Liberty City by way of the merchant navy ship Platypus. Niko’s father, Karmalaf Bellic, bullied and made life difficult for Niko. Milica Bellic, his mother, felt sad that her son had to grow up in such a harsh environment. Niko also fought in the Bosnian War as a teenager for the Serbian Army. He witnessed and possibly committed numerous atrocities which deeply affected him and gave him a cynical view on life. A defining moment in the war for Niko was when his army unit of fifteen young men (including him) were ambushed by the enemy. Niko barely escaped with his life, but most of his friends were killed – he later discovered that two others also survived. Realizing that one of them tipped the enemy off to their location, Niko vowed to track down the culprit, not solely on revenge, but because he needed closure.


When the war ended, work was hard to come by in the country. His cousin, Roman Bellic, moved to America to start a new life in Liberty City. Niko, knowing only violence most of his life, turned to the criminal underworld for the next ten years while at the same time searching for the two men who survived the ambush. At some point during this interval, he was arrested and imprisoned for Drug Smuggling. Sometime after he was released, Niko joined a human trafficking ring run by Rodislav Bulgarin. Niko eventually discovered that Florian Cravic, another survivor of the ambush, was living in Liberty City.

When a boat sank during one smuggling run, Niko managed to swim to safety, but everything else was lost. Bulgarin believed Niko sunk the boat and escaped with the money onboard. Niko denied this, but Bulgarin’s decision was final and he was too powerful a figure to fight back against. Niko quickly joined the crew of the Liberty City bound cargo ship Platypus and fled Bulgarin. Roman had been asking Niko to come to Liberty City to share a new life of money and women, which Niko wanted, but he mainly wanted to find Cravic and escape Bulgarin’s wrath.

Upon arriving in Liberty City, Niko realizes that Roman’s tales of success were lies: he lives in a tiny apartment, runs a small taxi depot and owes gambling debts to several criminals. Niko ends up working for Roman, protecting his cousin from the loan sharks that keep harrassing him. Roman soon loans Niko’s services to friends and enemies alike, which angers Niko although he needs the money, and sets in motion the events of the game.

Niko’s view of American culture is one of confusion and mild disgust. The rampant materialism annoys him and he has trouble relating to Roman’s fascination with the country. Plus, after working for so many criminals, he feels that everyone in Liberty City is a crook.

Niko is voiced by Michael Hollick.

Some information in article via Wikipedia

pixel Behind The Game: Niko Bellic... before GTA IV.


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  1. Iggy

    Same paragraph twice starting ‘When a boat sank dur…’

  2. Daniel

    @Iggy: I don’t see a problem with the way he wrote the piece. You’re just being an anal douche.

  3. kezins

    I read it twice and agree with Daniel. There’s nothing wrong with the way it was written.

  4. Ante

    So he was a Serb who was born in Croatia, then fought for the Serbs in the Bosnian war. The same Serbs who had concentration camps for the Bosnian muslims. So we are playing as a war criminal chetnik? Unreal. I guess Rockstar has Serb sympathizers working for them.

  5. kezins

    yeah apparently he did fight for the Serbs, but you have to keep an open mind about things. War isn’t something that can be broken up easily into the good guys vs. the bad guys. Terrible acts were committed by both sides in the war.

  6. Dzaric

    Im curious, what part of this was from Rockstar inside info?

  7. kezins

    @Dzaric.. I wouldn’t really call it “inside info”. A majority of this info is floating around as far as I know. I believe Juan contacted RockStar to verify the info.

  8. Saša

    Ante bas si ustaša.

  9. Steve Marse

    Hey, Niko mentions he had a brother that died during the game too, i dont remember if he said if he died in the war or just died. He mentioned it when I took Packie out and he was talking about his brothers and ‘ma.

  10. kezins

    I recall something about that, but can’t remember the specifics. I know he mentioned his brother was recruited for the military around the same time.

  11. FAMAS

    There are dozens of completely different “European accents”. Niko’s is clearly slavic, but you ignore this altogether. It’s so very typical of Americans to categorize everything from just one part of the continent as “European”. For instance; British, Russian and Finnish English speakers are all European, but their accents sound nothing alike.

  12. mrjuandrful

    @ Famas, I do think “European Accent” is correct as it is generalized. As I await for final confirmation from RockStar, I will modify the Bio.

  13. kezins

    @FAMAS I don’t think Americans are saying all Euro accents are the same.. it’s just a generalization we use. I’m Czech-American myself and certainly know the difference between accents.

  14. Tomislav-CROATIA

    ko kaze da jeg ustasa ako mrzi srbe ?

  15. Xsi9mm

    @FAMAS you sure you know whats typical of americans asshole?

  16. Daniel

    @Famas: Do you know American accents then? Do you know how to distinguish between someone from Boston, New York, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, or Nevada? Just because you’re from Europe doesn’t give you the right to act all high and mighty when Americans can’t distinguish Europeans accents. It isn’t our fault. It’s the fact that we don’t correspond with Europeans on a daily basis, so we generalize due to our ignorance.

    The day a European can distinguish the accents I mention above is the day we rename Freedom Fries back to French Fries.

  17. nacarrell

    @Famas While I understand what you are saying, you do have to remember that things are done in generalization. I live in the Central USA (Missouri) and i deal with people with different accents every day, but if you heard them, you may just call them all American. John Wayne sounded nothing like Groucho Marx but they both sound American. The average American can usually get an English Accent down, a French, and a German, but will probably not be able to tell the difference between someone from Austria and someone from Germany, while a German would have no problem. If it isn’t one of the big three, however, it will most likely (with the exception of some russian) be lumped as european, or possibly Eastern European.

  18. Dzaric

    Ko mrzi srbe? Ako neko mirzi srbe, onda mora da mrzi i ovu igru zato sto Niko je srbin. SVAKO VOLI SRBE!!!!

  19. Illyr

    Jebo te pas dzaric

  20. Hector "BLOO"

    Lets get off this subject guys Im sure he got the message…Oh I think Niko reveals to kate wen I was playing that Roman’s is so cheery becuase he is trying to deal with his mothers death; I think niko then says that his aunt was beat up, raped then killed during the war but he never told his cuz, Im a right???

  21. kezins


    I’m pretty sure I heard something like that. Some people commenting really lost the entire point of the article. I really think Niko is one of the most interesting game characters in videogame history. He’s definitely one of those characters I’d like to find even more out when it comes to his past, etc.

  22. IntanZ

    Jebiga najvaznije je da je Balkanac jebes ostalo xD

  23. Marin

    @Ante. I agree because if he was a teenager he couldnt have fought in Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in Croatia or Bosnia so he has to be a chetnik. And its more likely he would have fought in Croatia considering he was born there, but actually i think its better this way. They should just make him a Bosnian Serb.

    @Kezins. “War isn’t something that can be broken up easily into the good guys vs. the bad guys. Terrible acts were committed by both sides in the war.”

    Thats very nice and i agree but, and im not saying that you said that, but you also cant put all sides in the same pot and say it just happened and all sides have equal share of responsibility because there were atrocities commited on all sides. Of course attrocities are commited…thats why its called war. But you can still conclude in general who was the aggressor, even if you dont know much about the conflict.

    Anyway, i think itll be cool playing as Niko although his surname is kinda weird because Serbian surnames and Croatian for that matter dont have repeating letters in them like the double L’s in his. The first name and the -ic ending is pretty typical though.

  24. kezins

    @Marin: I think you are right about one side being the aggressor. I actually spent a little time in Kosovo back in 1996, so I know a little about the conflict.

    I also agree that Rockstar did mess up the surname. I’m guessing they didn’t do their homework completely, so his background does have some holes in it.

  25. Hector "BLOO"

    I have finished the story and since I play it on my xbox 360 we are given a list of achivements and one of them is where all 5 friends you have left must like you above 90% so anyway, Im driving with dwayne(I killed playboy cuz his sweater was a little fruitty) and he starts to talk about his rough life and then niko gets irrataited then starts to yell and scream he is tired of hearing people complain and how easy americans have it. so the point is niko is somewhat starts midly disgusted but at the end is appalled

  26. Dzaric

    Jebiga. Sto svako jos ima probleme sa drugim? Nije vazno specificno odakle je. Jedino sto je vazno je da on je balkanac, i da jebe amerikance!

    Rat je bio brutalan. Odjebite sa racisam. Vreme je da zaboravimo. Onako nice ista biti sa time zato sto eventualo svi ce mo biti u EU kada bude jedna nacija.

  27. balkanbro

    [Ante May 11th, 2008 at 5:37 pm So he was a Serb who was born in Croatia, then fought for the Serbs in the Bosnian war. The same Serbs who had concentration camps for the Bosnian muslims. So we are playing as a war criminal chetnik? Unreal. I guess Rockstar has Serb sympathizers working for them.]

    chetniks primarely fought in serbian militias and stayed out of YNA (yugoslavian national army) asshole

  28. Neutraliser

    Looking at rockstars previous titles I suppose they really wanted to go over the top with this one so they decided to make this character a real scum sucking no soul cold animal and only a Serb can fit that role.

  29. kezins

    I actually know some very nice Serbs, so have no idea what you are smoking. Also, Niko isn’t all bad. He’s one of those bad guys who is a good guy at heart. They do that with movie characters all the time, and I’m glad they did it here. He’s the kind of guy we probably shouldn’t like, but for some reason he’s very likeable.

  30. KingOfKings43

    bellic,is romanian he say so in the game if he’s not,i’m 100% sure his not a serb his is probelly bosnin or other europe contruys i also know he’s not russian in the game this guy called him a russian and he said i’m not

  31. Dzaric

    Hes definetley, not Romanian. Do you know how I know…I can understand the language he speaks in the game, and its defenetley not Romanian. He is a serb. There are even cutscenes that say he is. I have no idea what your on, but you got no clue dude.

  32. Will Snizek

    I don’t recall anything mentioning he was Romanian in the game. Now it is possible that he could have been of Romanian ancestry or something, but lived in Croatia.

  33. Will Snizek

    I also believe there’s a little controversy behind this topic due to Rockstar not fully completing the story. Perhaps it was their intent to have us all wonder a bit on a few things, because there are a few holes in the story.

  34. -U-STAŠA

    HAHA!! jeben vam je taj srbo kad nema ni srpsko prezime!! beLLic??


  35. -U-STAŠA

    Dzaricu.. oprostit, nikad zaboravit

  36. kroff

    the best thing is when niko shoots albanians :-)
    the right game at the right moment :-)

  37. Negativ

    Croats, Albanians and Bosnian Muslims happen to be as innocent as Madonna. Say what you want to say, how can one have respect for asslickers like those. Your time will come. Serbians have proven that over the course of history. Century from now, when the world is fighting to survive food crisis Serbs will have only revenge on their minds. You will be served that cold dish equally cowards. If there is a word to describe these three nationals it is cowardly. Serbs are Spartans. And you want to talk about crime Croats, history will not forget that your state was and still is German province of submissive gimps.

  38. Will Snizek

    @Negativ: You need to live a little or something. How can you possibly claim an entire group is the same? There’s good and bad in every group.

  39. dejan-serbia

    C’mon, that are just some stupid generalizations, there are assholes in serbia, croatia, bosnia, US, and there are good people in serbia, croatia, bosnia, Us etc., you can’t say that entire nation is the same!

  40. Will Snizek


    well stated. I’ve been all over the world myself and you simply cannot say everyone in a nation is the same. Every country has scum bags and they also all have great people at the same time.

  41. RDS48926

    first off great bio Juan, second this is to Marin think about it in the middle of a war such as the Serb Bonian war i’m sure Niko could have lied about his age and got awayy with it fairly easily besides remember Niko says, to some one i can’t remember, that he was eager to fight wich gives my point more light, but yes all an all great job Juan i enjoted learning the background of my favorite GTA charicter very much hope to see more info soon

  42. Hamervon93

    You know, I never really realized it, but their really are some racist bastards out there. I think the worst thing you can do is stereotype an entire nation…

    Oh, and yes, the bio was good. I would like to know a little more, though. He is, to me, the most interesting GTA character… so far.

  43. Will Snizek

    i agree. Just when you think we’re moving forward in thinking, you realize that most people still have the same mindset people had hundreds of years ago.

    I really hope they bring back Niko for GTA V

  44. a white nationalist

    Fucking pigs from Balkans. They all are criminals and parasites in USA.

  45. TheDude

    He is a Serb…
    Niko-Nikola in Serbian…
    If he was Croatian he would have been Bjelic,not Belic…
    Belic is a common Serbian last name…
    I will get the game and see…
    Anyway for him being Bosnian and seing the horific site of children being murderd…
    What about the mujahedin the holy warriors of Alah…
    And the Jihad-the war against the infidels?
    Mujahedin killed Serbian civilians all the time so who ever wrote that we Serbs killed civilians can suck cock…
    And even if we did,it wasnt genocide or war crime but revenge!
    As for him killing Russians…
    Big deal,we have here,in Serbia some Serbs who /hate dislike Russians has well…
    Besides Nikola is a mafioso he dosent care about reletionships between Russians and Serbs!
    Im not among them but non the less…
    It is posible that he is a Serb from Croatia or Bosnia…
    But he is a Serb 100%!
    His mothers name was Milica which is Serbian,not bosnian or croatian name!

    ,,At the very begining of the game, during the intro. When Niko and Roman are talking. Niko says “whats wrong Roman, have you forgotten OUR language?” and Roman says “No cousin, its been a while… speak English, your English is better than my SERBIAN”

    So he is a serb. Fact. Maybe a bosnian serb…

    WATCH THE INTRO! and hear it for yourself!.
    I have watched it and it is the same as the quote says…

    And most people say that he is a Serb…
    Besides in one part of the game he says ,,zdravo burazeru” which means hello brother!
    Plus zdravo burazeru is a sentence that is used only in Serbia since the croatians and bosnians will not admit that they are from Serbia,so they changed their language a lot!
    Nikola Belic (not Bjelic) is a Serb thank you very much!

  46. Coca-Cola

    A lot of people think Nico is Russian…that kind of annoys me. :)

  47. ghhji


  48. ghhji

    chetniks ARE BIGGEST A#”&#(#7 IN WORLD THEY ARE::…………..

  49. Asmir

    nije on hrvat nego srbin ako to neznas u ovo vreme kako je gta izaso onda se ubi

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