The Video Game Plot Twists That Change Their Whole Games
A plot twist, especially in a video game, can well and truly upend the narrative and shock gamers for decades. A surprising villain reveals that a shocking betrayal can add a new layer of complexity to an already compelling story or, in some cases, can even salvage a mediocre one. In the right hands, a well-executed shove can be the highlight of an entire game.
However, some twists go beyond mere shock value. These twists are so monumental that they recontextualize everything that has come before them and completely change everything that comes forward. From long-standing betrayals to hidden symbolism, these twists have never again allowed players to look at their games the same way.
It’s All a Simulation – Assassin’s Creed (2007)
Before Assassin’s Creed became the juggernaut franchise it is today, many gamers probably thought it was just a historical adventure game. For most of the game, that’s what it is, putting players in the shoes of an assassin during the Crusades.
In a surprise twist, however, players don’t play as an assassin, but rather as a modern-day ancestor of his who uses a simulation to relive his memories. This reframes the games’ entire narrative, and while it somewhat polarized fans, this narrative shift was what a few new players had come to expect.
Scott Shelby is the Killer – Heavy Rain (2010)
Heavy rain gives players control of multiple characters throughout its story. The story connects several people who have been affected by the crimes of a serial killer known as the Origami Killer, including the father of one of the victims, a journalist, and a private detective.
It is revealed at the end that Scott Shelby, one of the player characters investigating the murders, is responsible for them all. Instead of looking for the killer, he gathered evidence of his crimes to destroy them. The twist reveals that Shelby has been an unreliable narrator during each of its sections and forces players to question how real, if any, the story has been.
Ben is Roscoe Bob – Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (2013)
The story of the phenomenal Call of the Gunslinger Juarez is presented through a collection of stories told by an aging gunman named Silas Greaves to a group of saloon patrons. Silas recounts his dubious encounters with Old West legends as he pursues Roscoe Bob, the man who killed his brothers.
In the final chapter, it is revealed that one of the men listening to the story has been Roscoe Bob the whole time, and every story Silas told was meant to trick “Ben” into revealing his identity. Knowing that Silas was playing with Ben, the whole game changes the tone of every story it tells and adds a surprising layer of complexity to an otherwise straightforward plot.
You Were The Bad Guy From The Start – Braid (2008)
braid is well known for its time-consuming gameplay and symbolism, but also for its game-saving plot twist. First of all, braid plays like a basic puzzle platformer, with the player character trying to rescue a princess who has been kidnapped.
The jaw-dropping twist occurs in the final moments of the game, as the player helps the princess escape. When she reaches the end, the game reverses time like the player has done so many times, and it’s revealed that the princess has been running away from you all this time. Going further, the game is even revealed to be a metaphor for the Manhattan Project, giving players two game-changing twists.
You’re Not the Real Morgan – Prey (2017)
Prey is an excellent sci-fi horror game in which players take on the role of Morgan Yu, a survivor of an alien attack on a research space station. The attacking aliens, the Typhon, are hostile hive-mind organisms with powerful physiological abilities.
After playing through the game’s story, killing dozens of Typhon, and saving the station, Morgan wakes up in a lab, only to learn that they are not Morgan, but a Typhon who has been implanted with false memories. in an attempt to teach them about the human. emotions. The revelation completely changes the context of the fight against Typhoon and may impact some players’ choices in a second playthrough.
Kessler’s True Identity – Infamous (2009)
One of the best non-DC or Marvel superhero games, Infamous tells the story of Cole MacGrath, a man endowed with extraordinary powers thanks to a mysterious device. Players have many moral choices as they are played by the villainous Kessler.
When the players finally defeat Kessler at the end of the game, he reveals one final lesson to Cole. Kessler is actually Cole from a future shattered by a cataclysmic enemy and molded Cole to be the hero he failed to be the whole game. This adds significant depth to a steadfast villain and gives even more weight to every decision the player has made throughout the game.
You Are Revan — Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic (2003)
Not only is Knights of the Old Republic one of the best star wars video games ever made, but it also has one of the best twists in gaming. Players take on the role of an amnesiac Jedi who assembles a team to stop Sith Lord Darth Malak.
In contrast to Infamous’ Kessler reveals that upon confronting Malak, he reveals that the player is actually Sith Lord Darth Revan, Malak’s former master, who was brainwashed by the Jedi. The twist sheds new light on the decisions the player made throughout the campaign. This shows that neither the Jedi nor the Sith are really right. After the reveal, players can choose to stay on the path of good or reclaim their Sith Lord throne.
These Ain’t Flashbacks – Second Sight (2004)
A forgotten entry in the stealth genre, Second sight is an underrated game that definitely deserves a sequel. Putting players in the shoes of a special ops agent with psychic powers, the game tells his story following a mission gone wrong and through flashbacks to that mission.
The game bounces between the doomed mission and the present, to reveal that the flashbacks are the true present. One of the protagonist’s powers is precognition, and “current” events are visions of what will happen if the mission fails. The revelation changes the tone from a dark spy thriller to a desperate race against time. It’s a sadly overlooked twist that changes the entire game that came before it.
Android’s True Purpose – NieR: Automata (2017)
It’s almost hard to narrow down a single game-changing revelation in NieR: Automata, as there are several that massively change the story. Most impactful, however, is the reveal of what each of the playable androids are actually programmed to do.
As more is revealed with each playthrough, players learn that one of the androids is actually there to execute their partner when they learn the truth and it has happened many times before. Androids have been trapped in a cycle of violence and death since their inception. This twist not only changes the story of the game, but also the entire world in which it takes place.
The boss was a double agent — Metal Gear Solid 3 (2004)
Solid Metal Gear 3 is widely regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, and much of that praise is due to its devastating final reveal about its antagonist The Boss. The Boss is the protagonist Snake’s former mentor who defaults to the USSR during the game.
Snake is forced to kill the Boss at the end of the game, but it is revealed that she was a double agent the whole time, meant to serve as a sacrificial lamb so the United States could avoid war with Russia. It’s a devastating twist that has gone down in the game’s history, and gives new context to the complex story of the set. Solid metal gear franchise.
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