The best stories in video games are often ones that have memorable plot twists. These are the ones you never see coming, but on subsequent playthroughs, you can see them coming.
We will cover twenty of our favorite plot twists in a video game. As you can imagine, this list is full of spoilers.
You’ve been warned!
Would you kindly stay seated for this incredible gaming plot twist?
Venturing deep into the underwater city of Rapture is a treat. BioShock is an incredible game, and the twist that the player is a puppet for the true villain remains shocking today.
There’s just something about BioShock and plot twists.
BioShock Infinite trades in the underwater setting for one above the clouds. Protagonist Booker DeWitt is tasked with rescuing Elizabeth from the city of Columbia and the evil Comstock.
However, we find out that Comstock is Booker DeWitt, reborn after baptism.
We can’t wait to see what Ken Levine’s team has in store for us next!
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
In a surprise twist, after playing through the prologue, players instead play as the new character Raiden. This was a controversial move, for sure!
Final Fantasy VII
Aerith is one of the most beloved JRPG characters of all time. She’s also an integral part of one of the best gaming plot twists ever: her death at the hands of Sephiroth.
Part of what makes Final Fantasy VII a beloved game is this stunning and shocking twist. We hope the FFVII remake retains the line and doesn’t alter this iconic moment.
Spec Ops: The Line
You’ll be forgiven for assuming Spec Ops: The Line is a generic third-person shooter. But, in reality, the game is an excellent lesson in never judging a book by its cover.
The game’s protagonist, Walker, spends his time chasing down the game’s villain, Konrad. Konrad has been performing acts of terror and violence in Dubai. As it turns out, however, Konrad is just a hallucination; Walker has been the one performing these crimes and has to deal with the fallout of his actions.
Red Dead Redemption
The story of Rockstar’s open-world western adventure focuses on John Marston. Marston’s tale features thematically him trying to leave behind and provide a good, safe life for his family. That’s something we think he will enjoy by the game’s closing.
However, the FBI betrays and kills him, resulting in the epilogue focusing on his son Jack enacting revenge for his father.
The breakout game from designer Jonathan Blow, Braid, is an indie puzzle platformer. It’s a take on the popular gameplay from the Super Mario Bros. franchise.
There’s one key difference with Braid: the twist. You’re not trying to save the princess from her castle. Instead, you’re the stalker villain, and the princess is trying to escape you!
One of the few games widely regarded as perfect, Portal is a first-person puzzle shooter. Throughout the game, you’re promised cake for completing tasks.
However, the game’s AI, GLaDOS, attempts to kill you instead of rewarding you with a Black Forest cake.
Don’t worry; the game’s end credits feature a cake.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
One of the most iconic RPGs of all time, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is a classic game from BioWare. In addition to excellent RPG gameplay and storytelling, it features one of gaming’s most significant plot twists.
After constantly hearing about the lore of Darth Revan, it’s revealed that the player character has been Revan the entire time. It’s a clever twist on a common storytelling trope that’s beautifully executed.
The original Metroid is an NES classic. Its non-linear gameplay has helped spawn the Metroidvania genre of gaming.
One of the biggest twists game at the end of the game. The protagonist, Samus Aran, spends the game in their armor. After the credits, we learn that Samus has been a woman the entire time. This was a big deal back in the day!
The Last of Us
From developer Naughty Dog, The Last of Us is a masterpiece in gameplay and storytelling. As you’d expect from a game like this, the narrative is filled with twists and turns.
The game’s protagonists, Joel and Ellie, spend the game doing everything they can to survive an apocalyptic world. It turns out that Ellie is the key to a vaccine to save humanity but at the cost of her life. Joel’s face-turn to save Ellie is an emotional plot twist that works because of the strength of their relationship.
The Last of Us Part II
In a cruel twist of fate, after growing attached to Joel as a protagonist, The Last of Us Part II cruelly murders him in cold blood.
To make matters worse, the game puts us in the shoes of his murderer; having to play the game as Abby is incredibly controversial but a twist that adds to the game’s thematic journey. Ultimately, we feel the game’s story is better off with this twist.
Silent Hill 2
There’s a reason why Silent Hill 2 is such a beloved game. The PlayStation One classic is one of the greatest games of all time. In addition to the nearly perfect survival gameplay, this plot twist is just icing on the cake.
One of the most iconic enemies in gaming, Pyramid Head, isn’t real! It’s just a manifestation of James Sunderland’s guilt over the death of his wife.
Sometimes, the best plot twists are the ones that are the campiest.
The original Resident Evil is the definition of the word “camp.” But, most importantly, it adds to the game’s charm. This includes the ending’s plot twist: Albert Wesker, who led the STARS team through the mansion, is actually a double agent.
Don’t worry; even though the game makes us think he died, Wesker seems to keep coming back in subsequent entries. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see Wesker again.
The Walking Dead
2012’s The Walking Dead, developed by Telltale Games, took the gaming world by storm. The interactive narrative adventure was released across five episodes in its first season.
The strength of The Walking Dead is its story, which features one of the biggest plot twists in gaming.
As the cast of characters dwindles in strength, it turns out that a decision to ransack a stranded car has come back to bite the protagonists. In peak Walking Dead form, one seemingly inconsequential decision had significant consequences and cost major characters their life.
Developer David Cage has a penchant for narrative-driven games like Detroit: Become Human. Heavy Rain, released for the PlayStation 3, is no exception.
The game’s story focuses on discovering who the Origami Killer is. As it turns out, one of the game’s playable characters, Scott Shelby, has been the Origami Killer the entire time.
It was him all along!
Before Sucker Punch Productions worked on Ghost of Tsushima, they were known for their work on the Infamous series. The first game was released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3.
The game’s protagonist, Cole MacGrath, develops superpowers after an accident. From there, he’s tasked with fighting the evil villain Kessler. But, as it turns out, Kessler is Cole from the future, and present-day Cole must decide to embrace evil or become good.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
While the Call of Duty franchise isn’t always known for storytelling, there are times when it delivers. Black Ops is one of those examples.
Protagonist Mason spends the game recalling countless adventures and experiences with Viktor Reznov. Unfortunately for Mason, he’s been brainwashed to be a sleeper agent meant to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. As for Viktor, he died in the first mission and was a figment of Mason’s imagination.
It’s revealed that Reznov tried, and failed, to reverse the brainwashing. Finally, the game ends with footage from Kennedy’s assassination, with Mason visible at Love Field.
One of the most iconic survival horror games of all time, Dead Space, comes from Electronic Arts. It was released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2008.
The game’s protagonist, Isaac Clarke, navigates the mining vessel Ishimura and fights off the enemy Necromorphs that have taken the ship over. One of the crew members, Nicole, is Clarke’s girlfriend.
It appears that Isaac can save Nicole, but it turns out that she’s been a hallucination the entire time. Instead, the enemy alien monolith preyed on Clarke’s mind to do its bidding.
Halo: Combat Evolved
We wrap up our list of the best gaming plot twists with one of the most iconic FPS franchises ever: Halo.
Protagonist Master Chief spends the gaming battling the enemy alien faction known as the Covenant. However, we eventually learn that the Covenant isn’t the real enemy here. Instead, a parasitic race of aliens known as the Flood is the actual threat to the galaxy.
Furthermore, it turns out that the titular Halo device was created with one sole purpose: to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy to force the Flood into starvation.