Plot twists are like a slap in the face that you were never expecting.
At the least the bad ones are. Some of them are like your best friend showing up at work with a giant cupcake after you’ve had a royally bad day. Certain plot twists can be ever-so satisfying or so unsuspected that they make us angry. And yet we still crave them. Why? Who knows. Perhaps we’re merely glutton for punishment.
Lots of video games are known for their intriguing plot twists so we’ve put together a list of some of our favourites.
Warning: This list contains major – and I mean MAJOR – spoilers for the games below. It’s a list about plot twists; what d’ya expect? Read at your own peril!
Heavy Rain was already overwhelming enough, what with its changing characters, twisting storyline and unexpectedly futuristic elements. As such, many players weren’t expecting its huge plot twist.
It is revealed towards the very end of the game that Scott Shelby, a private detective that players control throughout the game, is actually the killer that he himself has been hunting. It’s a huge shock, especially for anyone that was attached to the character and therefore a truly satisfying twist.
This particular plot twist is one that I definitely didn’t see coming the first time around. In Bioshock you play as Jack as he traverses the underwater city of Rapture. When he first arrives he Atlas, a man who begs Jack to help him save his family. Unfortunately for Jack, Atlas isn’t who he says he is.
Atlas is actually Frank Fontaine, a criminal mastermind and arch-nemesis of Andrew Ryan, the man who helped create Rapture. In fact, Jack only arrives in Rapture because he is Frank Fontaine’s last ditch effort to take out Andrew Ryan. One of the biggest plot twists in all of gaming, in this writer’s opinion of course, is when Jack realises that he was Fontaine’s pawn all along.
Samus Aran is the protagonist from the Metroid series. First introduced in 1986, she wears an exoskeleton equipped with a variety of powerful weapons. Due to the shape of the suit (and of course how games looked back in the 80s), the audience was taken aback to find out at the end of the game that Samus was a woman.
Of course, this made Samus one of the very first female protagonists in any video game and now she’s been featured in tonnes more titles in the last 30+ years. You can even play as her both suited and un-suited (still clothed, you pervs, just out of her exoskeleton) in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Read more: 10 Best Locations in the Metroid Franchise
4Silent Hill 2
This plot twist might not have been so “unexpected” as some others on this list, but I’m sure it came to a surprise to many players. In Silent Hill 2, players take on the role of James Sunderland who has received a letter from his dead wife Mary asking him to come to the town of Silent Hill to see her.
As you progress through the game you’ll meet strange characters, defeat horrific monsters and deal with many of things haunting James’ past. And, of course, the big plot twist at the end is that James was the one who killed his wife because she was miserably sick, but James still feels painfully guilty about it. It’s a depressing realisation for players and one of the saddest plot twists on this list to be sure.
5Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a gorgeous game with a small cast of intriguing characters with mysterious backgrounds. Near the beginning of the game, protagonist Cal Kestis meets Cere, an ex-Jedi who has cut herself off from the force. She tells him that a powerful member of the dark side forced her to tell the location of her young padawan-in-training who was in hiding. Her padawan was found due to her lack of strength, and she has felt guilty and ashamed about it ever since.
Later in the game it is revealed that the Second Sister, a member of the evil Empire who is hunting Cal, is actually Cere’s padawan Trilla in disguise. A predictable but fun plot twist nonetheless, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t mind surprising its players.
6God of War
I’m actually not quite sure if this counts as a plot twist or just a little surprise lore to be found in the newest God of War title, but I can say for certain that I was not expecting this one in the slightest. Based in Norse Mythology, God of War had many references to the time of gods such as Thor or Odin.
So when it was revealed at the very end of the game that Kratos’s son Atreus is actually a giant whose mother wanted to name him Loki, players all over the world said “whaaaaaat?”. Talk about a cool plot twist!
7The Last of Us
I’d say possibly the saddest plot twist on this list comes from 2013’s The Last of Us. You play as Joel, a survivor of a zombie outbreak that caused the world to all but collapse, and Ellie, a young girl who seems to be unaffected by the virus. Together you traverse across the U.S to bring Ellie to a facility for “testing” so that a possible cure can be developed.
Unfortunately, it transpires that the tests Ellie must undergo will actually kill her. Joel goes on a rampage killing everyone in the hospital because there’s no way, after such a difficult journey, he’s letting Ellie die – even if it means a possible cure for humanity. A heartbreaking tale with enough emotion to make you cry for a month straight, The Last of Us’s plot twist is likely to punch every player in the gut.
Portal is one of the most popular games of all time due to its complicated, but wonderfully original puzzles and sassy robot GLaDOS. GLaDOS’s voice more or less follows you around for the majority of the game, guiding you through puzzles as well as taunting you and promising you cake as a prize for completing the puzzles (you’re pretty sure the cake isn’t real).
It is eventually revealed that GLaDOS, after testing dozens of subjects, burns them alive. Players are then forced to fight with GLaDOS. GLaDOS’s betrayal is one of the best-known plot twists in gaming history and it deserves a obnoxiously loud round of applause.
Back when I was a kid and I played Resident Evil title for the first time on GameCube, this was possibly the biggest plot twist in history. You play as Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield, members of S.T.A.R.S – a special police tactics squad for the town of Raccoon City. After a zombie outbreak, the team is dispatched to the mountain forest to investigate some disappearances.
The team is led by Captain Albert Wesker, a mysterious, sunglasses-indoors-wearing kind of fellow who splits the team up and goes about his own business. You’re led to believe that one member of the team, Barry Burton, is the bad guy trying to kill off the S.T.A.R.S members – but it turns out to be Captain Albert Wesker himself. No one suspected him right? He wear sunglasses indoors but that’s totally normal. Either way, good guy turned bad guy is always a great plot twist, even if we did see it coming.
The final plot twist on our list is from 2015’s Fallout 4. You play as a character who is forced to take shelter in a “vault” after a nuclear fallout. While you are cryogenically frozen in the vault, unknown people come in and steal your baby boy, Shaun. Once you wake your one and only goal is to find your son.
Once you do find your son, it turns out that he is the leader of what is called “The Institute”; an organisation that, as far as the people are concerned, is sinister and evil. Unless the player decides to side with their son, Shaun actually becomes the player’s main antagonist. Talk about another huge plot betrayal and plot twist!