Note: This article disccuses widely-known plot twists in video games and sometimes mentions others from different mediums. Before I discuss each plot twist, I will write a lead-in sentence with the game's title on the previous slide to prevent irrevocably depriving you of an unforgettable and jaw-dropping experience.
Some games are widely known for their well-executed plot twists and for flooring a lot of gamers during the early days of its release. Gamers talked about it with their friends on social media accounts and writers added them into their "top 10" lists throughout the years.
Over time, these revelations stop becoming "twists" in a sense that it becomes common knowledge that everyone in the gaming world is expected to know. It's similar to how a lot of people know that Bruce Willis is dead in Sixth Sense or Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father in Star Wars before even watching the film.
There are times when the twist in the story isn't essential to appreciating a game because it was easy to spot or audiences felt like it was contrived. However, there are games that excellently makes use of the "plot twist" element when it impacts how the player percieves the entire experience.
It's not the same when you already know what happens. You'll start looking for clues in the very beginning, and it becomes difficult to appreciate how the developers cleverly masked seemingly trivial details that were important. It's like someone telling you how a magic trick works before they actually perform it. Not much of a 'wow' factor now, right?
This isn't a list about the greatest plot twists in video games. I know there's already a ton of that around the web. Instead, I'll be showing you some of the "widely known" plot twists that have become so popular in gaming culture that it detracts from what made them so buzzworthy in the first place.
Let me begin my list with Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain...
1.) The reason why the Origami killer is so hard to catch is because...
One of the four playable characters in the game is the serial killer everyone was trying to look for and you've unwittingly helped him cover his tracks. It's a brilliant plot twist that undoubtedly dropped many jaws and shook most players to the core.
The sad thing is my cousin told me who the killer was before I even played it. I still applaud the twist and admire how the game tricked you into undermining yourself through Shelby. However, I still wish that I felt that earth shattering feeling when other players found out.
Admittedly, knowing did change how I played the game. I purposely failed most of Shelby's prompts to increase the chances of getting a happy ending with the other characters. I remember others expressing their disbelief that they actually helped the killer cover his tracks without them knowing. I wish I experienced that.
I was also not able to experience the journey of liking and rooting for the character until the moment of truth comes. Sure, just by watching the video posted above makes Shelby a sympathetic character but I bet that's nothing compared to what you'll feel if you've played him from the start.
The bombshell revalation in this game is one of the many reasons why gamers recommend Heavy Rain to their friends. How do you tell them about it without ruining the experience? In my case, my cousin told it to me without thinking about the repercussions of spoiling me.
Hopefully, you guys don't have friends who endorse the game as "the game where you play the serial killer" to other players.
Now we take a look at Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic...
2.) Who is Revan?
BioWare's revelation in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is dubbed by many as one of the greatest plot twists in video games of all time. An experience that I will never get the chance to fully appreciate until mankind invents a device to wipe our memories akin to the one in Men in Black.
Whenever gamers talk about the game, they freely call the protagonist Revan. You wouldn't think nothing much of it when you hear it during random conversations. However, one day you realize that it's time to give KOTOR a go after hearing so much about it. Early on in the game, you'll hear people talking about "Revan" and you instantly figure out what the big reveal was supposed to be.
Revan? That's you. Perhaps it's also possible for you to piece it together quickly just by knowing that it's been on "best plot twists in video games" lists almost all the time.
Next, we'll talk about Final Fantasy VII...
3.) Whoops, she died...
If you've searched Final Fantasy VII online, then chances are you've already been spoiled about this tragedy. You'll instantly be given search results littered with forum posts discussing theories about Aerith's death, as well as photos and videos of the exact moment.
I've read that a lot of people cried and were heartbroken about the death of Cloud's love interest. I was more sad about the fact that I already knew that it was going to happen. Sometimes you don't get to play all of the Final Fantasy games, but chances are you've heard gamers talk about this at one point in your life because of how insanely popular this game is.
Now, would you kindly click on the next page for Bioshock?
4.) Would you kindly not spoil BioShock for me?
A powerful phrase from one of gaming's great is enough to clue you in on one of the best plot twists in video games. The phrase "Would you kindly?" from Bioshock has a special meaning inside most gamers' hearts. Businesses have even capitalized on it by putting it on apparel and accessories,
There are a handful of revelations made in this game, but the one that sticks out the most would have to be the impact of the aforementioned phrase. It was a twist that played on the linearity of the game by revealing that the player is compelled to obey a request followed by "Would you kindly?"
We often think nothing of linearity in video games because of the medium's understandable limitations. It's impossible to program all the possible scenarios even in the most complex narrative branching games. Most of the time, we follow what the game tells us to do without question. Irrational Games took the opportunity to blow our minds when we realized that we were actually being manipulated the whole time.
Like all the other games on this list, some people (count me in) probably won't get the chance to get their minds blown because of how often we see the phrase capitalized in businesses and used in the gaming industry.
Next on, I promise there will be cake when we look at Portal...
5.) The cake is a lie
Here's another instance where an integral phrase in a video game became so popular in gaming culture. Some people have even heard of "the cake is a lie" before they knew about Portal's existence. While I don't think that the twist is earth shattering per se, knowing its meaning beforehand ruins what made it so special to being with.
The protagonist is promised cake as a reward for completing all of the puzzles in the test chambers. However, players quickly realize that the promise of cake was indeed a lie when Chell is forcefully maneuvered to a pit of fire. Throughout the game, players see graffitis of "the cake is a lie" to express the dishonest nature of the test.
Consequently, it's not primarily the absence of cake that makes this phrase memorable. It signifies the revelation of something deeper than what most players thought this game to be and that's something players should experience themselves.
When someone asks you why the cake is a lie? Don't tell them why, just tell them to play the game.