Video game betrayals can be one of the most shocking twists the writers can introduce into a narrative. With the potential to leave a long-lasting impression, such betrayals tend to become iconic moments.
The best betrayals come when the video game fully pulls the rug out from under the player and corners them in a “gotcha!” moment.
In video game history, such moments are abundant, with over decades of stories to choose from. Here then are five such betrayals in video games that completely took the player base by surprise.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.
5 video game betrayals that players did not see coming
1) Resident Evil
The first Resident Evil game sees a team of special police officers known as S.T.A.R.S. infiltrate the Spencer Mansion while looking for the suspect of a series of murders in the nearby area. They are led by sunglasses-wearing Albert Wesker, who is a calm, collected presence.
Players may play as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield, who are the main characters, with Barry the weapons specialist aiding Jill at certain points. However, after a certain point in the story, players discover a secret lab under the mansion, with horrific experiments being performed on subjects. And who should be standing there, like he belongs in the place?
Why, Albert Wesker, of course. In a shocking twist, it is revealed that Wesker has been working for the Umbrella Corporation, who are behind the illegal experiments and responsible for the deaths in the area.
While Wesker was sent to clean up the mess, the bio-weapons were supposed to finish the rest of the team. This is exactly why no one should trust people who wear sunglasses at night.
2) Portal 2
Portal was such a fun video game with its puzzles, straightforward villains, and immensely satisfying gameplay, that it got a sequel. So, Valve decided they should step up their game. At the start of Portal 2, players were introduced to Wheatley, a fun little personality core who helped Chell along in a variety of dangers throughout much of the game.
So when players find out that GLADOS is still alive and kicking, it seems like a rehash of the previous game, but with better graphics. However, GLaDOS is disposed of easily, disengaged from the building’s primary control, and Wheatley is replaced in her position.
Almost immediately, however, Wheatley is overcome with power and decides that he is the sole entity who can decide what's right and wrong. Tossing Chell right back into more tests, he now assumes the role of the chief antagonist, and the players are forced to have an uneasy alliance with GLaDOS to beat him.
3) Red Dead Redemption
Edgar Ross is one of the most hated characters from the Red Dead Redemption series, possibly even beating Micah Bell for the top stop. First, he kidnaps the wife and child of protagonist John Marston, and asks him to hunt down members of John’s old gang. Upon completing this directive, he promises to return his family back to him and let him live as a free man.
While John finally fulfills his promise, Ross feigns to uphold his end of the bargain. He reunites John with his family, but soon comes back to his ranch, leading nearly two dozen men to capture John himself. John, being the honorable man that he is, never suspects this double cross, and is caught unawares.
He gets his family to safety, but with no other option, he has to meet his end. Ross awaits him at the front of his ranch, where, once John steps out, he orders his men to shoot him dead. Even Micah Bell fought Arthur Morgan one-on-one, which makes Edgar Ross a special type of coward.
4) A Way Out
A Way Out is a cooperative multiplayer video game. It is supposed to be played on a split-screen with a buddy sharing the same physical space, like the multiplayer games of the early 2000s. The story is that of two inmates in a prison, Leo and Vincent, who have been wrongly accused and seek to find a way out and take revenge on the person who wronged them.
After escaping from the prison, they need to cooperate to locate crime boss Harvey. This they eventually accomplish, and all is good for a while. The narrative has built Leo and Vincent into likable characters, with even the characters themselves learning to accept each other.
All this comes to a halt, however, as during the last moments of the video game, Vincent turns out to be an undercover cop who had only been doing all the above to bring his brother’s killer to justice. Thus, a fight ensues between Leo and Vincent, and players are now forced to play a PvP match. It is as much of a betrayal by the game as by the characters in the story.
5) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
When Call of Duty players hear the word General Shepherd, they may become irrationally angry. The aforementioned US General left a powerful impression on many players of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This impression may feel like a bullet lodged in their sternum, as that is how they mostly remember this character.
As players fight through one of the endgame missions in Modern Warfare 2, they are playing as Roach, along with Ghost as their backup. Having acquired a DSM that contains information that could prevent a third World War, Roach and Soap, the former of whom is injured, are about to be picked up by a rescue chopper.
The general greets the two men and retrieves the DSM from them, proceeding to shoot Roach in the chest and Ghost in the head. Turns out, this guy just wants the war to go on, to build himself up as a war hero, and to take revenge on the other side. As far as characters go, Shepherd is one of the most vilified ones in the video game series.
Q. Do you enjoy plot twists in video games?
I love a little narrative shake-up
I like by simple straightforward stories
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