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5 times in video games when the antagonist was your friend 

The Master Chief and Cortana were an iconic pairing from video games until Cortana went evil (Image via Bungie)
The Master Chief and Cortana were an iconic pairing from video games until Cortana went evil (Image via Bungie)
Sidhartha Deka

One of the recurring tropes in video games is when the player befriends a character or has a character who starts as a friend at the beginning of the game, only to go ahead and stab them in the back later in the story.

These might either result in spectacular betrayals or shocking character developments that leave players stunned. These revelations hit even harder when it happens towards the end of a game or sometimes when the ex-friend's motives make sense.

While video games might let players duke out their differences with their once-upon-a-time comrade, there are instances when this difference of opinion might not even get resolved.

Regardless of how things transpire, there are several instances in video games when a friend turns out to be an antagonist, sometimes even the primary antagonist for the game. Here are five such examples when the antagonists in a video game were the player's friends.

Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.


Five video game antagonists who started off as friends

1) Wheatley

Wheatly (Image via Valve)
Wheatly (Image via Valve)

Wheatley is a personality core in Portal 2, present since the very start of the video game, as Chell is awoken from cryosleep. Voiced by Stephen Merchant, this bumbling AI is the closest thing to Chell, and thus by proxy, the player has a friend.

He guides her across the test chambers and helps her in the attempt to leave the Aperture Science Facility. Once GLaDOS is activated again, the pair is put to task, as they need to work together to stop her from killing them.

In the end, they are successful, and Chell can remove the murderous AI from the command console and installs Wheatly in her place, which at the time seems more than a suitable option.

Though the situation quickly turns around as Wheatly gets a taste of the authority he now possesses. Over the course of a minute, he goes mad with power and decides not to let Chell escape and returns her to the test chambers.

As Wheatly solidifies his role as the primary antagonist, Chell and GLaDOS must form an unlikely alliance to try and stop him. They are finally successful, as Chell manages to portal Wheatly to the moon at the end of the game.


2) Cortana

Cortana (Image via 343 Industries)
Cortana (Image via 343 Industries)

The Master Chief, the protagonist of the mainline Halo video games, has been paired with an AI since the beginning of the series. Cortana was his onboard partner, who shared a deep connection with John 117, and they each had a significant amount of mutual respect and admiration for each other.

While John has said goodbye to Cortana in most of the endings of Halo games, the culmination of Halo 4 saw Cortana sacrifice herself to save him. However, Cortana seemingly returns during the events of Halo 5: Guardians, having been saved through forerunner technology.

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Although it is revealed that her gaining near god-like powers using this technology has also given her illusions of grandeur, Cortana seeks to stop the war and achieve Galactic peace through forcible disarmament of the different factions. Those worlds which do not comply will be destroyed, however.

Later on, during the events of Halo: Infinite, Cortana learns of how her actions were a mistake and sacrifices herself one final time to give the Master Chief a chance to defeat the new forces of the Banished. This is the only game where John and Cortana never meet face to face in person, although her actions directly influence the story.


3) Solas

Solas (Image via BioWare)
Solas (Image via BioWare)

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, players play as the Inquisitor, who has been somehow affected by the Breach that has opened above the lands of Thedas. Throughout the video game, the Inquisitor is tasked with closing smaller rifts caused by this Breach to keep the lands safe from invading forces.

Once the Breach is closed, the main antagonist, Corypheus, shows up, carrying an all-powerful orb, whose forces the players must fight against. This is accomplished by the player, along with the help of several NPCs who can be recruited to their party.

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One such individual is the elven mage Solas, who does not particularly look imposing, dressed in casual grey robes and less recognizable features on his face than a potato. And yet, by the end of this video game, it is revealed that Solas is the elven god of betrayal known as the Fen’Harel, which translates to Dread Wolf.

It seems Solas planned to have Corypheus unlock the power of the orb, which results in the Breach that opens up at the start of the game. Corypheus was meant to die in this explosion and leave the orb rife for the taking by Solas.


4) Vincent Moretti

Vincent Moretti (Image via Hazelight Studios)
Vincent Moretti (Image via Hazelight Studios)

Hazelight Studios’ A Way Out is a co-op multiplayer game that sees two prison inmates team out and tries to break out. Following this, they hunt down a crime boss known as Harvey, the man who landed them in prison, to get revenge and find some closure.

The two protagonists are Leo Caruso, a former associate of Harvey, and Vincent Moretti, an undercover FBI agent. That’s right. Vincent is not incarcerated but undercover to find a way close to Harvey, bring him down, and avenge his brother. However, Leo does not know this and is initially slowly trusting his unlikely ally.

Yet, throughout the story, Vincent and Leo bond and learn to trust one another. But, once Harvey has been taken care of, Vincent shows his hand and apologizes to Leo as he proceeds to arrest him.

Leo, shocked and angry, fight back, and the two end up in a duel for survival. At the very end, a fight ensues to reach a gun between the two men, and the winner finally has to shoot the loser right in the chest. Possibly one of the best twists in a co-op video game ever.


5) Harry Flynn

Harry Flynn (Image via Naughty Dog)
Harry Flynn (Image via Naughty Dog)

Introduced in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Harry Flynn is a former associate of series protagonist Nathan Drake, who approaches the latter with a new business proposition. This proposition is to help him steal a legendary Mongolian Oil Lamp, along with fellow professional thief Chloe Frazer.

As the intro goes to lengths to show, Harry is Nathan’s buddy and is quite the charismatic personality. They’ve had a storied history together and even know Nathan and Chloe were planning on double-crossing Harry. His allegiances are never suspected.

That is until they perform the heist, and Harry double-crosses Nate first and leaves him to be arrested. From that point on, Flynn becomes one of the antagonists of the video game, constantly at odds with Nathan and his gang.

Chloe later reveals that Flynn is working for a Serbian War criminal looking for an ancient stone, using his help. Flynn is ultimately left for dead by his boss but can pull one last ambush on Nathan before he dies.


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Edited by Yasho Amonkar

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