Top 10 Greatest Video Game Plot Twists

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Ricky Manson
To say we were shocked by these video game twists would be a massive understatement! For this list, we'll be looking at some of the most iconic plot twists that are still talked about today. Our countdown includes Wesker and Umbrella, The Cake Was a Lie, Shepherd's Betrayal, Darth Revan, and more! Which video game plot twist surprised YOU the most? Let us know in the comments!
Script written by Ricky Manson

Top 10 Most Iconic Video Game Plot Twists

They don’t call them “game-changers” for nothing! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Iconic Video Game Plot Twists.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most iconic plot twists that are still talked about today.

#10: The Government Goes Back on Their Word

“Red Dead Redemption” (2010)

A brutal reminder that crime doesn’t pay: In the role of cowboy John Marston, you’re tasked by the government to track down and execute your old outlaw crew in exchange for immunity. When all is said and done you return to your family and everything seems peachy for what seems like your last couple of missions, setting up your new life as a rancher. But you are denied your promised happily-ever-after with your family when the law shows up at your farm. This leads to a gun battle where you are given no way out, and are forced to watch John’s bloody execution by firing squad. This leads to you taking up the role of his son Jack years on in one final mission to claim vengeance. Like father, like son…

#9: Wesker Works for Umbrella

“Resident Evil” (1996)

Sure, this blonde tool has cemented himself over the years as one of the franchise’s biggest baddies, but there was a time players considered him a friend and mentor: the original game establishes him as your commanding officer at STARS, before dropping the bombshell that he has been working for the Umbrella Corporation from the beginning. In Jill’s story, Wesker has also been blackmailing teammate Barry into working as his henchman. Not only is he the double agent you were warned about, but he has been using his agents as guinea pigs for Umbrella’s twisted experiments. He is seemingly killed just prior to the player’s final boss battle, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that the best bad guys don’t stay dead for long.

#8: Colonel Konrad Was in Your Head

“Spec Ops: The Line” (2012)

Playing through Walker’s recon mission to war-torn Dubai, you maintain radio contact with your predecessor Colonel Konrad, whose distress call acts as your call to action. This former commander is in contact with you throughout the game, frequently questioning the morality in Walker’s decisions and actions. It is clear that violence has poisoned the disgraced colonel’s mind, and that you are in danger of following him down the same dark road. But when Walker finds Konrad’s corpse at the top of the tower, having shot himself, the horror of the truth dawns on you: the guilt he had been feeding the player was coming from Walker’s head the entire time. It is then the player’s decision to live with his actions or die like Konrad.

#7: James Killed His Wife

“Silent Hill 2” (2001)

Through the gloomy streets of Silent Hill, you search for your long-presumed dead wife Mary. The hope your wife may still be alive is your driving motivation as you encounter tortured souls, lost companions and pyramid headed monsters on your journey, all the while haunted by a headstrong doppelganger of your wife dubbed Maria. But happy endings don’t suit horror well; the retrieving of a videotape is the turning point in the story, and not only do you discover Mary really is dead, but that you were the one who killed her. Whether it was an act of mercy for his dying spouse or a desperate attempt in getting your life back is left ambiguous, but the tormenting truth is certainty enough.

#6: YOU Were the Villain

“Braid” (2008)

What begins as an archetypal rescue-the-girl platformer subverts into something much more complex and meaningful. As guilt-stricken Tim, you embark on a journey to rescue the princess from harm, using a limited ability to stop, bend and even reverse the flow of time to aid you in your quest. It is only once you help her escape an “evil knight” that you are forced to enable the rewind mechanic, and realise that your beloved is actually running away from you, the true villain, into the arms of her hero in shining armour. A devastating blow alone, the game’s meaning is deepened further in the epilogue, which hints towards Tim’s identity as a scientist on the Manhattan Project, and a father of the atomic bomb.

#5: The Cake Was a Lie

“Portal” (2007)

This creative puzzle game puts you in the sleek and clean Aperture science facility and gives you a portal gun to traverse the various obstacle courses that chief AI GLaDOS sets up to test you. All in the promise of a delicious spongy reward at the end. There is an eerie sense that something is off throughout the game, and your suspicions are confirmed when, following the final test, you are not sent to a party but to incineration. Following this narrow escape, she resorts to any means necessary to stop you running through the decrepit alcoves of the facility to your freedom. In fairness, have smart-bots ever been good news?

#4: You’re Not Solid Snake in This One

“Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty” (2001)

Snake is presumably killed off after the first level, and going forward you trade in the fan favorite hero for former child soldier and new Foxhound recruit Raiden. Stepping into big shoes, the younger and less seasoned Raiden is tasked with taking down the eponymous terrorist group, the Sons Of Liberty, led by another Big Boss clone dubbed Solidus Snake. Of course the real Snake is revealed to be alive later in the game, posing under the guise of Pliskin, a nod to his Kurt Russell inspirations. But for gamers playing through for the first time it seemed their fallen hero had really been killed off for good in a risky creative decision. Despite the game’s quality, this jarring change still irked a lot of fans.

#3: Shepherd’s Betrayal

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” (2009)

As Task Force 141 Sergeant Roach, you face many foreign dangers across the world, failing to see the domestic one right under your nose. Towards the campaign’s conclusion, as you hand a DSM to your faithful superior, Shepherd remarks on one less loose end before gunning down you and Ghost. Incapacitated, all you can do is put down the controls, watch your leader and squad set your corpses ablaze, and ponder on the backstabbing brutality of it all. The sequence is hauntingly accompanied by the radio cries from Price warning you not to trust Shepherd. Going forward, the player takes control of Captain Soap on a mission of retribution against the treacherous general. And thus the trust of a million gun-toting gamers was shaken.

#2: You Were Darth Revan All Along

“Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” (2003)

In a twist that would even make Darth Vader green with envy, you begin this Star Wars RPG as a mere republic rookie and end it as one of the most feared Sith Lords of all time. Throughout your journey against Darth Malak’s vicious sith armada, you hear legends of his master Darth Revan. Only to discover that you had once been the tyrannical conqueror, before amnesia forced you to the Jedi who reprogrammed your mind. Fallen heroes as villains is not exactly new to the Star Wars universe, nor are dubious Jedi councils, but even so fans didn’t expect this from what was thought to be a simple tie-in game. Where Revan goes from that point is a choice left to you. Choose wisely.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Scott Shelby: The Origami Killer
“Heavy Rain” (2010)

Kessler Is Future Cole
“Infamous” (2009)

Haythman Was a Templar
“Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)

Wander Was the Monster
“Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)

Sam Lied
“Uncharted 4: A Thief's End” (2016)

#1: “Would You Kindly?”

“BioShock” (2007)

This steampunk adventure takes you through the seabed city of Rapture as you try to free it of Andrew Ryan’s hold with the help of mystery man Atlas. Deep into the story comes the infamous kicker as you reach Ryan’s office; not only do you discover that he is your illegitimate father, but that Atlas has been hypnotising you into completing the game’s tasks up to this point through mind control, brought on by the trigger phrase that has prefaced each objective. In a shocking demonstration of the programming, Ryan has you beat him to death with a golf club, leaving you to turn your sights onto your former puppet master.