Final Fantasy VII – Aerith is killed by Sephiroth

Everyone’s favorite flower girl, Aerith Gainsborough, is a key character in Final Fantasy VII – so key, in fact, that her unexpected death at the hands of the evil Sephiroth shocked and scarred fans for life. The game had previously shown no hints that Aerith’s days were numbered, and players had no reason to suspect they would lose a beloved party member so early in the game. A true twist that still hurts, but ultimately led to Final Fantasy VII becoming one of the most beloved in the entire franchise.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – You are Darth Revan

The Star Wars film franchise is responsible for some iconic twists, so it makes sense that the video game series would deliver the same. In the first installment of the Knights of the Old Republic series, the player learns of a powerful Sith lord known as Darth Revan. Revan’s legacy shapes the entire game, but in a truly unprecedented twist it is revealed that you, the player, are actually an amnesiac Revan, reprogrammed by the Jedi to carry out missions for them.

Shadow of the Colossus – The Colossi are the good guys

In Shadow of the Colossus, the player takes on the role of Wander, a young man tasked with destroying 16 giant beasts in order to revive his dead lover. It transpires however that these peaceful beasts are actually harboring parts of the soul of an evil entity known as Dormin, who has manipulated Wander into releasing his true power. It’s only after you destroy the final colossi that you realize the true magnitude of your mistake.

Dead Space – Nicole is not real

Throughout sci-fi survival horror Dead Space, protagonist Isaac Clarke is helped to navigate the abandoned USG Ishimura by his lover Nicole Brennan. In reality, Nicole has been dead the entire time, and her appearance is nothing more than a Marker-induced hallucination. The twist holds emotional weight as well as highlighting the extreme power of the manipulative and sinister extraterrestrial object.

Silent Hill 2 – James killed Mary

In another tragic dead wife twist, Silent Hill 2’s big reveal remains one of gaming’s most horrifying. At the start of the game, protagonist James Sunderland is searching for his wife Mary, who he thought died of a disease some years ago. Various terrifying monsters, mysterious characters and twisted levels serve to hint that something might not be what it seems, before an emotionally devastating reveal where James and the player come to terms with the fact that James actually killed Mary.

Pokémon Blue/Red – Your rival is the champ

The Pokémon game series isn’t exactly famed for its variety between entries, with each subsequent game after the original Red and Blue pretty much following the same story beat for beat. However, the OG games set the bar high, with the reveal that the annoying boy who’s been one step ahead of you for the entire game has defeated the Elite Four and is now the Pokémon Champion. It doesn’t sting too badly, though, as you swiftly defeat him and take on your rightful role as Champ.

BioShock – Would you kindly?

BioShock is a game famed for its moral choices, frequently putting protagonist Jack into situations where he must make difficult decisions surrounding life or death. However, at the game’s climax, we learn that Jack actually had very little choice in his actions, as he finds out that not only is the arrogant and cruel antagonist Andrew Ryan his father, Ryan has been using the phrase ‘would you kindly?’ as a hypnotic trigger to make Jack carry out his evil deeds.

Doki Doki Literature Club! – The game’s true nature

Inspired by Japanese dating simulator games, the adorable and colorful Doki Doki Literature Club! lures in unsuspecting players with its lighthearted story of teen romance. In reality, DDLC is a gory psychological horror game that frequently breaks the fourth wall with creepypasta-inspired visuals and even deleting its own save files. Talk about a terrifying twist.

The Last Of Us 2 – Abby kills Joel

Deaths in survival action horror games are expected. What isn’t expected, however, is a long-awaited sequel killing off a beloved protagonist at the very beginning of the game. What’s even MORE unexpected is said sequel then making you play as that protagonist’s murderer for a significant portion of the rest of the game. While many fans of The Last of Us were infuriated by Abby Anderson’s killing of Joel, it’s a brave move from a game that excels in exploring the gray areas of human morality.

Mass Effect – Sovereign’s true identity

Sci-fi ARPG Mass Effect follows human solider Commander Shepard in his or her attempts to take down a rogue alien operative named Saren Arterius. As the game progresses, Shepard discovers that Saren is in fact indoctrinated by his very own spaceship, Sovereign – which is actually a fully sentient, malevolent ancient being.

Metroid – Samus is female

While making the 1986 game Metroid, in which you play as a suited bounty hunter named Samus, one developer reportedly told a colleague: “Wouldn’t that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?” This led to one of the greatest video game twists in history, as well as one of the first ever playable female protagonists in mainstream gaming.

Halo: Combat Evolved – Halo is meant to destroy the Flood

A surprise second enemy arises in Halo: Combat Evolved. Its name is the Flood, and it is a parasitic alien far more insidious than the original enemy, the Covenant. We then discover that the Halo weapon was intended all along to destroy the Flood, along with all living things in the galaxy – in an attempt to eradicate potential hosts.

Braid – Tim is a monster

In a game sure to leave players feeling disoriented, Braid takes you on an adventure with Tim, solving puzzles to help him rescue a princess from a “horrible and evil monster”. However, in the final level, you discover that Tim was the villain from whom the princess was fleeing.

Bionic Commando – Spencer’s arm is part of his deceased wife

In the 2009 version of Bionic Commando, the hero Major Nathan ‘Rad’ Spencer restores his lost bionic arm and embarks on a journey to protect Ascension City. But later in the game, he learns that his bionic arm is, in reality, part of his dead wife’s body, transformed into a piece of technology that synchronises perfectly with him.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – Big Boss’s return

One of the most popular post-credits reveals in video game history takes place in Metal Gear Solid 4. The credits show the name and actor for a long-dead character named Big Boss, an iconic figure from earlier in the series. The post-credit scene then reveals that Big Boss has seemingly come back to life.

Portal – The cake is no lie

This game sees our hero Chell completing a series of tests for a sinister artificial intelligence called GLaDOS, who promises a reward of cake if she finishes the tasks. Later in the game, we see graffiti that reads: “the cake is a lie”. However, in the very final scene, players are rewarded with the sight of a grand Black Forest gateau, prepared by GLaDOS.

Red Dead Redemption – John Marston’s grisly fate

In Red Dead Redemption, the government orders John Marston to find and kill his old cowboy outlaw crew. But upon his return to the family homestead towards the end of the game, John finds that the government had no intention of letting him go free. John is brutally executed by firing squad, leaving his son to fight for vengeance.

Chrono Trigger – Crono’s demise

The wordless hero Crono in the game Chrono Trigger manages to be upbeat and light-hearted while wielding a katana through various dangers. He escapes jail and a death sentence with the help of his friends – but is later killed in combat with Lavos. The killing of this lead character shocked players, though there is an opportunity to revive him later in the game.

Halo 2 – You play the Arbiter

In a particularly unusual twist, Halo 2 puts players into the shoes of both the Master Chief and the Arbiter – who fight on opposing teams in various intergalactic battles. The Master Chief is a human super soldier, whereas his enemy, the Arbiter, is a Covenant Elite alien commander.

Untitled Goose Game – The goose is building a collection

In the single- or two-player Unentitled Goose Game, you play as a goose that wreaks havoc on a peaceful village. You can choose to complete crime-laden tasks to progress to new levels, and ultimately steal the giant bell from the model village. After running back through the village with its ill-gotten goods, the goose dumps it in a pit that is completely full of identical bells.

Resident Evil – Wesker is a double agent

In the very first Resident Evil game, one team member named Albert Wesker is introduced as a commanding officer, a friend and a helper. However, we later discover that he is a double agent working for the evil Umbrella Corporation, which makes weapons of biological warfare.

Far Cry 5 – The apocalypse really is nigh

Far Cry 5 sees you take on the role of a sheriff’s deputy in fighting an apocalypse-driven cult in Hope County, led by the violent doomsday preacher Joseph Seed. But in one possible ending, Joseph does witness the apocalypse as predicted: a nuclear bomb detonates and the world descends into radioactive chaos.

Disco Elysium – The enemy is supernatural

In Disco Elysium, as Detective Harry Du Bois, you investigate an apparent lynching and unravel a plot that revolves around a union strike. However, as soon as you have tracked down and caught a murderer, you discover a far wilder tale of real-life monsters being pursued by cryptozoologists.

Heavy Rain – Scott is the killer

Heavy Rain is considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time – and it comes with a twist to match. The plot sees you play as investigator Scott Shelby, helping him to find evidence in pursuit of the elusive Origami Killer. But the game soon reveals that Shelby himself is the killer, and you have merely been helping him to cover his tracks.

Spec Ops: The Line – Colonel Konrad was just a hallucination

Set in a post-catastrophe Dubai, Spec Ops: The Line sees Captain Martin Walker trying to track down his old comrade, the war hero John Konrad. After a disastrous attack kills civilians, Walker instead begins to see Konrad as a villain – before discovering that Konrad was long-dead, and that his communications with him were merely hallucinations.

Elden Ring – Radagon and Marika share a body

The legend of the Elden Ring tells of Queen Marika and her consort Radagon, who battled over the greatest power in their world. It is later revealed that Radagon is residing in the same body as his Queen, and the player (in the shoes of an exile) must fight against him inside the Erdtree.

Assassin’s Creed 3 – Haytham is a Templar, not an Assassin

The Assassin’s Creed franchise sets the stage for many mighty battles between the Assassins – who are agents of freedom – and the Templars, who seek to control the masses. In Assassin’s Creed III, set in Colonial America, we’re led to believe that Haytham Kenway is a ruthless Assassin. But instead, he turns out to be a Templar, seeking to destroy the Brotherhood of Assassins.

Infamous – Kessler and Cole are one and the same

In Infamous, Cole MacGrath is an ordinary bike courier who uses his newfound superpowers to battle a secret society led by a man named Kessler. In the game’s final fight, Kessler and Cole come face-to-face in the same place that the game started, and it is revealed through telekinesis that Kessler is a future version Cole from an alternate timeline.

God of War Ragnarok – Odin disguises himself as Tyr

Set in ancient Scandinavia, God of War Ragnarok sees our hero Kratos and his son Atreus seek out the pacifist god Tyr, who then becomes their travelling companion. But when Tyr unexpectedly stabs one of their allies, it is revealed that he was in fact the villainous god Odin in disguise.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II – General Shepherd’s betrayal

In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Gaz, Ghost and Soap fight alongside United States Army General Shepherd in Iran. We later discover that Shepherd was responsible for a botched, illegal mission, which required a major cover-up. This transforms his character from a supporting figure to the game’s main antagonist.

Metal Gear Solid – Psycho Mantis knows your interests

1998’s Metal Gear Solid contains one of the most audacious fourth-wall breaks of all time. During the final boss fight with Psycho Mantis, a psychic warrior, this enemy begins to speak to you directly – and shows off his ability to make your controller move via a rumble motion. Even creepier, he can then read your memory card and ask about the other games you’ve been playing recently.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – The statue contains a biological weapon

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune follows the adventures of Nathan Drake, a descendent of the explorer Sir Francis Drake. Nathan is seeking a majestic golden statue, which later turns out to be a sarcophagus – and in a further twist, he realises that the sarcophagus contains a dangerous virus that the soldier Navarro wants to sell as a biological weapon.

Undertale – Chara appears

In the unusual indie game Undertale, you play as a child who must traverse the demonic underworlds in order to return to Earth. One friend, another child named Chara, reappears in one ending as a vengeful force that destroys the universe. You are given the choice to sacrifice your soul to Chara and restore the universe, if you want to enable a replay.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – Scarecrow’s glitching nightmares

In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman finds himself trapped in the asylum during a coup by the Joker and Harley Quinn. The Batman receives a dose of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, which induces terrifying nightmares. In one such vision, the game itself appears to glitch out, with eerie noises and a frozen screen.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead – Clem’s choice

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One shows convict Lee Everett become a father figure to a little girl called Clementine, as the pair navigate a zombie-infested world. In a tear-jerking final twist, Clem is left with the choice of shooting Lee to stop him from becoming a zombie, or leaving him in chains to transform. Lee encourages her, saying: “You’re strong, Clem. You can do anything.”

Half-Life – All witnesses must die

In 1998’s Half-Life, physicist Gordon Freeman is at work in an underground laboratory when he accidentally creates a portal to another dimension and enables an alien invasion. When soldiers arrive to hunt down the aliens, it’s revealed in a twist that they are no rescue team: they are here to kill all surviving witnesses too.

Tomb Raider – The T-Rex

The original Tomb Raider game sees Lara Croft fend off an increasingly bizarre range of enemies. At first, she comes across bats, rats and crocodiles among the ruins, but she later progresses to fights against supernatural entities. But in a further twist, one of her most ferocious combatants turns out to be a fully-grown Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Final Fantasy VI – You’re in an opera

Video games are not often linked to ancient theatrical arts, but Final Fantasy VI contains scenes set in a majestic opera house. Surprisingly, in one scene, our heroes find themselves performing within the opera itself, complete with music and dance. This performance later spawned a rock version, released by real-life band The Black Mages.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Step into the Moon

In Majora’s Mask, the Moon is something of an eldritch horror – creepy, ever-looming and threatening to destroy the world imminently. But at the end of the game, you are invited to step into the moon itself, where you instead find a lush paradise of trees and blue skies.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time, you play as an amnesiac human who has been transformed into a Pokemon, on the hunt for a thief named Grovyle. But once you find Grovyle, you discover that he is actually a hero, seeking to save the world from paralysis. What’s more, you find out that Grovyle was once a close friend in your forgotten past life.