Coolest Plot Twists In Video Game History

Some video game plots have surprises so superb and unexpected, they would make even a sedated M. Night Shyamalan jump up and say, "What a twist!" These are some of the coolest swerves we've ever played.


Final Fantasy VII

The Final Fantasy universe is certainly no stranger to plot twists, and Final Fantasy VII packs a massively cool one. We're not talking about Aeris's death either — you know ... the one that made everybody cry? Including you? And us? No. We're not talking about that one. And we don't want to talk about that one. So just DROP IT, OKAY?!

We're talking about the ending of the ending, something enjoyed by everyone who patiently sat through the credits. (As Marvel has taught us you should always do.) Those who waited were treated to a "secret" video of sorts — taking place 500 years later (and 497 years after FF7's godawful sequels that, like Aeris's death, we'd rather not talk about), we see the apparently-immortal Red XIII gallops with two little cubs to a lookout point. At said point, we can see a lush, green Midgar, overrun by vines, uninhabited by humans and their fossil-fuel-devouring ways.

Now this is a cool plot twist — Aeris's spirit returns, saves the planet, and by doing so, apparently wiped humanity out of existence within a matter of years. But isn't that the ultimate happy ending? After all, what better way to ensure Midgar doesn't unleash another Sephiroth, than by making sure there's no Midgar at all? Or people.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

The long-running Call of Duty series is no stranger to plot twists — you can expect at least one per campaign. However, not all plot twists are created equal, and many Call of Duty surprises lack — well — the "surprise" factor. Fan favorite Modern Warfare, however, has one twist that must be considered among the best, from any series or genre.

So here we are, playing Modern Warfare. As expected, we're running. And we're gunning. We hop in a helicopter to get the hell out of enemy territory. Then we get the radio call: "Seal Team Six has located a possible nuclear device at Al-Asad's palace to the west. NEST teams are on the way. Until the device is verified safe, all forces are to fall back to the east, over."

"All right, all right — stay calm," we think, as we try to assist one of our choppers, which just got shot down. We don't need no Black Hawk Down situation over here (ain't nobody got time for that), despite the radio confirmation that we will NOT be a safe distance away from the nuke. But what are the chances of that, right? We hop out of our chopper, with only minutes to save the downed pilot. We grab her, get her stowed safely in our helicopter, lay down covering fire while we take off ... but then the call comes in again: "a confirmed nu..." BOOM! We watched, stunned, as the nuke goes off in the distance. Will we make it? Can we get out of there in time? No chance.

To really push the shock home — after the chopper is brought down — we're left alive, lying on the ground. In a desperate attempt to crawl away, we push the left analog stick away from the carnage — but there's no crawling away from a nuke. This early, shocking plot twist really punches you in the gut, and is truly one of the defining moments — and one of the coolest — in Call of Duty's history.

Heavy Rain

Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain is one of those games that you know, from the get-go, will likely have a major reveal at the end — but, even when you're actively trying to guess who the killer is, the game's final chapters still blow you away.

Okay, so we're all pretty sure that Ethan isn't the Origami Killer — he's got guilt issues about his son's death, but there's no way he's kidnapping little boys and drowning them in rain water. And besides, this is a video game — what kind of game would have such an easy and predictable reveal? (A bad one, of course.)

So it's safe to say that almost everyone figured out, fairly early on, that Ethan was not the killer — but props to anyone who correctly predicted that Scott Shelby is the serial drowner of children. Shelby seemed like such a decent, stand-up gumshoe, we were convinced he's sincerely out to catch the killer. Boy, were we wrong. Turns out, he was just collecting all the evidence to destroy it — meaning we were collecting all the evidence to destroy it! Isn't it fun to find out we're the bad guy?

This game might be Quantic Dream's best work, and twists like this are why ... and we sympathize with anyone who had this plot twist spoiled for them, before having the opportunity to experience it on their own. For those who have played it, don't try to tell us you knew it was Shelby the whole time, because we won't believe you.

Red Dead Redemption

John Marston rules. He's undoubtedly one of the most awesomely badass characters we've ever played as — out to make up for his past wrongdoings, gunslinging in an epic Wild-West quest for *cough* redemption.

Throughout our journey, we meet some crazy characters, diffuse a Mexican civil war, hunt some legendary beasts, and deliver justice all across the untamed west. Once we've done all there is to do — and we've got a loving family on a beautiful homestead — it seems we can finally live out our days in peace. That is, until our old government friends show up. After some serious firefights, trusty Marston manages to send off his wife and son to safety — before finding himself trapped in a barn, and surrounded. A quick peek out the door shows resistance is futile — though we still refuse to believe it.

No matter how many times we've tried to replay it — and believe us, we've tried a lot— there's no stopping the onslaught of bullets laying waste to poor John Marston. This ending really sucks, to put it simply, but it's probably the most badass way for a true badass like Marston to go out — way cooler than, say, suddenly getting blindsided by a bear while hunting deer. Luckily, unsatisfied players are treated to another twist — as we're allowed to conclude the story as a grown-up Jack (John's son), and get some true redemption for poppa John. And if you wanna shoot a deer while doing so, do so. Just watch out for those bears.

The Last of Us

Naughty Dog are, almost without argument, the reigning kings of storytelling in action-adventure games. The Last of Us is truly a masterpiece, due in large part to its story and surprising ending.

Joel and Ellie go through a lot together — almost too much, as it turns out. See, Ellie is indeed humanity's last hope, as she's immune to becoming an Infected. In order to extract the portion of Ellie's brain that makes her immune, a lethal surgical procedure is required. Ellie knows nothing about this, and Joel decides he's having none of it. Instead, Joel goes on a firefly killing spree, mowing down wave after wave of soldiers (and doctors, if it suits you) as he moves through the hospital to "rescue" an unconscious Ellie.

Having already lost his daughter in the game's prologue, it seems Joel isn't willing to lose another. This plot twist is incredibly intense ... in that it illustrates how intensely selfish Joel is. He essentially dooms all of humanity to extinction, simply because he's unwilling to lose another daughter (figure) in his life.

The ending plot twist is dark, but it's also incredibly cool in how powerful and unexpected it is — making us wonder: if we were Joel, what would we do? Would we make the selfish decision, or the selfless one? Making the whole thing even more powerful is how Joel straight-up lies to Ellie's face about what happened — right before the game cuts to black and rolls credits.

Hardcore, Joel. Hardcore.

Silent Hill 2

When it comes to psychological plot twists in the horror genre, Silent Hill 2 sets the standard.

James Sunderland enters Silent Hill after having received a letter from his dead wife, Mary. As expected, the things James encounters there are disturbing, unpleasant, and, well, scary (duh). Eventually, we find a videotape — one we later wish we never watched. Pop that bad boy in you learn how you euthanized your wife, by smothering her with a pillow. It was some twisted kind of mercy kill, as Mary was sick at the time of pillowing.

As for the letter from the beginning of the game? It was just a blank piece of paper ... and all of the monsters we've encountered throughout the game have been manifestations of James's own psyche, created as a form of punishment. Even for a game known for dealing with dark themes, murdering your wife with a pillow is pretty mature.


Braid is one of those titles that proves games utilizing the common, tried-and-true indie-formula of 2D platforming can still stun players with deep plot twists.

Number None, Inc.'s hit sidescroller / puzzle game starts with a simple enough premise: you are Tim, and you need to rescue a princess from a monster. Basic, right? Well, as the game unfolds, the player is invited deeper into Tim's thoughts and motivations — and things get a little less basic. We're never quite sure what Tim's relationship with the princess is, but we know he's got some serious stuff going on upstairs. Nonetheless, when we get to the final level (which doesn't take that long), Tim and the princess work together to escape the knight — eventually meeting up at the princess's home. Sounds like a job well done. All good, right?

Wrong! The problem is, Tim's locked out. Everything in the final level — except Tim — is moving in reverse. When time progresses forward, we see that the princess was not running from the knight, but rather to the knight. Likewise, she's not running to Tim — she's running away from him. Tim is the monster! You are the monster! And you have been all along. All those traps you evaded — those were put there to stop you. The whole game was actually about you trying to get back to a princess who wants nothing to do with you.

Be cool, Tim. If you love her ... let her go.


BioShock is an atmospheric masterpiece, and has certainly earned a place alongside the greatest and most unique gaming experiences of all time. Contributing to this is how the story has one of the most brilliant twists we've ever seen in a video game.

The game starts in 1960, when the protagonist's plane crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. Being the only survivor, the player — named Jack — swims to a lighthouse, which secretly houses the entrance into Rapture. In this underwater paradise-gone-wrong, Jack is contacted by Atlas — a rather friendly chap who helps you navigate this twisted world in exchange for help saving his family, who are trapped by seemingly-evil Rapture-creator Andrew Ryan. Seemed fair enough to us ... at the time. Atlas seemed like a real stand-up guy — always asking: "Would you kindly" do this, and "would you kindly" do that. "Would you kindly" fetch this? "Would you kindly" get that? "Would you kindly" bludgeon Ryan to death with a golf club?

When we finally get to Ryan's office, he's just waiting there for us — chillin' out, playing some golf. (We weren't kidding about the golf club.) Ryan tells us that he knew all about Atlas's plan, before getting all Darth Vader on us by revealing that he is Jack's father. Atlas is actually a gangster known as Frank Fontaine, who took Jack from his mother when he was a baby, and has been keeping him in his back pocket as his secret weapon in his war against Ryan. All those polite "would you kindly"-s were actually Bucky Barnes-esque trigger mechanisms to control Jack — making him do whatever Fontaine wanted. Turns out, poor Jack was just a brainwashed slave the whole time — which means we were just slaves the whole time!

Ryan says, "A man chooses. A slave obeys." That may be true, but that doesn't make us feel any better for not seeing this twist coming.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

We're not sure how to describe the Metal Gear series' relationship to plot twists. Oftentimes it seems like the entire plot is just one giant mashup of plot twists, making us wonder whether or not the writers even knew what they wanted to do with the story.

For example, there's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where in the end we learn that the Patriots — the super-shadowy group behind most of the world's governments — have actually been dead for over a hundred years ... before having this awesome, intriguing twist retconned in MGS 4: Guns of the Patriots, where we learn it was just bad info, a red herring (AKA, Konami simply didn't know what to do with it.) Still, the games are downright awesome, and sometimes they take us to some super-cool places — like the time we unexpectedly...

... went back to Shadow Moses! Yep, while playing MGS 4, when we first learned that we're going back to our old stomping ground from the original Metal Gear Solid — Hideo Kojima got us right in the feels. We take a ride on the nostalgia train as we explore the now-decrepit base many of us knew so well from our first experience with the series — except this time, it's patrolled by strange robot creatures, both big and small.

While MGS plot twists are almost too numerous to count, and not all of them make sense, our return to snowy Shadow Moses is easily the series' coolest twist. (Arnold Schwarzenegger approves of this pun, and so should you.)

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic might just have the greatest plot twist in the history of video games.

We're good Jedi, right? Of course we are. In Knights of the Old Republic, we're treated to an epic, 50-plus hour quest to stop the Sith Darth Malak, during which we slowly regain parts of our memory. We eventually learn that Malak — nasty Sith that he is — once had a master who made his protégé look like Mother Theresa. This Sith Master's name was Darth Revan. And guess who Revan is?

Yes, you. You are Revan. Your mind was erased and replaced with one where you were down with the Republic, but no. You're actually a Sith. All together now: NOOOOO!

Seriously, who saw this coming? Imagine being a soldier in World War II, only to look in the mirror one day and realize you're Adolf Hitler. Or you're a Russian revolutionary thinker, only to one day realize that you're Joseph Stalin. Or you're Barack Obama, but then find out you're actually Kim Jong-il. This realization is a serious kick in the teeth, one that makes us feel like everything we know about the world is wrong — and we like that feeling. No wonder Kylo Ren so eagerly told the Light to go screw.