Deus ex machina, pianos in the bushes and other plot twists in the "dream of a dog" style in the final moments of the story, unfortunately, often signal only about the writer's creative impotence. Attempts in this way to weave a single canvas from disparate plot details or simply surprise the player are unlikely to honor the scriptwriters and can greatly spoil the final impression of a good game. However, there are always the opposite cases, when unpredictable plot twists make projects only better, and as an example, we present the top 10 games with an unexpected ending.
10. Prince of Persia 2008
The 2008 relaunch of the Prince of Persia series was a rather risky product. By no means all fans of the original games, flirting with a relatively open world, Elika's constant companion, rare battles and deliberately colorful visuals took it. The colorful style and the teenage age rating directly suggested that we had before us another story about the victory of good over evil with the obligatory voiceover: "And they lived happily ever after", distributed to the major notes of the orchestra. But expectations had nothing to do with reality.
The main motive of the entire journey of the Prince and the girl Elika is to imprison the ancient evil of Archiman and at the same time heal the Tree of Life, without which the world is declining. To restore the divine tree of our couple of heroes, it is required to clear the surrounding lands from traces of Darkness - nothing unusual, only Elika has to pay with her life for the complete healing of the Tree of Life. It would seem that here it is - a typical story about saving the world at the cost of one human fate, but the prince is not satisfied with such an outcome and for the sake of the revival of his beloved he personally destroys the Tree of Life. Frees ancient evil and condemns the whole world to the apocalypse. The plot twist is not new, but in contrast to the serene atmosphere of the game, it manages to leave a strong impression.
9. Red Dead Redemption
That the first part of Red Dead Redemption, that the sequel, equally prove that sooner or later you will have to pay the bills for all misdeeds and actions. Your fate becomes even more obvious if you led a criminal lifestyle, robbed, killed, eventually staining yourself up to the elbows in blood and destroying more than one fate. Atonement for crimes at an extremely high cost is the main theme of the Red Dead Redemption series, but with the unexpected ending in mind, I would like to note the first part.
For all 30 hours of the storyline campaign, former criminal John Marston had only one goal - to find and destroy all his former accomplices, for which he, and more importantly, his family, will be able to receive the right to a quiet life from the federal authorities. This is the case when offers are not refused. But even having fulfilled the requirements of government agents, John has no chance of fulfilling his dream of a quieter and measured life. As the culmination of the story - the high price for the misdeeds of youth, and instead of the promised freedom, the agents reward John with dozens of gunshot wounds, appearing on the doorstep of his house.
The plot twist in the 1986 Metroid finale deserves special attention. In those bearded years, gaming was an occupation created by men for men, and therefore, for the ease of associating oneself with the main character, the protagonists were almost always male characters. Considering the trends prevailing in the gaming industry more than 30 years ago, it is enough to imagine the shock of the Metroid ending for gamers.
This is not about any complex plot twist written by a hippie in a state of psychedelic trip. Everything is much simpler and, nevertheless, quite curious. At all levels of the game, the main character, Samus Aran, appeared before us as an impersonal avatar, which was additionally facilitated by a helmet covering his face. The finale turned out to be all the more surprising, when the hero took off the elements of the spacesuit, proving that a red-haired girl was hiding under it all this time.
While not impressive in words, it was quite a bold move in the mid-80s, a real break in the patterns and a turning point in the gaming industry, making Metroid worthy of being in the top 10 games with an unexpected ending.
7. A Way Out
Game Director of Hazelight Studios, Yousef Fares, in his first game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, showed himself as a master of creating tragic and unexpected endings. Released in 2018, the co-op action game A Way Out is expected not only to continue the Brothers line, but to take the degree of drama to a new level, leaving the credits to watch with a aching sense of bitterness.
The secret of such a successful impact on the players is a rare for the industry unity of the plot and gameplay side of the game, in which the entire gameplay is based on the interaction of two characters: the criminals Leo and Vincent. With each new chapter, the game persistently makes us believe in the chemistry between the characters, in their friendship, in order to sacrifice it to the drama and tear-squeezing finale in the finale. As a result, Vincent will be an undercover policeman, which will lead to a prolonged clash between two former comrades and the obligatory death of one of the heroes.
The gloomy platformer Inside, from the very first minutes, plunges the player into its viscous atmosphere of a dystopian future, which combines all the worst fantasies of Orwell and his imperishable novel "1984". A totalitarian state with experiments to control people, the eternally cloudy Sun and oppressive scenery show the player with all their looks - you don't belong here. Under such conditions, how can the main character - an unnamed boy - expect a happy ending? Unfortunately not.
But this was to be expected, especially considering with what ingenuity the developers approach the death scenes of our little hero. But what exactly we could not predict, even through brainstorming in an attempt to come up with unexpected plot twists, is the final episode, where the boy becomes one with a giant biomass, consisting of fragments of human flesh. But even no gameplay for a screaming, screaming and stomping creature here is the most amazing. It is surprising that you manage to feel sympathy for this shapeless biomass.
As can be understood even from the above projects in the top 10 games with an unexpected ending, the main technique for creating an unpredictable and emotional plot twist is to deceive expectations, when “white” becomes “black” and vice versa. Imagine the main character in the finale as a villain, completely turning the whole plot and the protagonist's motivation upside down? Why not! Only a few scriptwriters in the gaming industry manage to implement such turns really successfully, and one of them is Jonathan Blow, who created the Braid platformer.
In Braid, the reception of disappointed expectations reaches the highest skill and talentedly plays up the plot outline typical for Mario and the classics of fairy literature, where the main task is to get to the castle and save the princess. Everything is too typical exactly until the moment when in the finale the rescue mission turns into a story about the fanatical pursuit of a frightened girl. Nobody stole the "princess", no one imprisoned her in the castle and she did not need to be saved. All she did was try to escape from a real monster that ruined her life and still haunts her. And you are that monster.
4. Shadow of the Colossus
The cult Shadow of the Colossus is another game that unashamedly makes the player the main villain. Initially, our protagonist Vander pursues good goals - to bring the deceased girl back to life, for which he, following the instructions of an invisible creature, goes to the Forbidden Lands to destroy 16 ancient giants.
Many unanswered questions and vague prospects do not stop Vander and with his hands we destroy the colossus over and over again. The stone giants, like ancient gods, emit their spirit to the accompaniment of immensely tragic music and more and more change the appearance of our hero. It comes to the point that Wagner, destroying all the colossi, is reincarnated into the original evil, once imprisoned in the bodies of giants. To become the product of nightmares, and then perish in eternity at the hands of the soldiers who arrived in time - such is the price for saving the girl's life. In our opinion, a well-deserved hit in the top 10 games with an unpredictable ending.
Another rather unusual for the gaming industry view of the player as the main villain, shows us the PS3 exclusive Infamous. Initially, the plot does not pretend to be anything special - we have another story about becoming a superhero. Another version of a friendly neighbor, but instead of a cobweb, the main character Cole emits electricity, and the script takes on darker shades with each new turn.
The turning point of the game is the death of the main character's girl at the hands of a villain named Kessler. Driven by a thirst for bloody revenge, Cole overtakes the enemy and, together with the victory over Kessler, acquires his memories, which radically change the plot of the game and quite skillfully play up the theme of time travel. In reality, Kessler is Cole from the future, who subjected our protagonist to moral and physical tests for only one purpose - to make him stronger and prepare him for a meeting with a terrifying Beast, with which he will inevitably have to fight in the future.
2. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is an example of a typically Japanese approach to creating horror, where the focus is not on screamers and scenes that are disgusting in terms of the degree of cruelty, but on the subtle psychology and characters of the characters. This concept of fear, which is quite complex from a scenario point of view, is best manifested in an unexpected outcome. The case when the game clearly proves that a truly nightmarish creature is not the surreal creations of Silent Hill, a person is truly scary and the secrets that his head hides.
Throughout the game, the main character, James Sunderland, is preoccupied with finding his wife Mary. She died a few years ago, but somehow incomprehensibly recently sent a letter with a message about what awaits him in Silent Hill. An intriguing plot that turns into a nightmare journey around the world, reflecting the unconscious processes inside James's brain. His wife's letter and even all the demons of the foggy town are just projections of his feelings of guilt for the fact that he, and not anyone else, is the real killer of Mary.
Nobody in the gaming industry has approached so deeply to substitute "white" for "black", so it is not surprising that Sillent Hill 2 is often in the top 10 games with the best storyline.
We must admit that thoughts about the ending of Bioshock Infinite still cause dizziness from a dashingly twisted loop with parallel universes, but we would like to give the top priority to the slightly more mundane, but no less impressive ending of the first Bioshock. Throughout the game, our hero obediently follows the instructions of the mysterious stranger Atlas, who, like a real gentleman, will not forget to add the prefix "Be so kind" to every request. Well, how can you refuse such a sweetheart? The only problem is that in reality Atlas is one of the main antagonists of the game and with the help of the phrase “Be so kind” embedded in the brain of the protagonist, the mighty of this world are doing horrific things with the hands of the protagonist.
As a metaphor for the nature of human manipulation, the ending works great, especially in the context of interactive entertainment, where we, like the main character, are only as free as the game director allows.
We also offer you to familiarize yourself with the top 5 games where death is not the end.
The Topic of Article: TOP 10 games with an unexpected ending: the art of scripting to amaze.