Sometimes, you might be the villain in someone else’s story. No matter how righteous you might think you’re being, you could also be very much in the wrong. That’s what these games try to teach us as they twist things around and turn us into the unsuspecting villain.
We’re all so used to playing the good guy in games that we automatically assume that every role we take on is for the greater good. Well, these are some games that will prove you wrong.
This article has enough spoilers to turn you into our unsuspecting enemy. You’ve been warned.
Shadow of The Colossus
Blinded by the idea of resurrecting the life of your loved one, you go on a quest to kill all the colossal beings in the world. You know the phrase “I would do anything to bring you back to life?” Yeah, that. Except, in this case, you didn’t know that what you were doing is bad.
Although the ending is pretty vague, you do get the idea that you messed up. As the realization that you’ve been killing innocent colossal beings whilst unleashing an ultimate evil on the world hits you, you’ll be crushed.
There is a hint at retribution, with his loved one coming back to life and picking up an infant at the exact same place the ‘protagonist’ had vanished. It feels as though a sequel is long due, so we’re excited to hear that a sequel might be in the works.
BioShock: Infinite and the Bioshock universe itself gets a little confusing and twisty, especially with its various alternate universes and all that time-traveling business. The big plot twist is that you, the protagonist, are the same person as the crazy guy that you’ve been trying to annihilate all this time.
You’re just an alternate universe version of the villain that took up a different name, so it wasn’t exactly you that committed all his evil deeds. Although, you did make some questionable choices in several aspects of the game earlier on.
Truthfully, it’s too convoluted to be explained in a few paragraphs so I’m not even going to try. Just know that you both exist at the same time, you are the villain but you are not evil. There you go.
Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic
Waking up with no memories on a random ship that is under attack doesn’t sound like a good time at all. But that’s a summary of how you came to be. This is also why you had no idea you were the villain the whole time… Understandably.
So it turns out you are playing Darth Revan, the master of Darth Malak, and literally the Dark Lord of the Sith Empire. So… one of the most wanted and evil men in the Empire. Cool. Apparently, you were betrayed by Darth Malak and then brainwashed into being one of the good Jedi.
Interestingly, it worked! Although living with the burden of knowing who you were and what you did could eat you alive, you decide to turn over a new leaf and be the good guy instead. Yay team!
Assassin’s Creed 3
The betrayal of all betrayals. After all the assassinations and heists, you end up finding out that you were playing as a Templar the whole time. Basically, everything you did was to establish the tyrannical New World Order that the other character, Ratonhnhake:ton aka Connor is trying to destroy.
It’s one of those revelations that don’t really sit well with players after its reveal, as everyone is very much against the Templars and their tyrannical rule. All the violence and cruelty the Templars have imposed and you’ve added to the list. It’s enough to make you feel dirty.
At least you can make up for it through Connor by destroying the Templars. It’s a small bit of retribution to balance it all out and undo all that you’ve done as Haytham.
At first, this game starts out with a typical Mario saving Princess Peach idea in mind, but as you get to the end, you realize that you are no Mario. You’re just a creepy stalker that wants to steal the princess away. It’s creepy when you think about the amount of effort you put into hunting her down and kidnaping her, all without realizing it.
She is ‘held captive’ by a monster in a castle and you have to navigate through various puzzles and defeat monsters to get to her. As you progress, texts will appear that eventually help you put two and two together, that this man you are playing is relentlessly terrifying.
The final stage ties it all together as you can see the distressed princess seemingly running away and trying her very best to thwart any attempts of you reaching her.
Spec Ops: The Line
We’re sure you can see this coming from a mile away. Spec Ops is one of the more well-known games where your main protagonist turns into an unstable mass murderer. The game itself has a simple concept and premise but as you continue along and everything starts to build up, it gets more interesting.
First, you fight terrorists, then you fight the soldiers you were supposed to rescue and it climaxes with your character choosing to annihilate a whole town of innocents. Sure, you can try to excuse your character’s actions as ‘He’s mentally unstable,’ or ‘He’s just had too much pressure laid on him,’ but none of it really excuses his actions.
You’ll get increasingly frustrated at his character as he continues to believe that he’s the hero of the game. The lessons of this game will stick with you long after you put down your controller.
Little Nightmares 2
Okay, this one takes a little explaining if you haven’t played the game. Do you remember the girl in the yellow raincoat from the first Little Nightmares? Well surprise, surprise… she’s the villain of the series. After all that you went through to survive with her character in the first game, it’s a lot to take in.
You play the game as Mono and after you save her from imprisonment, she partnered up with you until you get toward the end of the game where she lets go of your hand and you fall to your doom as she escapes. Messed up, right? You even saved her a number of times in the game, too.
It is then revealed that Mono grew up to be the Thin Man chasing him and the girl throughout the game, perhaps to stop him from making the same mistake. But then, it’s a cruel repetitive cycle and he has to live in that cycle, forever alone – for now. Like it or not, you end up being the villain chasing yourself in the game (a lot to wrap your head around there).
The main premise of the story is to figure out who the Origami Killer is, a serial killer that uses rain to drown his victims which happen to be… children. You play as a private investigator on the case, visiting the victim’s families and collecting evidence. As I’m sure you can guess, the private investigation is the killer!
The whole time, Scott Shelby was portrayed as a typical downtrodden and sad detective trying to collect all the evidence of the murders but towards the end, it is revealed (rather cinematically too) that he is a fraud. As a young boy, he witnessed the death of his brother helplessly drowning and so ended up aspiring to kill children in the same way.
All the evidence you collected along the way? Well, that gets burned so he can continue to cover his tracks and never be found. A chilling look into the mind of a psychopath towards the end here, which makes this game one of the best-twisted games out there.
Nier is not a forgiving game to get through in the first place, so this plot twist is one that stressed us out upon playing it. In the prologue, you set out to protect Yonah, who is weakened by a terminal illness while seeking the Shadowlord, who everyone originally believed to be the evil guy.
It was revealed that the Shadowlord is actually the first Gestalt and Yonah is his Replicant. His mission was to actually protect his daughter and save humanity, so whoops! You’ve been fighting the wrong guy all along. He’s innocent and now you’re coming off as a guilty-looking bastard.
And the Shades you’ve been fighting? Those are actually people who are defending themselves or their own objectives as you keep slaughtering them. Of course, they see you as a threat because you’re swinging your sword at them everywhere you go.
The irony in thinking you’re saving mankind but causing their extinction is a literal slap to the face.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill was always rather morally grey, as it is a horror series after all. And even after all these years, Silent Hill 2 still offers one of the best experiences when it comes to survival horror franchise games.
Yet even after all the jarring experiences you are bound to go through in Silent Hill 2, it still comes as a shock when you are revealed to have killed your own wife. I mean, we all knew she was sick and dying but he didn’t have to deal the final blow!
At least we know he’s probably going to be stuck in Silent Hill forever. Perhaps that is life’s karmic way of revenge for his character.
A Dark Room
An open-source RPG is in itself a rather interesting genre that you don’t really see in games anymore, but A Dark Room manages to embody it well. It does help the game that it pulls this twist off when everything is in an old-school text format and there’s not exactly any proper visuals of the situation. Your imagination is what deceives you here, I suppose.
The game starts with your character being stuck in a dark room, the only thing you can do is light a fire. Basically, your character builds a village and ends up enslaving wanderers. As the game progresses and you explore outside of the village, you enter an apocalyptic wasteland and start to uncover the truth.
You’re a ‘Wanderer’, an alien species that invades planets and destroys them in the process. Enslaving others and running away to other planets when you’re done is pretty much as villainous as it gets.
Think you’re the chosen one? Think again! Bard’s Tale sees you embody an opportunistic singer and musician with a taste for gold and women. There’s nothing heroic about this one, and perhaps the plot twist was something we should have seen coming. Motivated by other RPGs that have taught us that bad guys could be good; we were blindsided.
The essential premise of this game is that you were recruited by a cult to go save the Princess from the clutches of Druids and fanatics that have been keeping her locked up in a tower in an unknown location. But then, it is revealed that the Princess is actually a demon that could fulfill all your wishes for the destruction of the world.
Sure, you can refuse her offer and just kill her right there, but if you’re feeling villainous, you could just accept her offer and bath in riches as the undead take over the world. All the Druids and fanatics that you slew were actually innocent guards and protectors that did not want her to be set loose, but alas. It is done.
Golden Sun: The Lost Age
This is an older game that many serious gamers played back in the day. It’s also probably one of the first game betrayals or plot twists that left us shocked at the time. The thing about Golden Sun is, you didn’t find out you were the villain until the sequel came out – The Lost Age.
Your character sets out with a team to stop the Eternal Lighthouses from being lit and you manage to kill off two ‘villains’ in the first game. However, it turns out that you were wrong the whole time, and the lighthouses needed to be lit to prevent an apocalyptic world collapse.
You essentially killed off two people who were protecting the lighthouses and were trying to prevent the world from falling into damnation in the first game. At least now make it up to everyone by doing the right thing. A small retribution aspect there, thankfully.
The Witch’s House
A survival horror puzzle game where you play as Viola, a girl waking up in the forest with no way out. She escapes into a mysterious house possessed by the spirit of a witch named Ellen. There are two main endings to The Witch’s House known as the Good Ending and the True Ending as well as a secret Pseudo Ending.
However, it doesn’t matter which end you choose. This is where you discover that Viola is not who you think she is. Viola and Ellen had switched bodies prior to the events in the game, and the original Viola just wants her body back, but Ellen won’t let go. She took over Viola’s body because she wanted to cure herself of a terminal illness.
In the end, Viola’s father saves his ‘daughter’ which happens to be Ellen in Viola’s body as he shoots his actual unrecognizable daughter and then runs away. Viola dies from despair as Ellen forever takes her place. The ending is tragic and terrifying, and having your own father not recognize you is heartbreaking.
We saved this one for last as it is a DLC for Amnesia: The Dark Descent rather than a full-on game. You are tasked with solving Justine’s puzzles in order to save some innocent lives but the twist is… you are Justine the whole time. You just didn’t know.
Truth be told, she’s crazy. She created the puzzles and purposely wiped her own memories in order to see if she is compassionate enough to solve them. This also means that all the innocent characters you’ve saved along the way were never saved after all.
Sure, you’re innocent since you thought she had amnesia, but the idea that you went through all that to save everyone, and they were never really saved is painful to take in.
There you have it! Some interesting video games where you unknowingly end up being the villain, even if you are the protagonist.