10 Plot Twists That Change How You See Video Games

Nothing was ever the same again.

Prey game
Arkane Studios

We all love a plot twist, don't we? If well-executed, a shock reveal or unexpected narrative shift can turn a straightforward story into a mind-bending masterpiece.

Some of the greatest tales of all time are fondly remembered precisely because their twists are so mind-blowing, they leave you a changed person afterwards, and these examples do exactly that.

But what separates a video game plot twist from twists in non-interactive media (such as film and literature) is that games inherently involve the player in a way that passive viewing doesn't. Smart game writers know this, and can directly incorporate the player's expectations into their plot twists, allowing them to manipulate you in any number of surprising ways.

The greatest twists play with the player. They shatter convention and transcend the boundaries of the story they are part of, often creating complex meta-fiction. They cause you to reel in astonishment, question your perception and re-evaluate not just the game you're playing, but the medium of games as a whole.

10. The Turing Test - Droning On

Prey game
Square Enix

The Turing Test begins as aptly named engineer Ava Turing is woken from stasis by an AI known as T.O.M. This charming chap informs you that he's lost contact with the research crew (phone signal must be pretty bad in outer space) and he needs you to investigate.

You discover that the crew have fashioned the research base into a complex series of puzzle chambers designed to keep artificial intelligences at bay. These are Turing Tests, only solvable by humans (and gamers).

With all this ominous foreshadowing there was bound to be a twist on the way. Turns out that Ava is a drone, a human puppet being remotely operated by T.O.M. The story shifts up a gear from this point on, but what's more surprising is that the gameplay is also augmented in a way rarely seen in video games.

Now that Ava is aware that T.O.M. is controlling her, the player can shift between multiple perspectives, taking control of T.O.M.'s surveillance cameras and robotic rovers to assist Ava in the puzzle solving. It's like playing co-op, but without your mates constantly trying to screw you over.

This twist makes you consider the nature of player characters: are they characters at all? Or are they simply drones obeying your commands?

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Patch is a pop culture enthusiast and purveyor of puns. He writes about media in a vague attempt to justify the alarming amount of time he spends consuming it. Nobody's convinced... but nobody's told him that yet. He spends his spare time working on Portal 2: Desolation, an ambitious fan-made sequel to Valve's beloved puzzle games.