A lot of video games tend to be predictable by virtue of their design.
If you’re playing as the protagonist (which 99.99% of the time you are), you expect to be a somewhat benevolent hero who makes the world they inhabit a better place. If this wasn’t the case, you’d feel pretty rotten about all that horrible stuff you’d been doing to virtual people over the last five or more hours.
Unless you're playing GTA, of course, in which case literally anything goes.
As such, when video games unleash cruel twists of fate upon us and our avatars, they tend to be even more shocking than their cinematic or literary counterparts.
It’s always overwhelming to discover that a movie character has secretly been evil or unhinged, but when a character you have physically controlled for hours upon hours is the bad apple, when it's ultimately your fault, that can be even more devastating.
Perhaps the most observant of video game detectives were able to suss out some of the following rug-pulls beforehand, but the majority of players were completely blindsided by such unforgiving and memorable twists.
10. Final Fantasy VII
The death of a beloved secondary character can often give us something to fight for, but what’s rather less common, however, is for a playable protagonist to kick the bucket, and even less so for them to do it with so much of the game still left to play.
That’s what makes Aeris/Aerith’s death in Final Fantasy VII such a crushing blow; it doesn’t occur early on as a way to initially galvanise Cloud into action, nor does it happen at the end as part of a final dramatic coda.
It’s also a particularly jarring scene because it takes place within a game wherein Aerith had probably been killed and revived with a Phoenix Down several times prior to her canonical death.
But that dissonance aside, fans in 1997 were shocked when one of the game’s most beloved and benevolent characters was so mercilessly struck down. It’s arguably one of the main reasons why Sephiroth has lived on as one of gaming’s most iconic and sadistic villains.