Betrayal can be a powerful tool in every storytelling. Especially in video games, where we become more attached to characters than in other form of entertainment. Even if the vast majority of the twists and betrayals used can be expected of (typical of nowadays movies and video games), there are some developers that know how to make you feel empty inside and shake the foundations of everything you thought you knew.
The following list contains five of the moments that made me standing in front of a screen, holding the controller and opening my mouth wide. I must warn you before we can start the countdown that this article contains spoilers and may ruin your experience if you haven´t played these games yet: Starcraft, Assassin´s Creed Series, Dead Space and Bioshock.
5. Starcraft – Arcturus Mengsk
One of the first video games I’ve played on a PC was Starcraft, maybe the best RTS game of all time. I was ten years old back then and I did not know much about how politics work, this being the reason I’ve selected Arcturus Mengsk´s betrayal as one of my list.
I remember how excited it felt to be a part of the human revolution against the Confederacy and trying to save human kind from two alien races. But to achieve the goals you, as a player, are forced to form an alliance with a cunning strategist and master of oratory, named Arcturus Mengsk.
He succeeded in bringing down the Confederacy, but in the progress millions of lives were destroyed, alongside his second in command Lieutenant Sarah Kerrigan (one of the most powerful characters in the game). And for what, only to found out that his government is just as intrusive and brutal as the old one?
4. Assassin´s Creed – Al Mualim
If I have to make a list of my favorite games of all time, Assassin´s Creed series will definitely be in my top three. I liked the idea of a Brotherhood of Assassins, which was created to fight against the corrupt Templars, whose goals are to achieve mind control of the population, thinking that by doing this, they will save humanity from its own destruction.
The Mentor of this brotherhood was Al Mualim, a mentor to all Assassins, who everybody grew to love and respect. So it became a shock when Altair, the protagonist of the game and the most skillful Assassin alive, had learned that his Mentor had actually been a Templar in secret and had manipulated the Brotherhood to do the killings for him. Even if it wrecked me, I knew that there is no other choice than to kill him and to take the Apple of Eden from his possession.
3. Dead Space – Kendra Daniels
Another great betrayal that I´ve experienced in a video game comes from Dead Space, back in 2008. There were a few twists and turns in this game, but the shocker came when your teammate, Kendra, reveals by the end of the game her true purpose for coming on this trip. And, if you have felt so angry as I did, you have also been heartbroken when she tells you that your girlfriend, Nicole, has been dead for the entire time.
2. Assassin´s Creed Series – Lucy Stillman
We go back to the Assassin´s Creed series and find out another painful truth… It is about Lucy Stillman, the cute blonde that we meet in the first game between the Animus sessions. She was there for you, answering your questions and helping you when she could. She saved your life and earned your trust (maybe your heart too), but in Assassin´s Creed Revelations you find out that all has been a lie, and Lucy was a Templar.
She used you to find the Piece of Eden and betrayed the Brotherhood. She did not trick only Desmond, but Shaun and Rebecca. Why Lucy? Why? I thought we had a bond…
1. Bioshock – Atlas
Do you remember Atlas, the guy whose advice through the radio helped you survive in Rapture? That guy who only wanted from you to help him rescue his wife and son early in the game. And then he wanted to help him again by finding Andrew Ryan and end his reign over Rapture.
You thought that he was your friend, ally in a world filled with Splicers, Big Daddies and Little Sisters, 20,000 leagues under the sea. But in the end you found out that he was Frank Fontaine, known as a former gangster and businessman who sought to overthrow Andrew’s underwater empire, and take it as his own. He was responsible for your kidnapping at birth and your transformation in a sleeping agent that follows his orders whenever he pronounced the phrase “Would you kindly… ?”.
And he made you kill your father and be responsible for the downfall of Rapture! What a fellow…
These are my five biggest betrayals that I´ve experienced by playing games. Now, would you kindly tell me which are yours?