And suddenly everything is completely different than expected: plot twists can create classics or mean their downfall.
Caution: The article contains spoilers!
Successful plot twists are a fine art. M. Night Shyamalans, who as screenwriter and director wrote one of the most surprising twists in film history with the Hollywood blockbuster “The Sixth Sense”, knew nothing about the plot twist in the first drafts of his screenplay. It was only when he realized that his protagonist was dead that the pieces of the puzzle came together in his head – and at the end of the film, so did the viewer.
The hardest part is plausibility. If the resolution doesn't provide the necessary aha moments where the fans can understand why this twist makes perfect sense, the plot twist falls flat and the fun of the story is spoiled. This applies to video games at least as much as it does to films, because here the gamers are actively involved in what is happening. The best twists become legends in fan circles and even years later they still provide topics for discussion or nostalgic moments.
Silent Hill 2
Among other things, the plot twist in “Silent Hill 2” went down in video game history. The protagonist, who receives a letter from his wife, who he believed dead, travels to the eponymous city at her request. But he is repeatedly plagued by monsters on the way and also meets a double of his Mary. First in the end it turns outthat he himself killed Mary to spare her an agonizing infirmity. The horror he goes through in "Silent Hill 2" is a form of self-punishment. While the idea itself isn't new, the execution is effective enough for most fans to remain shocking.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Another emotional hit is the unexpected ending to Red Dead Redemption 2. After numerous hours spent with the hero Arthur, during which the gamblers in the Wild West survived all kinds of breakneck adventures and met other gallows birds in the saloon in poker and other casino games relaxed, which can be practiced in advance in the online casino, the outlaw Arthur Morgan dies of tuberculosis. While the game continues with the gamer slipping into the role of John Marston from Epilogue 1, the actual saga is irrevocably over.
Jak and Dexter 3
Great twist or real disappointment? There is all sorts of debate about the Precursors in Jak and Dexter 3. In the mythology of the series, the Precursors, worshiped as gods and whose technology is still used by the denizens of the world today, are an ancient, wise people believed to be giant hybrids of insects and humans. But in the third part of the series, the true origin is revealed. That the Precursors were instead ottsels (crossbreeds of otters and weasels, like the protagonist's sidekick) was the icing on the cake for some fans and sheer horror for others.
One easy-to-overlook twist is the Assassin's Creed storyline, which ties all of the games in the series together. It turns out that the saga of the Assassins and Templars itself is just a story within the story. It is experienced in the frame story of Assassin descendant Desmond Miles, who in the present with a machine resurrects the past.
“Her Story” is a milestone in video game history. The interactive crime thriller consists of video clips of interrogations, with the search term determining which excerpts the player sees. The questions are never shown, only the young woman's answers. She is suspected of being responsible for the disappearance and alleged murder of her husband. In addition, although the clips are linked by associations, they are not shown in chronological order. But what really happened? And, a question that gamers are investigating at least as seriously over time: is it always the same woman, or is it really two suspects and two interrogations?
Especially in longer series, plot twists are often used to breathe new life into the stories. One of them is the “Metal Gear” series. It takes a lot to stand out among the various twists. The double twist in “Metal Gear Solid 3” manages that. The gamers have hardly digested that Snake’s mentor The Boss has turned out to be a Russian spy, and Snake (or the player) has to kill her himself, when everything is shot again. The Boss was actually a double agent and her allegiance was to the United States. The emotional impact is amplified by the knowledge that she let Snake kill her on purpose to protect the United States.
A different kind of twist awaits players in the twist-riddled open-world series Grand Theft Auto. In “GTA V”, the last game in the gangster series so far, gamers have the opportunity for the first time to kill main characters in a game that revolves around the characters. Gamers must choose between Michael and Trevor's life - or let them both get away with it.
Successful twists also affect the sales figures. That worldwide best selling video game of all time is the sandbox game “Minecraft”. In total, more than 10 million copies have been sold in just over 238 years.
With more than 160 million games sold since its release in 2013, "GTA V" is the undisputed second place worldwide. The successor has been eagerly awaited for years, but there is still no official announcement for GTA 6.
“Red Dead Redemption 2” is 7th in terms of sales. With around 43 million games sold since its 2018 release, Arthur and the rest of the gang have garnered a loyal following, even if the death of the main character makes it impossible to continue the previous story. A plot twist doesn't get any more final.