Top five shocking story moments in gaming

selects his five shocking story moments in gaming

Developers have offered us some of the fondest memories of gaming through their enticing stories. However, there are some narratives which featured exceptional twists that left gamers dropping their controller in shock and awe. Here are five particular moments in games which left people with a memorable experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

BioShock: “Would you kindly?” 

Irrational Games’ critically acclaimed AAA series had an imaginative and remarkable ability for storytelling. BioShock’s release in 2007 had the player venture into the underwater utopia of Rapture and encountered a civilisation which was torn apart by a civil war. Meeting the man in charge of Rapture, Andrew Ryan, became an iconic and revered scene in gaming.

Andrew Ryan reveals to the main protagonist, Jack, how he’s been controlled over the course of the title. Using the phase “Would you kindly?” allowed for Jack’s companion, Atlas, to subject him to the whim of a slave. It was an unfamiliar experience to discover this subtle message woven into every command and Ryan’s revelation shook the foundations of the BioShock narrative. “A man chooses, a slave obeys.” Ryan barking these words raised philosophical questions for the gamer, considering that they had been lured into a false sense of security by following what they believed as simple orders.

BioShock Andrew Ryan

Metal Gear Solid: “…Me, dear brother”

Metal Gear Solid has built a reputation for its movie-style narrative, and Hideo Kojima’s first entry on the PlayStation left fans startled by what they heard and saw. Solid Snake’s infiltration mission has him believing that Metal Gear Rex is active and the terrorists have the ability to launch a nuke. Furthermore, he must deactivate the nuclear equipped battle tank by using three card keys.

After the player completes the excruciating task of inserting the PAL Key at the right temperature into each computer, Snake’s codec conversation with Master Miller was a superbly executed plot twist. Colonel Campbell’s interruption of the codec conversation revealed that Miller had been dead for days, which in turn has Miller reveal that he is none other than the leader of FOXHOUND and Snake’s brother, Liquid. Kojima’s franchise has featured some remarkable moments in the story but the first entry on the PlayStation captured gamers completely off-guard.

MGS - codec conversation

Assassin’s Creed III: Haytham Kenway’s Templar revelation 

Ubisoft’s has had fans fanatically in love with the history-fused narrative behind the Assassin’s Creed universe, but the plot twist in the third instalment is the most vivid from the renowned franchise. The player assumes the role of Haytham Kenway – a British man who ventures deep into the heart of the United States during the eighteenth century.

However, Ubisoft shocked all their fans when they revealed at the end of sequence 3 that Haytham was actually a Grand Master of a Templar Organisation, not an assassin. ACIII’s plot twist was perfect for its ability to suddenly change the tempo early in the story and smoothly transition the role of the main protagonist from Haytham to Ratonhnhaké:ton (Connor). Additionally, Ubisoft best summed up the entire scene through the achievement/trophy they rewarded to the player: ‘How D’ya Like Them Apples’.

Assassin’s Creed III

The Last of Us: Joel is the bad guy?

Naughty Dog’s release of The Last of Us in 2013 was praised by critics and created a legacy as one of, if not, the best titles from the previous generation. The story for this title was unique, engaging and memorable for any gamer. However, the concluding scene in The Last of Us created a reaction which shocked the player.

Joel is asked by Ellie for the truth behind the Fireflies, which Joel retorts with lying to his close companion. The perception created from this scene had people immediately suggesting Joel was the ‘bad guy’, but I never believed that. If anyone was living his life I think they would choose his option of keeping Ellie alive – even if that does eliminate humanities only chance to find a cure. Naughty Dog’s title has the mark of an excellent and gifted writing team, with not every answer being spoon-fed to the player and leaving little room open for the imagination. Joel’s actions are divided among the gaming community, but the final scene was powerful and concluded The Last of Us in the best way possible.

The Last of Us' Ellie and Joel

Final Fantasy VII: Aerith’s death

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy is a beloved RPG franchise that has produced entries which mesmerises fans with its stunning artwork and story. Final Fantasy VII is regarded, by some, as one of the best titles from the series.

Aerith’s death left avid fans of the series in disbelief when the character met her fate from the main antagonist, Sephiroth. Furthermore, some fans went even far enough to believe she wasn’t dead and searched for mods or alternative endings hidden deep in the title’s code. The series is praised for its exceptional moments and FFVII delivered one of the shocking moments from a story. It’s no surprise that fans are still calling for an HD upgrade of the classic title – this is one fan who would appreciate that news, Square.



Honourable mentions: Metroid: Samus Aran’s reveal; Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood: Lucy’s death; Gears of War 3: Dominic Santiago’s death; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: Sith reveal; Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Raiden’s introduction.


  1. I believe that the 22 year old version of me would have pinned Joel as the bad guy. It being 10 years later and being a father made TLOU a lot more tragic and the ending a lot more relateable. To have lost a child once and then open up to another after much reluctance would have made any other decision geared towards furthering the Fireflies plans uhcharacteristic. Marlene should have been honest to begin with or should have lied up until the end.

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    • Yeah, I can see where you are coming from. I feel like Naughty Dog’s title is open for interpretation and that’s what makes it such a brilliant story. Personally, I don’t think he’s the bad guy – as I said above – but it was still interesting to see the reaction people had when they finished the game.

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