We’ve all felt the soul-crushing impact of betrayal one way or another. However some of the most painful betrayals come from the world of video games, and unfortunately I’m here to remind you of them, and also to reveal one NPC betrayal you probably didn’t even think about.
Prepare to get salty once more as we look back on this top 12 video game betrayals list, and remember why you hate characters you once loved.
We’re going to start with a somewhat silly one and the warn you that we’re going to obviously be discussing major spoilers for some major games.
We steered away from any recent major releases. In fact, nothing on this list is even originally from this generation of consoles, but this is your warning nonetheless. If you scroll through and see a game you don’t want to be spoiled in the header, keep on scrolling. With all that said, if you don’t want to risk it, please don’t read. You’ve been warned!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Believe it or Not
Here’s an unlikely betrayal you didn’t think about, but it’s real, it hurts, and if you have little time to spend on your 3DS, it never ends. Isabelle seems to be the epitome of the perfect assistant.
Always trying to help, working all day every day at the town hall and catering to your every need. But when she says she ‘looked after the town while you were away’ if you had to abandon your 3DS for a couple weeks, she’s lying to you.
You log in, open the front door of your house and step outside. Your town is now utterly destroyed, weeds are everywhere and your favourite deer villager just couldn’t take it anymore and moved away. STILL no one has contributed to the fountain project you set up before you left, and Isabelle is waving and smiling like the whole thing is fine and dandy.
Just because she’s a cute puppy in a receptionist outfit doesn’t take away from the fact that she LIED TO YOU, and did nothing as your town crumbled into ruin. Bet you didn’t expect that one.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Big Smoke: He might be a huge meme now, but an incredibly painful betrayal to gamers around the globe occurred when San Andreas players discovered the cruel betrayal of Big Smoke.
Along with Ryder, CJ’s lifelong friend Big Smoke betrayed him and the rest of GSF (Grove Street Families), by meeting with the Ballas and C.R.A.S.H, ultimately selling out Groove St to gain money and power.
After Sweet declines his request to sell harder drugs and regain influence as a gang, Melvin Harris (a.k.a Big Smoke) easily gets Ryder on his side, and his desire for fortune and fame causes him to throw all his friends under the bus, becoming a fortified drug lord, with protection from Vargos and the Ballas, and a sugar-coated media persona that shadowed all his criminal antics.
CJ gets his redemption, however, and kills his former friend in a raging gun battle. I mean, he kinda got what was coming to him.
Wheatley: Sweet little Wheatley. The cheeky little personality core was your friend, your ally, your little buddy, up until well…he wasn’t. This betrayal hurt portal 2 players deeply, as not only was his betrayal heartbreaking, but also somewhat understandable.
When Wheatley awakens Chell at the beginning of the game, in order to help her escape the Aperture science facility, you immediately fall in love with his quirky character. When he is allegedly destroyed by Chell’s arch nemesis, GLaDOS, you may even have shed a tear as he was crushed like a stress-ball and tossed to the sidelines.
His heroic comeback resulted in him replacing GlaDOS’ program with himself in her main control system, and initially that was an amazing thing. Now that he is huge and unstoppable, a red flag arises to the player as he calls Chell ‘insignificant’.
In the classic tale of going mad with power, Wheatley decides at the last moment betray Chell instead of letting her go free, accusing her of using him after GlaDOS gave Chell full credit for stopping her.
GlaDOS then riles up Wheatley, calling him a moron after he compresses her into a potato battery when she failed to recognise his contributions. She claims that his voice was used in a program once installed into her that gave her terrible ideas in aid to slow down her rise to power, so she suggests he is nothing but a moron.
This is infuriating for Wheatley, and in anger he breaks the escape platform, doing whatever he could to refute the idea he was stupid. Note to self: don’t bully Wheatley.
Resident Evil 1
Wesker: Seemingly a good commander, Albert Wesker proves to be a good team leader throughout the game until he reveals he is a double agent working for Umbrella corp all along.
An accomplished virologist, Wesker always had connections within the bioweapon black market, and ultimately these connections ultimately lead to him betraying Umbrella as well.
Wesker starts off as part of S.T.A.R.S Alpha team and eventually lures them to the Arklay laboratory. In doing so, he hoped to test out the abilities of the Tyrant on its members and acquire combat data on the monster. When he was cornered by the team, he revealed his conspiring with Umbrella.
In his act of betrayal to the player, he releases the tyrant on the team. What he maybe doesn’t anticipate was the monster stabbing him first, after recognising him as a participang in the Tyrant project.
Wesker was promptly impaled in the chest, but we all know that didn’t keep him down for long.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Lucy: There aren’t many compelling characters in the animus, but Lucy is definitely an exception. Lucy is the right-hand partner of Desmond and the player, working hard to take down the Templars.
Though she was killed, it was teased throughout the game that she in fact was a double agent, working for the modern-day Templars. This was a slow reveal, shown to fans in the following instalment’s DLC.
In The Lost Archive DLC, it’s revealed to the player that Lucy was indeed a double agent; a Templar who spied on the Assassins, but who thought she was an Assassin spying on the Templars instead.
It was Desmond who killed Lucy with his hidden blade, after Juno discovered where her allegiance truly was, and as a result took prompt control of Desmond’s body to prevent her interference.
Classic Assassin’s Creed-an intriguing plot vein that was slow to unwind but resulted in a great reveal.
Atlas: There is a phrase that still haunts the ears of BioShock players anywhere when you utter it. That phrase is simply ‘would you kindly?’. This will forever be a haunting reminder of Atlas’ cruel betrayal, one that the player discovers after they finally confront Andrew Ryan, the founder of Rapture.
You find out that Atlas had been controlling the protagonist, Jack, through mental conditioning ever since the beginning. Jack kills Andrew, who screams in his face and accuses him of having no independence or will of his own.
Atlas then instructs the player to us the genetic control key they acquire to stop Rapture and transfer control to him.
As soon as the deed is done, ‘Atlas’ sees no point in furthering his charade, and decides to end what he refers to as a ‘little masquerade’.
His true identity is revealed to be Frank Fontaine, a mobster slash businessman who had eluded many with a variety of aliases, with the character of Atlas being his longest con. Everything he had told you was a lie, and oh boy did it hurt.
Metal Gear Solid 3
The Boss: Another one for the books, the sad betrayal of Snake’s mentor, Lori Alan (a.k.a The Boss). This came as quite a shock for MGS3 players, as it wasn’t quite the betrayal it appeared to be. At the beginning of the game, you watch as Lori switches sides to join the Soviets. She joins the fight with the Cobra Unit.
After Snake stops the Cobras, he is able to confront his boss and claim the status of ‘Big Boss’ after killing her. Despite the victory, Snake makes a horrific discovery that Lori’s betrayal wasn’t what it seemed.
You find out that she had been undercover, under orders administered from the CIA, to worm her way into Volgin’s organization, before sacrificing herself to allow the U.S. to feign innocence.
This really encapsulates the cold reality of war, and the difficult decisions soldiers have to make in the line of duty. Sadly, the betrayer becomes the betrayed.
Modern Warfare 2
General Shepard: An unforgettable betrayal that shocked Modern Warfare 2 players everywhere was that of General Shepherd. A leading officer in the United States Army, Shepherd commanded task force 141, which he ultimately betrayed.
In the ‘loose ends’ mission, Makarov’s operations playbook is recovered from one of the two prime locations that Shepherd had determined were Makarov’s possible locations.
Roach and Ghost locate the playbook in a safehouse, where they downloaded all of the sensitive information onto the DSM before promptly returning it to their commander.
With the information in his possession, Shepherd could claim all the victory of Makarov’s demise himself, and gain the status of national hero. He could also hide any evidence of his previous shady actions if he betrayed his comrades.
His signature weapon, the .44 magnum, was used to shoot both Roach and Ghost in the chest after they recovered the DSM. After shooting them, Shepherd instructed the bodies to be doused in gasoline, before casually flicking his cigar down onto their bodies.
As they went up in flames, Shepherd just walked away. This was a shocking betrayal, however it cemented the game as a classic.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Algus Sadalfas: He was once Ramza’s ally, but a contempt for poor people led him down a dangerous path of betrayal. When the group are instructed to attack the Corpse Brigade, a group of impoverished former soldiers, Algus’ true personality shines through when he begins to shout offenses towards Milleuda, a Corpse Brigade leader.
When she is captured, Algus demands that Ramza kill her. However Ramza does not follow through on this order, which infuriated Algus. After this, Tietra the lowborn sister of fellow lowborn Delita, Ramza’s best friend, is kidnapped in an assassination plot against Dycedarg, causing Algus to be further infuriated at Delita, who supported Ramza in sparing Milleuda.
The aggression results in the pair fighting, leading Ramza to restrain Delita. He instructs Algus to go, and in doing so Algus joins the Order of the Northern Sky, which ultimately leads to him betraying his friends.
The order attacks Ziekden Fortress, where Algus is reacquainted with Ramza and Delita who had come to try to save Tietra. Tietra was being held hostage by Gragoroth. Algus doesn’t hesitate in his actions, even with Delita present.
He immediately fires two crossbow arrows at both Gragoroth…and Delita, right in front of her own brother. Devastated, Delita attacks Algus, who is later killed during the fortress’ detonation. His actions are the driving force behind the rest of the game as a the crushed Delita sets off on his own path and becomes permanently intertwined with the most dramatic events of Final Fantasy Tactics.
Flynn: This betrayal shows us that we keep our friends close, but our enemies closer. Flynn’s betrayal came out of the blue after the pair, along with the help of Chloe Frazer, went after the oil lamp that Flynn initially enlisted Drake’s help for.
Together, they would hopefully figure out the location of explorer Marco Polo’s fleet.
They made it past the security systems, but as soon as Nate deciphered that the resin inside the lamp could be used to light the map to locate Polo’s shipwrecks, Flynn double-crossed his partner.
Flynn simply pulled the rope up which the pair used to secretly enter the museum, and refused to pass it back down to Nate. He then shot a nearby glass display cabinet, its acoustic alarm alerting the guards.
Flynn then bid Nate adieu once the guards got close enough for him to be satisfied that his partner would have no chance escaping.
“Face it, genius. You’ve been played.”
Dragon Age 2
Anders: He was always adamant to leave the circle of Magi, hating the confinement he faced as a human mage. He merged with the spirit of justice in order to seek out that freedom, but it took its toll on the mage, causing him to descend down a dark path of revenge instead.
First introduced in Dragon Age Awakening, In Dragon Age 2 Anders is one of your main party members, and you could potentially spend a lot of time with him if you so choose. Unfortunately, he lies and betrays Hawke, claiming he needed ingredients from them to compose a potion that would separate him and Justice, allowing them both to be free.
Once Hawke provides these ingredients, Anders reveals that he actually lied, and the ingredients were for something else. We find out this ‘something else’ was a much more dastardly alternative. Anders blows up the church, killing everyone inside.
At this point Hawke is presented with a choice; somehow forgive Anders and let him continue on, or take his deception in turn and take his life, in retribution for what he’s done.
It’s a hard choice no matter how you dealt with Anders throughout the game, and a potentially work-shaking one if you had chosen to romance Anders.
This was a pretty controversial betrayal, with many fans saying it was for the greater good; saving more lives and freedoms despite costing hundreds of innocent deaths. What do you think?
Shuji Ikutsuki: The advisor to SEES, Shuji Ikutsuki, betrayed his group (SEES) at the last second, revealing the true repercussions of their actions in ‘killing’ the shadows.
When he is ultimately confronted, Shuji explains to everyone that they were in fact collecting pieces of death that, when reunited, would destroy the world as they knew it.
This revelation was absolutely huge as it meant all their work had been for evil, and that SEES were never even aware of the consequences. Shuji would rule the new world, once he made some ‘sacrifices.’
This betrayal came as a surprise to many players, who did not suspect their cheerful, enigmatic advisor to turn on the protagonists. We should have all suspected something after the horrendously bad jokes…