Best Video Game Plot Twist Heel Turns; From Hero to Villain - VRGyani News and Media


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Best Video Game Plot Twist Heel Turns; From Hero to Villain

Betrayal always stings, but when it comes by the hand of a trusted friend or ally, it can be absolutely crushing. And because of the length of time spent with video game characters, a good character turning bad can be especially heartbreaking. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and consider some of the most notable heel turns in video game history, maybe throwing down a judgment or two about whether these heel turns are justified (because, hey, it’s the internet).

Major spoilers ahead for a number of games, so proceed with caution.

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Little Nightmares II: Six Lets Go

Little Nightmares II tells the tragic tale of Mono, a young boy who must seek out the source of a strange transmission that brought evil to the world. True to his name, Mono indeed starts the game alone, but it isn’t long before he finds and rescues Six, the yellow raincoat-wearing protagonist from the first Little Nightmares, from the hands of a crazed hunter.

As they evade the horrors and corrupted denizens of the distorted Pale City, Mono and Six develop a symbiosis, reinforced by the game mechanics. Mono can call out to Six to get her attention, and the pair can hold hands and assist each other over obstacles. Several times, when faced with a gap in the floor too large to jump safely, Six waits on the other side, holding out her hand for Mono to grab.

Which makes it so devastating when, in the climax of the game, with the Signal Tower crashing down around them, Mono makes a final leap of faith to Six’s outstretched hand. As she always has, Six catches him and then, after a moment in which the two share an extended stare — she drops him.

Why? Did she recognize something in him, a clue to his eventual transformation into The Thin Man, one of the main antagonists of the game? Or was Six herself corrupted by the influence of the Signal Tower? Clues in the secret ending and DLC for Little Nightmares may hold the answers.

Heel Turn Justified? Jury is out. If Six was somehow able to glean Mono’s turn towards evil, she may have been right to let him drop. But Six’s actions may have also inadvertently caused Mono’s dark fate. Six also has her own personal issues, namely a ravenous hunger that leads her to questionable actions in the original Little Nightmares.

Grand Theft Auto Vice City: Lance Vance’s Last Dance

Lance Vance spends most of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as one of Tommy Vercetti’s most trusted business associates. During Vance’s quest for revenge against Ricardo Diaz for the death of his brother, Tommy even saves his life, which Vance repays by supplying the guns they use to eventually take Diaz down.

However, over time, Vance develops a cocaine-block-sized chip on his shoulder, claiming that Tommy isn’t giving him his due. The final straw comes when Tommy claims that the rise and success of the Vercetti operation are his alone to claim. Vance then betrays Tommy to crime boss Sonny Forelli, clueing him in that a large cash payment from Tommy is made of counterfeit bills.

This spells the end not only for their relationship, but also of Vance’s legendary dance moves as Vercetti guns him down during the end game’s murderous rampage.

Heel Turn Justified? Maybe. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, we learn that Lance and his brother Vic had previously established themselves as big sharks in the Vice City drug trade. In a way, it’s understandable that Lance would take umbrage at Tommy’s rise, given the struggles he and his brother endured. However, Lance also has a history of making rash decisions and feeling that he’s not being given his due. Either way, he and Tommy are both egomaniacal, homicidal killers, so what’s the difference?

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Shepherd’s Loose Ends

Losing 30,000 troops in one fell swoop to a nuke can fundamentally change a person. At least that’s one rationale why General Shepherd, a supporting NPC in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, betrays the members of Task Force 141 under his command in a shocking scene that lives on in a thousand memes.

After you, as the player-character Roach and NPC Ghost, successfully extract the playbook of villain Makarov as part of the effort to stop World War III, Shepherd (voiced by Lance Henriksen, always a sign that shit’s about to get real) unloads his signature .44 Magnum into both Roach and Ghost. Both are then unceremoniously dumped into a pile, doused with gasoline, and set on fire by Shepherd’s tossed-off cigar in one of the most brutal betrayals in video game lore.

Heel Turn Justified? No way. Beyond his contention that not enough attention was given to the 30,000 troops that died under his watch, his ultimate motivation is purely selfish: to rebuild his reputation and become a hero once more in the eyes of the public.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Superman Goes Dark

In general, unless they’re in the Snyder-verse where Batman blows away bad guys without remorse, DC superheroes don’t kill. But there’s another exception to the rule — the multiverse. It is within one of these parallel universes that NetherRealm’s Injustice: Gods Among Us takes place.

After this universe's Joker tricks him into murdering a pregnant Lois Lane and setting off a nuclear bomb (because one of those two things just wasn’t enough), Superman breaks the golden rule about killing and mercilessly ends the Joker’s life. Downward spirals being what they are, he also creates a totalitarian One Earth Regime, putting down any and all who oppose him. It’s up to the heroes of two universes to join forces and end this reign of Superman once and for all.

Heel Turn Justified? We’ll give alt-Supes half a point, given that a) he’s not our Superman, so the stakes are low; and b.) honestly, in killing the Joker, he finally does what Batman should have done a long, long time ago (though maybe the whole Regime thing is a bridge too far).

Final Fantasy VII: Jenova’s Witness

Sometimes a turn to the dark side isn’t an act of pure malice, but one born from madness, which certainly seems like the case with Final Fantasy VII’s beloved villain Sephiroth. Once a certified war hero and golden child of Shinra Inc.’s SOLDIER program, Sephiroth was a shining example of heroic values, even fighting side by side with protagonist Cloud. However, learning that he’s the result of an experiment combining human and extraterrestrial DNA from an entity called Jenova proves just a bit more than his fragile mind can bear. Going full Kylo Ren, he tragically burns down a village, likely killing hundreds, and then pulls the old “I’m a god and the world must bow to me” card.

Heel Turn Justified? Hard to say how anyone would react to finding out they’re part alien, but overall we’re gonna go with no on this one. Sorry, Seph; just as with the aforementioned Kylo Ren, simply looking cool doesn’t justify taking innocent lives.

Portal 2: Wheatley Turns Murderbot

Rogue AI with an attitude and a penchant for bloodlust seems to be par for the course in the world of Portal, so it was kind of refreshing to spend the first half of Portal 2 with a robot that wasn’t actively trying to kill you. Wheatley, originally an “Intelligence Dampening Sphere” attached to original Portal antagonist and queen of the zinger GLaDOS, awakens Chell at the beginning of the game and at first seems genuinely eager to help her escape from the testing labs.

Together, the pair dismantle GLaDOS’ defense systems and install Wheatley as the new central core, giving him control of the facility. But, just as he’s in the act of lowering an elevator for Chell to escape in, he goes full SkyNet and declares himself the boss. In a surprising turn of events, Chell must then partner with former villain GLaDOS (now installed in a small computer chip powered by a potato, of all things) to bring an end to Wheatley’s destructive rule.

Heel Turn Justified? Nah. Wheatley’s a jerk.

Halo 5: Guardians: Cortana, Play "Your Betrayal"

Outside of Master Chief, one of the more well-known figures who visually represent the Halo franchise is the blue, female AI called Cortana. So well known, in fact, that Microsoft made her the namesake for their IRL virtual assistant in 2014... until announcing they were rethinking their entire platform in 2020.

Present from the very first game, Halo Combat Evolved, Cortana had always served as Master Chief’s right hand, playing a primary role in many of the heroic acts that saved humanity time and time again. In Halo 4, after exhibiting strange behavior due to an AI-specific illness called Rampancy, Cortana reveals that she is nearing the end of her 7-year lifespan and selflessly sacrifices herself in order to once again save the world.

But that’s not the end. In Halo 5: Guardians, players learn that Cortana is alive and well. Stranded on a Forerunner world called Genesis, Cortana learns about the “Mantle of Responsibility,” a philosophy handed down through time that dictates that the most developed species should hold the primary role in the universe. Cortana takes it to mean that human-developed AI should assume the Mantle, and does so, creating a faction of AIs to assist in her plan for universal domination. The battle between humanity and these AI may serve, at least partially, as the backdrop for Halo Infinite.

Heel Turn Justified? Hard to say. Halo 5 ends on a cliffhanger note, so we don't have the full story right now. Hopefully, answers lie ahead soon when Halo Infinite releases later in 2021.

KEEP READING: The Many Plot Twists of M. Night Shyamalan, Ranked From Worst to Best

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