The treacherous fiend is a well-used plot device in game development, encouraging the player to invest in a character only for them to turn around and stab you in the back. Some of them you can spot a mile away, a few have been totally unexpected, causing our jaws to drop in disbelief as everything we thought was true crumbles around us.
This Tuesday, we've put together a list of some of the most prominent turncoats in the industry, from devilishly duplicitous knaves to unwilling masqueraders. Some who jumped, some who were pushed, some who thought perhaps that they were doing the right thing. There are some here that really hurt, some that we couldn't help but admire, and some that we just found rather amusing.
A few honourable mentions go to the iconic ex-SHINRA man Sephiroth, though his treachery happens before FFVII takes off; so too do we give SEGA a round of applause for turning their backs on adoring fans of their consoles, leaving the Dreamcast as their hardware epitaph. Resident Evil's Albert Wesker and Viewtiful Joe's Captain Blue get a look in too, and it would be remiss of us were we to not mention KOTOR and the choice you can make between Light and Dark sides towards the end.
Do be warned that considering this week's top ten deals in plot twists you may not want to hit the jump as SPOILERS ABOUND! But I anticipate that most of you will have heard of/played through most of these anyway.
10. Trevelyan (GoldenEye)
It's one of the best Bond films, it's one of the finest FPS games, and it has Sean Bean as a turncoat villain. What more do you want?! Yes, the faces look like beaten spuds now, but back in 1997, we marvelled at seeing Mr. Bean's dodecahedral visage smugly taunting us. Most of us saw the movie before playing the game, no doubt, but I was lucky enough to witness someone who'd never seen the film trot through the Park level and watched their jaw drop as Bond's super-spy chum stuck the knife in.
9. Wrex (Mass Effect)
We can't really express how much love we have for the Virmire section of Mass Effect. First of all there's a bunch of shooty bits on a lush shorefront, then you have to send someone to their death (nearly always Kaiden) and then, then, Wrex goes mental. One of the best characters in the game, a Krogan of dry wit, fierce intelligence and some of the best lines in the whole franchise, gets uppity and lays down some righteous anger and sometimes there's nothing you can do. What if you've not been enough of a Paragon or a Renegade? What if all that charismatic practice has been for naught? What if you accidentally pick the wrong conversation option because you went to make a cup of tea and accidentally sat down on the controller?! There's nothing you can do except watch in horror as you ruthlessly take him out.
There may have been tears.
8. Lance Vance (GTA: Vice City)
Who can forget this one, eh? Lance and Tommy are almost like brothers, they've saved one another's lives a countless number of times, they've looked out for one another, taken bullets for one another, been there when things got downright dirty...and they did, frequently. Both of them got screwed over by Diaz, and they teamed up looking for revenge. Only Lance gets greedy and sells Tommy out to the Mafia because he didn't feel like he was getting the respect he deserved. Admittedly, Tommy never really acknowledges Lance's successes and constantly belittles him, but if you will wear lilac suits...
7. Wheatley (Portal 2)
We saw this one coming, but frankly Wheatley deserves a place on this list because his is one of the more enjoyable betrayals. A lowly bumbling cretin, he finally gets his moment in the sun and we get to spend some quality time with GlaDOS...as a potato, which is hilarious. There's something rather endearing about Wheatley's attempts to kill Chell, too; mainly because he's so very rubbish at it. He as all of this power and doesn't really know what to do with it. Plus if we were going to be betrayed by anyone, we'd much rather it be Stephen Merchant rather than anyone else.
6. Farah (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time)
It shouldn't happen to a Prince. One of the finest things abount Sands of Time has to be the relationship between the Prince and Farah. They're both cut from the same cloth - rich, rude and pretty clueless - and it makes for some fantastic banter, and a dynamic relationship that proves not only believable but endearing. So when her Highness sneaks off in the middle of the night having seduced the Prince (the end of the world is coming, why not), stealing the Dagger of Time in the process because she's lost faith in her man, it's a little hard to bear.
She manages to mess it all up and the Prince has to go back in time all the way back to the beginning to save her life, spinning a vast story and regaling her with the events that will unfold if things go bad, but losing her love in the process as the whole relationship never got to blossom as a result of his going back in time. *headache*
5. Kain (Final Fantasy 4)
Perhaps a controversial choice considering that, for much of the game, Kain is in fact being controlled by the protagonist's older brother who, in turn, is being controlled by an interdimensional being on the Moon who is hell bent on summoning a giant robot to destroy the world. As you do.
But Kain makes the list because his story is arguably the best of those on this list. A formidable badass, yes he is being controlled for a large proportion of proceedings, but it is his jealous feelings regarding Rosa, and his inner rivalry with Cecil that make him an easy target for Golbez. Indeed, his dark desires are even personified towards the end with the player given the choice of redeeming the Dragoon Commander or not.
There's certainly more to the Rare-Nintendo-Microsoft love triangle than just money, but it's hard not to drum up the image of a wonderful, creative, intelligent bride working with a kind, compassionate and loyal husband to make magic together, until one day a corporate suit comes along and promises her jewels and trinkets and buckets of gold. Oh my, she thinks to herself, with all of this money I'll be able to be even more creative and reach a wider audience! Only it doesn't quite work like that and, after running away in the night, she finds her new husband to be a cold, indifferent master, who strips her of her virtue and personality and leaves her snacking on Vicoden all day long.
I might have embellished that somewhat.
3. Delita Heiral (Final Fantasy Tactics)
Oh Delita. Not content with pitting pretty much every faction in The War of the Lions against one another, Delita kidnaps a princess, usurps the throne of Ivalice and consigns his best friend and ally Ramza, that's you, to a footnote in the history books as he takes credit for everything, manipulating everyone around him to create a power void that he eventually steps into as ruler. Of course, the general public know nothing of this at all, and he's hailed as a hero. Machiavelli would have been proud.
2. Atlas (Bioshock)
Probably the finest twist of this generation. The friendly voice of reason in amongst the Splicer-infested, underwater dystopian nightmare, Atlas' gentle Irish brogue guides the way through Rapture's boardwalks and bathyspheres, filling you in on the backstory of the great experiment. Until, that is, you learn the truth just after you've killed your own father, as Atlas reveals himself to be the ADAM-hunting scoundrel Frank Fontaine, that everything you thought was true was a lie, and that you've been living as a sleeper agent for him since you were a child. Which really wasn't that long ago.
1. Capcom (Devil May Cry 4)
Of course, the greatest betrayal in videogame history, if the internet is to be believed, is that by Capcom back in 2008. Devil May Cry 4 coming to the Xbox 360? SACRILEGE! Sony fanboys got their knickers in the ultimate twist, declaring that by going multiplatform, Capcom had abandoned them, betrayed them and that they would therefore be boycotting the game once it released. Capcom, in fairness, had announced way back in the early stages of development, that the PS3 would be the only machine the forthcoming game could possibly hope to run on, such was the PS3's power...but, of course, that turned out to really not be the case. The infamous petition received 12,459 signatures, and we've replicated some of the more choice entries below:
'This is a horrible move by Capcom. I refuse to buy any more Capcom games now because of this! Traitors!!!!'
'You should be ashamed of yourself capcom'
'Capcom, you guys are morons for putting a great series like DMC on a multi-platform. The whole point of making the game for the Playstation was so it would stay like that. You guys have sold out and are only out for the money, not the fan-base count, nor the satisfaction of keeping it like the good ol` days when actuall DEDICATED people worked hard. i'll say this last thing, i've been a gamer for almost 14 years now, but after seeing this, and if you go through with it, i will tell you right now, I will NOT BUY anymore games by you guys for being sell-outs.'
'DMC4 should not be all of a sudden 360 title...MS doesnt deserve DMC ..sony does n only sony does...after all sony did for dmc 1 2 n 3..ithey definately deserve an exclusive for DMC4.'
It almost brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it? Almost.