The Top 10 Most Stunning Betrayals in Video Games

February 26, 2020

Betrayal in a video game plot is a sting that all gamers have faced at least once. However, some betrayals are more effective than others. This was bound to be a fact considering just how often betrayals occur in our favorite games. 

Therefore, we’ve decided to compile the top 10 examples of the most stunning video game betrayals. Although, beware of spoilers, there are major plot revelations ahead!

Borderlands 2

Throughout Borderlands and Borderlands 2, the player consistently receives messages from an unknown entity. This character was dubbed “The Angel” by characters in the game. She was typically helpful in most cases.

That is, right up until the curtain was pulled back and she was revealed to be a traitor. The mysterious lady who had helped you turned out to be the daughter of popular antagonist Handsome Jack. As you can imagine, this betrayal of trust lead to serious trouble for the vault hunters of Borderlands 2.


Dishonored begins with a betrayal, as protagonist Corvo Attano is framed for murder. Luckily, he has friends in low places who help him escape his predicament. From there, the shadowy group that assists him allows him to begin making things right.

However, the Conspiracy that freed him decides they no longer have use of him once he’s done. In an attempt to rid themselves of his crimes, they poison poor Corvo and leave him for dead. This double betrayal gave Dishonored a fantastic twist that made a great game even more memorable.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The Grand Theft Auto series has a history with turning likable characters into traitors. However, none of them hit quite as hard as Big Smoke from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. 

Main character Carl “CJ” Johnson returns home after years away following the murder of his mother. He is quickly welcomed by childhood friend, Big Smoke. The character seemed likable enough and was immensely quotable, even today. That made the fact that Big Smoke was the murderer of CJ’s mother so much worse in the end. 

Red Dead Redemption

Over the course of 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, players take the role of grizzled cowboy John Marston. In his journey to for a quiet life, Marston is constantly hounded by federal agent Edgar Ross. The federal agent uses blackmail to force Marston to return to his gunslinging ways in order to hunt down his former gang. 

Over the course of the game, Marston slowly tracks down each former friend and ends their lives of crime himself. With each gang member put down, Marston lets go of his past a little more. Yet his feeling of committing betrayal weighs heavily on him. Even if h were able to return to his quiet farm life, he would have to live with his actions for the rest of his days. 

This makes Edgar Ross’s betrayal even more rage worthy. Marston’s story sadly ends with a posse of federal agents gunning Marston down in his own barn. However, the player is at least able to take a few of them with them when they go. 


The story of BioShock has been discussed many times over the years, from protagonist Jack being stranded in the incredible underwater city, to the Big Daddy encounters, all the way to the final confrontation of Andrew Ryan and the revelations within.

This confrontation with the ambitious ruler of Rapture carries a lot of baggage with it. Among the truths uncovered in the scene lies a major betrayal, of course.

It turns out that “Atlas,” the first person you interact with in Rapture, never existed at all. The man behind the myth, Fontaine, was nothing more than a manipulator. He secretly controls Jack — and the player — with the phrase “Would you kindly,” something that players had heard many times over the course of the game. 

Not only was Jack deceived, but the player was, as well. 


Portal 2

Portal 2 is a treat of a game to play. It features terrific writing and characters. Of the four main characters featured in the game, Wheatley the personality core is a friend. He’s not an incredibly useful one, but he does try his best. 

This causes the player to trust Wheatley when he tells them to install him in place of GLaDOS. For those not in the know, GLaDos, is the series’ antagonist and all-around fantastic party planner. However, power does have an ability to corrupt. 

Poor Wheatley succumbs to the power he possesses and becomes an arguably worse threat than GLaDOS was. This betrayal hits a bit differently, as Wheatley really did want to help initially. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

The Call of Duty series has some incredible showstopper moments. One of these moments occurs in the ending of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, when General Shepard reveals his true colors to the player. 

He does this by shooting the game’s protagonist in a cowardly act of betrayal. His reason for betrayal? To trigger World War III and increase military enlistment and defense spending. 

Life Is Strange

Everyone has that one really cool teacher in school that they related to. This teacher typically had the class that you couldn’t wait to get to during the day. In Life Is Strange, young protagonist Max Caulfield has a relationship like this with his teacher Mr. Jefferson.

This ends up being pretty problematic, as Jefferson turns out to be a completely murderous lunatic. As far as reasons to develop trust issues go, poor Max has a pretty good excuse following this betrayal.

Tony Hawk’s Underground

A Tony Hawk game isn’t the most likely of places to find a story of betrayal. However, Eric Sparrow of Tony Hawk’s Underground definitely fits the bill.

The childhood friend of the protagonist seemingly assists the player throughout the story. This is revealed to be completely false when the player discovers that Sparrow has been sabotaging their efforts for a long time. 

It’s very small, petty acts of betrayal compared to other entries you’ll find here. However, they’re still capable of filling a person with white hot rage. 

A Way Out

A Way Out is a game featuring an intriguing premise. Two players work together to escape a lengthy prison sentence. As Leo and Vincent, the two players must consistently cooperate to beat the odds. 

Naturally, this creates a bond between the two right up until the story winds down to a close. This is when the ugly truth comes out: Vincent had been an undercover cop the entire time. His motives are sound, but the betrayal is still hard to accept. 

This leads to the two players turning guns on each other, culminating in a battle that only the better player can win.

What is the most shocking betrayal you experienced in a video game? Sound off in the comments below!

Category: Articles



In this article

April 19, 2011
Rockstar North
Rockstar Games
October 26, 2004
2K Boston, 2K Australia
2K Games
August 21, 2007

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