Unmasking Hidden Antagonists: A Deep Dive into 5 Video Game Masterminds Disguised as Allies

  • 02-07-2023 |
  • Oscar Jennings

In the world of video games, not everything is as it seems. Amongst the heroes, allies, and neutral NPCs, there often lies a hidden antagonist, waiting for the right moment to reveal their nefarious plans. These characters add depth and complexity to the narratives, often becoming the pivotal point for the plot twist. This article draws your attention to the ten such masterminds that we encountered in our favorite video games.

1. Al Mualim - Assassin's Creed

In the original Assassin's Creed, the player's mentor, Al Mualim, is not introduced as a villain. He is portrayed as a wise old man who guides the protagonist, Altair, through his missions. Al Mualim’s treachery hits the player hard when it is revealed he is using Altair to further his own ambitions of power and control. Despite his stern demeanor and virtuous teachings about the creed, the master of assassins was the true villain of the story, using the Apple of Eden for his personal gain.

2. Darth Revan - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is remembered for its shocking plot twist. The player character is revealed to be Darth Revan, the supposedly deceased Sith Lord. The discovery that the player has been acting as the Sith Lord they were hunting down is a striking narrative turn, especially as the player has spent much of the game developing their Jedi abilities and fighting against the Sith.

3. The Illusive Man - Mass Effect 2 and 3

The Illusive Man, the leader of Cerberus, is introduced as an ally in Mass Effect 2. He is the one who brings Commander Shepard back to life, providing resources and crew to fight the Collectors. However, in Mass Effect 3, he is revealed to be one of the main antagonists. His obsession with control leads him to become indoctrinated by the Reapers, the very enemies he was fighting against.

4. Andrew Ryan - BioShock

In BioShock, Andrew Ryan is introduced as the main antagonist. However, as the game unfolds, it's revealed that the real villain is Frank Fontaine, who had been masquerading as the friendly Atlas. Fontaine manipulates the player into overthrowing Ryan and taking over Rapture. His reveal as the puppet master behind all the chaos is a shocking moment in video game storytelling.

5. Dutch van der Linde - Red Dead Redemption 2

Dutch van der Linde, the charismatic leader of the Van der Linde gang, initially appears to be a friend and ally. However, as Red Dead Redemption 2 progresses, it becomes clear that Dutch is not the man he seems to be. His descent into madness and his willingness to sacrifice his own gang members for his dreams of freedom and prosperity reveal his true villainous nature.

These hidden villains bring an element of surprise to the narratives, often dramatically altering the course of the game. Their betrayals hit harder, their motivations are often more complex, and their character arcs are among the most memorable in video game history.