The worst betrayals are often the ones you least expect. That way, you’re taken by surprise when a character you thought was an ally shifts gears to become your worst nightmare. But sometimes, betrayals can be spotted a mile away. Yet as with life, you’ll still be ripped apart when it happens.
No matter the extent to which your heart breaks, betrayals still make up for a vital recipe for telling an emotionally captivating story. Without them, story modes may grow stale. But it’s also an art form that needs perfect execution to create a lasting impact in players’ hearts.
So if you’re curious which betrayals top the charts, we’ve taken the time to list the five worst betrayals in video game history, ranked. Let’s dive right in.
5. Albert Wesker – Resident Evil
Fans of the Resident Evil series are likely familiar with the long-running love-to-hate relationship players have towards Albert Wesker. Since the first Resident Evil release in 1998, players meet Wesker, who takes no time in turning evil. At first, the Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S) bravo team leader, Enrico, hints that there is a traitor in the group. This creates tension in deciphering who might be the bad guy.
It turns out that the team’s field leader, Albert Wesker, was up to no good. He wastes no time sabotaging his team’s helicopter, which crashes in the Arklay mountains. During the rescue mission, he executes his plan to steal bio-organic weapons (B.O.W.s) from the Spencer Mansion close by, setting him on a path to ultimate villain-like acts throughout the series.
The series does well to prolong a love-to-hate relationship with Wesker, who always comes up with newer ways to cause chaos. It also doesn’t help that he could come back to life due to his injection of the T-Virus. This gave him more chances to make Jill Valentine his puppet, create Umbrella’s B.O.W.s, kill his allies, and distribute the Uroburos virus using a stealth plane and atmospheric missiles, among other deeds. Ultimately, his persistent tactics to further his agenda set him among the worst betrayals in video game history.
4. Mercer Frey – Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
The leader of the Thieves Guild, Mercer Frey, is a unique character who shows no bounds in treachery. He’s a villain willing to kill anyone who opposes him. While some antagonists have personal and moral compasses to sometimes see reason, Mercer Frey lacks either quality making him a unique villain to look out for.
His aim is personal gain, and he’s willing to steal, lie, and kill for his own good. Among his deeds were stealing the Skeleton Key, robbing the Thieves Guild in which he served, murdering his predecessor, and blaming Karliah for it. So even though you can expect treachery when working with thieves, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim does well to portray a unique case where players are inclined to trust the leader of the Thieves Guild only for future events to turn ugly real quick.
3. Big Smoke & Dan Ryder – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Similar to Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas portrays a traitor in the group scenario, except this time, the betrayal is not explicitly revealed to you. It’s only when Carl Johnson (CJ) kills Big Smoke in a gunfight that he admits to him how and why he betrayed his friends.
Earlier on, Big Smoke and Dan Ryder wanted to further their agenda. So they sought money, power, and popularity and tried to kill CJ and his brother, Sean ‘Sweet’ Johnson. Their plan did not work, though they ended up killing CJ’s mother. It gets worse when they betray their gang to join the Ballas in their drug business, all while putting up a front of undying loyalty to CJ.
Smoke’s betrayal was so tragic that CJ took time to accept the facts. Further, the perfectly narrative build-up and twist add to the shock players’ and CJ experience, thus earning its third top spot in the worst gut-wrenching betrayal among friends, and in video game history.
2. General Shepard – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Arguably the best plot twist, General Shepherd’s ultimate betrayal in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 massively helped propel the franchise storyline to its peak. Given that General Shepherd may just be the worst person on the planet, this exact reason makes his betrayal a worthwhile mention among the worst betrayals in video game history.
Earlier on, he had lost 30,000 fighters in the Middle East. To save his reputation, Shepherd decides to start World War 3 with Makarov. However, it doesn’t take him long to turn on Makarov and hunt him down. Then, Shepherd kills heroes Ghost and Roach and cremates them to hide the evidence. His reasons? Well, the two found evidence that could prevent World War 3. Also, they were part of his team, Task Force 141, so by killing them, he’d take on all the glory and become a war hero.
When he tries to kill Soap and Price, Soap gets his vengeance with a knife to the head just when he’s about to beat Price to death. Towards the end, Shepherd is crowned a war hero, which is ridiculous, while Price and Soap are regarded as war criminals. As absurd as the ending is, these plot twists had players’ gut-wrenching in all sorts of feelings making for an oddly intriguing betrayal of all time.
1. Kreia – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2
Now, let's look at our number one pick of the worst betrayals in video game history.
From Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, Kreia isn’t like any other. She’s also known as Darth Traya, the Dark Lord of Betrayal, when she falls to the dark side. But she wasn’t anything close to cynical. In fact, she helps you to battle as you build allies. Once you trust her intentions, she turns on you and kills the Jedi remnants you’d built as allies.
Intending to destroy the Force, Kreia is more than willing to cross anyone who stands against her to achieve her goal. Star Wars is known for its painful portrayal of allies who open themselves to the dark side, and Kreia is no exception. She’s stripped off of the Force and ends up overwhelmed by the darkness of the Sith world. This turns her into a bitter Darth Traya. Ultimately, Kreia’s demise leaves you with a gut-wrenching feeling that screams out “why?” yet is oddly satisfying when unraveling her betrayal throughout the game.
And that’s it for now. Do you agree with our listing? Feel free to let us know in the comments below or on our socials here.
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