Developers craft some incredible stories for video games but oftentimes there are some video game titles that offer players the ability to direct the narrative outline. Of course, there are a number of choices available in video games that play with your morals and it can be incredibly difficult to decide on what option to run with. We’re going to showcase some of the hardest choices we’ve been presented within video games down below.
Warning: Various game spoilers ahead.
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#10 Life is Strange
The Life is Strange video game is full of drama with twists and turns. Players take on the role of a student named Max who returns to her old hometown in order to attend a prestigious school featuring photography. With her return, Max bumps into her past best friend, Chloe, but it’s during this encounter that she learns of her new found power. Max is able to manipulate time by reversing it and it’s with this new power that she rekindles her friendship with Chloe while also solving some of the deepest darkest secrets the town of Arcadia Bay has held for years.
This is an episodic video game from Dontnod Entertainment and as such there are big events that happen in each episode leaving you guessing as to if you made the right choices along the way. However, the biggest decision players had to make was at the very end where you’re essentially left with deciding the fate of a whole town or Chloe. It’s a tough pill to swallow, do you sacrifice an entire town to save your best friend or do you leave fate alone and leave Chloe to an untimely end?
#9 Telltale Games: The Walking Dead
Telltale Games was a phenomenal video game development studio, though they stretched themselves too thin and attempted to create gold with each release. That eventually caused the developers to go out of business, but one of their most critical hits will remain a cherished title for years. We’re of course talking about The Walking Dead, a video game series that was based on Robert Kirkman’s hit comic and television series.
Within the first title, players follow the story of Lee, an escaped convicted felon who manages to get another chance at freedom when the zombie plague has infected the world. During his journey, he meets up with a little girl named Clementine, who is all alone in the world and as a result, he takes her on as a guardian. This journey is full of its ups and downs with heartache throughout but the biggest upset was at the end of The Walking Dead when Lee becomes infected. Not only is he forced to leave Clementine on her own, but players actually have to decide on if Clementine should kill Lee with a gun or leave him to turn into a mindless zombie. Either way, it’s a depressing scene and just one of the many deaths you’ll have to go through in this franchise.
#8 Fallout 4
Fallout 4 set players off before the nuclear attack which ultimately follows a young family into a vault that requires cryogenic freezing to preserve humans prior to waking them up years later. However, early into the game, you witness your spouse killed and the kidnapping of your son. When you finally get control, you’re sent out to the open wasteland in search for answers and your missing son. This is a deep RPG journey full of quests to take on, but the biggest twist is that your son is no longer a baby but decades older and controlling The Institute, a large antagonist force that the survivors outside of the vault have been dealing with for a number of years. It’s only during the reveal that you’re left with the choice, join your son or end the Institute. On one hand, your son lived a life without you and only knew the goals and life within the Institute, but you’ve also seen what this faction has done to the innocents living their lives in the harsh outside world.
BioShock was a fantastic little game that showed a world locked away from the rest full of twisted humanity. As you go through the Rapture you’ll encounter young little girls named Little Sisters who are genetically altered and ordered to go around the area to reclaim ADAM. Essentially, these characters are rather harmless though they are accompanied by a protector known as Big Daddy. Within the game, players could reclaim the ADAM from the Little Sisters which would kill them in the process, however, you could avoid taking all of it and save the girls within the process which actually rewards players with a positive ending, but during the game it’s tough to decide on what choice to go with.
#6 Until Dawn
Okay, this choice may not matter as the same character dies no matter what but being presented with the decision originally was definitely tough. The scene felt it was something that came right out of Saw as you’re forced to decide who dies between two young characters, Ashley or Josh. Within the game, players will come across the duo tied up and a large circular saw blade that is activated by a lever where you’re forced to decide which direction that saw blade goes into. Again, the choice doesn’t matter, but knowing that the duo believes you’re the only one deciding who makes it out of there alive is quite terrifying.
#5 Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain was a big hit from developer Quantic Dream, who are known for delivering more cinematic experiences with their video game titles. In a sense, these titles are more like films with QTEs, exploration and choices that alter the narrative journey. Overall, this title involves a mass murderer, known as the Origami Killer, who is targeting children. In the narrative, players will take the role of multiple protagonists but one of the more compelling characters to play as is Ethan Mars, the father of the next Origami Killer’s victim.
Throughout the journey, Ethan is following instructions left by the Origami Killer in hopes to find his kidnapped son before it’s too late. One of the instructions calls for Ethan to locate and kill a drug dealer though it wasn’t until Ethan discovers that at the drug dealers home he is a father of two young girls leaving you to decide on if you should kill the man or show mercy and not take away the life of these young girls father.
#4 Saints Row IV
Saints Row has always been the over-the-top wacky version of Grand Theft Auto. When the fourth main installment released into the market it saw players take the role of the President of the United States with a big choice to decide on right from the start. Again, in Saints Row like fashion, players are given the choice between being the hero to sign a grant which would end world hunger, allowing everyone to enjoy a nice full belly rather than starving to death or to cure cancer. This decision doesn’t play a big role in the actual gameplay of Saints Row IV, but its easily a tough choice to be presented with right off the bat.
#3 Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect was a huge franchise that players easily sunk countless hours into. For the most part, it seemed like BioWare could do no wrong, but that didn’t last after the release of the third installment which would close out the trilogy. There was a mass outcry because of the ending as players felt cheated out of the great narrative journey and that perhaps the none of the big choices matter along the way. This outcry even sparked a petition to force BioWare in making changes towards the ending, though the development team didn’t back down.
We won’t cover the entire history of Mass Effect as it’s a quite expansive RPG narrative. However, at the end of this epic journey players are left with three options and most would agree that the three options are very lackluster. Basically, after fighting off an alien race over the course of three games, our main protagonist has no means of escape. Instead, players will decide on destroying all synthetic life within the galaxy, causing all of humanity to turn into the alien race, or sacrificing yourself to control the alien race from causing any more destruction.
#2 Fallout New Vegas
Bethesda loves to play around with morals and what better way to test yours then deciding what to do with Vault 34 in Fallout: New Vegas. Within the game, players will learn that Vault 34 still has inhabitants alive but because of the vault, there is a major problem. It turns out that the vault has been leaking out radiation which has been destroying a field of crops nearby and starving innocent survivors outside in the wasteland. When it comes come down to it, you’re presented with two choices in order to solve the Vault 34 crisis.
Because there are inhabitants within the vault that are trapped you could essentially craft up the ability to free the people inside the vault. This would, however, create a further radiation leak leading to a stronger famine outside of the vault. However, there is another option which would allow players to stop the reactor and preventing the leak from continuing outside of the vault. The problem with stopping the leak is that this would cause the Vault 34 to crumble leaving those alive to an untimely fate.
#1 Telltale Games: Game of Thrones
Telltale Games has a number of titles full of hard choices to decide on but one of the games that seemed to be filled with them is the Game of Thrones video game. Players took on House Forrester who generally abides by House Stark. The game is played best if you enjoy the Game of Thrones television series as you will embark against some of the same enemies from the series, but it’s definitely tough to decide on the majority of the choices throughout the game. Lines are quickly drawn and it seems that no matter what choice you make there will be a horrible outcome for a family member or an allegiance. Unfortunately, because Telltale Games shutdown, it looks like we’ll never get closure to House Forrester and all the choices we made throughout the game would have been for nothing.