Prepare to be spoiled
When summing up a year in gaming and what makes it so special (as we've done with our Game of the Year 2014 coverage) it's hard to really talk about the games we love without a few spoilers slipping through. Some of the best moments in games are so impactful because you don't see them coming, and blindsiding you is what makes them memorable for years to come. You certainly don't want to blow the experience for everyone else by throwing out spoilers willy-nilly, which makes really talking about these great games frustratingly difficult.
Well you know what? I've had enough of this tiptoeing around, censoring myself and picking through my words to make sure I don't reveal that the ultra special secret character in Super Smash Bros Wii U is actually [SPOILER REDACTED]. See, right there! Enough of that. In fact, to show how done I am with carefully avoiding any mention of who dies or who's secretly a robot, I'm going to put the biggest spoilers of 2014 right here. The very same ones you've been hiding from all year long. Go on, click through! I dare you.
There are dragons (Dragon Age Inquisition)
Bioware did a great job keeping this one under wraps, since you'd think the entire game is about magical sleight of hand and running an eternal lap, purgatory-like, around the endless Hinterlands. The goddamn Hinterlands. It sneaks up on you, slowly at first, but then it hits you like a bolt of lightning - maybe literally. That's because there are totally dragons in the world of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and it isn't long until you see even more winged monstrosities flapping their leathery wings over your head and setting fire to unlucky packs of villagers. You thought this game was all about good-looking elves! Nope. DRAGONS.
Talion's entire family is killed (Shadow of Mordor)
Hey man, you clicked on this article knowing full well what you were in for. You may have been able to avoid every Wikipedia synopsis, stray announcement trailer, and blurb on the back of the box that mentions how Talion's family was slaughtered in the game's opening, setting up his ultimate quest for vengeance. But here no punches are pulled, and now you know the thoroughly spoilery truth. If that inexorably ruins the first five minutes of Shadow of Mordor for you, you have no one to blame but yourself.
You see Pagan Min, like, four times (Far Cry 4)
Given how much Pagan Min is featured in the promotion of Far Cry 4, and how fascinating he seems to be from those snippets, you probably predicted he features heavily in the game itself. No one can fault you for not seeing the game's unbelievably shocking twist: Pagan Min only shows up a handful of times, and you'll spend the vast majority of your time running away from rhinos and driving ATVs off cliffs. Holy shit, mind BLOWN.
Bayonetta meets a child who isn't all he seems (Bayonetta 2)
Those of you who played the first Bayonetta might remember that our sassy protagonist spends a lot of time with a mysterious child who isn't all that she seems. That turned out to be one of the title's biggest twists, but we're not talking about that. We're talking about Bayonetta 2, where developer Platinum pulls the rug out from under players with an unbelievable narrative torsion: in Bayonetta 2, our sassy protagonist spends a lot of time dealing with a mysterious child who isn't all that he seems. Oh man, I think I need a moment to process this.
Lightning is the most important person in the world (Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns)
Some might say that Motomu Toriyama, the director of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, has a reputation for favoring protagonist Lightning Farron. But that's not fair - she's treated no different than any other Final Fantasy protagonist with three major starring roles, inexplicable cameos, and progressively more (totally coincidental) god-like powers. Given this utterly indifferent treatment, the big twist of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns will totally blow fans' minds: Lightning is the most important person in this or any world. No, for real. Turns out the previous two games have all been building up to her becoming even more god-like and delivering humanity from the depths of its own folly. Will wonders never cease?
Ellen Ripley is out of commission (Alien Isolation)
In a weird turnabout that could only occur within the confines of a movie tie-in, Alien Isolation spoils a huge twist for those who have never seen, heard of, or thought particularly hard about Alien. Players who may not have experienced this obscure film will be shocked to find that it's conclusion is revealed in the first minutes of Isolation. Yep, the death of Ellen Ripley's entire crew, her narrow escape from the Alien, and her descent into cryosleep, all blown by single opening monologue. Wow guys, put a spoiler warning on that one!
The Nazis win... until they don't (Wolfenstein: The New Order)
So the fact that Wolfenstein: The New Order is set in an alternate universe where the Nazis won World War II has probably already been spoiled for you. Don't you hate those ads that give away huge plot secrets? Thankfully, the marketing team was smart enough to keep Wolfenstein's biggest twist under wraps, because it's one hell of a doozy. You might seriously want to look away right now if you don't want the entire game ruined for you. Because in the end? The Nazis lose. Yeah no, it's true! Look it up if you don't believe me. Don't worry, I had to take a few days to process it too.
Delsin Rowe is either a saint, or the worst creature in existence (inFAMOUS Second Son)
inFAMOUS has always been known for its balanced, realistic moral choices and results. I mean, who hasn't had to deal with the choice between politely asking a guy to open a door for you, or violently shocking him to death? Tough call, really. But the big shocker (heh) in Second Son is what your choices ultimately mean for the protagonist in the end. Seriously inFAMOUS fans, scroll away now if you don't want to know! The big twist is that, depending on his actions, protagonist Delsin Rowe either becomes a saint who cuts down crime and saves kittens from trees, or the most evil creature on planet Earth. Man, I just can't handle this deep ethical uncertainty.
Slenderman is stalking you (Slender: The Arrival)
Those of you out there who don't follow the intricacies of internet-based pop culture might not know of the creature called Slenderman. It might also be hard to pick up on the fact that he's meant to be quite frightening - he's so crisply dressed that you almost miss how he pops up in random places throughout the game and doesn't appear to have a face. But trust me when I say that in the end, as remarkable as it may sound, Slenderman is totally stalking you. As much as he may seem like a he's a gentle soul just looking out for you on your journey, he's actually the guy you really need to worry about attacking and doing horrible things to you as the camera fizzles out. I know, I was shocked too!
The fish and the bird get together in the end (Entwined)
The plot of Entwined, which sees you controlling star-crossed lovers Bird and Fish as they fly down a psychedelic tunnel, hinges on an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Will these two digital origami sculptures, their love so pure and powerful, finally be together in the end? So much stands between them: jagged shapes, colorful lines, slightly bigger jagged shapes. These challenges seem impossible to surmount! But I'm going to give the ending away right now and say yes, they do end up together forever, violently colliding and turning into a dragon. Man, I wish my love life was like that.
Didn't see that coming
There they are, readers: the biggest, most heinous spoilers of the last year. Was I too brazen in revealing these critical and unforeseen plot twists? Did I completely ruin this year's big reveals for you, and now you've got a bone to pick? Expel your hate in the comments below.
Need something to soothe your spoiler-induced wounds? Still want to know more about 2014, like a recently arrived space alien attempting to catch up on human pop culture? Well, feast your many eyes on 10 awesome games that narrowly missed our GOTY 2014 list, the Best Villains of 2014, and tell us your game of the year to test what you've already learned. We've got you covered, my intergalactic friend.