The Best Moments When Games Break the Fourth Wall

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Breaking the fourth wall within a video game is certainly not a brand new concept these days. We've witnessed it done in the right way for decades now -- with some games performing this feat better than others, of course.

Sometimes, however, breaking the fourth wall can be a decoy tactic for when your video game is not quite clever enough. Other times, it is a witty way to include the player in just one more aspect of the experience.

In any case, breaking the fourth wall is relatively interesting. And here are a few prime examples of how great it can be when it's done right.

Assassin's Creed 2

Minerva's Reveal (End Game)

Assassin's Creed 2 is often considered one of the best games in the franchise, as it made a pretty darn good sequel to the first release. There were some faults, sure, but what game doesn't have issues?

When it came to the ending, however, things took a different turn. Minerva made an appearance, but instead of speaking directly to Desmond Miles, she walked right up to the camera and spoke to the player, essentially breaking the fourth wall down entirely. She is addressing a future version of Desmond through the player.

Tomb Raider 2

Shower Scene

Tomb Raider has a come long way over the past few decades -- what with new graphics, a new story, and even a new character model changing things up. Almost everyone was a pervert when it came to the curves of Lara Croft, and the shower scene in the second game was easily a highlight of the experience of the tomb explorer.

In this particular scene, near the end of the game, Lara acknowledged the camera being within the bathroom with her. She then told the player watching that they had witnessed enough before pulling her shotgun on us.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Game Crash

Rocksteady certainly made a name for themselves with the Arkham games set in the Batman universe. Some were better than others, but a significant point in the first game really set the standard for fourth wall-breaking experiences recently.

The point in question relates to the scene where Batman becomes the villain for a time. Joker then slaughters the hero. Players are told to use their middle stick to dodge the gunshot, but due to Scarecrow's drugs messing with the controls and mechanics of the game, we are unable to do so.

Spec Ops: The Line 

Konrad's Speech (Ending)

Spec Ops: The Line was pure genius. The game ensured players felt like sick, demented individuals for partaking in the sequences throughout -- all the while telling an interesting, compelling story of the darkness that ensues during wartime. 

One sequence, however, stands apart from the rest. The end speech brought to you by Konrad literally calls the player out for empowering themselves by playing video games. Granted, the in-game character was originally speaking to Captain Walker, but the developer ensured it felt fourth wall-breaking, too.

Borderlands

Undead Ned

Borderlands was a fantastic game in terms of a cooperative experience in a zany first-person world. Partnered with all of the content released after launch and everything already there to complete in-game, and players were treated to a pretty significant package.

As for breaking the fourth wall, the end credits took care of that. An undead version of Dr. Ned appears, crashing through the scrolling credits for one final boss fight. The player thought things were over, and then Ned was calling them back for one more stomp.

So, there you have it. Five games that managed to break the fourth wall in highly unique ways. These five experiences managed to stick in our heads long after playing them -- and not only because they truly pulled us into the game world, but also because they broke out of it.

These developers know all about making unique experiences. What fourth wall-breaking game stands out for you, though? Let me know in the comments!

Published Jun. 9th 2016

Featured Contributor

Plasmid Addict. Zombie Survivalist. XCOM Operative. Vault Dweller. Writer. Editor.


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