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Video Game Spoilers That Caused An Uproar

Balancing on that knife edge between teasing just enough and revealing too much is every video game marketing department's nightmare. Indeed, there have been some memorable red faces in gaming history. Sometimes, even when they get it right, an egregious comment here or a data leak there can cause just as much damage — or delight, as the case may be. There are also times when spoilers are actually deliberate promotional gimmicks, setting up the story through a major narrative reveal.

If you are a gamer, you have probably been spoiled, whether deliberately or by accident. Likely, not all of these situations have sabotaged the gaming experience. Love them or hate them, spoilers — malicious, accidental, embarrassing, or any other kind — won't go away anytime soon. From unfortunate advertisements to soul-crushing leaks, these are the video game spoilers that caused an uproar.

The Last of Us Part 2 leak has explosive consequences

Following delays, extreme crunch, and a near fatal office accident, The Last of Us Part 2 was dealt the unkindest blow of all: a major leak that included pre-release gameplay and spoiler-filled cutscenes. Developer Naughty Dog confirmed the authenticity of the leak and shared a heartbreaking tweet about moving on from the latest crisis. 

A "disgruntled Naughty Dog employee" was first rumored to have been behind the leak, however, Sony later refuted this. The videos, which were swiftly removed from YouTube and the like, had already revealed quite a bit of the storyline. This included details about Ellie and Dina's relationship, the presence of a new playable character, and some major character deaths.

The leak heavily divided the gaming community, with Naughty Dog experiencing major backlash on Twitter. It seems many The Last of Us fans were unhappy with the subversive plot points and perspectives in the follow-up, with some hurling various accusations at the company and creative director Neil Druckmann.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer reveals spoilers old and new

A week before the PS4 launch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Square Enix released the game's final trailer. That wouldn't normally be a cause for concern, except the trailer gave away a bit more than expected. So much so, in fact, that players were advised to stay away from it. One could argue that a remake of a two-decades-old game can't be held to account for revealing "spoilers." However, the final trailer didn't just give away known plot points; it also revealed some new twists and turns.

There was another reason for prospective gamers to be circumspect about watching any FF7 Remake content prior to its release. Though the game officially launched on April 10, 2020, physical copies were shipped early to Europe and Australia due to the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, some had already played the first chapter by the time the game launched for the rest of the world, leading to more spoiler-type stuff floating about on the world wide web.

TV ad ruins the big reveal at the end of Star Wars: Jedi - Fallen Order

As one of the franchise's most recognizable characters, Darth Vader turning up in a Star Wars game can hardly be considered a surprise. Even so, a cameo from one of the greatest anti-heroes in pop culture history seems like a card developers might want to keep close to their chests. 

Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order, which released in November 2019, featured a special appearance from the iconic Skywalker in the final mission. The trouble is, a TV advertisement that aired on Thanksgiving gave the twist away.

Though Respawn Entertainment had hinted at a Darth Vader appearance, speculation was still rife. The ad, which later appeared on Xbox's YouTube channel, gave away one of the best surprises of the game, on a day when a disproportionate number of viewers were glued to their TV sets. Though Fallen Order had already been out for a couple of weeks by then, many gamers had not reached the end by time the ad aired, making this a particularly unfortunate marketing decision.

Xenoblade Chronicles X launch trailer includes key plot twists

The Xenoblade Chronicles X European launch trailer that aired in December 2015 outraged fans due to the amount of spoilers it contained. "There is literally endgame footage in this trailer," one fan complained on NeoGAF. The title had already released in Japan earlier that year, so presumably some people already knew the story, For those who didn't, at least two important plot twists were revealed.

Both spoilers related to main characters in Xenoblade Chronicles X. The first concerned Lao, who (over four years later, it might be safe to reveal this) turned out to be a spy and betrayed his side. The other spoiler involved Elma, who was revealed to be an alien. The hints in the trailer might not have meant much to players new to the game. But, with character development lauded as the central pillar of an RPG, these elements certainly detracted from the impact of some cool surprises.

Death Stranding launch trailer opens up too much

Hideo Kojima's highly anticipated Death Stranding released on the PlayStation 4 in November 2019, shooting up to number two on the UK boxed games chart. A PC version is expected in 2020, and the game has already earned its share of accolades. Given the shroud of obscurity that covered the title pre-launch and Kojima's grand proclamations of creating an entirely new genre, its launch trailer was something of a relief. Even so, is it possible it revealed too much?

At eight minutes, the trailer was bound to have some spoilers. It highlighted numerous key plot points, including several boss encounters. These moments may not make much sense out of context, but they definitely point towards what to look out for. From being too cagey to revealing too much — can Death Stranding get anything right? Or is this just a case of people always finding something to complain about?

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm's final cutscene leaks two years before launch

This might just be greatest (worst?) spoiler of all time: the ending of StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. The expansion's final cutscene leaked in 2010, a full two years before launch. There was much speculation that the leak could be a hoax, but, to use the words of one Reddit user, oh man, did it look legit! Particularly because the voice acting was convincing, with similarities to StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. There was also storyboard merging and placeholder voice acting, making it seem like a work in progress and adding to its authenticity. 

The most telling evidence of all was Blizzard getting hot under the collar and issuing cease-and-desist orders to get the video taken down from various places. According to official statements, the company "does not comment on rumors or speculation." It's now known that the leak was legitimate enough, although an early version of the ending that would eventually release in Heart of the Swarm.

Final Fantasy 7 ad spoils one of the biggest deaths in gaming history

Arguably one of the best-known "spoilers" in gaming history is Aerith's death in Final Fantasy 7. It was also a truly sentimental and memorable moment in gaming lore. The original released in 1997, but in less than two months Final Fantasy 7 Remake will hit gaming screens, all spiffed up for your HD pleasure. Some fans are unhappy that others are talking about how Aerith's demise will be handled. Is it still a spoiler if the game is over two decades old and part of a celebrated and well-known franchise?

Funnily enough, back in the late '90s, a television ad for Final Fantasy 7 also spoiled Aerith's death. About 13 seconds in, you see Aerith lying motionless on the water. Cloud looks down as the voiceover mentions "the love that can never be."

Spoiling Aerith's death might be a moot point at this stage, something the folks at Square Enix likely won't lose much sleep over. However, the demo that leaked at the end of 2019 unleashed a torrent of spoilers, teases, and hidden content, plus what appeared to be a lot of messy code. The video has since been removed and you can now play the official version of the demo, but no doubt the early exposure at the hands of dataminers left many people unhappy.

Quake 4 wastes its key twist on a marketing gimmick

"The only way to defeat them is to become one of them." This tagline was used in Quake 4's pre-release materials, including the trailer. Unfortunately, it was also one of the game's major turning points. Playing as Corporal Kane, there's part of the story when you are captured by the the cyborg alien enemy, the Strogg, and converted into an augmented being like one of them. A shocking twist, you could say. Only, it wasn't. Even if you missed the trailer and the press releases, the back of the box gave the game away in just so many words.

After its release in 2005, Quake 4 received mostly positive reviews, though it was more or less universally acknowledged that keeping the twist under wraps rather than using it as a marketing gimmick might have been the smarter move. "I would have been shocked, amazed, flabbergasted, and every possible excited word," one reviewer wrote.

Dead Space launch trailer gives away the final boss battle

Giving away the final boss battle is a huge spoiler, but what happens when the game's publishers do so without realizing the impact it might have? That's exactly what happened with EA's survival horror title Dead Space

This series has never been for the faint of heart, and gamers who love to have the pants scared off them will get their thrills from knowing that unspeakable horrors lie around the next corner. In such a scenario, you'd expect the final boss to be a deliciously horrifying reveal when the time is right. Only, EA didn't get the memo, and you clearly see the ghastly Hive Mind in the 2008 launch trailer.

One game reviewer, describing the trailer as a "two-minute edit-splatter" that managed to cram in an incredible amount of giveaways, advised that gamers should watch only if they had zero intention of playing the game.

Destiny 2: Forsaken plagued by leaks and spoilers

Forsaken, a Destiny 2 expansion pack that came out in 2018, had a few run-ins with leaks and spoilers. One big giveaway was the death of Cayde, though you could argue that this technically wasn't a spoiler but a deliberate and extremely canny marketing gimmick upon which the entire expansion hinged. In a cinematic trailer called "Last Stand of the Gunslinger," you see an epic battle between Cayde and the game's bosses, at the end of which he does fall. This plays out as a cutscene in the early part of the game, setting up the story of avenging his death.

A few weeks prior to the release of the game, though, a serious leak gave away a great deal of information, including new strikes and raids, the Gambit game mode, and details about enemies, items, and even the next expansion. The source was a Reddit user who had a reputation in this department, and it ended up causing quite a stir among gamers.

Portal 2 marketing spoils the return of an iconic character

One might argue that GLaDOS surviving the end of Portal was a foregone conclusion, particularly for those of who paid attention to the song that played during the credits, "Still Alive." Still, the point where the cheeky, evil AI makes an appearance in the sequel (Portal 2 came out four years later, in 2011) could have been a wonderful surprise; however, the pre-release marketing for Portal 2 well and truly spoiled it beforehand.

Ironically, the story of Portal 2 sets up the GLaDOS reveal beautifully. The bumbling Wheatley AI who has been guiding Chell through the test chambers accidentally reactivates the AI in the third chapter of the game. Had you not known about GLaDOS's reappearance, this would have been the perfect shock-delight twist. Clearly, Valve missed a trick there. As unfortunate as the spoiler was, you can at least be thankful the company ditched the plan to exclude GLaDOS altogether.