Follow TV Tropes


Arc Words / Video Games

Go To

  • Alice Is Dead: "Kill the Rabbit."
  • Alice: Madness Returns has "What have you done?". Oddly enough, the answer is nothing. Alice blames herself for the death of her family, and much of her Character Development revolves around her realizing that she has no reason to feel guilty for it.
    • 'Centaurs in Oxford' seems to show up occasionally in collectible Memories. The Queen of Hearts alludes to its true meaning near the climax.
  • The word "slaughter" shows up a lot in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, referencing Mandus' plan, and later the Engineer's, to destroy the world in order to prevent the horrors Mandus saw in the future.
    • "The coming century" also appears frequently. Mandus was so horrified by the events of the twentieth century that he saw in the orb that he cut out his sons' hearts to "save" them from dying at the Battle of the Somme and built the Machine to end the world, even giving a piece of his soul to it, which would become the Engineer.
    • Advertisement:
    • And of course, pigs are referenced. The Engineer sees the whole world as "a machine for pigs... fit only for the slaughtering of pigs."
  • In Anachronox, the words "Eddie knows" is grafittied all over the area, and a lot of NPCs talk about this "Eddie". However, once you meet Eddie (fairly early in the game) and gets his aid, he's removed from the plot.
  • "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." Al-Mualim and Altair discuss it in the first Assassins Creed, but what it means is better explained to the player in the sequel after Ezio meets Niccolo Machiavelli.
    • During the Golden Age of Piracy, Edward Kenway at first finds the creed to be very appealing, but comes to recognize that it carries numerous horrors with it as it doesn't only apply to him, but to everyone.
    • During the French Revolution, Arno Dorian interprets it as a warning - the fact that people can believe or do anything is dangerous, and so it is that the people need to be protected.
    • And then it takes on an entirely new meaning in Assassin's Creed Origins when a message left by The One That Came Before reveals that it might be possible to create an Animus that could not only view history, but change it.
  • Asura's Wrath: "Wrath", for obvious reasons, as well as "Mantra".
    • "Well Asura, is your wrath gone?" It ends with:
      Asura: My wrath, is finally... gone.
  • The original Baldur's Gate had Gorion's spirit in fact, your own Bhaal heritage appearing to you in dreams at the end of every chapter and always telling you "You will learn..." before you wake up and discover a new entry in your special ability list.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: "This is how it happened. This is how the Batman died."
  • Bayonetta
    • "The Left Eye, our treasured Left Eye, will never fall into the hands of another!"
    • "May Jubileus, the Creator, grace you!"
    • "My dear, sweet child. Fear not, for I am always watching over you." This one actually comes back in the sequel as well, but with a much more poignant meaning to it.
  • The Binding of Isaac: "Friends 'till the end" shows up often as the description for several items in Rebirth, and there is a pill with the same name.
  • BioShock: Everything you're asked to do to continue the game is prefaced with "Would You Kindly". While at first it seems like Atlas is just being polite, he later reveals that not only is he not who he claims to be, "Would You Kindly" is in fact a genetically coded key phrase that compels you to unquestioningly obey the "suggestion." This is a particularly cunning reveal since up until this point, chances are good you have (dun dun duuunnnn!) followed Atlas' advice without wondering where all this might be coming from.
    • Throughout the game, you hear several variants on Andrew Ryan's personal philosophy: "A man chooses, a slave obeys." This has a lot more impact when you realize you don't really have a choice in your actions throughout the game.
  • BioShock Infinite
    • "Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt", with the girl in question being Elizabeth. It takes on a completely new meaning by the end- Booker wasn't trying to rescue Elizabeth to erase his debts- he sold his daughter Anna (who was raised as Elizabeth) to pay them off.
    • "The seed of the Prophet shall sit the throne, and drown in flame the mountains of man." This actually happens in a Bad Future in which Elizabeth succumbs to despair, takes up Comstock's mantle and uses Columbia to lay waste to the world below.
    • "Lives, lived, will live." "Dies, died, will die."
    • "What is Columbia, if not another Ark for another time?"
  • BlazBlue:
    • "The Wheel Of Fate Is Turning" is just a cool throwaway phrase to start your fights with, right? Not quite. It's actually hinting at the "Groundhog Day" Loop that's been put in place, and the events that continue to cause the loop to endlessly repeat.
      • The "Rebel 1: Action!" that follows it also has meaning.
    • BlazBlue: Continuum Shift: "One of the many possibilities... of the Continuum Shift" appears at the end of every Story and Arcade playthrough.
    • BlazBlue: Central Fiction has recurring references to "dreams" - both in the sense of future ambitions, which is how Izanami turns the cast against each other, and in the sense of sleeping visions such as those of the Master Unit that prevent the world from changing.
  • Bravely Second: "By what strange trick of fate do your paths cross anew?"
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops has "Dragovich... Kravchenko... Steiner... All must die..."
  • Castle Red: "Praise be"
  • Cave Story has a number of examples of this trope. The frequently recurring character Cthullu often says lines such as "You're a soldier from the surface, aren't you? Hasn't the war ended yet?" or "Where's your blonde pal? Oh well. Better keep running around til the batteries run out." As you slowly discover the backstory and eventually discover that the game takes place on a floating island and you are a robot programmed to come, with Curly, NOT to kill the Mimiga to prevent their enslavement like the game leads you to believe, but to destroy the Demon Crown and, if he was found out, then Ballos would most likely have to be killed as well. However, a person seized control of the Demon Crown (it's never made clear on which of the four it is, but it's most likely not the Doctor, as it is implied that the expedition to the island was rather recent). The battle between the protagonists and the wearer resulted in the former's' amnesia and it is implied that the battle resulted in the holder's death. The war is talked about, something on the surface, but is never elaborated on.
    • Another example is the red flowers. They are mentioned often in the opening sections of the game but the player never really understands the significance until they see the power firsthand during the battle with rabid Toroko.
  • "The black wind howls..." in Chrono Trigger. Said first by Magus, then by Janus who is actually Magus as a child.
  • Chzo Mythos: "it hurts", the final entry, in its entirety, in a diary belonging to one of the game's murder victims. It's never explicitly mentioned precisely how, but it's implied that John Defoe was born twisted or deformed, and was locked up and eventually beaten to death by his own father.
    • The tie-in story, The Expedition, explains that these words are the only/last thing that is going through the mind of Chzo and his servant's victims.
  • The Command & Conquer: Tiberium series has the "Ascension" that Kane promises his followers. In the end... he wasn't lying.
  • Two phrases that show up frequently in D4 are "Look for D", which drives David Young to figure out how his wife Little Peggy died, and "You can't change the past" or variations thereof, often used to discourage David from continuing his journey through time and move on.
  • Darkest Dungeon: "Ruin has come to our family."
  • Deadly Premonition: "At times we must purge things from this world because they should not exist, even if it means losing someone that you love."
  • Deadly Rooms of Death has "The Grand Event". The series gradually reveals that this refers to The Turning, an event that will wipe out the aboveground civilization, which Beethro must deal with.
  • In Dead Space, you'll hear "Make us whole again," first from a transmission from Nicole. As the game goes on, it gets creepier, as transmissions come from broken computers saying it over and over, then you'll hear it from Doctor Kyne and from Nicole herself. It's all from the Marker.
    • "Make us whole again" and the four steps ("Step 1: Into the dark machine. Step 2: The screws go tight, all around. Step 3: Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye. Step 4: She'll be waiting.") take turns following you around in Dead Space 2, although the first one is the only one that goes through the entire thing. The second starts in the latter half and keeps up with you until you find out what it means.
  • Dead Space 3 game gives us three examples:
    • Turn It Off: When Isaac first reads it, he assumes the phrase refers to turning all of the Markers off. It's actually a plea from the Moon, which is imprisoned by 'the Machine,' which it wants to be turned off so it can finish Convergence.
    • A new meaning to 'Make Us Whole': A phrase spanning four years and several games before finally being explained. In the first, it was thought to be the Red Marker wanting to be returned to its pedestal. In the second, it was thought to be the Golden Marker wishing to absorb its creator Isaac. The true meaning is revealed. All of the Markers are an extension of the Moon's willnote , and they were attempting to have the 'Machine' keeping the Moon sealed to be turned off, allowing the Moon to finish its Convergence and absorb all of mankind.
    • The third game also gives a new meaning to the series' name: Dead Space. It seems to fit its obvious meaning, because it's, you know, a Zombie Apocalypse IN SPACE! However, the final message from Dr. Serrano gives a a better one. Humanity shouldn't be alone in the stars. There were many other alien civilizations, but they all fell prey to one thing: the Markers. They all grew past the point of sustainability, found the Markers and began to create more, spread them throughout their empire, and worship them. Then, the Necromorphs emerged, and would trigger a Convergence event, killing the entire race of aliens, making their entire space 'dead'.
  • Deep Sleep Trilogy: "You have to wake up."
  • Detention: Snitcher. Referring to how Ray sold out the forbidden book club and caused its members to be arrested and/or executed, which led to her suicide and the events of the game (her experiencing her sins in purgatory).
  • Digital Devil Saga : "Om Mani Padme Hum", translated as "Pearl of the holy lotus". It appears at the beginning of the first game, and in the Game Over screen of the second.
  • DonPachi series: Shinu ga yoi. Literally "dying is good" and a way of saying "Die!", it's often directed at the player as they take on the True Final Boss.
  • Dragon Age II
    • In conversations with the Qunari over the course of the story, the 'certainty' of the Qun is contrasted with the chaos of free will, foreshadowing the primary conflict of the second chapter.
    • As Anders gets crazier, he starts spouting "Everyone in Kirkwall must choose a side!". He forces the issue in the end.
  • Dragon Quest Builders: "You are not a hero."
  • Drakengard: "I hear a sound." A phrase that almost always means that whatever bad situation have gotten yourself into suddenly got a whole lot worse.
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey: "Find her. Save her." It actually refers to April Ryan, the heroine of the original game, The Longest Journey, who Zoe does eventually meet. Why she needed to be found, however, remains unclear.
  • Driver: San Francisco has the seemingly innocent phrase "eyes on the city" that Tanner keeps hearing people say to him, sometimes more directly than others. It's the name of the news program that Tanner keeps hearing from the TV in his hospital room while in a coma.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In-game books and out-of-game lore have Vivec's commonly-used phrase "the ending of the words is ALMSIVI", as well as the phrase's variationsnote , which end each of his 36 Lessons and occasionally crop up elsewhere. "ALMSIVI" refers to the Tribunal, which he is a part of.
    • Morrowind has "The dreamer is awake," in reference to the reawakening of Big Bad Physical God, Dagoth Ur, a villainous King in the Mountain.
  • Fallen London has a lot of these:
    • All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
    • Do you recall how we came to that place? And they sang of their lightnings and shapeful disgrace? We tilted our vanes and ennobled our spires. They welcomed us then, and commingled all choirs.
    • A reckoning is not to be postponed indefinitely.
  • Fallout
    • The series as a whole has "War. War never changes."
    • "Life in x is about to change" for the pre-Bethesda era. For 1, x was "the Vault" and in Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel it's "the Brotherhood". In an alternative intro for the second game (that is hidden in the game files), it was 'Arroyo'.
    • "Total atomic annihilation" appears frequently in the more recent games, such as Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, though mostly in the promotional materials.
    • Fallout 3 combines this with Arc Number in the bible passage: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." -Revelation 21:6.
    • The New Vegas DLCs (particularly Dead Money and Lonesome Road) uses the words "Let go," and "Begin again." Lonesome Road also has "Let it all end", "Courier Six", and "You can go home, Courier".
    • Fallout 4 has the phrase, "Welcome home." While it's admittedly not said a ton across the game, the phrase has incredible significance since the Sole Survivor is a Fish Out of Temporal Water and is constantly struggling to adjust to the new world they find themselves in.
    • The official Penny Arcade comic has "The Vaults were never meant to save anyone," which fans have adopted as an unofficial tagline of the series.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus: "I'm so sorry."
  • Final Fantasy VIII's are more subtle, as "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec," which can be heard in various musical pieces from the opening FMV to the absolute final battle, are a fake-Latin anagram of the game's two intertwining themes: "Love" and the "Succession of Witches".
  • "This is my story." from Final Fantasy X. Frequently by Auron to Tidus and Yuna as "This is your story."
    • Referenced by Auron in Kingdom Hearts II, only referring to himself this time around, when defying Hades's control.
  • Final Fantasy XI: An ancient song, prophecy, and/or history, the "Memoria de la S^tona" is critical to the first three story arcs, most of the various Home Nation story arcs, and is likely a part of the as-yet unfinished storyline to "Wings of the Goddess". The first verse is the spoken-word intro to the first cutscene in the game. After completing the first storyline, the "true" meaning of the first verse is revealed: upon beginning the second, it is immediately and forcefully reinterpreted. Throughout the Chains of Promathia storyline, many major NPCs are in possession of one verse, which they have usually misinterpreted In Bahamut's case, so badly that he wishes to destroy all sentient life on the planet; in Tenzen's, he merely wishes to kill the player.
  • While not recurring, the very first spoken lines in Final Fantasy XIII ("The thirteen days after we awoke were the beginning of the end,") definitely qualify for the "meaning unveiled slowly as the story progresses" part. That includes questions like who is the speaker, in which sense did she awake, why did she awake, whom does she mean with "we", why is it "thirteen" days, what end is she referring to, why is it the beginning, etc..
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: "IT'S ME". Though it's mostly contributed (and used) by Golden Freddy, it pops up other times in the series as well.
  • Ghost Trick: "And it's almost dawn."
  • Granblue Fantasy: "The sins of Nalhegrande" and "Divine retribution" are frequently brought up in the Dawning Sky arc as the cast slowly tries to figure out what happened fifteen years ago to cause the collapse of Torhid Kingdom. The former refers to the myriad crimes committed to cause its destruction whether internal or external and the latter refers to the destructive power of the Great Wall unleashed on Starke Island which none of the inhabitants realized came from there, so they ascribed it to some greater power.
  • Grand Theft Auto 2: "Respect is everything". Don't be so stupid to attack a gang unless you want any of their members to shoot at you for the rest of the level. And choosing to work for one gang in particular will naturally earn the wrath of a rival one.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: "Big Smoke — Remember the name!" This line is referenced, after Big Smoke betrays CJ and CJ kills him at the end of the game, as Big Smoke is dying of his wounds and speaking to his former friend for the last time..
    Big Smoke: When I'm gone, everyone's gonna remember my name... BIG SMOKE!
    CJ: Damn. What a waste...
  • Half-Life has "Unforeseen consequences" show up when nobody expected it.
    • "Free Man" and many variations of it also appears very often. The protagonist's name is Freeman, and he is known in Half-Life 2 as "The One Free Man", since he was never subjugated by The Combine. Irony kicks in when you realize that he's not at all free.
    • The Half-Life Modification Afraid of Monsters has two words: FORGIVE ME. The main character is a drug addict, who is on an overdose throughout the whole game. Does he survive his sins? No and yes, depending on the ending.
  • The Halo Expanded Universe established the phrase Oly Oly Oxen Free as a secret code used by Spartans as an "all-clear" message. The phrase is later referenced in Halo 5: Guardians. Except this time around, things are not all-clear.
  • Hitman: Absolution: "We have a mutual problem." Used by Birdie to play every side against each other, or more accurately to play every side against 47.
  • "Keep Your Dignity" is a phrase that is continuously uttered in Hellsinker as a salute or wish. It's meaning becomes apparent in the last phase of the Rex Cavalier battle.
  • The House of the Dead 4: "Hope."
  • Imscared: "I'm scared". The Steam version later adds "BURY HER" and "Six will do".
  • Injustice 2:
  • killer7 has the phrases "Don't gain the world and lose your soul," "How soon is now," and "666" scrawled in various places.
    • "How Soon is Now" is the name of a song. While it's been covered many times, the original version was by The Smiths. (As it happens, all the courier memos are also named after songs by the Smiths.) While the other two may qualify as Arc Words, this one's probably more of a Shout-Out.
    • There's also the advent of the disappearance of smiles that runs throughout the game, before and after missions (with cheerful phrases such as "The day he stops smiling is the day we remember his smile".)
    • "In the name of Harman..."
    • "Let's dance."
  • According to the Word of God, the title 358/2 Days won't make sense to players until the game's end. More specificially, the game's title is pronounced 358 Days Over 2, which causes some confusion. It refers to the 358 days that the protagonist, Roxas, experiences during his time in Organization XIII.
    • The concept trailer "Another Side, Another Story [deep dive]" from Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is entirely composed of Arc Words. The thing is filled with quotes and random concepts that are subtly included in Kingdom Hearts II (non-existent ones and "You are the source of all Heartless," anyone?), excepting the final quote ("We'll go together"), that itself being a line from early in the first game, changed to a different line in the English version before the translators had a chance to cotton on to its Arc Words status, which they eventually did with Kingdom Hearts II (said by Sora, just before he & Riku go through the Door To Light and return home to the Destiny Islands at the end). It can make chills run up and down the savvy fan's spine.
    • Another set appears at the end of Kingdom Hearts II in Kairi's letter, ending it with "There is one sky, one destiny." Those words reappear in Kingdom Hearts III spoken by Master Xehanort, who reveals he can summon the titular Kingdom Hearts anywhere as all the worlds are connected.
    • Kingdom Hearts χ introduces "May your heart be your guiding key", words of encouragement stated by the Foretellers and the Master of Masters. The words make a come back in 0.2 and Kingdom Hearts III as words Yen Sid would always say before seeing off his pupils. It's implied the phrase was lost to time and thus few people know it. Xehanort learns of the phrase from the mysterious Subject X, a girl displaced in time. Xigbar saying it at the beginning of III foreshadows his reveal as Luxu, one of the apprentices of the Masters of Masters.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has many characters using the word 'echo' to describe events or feelings without entirely knowing why, except for Kreia, who uses the word repeatedly while knowing exactly what she's talking about. The significance is gradually explained throughout the game.
    • Also used several times throughout the game is this exchange, similar to Planescape: Torment, when The Exile is asked to describe The Force:
    I only know what its loss feels like.
    Then tell me of its absence.
  • KnockKnock: "You thought about it."
  • Legacy of Kain. "History abhors a paradox".
  • The Last of Us has 'endure and survive'.
  • Leo's Fortune: "Take your gold and go." Victor, Olga, and Sergej in turn reject Leo's offers to fund the rebuilding of their livelihood. Said family members later conspire with his wife to coerce him into ultimately using his fortune to revive The Apparatus and therefore prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Limbo of the Lost has two: "Forget reality, surrender to your darkest dreams" and "Join us, join us now!" The latter is repeated by a disembodied voice throughout the game who is trying to be creepy but ending up annoying.
  • Little Inferno: "You can go as far as you like. But you can't ever go back."
  • Throughout Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, there is a single two-character phrase that the Shroobs constantly say. It's only at the very end of the game that a translation is given - "DESTROY."
  • In Mass Effect 3 the various arcs have their own arc words:
    • Concerning Mordin and the genophage:
    "Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong."
    • In In the Leviathan DLC of:
    "The darkness cannot be breached."
    • The Rannoch Arc:
    "Keelah se'lai"
  • Max Payne features a number of instances of the phrase "the flesh of fallen angels." Those are just utterances from addled junkies and it doesn't really mean anything, just that Valkyr users are off their rocks. Something with more sense is Vlad's "[insert name here], dearest of all my friends." which he says to a lot of people, not just Max, and it usually means that he intends to kill them later.
  • From Mega Man ZX: the "Game of Destiny."
  • Metal Gear:
    • "Who are the Patriots?"/"La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo". The first time you hear it, it just sounds silly, then you find out why people say that. Its origin is comparatively mundane, as they're just used for the challenge-response ally confirmation procedure. It's later revealed that Nanomachines prevent people from mentioning the group by name, forcing them to instead say "La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo".
    • "There's only one room for one Snake..." and its derivatives.
    • "It's not over yet, Snake!"
    • "You're pretty good."
    • "V has come to."
    • "In outer heaven, men become demons."
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: "Nothing built can last forever."
  • At the beginning of Mortal Kombat 9, just before being killed by Shao Kahn during Armageddon, Raiden sends a message to his past self: "He must win". One of the main driving forces of the story focuses around the heroes trying to prevent Armageddon, slowly figuring out what exactly the prophecy means. And it's not until after countless mistakes, as well as the forces of Outworld having conquered Earthrealm and slaughtered most of the heroes, that Raiden, finding a technicality in the rules, suddenly realizes who "he" refers to: Shao Kahn himself.
    • Also, expect to hear "family and clan" when there's anything concerning Scorpion or/and Sub-Zero.
    • "There are fates worse than death" in Mortal Kombat X. Appears in a few scenes, each said by Raiden, with various meanings. At first, he refers to the reverents that Quan Chi enslaved. Then the phrase is used as a threat after Raiden becomes corrupted in The Stinger.
  • The MOTHER / EarthBound'' trilogy: "No Crying Until The End."
  • Myst: "Perhaps the ending has not yet been written."
  • In Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness, every character refers to some kind of darkness, whether moral or emotional, when describing their motivations.
    Elisabet: [Icelandic] winters are long and dark. We found each other in that darkness.
    Gunnar: Sometimes, I think I will be okay. Other times...I am in such terrible darkness.
    The game's theme song: Yet even in this darkness, something calls for me to find...
  • Nazi Zombies:
    • "You must ascend from darkness."
    • "Beware the Doc."
  • NieR: Automata:
    • "Glory to mankind."
    • "This cannot continue."
    • "Become as gods."
  • Masks pop up quite a lot, in conversation and on various characters, in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer.
  • No More Heroes: "Head for the Garden of Madness!", and "Jeanne".
    • "The Crownless King", and "The No More Hero" in the sequel. "Travesty" shows up often as well.
  • OFF gives us "The switch is now on OFF." It's a recurring puzzle element, and the last piece of dialogue in the game's official ending, as The Batter ends the world itself.
  • From Papers, Please: "Glory to Arstotzka."
  • "What can change the nature of a man?" from Planescape: Torment. Also an Armor-Piercing Question.
  • Portal: The cake is a lie... It's not.
  • Portal 2: " It's been a long time. How have you been? "
    • Remember: Science is the future, and the future starts with you.
    • A minor but important one from the second half of the game: "Goodbye, Caroline"
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has "Honor and glory", often used sarcastically and bitterly by the Prince, since the honor and glory he (and his father) hoped to attain at the start of the game wasn't worth unwittingly starting the apocalypse or, the Prince later decides, sacking the city of the Maharajah in the prologue. The final chapter of the game is titled Honor and Glory, and the words are repeated again by the Prince when he finally climbs the Tower of Dawn and finds the Hourglass, but loses Farah in the process. "Bravely I had fought and slain my enemies, proving my honor and glory. But though I could fight until the desert sands themselves were red with blood...I could not bring back the dead."
  • In Professor Layton, some variation of: "Because that's what a gentleman does."
  • "Scope" in The Reconstruction. Fitting, since it's the game's Central Theme.
  • Gathered through three chapters of Rule of Rose: Everlasting / True Love / I Am Yours.
  • Saints Row has "The Pyramid", and to a lesser extent, the Ultor Corporation.note 
  • In Sands of Destruction, Kyrie keeps hearing the phrase "acta est fabula" (Gratuitous Latin for "the play is over") right before everything around him turns to sand. The rest of the cast later hears them and learns they're actually the Destruct Code, and as the Destruct, Kyrie has to obey any order given to him with those words. Except that The Power of Love has made him immune to them by the time they learn this; although they still seem to function as a magical incantation to activate his powers, he now has a choice in whether and how they work. It's even the final line in the game.
  • Persona as a whole has "I am thou, and thou art I", which is usually said by the eponymous Anthropomorphic Personifications whenever their user summons them for the first time. Starting from Persona 3, expect the wild cards to be told that they must take responsibility for their actions when signing any form of contract.
    • Persona 3:
      • "Memento Mori" and its translations "Remember that you are mortal", "Remember that you will die", and "Remember your death". It's only ever really seen in the opening video, but this is the video that plays every time you power on the system. The main character dies.
      • Once you reach October 4th, the date is repeated a lot throughout the day. It's the day Ken's mother was accidentally killed by Shinjiro Aragaki and his Persona Castor, and Ken plans on getting even that day. While Shinjiro does end up dying, it happens in a way that traumatizes Ken.
      • "The Answer" sees a great deal of use in the section of the same name, particularly in "the answer to life." This makes a great deal of sense in that a large part of the story involves finding out why the protagonist died.
    • Persona 4:
      • "I am a Shadow... the true self", which is said by the major Shadows at the start of their boss fights.
      • The Shadows of various party members often say "You're me, and I am you." While the party members, unable to accept the most shameful parts of their personalities (as well as ones they may not be aware of), initially respond with "You're not me!", they (except for Mitsuo) ultimately repeat the Shadows' lines back to them, accepting their Shadow and gaining a Persona in the process.
      • Teddie's character arc often references the idea of a "promise." He makes you and Yosuke promise to find whoever has been throwing people inside the TV, and promises to stay and play with Nanako after the culprit has seemingly been caught, which causes him no small amount of anguish when Nanako seemingly dies in December.
    • Persona 5: "It's unforgivable" gets dropped a lot, especially during Persona awakening sequences, as most of the party members are driven to join the Phantom Thieves due to wrongs commited against them that society on a whole has been unable or unwilling to correct.
      • "Deal" also gets said quite often. Many of Joker's relationships are based around him making deals with other people, from his promise to Morgana to help recover his memories, to his various Confidants who he helps out in exchange for benefits.
      • Igor constantly refers to the events that occur as a "game". It's the first hint that he's not who he is, and that the events unfolding are all the manipulations of a higher being.
      • Variations of "I stole your future" frequently appear in the villains' Motive Rants about how and why they rigged the system against the next generation to benefit themselves.
  • Silent Hills: "Watch out. The gap in the door... it's a separate reality. The only me is me; are you sure the only you is you?"
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has "Don't cry, no matter what happens" and "Smile!"
    • Shadow the Hedgehog has the phrase "This is who I am!" or some variation of it so consistently that it is featured in every single ending, several cutscenes, and the game's theme song.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth: "Never fart on anyone's balls."
  • Spec Ops: The Line:
    • "Do you feel like a hero yet?"
    • "I/We had/have no choice."
    • "Gentlemen, welcome to Dubai."
  • Splatterhouse: "She doesn't have to die."
  • You know your main mission throughout S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is to "Kill Strelok." Unfortunately, those words are the only thing that you know, due to a case of Easy Amnesia.
  • The Stanley Parable:
    • "...and Stanley was happy."
  • Starship Titanic: What some people think of Leovinus (Nobody likes a smart ass) turns out to be quite important if you've pressed the wrong button, as well as pertaining to the fate of the ship.
    • In later parts of the game, three phrases keep popping up: "The mind is software." "Bodies are disposable." "The system will set you free."
    • Both an In-Universe and a Real Life example due to the game's encouragement: "It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years."
  • The Brutal Bonus Level of Super Mario Odyssey has the phrase Thank You as one of these: said by the people cheering Mario on at the beginning of the level, the Sphynx if you answer all his questions, a series of spark pylons spell it out, and finally Cappy says it as you get the Power Moon.
  • Remember the Citadel and Resist written in blood on walls in System Shock 2.
  • In Chapter 1 of Tales of Monkey Island:
    Guybrush: Listen. See this ring? It means that Elaine and I are married. Hitched. Cohabitating. Eternally betrothed. Till death do us part. Got it!?
    LeChuck: Till death do you part, eh? We'll have to do something about that.
    • And in Chapter 5:
    Guybrush: I've told you a million times, LeChuck, I'm already married to—
    LeChuck: "Till DEATH do you part," Threepwood! And that part has already been taken care of!
    • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Phantasia: "If there is evil in this world, it is in the hearts of men". The line is mentioned and quoted to have been said by Morisson before the game's titlescreen shows up. The line turns out to have been originally said by Dhaos.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World: "Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality" said by Richter once, and essentially sparked Emil's entire journey.
    • Tales of the Abyss:
      • REPLICA!!!!!.
      • "The planet's memory."
    • Tales of Berseria: Artorius asks people "Why do you think that birds fly?" as a Secret Test of Character. Most interpret the question literally, give an answer about hunting for prey, and thus fail to prove themselves. The answer Artorius is looking for is that birds fly because they have strong wings, just like people sin because they have free will. The answer Velvet gives before the final battle is that birds fly because they want to fly and that is the only reason they need.
  • In Team Fortress 2's Alternate Reality Game, the word "Tobor" and the acronym "MvM" kept popping up. The end result of the ARG was the new Mann Versus Machine game mode.
  • TinkerQuarry has "Stay a while." Usually used in a sinister context.
  • Undertale
    • "Determination" is repeated at every save point. On normal / pacifist runs, it's in reaction to the environment and can be sublime or ridiculous. On Genocide runs, however, it becomes darker by simply reading "Determination." You later learn that determination is a tangible force.
    • "But nobody came." On Genocide runs, you know you've killed all the monsters in an area when you have an empty encounter that simply reads this. But it also comes up under some Act options in the other modes, particularly if you call for help. Or scream. Or cry. Especially in the True Lab. In a normal run, it's also one of Flowey's catchphrases, and a Pacifist run reveals that this is a reference to his own backstory.
    • "SAVE" turns out to be one, too. It's something you can do because it's a game, but it's also an in-universe concept discussed by one or two of the more enigmatic characters, and it takes on a new meaning in the Final Boss battle of a Pacifist run, in which you must save the Lost Souls of Toriel, Asgore, Sans, Papyrus, Undyne and Alphys, and then, the final boss himself.
    • To a more subtle extent, "It's you" and "It's me" are arc words associated with Frisk and Chara respectively and reflective of the player's own morality and the relationship between player and game. Looking at your reflection in a Genocide run prompts the text "It's me, [playername]!". In any other run, it yields "It's you!" at the beginning of the game and "Despite everything, it's still you" in the endgame. A Pacifist run adds "Still just you, Frisk" in the epilogue.
    • And then on a more humorous note, "Don't you have anything better to do?"
    • Deltarune:
      • "Shining" or "power" to the first game's "Determination", as well as the phrase "the choices you make don't matter"; this is contrasted to the message of Undertale quite severely, which was that your choices really do matter quite a lot. Furthering the contrast, the word "determination" never appears in Deltarune's first chapter.
      • Every keyword related to Dr. Gaster shows up either in-game or on the Twitter lead-up to its release. Things like "Very, very interesting", "Darker, yet darker", "Don't forget", "feedback" from nonsensical yet ominous surveys and variations of "be seeing you soon/you'll meet somebody soon".
  • Urban Chaos: Riot Response has one. While not a sentence, or a phrase the Company, Shift It appears everywhere! If you look for it. The reason it's so important is that Shift it are actually the Burners. The CEO is the leader of the gang, and forceably brainwashed all of his employees into the animals that are the burners.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: "Don't open it." (The 'it' in question is the sarcophagus MacGuffin the plot revolves around, and God help you if you don't listen.)
  • Warframe: Quite a few, though more subtle than most examples.
    • The game's primary theme is titled "This is What You Are." Several quests and events center on various people asking exactly what the warframes and the Tenno are, finally culminating in The Second Dream, when it is revealed that the Tenno is a human child using strange Void powers to pilot a warframe from a distance.
      Lotus: This is who you really are. A Tenno. More than human. But once a child like any other.
    • The Lotus mentions "the war within" at the end of the Second Dream. This foreshadows the next major quest, The War Within, which is about fighting the Twin Queens from trying to possess your body. The Orokin used to do this all the time, which is one of the many reasons the Tenno killed them.
    • "Sacrifice," understandably, comes up quite a bit in the Sacrifice quest. It's given a more negative connotation than usual; it's mostly about making a Human Sacrifice look like a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Fortuna has the song "We All Lift Together," which summarizes the expansion quite well. Players promptly decided it described the entire fandom quite well, and adopted it as a Catchphrase when helping another player. We all lift together, Tenno.
  • The Video Game cross Visual Novel War of the Human Tanks: "To all the Human Tanks living in this world, cock the rifle in your hands, pull the pin of your hand grenade and aim the antiaircraft gun. Your enemy stands before you. Pull the triggers and annihilate them." It turns up at the start of all the Parts/Episodes, and seems to just be a recurring line talking about how the Human Tanks fight. It's when you get to Episode 13 that you realise the enemy being referred to is the faceless commanders who send countless of absolutely loyal beings to their deaths. And the line is telepathically spoken by the final boss, whose death will result in the eventual death of every Human Tank.
  • the white chamber: "Do you regret?" and variations. It refers specifically to whether or not Sarah has redeemed herself from the murder of her crewmates.
  • In Wing Commander IV: The Price Of Freedom, the arc words are conspicuous only because they're also a Title Drop: "The price is freedom is eternal vigilance." The phrase becomes key to understanding the motivations of several characters, and in true science fiction fashion, invites the player to decide if those actions are justified.
  • Wizardry IV: "Have you forgotten something?" appears many times throughout the game; it's even the last words of all of the game's endings. Except, of course, for the Golden Ending. Because no, you haven't, and neither has Werdna.
  • The Wolf Among Us has "these/my lips are sealed". By the time you hit episode two or three this takes on a whole new meaning that isn't as innocuous as you might have thought.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: "The old and the weak are doomed". First used by B.J's abusive father Rip to justify his Social Darwinist ways to B.J in various situations, then used by B.J to describe his battered and broken body, then used awesomely as a Badass Boast against Frau Engel (and to an extent, the Nazi empire itself):
    "Can you feel it, General? You are the old and weak. And this is your day of doom."
  • The World Ends with You: "To right the countless wrongs of our day, we shine this light of true redemption, that this place may become as paradise. What a wonderful world such would be..."
  • Although it is only said twice, "No king rules forever" serve as Arc Words for the entirety of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. The two times it is said happen to be when fighting the games two most powerful/main villains, Yogg-Saron and Arthas. Yogg is referring to Arthas and it is the last thing Arthas's father's ghost says to his son before he dies. This quote not only summarizes the fall of the Lich King but many of the other events that occurred during the expansion and things that will happen shortly after such as: 2 kings (Yirmon and Anub'Arak) die, Malygos, the dragon aspect of magic/leader of the Blue Dragonflight, was killed, the Alliance found a new leader in King Varian, Bolvar Fordragon (the guy who was ruling Stormwind while Varian was doing stuff) was presumed to be dead after the Wrathgate fiasco but is found alive (sort of, maybe) but has to become the next Lich King in order to prevent the Scourge from going crazy[er] and killing EVERYTHING. In addition, the quote can be viewed as Foreshadowing of things to come in the pre-Cataclysm event and the expansion itself: The Gnomes and Darkspear Trolls taking back their respective homelands after being in exile for years, Warchief Thrall being replaced by Garrosh Hellscream, as well as many other changes in leadership on Azeroth.
    • Also, from the same expansion, "The Light of Dawn."
    • Also from The Wrath of the Lich King expansion: "This world is worth saving."
    • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, several of the villans including Deathwing make mention of something called "The Hour of Twilight". In the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, we finally learn what it means: It's the event in which the Old Gods will claim their final victory and extinguish all life on Azeroth, including Deathwing.
    • Mists of Pandaria had "What is worth fighting for?". The expansion featured a deeper look into the Alliance/Horde conflict and what both sides want to achieve through their fighting. The Alliance and the Horde are both dealing with their own cultures and attitudes to the world around them, while the Pandaren are realizing that they might need to fight for someone or something in the future.
    • "Times Change", said by Garrosh Hellscream in response to changing the course of history in the trailer to the expansion Warlords of Draenor, thus preventing the Old Horde from drinking Mannoroth's blood by helping Grom kill Mannoroth, and preventing his resulting death. This phrase has been adopted by the fanbase as a response to complaints down the line of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
    • "You are not prepared..." is Illidan's Catchphrase in Burning Crusade. In Legion, he says "You are prepared" when addressing his Illidari recruits.
  • Xenoblade: "Seize our destiny" starts out as Dunban's Catchphrase, but eventually morphs into this as the story progresses.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: "It's you or us" and several variations on the phrase.
  • Though you're given much more information about it, and it is much more direct than in most cases, "fourteen years ago" arguably counts in Xenosaga. It's eventually revealed that it was when Shion summoned the Gnosis.
  • Similarly, Xenosaga's predecessor, Xenogears, has multiple phrases over the course of the first disc with hefty plot significance not explained until partway through the second. It's pretty easy to tell when they're being brought up- they're nearly always in -dashes-. Time of the Gospel and Contact come immediately to mind.
  • Dee's prophecy, quoted in the beginning of ZombiU says that "a cleansing fire of black angels will purify the world". You're supposed to believe that it's either Death or the Ravens of Dee (depending on who's talking to you), but it turns out that Dee had something else in mind. They're the RAF jets on their way to firebomb the city, silhouetted black against the red sky.
    • "The Tower shall fall when the Ravens flee."
  • Planescape: Torment has the iconic line "What can change the nature of a man?" Belief.

Example of: