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Becoming The Mask / Video Games

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People Becoming the Mask in video games.

  • Zachary Comstock of BioShock Infinite is a complicated case, mixed over with Believing Their Own Lies. He works tirelessly to keep up his image as a religious leader, lest he be forced to face by the guilt of his truly horrible past, and has spent so much time abusing his knowledge of the future that he truly believes himself to be a prophet. He boasts about Wounded Knee, even though the atrocities he committed there were what drove him to abandon his past identity as Booker DeWitt and become Comstock, and he would declare anyone who suggested this a traitor. A Voxophone found in the Clash in the Clouds DLC has Rosalind say this of him explicitly.
    Rosalind: But at some point, the man became incapable of distinguishing his performance from his person.
    • When he comes to Rapture and becomes Booker once more to escape the guilt of Elizabeth's death in Burial at Sea, he loses all traces of his "Comstock" persona, so that the ending once more comes as a shock.
  • Inverted in City of Heroes when one story arc has you tracking down an undercover police officer who turns out to have fully joined the villain group he was infiltrating.
    • This is possible for the player if you choose to start in Praetoria. You're required to choose a philosophy (Loyalist or Resistance) at the start of the game. Players can choose to do missions for the opposite faction, periodically contacting their faction leader to twist the results one way or the other. As long as you continue to periodically contact your faction leader, you're still considered to be "undercover". However, it's incredibly easy to find yourself "forgetting" to check in with your former faction leader...
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    • Vanessa DeVore, leader of the Carnival of Shadows, coincidentally managed to find and put on an actual mask containing the soul of one of her ancestors. At first the two struggled for control of her body, but eventually began to work together, making Vanessa (formerly a normal, non-evil person) a violently hedonistic villain with Psychic Powers.
  • Taichi in CROSS†CHANNEL is literally in the 'becoming' part of this trope. He's really trying hard not to be completely insane and connect with people, unlike Youko. The mask slips every now and then, causing all of his relationships to be extremely unstable. The best example of this would probably be the small slipup that occurs right after Yutaka committed suicide and he ruins his relationship with Kiri. She thinks he killed Yutaka, when in truth he didn't really care much anymore. Before and after that, she's probably the only person apart from Youko who truly understands him fully.
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  • Trish from Devil May Cry is posing as Dante's guide to Mallet Island in order to kill him for her master, Mundus. By the time she reveals her true colors in mission 20, Dante is mad at her for this and leaves her behind. This causes Trish to stick to her role as his guide for real.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Leliana was originally basically an assassin, and she had to flee her home country and go undercover. She pretended to be a sweet, bubbly girl with a strong faith in the Maker—then she decided she actually liked the whole "being happy" thing.
    • Morrigan also has some elements of this, pretending to like the male player character in order to get into bed with him and then actually falling in love.
    • The Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition is a former Qunari secret policeman who, following a breakdown, was reassigned to Orlais as a spy "pretending" to be a mercenary. He now leads his own company, while being quite open about the fact that he's a Qunari and regularly reports home. His personal quest forces him to pick a side.
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  • A sad literal example in DragonFable. Sir Valen dons the cursed armor of Doom Knights for the power necessary to save his love. He succeeds, but by the time it's over, very little of his humanity is left and the armor wears him more than he wears it. Now known as Sepulchure, he's one of the strongest, most sadistic, and successful villains in the entire game.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Both played straight and inverted thanks to the act of "Mantling". Essentially, to mantle someone, one must become so like them that there ceases to be a functional difference between the two entities; it seems that at this point the universe itself ceases to distinguish between the two, and they become one entity. Several famous examples:
      • One theory behind Tiber Septim's ascension as the deity Talos is that Septim effectively "mantled" Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. Between possessing the Numidium and the Mantella (an unimaginably powerful soul gem said to hold the soul of Zurin Arctus/Wulfharth Ash-King/the Underking, all possible Shezarrines), Septim found a way to claim Lorkhan's station in the universe.
      • Whether or not the Nerevarine in Morrowind is actually the The Chosen One reincarnation of the original Nerevar, if he/she does the things the Nerevarine is prophesied to do, he/she will be the Nerevarine.
      • The Champion of Cyrodiil and Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness in Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion. The Champion of Cyrodiil was given the mantle of Sheogorath at the end of the Greymarch. The exact nature of this mantling is difficult to understand in full. Rather than acting like Sheogorath until the universe effectively combined the two entities, Jyggalag surrendered the Mantle, or role, of Sheogorath to the mortal Champion of Cyrodiil. Several hundred years later, the new Sheogorath looks and acts just as their predecessor; regardless of whatever their race or gender was prior to taking the mantle.
    • In Skyrim, a wizard sets up a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax, masquerading as the guardian spirit of a Nordic burial ground to scare away people from the nearby village while he loots the place clean. When he comes across a locked door, he spends over six months scouring the whole tomb looking for the key but can't find it. His failure drives him insane and he becomes convinced that he really is the guardian spirit of the tomb. The innkeeper in the village had the key all along, and he happily gives it to you as a reward for dealing with that pesky spirit that's been scaring everyone. It's theorized by some (and arguably implied) that the tomb, and maybe draugr barrows in general, actually began changing him.
  • Claves in Eternal Sonata was a spy for Count Waltz, but chose to reveal their deception after falling in love. Unfortunately, Redemption Equals Death.
  • Sherman Shallancer of Fairy Fencer F acts like a pure and good man striving for world peace, glossing over the fact that he's willing to do anything to reach those means. In the Vile God route, he gradually changes into the good man he's pretending to be and even looks to atone for his over-the-top actions in the past.
  • The first of the "Jackal Tapes" in Far Cry 2 warns against this. The Jackal suggests intentionally building an image of yourself as a bloodthirsty maniac who kills in the most horrible ways possible for fun, to make your enemy fear you and become stronger in the process, but notes that all of it needs to simply be a display, otherwise you'll become less than a man and quickly get yourself killed.
  • Cait Sith in Final Fantasy VII, who joins the party as a spy and then grows to care about them and joins them for real.
    • Only superficially fits as an example. Reeve was already sympathetic to most of the party's issues, but sincerely did not trust Avalanche. He didn't so much change personality wise, but realize that Avalanche was operating on the same wavelength he was.
    • Cloud wanted to be a badass Super Soldier hero like the members of SOLDIER, but was relegated to being a faceless Shinra goon instead, and during the events of the game makes believe that he was a member of SOLDIER all along. Though to be fair, he's lying even to himself due to intense mental trauma after being experimented on and watching his war buddy Zack die right in front of him. When the truth eventually comes out, though, he's already become a massive thorn in Shinra's side, and eventually goes on to become the hero he always wanted to be, albeit fighting against the organization he wanted to join and one of the ex-SOLDIER members he looked up to.
  • Lucia in Final Fantasy XIV was The Mole sent in by The Empire to infiltrate Ishgard's leadership to see if they possessed a key that would allow access to Azys Lla, an ancient Allagan research compound. They become Aymeric's second-in-command to keep a close eye on him, but after discovering how Aymeric had similar hardships to them, they grew attached to him and the nation as a whole. Even after they reveal the truth of them being a spy to him, he doesn't hold any grudges against them, which convinces them to ditch their nation and become loyal to Ishgard instead.
  • Done with Zola in the Birthright branch of Fire Emblem Fates. He admits to being The Mole, but came to genuinely admire Corrin and asks Garon to spare them. Unfortunately, Garon just executes him for it.
  • The whole damn point of Eine's, AKA Katarina's, subplot in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem. She was forced by her sister to disguise herself as a new recruit in the Altean Army and assassinate Marth. The party is dumbfounded by the revelation, but Eine seems to genuinely regret her actions. At the end of the subplot, she leaves her true identity behind to become her alias, serving Marth tirelessly to atone for her actions.
  • In Hypnospace Outlaw, Counselor Ronnie, or rather Jezz0, the Playful Hacker that created him. Initially, Ronnie seems like just a buffoonish, uncool, Totally Radical guidance counselor whose page is full of Little Known Facts and the infamous Birthstone Song. However, nobody else was moderating Teentopia, and things were getting bad. "Counselor Ronnie"/Jezz0 had to step in and take the job, which he does well enough to earn Hypnospace a federal grant.
  • Kessler in inFAMOUS is unrecognizable as Cole's future self; he keeps a memento to remember his previous life by, but after fifty-plus years of scheming and plotting and acting how someone has to act to reach his position and maintain it, he's not that person anymore.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Reading the Secret Reports reveals that Axel underwent this. Initially, he was told to befriend Roxas so that Organization XIII could keep control of him, and he was annoyed at having to hang out with Roxas so often. Hell, a cutscene that plays during the end credits of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories reveals that he didn't even like Sea-Salt Ice Cream initially! However, he did eventually start to genuinely befriend Roxas, and by the time he comes back from Castle Oblivion, he truly considers Roxas to be his friend
  • Discussed in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. One of the children that you play hide 'n seek with at the end of the game questions that, "if you have so many masks, what is your real face?"
    "Your true face... What kind of... face is it? I wonder... The face under the mask... Is that...your true face?"
  • Jansen Friedh in Lost Odyssey starts out as The Mole (as the other party members are perfectly aware of), but it only takes him a day or so of traveling with Kaim and Seth to decide he likes the two of them a lot better than he likes his employer. Falling hard for The High Queen Ming Numara is the final straw.
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, Erim, realizing how fond she has grown of humanity while travelling with the heroes as Iris, turns against the Sinistrals and revives Maxim after having killed him. Her sorrow over Maxim and Selan's deaths causes the Dual Blade to send her back in time, setting up the events of New Game+.
  • Magical Diary has Damien nearly done with the con he's been pulling on you all year (and on the school in general for the past four years), only to find out that he can't finish what he started. The realization causes him a few problems.
  • Done to a certain extent with Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2, particularly with a mostly-Paragon playthrough; though she wasn't using a fake identity so much as intentionally downplaying the extent to which she was spying on Shepard. She starts the game viewing them largely as a tool; she's not lying when she says that she thinks they're the only person who can get the job done, but her loyalty is entirely with Cerberus and the Illusive Man. Still, she plays nice with Shepard's moralistic tendencies throughout the game, is increasingly vocal about how Shepard is in charge and she's their loyal second to quell distrust among the recruited specialists...and by the endgame, if forced to choose between standing with Shepard or the Illusive Man, she leaves Cerberus cold without a moment of hesitation.
    • With a male Shepard, she can become genuinely loyal enough to fall genuinely in love with him to the point that no matter what you do, in the end if he leaves her she becomes so distracted and shaken (likely due to lost sleep and self-doubt as much as heartbreak) that she makes critical mistakes when she's attacked by Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3, and ends up dying in Shepard's arms. After saving the day and making a few sarcastic quips, of course. She's still Miranda, after all.
    • To a certain degree, her odd friendship with Jack has hints of this, crossing over with Fire-Forged Friends. Their ceasefire starts with Shepard essentially ordering them both to play nice, forcing them to reluctantly restrain themselves to barbs and bickering while still being passably polite and having to work in close proximity, often watching each other's backs if the player chooses to take them on missions together. By the third game they seem to have buried the hatchet and their forced cooperation seems to have shifted to genuine mutual respect; they seem to actually enjoy one another's company.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Rose in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty states near the end of the game that her getting together with Raiden was an act for the Patriots to learn as much about him as she could, noting that she even changed her hair color and mannerisms to fit what Raiden would like, but also notes that actually falling in love with him was genuine (though Raiden, at least initially, doesn't believe her when she says this).
    • Ditto Decoy Octopus in Metal Gear Solid: According to his bio, he has to undergo psychic therapy after he's done being disguised as someone else, since his disguises are absolutely perfect down to the slightest detail... including blood type and DNA. This bites him in the ass very early on, as him taking in the blood and DNA of the DARPA Chief makes him a target of the FOXDIE virus Snake was injected with before his mission. The guy even files down his cheekbones where necessary to ensure that the shape of his face is the same as his disguise's.
    • And later in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, we have Revolver Ocelot, who specifically tricked himself into thinking that he was Liquid by way of hypnotherapy and (what else) nanomachines, so that he could fool the System and gain access to the Patriots' AI.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: Paz/Pacifica Ocean, a Double Agent for Cipher, a.k.a. Zero and the Patriots. Her diaries reveal that she goes from outright despising and deriding Big Boss and the members of his army to wishing she could spend a few more days with them before carrying out her orders.
    • Eventually happens in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to Big Boss/Venom Snake. When he regains his memories and remembers that he's only Big Boss's body double, he continues to play the part anyway, eventually becoming the Big Boss that Solid Snake fights at the end of the original Metal Gear. Helps that the real Big Boss himself acknowledges him as Big Boss.
  • Also happens a lot in Mitadake High when the Killer/Kira starts befriending others in order to betray them later, and ends up caring about them, and even sparing them at the end of the game. A weirder version can happen when the killer/kira doesn't notice that they are the killer/kira and plays the entire game as if they were innocent.
  • Kisuke, of Muramasa: The Demon Blade infiltrated the household of Torahime as a servant to discover and steal an ancient demon blade her family was charged with protecting. During this time he fell in love with Torahime, and so, when the time came for the rest of his ninja clan to come and steal the blade he fought on the side of Torahime against his old companions. He fails, gets amnesia and spends much of his story trying to atone for his actions.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], Alex Mercer is quite explicitly dead and gone. However, the corpse was subsumed and reanimated by the Blacklight virus, which imitated him so completely, so perfectly, that The Virus believes it is Alex Mercer. Even after it finds out the Awful Truth, "Mercer" is changed by the experience, evolving from the monster that Mercer was as a human, to a rampaging sociopath with occasional flashes of heroism, to a Sociopathic Hero, given that he protects New York from being nuked when it would have been far easier for him to simply do nothing and save himself.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Femme Fatale Spy Ada Wong was initially just pretending to be a sultry Damsel in Distress to Leon in RE2 but after he took a bullet for her she began develop some genuine feelings for him in spite of her villainy. It’s particularly noticeable in RE4 Seperate Ways when we see Ada’s thoughts, as she frequently worries for Leon’s safety and ignores direct orders from Wesker to kill him. In RE6 Ada even helps out Sherry and Jake showing that Leon’s heroism has rubbed off on her at least slightly.
      • Lampshaded in RE2make when Ada reveals her true colours to Leon in the finale and heartlessly pulls her gun on him, but Leon easily see through it guessing she doesn’t have in her to shoot him now and he was right.
    • Big Bad Wesker himself was the Mole in Charge of S.T.A.R.S in RE1 and secretly working for Umbrella he feigns care for his squad Alpha Team Chris, Jill, Barry and Rebecca. Except it is implied that Wesker does actually have a soft spot for his former teammates to a small degree given his regret in REmake quote: “The Tyrant virus leaked, polluting this whole place... and unfortunately, I had to give up my lovely members of S.T.A.R.S”. It’s also evident later on in RE5 when his Number Two Excella tells him Chris is coming to them, Wesker actually smiles! He also didn’t waste a opportunity to get Jill on his side again through brainwashing showing that he still values her and her abilities, though he did ditch her when she fought against his control.
  • Rival Schools pulls this off in both series' games. Kyosuke Kagami's work with Taiyo High in United By Fate convinces him that his twin Hyo's plan may not be the best idea, while Yurika Kirishima's time at Seijyun High (and specifically inspired by her best friend, Akira) in Project Justice moves her to betray her younger brother Kurow.
  • In Sakura Wars (2019), Anastasia Palma joins the Imperial Combat Revue's Flower Division to serve as their acting coach and fellow fighter. Except that Anastasia is actually working for Genan Sotetsu to use the Imperial Key in the form of the Amamiya Kunisada to revive the Demon Emperor. Fortunately, she decides to become a member of the Flower Division for real when Yasha turns on her.
  • Margarete in Shadow Hearts talks about this in one scene. She was ordered by the "Powers" (presumably, the French, whom she worked for) to spy on the crisis in Asia, where the game starts. When she meets Yuri, she fully intends to use him to benefit her nation. However, as she worked with him, she grew attracted to his comic book-esque ways. She never follows through with her mission.
  • Sleeping Dogs's Wei Shen is described in his San Francisco police psych profile (before an undercover assignment for SFPD) as having "chameleon-like tendencies" which make him so "highly adaptable" that his handler needs to ensure that Wei doesn't actually change sides; by the end he's less an undercover cop than a triad gang leader who's quietly cooperating with the police on a few cases, though in the end he returns to being a cop after all's said and done.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In The Force Unleashed, Starkiller spends time gathering "allies" while pretending to be a Jedi. Over time he begins to make good decisions, and begins to play the part very convincingly. By the time Darth Vader betrays him, he realizes that he is a Jedi. And goes on to challenge the Sith. He saves the rebels, but it doesn't go well for him.
    • Invoked as part of the Jedi's master plan in the first Knights of the Old Republic: they capture Darth Revan, conqueror of almost half of the known galaxy, but in the process he inadvertently gets amnesia, and so they force him into a "mask" of sorts and send him off to save the Republic as the player character in hopes that the character he's been made to play will become his true face. Depending on how the game proceeds this either goes very well or goes much, much too well, since the mask can end up becoming a much more vicious and effective Sith Lord than the original Revan ever was.
  • Suikoden V gives us Euram Barows, who, at first glance and throughout the game, shows us to be a foppish, idiotic buffoon. Background information received from Oboro, and information learned after his Heel–Face Turn, shows that he actually starting acting this way to comfort his mother, who was mad with grief over the death of Euram's older brother Hiram, assassinated during a civil war prior to the game. Between that, the influence of his father, and Euram's own emotional weakness, this act became real. The real Euram is a demure guy who blames himself for a lot of problems.
  • The whole plot of Super Robot Wars Advance pretty much revolves around this, depending on who the protagonist is. If it's Axel Almer, he got amnesia after doing the dimension jump to infiltrate the protagonist group and had enough time to befriend them and leave a good impression, and when it came to his time to return, he realized that his group was wrong and elected to stay on the new group, fighting his previous superior. Same thing happened to Lamia Loveless, except that she got no amnesia, but her orders usually come too late, and she already blended with the society, making her realize she has a conscience and values it, thus making her reject the fact that she's a mindless doll and betray her superiors. And the protagonist's reaction to them? Forgiving as ever.
  • In Tales of Legendia, Senel infiltrates the village where Shirley and Stella live, acting as a soldier of Vaclav. Senel pulls a Heel–Face Turn while there and forgets about his mission, wanting to live in peace beside them. But, that doesn't last.
  • Combined with Manchurian Agent in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. It's pretty complicated, but it all boils down to Ratatosk embracing the side of his personality that had originally been a facade and nearly eclipsed his original murderously angry persona.
  • David in Telling Lies is an FBI agent tasked with infiltrating an eco-activist group; he then falls in love with one of the activists, comes to believe in their cause, and kills himself in an act of eco-terrorism.
  • The Tiamat Sacrament: Kelburn is initially a soldier of the Big Bad, Ry'jin. When several of Ry'jin's soldiers defect and form a resistance group, Kelburn is ordered to join them so he can spy on them for Ry'jin. Eventually, he grows to sympathize with the rebels and betrays Ry'jin right before a critical battle.
  • Ninja Maid Cecilia of Vanguard Bandits initially hates the whole maid idea. But by the end of the game she's grown to love it so much she gets into an argument about wanting to keep all her maid costumes.
  • Joshua of The World Ends with You decided to keep Shibuya the way it was after winning the last Game at the end because of his experiences with Neku.
  • In Gone Golfing it's revealed in the DLC that Mr Golfy is really just Greg, who has snapped from the level of abuse he was receiving at work, and consequently thinks he is the character he was forced to perform as.


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