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Deus Ex Machina / Video Games

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Deus Ex Machina - Video Games


  • Deconstructed in Alan Wake. Thomas Zane used his reality-warping writing to bring his lover back from the dead, but by breaking the laws of narrative, he created a plot hole which the Dark Presence was all too eager to fill.
  • Parodied in Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts with the Lord of Games. Technically, his powers are limited in that he only can control Video Games...but given that this is a Video Game, his power is at Reality Warper levels.
  • In Baten Katios Origins, during Sagi's quest, the party fights the Hearteater, a Palette Swap of the Sandfeeder. After they kill it, they find themselves completely surrounded by them and trapped. Right as they are about to die, a giant White Dragon flies by and burns them all before disappearing.
  • Choro Q HG 4 has the resolve of Otto's jump start at the beginning of the climatic race in the end of the story by having Barat, who has just died, appears before the player and tell you to follow your ''sixth sense''. You then get an extraordinary speed up to beat the prince to the finish line.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Played with in the giant hellhound that makes it possible for you to defeat Ambrose. It seems like it comes out of nowhere, but read Patrick's journal and he'll mention that if you use the Gel'ziabar stone too much; you know, the one Ambrose just stole and is using against you; a "strange dog-like beast" might show up to menace you. According to Word of God, the stone was once used to open a rift between our world and the hounds' dimension that never closed.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, right after Conker throws the final alien boss out the airlock, the alien just jumps right back in. Conker laments his supposed end, and the alien goes in for the kill... and the game locks up. Conker takes advantage of the situation by calling some programmers and making a deal with them: he won't tell anyone that the game locked up, if they help him defeat the alien. He ends up using a katana from the provided weapon rack to save the day.]]
  • In Crash of the Titans, Coco Bandicoot requests Crash Bandicoot to hand her the "Transpalooper" a purple device. They are interrupted by Dr Cortex, and Crash simply pockets the device. After the final boss, Coco brings up that the giant killer robot can be shut down if she simply had her "Transpalooper", which Crash conveniently has had this whole time. A perfect example of the third Deus Ex Machina.
  • Digimon World Dawn/Dusk. The Big Bad can unleash waves of chaos energy that can put humans into a coma, turn Mega-level Digimon back into eggs and even mind-control people and Digimon alike. But for some reason, you're immune to it. And in the end of the story, the Big Bad merges with the Chaos Core and becomes even stronger, saying that his energy waves are now powerful enough to disintegrate data. He tries it against you, and it doesn't work for whatever reason.
  • MOTHER
    • At the end of EarthBound, the player characters are absolutely helpless until the player themself kills the final boss.
    • Lampshaded in MOTHER 3 when Lucas and company fall from an aircraft. Lucas and Boney land in a conveniently-placed pile of hay. Turns out the ghost of Hinawa told Alec to pile hay in the exact spot where they would fall, through a dream. Wess remarks on this dream of Alec's, saying it's "as strange as strange can be". And additionally, Kumatora and Duster just happen to land in places where they are rescued by friendly folk. This part is not lampshaded, or even explained at all.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the player can invoke a minor version using the "Almsivi" and "Divine" Intervention spell effects. Upon being cast or activated, the spells will teleport you to the nearest Tribunal Temple and Nine Divines shrine, respectively. It can get you out of a near-death experience, though, of course, most players just use the effect to teleport huge amounts of loot.
  • Although not part of the story, Saber in Fate/Extra tells the player character a story that introduces about one hundred characters, only for them to all be ignored. When asked about what happened to them, she mentions they're all made happy by a Deus ex Machina.
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy IV -Interlude-, after Rydia leaves the party while going up the tower of Babil you are attacked by three robots. After taking some damage they unite into one robot which proceeds to knock you into critical status. Edge comes out of nowhere and helps you saves you by stunning it. Lampshaded by the fact its name is the Deus Ex Machina. Edge also helped pull a type of that earlier in the original game, where he uses a ninja technique to allow Cecil and company to go through a wall into the Tower of Babil. This never pops up again, and it isn't useable in gameplay.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, Celes regains hope if Cid dies after seeing a seagull with Locke's bandanna after her failed suicide attempt.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, late in the third disc of the game Squall and Rinoa have been set adrift in space, and are rapidly running out of oxygen. Then, out of nowhere, a massive adrift spacecraft known as the Ragnarok floats toward them without warning and they manage to board it. It fortunately has enough oxygen and working systems that they can pilot it back to the planet. Though it does come out of nowhere at first, exactly why the Ragnarok was out there and how it came to its current state is eventually explained.
    • While you fight the last final boss in Final Fantasy XIII, he turns most of your party into cieth in a cutscene. Earlier in the game, it is said that once you become a cieth, you lose your mind and all sense of self, and you will never return to normal. But out of nowhere, you get back normal and the fight continues. And then after the Final Boss, and the ending cutscene plays, it shows that all of your party has turned to crystal. Earlier in the game, it is said that you can't awake from this crystal sleep (or maybe some hundred years later). But out of nowhere, you get back normal, save for Vanille and Fang, but that was only because they willingly did it to save Cocoon and the party reunites with Serah and Dajh, who were also in Crystal stasis prior to the final boss. At the time, the scene looked like an Ass Pull of the highest degree. And then the sequel deconstructed this BRUTALLY. Turns out what saved them was a literal example, a direct intervention by the goddess Etro... except that by doing so, she kinda broke time. Naturally, this ends up causing far more harm than good, and cumulates in an outright Downer Ending.
  • The G-Man in Half-Life 2. Also, the purple Vortigaunts at the beginning of Episode One. The Episodes like to literally Yank the Dog's Chain, and figuratively the player's, by plopping a Diabolus ex Machina right at the finishing line of a long and arduous trial. Then DOG jumps in from nowhere to administer a concluding beat-down.
  • Certain video game adaptations of Harry Potter take Dumbledore's "last minute points" DEM from the books and take it even further, rigging the scores so that not only will these points guarantee Gryffindor's victory, but so that you can't win based only on your own accomplishments.
  • In Hometown Story, the later part of the game consists of collecting blue feather pieces. Every seven give the player a full blue feather that the player can use to the wish of a Non-Player Character come true. Some of the wishes consist of solving a problem that can't be dealt with without the feather's magic or would need more time to be normally dealt with than the character actually has. This makes the fact that the Player Character is in possession of of blue feather when the problem arises pretty convenient for them.
  • Journey does this minutes before you beat the game. You (and possibly a companion) were struggling to climb the mountain when you were frozen to death in the snowstorm. Six of your ancestors, the White Robes, grant you enough energy to reach the Summit. Before that, the White Robes only taught you the history of the civilization they made through images.
  • Kingdom Hearts has gained a reputation for Kudzu Plot and some rather bizarre twists (even for a series whose basic premise is Final Fantasy meets Disney), but few of them are introduced simply to pull the cast out of an unsolvable deathtrap. During the final battle in II, Xemnas collapses his tower and takes off on a giant mechanical dragon, with Sora and Riku trapped on the crumbling base. Their escape route? A previously-unseen hover bike. The bike's presence there is the unexpected part, not that it could exist in the first place - it just appears out of nowhere so the two of them can keep up with their enemy.
    • There are two things especially baffling about this. First, none of the Nobodies should actually have a use for this, especially Xemnas, who levitates near-constantly. Second, whenever similar events happened in the first game, Sora would magically gain the power of flight.
    • Another example is Ansem The Wise's magical anti Kingdom Hearts machine which is never foreshadowed in the slightest (though Ansem is off screen for most of the game despite claims that he intended to work with Sora. It still comes out of nowhere and solves everything).
  • The ending scene of King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! has Crispin, who has been almost useless up until this point, suddenly appear and magically solve all of King Graham's remaining problems.
  • One scenario in Left 4 Dead ends with this. In "Death Toll" you fight your way all the way through Riverside, PA until you reach the titular river, and there happens to be a house there with a two-way radio tuned to a rescue frequency and a group of nearby survivors with a boat. This differs from the other campaigns, where the means of escape is set up from the beginning.
    • In the sequel, this also applies to Dark Carnival, to a lesser extent: initially, the survivors have no plans beyond going to the carnival. They just happen to see a helicopter, and only then can they work out a plan to call it.
    • The same situation happens again in Swamp Fever. The survivors are downed near a derailed train and just decides to walk into a swamp town for no apparent reason. It just so happens that at the end of this was a giant mansion used as an impromptu safe house and Virgil was on the one working radio. There was absolutely no way the Survivors could have known this beforehand, especially since the village itself disliked CEDA and the Military (the only two that are actively trying to evacuate people).
  • In Marathon, those useless BOBs who would get in your way just to get shredded by aliens save your life after you are captured. TWICE.
  • Played with, but ultimately averted, in Mass Effect 3 and its controversial ending:
    • The Catalyst, revealed in the very end to be an AI that controls the Reapers, not just the final component to fire the Crucible, suddenly lifts Shepard up to help end the cycle when the Crucible fails to fire after connecting to the Citadel. This is similar in the way the classical Greeks used the trope. The aversion comes in when he reveals that it was the Crucible that provided the solutions and he could not bring these solutions about, requiring Shepard to solve the problem by destroying or controlling the Reapers, or merging organic and synthetic life.
    • Perhaps inverted if synthesis is chosen....as Shepard could be the "Deus Ex Machina" for the Catalyst, as that ending solves the Catalyst's problem as well, of finding an ideal solution to the conflicts between organic and synthetic life. This can be further explained in the Leviathan DLC when it was suggested that the Intelligence (The Catalyst) build the mass relays to control evolution to find a superior solution to his cycle. So, Shepard, viewed by the Reapers all this time as a threat, turns out suddenly to be the solution to the problem they were created for after Shepard (taking into account that he is also an organic/synthetic hybrid) connects the Crucible to the Citadel, with the Catalyst seeing Shepard as proof that organics are ready for synthesis and the Crucible the means to bring it about.
  • Subverted in the Mortal Kombat series; Raiden, Earthrealm's god of thunder and supposed Protector, seems to be in the perfect position to pull this each and every time the baddies go after our home realm (which they do in every game), but due to harsh Prime Directive meddling by his supervisors the Elder Gods, can't get away with it without either giving up his godly status temporarily and/or hiring human proxies to do his work for him...and even then, he's punished severely for his meddling. Also subverted in the opening to Mortal Kombat: Deception - Raiden uses a previously unmentioned, non-foreshadowed release of his essence in the form of a massive explosion in an attempt to kill Onaga. He doesn't even blink.
  • For the finale of Ōkamiden, you're whisked away to what seems like another dimension. The only one who came with you, other than the Big Bad who is possessing Kuni and his Dragon Kurow, is a tiny poncle named Ishaku. No one thinks that Chibi can take on the Big Bad alone, so you help Ishaku summon your partners... by cutting space and time.
  • Pokémon
  • The existence and implications of Deus Ex Machinas being present in the world is a huge plot point in Resonance of Fate. The three protagonists were all saved by Deus Ex Machinas, and each of them has to deal with the fallout of their survival. Vashyron was miraculously saved during a mission to reclaim lost territory, while everyone in his unit was killed by a winged girl named Rebecca. Zephyr survived a point-blank pistol shot to the head after he massacred the people of Crankshaft Seminary, and Vashyron was the one who tried to shoot him and knows he didn't miss. Leanne/Reanbell attempted suicide on her 20th birthday, but Zephyr was able to catch her with some really improbable acrobatics. All of this was caused by a literal Deus Est Machina, who determines who lives or dies based on its own, increasingly erratic logic.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land has one of those right in the ending, when the girl you love, having been sacrificed by Hector to bring Seth back, is revived with no further explanation by Ursula.
  • In Robopon 2, the day Cody is to be executed, Dr. Don and Sam show up in their time machine right inside his cell and allowing him to escape.
  • The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series features Strelok, who manages to change the entire influence of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in a matter of three years. He was a veteran stalker who formed his own personal group of other stalkers (though it was tiny by Zone standards, a grand total of 5, including himself) and managed to get to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant relatively unopposed thanks to a map they've found that revealed a secret underground passage that would bypass the Brain Scorcher and lead them to not only Pripyat but the CNPP itself. Once inside, they tried to get to the deepest area of the CNPP but failed because of a code-locked door; with this impasse, they were forced to retreat. After surviving many attempts on their lives, the group disintegrated and went their separate ways after a new faction (the eponymous Clear Sky group from Clear Sky) was nipping at their heels. Eventually, Strelok managed to reach the CNPP only to be incapacitated by the protagonist of Clear Sky. An emission soon followed and wiped out all those who did not seek shelter. Strelok was knocked unconscious and programmed by the Big Bad to eliminate the one specific stalker trying to dig up the most guarded secrets of the Zone. Unbeknownst to them, the unconscious stalker caught in the emission is ironically the same stalker that they were to trying to assassinate. He is given a marked tattoo on his arm labeled 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.' and put into a Death Truck, which would later be destroyed in a lightning strike after traveling to some undisclosed destination. Later, he is rescued by an unnamed stalker contracted by Sidorovich, and is given the moniker of 'Marked One' once he wakes up from his coma. Little did the entire community of the Zone know that he would later become the most prophetic and influential person of the entire Zone and change its course...
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Sonic Rush Adventure: Following the fight between Super Sonic & Burning Blaze and the Egg Wizard, the mech begins to unleash its ultimate attack, only to be distracted by Marine firing some kind of energy beam from her fist. Up until this point, there was nothing in the story that suggested that she was anything but a normal, if a tad annoying, little girl.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic gets killed plot-wise. However, suddenly Elise feels "Sonic's presence in the wind" and someone has an idea to try to bring him back with the power of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Star Trek Online: The resolution to the Iconian War. Everybody travels back in time 200,000 years to when the Iconian civilization existed and witness its downfall and just happen to find a never-before-spoken-of piece of technology the Iconians of the present are willing to end the war over at the very moment of their victory over the Milky Way civilizations.
  • Super Smash Bros.. Brawl The final boss of the Subspace Emissary, Tabuu has the ability to turn everyone into trophies using his Off Waves and does so to everyone when they first face him. The characters are unable to defeat Tabuu because of this when before the final boss fight with him Sonic the Hedgehog shows up randomly and attacks him, breaking one of his wings resulting in weakening his Off Wave's power, allowing everyone to be able to face him and defeat him in the final battle.
    • Due to fan demand, Sonic was added in at the last minute, so the devs had to scramble to put him in the story.
  • Lampshaded and invoked in Super Robot Wars MX during a very brutal scene from End of Evangelion where Rom Stoll shows up just as the coup de'grace was about to be unleashed.
    "That is what people refer to as...Divine Intervention!"
  • Regal Bryant from Tales of Symphonia. For the entire game, he runs around wearing shackles, and fights with nothing but kicks. However, at one point late in the game, everybody is caught and put into a cell. Regal then casually uses his hands and destroys the bars of the cell with a chi blast, a feat that no other character can accomplish... then tells everybody that he'll continue fighting with his feet only. Justified, as Regal had said he wouldn't take his shackles off until Cruxis was defeated and that he would never kill with his hands again. Also justified in that he said he was much more powerful fighting with his hands than with his feet.
  • Tales of the World Radiant Mythology 2 has Guede who has the obligatory One-Winged Angel form which is actually called Deus Ex Machina.
  • The only thing that stops the Downer Beginning of Warriors Orochi 3 ending in the extinction of humanity is Kaguya appearing out of nowhere and invoking her time travel powers.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has this as a literal one. A fight against Zanza's second form occurs where you cannot take care of all of his HP making the fight impossible until all the Monado's combine into one creating the Monado III which can destroy gods and therefore kill Zanza. The reason why this is literal is that the origin of the word Deus Ex Machina is 'God from the Machine'. The Monado III is a machine that destroys Gods.
  • At the end of Ys V, when the city of Kefin is disintegrating, all the characters manage to escape except for Nina, and she is at first presumed to have been destroyed along with the city. However it is later revealed that the phantom Stoker teleported her out at the last second.


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