Leaning on the Fourth Wall in video games.
open/close all folders
- In the game The 11th Hour, one of the characters, Samantha, has rigged a series of security cameras inside of Stauf Manor to keep an eye on the goings-on there. During the video where she's shown referencing her recordings, it's actually presented via captured footage of the game's predecessor, The 7th Guest, which is made obvious by a split-second appearance of the game's skeletal hand cursor.
- Near the end of the true final fight of Asura's Wrath, Chakratarvin's final form starts doing his own QTE's that are similar to your own QTE's, as if someone else is controlling him.
- In Batman: Arkham City: This comes up frequently as Enemy Chatter.Criminal: Arkham City's worse than the old one. I should get a refund.
- One dialogue among three thugs inside the museum during the epilogue initially sounds like they're just discussing what's going to happen to the inmates now that the Arkham City experiment has failed. But considering that players never hear who the 'they' they're talking about are, it sounds an awful lot like they're talking about where the sequel will take place. Here's the exchange, with a bit of paraphrasing.Thug 1: So what happens now?
Thug 2: I guess we'll just stay here until they figure out what they're doing next.
Thug 3: C'mon, man. What could they do next? Arkham County? Arkham Country? Big-ass Arkham World?
Thug 2: I dunno, man. These guys are crazy, aren't they?
Thug 3: Yes, they are.
- In "Harley Quinn's Revenge", a couple of thugs discuss the fan theory that Batman carried Clayface out of Arkham City, not the Joker before one of them dismisses it as stupid and unrealistic. The other responds that so was the idea of two Jokers.
- Joker (as usual) leans on the wall throughout the both games. However he outright leans so hard the fourth wall cracks with this line:"Helloooo, Batman! You can hear me, right? It's just, you don't seem to be coming to the movie theatre, and I'd hate for you to read the spoilers on the Internet again!"
- One dialogue among three thugs inside the museum during the epilogue initially sounds like they're just discussing what's going to happen to the inmates now that the Arkham City experiment has failed. But considering that players never hear who the 'they' they're talking about are, it sounds an awful lot like they're talking about where the sequel will take place. Here's the exchange, with a bit of paraphrasing.
- In Black Mesa, before the resonance cascade you can find a scientist lampshading NPC behavior (as well as the fact that Gordon and his fellow physicists never seem to do more than push buttons):Scientist: I've got two PhDs, and an Oersted Medal, yet I find myself doing work best suited for an intern!
Coworker: Please. You do very meaningful work here.
Scientist: Really? Push that button! Walk over here! Push this one! Stand and stare at the screen! Walk back over there! Push another button! Again!
- Additionally, there's another group of scientists that can be heard arguing about the merits of reproducing an old experiment with modern technology.Male Scientist 1: You're living in the past.
Male Scientist 2: That experiment is singlehandedly responsible for inspiring my career in science.
Female Scientist: How much recognition do you think you're going to get for reproduction, though?
Male Scientist 1: You should focus on creating something new and unique.
Female Scientist: He does have a point.
Male Scientist 2: Oh, but this is more than a replication, I assure you. For one, it shows how far our field has come since the original study was published, and to say nothing of the modern perspective necessary to monitor its influence. I mean, combined with today's technology, I've recreated-
Male Scientist 1: Bah, I can't stand to hear another word of this malarchy. (walks away)
Female Scientist: Don't mind him, but here's something to think about for the next time: Creativity is the art of hiding your influence.
- Additionally, there's another group of scientists that can be heard arguing about the merits of reproducing an old experiment with modern technology.
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle: As one of her victory quotes, Yuzuriha shouts 'Divide!' like a superhero slogan - which happens to be the match start quote from her home game, Under Night In-Birth.
- This kind of thing is all over the place in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, especially when Tyalie is involved - she loves to make playful jabs at the fourth wall as a coping mechanism to hide her existential fears about being fictional.
- Chrono Trigger:
- After Dalton modifies the Epoch and gets ready to test it, the Heroic Theme plays, to which he exclaims "No, no, no! stop the music!" at which point the crisis theme starts and he comments on how "that's better"
- Additionally, In the endgame sidequest to stop one of Magus' Generals in the Middle Ages, in one of the rooms of Ozzie's Fort, there are two conveyor belts with chains at the top and holes at the bottom. When Ozzie turns the crank, two monsters ride the chains from the depths and land on the conveyor belts, the Battle Theme starts playing and the party readies to fight, but the conveyors dump the monster in the pits, causing the party to face the player and blink as the music breaks down to a stop before Ozzie runs away.
- In Crash Twinsanity, right before warping to the Tenth Dimension, Cortex, while speaking to Crash, hints at a reference to the game's apparently unfinished development. Originally, two additional dimensions were planned to be implemented into the game, but were ultimately scrapped due to a restricting timeline budget from Interactive Studios.Cortex: Come, now, as we explore... a new dimension!! ...It should have been two dimensions, but we ran out of time.
- Deadly Premonition's York constantly talks to his Imaginary Friend, Zach, and has a tendency to do whatever Zach tells him to do, regardless of whether or not it makes sense at the time. Zach is essentially the player, and Word of God is that Zach was created to bridge the gap between player and PC and explain why the PC is free to go Off the Rails.
- In Devil Survivor, at the end of the first day, Atsuro mentions how the COMPs' function apps (which are used by the player to access various game functions) are being opened up to them one at a time as though whoever set them up were easing the users to using them. He then starts to compare it to a video game, before being interrupted by Yuzu.Atsuro: It's like those games. Start the player off easy, and then...
- In Devil Survivor 2, after Daichi saves Hinako from a group of demons, she chastises him for being so loud about it, saying "This isn't a video game! You don't have to call your attacks!"
- The Disgaea series does this fairly regularly. For example, an optional conversation from the first game:Goleck: The Prinnies were talking about "Multiple Endings..."
Laharl: ...Huh? Endings to what?
- Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- At the landing that leads to the Mage Tower, there are a pair of NPCs beyond a fence that are discussing how they're merely "in a play", prompting one to dismiss the idea that they're being watched by "beings" for amusement by pointing out that he has a boil on his big toe that proves the theory wrong at which point he claims that anyone doing so are simply sick, twisted bastards.
- Ariane of Witch Hunt offers this bit of snark.As a child I would break the arms of people who poked me too much...just saying.
- In Dragon Age II, a mage Hawke can say this to Carver, if asked whether they're curious about the origin of their name:Hawke: I'm sure someone thought far too long about my name.
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- In Drawn to Life, at one point, Marie asks Jowie how the Creator can see the Raposa; Jowie comes up with a theory that involves the Raposa living in a white box with two windows and a magic wand, and the Creator looking into the white box to perform experiments on them. Marie dismisses it as the stupidest idea she's ever heard.
- At the beginning of Earthbound, Pokey explains some of the game's mechanics to Ness, then apologizes for all the "game-type advice".
- The Elder Scrolls
- The series has M'aiq the Liar, a recurring Easter Egg Legacy Character who has appeared in every game since Morrowind. M'aiq is a known Fourth-Wall Observer to the point of leaning on it (and sometimes outright breaking it) who voices the opinions of the series' creators and developers, largely in the form of Take Thats, to both the audience (given the ES Unpleasable Fanbase) and isn't above taking some at Bethesda itself. His "meta" dialogue understandably doesn't make any sense from an in-universe perspective and justifiably makes him seem very detached from the game world.
- In Morrowind, the Tribunal deity Vivec (cryptically and metaphorically) states in his dialogue and his 36 Lessons series that his "godhood" comes from realizing that he was in a video game and using that knowledge to edit the situation around him. He makes vague references to things like the Player Character ("The ruling king who only he can address as an equal"), pausing the game, console commands, and the Construction Set Level Editor. His explanation on what happens if he should "die" also sounds a lot like reloading a saved game:Vivec: "When I die in the world of time, then I'm completely asleep. I'm very much aware that all I have to do is choose to wake. And I'm alive again. Many times I have very deliberately tried to wait patiently, a very long, long time before choosing to wake up. And no matter how long it feels like I wait, it always appears, when I wake up, that no time has passed at all."
- Oblivion has a Dunmer NPC who identifies themselves as a member of House Hlaalu, a faction from the previous game, only to note that such distinctions don't matter anymore.
- In the city of Windhelm in Skyrim, there's a book in Calixto's Museum of Curiosities called The Book of Fate, which purports to show the reader's fate. When the Dovahkiin reads it, the book is blank. When you think about the nature of the series (and its habit of making Fourth Wall jokes)... (It's actually a critical point. The book remains blank for anyone who has no fate, which in the lore refers to the "Heroes" referenced in the Elder Scrolls themselves, which in turn is referring to the player characters of each Elder Scrolls game.)
- After completing Eternal Darkness a couple of times, Alex will narrate in the ending that she feels as if a hole has opened in her mind and given her a glimpse of "a strong ally", but she can't figure out its identity; it's implied to be the player.
- Of all games, FIFA Soccer 2012 does this. Martin Tyler and Alan Smith comment casually on the fact that the players' passing looks like the players are part of a computer game if they're timed right and accurate enough.
- In one of the mission postings in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the poster complains about a law that requires people to not have full HP, which has caused people to randomly attack him because of the silly law.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has several conversations wherein a character is playing a war game and asks for strategic advice on a battle that just happens to be very similar to the battle you're about to play.
- In a conversation involving Tiki in one of Fire Emblem Awakening 's DLC episodes, when asked by someone jealous of her Really 700 Years Old nature, she says "You must see these things in perspective. I used to look no older than a wee child. If people who knew me then saw me now, they would be shocked by how I aged." Players who knew Tiki from Marth's original games certainly were shocked at how much she'd aged in Awakening.
- In God of War: Ghost of Sparta:Thanatos: You are nothing but a pawn in a game you don't even know is being played.
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has a moment of this at Belinsk Ruins when Karis and Sveta wonder if someone else is guiding the party's actions.
- Granblue Fantasy: In the Persona 5: Thievery in Blue crossover event's daily cutscenes, Ryuji / Skull is amazed at how the world of Granblue "totally looks like an RPG Fantasy".
- Michael in Grand Theft Auto V tells his psychiatrist, "One minute I'm one person, and the next I'm another person."
- We also have this billboard◊.
- When Trevor first looks over the city, he remarks: "Los Santos, end of the fucking Earth." Los Santos literally makes up the lower extremity of the game's map.
- In Half-Life 2 and its Episodes, the vortigaunts possibly subtly refer to the player, using wording like "Far distant eyes look out through yours" and "We serve the same mystery".
- In Hidden Expedition 4: Devil's Island the concluding paragraph of a history of the Elysian Islands commented that the islanders really needed a scientific genius to swoop in and save them all. "But that kind of thing only happens on TV, and sometimes in games."
- This was done in Kane and Lynch: Dead Men while they were riding in an elevator. Kane dismisses the idea that anyone would play a game based on two washed up thugs like themselves. The sequel (like the Fight Club example) has the camera as a third character as Kane tends to shoot glances right at you from time to time. Since he's insane however it kinda makes sense.
- Pit's first line in Kid Icarus: Uprising is "Sorry to keep you waiting!". He's talking to his superior, the goddess Palutena, but it also counts as pointing out the fact that the game came out 21 years after the previous game.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Xigbar has some outright suspect lines that imply he's aware there's a confused audience watching.Xigbar: "Hey. Let's hit these plot points in order, Sora."
- In Kingdom Hearts III, the cast of Toy Story assume Sora, Donald and Goofy are toys based on a videogame they've been playing. When Sora starts talking about cosmic-level stuff, Buzz thinks he's talking nonsense, but then remembers, "Oh, right, you're from a videogame."
- Also from Kingdom Hearts III, when Xemnas call him a useless and forgettable rogue pawn, he has this to say in response to him.Lea: You kidding? Do you know how popular I am? I got loads of people rootin' for me.
- Also from Kingdom Hearts III, when Xemnas call him a useless and forgettable rogue pawn, he has this to say in response to him.
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Xigbar has some outright suspect lines that imply he's aware there's a confused audience watching.
- League of Legends: One set of skins for Ahri, Kai'Sa, Akali and Evelynn depict them as a K-Pop band. Their band name is K/DA* .
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: According to the Gossip Stone in the throne room of Zora's Domain, 'They say that players who select the "HOLD" option for "Z TARGETING" are real "Zelda players!"'.
- The Legend Of Zelda Triforce Heroes has Mr. Tudor, who explains the game's Hero Tokens system. It serves as a reward for good online behaviour, but Tudor explains it in terms of not being like 'false heroes' who 'refuse to see things through'.
- There are two instances of this in The Logomancer that are serious rather than comedic:
- Switch out a few words, and Glenton's description of his Forgotten Plantation and other logomancers' constructs could easily fit into a discussion about the purpose and artistic trajectory of the video game medium. Other logomancers create escapist paradises that are enjoyable but not particularly stimulating; Glenton wants to use his creations as an educational tool, recreating old myths and stories as interactive adventures that provoke thought and analysis.
- In "Edited For Content", Ardus' discussion of his novel is clearly a commentary on the writing process in general and the artistic motives of novelists. And though the parallel is never made explicit, it is distinctly possible the discussion applies to the writing of the game itself, as many of the tropes used or subverted in the game (such as In Medias Res and Info Dump) are discussed rather extensively.
- Mass Effect:
- In Mass Effect 2's DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker, Shepard must battle waves of mooks with Liara as a hacking tool slowly unlocks a door for them—Shepard will reminisce about the days when you could just slap omni-gel on everything. Liara says the change made a lot of people angry.
- In Mass Effect 3 the player meets with recurring character Conrad Verner once again. A well-known glitch in the second game was that Conrad would claim you had drawn a gun on him, even if you had not taken that option in the first game. Conrad apologizes for the mistake, saying he was really stressed out. Possibly as an added joke, he will say this even in games where you actually did hold a gun on him. Conrad is also surprised that weapons now use "thermal clips" instead of cooling down. His doubts about the efficacy of this switch mirrors what many players said, with a line about how "you might as well be going back to limited ammunition" reflecting suspicions that the change was done to appeal to fans of more traditional FPS games.
- In the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, you can overhear several soldiers talking about missions they were on, clearly referencing the multiplayer. For instance, an Infiltrator rants to a Vorcha about how one Vanguard she deployed with was focused on racking up kills instead of completing the objectives.Vorcha Soldier: Vanguard charge away! Upload go slow! Bad for team!
- One of these multiplayer characters is an N7 Fury talking to an Alliance Procurement Officer, who gets her a heavy shotgun, thermal clips, and a strength enhancer. Given that none of these things are optimized for such a class, those who've played the multiplayer get this is a nod to the fickleness of the Random Number Generator nature of the online store.
- In the Mega Man Battle Network series, installing the "Humor" program into Mega Man makes him do and say some nutty things. Battle Network 6 gives us this conversation between him and Lan:Mega Man: Lan, do you ever get the feeling that someone is operating you...Like you aren't in control of yourself?
Lan: What do you mean?
Mega Man: You operate me, right? Well, what if someone was operating you like some kind of game? What if you weren't really in control?
Lan: You mean someone is operating me!? I'm not a Navi, I'm a person!! Why would anyone operate me like I'm the star of a game? A game in its 6th hit installment perhaps... Are you feeling alright Mega Man?
Mega Man: Sorry...I'm just saying...What if?
- At one point in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Snake lectures Raiden about how computer simulated violence (i.e. video game violence) is completely unlike violence in real life, unintentionally discussing the argument that violent video games contribute to real life violence.
- Arguably, the entire point of the game was to lean on the Fourth Wall. Raiden, like the player, wants to be the guy, Snake, despite never having met him, although he has "simulated" his other missions. When the opportunity comes to prove himself, however, he constantly fails. Unlike Snake, he wants to go home instead of feeling at home on the battlefield. At the end, none of the bosses (with the possible exception of Fatman) are actually confirmed dead by his hand. Raiden is essentially a deconstruction of a generic video game character, with the player sharing his role of Butt-Monkey. For more information, read this.
- "I'm a whole different game from Liquid!" yells Solidus. Later, immediately after the penultimate boss battle, he warns the player that there's going to be a lot of cutscenes coming up by promising Raiden, "No more games".
- After a long wait for Metal Gear Solid 2, and a long cutscene, Snake acknowledges the players's frustration with what would become his Catchphrase - "Kept you waiting, huh?" This is Repeated word for word in the adventure mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl where what is probably a few hours of play time after a short cutscene teased at his role in Subspace Emissary, Snake pops out of his cardboard box and says the line directly to the camera before his first gameplay section begins, as if he acknowledges everyone that had been dying to play as him in a Smash Bros game when he was revealed in the previews. Not a single coherent word was spoken anywhere else during a cutscene, outside of those accompanying an attack, in the entire game.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, if the player wishes to avoid a long sniper battle with the End, they can take the easy way out by setting the PS2's internal clock more than a week ahead (or by simply not playing the game for more than a week). When the save file loads, a cutscene will be shown of Snake finding the End already dead of old age, and calling Major Zero on his Codec. As a way of chastising the player for cheating, Snake comments that he regrets "disappointing" the End, as it was his dying wish to have a real fight. Zero, however, orders Snake to get his head back in the mission, telling him, "It's not a game. It's not a sport. You think you're competing for the gold at Tokyo or something?"
- Naomi and later Big Mama give similar lectures to Snake's MGS2 lecture in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, while the visuals show us the covers of violent games such as Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid and so on. Some Fourth Walls are just too thin to be leaned on safely.
- Then there's the chase scene in Act 2 of MGS4, where Snake is defending Drebin's vehicle, and at one point they get chased by a Mobile Gun System. Drebin very intentionally chooses to refer to the opposing vehicle by its acronym, resulting in lines like "We've gotta shake off that MGS!"
- Early on in the first Metal Gear Solid, while Snake is walking over a grating designed to make loud noises when stepped on (thus attracting the attention of nearby guards), you can call Master Miller to have him give you an explanation about how to walk quietly. He gives a detailed explanation on how to put your heel down first then slowly shift your weight onto that foot to prevent making any noise, suggesting Snake should try it - and Snake, who moves at the same speed regardless of whether you're lightly pushing the left stick or holding it as far as it will go, notes with frustration that "I can't do it!"
- In MLB: The Show, if a batter swings too early, or swings at a ball well outside the strike zone, there's a good chance it'll result in a very ugly, off-balance swing, and- sometimes, commentator Matt Vasgersian will comment on it, saying "Oh my, I don't think I've ever seen such an ugly swing, even in a video game!"
- In the Monkey Island series:
- In Escape from Monkey Island, a frustrated Guybrush Threepwood complains, "It's like my life is a neverending series of puzzles!"
- After Escape, fans had to wait 9 years for a new game. When it arrived, it was in episodic format, with episodes coming out a month apart. At the end of the first episode a woman says "I've been waiting a long time for this!", to which Guybrush replies "Can't you wait a little longer?" Later, the woman turns out to be a fangirl.
- In the Mountain Range level of The Nameless Mod, you can sneak up on two mooks facing a jumping puzzle the player must pass in order to enter the facility through the back way. One of them mentions how stupid and dangerous it is for people to use it, and that its is "just like those old video games, adding in a stupid jumping puzzle instead of just giving you more enemies to shoot."
- The Neptunia series does this all the time, and takes full advantage of its primary cast being the Anthropomorphic Personification of various game consoles to be particularly blunt about it. A particularly unusual example in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is Noire's equipment options, which have their descriptions written as though the PS3 (as in, the one sitting in your living room running the game) is quite proud of itself for rendering such appealing objects for its patron goddess to use.
- Implemented in Ending D in NieR. Since it involves a Heroic Sacrifice, with cancellation from existence, this translates into erasing all your save data.
- In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, after Travis kills Alice, the 2nd ranked assassin, he unleashes all his bottled rage due to Character Development at Sylvia. Except if you take the rant for yourself, it strikes really close to home.See that? Now THAT was a BATTLE! Look at this blood! We HUMANS are ALIVE! Even if we ARE assassins! Doesn't matter if it's a video game, movie, drama, anime, manga... We're ALIVE! People shed blood and die. This isn't a game! You can't selfishly use death as your tool! THIS is Alice's blood! I bet you've already forgotten she existed! Same way you would have forgotten me! And that's why I'm tearing down the UAA!
- Not that they're doing this in a game that ever had a fourth wall in the first place...
- Odin Sphere:
- During the best ending's post-credits scene, the shopkeeper talks to an unseen writer about how peaceful everything is, but he faces towards the screen while doing so, making it look like he's addressing the audience.
- During the bad ending, Myris exclaims, as the world is dying around her, that it's a terrible ending.
- In Ōkami, Ninetails has the same Celestial brush ability that you do. If you take too long drawing your attacks on the canvas, its own brush appears and cancels them. This falls into Leaning on the Fourth Wall territory because the brush looks the same and pauses time like you do.
- Blizzard is a company in the world of Overwatch that produced all of the other Blizzard games. D.Va is a champion StarCraft player, and Blizzard has an in-world amusement park which contains rides based on their other games.
- In Persona 3 Mr. Edogawa notes that Summon Magic is "widely seen in books, movies, better video games, and so on...". Shin Megami Tensei combat is heavily reliant on summoning demons (except for Digital Devil Saga, where the characters turn into them instead).
- Mr Edogawa later has an entire lecture on Jungian Psychology, which forms the basis behind the entire Persona series.
- Persona 4 continues the trend: During one pivotal late-game scene, when a major twist is revealed, the plot so far is called a "cat and mouse game" and a character remarks, "Games like these always have to have some kind of twist at the end to keep things interesting."
- In both Persona 3 and Persona 4, Edogawa holds a lecture on the arcana of the tarot. Tarot Motifs are very prominent in the Persona series, especially from the third game onward, where they tie in with the games' Social Link/Confidant mechanics, in addition to the major plotline bosses in 3 being themed after the arcana.
- Rise's final Social Link event ends with her saying she doesn't know what to do after this since "if we were on TV, this would be a wrap." Cue fadeout.
- Persona 5:
- The protagonist will stick his hand out to the screen when you open the menu, with text reading "Don't look at me like that" in the corner of the screen. This is often done in Japan when making eye contact with fictional characters. The fact that the protagonist is doing it implies that he's not the fictional one.
- Igor will regularly refer to the events of the game as, well, "a game." Though in his case it's more an allusion to the Picaresque / thief Caper nature of your activities.
- In one of her Confidant events, Futaba will comment on how fortunate she is that people seem to show up to help her right when she needs it, and in her usual use of gamer lingo, she'll state that her "Luck stat must be high." She legitimately does have the highest Luck stat of your entire party, and by a wide margin.
- In the same scene, she also asks the very non-playable Mishima "Are you an NPC?" because he's so boring and plain.
- In Phantasy Star IV when leaving the party he vastly out levels, Rune mentions to not think about defeating Zio, as "At this stage of the game, you're no match for him!", with "game" argubly being a figurative speech given his cocky personality.
- In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Steven makes a remark along the lines of, "Have we met...before? That's not possible. All the Trainers I have battled seem to have the same look, anyway. Especially the ones who gave me tough battles..." referring to the main character of this or really any Pokémon game.
- In the post-game portions of Pokémon Black and White, Cynthia explicitly compares the hero/ine's determined expression to that of the hero/ine of Pokémon Platinum.
- Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 have a Running Gag of random characters mistaking you for the previous games' protagonist. Even Hilbert/Hilda's mother. The best lean of BW2 is performed by Ghetsis in the Giant Chasm, commenting to the teenage player character that random teenagers always seem to screw up his plans... so this time, he'll just get you out of the way first.
- In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, a Bug Catcher in an early Pokémon Center talks about the trading centers located on the second floor. When the games were remade as Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Centers were cut down to one story since the trading feature had been retooled as part of the Player Search System (accessible from anywhere in the game), so instead he talks about how they used to have second floors "about ten years ago".
- In Pokémon Platinum, when Charon starts talking down to Mars, she tells him that "You only joined us recently, you know!", in reference to how Charon didn't exist in the original Diamond & Pearl.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity's postgame, Hydreigon has an odd moment where he senses something and looks around curiously, eventually appearing to settle his gaze on you before giving a Quizzical Tilt. In the climax of the postgame, it turns out that he was looking at you; just "you" as in the player character who had returned to the human world at the end of the main story, but had been watching him and the rest of their friends from the other side.
- In Portal's end song: Still Alive''GLaDOS: And we're out of beta, we're releasing on time.
- In the sequel, a few of Wheatley's lines.Wheatley: Look at this! No rail to tell us where to go! This is great, we can go wherever we want! Hang on now, where ARE we going? Let me just get my bearings... just follow the rail, actually.
- Also from the sequel, at one point Wheatley announces "This is the part where I kill you." Then the chapter name comes up, and it's "The Part Where He Kills You". And then the Steam achievement notification pops up, and it's also "The Part Where He Kills You". Cue achievement/Trophy description: "This is that part".
- In the sequel, a few of Wheatley's lines.
- One level in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time takes place in a library. During gameplay, the Prince's sidekick/love interest Farah will occasionally read excerpts from books, and eventually the Prince exclaims, "If you want to be useful, try finding a book that'll tell us how to get out of here!" Farah replies with, "This isn't that kind of game", causing the Prince to mutter, "Game? She thinks this is a game."
- In Puzzle & Dragon Z, when they reached the final stage of The Passage of Life, the Hero, Nick and Sara mention how they've gotten to the end of the dungeon. Sara says that at the end of a dungeon there's only one thing there could be. Prompting everyone to simultaneously shout out "BOSS BATTLE!"
- In The Reconstruction, whenever a character joins the guild's roster, there's a little fanfare that plays. When the starting cast joins in the beginning, Qualstio says "Is that nauseatingly cheerful music gonna play every time someone joins?" at one point. Kulkumatz also asks "What was that sound?" when he joins. Also overlaps with Left the Background Music On.
- Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare has the exchange between Marston and the Film Maker.Marston: Listen, any idea what the hell is going on here?
Film Maker: No, but it's brilliant. Man turned against man, kindhearted neighbors turned into savage flesh eating monsters! Do you see it? It would make a fantastic movie!
Marston: Who would enjoy that? What kind of sick person would like that?
Film Maker: My sir! The Lowest Common Denominator! My people.
Marston: You're gone, friend...
- Used in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Game of Oblivion (which is a recreation of Code Veronica). When walking up the stairs to fight Alfred Ashford, you are attacked by two zombies and Steve Burnside leans on the Fourth Wall here.Steve: Zombie, zombie, zombie, zombie! Ugh, it's like a damn video game!
- In a quest in RuneScape, the player must help a Spoiled Brat finish some missions. When they come across an obstacle, said brat asks if it is a glitch.
- The Nightmare Muspah familiar, if spoken to, muses on its nature as the living nightmare of a dying god, and asks the player character who dreamed them into existence. The player character isn't sure they like this philosophical tangent.
- Several times in Rusty Hearts, such as:Frantz: Why do they have you cooking for the soldiers anyway? It's obvious you're terrible at it.
Patricia: There weren't enough NPCs...
Angela: I'm only doing this because I need the experience points.
- While Sam & Max: Freelance Police breaks the Fourth Wall regularly, sometimes they teasingly poke the glass, like lampshading their formulaic exchanges:Sam: Random but innocuous comment.
Max: Irreverent reply which hints at mental instability!
Sam: You crack me up, little buddy.
- In the first episode of Season 2, the Bad News headline reads "New S&M Season". If you examine it, though, Max says it's a shame Sam (a dog) doesn't wear a collar since the paper says they're in style.
- The penultimate episode of Season Three has Charlie Ho-Tep using Sam as a pawn in his Evil Plan, as he's the perfect Straight Man, an easily controlled guy who always does what he's told.
- In Scratches, Arthate's working notes contain his musings over whether the threat in his latest horror novel should turn out to be natural, supernatural, or Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. This corresponds to the original ending of the game itself, and to each of the multiple endings of the Director's Cut version.
- Near the end of Shantae: Risky's Revenge, the title character shows reluctance at helping a boss from earlier in the game, claiming that she saw her "exploding in some sort of massive Stage Clear spectacle."
- When you take down the first enemy in Scenario 22 of the Earth Route in Shin Super Robot Wars, the enemy will use a Spirit Command. Of course, Zuhl's "galactic" genius is not matched by his assistant, who rapidly starts pushing the wrong buttons. After a while of this (culminating in Tekagen), Zuhl furiously orders his subordinate not to use any more Spirit Commands. All this is done to Ryusei Date's vast amusement.
- Silent Hill 3: "Is this the end? Time to roll the credits."
- Have Silent Hill 2 as an Old Save Bonus and you get a cutscene of Heather attempting to retrieve something from a toilet, before deciding it's too gross.(while looking directly at the camera) Who can even think about doing something so disgusting?
- At the end of the credits for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Kaufman's analysis notes on the patient are directly referring to what he's deduced about you during the therapy sessions. Not the first game that's done this, until he ends the notes with "Lots of ground uncovered. Might be best to go back to the start and reexamine everything with the knowledge we have now. Think patient will agree?"
- Have Silent Hill 2 as an Old Save Bonus and you get a cutscene of Heather attempting to retrieve something from a toilet, before deciding it's too gross.
- The Simpsons Game has a moment, after the Sea Captain spends an entire level assisting Bart and Lisa in overthrowing the dolphins (based on the Halloween Special "Night of the Dolphin").Sea Captain: Y'arr, I've had a great time today, kids. I almost never appear this much in the series...
Bart and Lisa: Huh?
Sea Captain: ...of events that constitute your lives.
- Several lines of dialogue in Spec Ops: The Line are clearly aimed as much at the player as at Capt. Martin Walker.John Konrad: You're here because you wanted to be something you're not - a hero.
- One of Venom's taunts in Spider-Man is him humming part of the famous opening of the original Spider-Man cartoon.
- In Splatoon 2, after the Chicken vs Egg" Splatfest Marina comments to one of Pearl's comments with "It's funny because we're all living in a simulation and free will is a lie." It refers to the fact they're in a video game, but also refers to the ideas that life is actually a simulation and that free will doesn't truly exist.On a darker note, it also refers to Marina's old life as an Octoling soldier; being raised on orders in such a tech-heavy environment will do that to people.
- The third Splinter Cell game did away with the previous two's use of alarms as the player's "lives", where even outside of missions (or sections of them) that would immediately fail if the player got detected once, they still usually had a limit of being detected three times before game over. This was pointed out in the second mission of Chaos Theory:Lambert: Fisher, we just pulled up Celestina's dry-dock report for the Maria Narcissa. They have a newly-installed central alarm system.
Sam: Don't tell me... three alarms and the mission is over?
Lambert: Of course not, this is no video game, Fisher.
- Ember does this in Spyro: A Hero's Tail. Her line goes "Don't take that bridge to the swamp, Spyro. If you do, I might never see you again". This both refers to the fact that it's dangerous, and she may not see him again, and that she disappears from the game after you cross the bridge.
- Later, when Spyro encounters a mammoth boss, he mentions that all he has to do is run around for while until he figures out the boss's weakness, then hit him three times. The mammoth then stomps him flat. This is basically Spyro describing how to beat all the bosses in that game (and in several other Spyro games too).
- The Stanley Parable does this a lot, given that the Narrator serves as a medium between the player and Stanley, who the player is controlling.
- In StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, just before the final mission if you click on Tychus he will comment that he is worried about the artifact they are using and that he fears it might shatter the entire space-time continuum. Raynor's response is to tell him that it's not science fiction.
- Ten years passed between the release of the original StarCraft and the announcement of its sequel. What were the first word's spoken by a character and the only line in the trailer?Hell, it's about time.
- In Heart of the Swarm, when breaking into a lab, Kerrigan notes how heavily fortified it is and comments, "Just getting inside will be an achievement." Sure enough, the achievement for completing the ensuing mission is named, "Just Getting Inside".
- Ten years passed between the release of the original StarCraft and the announcement of its sequel. What were the first word's spoken by a character and the only line in the trailer?
- Star Wars Legends: Done in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords a few times, generally by Kreia, in regards to Experience Points. The line from the rejoined Jedi Council about the Player Character getting strength through killing others is a particularly spelled-out instance.
- In Stellaris, one of the precursor civilizations you can investigate actually died because of this. The Vultaum attained an advanced society marked by a particular love for virtual reality games, until a philosophical movement formed that believed that "the entire universe was an artificial reality which all sentient beings had been unwittingly plugged into for the amusement of some higher power." The movement grew until at one point its adherents all committed mass suicide in an attempt to "disconnect" from this reality by overloading its system, and the Vultaum who didn't participate were too few to repopulate the species.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 does this when Mario is low on lives or runs out and gets a Game Over. If you are low on lives, Lubba suggests using the orange Luma (Player 2) to help you with the more difficult tasks and to have more fun. If you run out of lives, he will suggest to Mario to take a break. Similarly, if you lose a lot of lives in the process of getting through a level, he'll commend Mario for pulling through on a galaxy he was having a tough time with.
- There's also Mario humming the theme tune of Super Mario 3D Land.
- In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi will hum what is actually the background music in an attempt to maintain morale.
- Mario Party 5: When it comes to the final five turns, Bowser will show the current player ranks and then remark 'At this rate, (leader) is going to beat all of you! If it's that easy, this ain't a Mario Party!', in what can definitely be read as an acknowledgement from the developers of how you can be screwed out of the lead in no time at all in this series.
- Most of the other shows involved in the crossover game Super Robot Wars V also have characters Spared by the Adaptation or otherwise better-off than they were in canon. Near the end of the game, almost everything that Black Noir has to say is some form of complaint about characters getting off easier than they were supposed to.
- One of the many examples from Super Robot Wars Original Generation:Sanger: Shut up! The Colossal Blade is the sword of my soul! As long as I have this I can still fight! This mech will inherit my soul! Behold the power of...
*Giant writing on the screen*: Episode 30: Dygenguard!
Vigagi: What was that!? And what does 'Episode 30' mean!?
- Tenzan, who learned how to pilot mechs entirely through video games, constantly sees everything in video game terms. After he is defeated, he insists with his last breath that he'll just press Continue and try again with full HP. Which is something the player can actually do in case of a Game Over, but he can't.
- Tales of the Abyss has some skits triggered by having the characters fight in their alternate swimsuit costumes. In the skits, they wonder why they're dressed like that, claiming they have no idea why and feeling like some unknown force was causing them to do it.
- The in-battle quotes are also weirdly fourth-wall-leaning-ish. In the Tales Series characters often have incantations, quotes for when they're at low health, etcetera, which all make sense in the context of a fight. In Abyss, the AI members have quotes if you order them to take certain actions, but the character you're controlling doesn't verbally give the order. So if you ask Jade to cast Thunder Blade for the eight hundredth time, when he snaps "oh, very well," he seems to be snarking at you.
- Tales of Vesperia has the same thing as Abyss if you make Karol run around in a towel. He says someone's making him wear it because they thought it would be funny, but everyone in the party insists it wasn't their idea, and then Karol looks really confused.
- Similar to the Abyss example above, party members will often pick on your playstyle if you do weird/bad things like running around without attacking, using too many artes, or using too many items.
- In Terminator 3: Redemption, the T-850 kills the T-X with the Pre-Mortem One-Liner "Game Over". Very aptly, it's the end of the game.
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary, a remake of the original game, begins with Lara being hired to find an artifact she previously spent years searching for. Or as Natla puts it, "This is a game you've played before".
- Touhou occasionally breaks the fourth wall, but more often makes passing comments in throwaway puns that give translators headaches that lean pretty heavily on the fourth wall. A good example is Marisa's comment in Imperishable Night where, when asked what she was doing out at night early on in the game, Marisa replies, "It's my annual Youkai Extermination Month. I'll go wherever youkai live." - Imperishable Night and the other Windows Touhou games before it were all released in the same month of consecutive years. It's worth noting that even though the game came out in the same month in real life, the games take place during different seasons in-game (with the seasons being important basic elements to several of those games, like Perfect Cherry Blossom being about someone stealing the season of Spring, keeping Winter from passing), meaning the joke only makes sense when it is referencing the fourth wall.
- Until Dawn pretends like it's Breaking the Fourth Wall by occasionally having a psychiatrist character appear and speak directly to the camera about how "you" are "playing your little game," making it seem like he's talking to the player of Until Dawn. It's eventually revealed that "you" is actually one of the characters in the game, and the "little game" he's referring to is the character's elaborate prank he's playing on his friends.
- In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, during the briefing before the final mission, Arthas exclaims something along the lines of: "It's time to end the game ... once and for all." Which is a reference to Malah's line from Diablo II: Lord of Destruction: "You knew it would come to this. Kill Baal; finish the game!"
- The Witness: The prize for completing a hidden, difficult-to-achieve reward is a lecture that talks about why hidden, difficult-to-achieve rewards shouldn't be the coolest part of a game. Naturally, the hidden achievement was one of the most talked about part of the game from players, because it was so cool (and the lecture was actually well-researched, too).
- In World of Warcraft there is an NPC in Honor Hold who claims he feels as though he is going through the same sequence of actions repeatedly, making reference to going through an action loop.