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Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane in video games.


  • When Wardog pull a Let's Get Dangerous! moment mid way through Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War the enemy freaks and believe the Demons of Razgriz (a mythical tale part of the game revolves around) took over the pilot's bodies. The squadron runs with the idea later on and renames themselves Razgriz, but whether or not the myth is true is left up in the air.
  • Assassin's Creed
    • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate has two side missions featuring Spring-Heeled Jack, and it is left ambiguous if he's simply using theatrics to fake it, as the first mission suggests, or is a truly supernatural being, as the second mission suggests.
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    • Assassin's Creed Origins has a unique approach to White Room post-assassininaton cutscenes. Unlike Altair or Ezio's assassinations, Bayek seems to be getting into some kind of spiritual jousting match with his marks. Which almost always end with him banishing them to the Duat, the Egyptian afterlife. Are these simply illustrations by the Animus as before, or does Bayek actually have some kind of authority over the dead? Is the Duat a real place or simply a figment of his, or even Layla's imagination? Further complicating matters is at times Bayek somehow manages to slip into the Duat as if it's a real place, once even fighting Apep. Who unlike the other Egyptian "gods" is almost certainly not a glitch.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations opens up with Ezio losing a fight against a small army of Templar guards because he was distracted by an apparition of Altaïr. It could've just been a glitch in the Animus or Desmond's memories overwriting Ezio's. But what else would've distracted Ezio so much? This also doesn't happen anywhere else in the game aside from Masyaf
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  • In Attack Of The Friday Monsters A Tokyo Tale, while some of the strange goings-on are given definite natural explanations (the monsters that had been appearing are just stagecraft made by the local TV station), other aspects of the plot tend to be more ambiguous about whether they're real events or fantasies of the game's child characters, particularly as the adults act like it's all real while the kids are around. And some of the stranger happenings don't get any naturalistic explanations at all (such as Sohta's abduction by the UFO and transportation to the diner).
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: Throughout the game, Batman is haunted by visions of The Joker, who died at the end of Batman: Arkham City, but it isn't made clear what exactly the Joker is. The game itself suggests it could be an hallucination caused by the combination of his blood and the new fear toxin or the Joker's ghost inside of Batman's body. Looking at the series as a whole, it could be an actual Split Personality: Joker, Dr. Strange, and Scarecrow suggest Batman's burying powerful emotions, concealing a "true self" which could be the Joker from the final Scarecrow sequence in Asylum and the one in the Mr. Freeze fight in City. While a lot points to the first, he shows Batman things he didn't witness (but knew second-hand), such as Barbara's crippling; in the case of Jason Todd, Batman knows the events from a video tape Joker mailed him, but the extensive detail we see seems to come less from his fevered imaginations and more from Joker's memories. Joker even confesses to Batman that he lied about killing Jason. Moreover, canonicity notwithstanding, the end credits song I'm Not Laughing (a Sad Reprise of I Can't Stop Laughing) is sung by the Joker while he's trapped all alone in Batman's subconscious, which wouldn't make sense as a "hallucination" because he can't exist without being experienced by Batman.
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  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm is set within a full dive virtual reality version of the internet, and most of the threats come from ordinary Trolls and the occasional rogue A.I. However, the final story arc (in the True Ending path) involves a pair of ancient "cyber-deities" who claim to have existed in virtual space since long before humanity arrived, and two of the protagonists are revealed to be amnesiac pieces split from those respective deities. It’s never made clear to the player whether this all just a very complex roleplay, or if there actually is something supernatural going on.
  • Bully has various clues, hints, sightings, and sounds that there is a werewolf loose in town, leading to lots of online controversy in the gaming world, making some gamers wonder who that werewolf is, and making other gamers claim that there is no werewolf at all.
  • A number of events in the Crusader Kings games are seen by the characters as explicitly supernatural or miraculous, but could have more plausible explanations. To give but one possibility: Is your king genuinely suffering from Demonic Possession, or are the voices in his head simply the result of a mental disorder medieval medicine knows nothing about? After a number of DLCs, the second game has options for an explicitly mundane world or undeniable Magic Realism, though there remain plenty of events believed to be magic by the denizens of the world in the first case, and a number of ambiguous events in the second.
  • Throughout Cyberpunk 2077, you get some eerie hints that there may be higher powers at work in Night City than the corporations:
    • In one Cyberpsycho gig, V tracks and breaks up a cult ritual where a bunch of dead gang members surround a woman lying on a freezer. Investigating around the area will lead to flashes of noise before the woman suddenly springs up and attacks V despite registering as dead up to that point. Neither V or Silverhand can explain what exactly happened.
    • At one point, V and Takemura spot a stray cat while doing some recon. V points out that most animals disappeared from Night City a long time ago and Takemura jokingly suggests that the cat is a Bakeneko, a spirit that spreads misfortune and is able to revive the dead. While this is easy to dismiss at that time, what appears to be the same cat later appears in Johnny's memory of 2013 some fifty years earlier, during what was likely the greatest moment of misfortune in his life: as he lay bleeding out after failing to save Alt from being kidnapped by Arasaka, right before he'd embark on a raid on Arasaka that ended with him inadvertently killing her.
    • When exploring a serial killer’s memories to track the location of his lair, V can see images of his deceased mother, such as her shadow behind a curtain (which disappears the second the blinds are drawn). You could explain it away as a bit of Through the Eyes of Madness, but nothing like it happens in any other Braindance segment...
    • Peralez’s quest chain has their memories being altered by a shadowy organization with no hints as to who it might be. The characters (and probably the player) initially peg it as just another dumb Corporate Conspiracy like the many other you deal with, but as the quest goes on the clues just get weirder and weirder, and conversations take on a more Cosmic Horror Story vibe, especially when V gets a phone call and seemingly gets hacked by an inhuman voice. Johnny speculates at the end that it was a rogue AI behind everything, but makes it pretty clear that that's just his personal theory about a very fucked up and unexplainable situation.
    • Misty’s tarot readings are notably always accurate in the endings, such as referencing death (of a sort) in Temperance ending or good fortunes in the Sun ending.
  • Disco Elysium:
    • If you put points into the Inland Empire, Esprit de Corps, and Shivers skills, your character can have conversations with inanimate objects and murder victims, and occasionally see visions of other places in the city. There's no way the conversations and visions can be real, and yet the information gained from them turns out to be uncannily accurate. It's never made clear whether the protagonist has an actual supernatural sixth sense, or if he simply has an overactive subconscious and imagination putting together clues in ways the logical part of his mind can't follow.
      • Inland Empire at one point offers an alternative mundane explanation - that Harry had actually been making significant headway on the case before and during his bender, and the premonitions are actually just of things he'd learned about that he'd forgotten. This seems possible for some of the visions, but for others would not be logistically possible.
      • Espirit De Corps is also ambiguous in terms of how much of it your character is actually 'seeing'. Word of God says the flashes into the lives of the other cops are only percieved by the player, not the player character, but in some cases your player character gets an active prompt to 'Keep listening' to an Espirit De Corps conversation, and (in the pyrholidon induction scene) Electrochemistry directly addresses the player character about an Esprit De Corps vision, calling its intrusions one of the joys of using the drug.
    • How did the protagonist lose his memory? The three-day alcohol and amphetamine bender leading up to the beginning of the game could certainly cause amnesia, but traditionally someone would only forget what happened to them while they were drunk; the protagonist has forgotten his own name, identity and much of his factual memory about the world. There is a mechanism in the world through which people can lose memories through exposure to the Pale, an entropic force of breakdown-of-reality that the protagonist was exposed to on a mission in the town years ago, and which appears to be involved in the trucking routes into town and the cursed area right next door to the player character's hotel. However, there's no real evidence that this happened; and it's also possible the protagonist suffered a psychotic break that caused him to repress all knowledge of reality, or simply drunk such stupid amounts that he caused himself brain damage. (Kim appears to suspect the player character's condition was caused by the Pale, but Joyce, who is very familiar with Pale exposure, suggests the player character just has alcoholic encephalopathy.)
    • It is never explained whether the businesses failing in the Doomed Commercial Area is caused by encroaching Pale, or whether it is just the normal effects of capitalism working as it does. Martinaise is an impoverished area with not much disposable income, and all of the failed businesses had glaring problems with their business models that could easily have bankrupted them anywhere; however, the trapped recording of the woman who once worked for Tricentennial Electrics describes mysterious memory loss that she experienced since starting to work in the building.
  • Do It For Me: It's implied in the "Awake" ending by the protagonist's word choice about escaping control that the girlfriend's manipulations might be supernatural. In the end though, it's kept ambiguous. Maybe she's a succubus-like demon, or maybe she's just a really good manipulator.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The series uses a variant on this trope with Andraste, the backstory's expy of Joan of Arc and Jesus. The church's doctrine is that she genuinely enjoyed the favor of the otherwise absent Maker and through her, the Maker wrought miracles — and that Andraste's ashes in Origins have genuine miraculous power. It's suggested, however, by non-church characters, that Andraste may simply have been a powerful sorceress who fooled the world and that her ashes have power as a result of being stored near a massive deposit of incredibly pure lyrium. As with all things related to the Chantry's doctrine in-game, the writers leave the truth intentionally ambiguous.
    • In addition, there's the Old Gods, at least 7 (including the 5 slain by the Grey Wardens) massive dragons hibernating underground that were worshipped by the ancient Tevinters as gods and emit a call that lures Darkspawn to them, resulting in them being turned into Archdemons and starting a new Blight. The Chantry teaches that the Old Gods were demons that tricked humanity into worshipping them and were imprisoned underground by the Maker as a result, while scholars assumed that they're an endangered species of ancient dragon that humanity worshipped out of fear and that they're simply hibernating. Like everything relating to religion in the series it's left unclear which is true, but their link to the Darkspawn implies heavily that they're not just normal dragons.
    • A variation in Dragon Age II: why there are constant problems in Kirkwall? Is it because the city's layout was set down to create powerful sigils for some unknown purpose? Something the Tevinter Mages did when they controlled the City or some curse bestowed when they lost it during the slave uprising? Is it because the Veil between the Fade is particularly weak there? Maybe its proximity to the Primeval Thaig and vast amounts of Red Lyrium that drive people crazy? Maybe its proximity to the Ancient Darkspawn Corypheus slumbering in his Grey Warden Prison? Or maybe its because the people who live there just make it a Crapsack World?
    • Just what the hell is up with Sandal and why does he keep being found surrounded by countless dead Darkspawn, Demons, etc.?
      Hawke: I'd really like to know how you killed all those darkspawn?!
      Sandal: [hands them a Runestone] Boom!
      Hawke: And how did you do that?! [gestures to a Ogre frozen solid in mid-charge]
      Sandal: Not Enchantment!
      • There are a number of fan theories surrounding Sandal. Dwarf who has somehow learned to use magic? note  Old God manifested in the form of a Dwarven boy? note  And what's with this weird line he spouts in Dragon Age II?
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition gives the whole "Is it really The Maker acting In Mysterious Ways?" question another spin with the story of the Inquisitor, a.k.a. the Herald of Andraste (a.k.a. the Player Character). Are they really guided by some divine providence, or is it just sheer, blind luck that saves them again and again where anyone else would have died horribly? Either way, it is pretty obvious how history will remember them (hint: take a good long look at Andraste).
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • The game is very ambiguous on whether the Player Character really is the Nerevarine — prophesied hero and reincarnation of the long-dead Dunmer Folk Hero, Indoril Nerevar. It's also possible that you're a particularly clever and lucky impostor who tricked everyone with the help of The Empire and Azura, a Daedric Prince who was the original Nerevar's patron in ages past. The game never answers it definitively (and it even throws in the third possibility of you becoming the Nerevarine by doing what the Nerevarine is prophesied to do), and the most knowledgeable (sane) beings in the setting prefer not to jump to any conclusions about you.
      • The original Nerevar in the Backstory was said to possess "supernatural powers of persuasion'', which were further enhanced by his enchanted Moon-and-Star ring. Whether these powers were an inborn or learned magical ability, the magic of the Moon-and-Star was that powerful, or Indoril Nerevar was just naturally charismatic is never really explored (the Moon-and-Star does boost persuasive abilities by a decent but not excessive amount, so the smart money is on "a little of all of them").
      • Further, Moon-And-Star is supposedly cursed to instantly kill anyone who is not Nerevar that dares to wear it. You can wear it without problems. Whether this is because you are the Nerevarine or the curse is just another later add-on to the Nerevar myth is never revealed, though both possibilities are floated.
    • In the Skyrim expansion Dawnguard, Florentinus Baenius is a scatterbrained priest of Arkay who claims to hear his deity speak directly to him, and engages in one-sided conversations with the god, bickering Like an Old Married Couple. Now this is a fantasy setting where gods and demons are very real, but the Divines aren't known for speaking directly to mortals like that, so most people assume Florentinus is crazy. Yet Florentinus speaks with confidence about things that he shouldn't know about, like the true history of the Dawnguard, and if your spouse is kidnapped by vampires, Florentinus sends you after them so quickly that your spouse will wonder how you knew to rescue them.
  • Ensemble Stars! has a number of characters whose status as ordinary humans is... vague at best. The Sakuma brothers officially have a case of vampire-centric chuunibyou, but aspects of their physical health and bits Rei has revealed about their family leave the "chuunibyou" part up in the air. Wataru and the members of Switch, who are all some variety of magician, have each pulled off something that seems to unlikely to be an ordinary magic trick. And Kanata claims to be a sea god and has a cult following. It's unclear if that's just something his parents raised him to believe or not.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 2, there is a town wherein you can meet a translucent woman who claims to be a ghost, but in dialogue you simply ask her to turn off her Stealth Boy, an item which, well, makes the user translucent and thus harder to see (hence the name). So is this just a mentally disturbed woman with Stealth Boy, or an actual ghost? Fallout: New Vegas shows that prolonged usage of Stealth Boys among Nightkin has made them schizophrenic, giving evidence to the former. However the effect has never been observed among humans...
      • Hakunin is a shaman like member of the Arroyo tribe who can speak to the Chosen One through his dreams. In universe, people with these powers are known as Psykers. Whether his powers are supernatural or the result of some radiation induced mutation are not explained.
      • Sulik frequently communes with "Grampy Bone", one of his grandfather's bones that Sulik uses for a nose ornament. You can ask Grampy Bone for advice, which while never easy to understand, is always valid. It is never established how much is genuine spirituality, how much is Sulik being slightly nuts and deeply superstitious, and how much is just Sulik figuring things out way ahead of you and messing with your head.
    • There's a lot of fucked-up stuff that goes on in the Dunwich Building in Fallout 3 that can be rationalized as, say, hallucinogenic gases, or maybe an odd variant of radiation, but that explanation still doesn't cover everything. It's entirely possible that the Dunwich Building is perfectly normal — well, as far as 'normal' goes in Fallout. But it's also entirely possible something dark and eldritch lurks there. We'll never know for sure.
      This goes even further and yet also stays precisely the same in a mission in the Point Lookout DLC. You're asked by a somewhat creepy old man to retrieve a book — supposedly, a tome of eldritch lore. You're asked by an old Christian missionary to destroy it by pressing it against the monolith in the basement of the Dunwich Building, which will destroy the book. It's entirely possible the book is made out of some strange radioactive substance that reacts poorly to whatever the monolith is made of — or it might actually have genuine arcane power.
      The Point Lookout DLC had some Dummied Out plot points regarding the book according to The Other Wiki. Apparently Obadiah Blackhall was specifically asking for the help of the Christian Missionary to help him destroy the book, when she receives the notification of this she proclaims that Obadiah is a good man but comes from a bad family. When the book is brought to him Obadiah was supposed to tell you that the book was used by his family for occult purposes in ancient times and that it has demonic origins, he explains that there are two ways to destroy the evil magic contained in the book; either sacrifice himself or destroy the book in the Dunwich Building. This cut content makes it far more explicit that the book is magic.
    • Across the whole series, the function of the Luck Stat and the (related) nature of the Mysterious Stranger fall under this heading. The Luck Stat supposedly only governs the player character's ability to calculate probabilities, but in practice allows people to make uncanny predictions, such as (with a 24 hour margin of error) the exact date of a surprise nuclear attack, how to perform literal brain surgery, or what random passwords might be. Likewise, the Mysterious Stranger perk relies on a decent Luck Stat, and the Stranger himself is a very mysterious fellow, seemingly able to appear anywhere in the world (or beyond) at the drop of a hat. Your companion Nick Valentine in Fallout 4 is investigating the Stranger, and theorizes that it's possibly multiple people or a Ghoul with minimal scarring using Stealth Boys. The Stranger's appearance changes across the series (and the fact that you could get a female one in Fallout) lends some credence to the "multiple people" theory.
  • Far Cry
    • Far Cry 3 has this all over it. So many things on the island, like the animal's ultra-aggressive, almost Hive Mind-like behaviour, Jason's prophetic hallucinations, the alleged "demon" Jason fights about halfway through the game, an NPC who is heavily implied at the end to have been a ghost, the way the local natives seem to be slowly going mad, old letters from WW2 Japanese soldiers reporting crazy shit going on... The list just goes on, and the worst thing is, in true trope form, we're just left to wonder if it's all real, or the protagonist simply going insane. And there's plenty of evidence for both. It's border-line terrifying.
    • Far Cry 4 continues this. Ajay has several visions of an ancient Kyrati warrior questing for Shangri-La who he may well be a reincarnation of, but he's mostly tripping balls on drugs when this happens to him. The Valley of the Yetis DLC also does this with the eponymous Yetis, the insane religion of Yalung, and the Relic.
    • Far Cry 5: How did Joseph Seed actually know the world was ending? If he had access to a radio, TV or the internet, he could easily have kept up with the media flow and made an educated guess. However, the Eden's Gate cult does not allow electronics of any kind, and while Joseph would neither be the first nor last cult leader to have different rules for themselves and their followers there are no signs of him having any such devices hidden away. So... is Joseph merely good at hiding his smartphone, or did he actually receive divine guidance?
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Zig-zagged with the killer animatronics.
    • The first game leaves it quite ambiguous as to whether the titular animatronics are actually haunted. Phone Guy says they're attacking you because of a programming glitch that causes them to see you as a bare endoskeleton and try to make you put on your costume (which kills you horribly), but Bonnie will occasionally go into the backstage room, which has a bare endoskeleton in it, and he won't stuff it in a suit. There's also a random event where a poster will talk about an incident where a group of children were murdered at the restaurant, with their bodies never found. Soon afterwards, the animatronics began to leak blood and mucus, which is definitely not a good sign. And then there's Golden Freddy...
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 2 makes it clear that something supernatural is going on with the original animatronics, and the Puppet is most definitely supernatural in nature, but what's happening with the Toy Animatronics is left up in the air.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is largely on the Magic side of things, confirming that the original animatronics were indeed haunted by the children who died at Freddy's, and that Springtrap is haunted by the spirit of their killer, but it has this with the Phantom Animatronics. Are they hallucinations caused by fear and shoddy ventilation, or are they legitimate visions? Most of them crash the ventilation when they appear, but Phantom Mangle does not, and they all appear burned, foreshadowing the eventual fate of Fazbear's Fright. And then there's the Puppet, which acts like a normal Phantom once triggered, but when it shows up on Cam 08, you can see that it has a reflection.
    • In Five Nights at Freddy's 4, are the Nightmare animatronics just the hallucinations/PTSD-induced flashbacks of the Bite of 87's victim, or actual entities that can kill him? Is the child's Fredbear just a plush toy, or a Not-So-Imaginary Friend responsible for the Nightmares in the first place?
    • In Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, what's up with Baby? Is she just an advanced animatronic who somehow became sapient? Or is she also possessed? To say nothing of the other animatronics...
  • The FNAF fangame Fredbear and Friends purports to be in the canon, but it's never made entirely clear whether there are actual supernatural goings-on at the restaurant, or if it's the murderer turning the malfunctioning animatronics on and off to screw with Thomas.
  • Friday the 13th: The Game has Pamela Voorhees acting as a sort of Mission Control for Jason as The Voice, but it's not entirely clear if Jason is just hearing his mother's voice as a delusion or if her spirit is actually talking her. There's evidence for both, for example, Pamela warning Jason that a counselor has taken her sweater after entering the shack as well as Jason hearing both the counselor and Pamela's voice when a female counselor uses the sweater on him.
  • Ghost of Tsushima:
    • In a flashback to Jin's youth, Yuriko cryptically tells him that his dead father and mother are the wind at his back and the birds in the trees. In-game, the wind and birds serve as a navigation system, the former always blowing towards your targets and the latter flying towards points of interest. Jin's parents reaching out from beyond the grave to aid their son in his quest? Or just Jin ascribing undue importance to natural phenomena? Likewise, Jin's mother says that Inari is his guardian spirit; throughout the game, Jin shows quite an affinity for foxes, which often lead him to Inari shrines where he can gain XP and add more charms to his sword. Is the kami of foxes giving Jin assistance In Mysterious Ways?
    • The longbow, which is acquired through a multipart side quest, is treated as an Artifact of Doom with its own bloody history. At each part of the quest, a man will tell Jin to leave it alone since it’s not worth the trouble. It’s not clear if it’s actually a mystical object or if that was just a folktale to explain its existence. Once Jim gets it, the man will challenge him to a trippy mini boss fight in which the two of them seemingly get sent to another location. However, there’s some incense sitting on the mantle where the bow was found, suggesting that Jin might have just been hallucinating the travel.
  • The Half-Life 2 Game Mod Black Snow plays with this trope a lot. It's revealed the eponymous black snow is a heavily parasitic and aggressive form of spore-based fungus that is immune to most environmental hazards but regular light and above, but that doesn't explain the strange whispering and noises it emits, the ghastly groan it makes when it attacks, the mysterious presence of a Slenderman-like figure in drawings made by the research staff who shows up on a laptop's wallpaper while you're searching it for files and in a sensory deprivation chamber's induced hallucination, the bizarre fossil core that it seems to emanate from when it was dug up, that it seems to be actively screwing with the player character's camera in the ending by plastering what appears to be the faces of the researchers of the center it attacked and images of a cave...
  • Takane Shijou of The iDOLM@STER is implied to be from either the Moon... or Germany.
  • inFAMOUS: The comic miniseries reveals that years before he received his electrical powers (which includes, among other abilities, a powerful Healing Factor), Cole got hit by a truck in an accident that by all rights should have killed him, but not only did he survive, he recovered in record time. Did Cole survive because he was naturally just that tough, or did his nature as a dormant superhuman play a part.
  • Katana ZERO: Throughout the game, the protagonist is occasionally visited by two strange people in masks calling themselves Comedy and Tragedy, who make cryptic observations about the events of the game and seem to possess supernatural abilities. It's unclear if they're real beings observing the protagonist, or merely hallucinations caused by his use of Chronos, especially after the ending, where they apparently kill a SWAT team to save the protagonist before kidnapping a little girl he knows... two events that may or may not be hallucinations themselves.
  • Life Is Strange has plenty of confirmed supernatural goings-on, but there's also the case of the mysterious old homeless woman who lives behind the local diner, who among other things claims to be over a thousand years old and immediately believes Max when told about her powers. It's never made clear why she would say these things, if she's simply delusional or if there is something genuinely mystical about her. Many fans speculate she may be a time traveler herself, or even a future version of Max.
  • In the first section of Mass Effect 3, Shepard runs across a young boy in a half-ruined building, has a few lines of conversation with him, and then has to leave. Later, the same boy is spotted climbing into a shuttle which is promptly shot down. End of story? Maybe... but between his seemingly impossible Stealth Hi/Bye (Shepard turns away for a few seconds, and he climbs out of sight — in an air vent), his vague, panicky dialogue that is totally correct, the fact that no one else seems to see him or ever interacts with him — not Anderson, not anyone on the shuttle he's climbing aboard — and not least the Catalyst at the end of the game coincidentally (?) basing its avatar on him, well, things seem a little fishy. Naturally, fan theories hopped the first train out of Rational Town and never looked back. Well, theories of indoctrination are technically mundane in this sci-fi setting...
    • A more obvious example is the Citadel DLC's culmination to Thane Krios' Romance Sidequest: is the ghost of him that Shepard sees an actual spirit of the dead, or her going mad from stress?
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Among many, many other examples, there is Fortune. Is she Immune to Bullets due to luck-based powers, or a prototype force field? If it's the force field, then why can she deflect missiles after the force field has been proven to be deactivated? Also, she managed to survive a gunshot wound due to her being one of a very few number of people with their hearts on the opposite side of their chests...
    • Another example that is frequently debated by the fans is the nature of Ocelot's "Liquid Ocelot" persona. While Big Boss explains it in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as solely the product of nanomachines and Ocelot's self-induced psychotherapy techniques, it's less clear about the Liquid persona in Metal Gear Solid 2, when he still has Liquid Snake's right arm grafted to him. Even though Big Boss says that "an arm can't do that" in regards to Liquid's supposed possession of Ocelot, there is the fact that Ocelot's father is a spirit medium in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (something Big Boss may be unaware of), and he seems to be far less in control of "Liquid" in MGS2 than he is in MGS4 after Liquid's arm is replaced by a cybernetic one.
  • In Michigan: Report From Hell, it is heavily implied that the monsters in the game are a result of experiments, with plenty of evidence to back it up, however, at the same time, you can find strange things, such as bed-sheets floating as if someone is laying down in them, an oven being on even though the place is abandoned (though whether or not it was left on recently is another unanswered question), and a few other things, these possibly implying that there are unnatural forces at work.
  • Night in the Woods lives and breathes this tropes constantly, to the point it's impossible to be sure about what happened in the end of the game.
    • The Janitor is a recurring figure that appears and gives Mae cryptic sentences that seem like either warnings or helpful advice. The end reveals that he knew Mae's name all along. There is a lot of ways to explain what he does, several simply being that he is an old and wise man that has taken a liking on a girl who really look like she needs help, but it's left ambiguous whether he is or not a supernatural entity, with hints that he might actually be God himself.
    • The latter part of the game is focused on a ghost hunt, but the characters themselves lampshade the possibility that it's actually just a normal person that has done everything.
    • Mae has recurring nightmares of a astral band in strange places that always end with she meeting a gigantic and bizarre creature. It's hinted at the possibility that Mae has some sort of connection to the supernatural and that those entities are some sort of Cosmic Horror, but the nature of these dreams and things are ultimately left unexplained. There is genuinely a possibility that Mae is sick and is hallucinating in her nightmares, not helped that the end of the game confirms she has some sort of psychosis, with symptoms of dissociation and sleep paralysis and one of the newspaper in the library reveals that there was some sort of gas leak in town that makes people hallucinate.
    • The gigantic creature has apparently attracted its own cult, demanding sacrifices in exchange for not wrecking the town. Of course, all of the troubles attributed to it can be explained as the causes and symptoms of a Dying Town, leaving the possibility that they're a group of political extremists trying to justify their actions. Mae (possibly unintentionally) lampshades this when she calls them a "death cult of conservative uncles."
  • Overwatch:
    • Genji and Hanzo's Ultimates involve summoning ethereal dragon-shaped energy constructs, and it's mentioned only their family is able to control them. Are they some form of advanced hard-light technology (which is established in the world of Overwatch) or actual magical dragon spirits (which aren't)? The Dragons video suggests the latter.
    • We also have Reaper, an undying, life-draining phantasm created by a botched attempt at resurrecting someone with nanotechnology, whose abilities could be due to either the nano-superscience that made him or something more supernatural.
    • Zenyatta travels by levitating in the lotus position and sends out energy-based orbs of destruction, harmony (which slowly heals allies through bolstering resolve and peace), and discord (which debuffs enemies by bringing out their darkest fears), and is capable of reaching a state of tranquil transcendence that rapidly heals surrounding allies. A few things are plausible through technology (Artificial Gravity is shown to exist in Overwatch's world), but others are completely out of left field.
  • Pokémon: In Pokémon Red and Blue, did that girl in Lavender Town really see a white hand or was she just teasing?
  • Red Dead series:
    • In Red Dead Redemption, a side quest has Marston meeting up with a mysterious stranger who seems to know an awful lot about him while also remaining impervious to bullets. Is this man some sort of supernatural entity? Is he a ghost? Another theory prior to the release of II was that he was a figment of John's imagination but that got Jossed The game isn't really clear on what exactly he is.
    • Some of the bosses in the previous game, Red Dead Revolver count. One can teleport, one can move at extreme speeds, one has an army of zombies...
    • The second game has a lot more of this; the central plot is pretty mundane, but there's a constant undercurrent of mysticism throughout the game, with numerous events and encounters that might be supernatural:
      • There's a "vampire" you can meet who claims to be hundreds of years old and drinks blood. It's never made clear if he's actually a vampire or if he's just an especially deranged serial killer.
      • At several points, you meet a strange-looking blind beggar; if you give him money, he gives you bizarre, cryptic advice that — if you can decipher it — seems to accurately predict later plot developments. A Blind Seer, or just some crazy hobo?
      • The Indian Burial Ground northwest of Strawberry has a Whispering Ghosts effect, as well as an unusually high spawn rate for animals. Haunted land, or Arthur's imagination? The same could be said of the ghost of Agnes Dowd in the swamp, as well as the Ghost Train you can run into; either genuine supernatural experiences, or the characters just imagining things.
      • Armadillo has been ravaged by various plagues for over a decade, and you can find a hut belonging to the Strange Man, inside of which is a map of Armadillo with cryptic notes written on it. For added ambiguity, the aforementioned notes make mention of Herbert Moon and a deal he supposedly struck; Moon is conspicuously the only person in Armadillo who is totally unaffected by the plague...
      • The swamps in Lemoyne are haunted by a group of psychopathic killers dubbed Night Folk by the locals. They look like people dressed up in Voudoun iconography, but never speak, make weird animalistic sounds when attacking, and seem to have no particular goals or behavior other than murdering anybody they catch in the bayou, leaving you to wonder if they're even human.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider has DLC centered around Baba Yaga, which calls some of the events into question. While a majority of it can be explained by hallucinogenic pollen, there's a particular sequence when Lara gets lost in a wooded area; when you return to it later, it is a much smaller area, and impossible to get lost in.
  • It's unclear how much is real and how much imaginary in Rule of Rose, but a pretty standard interpretation is that all the supernatural events are in the protagonist's badly muddled head, and it was All Just a Dream, albeit of real events.
  • In Scratches you are constantly bombarded with a mix of "magic" and "mundane" arguments up until the very end, and it's still not entirely clear which one was at work: Was there ever a curse in the mansion, or was it all just the result of a series of terrifying misunderstandings? Made even scarier when you consider that the mundane explanation behind the mystery is, arguably, at least as terrifying as the supernatural one.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened: The various Cthulhu-related elements are treated this way. It could be the Great God himself causing storms and the end of days, or simply a very large number of crazy people. The best example is when Sherlock uses an incantation said to exorcise demons to subdue a gunman. It may have worked, or it might have just his own beliefs working against him.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories leaves players on a note of ambiguity regarding whether Harry was a physical manifestation of Cheryl's memories wandering through the real (or alternate-dimension) Silent Hill, or purely a figment of her imagination navigating an equally imaginary world. The creators are vehement that players should come up with their own answers, and ample evidence exists for both interpretations.
    • Pretty much every entry in the Silent Hill franchise plays this trope. In each one, it's intentionally unknown if all of the monsters, characters, Otherworld transformations, weapon/item placements, and strange scenery pieces that Harry/James/Heather/Henry/Travis/Alex/Murphy encounter are either legitimately happening and being fought with, or are all merely drug-induced hallucinations or bad nightmares; the first game alone demonstrates as much evidence of the cult's White Claudia drug smuggling operations as there is talk of the town's still-mysterious past, Alessa's "strange powers", and the cult's creepy rituals. One of the endings for that game even suggests it was all a dying dream, but is considered non-canon. Perhaps most bizarre of all, however, is that a cutscene towards the end of Silent Hill 3 has Vincent remarking "They looked like monsters to you?", suggesting both the hallucinations-possibility again...and that our protagonists may actually be killing innocent people or cult members instead! Of course, he says he was joking afterwards, but nobody knows even to this day...
    • Also from Silent Hill 3 is the true nature of Leonard Wolf. When Heather encounters him, he appears as a large, aquatic beast. Despite this, Leonard's daughter is completely human, and no character ever mentions anything unusual about Leonard's appearance. It is possible that Heather was instead seeing Through the Eyes of Madness? Or did he become a monster due to his connections to the cult?
  • At the start of South Park: The Stick of Truth, the only enemies you encounter are the Drow Elves, who are just other kids playing the same LARP you are. So you can do stuff like summon lightning or eat snacks and recover HP and it makes sense within that context. However, over the course of the game you start encountering homeless people, hall monitors, and Nazi zombies; people who aren't actually participating in the game. However, everything still applies (so you can inflict status ailments and use simple snacks to recover energy) so it's unclear at that point what, if any, power the kids actually possess. One of the hall monitors even yells to Mr. Mackey over the radio that the New Kid is "some kind of Dragonborn" after being beaten up by him, but even that only raises the question of whether the monitors actually are just playing in spite of being prohibited to because they're Gingers, or if they're not playing and the New Kid actually is. The only thing that is not in dispute is the eponymous Stick of Truth, as it is only a simple twig and nothing else, which comes into play towards the end of the game.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole is even worse about the matter. How much is the kids just pretending and how much of it is real is never entirely clear; some things are clearly on one end or the other, but the middle is just a big blur, in which things like the kids beating the piss out of several adults including cops, their own parents, and angry rednecks, among other things like the Woodland Critters (which are supposedly fictional characters) and friggin' Shub-Niggurath, an Elder God are included. All with supposedly pretend superhero powers. Amusingly, the only confirmed real powers are the New Kid's time-altering Fartillery and supernatural ability to attract social media followers.
  • Star Fox 64: Is Fox just seeing things or was he really being guided by his father when he escapes Venom? The fact that no one else saw James leave the same opening Fox exited a moment later suggest that James was either a ghost, or not really there. Star Fox Zero, which is a retelling of the same plot, suggests otherwise, as Andross seemed to be aware of James's presence.
  • Tekken 4: In Jin's ending, his Devil Gene is awakened, and he finds himself in the middle of transforming into a hideous demon, ready to strike the killing blow against his father and grandfather. At the last second, a vision of his mother stops him. He regains control and leaves the scene. Hallucination, or her spirit showing up to stop her son from crossing the Moral Event Horizon?
  • Total War:
    • In Medieval II: Total War, priests (of all types, Christian, Muslim, Pagan, doesn't matter) with a higher Piety rating have a greater survival rate against assassins. Why is this? Is it merely because a higher-ranking priest would have more competent bodyguards in greater numbers, or is it that the priest is viewed so highly by the community that Assassins dare not attack him for fear of reprisal? Or does his piety actually give him divine protection?
    • Likewise, in Total War: Shogun 2, geisha can develop a trait called "Fox Lady" and it's not defined whether this is a metaphorical thing or it's meant literally. For the Shirabyoshi in Rise of the Samurai, there's no ambiguity: they're Kitsune all right.
  • In the first three Uncharted games Drake comes across some sort of cursed item, but they have scientific explanations. Sort of.
    • In the first game we find out that the zombie curse of El Dorado is a plague-like disease born from the entombed body; it acts almost instantly and has no other equivalent in nature.
    • In Uncharted 2 we find that the guardians used to be human, and their supernatural strength comes from one-of-a kind tree sap. Sap that heals all wounds, even old scars, instantly, and makes the drinker nearly immortal. (As for the yetis, they're guardians in suits.)
    • In Uncharted 3 we find out that an ancient cursed city actually had its water supply, the only water for hundreds of miles, tainted with a powerful hallucinogenic. The source in myth is a brass urn with djinn trapped inside by King Solomon — whether or not this is true is unknown since while we see the urn covered in sigils and still fully sealed, it is sunk to the bottom of a cavern before it can be investigated.
    • Finally averted in the 4th game, the cause of the Pirate City's collapse was plain old greed.
  • In What Remains of Edith Finch, does the Finch family really have a death curse? There's an obvious pattern in that in each generation, only one kid will survive to have children of their own (and will have all but one of their kids die before them), and the deaths tend to be particularly ironic, but does that mean that something supernatural has it out for them, or that everyone in the family is reckless and has poor judgement? Hell, the mere knowledge that they are "cursed" might subconsciously influence them to behave recklessly since they think they're screwed anyway so they figure they might as well live every moment to the fullest while they can, making it a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of sorts. More specifically, some of the death narratives have explicitly supernatural elements, but Edith comments that it's probably not what actually happened.
    • Molly's diary entry has her turning into various animals in order to hunt down food (she was sent to bed without supper, so she was hungry), ending with a sea monster. The sea monster then sneaks into her house and under her bed, and Molly returns to her own body, ending her diary saying that the sea monster will eat her soon. However, prior to all the transformations she'd eaten her pet hamster's food, an entire tube of toothpaste, and some holly berries, leaving open the possibility that she was merely hallucinating before dying of poison.
    • Barbara's story has her run into every horror cliche there is before meeting her death at the hands of masked fans who turned out to actually be monsters, but the account is a Tales from the Crypt-esque comic book, which could have been exaggerating for dramatic effect, especially since Barbara was a former horror movie child star. All that's known for sure about her death is that she and her boyfriend both disappeared, and all they ever found was Barbara's ear in the music box.
    • Milton's flip book has him entering a world that he painted, but he could have just run away from home. He may or may not be the King from The Unfinished Swan, having painted himself a door to that world.
  • The Witcher is a fantasy setting, magic and elves and all, so there's little room for ambiguity for most things.
    • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, though, there's one character you can't quite work out: Gaunter O'Dimm, aka. "Master Mirror", a mysterious man with phenomenal powers who seems to know Geralt and offers him information on Yennifer's location in exchange for helping him with a job. Is he a djinn or demon, or merely a really powerful (and insane) mage? The "Heart of Stone" DLC expands on him by making him a Satanic Archetype.
    • There's also the curious case of Ulle the Unlucky, a ghostly Skelligan arena fighter who never won a single fight and stabbed a jarl in the neck after being provoked by his Unsportsmanlike Gloating, cursing him to "lose for all eternity". After breaking the curse on him by sheathing your sword and letting him win a fight against you, he claims to hear "laughter and joyous cheers, and the clanking off chalices" and disappears. Ghosts are pretty established fact in The Witcher, but what isn't is what happens to you when you die: heavily implied to be The Nothing After Death. Was Ulle being poetic with his last words, or was he hinting at something real?
  • Zero Summer has bat-things that fly through the sky each night. Are they demons? Aliens? Actual bats? Nobody knows.
  • Love, Sam: At first, the player character seems to be haunted by the ghost of a girl whose diary they're reading. Then things get more complicated. The protagonist turns out to be the man who accidentally killed the girl, and it takes place a while after his life went to hell and he's been using drugs since, so it's possible the ghost that shows up is more metaphorical for his guilt and shame, rather than an actual ghost following him.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: The world of Yakuza is a strange and sometimes surreal one, but it is sometimes hard to tell what is real and what only happens in Ichiban's Dragon Quest-addled brain.

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