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Poor Communication Kills / Video Games

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  • In Agarest Senki we have a situation with Valeria and Ladius. Ladius has currently gone rogue and on the run after being suspended from duty (he's a general) and framed for being the leader of a rebel army by the higher ups in Gridamas' army (he talked it through, instead of fighting, with the rebels which gave the higher ups their opening). Valeria (fellow general, childhood friend and in love with Ladius) is assigned to capture him. Cue her hunting him down and them ending up fighting till Ladius incapacitates her. She promptly BEGS him to explain why he went AWOL but he (sadly while feeling like an asshole) says he can't right now (due in part to not trusting the higher ups in Gridamas, to protect Valeria in case she tries to protect him and to prevent the rebels he's with from getting killed). They do meet up later when she joins him but not after a lot of emotional pain for both at the above problem. A simple "The Gridamas army framed me so I had to go rogue to prove my innocence" would have solved everything.
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  • Alfred in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for whatever reason never bothers to tell Miriam what his intentions actually are and instead acts openly antagonistic and moustache-twirly to her at every opportunity, ensuring that Miriam ends up working with Dominique instead of siding with him and his plan to use the Liber Logaeth to destroy the castle. Zangetsu, who actually did approach Alfred and simply speak to him, does acknowledge that Alfred simply didn't want Miriam involved and that Miriam probably wouldn't have believed him as she'd been won over by Dominique, but Alfred was the closest thing to a father Miriam had and he must have known Miriam was going to get herself involved either way.
  • Dawn of War is a Bad Guys Win scenario (not that there are good guys in 40k to begin with), precisely because the Eldar refuse to speak clearly, preferring to dance around the issue with vague riddles and deflections. Had Macha simply told Angelos that the maledictum contained a daemon and that destroying it would release the daemon, it wouldn't have been freed in the first place and go on to corrupt their Chapter Master.
  • About half of everything bad that happens in the Tales Series could be averted if not for the characters' refusal to explain certain things in order to keep certain information from the player, even when it is extremely obvious and logical that they should do so. The general hierarchy of screwedness is as follows:
    • "Don't worry about it" - You should be very worried.
    • "It's not important" - It's extremely important.
    • "It's nothing." - It's definitely something. And said something is a thing that needs to be shared with the rest of the group. Now.
    • "But could that mean?... No, impossible." - Yes it does and no it's not.
    • "I'll tell you later." - They'll tell you after a sizable portion of the world's population has died as a result of them not sharing this information. This is always somehow your fault.
    • Tales of the Abyss has the information about what Van is planning and the fact that Luke is a replica of Asch being kept hidden despite all logic. At one point, Deadpan Snarker Jade doesn't tell the party something because he "didn't feel like it." Played for Drama later on when Jade actually recognises that his uncaring attitude has led to a lot of problems in the world.
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    • Tales of Symphonia dances around the issue of what's going to happen to Colette until it's too late to do anything about it. Colette does herself no favors by even telling her teammates to keep quiet, or just trying to pretend there isn't a problem. That never ends well; the party always has to stop trying to save the world to help cure what ails Colette. Thankfully, she recognizes this and grows out of it.
    • Midway through Symphonia, Kratos, having realized that the Key Crest Lloyd gave to Colette is failing to contain the Cruxis Crystal, warns Collette to remove the "worthless Key Crest" if she values her life. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't explain why Colette's life is in danger from the necklace (which was a late birthday gift from Lloyd), so Colette doesn't listen to him. It doesn't help that Kratos had betrayed the group by this point, so the group had even less reason to trust him.
    • Kratos also warns the party not to make pacts with all eight Summon Spirits in order to separate the worlds in order to end the cycle of prosperity and dearth. Again, since Kratos doesn't specify the consequences and is working for the villains(who don't want that to happen, either) at this point, the party doesn't realize the real reason why he's warning them until it's too late.
    • Also shows up in the game that Symphonia is a prequel to, Tales of Phantasia, in which the entirety of the plot, with all its casualties, was the result of Dhaos not having bothered to explain that he needed a mana seed and the humans were currently using too much mana for the tree to produce one, and instead going directly to "attack humans until their mana usage drops", which proves counterproductive in starting a war meant to get humans to use less mana (without actually telling them to use less mana) he provokes them into firing the mana canon at his monster army, burning away a RIDICULOUS amount of mana. The OVA fixes this by actually including a scene where Dhaos warns people about what will happen if they rely too much on mana, but they end up rejecting him.
    • Tales of Destiny: Had Leon bothered to tell someone that his father was holding Marian hostage, he wouldn't have gotten himself killed. In the remake, Chaltier even chews him out for not asking Stahn for help dealing with the situation when it's clear he can't deal with it alone.
    • Tales of Destiny 2 has a lot of this. An entire subplot (albeit a short one with a lot of character development) and a bunch of suspicion could have been solved if Judas had just told someone he was Leon Magnus and that Elraine's plan involved messing with the past. Also applies to Reala, she knew a lot more than she was letting on about Elraine and her motives but just wouldn't say anything about it until absolutely necessary, including dropping a huge plot twist near the end of the game. Loni and Rutee also held back very important information to Kyle about his father.
    • Tales of Xillia: If Alvin had just told the party there was another world he wanted to get back to, the party could have been spared the ordeal of half a dozen betrayals at least and Milla's death. Though it is debatable whether Milla would have allowed him to before the Schism was damaged.
    • Tales of Zestiria: Lailah traveled with the previous Shepherd and was an eyewitness to the incident that began the Age of Chaos and caused Heldalf's Start of Darkness, but in order to gain the power to purify hellions, she took an oath to never speak about it to anyone. About 3/4 of the plot could have been avoided if Lailah had been able to share her knowledge with the others, but at the cost of leaving the remaining 1/4 insurmountable because no one had the power of purification.
      • Dezel's death probably could have been prevented if he had been willing to tell the rest of the party, especially Rose, about what his goals were and why he was traveling with them.
    • Tales of Berseria:
      • Velvet's entire revenge is based on seeing Artorius having killed her little brother, using him during the Advent and as the needed vessel to house Innominat. It isn't until two-thirds through the game that it turns out that Laphicet willingly sacrificed himself because he knew his death would make a better world for his sister, and that he was going to die soon, anyway. He even made Artorius promise to not tell Velvet about his planned death. The news sends Velvet into a Heroic BSoD, realizing that everything she has done so far, which included several people's deaths, was for naught. In a subversion, she eventually decides that this explanation is bullshit and doesn't matter; summoning Innominat was a horrible idea from the very start, whether the sacrifice was willing or not.
      • In general, Berseria is known for being much better about this trope than most other games in the series. Most of the party has secrets, but they're not particularly important and no one really cares. Most of the party isn't aware that Artorius was married to Velvet's sister, for example, but that's just because she didn't think it was worth mentioning; when the others find out, they're surprised, but admit that Velvet was right, it doesn't change anything. The biggest secret is probably Magilou's status as the Lost Legate of the Abbey. Once it actually becomes relevant, she immediately tells everyone, at which point they just shrug and accept it.
    • Tales of Vesperia: Several characters know what the nature of Estelle's healing power is. One even comments that her power is a "poison" to her. None of them explain it to her, as everybody agrees she's too nice and they don't want to trouble her. Naturally, this leads to her using it on somebody to whom it actually is poison, leading to their easily avoided death.
  • In The Last Blade, three siblings end up fighting each other with bladed weapons because A) the one suspected of killing their master is too much of a loner to bother saying he's innocent, B) his brother won't stop and listen to their sister (who knows who really killed their master), and C) they both find it appropriate to thwart their sister's attempts to communicate with them by attacking her with swords.
  • A lot of problems in Touhou Project could be solved by talking it over. Instead they're solved with danmaku bullets. Of course everyone sits down and has a nice cup of tea together afterwards so it's allright.
    • In Imperishable Night Keine attacks the protagonists thinking that they are out to attack the human village. Later on you fight either Marisa or Reimu depending on who you didn't pick to play as. Marisa is simply clueless so you end up blowing her away rather than explaining and Reimu accuses whoever you're playing as of causing the endless night. Once you find Eirin, the instigator of the game's events, you discover that she was about to take the false moon down anyways.
    • In Unconnected Marketeers, the player character is told not to investigate a cave because it's "dangerous". They immediately assume that there's something related to the current incident hidden inside the cave and force their way in. It turns out that the reason the cave is "dangerous" is because it's anoxic, as in there's no breathable air, resulting in the player character nearly suffocating. Moreover, the cave's guardian and Stage 4 boss, Misumaru, only bothers to explain after the fight that while the dragon gems mined from the cave are being used in the current incident, the actual mastermind is actually elsewhere.
    • In Touhou Labyrinth, a whole slew of people pick on Reimu's party because they think Reimu caused the incident and wouldn't hear it any other way until they get blown up in the face. They are visibly shocked when they meet Sanae later, who claims that people must be senile to thinks someone as lazy as Reimu can cause an incident of its scale. Yukari to Rinnosuke (and the party eventually) as well, although she does have a good reason for the fact that she Cannot Spit It Out The same people are also the ones who are really straight examples of Defeat Means Friendship in the game, as opposed to most optional characters who aren't really recruited so much via Defeat Means Friendship as opposed to Defeat Means You're Coming Whether You Like It Or Not.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, Shadra Jerro wouldn't had had to die if she could have gotten her Grandfather line out before her grandfather Amnon Jerro blasted her for releasing the demons and devils that gave him his extra powers (and minor demon army).
    • Also, a lot of people wouldn't have had to die if Ammon Jerro had just returned to Neverwinter and tried convincing people that the King of Shadows was becoming a threat again. It is not entirely unlikely they would have taken him seriously - since he originally died fighting him. Instead he launches his own search for the Shards to remake the Silver Sword of Gith, and on his way settles a few old scores - leaving quite a few dead bodies - many of whom were on the PC's side.
      • Furthermore, while trying to get Neverwinter's support is a questionable idea, simply stopping to talk to the hero one of the many times they crossed paths would've prevented a LOT of unnecessary bloodshed. To make it worse, when they do finally team up, Ammon keeps blaming the hero for everything that's happened. It takes influence and the right words in an optional scene to finally get him to admit to some guilt over his deeds.
    • Not to mention how the conflict and bloodshed of chapter 1 could've easily been avoided if Zeearie had actually explained why she needed the silver shards. Justified in this case. The githyanki are Scary Dogmatic Aliens who believe they should exterminate all other intelligent life to prevent anyone from enslaving them as the mindflayers did. Shooting first and asking questions later kinda comes with the territory.
  • Knights of the Old Republic contains a joke the player character can tell based on this trope. A group of Sith ask the player to make them laugh, and they'll let him live in return. The player can fight, or go right into a wonderful joke (requires decent ranks in Persuade): Two Mandalorians are walking through the forests of Dxun, when they're attacked by an animal. One is critically wounded, but the other manages to kill the beast. The standing one radios back to base, saying, "My partner's wounded! What do I do?" His commanding officer responds, "Relax, trooper. First, make sure if your partner's dead." Blasterfire echoes through the communicator, followed by "Okay, now what?"
  • Partially into the second third of Final Fantasy V, the party passes through a town of werewolves led by Kelgar, a wolf who once fought Exdeath alongside Galuf. As Galuf explains that the other three party members came from the "other half" of the world, Kelgar jumps to the conclusion that they work for Exdeath and were responsible for his release. Without giving Galuf a chance to deny this (never mind that he was the one who introduced them in the first place), he challenges main character Bartz to a fight to the death, which ends with the wolf bedridden for the rest of his life. Any possible explanation of how he reached his conclusion would be appreciated, especially considering that the two halves have never been at war at any point, and that the player is meant to acknowledge that Kelgar is a hero.
  • Pretty much the entire main plot of Bravely Default could have been avoided had the heroes and villains simply explained their motivations to each other. Thankfully, the sequel Bravely Second does a much better job averting this, as the protagonists often ask why the antagonists are opposing them, while the antagonists are more willing to explain their motives.
  • In Shadowverse, this is Rowen's entire squad was killed. (If only he told his comrades to stay away other than grunting) This also happened to him again when Isabelle found out the truth (He never mentioned that the dragon's curse was uncontrollable at that time). It takes until Chapter 14 of his and Isabelle's story mode for Rowen to fully explain everything to Isabelle.
  • StarCraft:
    • Pretty much all of StarCraft: Brood War is an example of poor communication killing, or Kerrigan taking advantage of people's poor communication.
      • Judicator Aldaris learns that Kerrigan is mind-controlling the Dark Templar Matriarch and using the Protoss to kill renegade Cerebrates. Instead of calmly informing Zeratul (who already suspects something is wrong with Raszagal) and Artanis upon their return to Shakuras, he incites a rebellion and babbles on like a deranged zealot. He nearly does get to tell them what's going on, but by then he wasted so much time spouting off apparent nonsense that Kerrigan manages to surround and kill him.
      • Stukov knows that Duran is a traitor and probably infested, which would have been more than enough reason for DuGalle to get rid of Duran, and that the Psi Disruptor is the best way to defeat the Zerg. Instead of talking to his best friend about his concerns, he takes a large contingent of troops and begins operating the Disruptor, which he was supposed to have destroyed, making himself look like a traitor in the process. By the time he spills his guts, he's as good as dead anyways and Duran has escaped.
      • In a bizarre example, your poor communication also kills. Your character witnesses Duran abandon his position and allow the zerg to overrun a UED position. In the very next mission, your character also witnesses Duran tricking DuGalle into thinking that Stukov is the real traitor. Your character inexplicably does not mention Duran's treachery.
    • Also done in StarCraft II. Valerian Mengsk seeks to ally his forces with Raynor's Raiders to stop Kerrigan. Yet he only waits to tell them this after they've fought their way into his ship, killing a lot of marines in the process and causing plenty of damage. One simple transmission could have saved so much trouble. Though it is in character for Valerian to be overly dramatic. However, given how Raynor just cut off Valerian when he sent a transmission afterwards, it's pretty clear this mode of initial communication wouldn't have given Valerian the result he needed, due to Raynor's history with the Emperor.
    • In Heart of the Swarm, when Kerrigan goes on Kaldir to recover more Zerg to rebuild her Swarm, she clashes with a Protoss expedition group. At this point, she is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Mengsk and frankly doesn't care about fighting the Protoss anymore, even on a long term. Had this point been clarified, she probably would have agreed to let the Protoss go in exhange for their promise to not call the Golden Armada to eliminate her; unfortunately, the Protoss assume right away she is up to no good and do exactly that, leading to Kerrigan doing her best to stop them and eventually exterminating their entire crew so none of them will make it to warn the Armada. Granted, that one is a bit more justified than most cases above, seeing how these Protoss were unlikely to listen to someone with a reputation as a Manipulative Bitch anyway.
  • Warcraft III:
    • Oi, you lot! Night elves! You know that big forest you've got, with the moonglades and everything? Yeah, you might want to consider putting up a sign that says "KEEP OUT or please knock in case of ancient enemy when all must unite." I know it doesn't have the style of killing everyone who "defiles these lands," but you could still do that. The sign might cut down on the actual defilement. That way if the ancient thing did show up, it wouldn't find the living at each other's throats and you'd all have an easier time. If you couldn't keep the sign in repair since you're above noticing such vulgarities as the flow of time, you could invent an alarm clock. Surely someone who basks in their own greatness as much as you do can do that. Of course, if you prefer killing people, it's not my place to judge. I was just figuring.
      • Newer lore reveals that the Night Elves attacked based on information given by Goblins, and that the decision fell on Cenarius. He deemed the invading orcs to be demonic tainted (which by definition they are). The Orcs behaved accordingly demonic. The peons working the forests, furthermore, complain of noises scaring them away from their tasks in the first place. Really, the flaw in communication here would come from Cenarius, Cairne Bloodhoof, and the local Trolls: Allied to the Orcs, knowledgeable of their plans, no doubt familiar with Night Elves, and present in the operation, they still kept their mouths quiet.
    • Ahem, Illidan Stormrage is a good example even by night elf standards. Just about everything he's ever done, especially after he was freed from his prison, has been a terrible idea done for the right reasons, but since he never bothers to tell anyone, they assume he's evil. Specifically:
      • He consumes the Super-Oh-My-God powerful demonic artifact, the Skull of Gul'Dan and turns into a half demon, but only because that's the only way he can not only deny the Burning Legion its power, but defeat the otherwise invulnerable burning legion forces that would've conquered Azeroth. He never mentions this to anyone, so his brother tells him to go away, since he's clearly only looking after himself.
      • He uses another powerful artifact to attempt to destroy the Scourge (and Yogg-Saron by virtue of the fact that Saron's prison is well inside the line of fire), but doesn't bother to tell anyone, so everyone rushes to stop him assuming he's doing something evil.
      • He attacks the Scourge in Icecrown, trying to finish what he started, but never bothers to let his brother or any of the people with massive armies and a score to settle know, so he loses the fight.
      • He conquers Outland to raise an army not only to defeat the Burning Legion, but also to try fighting the Scourge again, but never tells anyone so we go and kill him in World of Warcraft.
      • Despite being dead, he will probably do this sort of thing at least three more times, including once in an alternative timeline. Indeed, he did it again in the novels The War of the Ancients (which actually happens before what was already mentioned), like when he joins the Burning Legion to act as a mole... but never tells anyone, so everyone thinks he really is a traitor. Or when he creates another Well of Eternity...
      • In fact, with the way he was treated in Burning Crusade, (made the main villain until Blizzard remembered that the Burning Crusade was the Burning Legion's Crusade and not Illidan's, and added Kil'jaeden as a last-minute boss) it would seem as if Illidan forgot to remind Blizzard themselves about his previous motivations. Poor Illidan. Of course, most of it is his own fault, and on at least a few occasions he was motivated to act alone by wanting the glory of being the lone hero.
    • Also, Medivh could have been a lot more forthcoming when he warned people about the approaching conflict. Its not a big shocker that King Menethil, Arthas, Antonidas et. all don't believe him when he shows up, rambles about coming catastrophe in vague terms, then flies away in a huff when he's not immediately obeyed.
    • Arthas was probably correct that there was no way to save the people of Stratholme from being zombified into an undead horde. However, rather than calmly explaining the situation to Uther and why he thought extreme measures were needed, he instead flies into a rage, orders the paladins disbanded, then proceeds to lead his troops to kill all the inhabitants of the city. This pretty much just convinces everyone else that he'd gone insane and ensured he got no more backup in his fight against Mal'ganis.
  • Any online game where you have to work as a team, such as in Left 4 Dead. Things will quickly go down the drain if players fail to even tell their teammates what plans they have or what is going on.
    • In Left 4 Dead especially, this quickly reaches horrifying levels when A) you realize that the overwhelming majority of players do not own (or do not correctly use) microphones, B) your allies do have microphones but don't speak your native language, and C) for a brief period during the development cycle, Valve was planning to deliberately not include voice chat functionality (supposedly to help immerse the player in the Zombie Horror atmosphere, although this idea was implemented in Resident Evil: Outbreak, which probably did not help the games sell.)
      • Even if no one uses any form of communication in Left 4 Dead, the survivor characters constantly vocalize what is going on so that everyone can understand the current situation. Despite this, some players fail to save others who are in trouble because they weren't listening.
  • This is utilized in a malicious manner by the titular Mastermind in a flash movie based off of Mastermind: World Conqueror. He uses it to confuse a superhero before pressing the Shark Tank button.
    Superhero: I'm here to deliver a tall frosty glass of justice!
    Mastermind: No, no, I ordered a glass of just ice!
    Superhero: Just ice?
    Mastermind: Yeah, a glass with only ice in it! Seriously, not a single *** ing thing gets done around here... *** .
    Superhero: I'll get a glass for you, then.
    Mastermind: Be a dear, won't you? [presses button]
    Superhero: [Drops into the Shark Pool]
    Mastermind: [Evil Laugh] You stupid *** hole!
  • While a lack of communication will cause casualties, in America's Army this trope is also subverted. When a player throws a grenade, the soldier will shout "Frag out" (albeit in a foreign language), giving away his position and alerting the enemy to the incoming grenade.
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Dante finds Arkham's dead body, and is immediately confronted about it by his daughter. She asks if Dante killed him, and in spite of having no involvement whatsoever in his death, Dante responds "So what if I did?" Cue a fierce battle between the two...
  • Near the end of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, it turns out that the "vampire", Anton, is upset because he thought Sophia had left him for another man. Understandable, as she said something that could easily be interpreted that way! She should have said "You're going to be a father, but I can't raise a child here. Since you can't leave, I've got to leave you."
  • In Brütal Legend, Eddie uses some very flimsy evidence and some epic conclusion jumping to accuse Ophelia of being a demon - cue a broken cutie, Face–Heel Turn, and pain for everybody. Then it gets worse. All of which could have been avoided if Eddie hadn't been such a prat, and they'd spent a couple of minutes talking things out.
    • Also had Ophelia just come out with her fears about Eddie in the first place, they might have avoided it. Clearly shown near the ending when both Eddie and Ophelia think the other is Succoria, the Ruler of the Demons. Lampshaded in the finale when the Big Bad wants to know how the hell nobody noticed "Succoria" is clearly written on Eddie's shirt (which he inherited from his father).
  • The Mars Clan from Golden Sun. Though you'd have a hard time believing the civilization was acting for the greater good when their first team of warriors accidentally destroy the hero's hometown and show no remorse for it. They're also shown doing objectively dickish things like kicking a tree they know is a cursed human into the river or beating a couple of kids to near death for "spying" on them: really, if anything they're Sociopathic Heroes at best. It also doesn't help that Agatio, their champion in the second game, wanted to take over the world.
    • It is mentioned that Saturos and Menardi (and the rest of their ill-fated group in the prologue) tried to explain the truth to the Vale elders, but were disbelieved, forcing them to take drastic action.
    • A second example in The Lost Age: when Sheba tells Karst about the fate of Saturos & Menardi, she simply says that Isaac killed them both. This makes Isaac seem to be a murderer, so Karst's Roaring Rampage of Revenge seems reasonable, as does her later confusion when Felix tries to defend Isaac from her. The truth is that Saturos & Menardi attacked Isaac & friends with intent to kill, and their deaths were a double-suicide after Isaac & friends successfully fought them off, nonlethally, despite their use of the Dangerous Forbidden Technique. Did anybody ever explain this to Karst? No.
  • The backstory of off-beat adventure game Woodruff and The Schnibble of Azimuth has a shining example: when humans first arrived at the Hill, the Bouzouks decided to scare them off. Their means was a giant statue of an armed, armored Bouzouk warrior. The humans read this as a threat, and the resulting war began a long history of mistreatment for the Bouzouks.
  • Storeowner Bosco's paranoia is a subplot in the first two seasons of Sam & Max games. His paranoia is somewhat justified, as he is indeed being watched by private detectives sent by his mother, who never gets over a long-past incidence when a mysterious man trashed the store. Turns out the vandal is none but Bosco himself traveling back in time. Being constantly under surveillance takes the toll of Bosco's sanity, turning him into a full-blown Conspiracy Theorist, and the mother dies because of her son's conspiracy-motivated experiment. A crazy son accidentally killing his mother: it is very depressing once the Fridge Horror sinks in. She gets better, though.
  • The Architect in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. He is seeking ways in which the humans and the Darkspawn could coexist peacefully. One of his experiments fails, threatening the Arling of Amaranthine; he decides that the best course of action is to send a posse of hundreds of Darkspawn led by his disciple Withered to seek help from the Grey Wardens, traditional enemies of the Darkspawn. Needless to say the Wardens interpret this as an attack, and the Withered decides to improvise, planning to kill everybody except the Wardens so that they could be taken as prisoners to the Architect, who could then explain that he means no harm. It works as well as expected. And when your own character meets him, he decides that before explaining anything he should do some experiments with your blood first. He truly is the king of poor communication skills. Perhaps incidentally, he bears a resemblance to Warcraft's Illidan Stormrage.
    • He is a little better in The Calling prequel novel, but not by much. Apparently, he doesn't understand the concept of "arguing", when he simply kills Genevieve for having doubts about his plan. He does spend the time explaining to everyone his idea.
  • With much of Dragon Age II feeling kind of rushed, many of the side quests simply end in completely unnecessary massacres. If you're pro-Mage, the Best Served Cold quest is one long example of this - just about every member of Thrask's mage-templar alliance assumes you're hunting them on Meredith's orders and attacks you on sight.
    • One of the worst offenders would be Marethari, who tells Merrill that trying to repair an ancient magic mirror was dangerous and would only end badly. While Merrill was very convinced and even accepted exile instead of giving up, there was absolutely no reason not to tell her that the demon who told her how it can be repaired was tricking her into releasing it from its prision. While willing to risk her own life, she would never let anyone else come to harm and even if she had not believed it, there was no reason not to try explaining it. Her death can then lead the ENTIRE CLAN to attack Merril, forcing you to wipe them all out, unless you pick the right dialogue option.
    • Arguably, the player character is an even worse example. Why not tell your own mother to beware of suitors sending white lilies? This turns out to be the signature of a serial killer using the body parts of older women to create a pieced-together recreation of his dead wife.
    • The entire Kirkwall-Qunari conflict could have been avoided if the Qunari could have just explained why they were there, but their rigid adherence to the Qun meant that the pure military force, which contained no priests or diplomats, were unable to do so.
  • In Team Fortress 2, if only the BLU Soldier and RED Demoman had just talked to each other instead of rushing at each other with rocket launcher and pipe bombs a-blazing, the whole WAR could have been averted, their friendship could have been saved, and they could be having ribs together right now.
    • This trope was invoked by the Announcer in the first place, because if the Soldier and Demoman had talked to each other first, they could have come to the conclusion both teams were being played, convinced their teammates of this, convinced their superiors of this, and rallied both companies together, which would lead to the Administrator, Saxton, and every higher-up at Mann Co. and TF Industries collectively having more dots on their domes than any Hale could hope to survive. Machiavellian and disgusting though she may be, the Administrator had pragmatic reasons for breaking them up.
    "Talking?! Friendship is even worse than I thought. No, this won't do at all. If they talk, Miss Pauling, they might talk about work. And if they talk about work... they might talk about us."
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The plot of Birth by Sleep practically runs on this. If Terra and Aqua had compared notes more often they probably could have prevented most of the disaster and would have been able to stop Vanitas and Ventus making Xehanort's weapon and if Master Eraqus had just told the three of them "Xehanort can't be trusted" they would probably be around to stop the events of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, many of which wouldn't have even happened in the first place, instead of each being trapped somewhere. That's not even considering how much could have been prevented if had told them everything else he knows about the guy. Now factor in Mickey Mouse. If you remember from KHII, he had actually met Xehanort as Ansem the Wise's apprentice in the past. However, since he never met or heard about Terra OR Xehanort in Birth by Sleep, he can't get suspicious, despite his master, Yen Sid knowing about it all.
    • While it doesn’t lead to too much suffering, much of the mystery in Kingdom Hearts II’s plot (and Sora’s worries about the wellbeing his friends) is maintained by several characters withholding useful information for various reasons. Some people (DiZ, Organization XIII) are trying to manipulate Sora and think they benefit from keeping him in the dark, while others are either too ashamed and wracked with guilt to approach him with what they know (Riku, Naminé) or made a promise to keep things secret/want to dodge an awkward conversation (Mickey).
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is absolutely full of this. You have Axel witholding information from Roxas and Xion, Xion keeping secrets from Axel and Roxas, DiZ and Riku keeping Mickey in the dark as far as their plans go, and any actual cooperation between the trios at a minimum. The result of all this is bleak, to say the least.
  • This almost happens in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, where Niccolò Machiavelli likes being so secretive and mysterious that he alienates his closest allies, which along with some circumstancial evidence leads them becoming convinced that he's a traitor to their cause. Only a happy coincidence and quick acting on Ezio's part prevent him from getting a dagger in his back. Afterwards they even acknowledge that they should actually talk with each other more often.
    • In Revelations, Ezio is asked by Prince Suleiman to assassinate the Janissary captain Tarik Barleti, both for the assassination attempt on Suleiman and for colluding with an enemy of the empire. Although Ezio successfully kills his target, the dying Tarik reveals that he'd actually been acting on his own initiative as a double agent (intending to undermine said enemy of the empire), and Suleiman later mourns that Tarik had not informed him of this.
    • In The Lost Archive DLC, Lucy Stillman betrayed the Assassins and joined the Templars because her former mentor William Miles cut off all communications with her during her deep cover assignment, effectively abandoning her for years. Warren Vidic, knowing she was an Assassin all along filled the void in her life and convinced her to join the Templars. The Assassins and their allies seem to have a real problem with this trope.
    • Assassin's Creed III is a massive Gambit Pileup that comes because nobody clearly explains themselves. Connor assassinates Templars who claim to be doing good but whose Jerkish attitudes and arrogant refusal to explain it to people lesser than them, results in them dying painfully. Connor and his own father, Haytham are too proud to truly express themselves and in the end nobody wins, with the hero getting a Pyrrhic Victory that he admits is "not enough".
  • Operator's Side a.k.a Lifeline: Half the frustration of playing, where the player has to verbally convey instructions to the character (i.e., "run", "shoot", "dodge left"). If the game cannot interpret what the player is attempting to say correctly, the character will not do what the player wants her to do. It can require a very high level of patience to put up with a mediocre game if the player tends to speak with an accent (by "accent", something that deviates from "standard English", i.e., that found in Chicago.)
  • In FreeSpace, the original conflict between the Terrans and Vasudans is largely sparked by the Terrans screwing up a Vasudan linguistic ritual called "The Conversation."
  • Damn near the entire plot of Arc Rise Fantasia took place because Prince Weiss never bothered to explain the setting's Dark Secrets to his brothers until it was too late and they had already both unknowingly made a Deal with the Devil, one of them having gone too far in doing so to turn back in good conscience.
    • Similarly, Alf seems to refuse to tell L'Arc's party anything about what he has learned about the gods, Hozone, or the Laws, and proceeds to attack L'Arc because of what he does because he isn't being told anything.
  • Odin Sphere, from the first of Gwendolyn's chapters to the last of Velvet's, is built on this trope. The characters never talk about what's important before it's too late and it ends up not only killing (especially Oswald, who allows himself to be killed by the Halja because he thinks Gwendolyn doesn't love him), but going the whole nine yards causing The End of the World as We Know It. Not only does Poor Communication Kills set the plot in motion, it keeps it going, and going, and going. To be fair, only Velvet is actually aware of the impending The End of the World as We Know It and trying to stop it while everyone else is simply doing what they feel is necessary to succeed in their personal goals, and more often than not said protagonists end up fighting because said goals conflict with each other, even unknowingly undoing the actions of the others during their stories. It also doesn't help that several of them are explicitly enemies during the story.
  • In the 1st Degree had this trope occur. Ruby knew that her boyfriend Tobin had a gun in his possession, but she said nothing about it because she was afraid (which she puts a Lampshade Hanging on). She may have a point, because Tobin was a bad boyfriend for her. Simon showed Tobin the gun Zack had locked in his desk drawer, because Simon was worried that Zack was going to kill his boss Tobin. Too bad he didn't realize that Tobin was going to kill Zack and not the other way around until it was too late. Yvonne Barnes actually has a tape recording of Tobin threatening her husband Zack, because Tobin was trying to get money as part of insurance fraud, and Zack didn't want to be part of it. She did not reveal anything about this before, because she was trying to protect her husband's reputation from being ruined by him being implicated in an art theft and insurance fraud.
  • In Solatorobo, Idol Singer Cocona receives a letter from the Howler Sky Pirates warning her of their imminent arrival, and it's Red's job to stop them from apparently attempting to kidnap her. After fighting off a few of them, their leader explains that the sky pirates are just really big fans of hers and wanted to get some autographs. The letter was just a friendly warning about them coming over, which is hard to come across as benign, given their occupation.
  • Pretty much the entirety of Dragon Quest IX could have been prevented by someone letting Corvus know Serena was tricked instead of selling him out to the Gittish Empire. Greygnarl had already trashed Gitt and killed all the important bad guys after Corvus's capture, and whatever means Corvus used to resurrect them all and then kill God while still shackled in his prison could presumably have been used somewhat less destructively for an SOS to the Celestrians to break him out.
  • Pretty much the entire Mass Effect universe is caused by failure to communicate on multiple levels.
    • The Protheans could have warned the current Cycle about the Reapers and given the appropriate technological upgrades, but they suffered from terminal ethnocentrism and it didn't occur to them to record their warnings or tech specs in a format suited to the species that looked ready to reach spaceflight in time, instead recording them in a format that required tactile telepathy - a sense unique to the Prothean species. And then we find out they did leave behind a VI on the Asari homeworld for that purpose. But the Asari government kept it secret, which fits the trope even better. They also left a literal army in cold sleep to rebuild the empire as soon as the Reapers had gone, but a Reaper attack killed everyone but the general and damaged his pod so that it needed outside help to revive him (that he didn't get until far too late).
    • The Catalyst, tasked with negotiating between naturals and synthetics, didn't bother to negotiate at all, instead repeatedly deciding to start from scratch without explaining the why until it was far too late.
    • The Reapers, protecting naturals from synthetics and visa-versa, jumped right to the "kill them all and create a Reaper out what remains" stage, rather than explaining why they saw it as necessary to give people (natural or synthetic) a chance to prove otherwise.
      • The Leviathan DLC indicates the Catalyst's terrible reasoning might have been a simple application of Literal Genie in the Leviathans wording its directive poorly. To try and smooth out trouble with their era's slave species building machines that turned on them (cutting off the Leviathans from enough tribute to make them care without really understanding the situation), the Leviathans gave the Catalyst the directive to preserve organic life at all costs. It concluded the simplest way to do this was to harvest it regularly and force it into the near-indestructible Reaper shells. Shepard can later point out to a dying reaper that this doesn't change that the preservation only works as an excuse for the repeated genocide in that the species exist as Reaper power sources; the culture of the species that created the reaper he points this out to is long, long dead. The Reaper is implied to be so dumbfounded by this realization it spends its final moments in stunned silence before shutting down without a hint of resistance.
    • This trope caused the First Contact War. A turian patrol ran across a group of human merchant ships opening a mass relay. This is illegal under Citadel law (it previously led to the Rachni Wars), but the humans didn't know that and the turians didn't bother to explain. Instead they opened fire and destroyed all but one of the ships, which got away. The Arcturus Fleet retaliated, flattening the entire turian patrol. The turians captured the human colony Shanxi, the Systems Alliance fought back, and things were going to hell in a handbasket until the asari stepped in, sorted out the whole mess, and scolded the turians for shooting without saying why.
    • Liara was the only party member from the first installment to be aware of the Collectors' attempts to obtain Shepard's body, or that Shepard would need to work with Cerberus to deal with the threat once they brought him/her Back from the Dead. This is because she apparently didn't think the rest of the party needed to know. This likely comes from her desire for vengeance distracting her from anything else, as even when Shepard does come to see her, she is clearly distant and almost completely focused on hunting for the Broker. As a result, the only information Ashley/Kaidan had access to, which had in fact been leaked by Cerberus itself in an attempt to isolate Shepard, pointed to Shepard faking his/her death and turning traitor. Despite being the root cause of this conflict, Liara remains completely oblivious and has the gall to criticize Kaidan/Ashley for their distrust of Shepard even after the Shadow Broker is dealt with. She then wastes a second Time Skip that could have been used to repair some of the damage.
    • On a smaller scale, a quest in Mass Effect has a volus convinced his salarian partner is trying to kill him, and asks Shepard to help out. It can result in Shepard killing said salarian (who they may well have previously talked to) if they go full Renegade. Not killing the salarian has Shepard find out he's not after the volus at all, it's just they're disagreeing over how to share their research data, and the volus was being unnecessarily jumpy. Needless to say, Shepard and their team are pretty irritated by the end of it.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the Charlatan plans to kill Sloane Kelly and take over Kadara Port, but doesn't include Ryder in the loop because they figure Ryder might not side with them, instead luring Sloane into a trap and trying to assassinate her. If Ryder does side with the Charlatan, they point out that what with Sloane's entire attitude and the Initiative getting a better deal with her dead, if the Charlatan had told them they would have gone along with it, and the Charlatan nearly buggered up their own plan.
  • The entire plot of Poacher (minus the first few minutes) wouldn't have happened if Rebecca's father had told her that Compacts were against their treaty with the Dark Ones. Derek lampshades this:
    Rebecca: Dad never wanted to educate me like he did Magnus. I think he wanted me to stay innocent. His little girl.
    Derek: Well, that backfired on 'im, didn't it.
  • BlazBlue utterly runs on this trope, with a large number of characters either failing to get their point across or failing to understand the point as intended. While things could clear up in Chronophantasma, many issues in Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift could be easily resolved if everyone was able to express themselves clearly. Takamagahara was resetting every instance where things did not go according to their plans, and Terumi had no choice but to play along until he could lobotomize them. This does not excuse the fact he was willing to manipulate the rules of communication for his own ends, however, both before and after said lobotomy.
    • Despite being the Big Good Duumvirate, Rachel and Jubei are remarkably poor at explaining themselves clearly: Jubei is too cryptic for his own good, whereas Rachel is particularly condescending. Both of them left their charges - especially Ragna and Noel, the cruxes of Terumi's plans in Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift, respectively - ill prepared for dealing with Terumi when the time came to deal with him. While Ragna is prone to going off on his own in anger and Noel isn't the best at dealing with crazies like Terumi, the cryptic nature of the advice they got from Rachel and Jubei didn't help at all.
    • Litchi's case is a particularly gratuitous instance of this trope. While Rachel and Kokonoe weren't helpful to her for their own reasons, both sides could have contained their tempers just a bit better and gotten their point across - Litchi wanted to inform the others she was succumbing to Boundary corruption in her mission to save Arakune, and Rachel and Kokonoe wanted to tell her why he's too far gone for her to help, but they slammed each others' Berserk Buttons in the process. In Chronophantasma, Rachel finally explains that Litchi is attempting to observe Arakune, which would require that she observe herself as well, except Litchi's emotional instability makes it hard for her to keep her priorities straight - and the corruption Litchi is facing is a consequence of her ineptitude at observation. Back in Continuum Shift Hazama (a.k.a. the aforementioned Terumi) offered Litchi a cure for Arakune in exchange for her joining the NOL, which she did due to being out of other options - though she believes he won't hold his end of the bargain. Furthermore, Litchi has a mindset of not trying to involve those she called friends from her problems as much as possible, and because of this, she's unable to confide to other more supportive friends (if lacking knowledge about her problems) like Bang or Taokaka about her problems, which could have immensely helped her mental fortitude, and when her joining NOL requires her to be aggressive against Bang, she instead came off as a completely believing lackey of Relius in terms of helping him accelerate Doomsday, in Bang's words, it's 'falling into evil'.
    • Even when it doesn't relate to Litchi, Kokonoe can still bugger it up. In Continuum Shift, she tells Noel through Lambda-11's communique that she's the Eye of the Azure, but plays to type and refuses to elaborate when Noel tries to get details from her (at least Rachel tried to tell her, as CS Arcade demonstrates). Also, in Chronophantasma, when she and Kagura discover that Tsubaki Yayoi is under a spell, she insists on talking behind closed doors instead of doing the sensible thing and inviting Makoto and Noel in to discuss the matter - this in blatant ignorance of the fact that as an ex-Intelligence officer and known spy, if Makoto wanted to eavesdrop, she would do so regardless of Kokonoe's wishes (and Kokonoe laments this when the inevitable happens and Makoto barges in after hearing about Kagura wanting to kill Tsubaki as a last resort). It takes a small order of Xanatos Speed Chess by Kagura and Hibiki to rein Makoto in after the fact.
    • Trinity Glassfille tries not to obey this trope, and conveys all the information she needs to in as concise a manner as possible. She knows she can only manifest outside of Muchorin for a limited time, and has to make every second count. Further, due to being manipulated by Terumi into lifting Nine's geas, which directly contributed to both her and Nine's deaths and led her into her current predicament, she knows full well how important clear communication is. It seems she learned her lesson well - while Bang ran into Relius, who would seek the Lynchpin, he learned enough from Trinity to know how to use Rettenjou to activate it, and it pays dividends when he actually does.
    • The aforementioned Makoto Nanaya refuses to play by this trope, and works to both express herself clearly and gather reliable and accurate information whenever possible. This actually makes sense, as such handling of information is one of the big responsibilities of an Intelligence officer. The aforementioned Noel caused much of the plot by forgetting Makoto's advice to steer clear of Hazama (aka Terumi, but Makoto didn't know that yet) if possible. To show how dependent on this trope Terumi's plans truly are, Slight Hope has Makoto as the central character. In the true ending, long story short, Terumi's plans fell apart.
  • In Dead or Alive 2, Helena is looking for the assassin who killed her mother. When she meets Ayane, she asks her if she was the murderer... and Ayane says "Mmh, who knows...". Commence fight. Though it is obvious that Ayane was simply messing with her.
  • In Legend of Mana, Escad attempts to tell anyone who will listen that Irwin is trying to destroy the world. Unfortunately, he's such a Jerkass that no one will listen — but it turns out that Jerkass Has a Point. And it quite literally kills someone when Escad and Daena come to blows.
  • Happens in "Resonance" half way through the game. Anna (or the player) is tasked to decide what to do with Resonance; destroy the vault or open it. However, no matter the decision, Ed hastily shoots Anna in the head. All this happened, despite Ed's pleas to talk things out, because Anna wouldn't say what she was thinking.
  • Poor communication is what causes the epic boss fight between Batman and Mr. Freeze in Batman: Arkham City. Batman and Freeze have been forced by the Joker to create a cure for his disease. Batman arrives to collect it, and Freeze demands that Batman must find and rescue his wife Nora first. Batman reads this as Freeze refusing to hand it over, becomes hostile, and tries to steal it. Freeze reads that as Batman refusing to find his wife, and reacts accordingly.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV, a lot of pain and horror could have been avoided if Asmodeus and Koga Sobaru had taken time to explain the reasons for their actions to Flynn instead of immediately attacking him.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, much of the story could've been avoided if Grovyle had bothered trying explain his motives in detail as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the supposedly good, Obviously Evil villain decides to make his move by capturing the hero.
  • In the cutscene that kicks off the Revenge mission/ending of Grand Theft Auto IV, where Pegorino tells Niko about the upcoming deal with Dimitri, Niko never bothers to explain to Pegorino the dangers of doing business with Dimitri beyond an off-hand remark that "he and I have history." That oversight leads to a chain of events that culminates in Kate getting killed.
  • This gets exaggerated to an absurd degree in Grand Theft Auto V, in which one mission has Michael chasing down Amoral Attorney Molly through the airport to get back what the former believes to be the sole master copy of a film he worked on with his idol, director Solomon Richards. By the end of the mission, several cops and Molly herself end up dead, but only after all of this goes down does Richards see fit to inform Michael that he had a digital backup of the film all along.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Due to an "oath of silence," Arlon the Serene adamantly refuses to tell Pit and Palutena that the Lunar Sanctum is actually a Tailor-Made Prison for the Chaos Kin, which results in Pit destroying the place and setting the monster free, leading to the Chaos Kin hijacking Palutena's body, nearly eating her soul, trapping Pit's soul in a ring, and spending three years using Palutena's Army to attack mankind. Viridi acknowledges that the entire fiasco could have been avoided if Arlon had simply told them what the Lunar Sanctum's purpose was in the first place.
    • Even so, turning it into a battle station of all things and thus making it a prime target for Pit to attack wasn't the smartest move for something you absolutely don't want destroyed.
  • Hyrule Warriors: The entire fight with Midna could have been avoided if Lana had simply told her that she wasn't an ally of Cia. When all is said and done, Midna point-blank tells her as such.
  • If only Tower hadn't assumed that Sentry-1 was broadcasting an all-clear signal at the end of the opening video for the Heavy Gear video game (made worse by her talking over his desperate attempt to warn them), they might have been able to muster a defense. Instead, Sentry-1 was blown to pieces in a Curb-Stomp Battle and it's implied that Tower and the rest of the base soon suffered the same fate.
  • Most of the problems in Nier could have been avoided if more people understood the Shades' speech.
    • Similarly, the tragedy of Endings C & D in NieR: Automata could have been avoided if only A2 bothered to tell 9S that 2B was infected with the Logic Virus and she willingly asked A2 to kill her so that she doesn't harm anyone else.
  • Drakengard 2 - in the words of The Dark ID:
    Nowe decides to not even attempt to mention to his best friend key facts like, I don't know: Gismor poisoned him, the said poison is right over on the table, the general just confessed to murdering the former leader of the Knights of the Seal, or anything that would improve the situation in his favor. Instead, he just smashes through a nearby window and runs away crying. Way to go, kiddo!
  • Most of the conflict in The Order: 1886 could have been avoided if the good guys actually talked instead of keeping important facts secret for no apparent reasons. Especially Galahad not talking to his trusted companions about the United India Company being in league with Half-Breeds or Lord Hastings and Lucan being Half-Breeds themselves.
  • Spec Ops: The Line would have gone much, much better if Captain Walker had been able to explain to the first squad of soldiers his recon team encountered that they weren't with the CIA. Instead things were tense, Walker's number two tried to surreptitiously suggest that shooting out some windows holding back sand would be a useful trick if things turned ugly, the other soldiers overheard this, interpreted it as an ambush and opened fire, and that's how Walker ended up killing some of the people he was supposed to be rescuing.
    • That’s not the say the 33rd aren’t at fault, either. Has they told Walker that Konrad had killed himself early on, he might not have gone searching for him and committed countless war crimes believing that Konrad was somehow responsible for everything bad that was happening. Instead, they don’t tell him this vital piece of information until the final chapter of the game, by which point many lives have been lost and it is far too late to save anyone. They also don’t tell the CIA this either, and as a result, the CIA carries through with their plan to destroy Dubai's water reserves and doom the entire population to die of thirst, all because they did not get a piece of vital information through.
    • On a similar note, Rick Gould, in his final moments, tries to communicate a plan with the team but dies before he can finish. This plan was meant to be a rescue operation for survivors trapped in the part of Dubai known as the Gate. As a result, when Walker and his team bomb the Gate with white phosphorous, they accidentally kill the survivors, and this action, more than anything else, starts Walker's decent into madness.
  • The entire plot of Grey Goo (2015) happens because no one talks to anyone else. A brief summary: Humans crash-land on a planet occupied by the Morra (called 'Beta' by humans) who freak out and attack because they think the humans are the Silent Ones, a race of mysterious Eldritch Abominations that wiped out their homeworld, and the humans defend themselves rather than try to establish communications. Both sides wind up fighting the titular Grey Goo because the humans believe it to be a standard Turned Against Their Masters situation and the Beta, again, think the Goo is a tool of the Silent Ones. What's really going on is that the Goo is itself terrified witless of the Silent Ones, which are wiping out its colonies, and is trying to build up its strength as quickly as possible, which means consuming the Humans and Betas both. The game ends with all three sides finally sitting down to talk things out, which results in them uniting against the real threat.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes:
    • Lady Maud (a.k.a. the witch) seems completely oblivious to the problems the princess's tights have caused in Hytopia. The Links appear to try to tell her when they first meet, but she gets offended by their calling the tights "cursed" and refuses to listen to them any further. Based on what her sister, Madame Couture, says about her, this is most likely genuine, although Couture also claims to be a bad judge of character.
    • The game also has the same kind of issues as mentioned for Left 4 Dead above when playing online, but this time, they're partly by design. There's no voice chat, the few emotes provided for communication aren't nearly enough for more complex puzzles or difficult missions, and there's no easy way to direct emotes to a particular player. (Your only options for the latter are to tap their icon - triggering a message saying "[your name] is curious about [their name]" - and to pick them up, but not everyone understands these signals.) As a result, everything in the game harder than the Final Boss is virtually impossible unless all three players have done it the same way before. Word of God is that trying to work with the emote system is part of the fun, but most players disagree.
  • This forms the basis of the backstory of Undertale. After the death of a human child beneath the earth, Prince Asriel took them outside the barrier to bury them in their hometown on their wishes. The villagers saw a monster carrying a dead human, assumed he had killed them, and reacted accordingly, setting in motion the events of the game. Then you find out that this was all a gambit by the child to get Asriel to destroy the villagers. The one thing they hadn't counted on was the prince choosing pacifism over fighting back.
  • The mission "A Quiet Exit" in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain contains a strange inversion where, thanks to the game's "languages can be made to function like viruses" theme, the absence, not the presence, of a language barrier or communication failure is what makes the situation so perilous: because Quiet is infected with the language parasites and shares no common tongue with Snake other than English, she must leave to die in the desert for fear of infecting Snake.
  • This is the entire point of Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes: the bomb manual instructions are purposely written in such an obtuse way that, without clear communication between the Experts and the Defuser, things will go very wrong very quickly (especially the Who's on First? module, which deliberately abuses homophones and responses like "OK" to trip up inattentive players).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic Adventure, Knuckles was told by Dr. Eggman that Sonic was after the Master Emerald shards. Rather than talk to Sonic about why he's after them, Knuckles instead immediately starts a fight with Sonic and Tails without reasonably asking the two directly about it, which could have prevented the whole fight in the first place.
    • A lot of Shadow's conflict with everyone else comes from his inability to just talk with them and accept their help instead of acting like a lone wolf.
      • In his self-titled game, he apparently never thinks to ask any of his friends about his past, even though every single one of them both know him well as well as found out about his past in Sonic Adventure 2.
      • In Sonic Chronicles. When the gang attempts to track down Eggman using a device, they end up finding Shadow in Mystic Ruins. But rather than tell them why he was there (finding Omega), he instead picks a fight with Sonic when he feels they're accusing him of something. And when they meet him again, he tries to run away from them and has to be beaten by Sonic again to get him to talk with them.
  • In Rabi-Ribi, if a boss isn't brainwashed by the UPRPRC, they're most likely trying to kill Erina over a misunderstanding.
  • Anemone, the last boss of Valdis Story: Abyssal City, was a creature created by the goddess Valdis to keep angels and demons away from her body until her daughter could grow up and find it. Anemone herself was only told "kill all angels and demons". When the aforementioned daughter (who is neither) shows up, Anemone shows more insight than many on this list by specifically asking Valdis for clarification. Valdis chooses that moment to be unconscious, so Anemone defaults to "kill intruders".
  • Angel from Borderlands 2 screws up royally when she warns Lilith not to enter her chamber in the upcoming battle, but refuses to states the reason why. Lilith, being who she is, goes to fight anyway. The reason Angel wanted her to stay away? Angel is a Siren like Lilith, being used against her will by Jack to charge the Vault Key. Her plan was to have the Vault Hunters kill her and stop Jack's plan. Unfortunately, because Lilith showed up, Jack simply captures her to charge the key instead, making Angel's sacrifice amount to nothing.
  • In The Elder Scrolls Backstory, this was the case in some of the tellings of the final days of the Dwemer before their mysterious disappearance. The Dwemer had unearthed the Heart of Lorkhan, the "divine center" of the "dead" creator god of Mundus (the mortal plane). Chief Tonal Architect of the Dwemer, Lord Kagrenac, invented tools which would allow him to tap in to the divine powers of the Heart. Depending on the version of events you read, Dumac Dwarfking, leader of the Dwemer, did not know what Kagrenac was planning and would have stopped him had he known. Whatever occurred deep within the bowels of the Dwemer Red Mountain stronghold, it caused the Dwemer to disappear all across Tamriel without a trace. The after effects would be felt thousands of years later in the events Morrowind and Skyrim.
  • In Persona 3, despite the Rule of Funny being in play, couldn't the guys have avoided execution at the hot springs if someone had just called out and said, "Don't come in yet!"?
    • Junpei mentions that that they could have told them it was a misunderstanding, then Akihiko mentions that Mitsuru would not have thought of it as an accident regardless and probably would have still have "executed" them.
    • Strega initially becomes SEES's enemy because they're told that the defeat of the twelve major arcana shadows will result in the end of Tartarus and the Dark Hour; they immediately assume that that also means the end of the power of Persona. Mitsuru and Aigis (at least) are both well aware that this isn't the case.
  • In Persona 4: Dojima finds a threatening letter from the apparent culprit aimed to the main character, and hastily drags the protagonist to the police station to question him over the note. Unfortunately the protagonist leaving him in the dark because of the explicitly supernatural nature of the case causes him to not believe anything you tell to him, even if you tell him the entire truth. Both Dojima's hasty and rash reaction and the player not telling the truth earlier (which could have been proven as easily as sticking any part of his body into the nearest TV) results in a vulnerable Nanako being kidnapped by Namatame, and the entire tragic chain of events that leads into the endgame to happen.
  • In Persona 5:
    • Takakura becomes the chief executive in Okumura Foods after Okumura's death but his genuine attempts to help Haru become misguided due to both him and Haru not understanding each other. For example, Takakura was under the impression that Haru was in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage with Sugimura which was why he kept offering to set up the wedding, leading Haru to distrust him and think he is attempting to remove her out of his way.
    • Sojiro kept Futaba's presence very quiet and even the neighbors don't know about her existence despite Sojiro always buying food for two. When the Protagonist tries to ask about Futaba, Sojiro becomes defensive and refuses to answer, leading the party to mistakenly wonder if Sojiro is abusing Futaba and even sneaking into his house to find out.
    • If the Traitor had just been a teeny bit more trusting of the other Phantom Thieves, their entire betrayal could have been avoided, because the Phantom Thieves ended up going after the Traitor's revenge target, Shido, anyway. If Akechi had just admitted what was going on earlier, they would certainly have agreed to help. Sadly, by the time the plot is revealed, Akechi is already too far gone and can't admit that his entire plan was All for Nothing.
    • Royal has a particularly tragic case: Kasumi Yoshizawa considered her twin sister, Sumire, a Friendly Rival to her, but she proved unable to properly convey this, leading to many Innocently Insensitive and Condescending Compassion - like remarks, which only sent Sumire further into her own depression. The tragedy comes from the fallout... Sumire ends up running away from Kasumi, not even realizing that traffic had started up. Kasumi pulls a Diving Save to keep Sumire from being struck by an oncoming vehicle, successfully saving her sister but leaving herself to be killed upon impact.
  • In God of War (PS4), this causes majority of the issues between Kratos and Atreus. Due to Kratos deliberately distancing himself from Atreus as a means to protect the boy from Kratos' Dark and Troubled Past, Atreus has grown up thinking his father resents him for being weak, alternating between feeling bitter towards Kratos and wanting to prove himself to earn his father's love. Kratos's refusal to tell Atreus that he is a god is actually killing Atreus, as Atreus thinks he is mortal and this contradiction is manifesting itself as a life-threatening illness. This all comes to head when Kratos sadly claims that Atreus is cursed due to the divine blood inherited from Kratos but Atreus ends up only hearing the only part of what was said, leading him to believe that Kratos thinks Atreus is cursed and that Kratos never wanted him. The idea alone is what finally causes Kratos to reveal the truth to Atreus.
  • Occurs like a domino effect in Act 2 of Spider-Man (PS4). Mary Jane sneaks into a SABLE compound, only telling Peter at the very last second, to interrogate a scientist being pursued by the Demons who was nearly killed by them mere days ago. She then crawls into his tent and starts asking him questions without bothering to introduce herself, which leads to him pulling a gun on her. She manages to talk him down but Peter shows up and sees him holding her at gunpoint, which leads to him disarming the scientist and accidentally knocking him out when he was going to give MJ more details on the Demons' plan. Mary Jane blames Peter and goes to investigate the lead without telling him, and as a result the Demons hold everyone in Grand Central Terminal hostage and kill several police officers in the process without Spider-Man there to stop them in time.
  • The Wolf Among Us: The whole plot was kicked off by an example of this: When Georgie found out that some of his prostitutes were planning to steal from the gang, he contacted his boss, the Crooked Man, and asked what he wanted to do about it. Crooked Man simply told Georgie to “take care of it”, which Georgie mistook as being a Deadly Euphemism; he believed the Crooked Man wanted him to kill the prostitute who orchestrated the idea to make an example to the others. Thus he killed Faith, setting off the events of the game. Notably though, it’s left ambiguous whether it truly was a mistake. Nerissa and Georgie both insist that Crooked Man’s “take care of it” comment really was a kill order and that he’s merely trying to cover up or downplay his involvement.
  • In Octopath Traveler, at the start of Alfyn's Chapter 3, he finds Ogen, a fellow apothecary, refusing to treat a badly wounded man named Miguel. When Alfyn stumbles by, Ogen justifies his decision to abandon Miguel by claiming that he's "a free man, with the right to choose (his) patients," not mentioning why he refused to treat Miguel- he realized Miguel is a thief and a murderer. Granted, that knowledge probably wouldn't have discouraged Alfyn, who continues to treat Miguel after learning that, but Ogen could have done a much better job making his case.
  • The plot of Wadanohara is kick-started by a hateful letter being sent to a princess from another princess and the murder of some of her soldiers, starting a violent war between the two kingdoms. If the princess had tried to communicate to the other that the letter was forged, a lot of problems and deaths could have been avoided.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, this trope ends up becoming a major theme of the game, since a lot of the problems are the result of characters failing to explain themselves or jumping to conclusions. Kamen never tells Momoko that she's a lesbian (let alone that she's in love with Momoko), so when she claims that Momoko's boyfriend Hiro is unfaithful, Momoko assumes that Kamen is trying to come between them. Some time later, Momoko discovers messages from Hiro on Kamen's cell phone and, jumping conclusions, decides to kill Hiro and herself while framing Kamen for the murders. Raiko also believes that by jumping to conclusions in the past, she caused her sister's death.
  • The entirety of Mortal Kombat 9 happens because of Raiden in the Bad Future sending a very vague message to his past self. While Raiden didn't have much time to send his past self the message before Shao Kahn killed him, only saying "He must win" didn't quite give past Raiden the clarity he needed to take action. Raiden first assumes that Liu Kang has to win against Sheng Tsung, only to see nothing changed. He then believes the message means "Liu Kang must defeat Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat". Liu Kang does so, yet Raiden's amulet still cracks further signifying the bad future is still going to happen. At this point, the majority of the main characters die from a powered up Sindel and Liu Kang believe Raiden has gone insane. By the time Raiden actually understands what "He must win" means (let Shao Kahn merge the realms without engaging in Mortal Kombat so that the Elder Gods destroy him as punishment), Liu Kang has completely run out of patience with Raiden and turns against him, fighting him and dying in the process.
    • Kotal Kahn, while a much nicer guy than his predecessor, still has an unfortunate tendency to come to blows with the heroes due to A) jumping to conclusions and B) stubbornly sticking to said conclusions even when presented with evidence to the contrary. Case in point: when he first meets Cassie's gang he assumes they're spies sent by Mileena. They explain why they're really here, but he still brushes it off with "You are allied with Mileena" and has to be fought to get him to accept the truth (Kotal coming from a very Might Makes Right culture explains a lot of this, actually).
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield: The endgame raid on Rose Tower could have been averted entirely if Leon had just called Hop and told him he was going to be late for dinner. Instead, Hop's worrying over his brother, Piers and the rest of Team Yell jumping at the chance to do some anarcho-punk anti-establishment stuff, and Oleana's stubbornness and potential insanity all cause things to escalate far more than they needed to.
  • In Watch_Dogs the protagonist Aiden Pearce is helped through most of the story by a hacker named Clara Lille. Their partnership breaks down when Aiden learns Clara played a key role in the chain of events that killed his niece, revenge for which was Aiden's main motivation during the campaign while remorse for it was Clara's. In the finale Clara contact's Damien, Aiden's former criminal partner, who was injured due to the same chain of events and had abducted Aiden's sister to force Aiden to work for him, in hopes of convincing him to take her and let Aiden's sister Nicky go, however he sends a kill squad after her instead. What Clara was unaware of was that Aiden had already saved Nicky, who was on the way out of the state as these events were transpiring and her intervention was completely unneeded.
  • The entire bloody banquet event near the end of the A Realm Reborn storyline in Final Fantasy XIV could have been avoided entirely if Nanamo had simply told about Raubhan her plans to dissolve the Syndicate instead of trying to do it herself. Because Nanamo attempted to make Ul'dah a nation that is governed by the citizens instead of the wealthy, one of the Syndicate members plots to assassinate her and frame the Scions and the Warrior of Light for her murder. Once the events unfold and Raubhan goes on a rampage, he loses an arm from Illberd during their fight and is thrown in jail while the Scions flee from the guards. Later on, it's revealed that another member of the Syndicate member intervened in the assassination attempt by swapping out the poison with a strong sleeping agent.
  • In Advance Wars, the entire conflict in Yellow Comet could have been avoided on two fronts. If Orange Star had bothered to contact them ahead of time and ask permission to march their army through their country Kanbei wouldn't have assumed the worst and attacked them, and if Kanbei had bothered to give the Orange Star army the chance to explain that they were merely passing through his country instead of attacking them on sight. In fact, this entire conflict is the only time the two battling COs don't communicate to one another before, during, and after the battle. Naturally, his much more intelligent daughter Sonja, knowing her father isn't the brightest bulb in the box (at least until Character Development sets in), repeatedly calls him out on it to no effect and, if you've been performing well enough, decides to take you on herself to gather intel and assess your abilities before letting you move on to Green Earth.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, in the story mode, Cyborg upon being transported to the Regime world overhears Lex Luthor and Deathstroke talking about taking down Superman and attacks them. He did not realize they were actually talking about Regime!Superman or that there was a Regime at all.
  • Yes, Your Grace: A character treated as the main villain for the two first acts of the game turns out to be Good All Along. His letter-writing style is also just the right mix of brief and factual to keep the two letters he sends the Player Character during that period from dispelling the misunderstanding between them, resulting in it only being resolved when they meet face-to-face in the third act.
  • The Umbral Choir from Endless Space 2 come to the galaxy seeking to help those who suffer and bring peace and understanding. They also look like nightmarish shadow-monsters, and despite their good intentions, their minds are sufficiently alien that their initial attempts at telepathic First Contact leave the subjects utterly traumatized. As a result, others frequently greet them with horror and firepower.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: The whole plot happens because Emperor Vigarde ordered his son to keep quiet about the incoming disaster that will devastate Grado in the future. Lyon briefly suggests that they could ask Renais for help, but Vigarde shuts that down, thinking that Renais would reject them if they asked for protection of "a natural disaster". Vigarde then dies of his sickness, Lyon crosses the Despair Event Horizon and decides to tamper with the Grado Sacred Stone in hopes of getting the power that (he believes) can help him save his people.
  • In Far Cry 4:
    • In the endings where Pagan Min is spared, he reveals that he genuinely wanted to help Ajay spread the ashes of his mother and that he planned to give Kyrat to Ajay. He explained that he and Ishwari were lovers who had a daughter Lakshmana. She was unfortunately killed by Mohan in a jealous rage before Ishwari killed him, forcing her to abandon Kyrat and leave for the United States with Ajay. There are two reasons why Pagan didn't and couldn't explain things sooner.
      • First, Pagan was operating under the assumption that Ajay's mother already explained things to him, so he thought Ajay was just causing trouble for himself when he would become the next king of Kyrat.
      • Second, Pagan didn't do himself any favors in convincing Ajay to trust him. Though he had nothing to do with Ajay's bus being attacked, Pagan would kill one of his soldiers for disobeying orders, stab Darpan and send him off to be tortured and even lick a bit of Ishwari's ashes, all in front of Ajay, who has made it clear that he doesn't know who Pagan is or any politics in Kyrat. Because Pagan regularly flips from being friendly and polite to violent and murderous, Ajay believes he's in danger and escapes the palace.
    • Similarly, Ajay's mother could have explained things better to Ajay. While she instructs him to take her ashes to Lakshmana, she doesn't explain that Lakshmana is her daughter with Pagan Min and that the child's ashes are at the royal palace. If she did, Ajay could have scattered her ashes without any trouble.
  • Much of the drama of Resident Evil Village is driven by Chris trying to keep Ethan Winters in the dark for his own good, resorting to brutal methods in his attempt, and ultimately failing. His supposed execution of Mia is due to because he wasn't trying to execute Mia, he was trying to kill Miranda disguising herself as Mia, but Ethan doesn't realize this, which made Ethan perceive him as an secondary antagonist of the game. He also tried to prevent Ethan from having another Jumped at the Call because he knew Ethan would go out of his way to try to save his family again. He had to point this out to him when Ethan encountered him in the mines. When Ethan is ambushed and killed by Miranda shortly after, one of Chris' own men tells him point-blank that none of this would have happened if he had just told Ethan the truth and cooperated with him in the first place, and Chris solemnly concedes the point.


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