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Redemption Equals Death / Video Games

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  • A major part of the plot in Planescape: Torment. The reason the protagonist is immortal is that he felt he needed immortality to have enough time to redeem himself of his evil deeds far prior to the game. Turns out that immortality comes with amnesia. By the end of the game, he finally undoes his immortality and dies, never having had the chance to redeem himself. He ends up either going to hell, or erasing himself from existence.
  • If you are able to successfully convince him that he's being controlled by Sovereign, then Saren of Mass Effect fits under this trope. Though, you still have to fight what's left of him as a final boss due to the robotic implants he got while under Sovereign's control.
    • In Mass Effect 3 if Wrex and Eve have both survived, Mordin will choose to sacrifice himself to spread the Genophage cure no matter your choice. He believes he made a mistake all those years ago and that Eve is the force the Krogan need to correct it.
  • Depending on the player's choices, Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir of Dragon Age: Origins might get a "chance" at this, complete with a very much Heroic Sacrifice.
  • World in Conflict. The glory-seeking, cowardly insubordinate Captain Charles Bannon is a considerable annoyance throughout the game. He whines continually, exhibits defeatism, and in his rush to grab glory for himself causes the deaths of both a French ally and a group of Russian civilians. Nonetheless, he manages to redeem himself - in the last-ditch battle to stop a Soviet army group reaching the Strategic Defence Initiative headquarters, he and his men willingly sacrifice themselves to fix the Soviet attackers in place so they can be finally stopped with a tactical nuclear weapon. It's heavily implied that he's purposely doing this to redeem himself for all his previous failures. Colonel Sawyer, who despises him, and whose approval he has constantly sought, forgives him in their final radio conversation, telling him he's humbled to have served with him.
  • Happens in Tales of Destiny, at least the remake version. After he betrayed the party, and they kicked his ass, Leon Magnus goes to help them escape the soon-to-be-flooded battlefield, while staying behind and letting himself drown, instantly clearing him of any sins he's done in the past. This never happened in the original version, though. He was a sadistic Jerkass there.
    • His redemption on that version comes in the sequel Tales of Destiny 2, as Judas. He's helping out the good guys there, but that comes with a price. After his redemption is fulfilled by beating the crap outta the final boss, he went back in time and died again. This guy never takes a break...
    • Probably due to the fact that he was originally meant to die as a jerkass but, due to his surprising popularity, that was changed in later games.
  • In Myst IV: Revelation Achenar has mended his ways, and sacrifices himself to save Yeesha and restore the lifestone to the memory chamber.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, if you handle a quest a certain way, you can get the best result and redeem Yuthura Ban to the light side. Since she doesn't reappear in the sequel, she presumably died with everyone else when Darth Malak destroyed the Jedi Enclave. Star Wars: The Old Republic, however, suggests she survived, as one of her descendants is fought by imperial characters early on in their careers.
    • It is possible to complete that quest after Darth Malak destroys the Jedi Enclave. And it doesn't seem like there were no survivors, if Vandar and Vrook made it, who else could have?
    • Ajunta Pall is an interesting variation on the trope. He's a (very, very) long dead Dark Lord of the Sith, actually said to be the first human Dark Lord. He lived and died long before the lightsaber was invented. You can talk to his spirit, and find that he has regrets after all this time. You can then attack him or try and coax him to redemption. He disappears after being fought; fail at your Persuade roll and he tells you that it's too late, tells you, "Be at peace", and also vanishes. Succeed in your Persuade roll, and his last lines are a Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming. But it does seem like this is the one route in which he finally leaves this world.
    "If... if I could return. Oh, my Master... it has been... so long... and I regret so much..."
    • Judging from what (little) has been said from the MMORPG's site this is what happened to Revan. S/He simply "never returns," meaning s/he died out in the middle of nowhere trying to forestall the True Sith and failing.
      • Depends what you mean by "failing". The novel "Revan" reveals that he was able to resist The Emperor's attempts to break him for 300 years, subtly influencing him to hold off on invading the Republic. Had the True Sith attacked then, while the Republic was still recovering, it would have been a Curb-Stomp Battle. Revan's main goal was to make sure that neither his wife nor their son had to live through another war. In that he succeeded.
    • A cut ending would have given a female player the option to kill Bastila, turn back to the light, and die on the Star Forge with Carth.
    • From the second game, a piece of deleted content where Atton dies after losing his fight against Darth Sion can be interpreted as this, considering his backstory as a former Sith assassin.
  • In The Force Unleashed, set inbetween trilogies, Galen Marek has been raised by Darth Vader, doing his bidding. He decides to be a Jedi rather than a Sith, founds the Rebel Alliance, and then dies to save the lives of the other founders. His family crest goes on to become the symbol of the Rebellion, and later the New Republic.
    • The sequel partly subverts this. While Starkiller is back, it's never made clear if he's the original somehow revived or just another clone. Given that takes down Vader (for however long that lasts) and earns the Rebellion a major victory, nobody cares, not even his Love Interest.
  • Apparently Nod's Redeemer in Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath applies this trope literally. It occasionally yells "Redemption is yours!" when issued an attack order.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Axel falls victim to this trope, deliberately sacrificing his own life to help out Sora to make up for his earlier actions. Whether or not it was actually necessary for him to do so is a hotbutton topic among the fans.
    • Ansem the Wise might fit this, too. His research started most of the problems in the storyline and in trying to atone for this, he committed many questionable deeds. In the end, he realizes the error of his ways and sacrifices himself to set everything right. Except it turns out he's not actually dead...
  • At the end of F.E.A.R., Harlan Wade, overcome by guilt at what happened during Project Origin, chooses to release his daughter, Alma, who then subsequently kills him. His dialogue as he goes into this indicates he was fully aware that this was what was going to happen.
  • Kurtis of Disgaea sacrifices himself to break the Villain Override on Jennifer (that he installed in her). However, this being Disgaea, He gets better in time to pull a Big Damn Heroes in the last chapter (though considering HOW he Got Better, this may in fact be a subversion). Given that Prinnies are Prinnies so they can pay off their sins from life, it probably is a subversion. He didn't redeem himself just with self-sacrifice.
  • In Metroid Fusion, the X are trying to kill Samus the entire game because she is part Metroid. However, Samus becomes powerful enough to beat every X including one that's a mutation of her own suit, SA-X. She then sets the station to crash into the planet and wipe all X from existence. She is then attacked by an Omega Metroid, which promptly beats her because she doesn't have the Ice beam (Ice missiles don't work because they can't pierce the Metroid's hide). At that point, SA-X returns and saves Samus from certain doom, and allows itself to be absorbed into her, giving her the ability to defeat the Metroid. At first it may seem like it just wants to kill Metroids, but if you think about it there's no point to killing the already-doomed-to-blow-up Metroid unless it wanted Samus to escape.
  • Elpizo, the Big Bad of Mega Man Zero 2 spent half of the game trying to unleash the Dark Messiah Dark Elf, which has the power to destroy the world. Zero defeats him, naturally, and Elpizo was regretful for his actions. The Dark Elf, however, turns him into a cyber-elf, actually saving his life.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has Faldio. His decision to shoot Alicia and awaken her invincible Valkyria powers so she'd save the army gets him instantly arrested and vilified by the rest of the cast. He spends the rest of the game stewing in prison, and comes out at the end just long enough to take the villain down with him in a suicide grapple, despite said villain being defeated and surrounded by a whole bunch of people with guns. Notably, no one even attempts to stop him from killing himself as an apology.
  • In the ending scene of Gunstar Heroes, Green announces his intent to atone for his misdeeds just before ramming his Seven Force into Golden Silver, catching both in the ensuing explosion.
  • A semi-example in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Master Hand has just been freed from Tabuu's control, and he attempts to fight him, only to be beaten and presumably killed. (Although, he's died several times when a player beats Classic.)
  • The Masked Man aka Claus at the end of Mother 3. It's implied that The Masked Man killed himself after finally remembering who he was before. However, the ending is ambiguous and there are a couple different ways to interpret the text in the final battle.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • Giacomo, who dies right after telling Ayme and Folon to help Kalas and Co. stop Melodia in the Celestial Alps.
    • If you choose not to kill them when given the opportunity, Heughes and Nasca in Baten Kaitos Origins do something similar, when they sacrifice themselves to help Sagi and Milly escape Tarazed.
  • Byrne in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks eventually succumbs to this after his Heel–Face Turn, using the last of his power to keep Malladus away from Zelda's body and let Zelda get her physical form back in the final battle.
  • In Resident Evil 4, though Luis Sera decided to redeem himself before Leon ever met him, still suffers a gruesome death at the hands of his former boss, creepy cult leader Saddler.
  • Red Dead Redemption epitomizes this trope in name alone, but for added value there is also the fact that John Marston's hard work and seemingly happy ending is interrupted with a Dying Moment of Awesome after the army counters his Improbable Aiming Skills with More Dakka, leaving behind a Tragic Keepsake for his Replacement Scrappy.
  • Red Dead Redemption II has Arthur Morgan undergo an extended version of this when he is diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Realizing he has little time left to live, Arthur decides to steer away from Dutch's spiraling insanity and spends his final days ensuring John Marston and his family can start a new life. At the high honor ending where he helps John escape, Arthur dies at a mountaintop watching the sunrise, finally at peace with himself.
  • L.A. Noire features this at the ending, with Cole sacrificing himself in a flooding sewer tunnel to save Elsa and Jack.
  • Subverted in Tales of Symphonia. Kratos ultimately wants to drive Lloyd to kill him in a duel, but Lloyd refuses and flat out chews him out for believing that killing himself would make up for the things he did.
  • Also subverted in Tales of Vesperia with Raven, who manages to survive his Heel–Face Turn. Though not for lack of trying.
  • This is actually a major part of Luke's character arc in Tales of the Abyss, and as is tradition for the franchise it has a little fun deconstructing the idea. When the character Does a Bad Thing and sinks Akzeriuth, killing ten thousand people, when he says that he'd die to rectify his mistake. Later on he almost gets the chance, and plans to sacrifice himself to destroy the miasma. The death part doesn't seem to take, and when he realizes his death ultimately won't fix anything he declares that he would rather live for himself for as long as possible. Which won't be very long, because the botched Heroic Sacrifice has left him with the terminal condition of slowly dissolving on a molecular level. But in the end, perhaps it was all worth it:
    Lorelei: You have done admirably.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn King Volechek unknowingly triggers the Grave Eclipse in the center of his city. The party next sees him when he gives his life to end the Eclipse.
  • In Glory of Heracles III, the Protagonist's reward for undoing the wrongs of their past self Lord Baor be told that they'll still be sentenced to Tartarus for their sins. Though after his penance, he does get to be reincarnated as a human.
  • Depending on the party makeup at the time, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years can wind up with Golbez dying at the hands of Cecil's dark side.
  • In Modern Warfare 3, Yuri, one of the main characters, was a former member of Makarov's inner circle and turned against him during the events of the "No Russian" mission in the previous game, which nearly cost him his life. He survives and turns against Makarov, trying to stop his insanity. At the end of the game's final mission, he manages to save Price from Makarov, but dies in the process. His actions gave Price just enough time to finish the lunatic off.
  • In Super Robot Wars UX, Skrugg Nick survives to the finale of the Heroman storyline and Joey and everybody tries to convince him there's still a chance he can return back to normal which is why he was doing things as a Skrugg; thinking he can't return back to normal, but he is still killed by Gogorr who just resurrected. So he only survived enough long to still die.
  • In Jade Empire, Sagacious Zu chooses to perform a Heroic Sacrifice by collapsing the chamber on himself and Death's Hand, his former master. However, considering that he stopped being a Lotus Assassin when he chose to save Dawn Star as a baby, it can be argued that he had already earned his redemption.
  • Word of God states that this was originally Shadow's fate in Sonic Adventure 2, but there was enough ambiguity in the way he died that when he became a Breakout Character, Sega decided to Retcon his death.
  • In Warcraft 3, at the end of the orc campaign, Grom Hellscream kills the demon who corrupted the orcs into Always Chaotic Evil berserkers originally at the cost of his life, freeing the orcs from the Mind Control said demon put them under.
    • Despite this, many of the older orcs from the First War still regret what they did under the curse's influence, to the point it is hinted some of them were Driven to Suicide after the full impact of their actions hit them.
  • Played with in several ways in Undertale.
    • Subverted with Mettaton EX. After his Heel–Face Turn he is left with almost no power and no way to recharge. He gives player a tearful goodbye... however, he makes it clear that once Alphys finds him, he will be saved and does show up again during the finale of the game.
    • Enforced and somewhat downplayed with Asriel Dreemurr. In order to maintain physical form and ability to feel, he needs soul - however he lost his own and has to use souls he stole from other monsters. Once Heel Realisation kicks in, he finds himself in situation where he must either doom them all to a Fate Worse than Death, or give back their souls - thus himself losing his body and once again turning into Flowey.
    • Somewhat inverted during the Genocide Run. Final boss, Sans, offers to spare player midway through his fight. If player accepts, they'll get attacked with an unblockable insta-kill. However, considering how boss knows about player's ability to control time and actually asks them to go back and do everything again right way, it's less "redemption equals death" and more "resurrection equals redemption".
    • Played straight at the end of the Genocide Run. At the very end, you are presented with two buttons; one to erase reality and the other to refuse to do so. If, for whatever reason, you refuse to do it, The Fallen Child will instantly kill you and erase reality for you. Once more, there is a subtle, meta way to pull off your redemption. Simply put, exit the game and delete your file. This must be done before pressing any of the buttons, or else the consequences of your actions will forever haunt your playthroughs.
  • The initial end goal of why Rachel seeks to die in Angels of Death is this for she discovered that the murders of her own parents and her own screwed personality to be sinful and unacceptable to 'God'. She still wishes to die after she has come to terms with it, but by then, she wants to be killed by Zack out of her own desire rather than as some form of forgiveness.
  • In Persona 5, the Phantom Thieves offer Goro Akechi a chance to join them for real and help take down the Big Bad. However, the Big Bad's cognitive version of Akechi shows up with a horde of Shadows to dispose of the real Akechi for his failure. The real Akechi defiantly traps himself with his cognitive fake behind a bulkhead, entrusting the Thieves with the task of taking down the Big Bad in his stead.
  • Played for Laughs in Portal 2. The conveyor belt carrying broken turrets to the incinerator is called the Turret Redemption Line.
  • In New Danganronpa V3, Kokichi convinces everyone he is the mastermind in order to lure the true mastermind out. When this fails, he comes up with a plan to be murdered by Kaito in order to create a trial where nether the victim or cause of death can be determined and ruin the killing game. It's only when Kaito explains Kokichi's motives does everyone find out he was manipulating them to try and save their lives.
  • In Densetsu no Stafy 3, when Starfy and Moe are about to die to Ogura's attack Moe's father, who was abusive and left his family long ago intercepts the attack, dying in their place so that Starfy can defeat Ogura. When 100%'ing the game and defeating Evil, you only have 41 of the 42 crystals needed to destroy Evil. Ogura, the villain of that game and the two games prior, reveals himself to have the last crystal which was the only thing keeping him alive, and by releasing it he dies. Quite dark for such a cutesy game!
  • Sakura Wars:
    • In Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die, Sakura Shinguji and Ichiro Ogami snap the former's father, Kazuma Shinguji out of his mind control. Then, he sacrifices himself to save his daughter from certain death at the hands of the resident Big Bad, Keigo Kyogoku.
    • Subverted in Sakura Wars (2019). After Anastasia Palma is betrayed by Yasha at the end of the game, she decides to redeem herself by rejoining the Flower Division for the Final Battle. Her attempts to stop Yasha ultimately result in her death, but she gets revived by Sakura Shinguji's petals in the final chapter.

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