It's all fun and games until things get weird. The world of video games is an odd one to say the least — just like the rumor mill surrounding the biggest blockbuster films, hearsay and fan speculation can yield some interesting details about our favorite games. It's no secret that passionate fan bases can be creative, especially when examining and dissecting things that they love. Sometimes they'll point out fun details you may have never noticed, and other times, they'll turn video games into downright conspiracy theories. What's even weirder is that sometimes those conspiracy theories may be true after all!
For this list, we're going to look at some of the wildest video game fan theories ever and see which ones have been confirmed by reputable sources. They range from cool and fun to eerie and unsettling, so expect them to change the way you look at some of your favorite games. These theories can reveal hidden Easter eggs, themes that would never have crossed your mind, and even some insight into the creativity behind the scenes.
This goes without saying, but readers will find mild spoilers for all of the games listed below — but you're not worried about that, are you? You're here for the truth-- or at least, for the really weird conspiracy theories around video games that are likely just nonsense. Grab a tin-foil hat and prepare yourself.
Let's dig into 7 Video Game Fan Theories That Were Confirmed (And 13 That Still Could Be).
20 Unconfirmed - Uncharted's Future Is The Last of Us
The two best action franchises in gaming share an odd connection. After the pub fight in the first chapter of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, a newspaper can be found on the bar with a spooky headline. It references a deadly fungus that scientists cannot comprehend.
This headline is a nod to Naughty Dog's other hit series, The Last of Us, where a fungus-based pandemic has destroyed modern society. While the secret may only exist for fun, could it also mean that the two franchises take place in the same universe? Uncharted 4 follows this up with a similar Easter egg — a collectable dog tag from the post-apocalyptic organization called the Fireflies — further suggesting that The Last of Us is the inevitable future of Uncharted.
19 Unconfirmed - Shepard Was Indoctrinated (Mass Effect 3)
Mass Effect fans were troubled when the final game's endings all seemed unrewarding. Commander Shepard's battle against the Reapers ended with three mostly identical choices, none of which are appealing to the player. One has Shepard "control" the Reapers, another has Shepard "synthesize" organic life with them, and the last has Shepard "destroy" them. Weirdly, the first two " good" and "neutral" choices align with the villains' objectives, while the last choice is marked red (for evil) despite being Shepard's goal all along. What gives?
Fans theorize that Shepard was indoctrinated — his mind was taken over by the Reapers — in the final moments of the game. The endings all take place in a dream-like state, where the Reapers disguise the moral choice as an evil one, leading players to accidentally align with the villains and fulfill their wishes.
18 Confirmed — They're All Toys (Super Smash Bros.)
Nobody has ever bothered to explain why all of these disparate Nintendo characters can exist and fight in the same universe. However, an official explanation does exist and it makes a surprising amount of sense. The story modes of Super Smash Bros. tell tales of world-ending threats that the heroes must come together to save, but real the story is much simpler — they're all just toys.
Late Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata confirmed this in an interview with TIME, where he reveals that the characters have always represented toys on an imaginary quest. The company couldn't conjure a good reason for their multi-franchise characters to exist in a single universe and beat each other up. To keep things on-brand and child-friendly, Nintendo considers them all toys in a massive play-set.
17 Unconfirmed - The Five Stages Of Grief (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask)
Majora's Mask has always been considered one of the darker entries in The Legend of Zelda, but this theory really puts an emphasis on its dreary tone. Some Zelda fans believe that the entire game is all a metaphor for the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The stages are typically associated with the Kübler-Ross model, which studies the emotional journey one takes when dealing with a terminal illness.
As if Majora's Mask wasn't bleak enough, what with the apocalyptic premise and all, the different segments of the game may correlate to each stage of grief in chronological order. The theory is difficult to explain in detail, but it only makes Majora's Mask seem that much more grim.
16 Unconfirmed - Abducted (Animal Crossing)
Animal Crossing may be a vehicle for some really dark subtext. Are the peaceful towns in the game actually prisons for victims of abduction? Kapp'n, the bus-driving turtle at the beginning of the game, is actually based on the Kappa in the Japanese version. The Kappa is an amphibious creature in Japanese folklore, mostly known for kidnapping humans that cross its path to inflict all kinds of unspeakable violence on them.
This — combined with the nosy townsfolk, watchful mayor, and crippling debt players may never be able pay off — has many believing that Animal Crossing takes place in a town run by a Kappa-led abduction cult. This would be a stretch if Kapp'n wasn't directly inspired by a Kappa, but the details make the theory seem airtight.
15 Confirmed — B.J. And Doomguy (Wolfenstein, Doom)
Here's a fun one: the protagonists of classic shooters Doom and Wolfenstein are actually related. Fans suspected that the two over-the-top action heroes were blood-relatives for quite sometime, but id Software co-founders outright confirmed this on Twitter.
Wolfenstein hero B.J. Blaskowicz is actually the grandfather of Commander Keen (protagonist of the slightly more obscure id Software franchise, Commander Keen), and Commander Keen is Doomguy's father! There is basically no evidence to support this in any of the aforementioned series, but if the creators declare it, it must be so. Doomguy might be a demon slayer, but now we know where he gets it from. Blaskowicz is his grandfather — and an unstoppable fighter in his own right. Perhaps the hyper-masculine action-hero gene skips a generation, but it's still cool to know.
14 Unconfirmed - Does Squall Survive? (Final Fantasy VIII)
Final Fantasy VII is a fan-favorite entry in the long-running franchise. It's classic Playstation RPG, and an especially long one — requiring two discs to fully complete. However, the end of the first disc suggests an interesting fate for the game's protagonist, Squall Leonhart. Halfway through the game, Squall is stabbed with an ice javelin and falls unconscious. This fan theory suggests that Squall doesn't survive his injuries, and that the entire second disc is a dream.
The theory is extremely comprehensive. There's even a website dedicated to breaking down the theory, citing multiple scenes, images, and lines of dialogue that all suggest that Squall's later experiences may not be real. Could Squall have really dreamt the second half of Final Fantasy VIII?
13 Unconfirmed - The G-Man is an alien (Half-Life)
Who is Half-Life's elusive G-Man? This spooky, suited stranger seems to be all-knowing and ever-present, and even boasts special powers like teleportation, telepathy, and dimensional travel. The game provides no explanation as to the identity of the G-Man, but players have theorized that it does leave some clues.
Certain lines of dialogue in both games suggest that he isn't a man at all, and that he's actually an alien who has come to combat the alien empire, the Combine. The leading theory is that he's an Advisor — one of the series' many alien species — that has taken the form of a human to influence the actions of protagonist Gordon Freeman. This lines up with G-Man's activities, namely his tendency to stalk Gordon and appear during many of the game's climactic sequences.
12 Confirmed — World Peace (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
When players found a secret locked cut-scene in the code of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, conspiracy theories went viral. How could anyone unlock the scene? Was it related to something cut from the game? Was there a challenge that players had missed? Fans theorized the challenge could be impossible, and they were so very right.
The scene will only play if all of the online mode's nuclear weapons are disarmed. These are, of course, the most powerful weapons in the game. Players would spend lots of time using them and stealing from each other. As you might've guessed, the nukes were not disarmed and virtual world peace was not reached — hackers simply triggered the scene on the PC version anyway.
11 Unconfirmed - Lavender Town's Evil Music (Pokémon Blue, Red and Green)
Here's a classic video game conspiracy theory: the legend of Lavender Town. Pokémon has always been a family-friendly franchise, but some have been spooked by the mysterious claims that Lavender Town's background music can cause injury. There have even been fabricated claims that the music has taken the lives of those who heard it. Surely, it's all nonsense.
Theories indicate that the original track supposedly uses a binaural beat: an auditory illusion that can affect the brain in different ways. People claim that binaural beats can do anything from cause migraines to even make you high. The legitimacy of these claims is shaky at best, especially since music can affect people differently even without auditory illusions. Technically, Lavender Town's music could make you upset, but only because it's just plain old creepy.
10 Confirmed — The Egg People (Rocket League)
Rocket League doesn't have any humans in its neon-lined soccer games. However, looking to the stands will reveal hundreds of brightly-colored eggs. Are those supposed to be people? For a time, fans jokingly believed that the world of Rocket League is populated by a sentient species of eggs. Nobody thought that was true, nor did anybody truly expect developer Psyonix to address it — or agree.
Easter eggs were eventually found in updates suggesting just that. Psyonix even posted a promotional image highlighting the egg people! Now you know who is driving the cars, and now you know why the people in the stands look like brightly-colored eggs: because they are brightly colored eggs. It's an entire universe of brightly-colored eggs that just happen to love playing extreme sports with cars.
9 Unconfirmed - GladOs Is Your Mom (Portal 2)
Some players may have missed a crucial subplot in Portal 2. Chell may be the daughter of GladOs, the villainous artificial intelligence. The game introduces Cave Johnson, the sociopathic head of Aperture Science. It also introduces Caroline, Cave's assistant, who was set to run Aperture Science once Cave passed away as an artificial intelligence.
The theory goes like this: at some point, Cave and Caroline had a child who spent lots of a time in their lab. Once Caroline realized that Cave was crazy, she sent Chell away and was forcibly turned into an AI. This theory is referenced by plenty of in-game dialogue, and it explains why GladOs is so rebellious. Chell's name can even be found on a "Take Your Daughter To Work Day" science project, but her relationship with GladOs has been left ambiguous.
8 Confirmed — It's All Staged (Super Mario Bros. 3)
The aesthetics of Mario games are surreal, to say the least. This is especially true for Super Mario Bros. 3, which sports a theater theme mixed with the usual mushroom-laden environments. The game opens with a rising curtain, objects look "cheap" as if they were in school play, and some platforms even hang from an unseen area above the levels. This is because, as fans theorized for many years, the game is actually one big stage play.
Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed this back in 2015, putting all of the theories to a satisfying rest. It's likely that other Mario games are just staged performances, too — it explains why characters like Lakitu follow Mario with a camera, and why the characters' relationships tend to change from mortal enemies to friendly athletes from game to game.
7 Unconfirmed - Mary Was In The Trunk The Whole Time (Silent Hill 2)
James Sunderland travels to Silent Hill at the request of his late wife Mary, who lost her life due to illness. When he arrives, he experiences a number of delusional, potentially supernatural occurrences. James eventually learns that he (seemingly) repressed a memory of taking Mary's life himself. Regardless of whether or not the memory is real, he can't cope with it. One of the game's multiple endings has James drive his car into a lake so he can reunite with Mary in the afterlife.
Dialogue in this ending has fans believe that Mary wasn't really gone — she was in the car the entire time. While it's left ambiguous in the game, the novelization states this outright, meaning that James might be much crazier than players initially thought.
6 Confirmed — Mario Punches Yoshi (Super Mario World)
Say it isn't so! Super Mario World first introduced Yoshi, Mario's trusty steed — now a fan-favorite character and the subject of his very own franchise. Unfortunately, it turns out that Yoshi was never more to Mario than a mode of transportation. In the original game, Yoshi can attack by sticking his tongue out. This is triggered by Mario, who extends his arm outward to point at Yoshi's target. At least, that's what players thought he was doing.
The graphical limitations of the era made Mario's actions unclear, but as fans theorized, Mario was actually smacking Yoshi in the head. This was confirmed back in 2017 by Nintendo designer Shigefumi Hino, who explained that Mario's punch triggers Yoshi's reaction, meaning that Mario is hitting him so hard that his tongue flies out of his mouth.
5 Unconfirmed - Michael De Santa's True Identity (Grand Theft Auto)
Grand Theft Auto lore is surprisingly deep. Many of the franchise's protagonists have crossed paths with one-another, both across state lines and even console generations. One fan theory suggests another connection between the games — that Grand Theft Auto V's Michael De Santa is actually Claude Speed, the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto III.
Michael has scarring on his chest, similar to where Claude was shot by Catalina. After Claude's rampage in Liberty City, he easily could have moved up north as Michael did. Where Claude's story ends, Michael's begins — he's a career criminal in North Yankton before a job goes awry, who goes under witness protection, changes his name, and moves to San Andreas where both characters have a history. Michael even looks like an older version of Claude.
4 Confirmed — Symmetra's Backstory (Overwatch)
Overwatch's colorful cast of characters is even more diverse that fans might realize. The official Overwatch comic series shines a spotlight on Symmetra in "A Better World", an issue where Symmetra recalls a time when someone used to call her "different" from others. She remembers when people would ask her "where I fit on the spectrum," which has led many fans to believe that those words were chosen on purpose.
After a fan wrote to Blizzard Entertainment about her backstory, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan answered with a confirmation: Symmetra is, in fact, autistic. "She is one of our most beloved heroes and she does a great job of representing just how awesome someone with autism can be," said Kaplan in his response. This makes Symmetra one of the few heroes in popular culture with autism.
3 Unconfirmed - Pokemon's Post-War Society (Pokémon)
Pokémon has no shortage of disturbing fan theories. Have you heard the one about the war that destroyed the Pokémon world? In the series, characters are usually children. Most of them are orphans or, at the very least, have parents that don't intrude on their lives. Adult characters are few and far between — most of them are much older and often antagonists of some kind. Players are expected to be ready to fight at all times and society seems solely focused on Pokemon-fighting as an industry.
These details, combined with Lt. Surge's references to a past war, has some fans believing that the world was devastated by an armed conflict. This would explain why adults are scarce and children run free to make their pets fight each other.
2 Confirmed — Michael Jackson's Sonic Work (Sonic the Hedgehog 3)
If you've ever played Sonic the Hedgehog 3, you might be wondering why the music sounds so familiar. Many of the tracks sound eerily similar to songs by pop legend Michael Jackson. Fans have long debated whether the musical similarities are coincidence or borderline plagiarism, with many analyzing the various tracks to see just how much was lifted from him.
In a weird twist of events, the game's composers (one of whom had even worked with Jackson previously) confirmed Michael Jackson's uncredited involvement working on the Sonic 3 soundtrack. Sega has never admitted to this claim — which is understandable, considering the scandal that hit MJ right around the development and release of Sonic 3.
1 Unconfirmed - Noble Six Lives (Halo: Reach)
Hardcore Halo fans are probably rolling their eyes right now, but many fans theorize that Halo Reach's protagonist survives his experiences. Players take on the role of Noble Six, a Spartan who helps secure the safety of the series' hero, Master Chief. Noble Six survives dozens of close calls throughout the game as every member of his squad bites the dust. However, the final level is seemingly the end for him. Stranded on planet Reach without backup, Noble Six's only objective is to survive. The game implies that he doesn't make it, but because he is defeated off-screen, many fans still hold out hope.
There aren't many specifics to this theory, only that he technically could have survived and escaped Reach off-screen. It's highly unlikely, but it's possible.
What are your favorite video game fan theories? Make sure to share your own in the comments section!