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"Oops, I didn't mean to do that!" - Games where you accidentally killed an NPC

Oct 30, 2017
4,789
#1
You are the player character - the hero, the legend, the victorious warrior - here to save the realms or stop the aliens or win the war. Everything is going your way and then suddenly... oops... Natalya walked in front of your bullets in Goldeneye and you failed your mission. Or you're playing Skyrim and that stupid "talk/steal" button is the same and suddenly you aggro'd a guard and kill him in defense. Or you think your charming conversation skills are winning you friends in Mass Effect, but, oops, you said the wrong thing, and now poor Wrex is dead.

Sometimes you kill an NPC and you really didn't mean to do so. What were some memorable moments you did so, and how did you react? If it was a character you liked, did you reload a save? Maybe the game autosaves all your choices so, whoops, Jessica is dead this go-around in Until Dawn, tough luck. Maybe you just weren't paying attention and you created a time paradox in Metal Gear Solid 3? So many games have ways to accidentally screw things up and leave some poor bystander or NPC caught in the crossfire.

Honestly, the most memorable one for me was perennial classic Spec Ops: The Line, for making me question my own humanity and making me feel like an actual monster.

(I still can't believe this game ever got made...)

I like to think I'm a nice guy in real life, and I play games typically trying to help people and do the right thing. Spec Ops... messed with me. There's some scenes that are 100% mandatory and you can't get around them that shocked players, but that's not the scenes that got ME. There were several moments, but for me it was one particular, almost cruelly unremarkable moment...

It was in the first quarter of the game. Nothing truly terrible had happened yet. I was fighting off soldiers and the battle had migrated to a marketplace. The lights are off and the dust has kicked up and it's getting hard to see. There are enemies everywhere, popping out of the shadows and dropping in behind me. My trigger finger is getting itchy as every dark corner feels like it has someone waiting for me to walk by for them to get the drop on me. As I move through the level, nerves tense, a figure jumps out from behind a corner and my reflexes kick in, hitting them with an expertly placed headshot with instinctive precision.

A scared civilian woman falls dead at my feet.

It's not a cutscene. It's not scripted. It's not mandatory. In the chaos and confusion, I murdered an innocent refugee who was only trying to flee from the shootout. The game doesn't pause for me to soak it in. Bullets are still flying by my ears. Enemy soldiers are still trying to kill me. I get in cover... next to her body on the ground, fighting back. My teammates didn't see me do it. Nobody will ever know I did it. But... I know. And there is no one else to blame. I didn't mean to... but there she is, eyes open and body still, as I fight my way out of the market. I move out of that area and press on, leaving her behind as I advance through the market. But for the entire rest of the game, she was in my mind. I couldn't actually ever leave her fully behind. I had no penalties for killing her, no repercussions, no loss of support or skill. But... that's not what I meant to do. What have I DONE?!


(not even a weekend binge of Mario Galaxy was able to make me feel clean again)

No game has EVER given me that kind of feeling before. While that might be an extreme case, sometimes accidental NPC deaths can be hysterical ("yes, that's the way Oblivion's Biggest Fan would have wanted to go") or open up really dramatic new story avenues ("welcome to the Assassin's Guild...").

What are some of your most memorable accidental NPC slayings? I'm sure there's no shortage of them.
 
Jul 25, 2018
4,344
#4
In Bloodborne I had checked a guide and knew there was some character coming up, but it came up sooner than I expected. Eileen. I killed her because I was in the habit of killing everything that moved, then reloaded a save.

In Axiom Verge, there's a trophy for not killing some optional boss. Again I was in kill it all mode, so I missed that. No big deal, I wasn't going to Platinum it anyway.
 
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Oct 28, 2017
3,451
#5
I killed that first smith in Dark Souls by accident in my first playthrough. I mean, I accidentally attacked him and had no choice but to put him down. I completely 3/5 of the game without knowing I could upgrade my weapons.
 
Jan 27, 2019
297
#7
In Morrowond story important NPC's can be killed, making the main quest impossible to complete unless you load am old save.

Felt like a moron when I did that and my last save before that was ages ago.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,714
The Negative Zone
#9
This happened to me all the time in Red Dead Redemption II, it is so easy for a simple robbery to escalate. Before you know it you are dragging the body of the guy who saw you kill the guy who saw you kill the guy you were trying to rob
 

Weiss

Banned
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,872
#10
I set my controller down while playing Dark Souls and accidentally hit Solaire and aggroed him in Anor Londo.
 
Nov 11, 2017
2,135
Florida
#12
I can't think of super specific examples but almost any game with an escort quest. GTA, Skyrim, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark... Ironically, in WoW, the game I'd most want to murder an escorted NPC is the one where I can't target them.
 

Strafer

The Flagpole is Wider
Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,406
Sweden
#15
Andre The Giant in Dark Souls 1.

I accidentally hit when I was putting down the controller, the triggers on PS3 sucks.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,962
#21
I had one in Dark Souls 1. It was one of the merchants. I bought some stuff and then was ready to quit. I leaned forward to grab the tv remote, and the controller fell out of my lap and landed directly on R2, so my dude just walloped the merchant.
 
Oct 25, 2017
948
#22
I killed that first smith in Dark Souls by accident in my first playthrough. I mean, I accidentally attacked him and had no choice but to put him down. I completely 3/5 of the game without knowing I could upgrade my weapons.
I set my controller down while playing Dark Souls and accidentally hit Solaire and aggroed him in Anor Londo.
"Rest controller on lap while playing Demon's Souls"
I had one in Dark Souls 1. It was one of the merchants. I bought some stuff and then was ready to quit. I leaned forward to grab the tv remote, and the controller fell out of my lap and landed directly on R2, so my dude just walloped the merchant.
Yuuuuup, we've all been here.
It's become a thing where you'll see Souls players turn their back on NPCs immediately after talking to them.
It comes across as super rude, but it's all so that any attacks due to accidental controller input whiff instead of aggroing NPCs.
 
Oct 27, 2017
184
#23
I'm not sure I've ever done it.

Was watching someone playing Dishonored for the first time and his finger slipped, accidentally shooting and killing Samuel upon meeting him at the very start of the game.

Pretty sure that was an automatic game over since you can't drive the boat yourself. It was kind of hilarious.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,006
#28
DaS: I killed Eingyi by accident, thought he was an enemy. Since I traded my flame away early (friend told me I can get another one… yeah…) I locked myself out of pyromancy for that save.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,838
#29
In Morrowond story important NPC's can be killed, making the main quest impossible to complete unless you load am old save.

Felt like a moron when I did that and my last save before that was ages ago.
Nominally impossible to complete. Depending exactly who one kills, it may be irrelevant and can be worked around, possibly a bug (there's one or two NPCs in vanilla Morrowind who have the "story character" flag despite not actually being that), or if nothing else, you can take the "backpath"... if you can figure things out and a kill a god for that. Not that the game gives any indication this can be done.
 
Oct 31, 2017
570
#31
I'm playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations for the first time right now (to finally experience the end of Ezio's story) and one time I was tailing two guards, lined up behind them in order to perform a perfect double execution, hit X... only for Ezio to kill to pedestrians walking behind us instead.

Whoops.

EDIT: Also, Spec Ops: The Line is a great choice. What a game.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,569
#33
So this isn't really a story of killing but it's in-effect the same thing. As backstory Demon's Souls was my first souls game, I played it back when it was new and niche so I didn't know this was going to be a thing before hand...

Inside 2-1 of demons souls there's a blacksmith guy, and well an enemy was somewhat close to him. I drew my sword as you usually do and attacked the enemy. Turns out my attack must of clipped him somehow because he aggro'd onto me. Now I didn't actually kill him, but he never de-aggroed so it basically meant I lost out on a bunch of upgrades and weapons for my playthrough because of it. :/ Wasn't happy... Still beat the game though.

Edit: Not surprised to see a load of other comments about it happening in the Soulsborne games. xD
 
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May 26, 2018
2,922
#36
All those poor fish who accidentally donked off me in Subnautica

Sorry fish!

Also just this year I accidentally blew away the gun store merchant in RDR2. I felt like a doofus in a Wes Anderson film.
 
Nov 5, 2017
1,529
#37
In Far Cry 5 I drove my car through a cult ritual and somehow managed to miss all the cultists and kill the only hostage. Then they killed me. Nice job, "heroine".
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,481
Orlando, FL
#39
Everyone who went in blind accidentally killed Toriel in Undertale the first time.
Yep, the game even taught you that you can Spare enemies in fights if you get their HP low enough, so everyone's strategy going into that fight (after ACTing didn't work) would be to try that on Toriel.

Then right before you reach that Spare threshold you see your next attack do like 10x the amount of damage you expect it to, instantly dropping her HP to 0. It's such a mean thing to do to the player.

Then you feel so bad and reset and do the fight the "proper" way and the game explicitly calls you out on it shortly afterwards. So surreal.
 
Oct 28, 2017
3,451
#40
In Far Cry 5 I drove my car through a cult ritual and somehow managed to miss all the cultists and kill the only hostage. Then they killed me. Nice job, "heroine".
I don't know how many times in Far Cry 5 I tried to shoot the driver of a prisoner vehicle just to kill the prisoners.
 
Oct 27, 2017
437
#41
Dark Souls, people end up killing NPCs on accident because they're terrified
I come up through the church bell tower after finally defeating the Belfry Gargoyles, with all those sweet, sweet souls. I know I have an objective but in my mind the only important thing is to find a bonfire, and fast. So I go up the tower, ring the bell, and make the climb back down... to see a cloaked figure in black at the bottom of the tower. Panicked that I might lose my souls (and a little bit jump-scared after he spoke up about sin or something) I hack away at him while he curses me with his dying breath.

Confused, I shrug and collect his belongings, making my way down the tower and safely invest my souls in levels and whatnot.

Later in the game I stumble upon a little status effect called 'curse'. These little frog bastards hit me just a few too many times and wham, there goes half my health. I look up a guide online and it suggests I meet with Oswald of Carim, an NPC in the belfry church tower who can sell me Purging Stones. The price is steep, but still half of what some undead merchant is selling them for. So I trek all the way up, grumbling about those godforsaken frogs and this incredibly frustrating status effect they've inflicted upon me, and I finally look around the tower. Suddenly I realize...

I had already murdered Oswald of Carim.

Of course I was able to visit the undead merchant in the sewers, where I begrudgingly shelled out twice as much for each Purging Stone (and I made sure to stock up so I'd never have to make that trek again). But the realization that the random 'cultist' I had murdered in sheer terror hours and hours earlier was an NPC that I really could have benefitted from hit me like a ton of bricks. I've definitely been careful with NPCs in Dark Souls games since then.
 
Oct 27, 2017
464
#42
In Resident Evil 4 (my first RE game) I ended up being really paranoid, and I remember looking through like, wooden planks where the merchant was, but I couldn't really tell what it was, and to say the least, I killed the merchant.

I then proceeded to realize this and went "I'm sure he'll respawn in the next chapter".

... He didn't, and I had to start over. I was just like. "Well then".
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,551
#47
i killed the cathedral dude in bloodborne. needless to say that kind of derailed all the side quests. at least fake clinic got a bunch of patients.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,859
#48
I accidentally attacked Saint Urbain in the nexus in Demons Souls the first time and hours later he was still coming after me so I eventually gave up and killed him
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,187
#49
In Resident Evil 4 (my first RE game) I ended up being really paranoid, and I remember looking through like, wooden planks where the merchant was, but I couldn't really tell what it was, and to say the least, I killed the merchant.

I then proceeded to realize this and went "I'm sure he'll respawn in the next chapter".

... He didn't, and I had to start over. I was just like. "Well then".
While he won't respawn in the location you killed him, he should still spawn in other locations.