One of my favorite devices in video games is when the player discovers, either through a late game reveal or simply toying with the possibility space, that they had some latent ability all along.
The two examples that immediately come to mind for me are wavedashing & hyperdashing from Celeste, which massively increase your mobility and are ultimately necessary to complete the endgame levels, and the in-world line tracing from The Witness, which reveal that the basic puzzle-solving verb has actually been applicable to the breadth of your surroundings all along.
It’s so impactful for me to have a moment of realization that an entire facet of the game was at my disposal the whole time, but its presence eluded me. I find it adds a richness and tangibility to the world, in that my capabilities have expanded purely based on my understanding of its functionality and limitations, rather than unlocking them.
Do you have any other examples of where this idea was effectively deployed? How do you feel about the concept in general?