For years videogames have encouraged us to make heroic choices and roleplay as an honest protagonist. But what about those times when you just feel a little… cruel? Games such as Bioshock, Fallout, and Infamous give players the choice to play dastardly for different rewards and story experiences, but what about when the only prize you want is the satisfaction of truly destroying a character’s day? We’ve all been there.
With that in mind, here are 13 times we’ve been truly evil to NPCs. Yes, we don’t feel good about this at all…
Watch Dogs 2 – No Escape from Alcatraz
Watch Dogs 2 is loaded with ways to torment NPCs, with many of them involving crippling some of the local’s bank accounts. With the ability to scan any character’s phone and find out their hidden, sordid secrets it’s hard not to think some of the San Franciscans deserve it.
However, this insider info can also help you administer justice in a more traditional fashion. In an effort to be an accurate representation of San Francisco, Watch Dogs 2 features an extremely accurate and disturbingly operation-able version of the former prison and now popular tourist trap, Alcatraz.
Alcatraz is swarming with visitors, much like real life. Not quite as authentic is the ability to open and close cells at will, and NPC Vicki Higgs found this out the hard way. It turns out the janitor had an EU arrest warrant, so I didn’t feel too guilty when I managed to position the unsuspecting (but completely deserving) NPC into a life sentence on The Rock.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Blood on the Tracks
Red Dead Redemption 2 features a world full of potential mischief and shenanigans, with the game itself very much encouraging you to choose a good or evil path. What it doesn’t encourage you to do, however, is kidnap and hogtie an innocent traveller, find a split in the train tracks and then let fate (or the train driver) decide whether this man lives or dies. It’s the ultimate ethics test, and one I think I’ve failed miserably.
Mario 64 – Penguin Plummet
Mario doesn’t have a reputation as a bad guy. Far from it in fact. But Mario 64 gives you one particular opportunity to change that. On the Cool, Cool Mountain stage, Mario is tasked with the rescue and return of a lost baby penguin in exchange for a much sought after star.
However, after doing all the leg work to rescue this giant penguin’s precious baby, things can take a dark turn: you can decide to dispose of the infant off the edge of the universe. I’m sure you can imagine how I chose to approach this situation.
Once again, it’s important to clarify that I don’t feel good about any of this…
Tomb Raider – The Frozen Butler
This is very well known – some may say it’s the original act of malice in video games – but it’s still a goody. In Tomb Raider 2 you’re given the chance to explore Lara’s humble abode, but annoyingly not without that utter nob Winston the butler constantly following you around with his wobbly tea tray.
There’s a very easy way to get rid of It Follows, though. Just open the fridge door, lure the unsuspecting OAP in, and then boom: he’s left to freeze and rattle his china for eternity.
FIFA International Soccer – The Perpetual Pursuit
A sports game feels like the last place you should be able to be truly evil, at least without some form of repercussions. However, in FIFA 94 there’s the lovely option to run away indefinitely from the referee anytime he tries to give you a booking. What follows is a chase that could continue for eternity and expose the incredible fitness levels of this determined official. Presumably to save the legs and lungs of the ref, this ‘feature’ was swiftly removed from FIFA 95.
Assassin’s Creed Origins – Bait and Switch
Assassin’s Creed is a story of an ancient conflict between secret societies and a bloodthirsty quest for revenge. But sometimes you can get easily distracted when all you really want is a precious crocodile skin to craft yourself a new outfit. Taking the beast head-on feels like an unnecessary challenge though, especially when there’s another option.
Assassin’s Creed Origins provides a lovely little (and heinous) solution: simply murder a local (undeserving) fisherman, sling him on your shoulder, and then feed his corpse to your target. Then, when he’s full up on the blood of the innocent, it’s easy pickings.
Far Cry Primal – Tears of Shame
While we’re on the skin-hunting game, gaining one from a prize jaguar feels far more disgusting when it’s an act of betrayal.
With the taming ability in Far Cry Primal, you can make best friends with the beautiful beast, lead him into a false sense of security, and then BAM. An easy, traitorous kill.
The rare jaguar skin has lots of uses, but taking the disappointment out of those eyes isn’t one of them…
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – Alley-Oops
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a heartwarming adventure of two siblings trying to find a cure for their father’s illness. However, it’s also the story of two evil little s**ts who steal this poor child’s basketball, dump it down a well, and watch her tears flow.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – RIP-Horse
As if forcing his army to live on a remote plant deep in the Seychelles wasn’t punishment enough, Big Boss demands nothing but gratitude for every ounce of abuse he can inflict on his Diamond Dogs. Even after a high level of physical abuse, Snake’s soldiers will not only salute but also say thank you for the privilege. It’s the worst case of Stockholm syndrome I’ve ever seen.
But the evilest thing you can do in MGS V involves airdropping, a tank, and an unsuspecting companion. Namely, D-Horse, soon to be known as RIP-Horse.
Disco Elysium – Petanque
Disco Elysium has an extremely flexible dialogue system that gives you a wealth of options in the city of Revachol. But as is traditional here, they’re not always nice. As a detective you’re often given the ability to not give a shit about the lives of the NPCs and just potter about doing whatever you feel like.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the interruption and subsequent destruction of the ball game being played by a couple of manly, miserable men. Turns outs they were playing bowls and not shot-put. Whoops.
Sure, I could have observed the game first, but where’s the fun in that?
Hitman – The Wood Chipper
Hitman has always been a series about committing heinous acts in the name of ‘justice’. But sometimes is can go a little too far.
Take the hit on Silvio Caruso in the Sapienza mission. In classic Hitman fashion, he’s a bit of a dodgy fella who’s asking for it. What he isn’t asking for, though, is a hammer to the face while mourning at his Mother’s grave, and then being thrown into a wood chipper for the subsequent bloodbath. Slight overkill there, Agent 47…
Half-Life – Destroyed Casserole
This one – depending on your perspective – is perhaps on the low end of the evil scale, but it still absolutely ruins this NPCs day.
Right at the start of Half-Life, one the first places you can visit in Black Mesa is the kitchen in Personnel Facilities. Inside you’ll find a mouthy scientist cooking his lunch in the microwave that, with a few button smashes, can be completely ruined. Valve would later reveal in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 the casserole was the lunch of Arne Magnusson, who is still none too pleased with you over 20 years later.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Blood of Deceit
The last one is a doozy and can be very much slotted into the ‘long con’ category.
There’s lot of weapons in Skyrim, but none of them are more sinister than the Ebony Blade. This is a weapon that, and I quote: “Absorbs the life essence of your foes” and is “strengthened by the blood of deceit”. Yup, that sounds right up my street.
In the quest for ultimate power, first I need a partner. And with a gentle bit of wooing, oblivious NPC Jenassa agrees to give me her hand in marriage.
The ceremony was beautiful and Jenassa was very excited for matrimonial bliss. Little did she know her husband was under the spell of his powerful love sword. And no, that’s not a euphemism.
I can’t state enough how much I don’t feel good about this, but unfortunately the temptation was too hard to resist. The Ebony Blade does need strengthening, after all, and matricide is a powerful form of deceit. If game developers will insist on giving me half a chance, I will destroy your digital life in the quest for ultimate power.
Dale Driver is a Senior Video Producer at IGN, and clearly a man with some issues. Follow him on Twitter.