The Dorklyst: The 20 Most Evil Corporations in Videogame History

By Alex Z. Rogers / March 1, 2013

5. Armacham Technology Corporation (F.E.A.R.)

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The military industrial complex meets the Ring series – Armacham planned to replace ground troops with mindless meat puppets commanded remotely by an unstable psychic cannibal. Now that's a stock that has nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, Armacham's main enemy turns out to be its own product. The military drones quickly end up slaughtering the company's office drones, who don't have the benefit of machine guns and a hive mind – I guess all those paint ball retreats and synergy seminars were a waste. But before you start feeling sorry for them, remember that the company's malfunctioning product line is based on stealing babies and experimentation on genetically altered supernatural children. Also, did you see the offices? I'd gladly take a couple corpses for a break room that big. Screw those guys.

4. Ultor Corporation (Red Faction/Saints Row)

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Ultor is proof that evil is a business model for continued success – at least until you get enough of your own employees angry. They've made it not only as the primary antagonist of the first Red Faction, but also as villains in the Saints Row series. Somehow the Stilwater-based company survived and thrived numerous assaults by a fashionable, purple-loving street gang that was none too pleased with the company's attempts to control the city by franchising out to rival gangs. Much like the Robocop series Omni-Consumer Products, Ultor Corp's plans to clean up the city's crime problem really just meant turning the criminal element into their lackeys and crushing all who opposed their soulless, monolithic vision of the future. After being defeated by the Saints, the company managed to survive by selling t-shirts and other nick-knacks, which apparently provided the economic base for a Martian mining colony. That right – in the far future, operations have shifted to Mars, where the profits ostensibly come from lucrative mining contracts. But of course, since this is a fictional evil corporation, they're actually doing illegal genetic tests, using miners as unwitting guinea pigs – because naturally just being a brutal and uncaring mineral company isn't evil enough. You'd think the fact there seem to be more security guards than miners would tip you off that something weird is happening in HR. On the plus side, if you're an office worker, security guard, or evil scientist, it's a really rewarding job, great pay, and you get to see what Mars looks like in the midst of a space mine rebellion.

3. Shin-Ra Electric Power Company (Final Fantasy VII)

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Imagine what would happen if Exxon and General Electric merged and decided to build airships – that's Shin-Ra. Sure, a utility company doesn't seem like the first choice adversary, but these guys send killer robots after you for failing to pay your electric bill. It's a family company still helmed by the Shin-Ra clan and they've got a sound business model: create a monopoly on the only energy capable of powering the technology everyone is dependent on (also, you make all that technology too). On the less fun side, that energy source also happens to be planetary soul juice that is both finite and vital to continued existence. It's the old story of enterprise not letting the long-term ecological consequences get in the way of short-term profit. But did I mention they also built a giant airship? In my book that forgives everything.

2. Fontaine Futuristics/Ryan Industries (Bioshock)

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A lot of CEO's get called crooks, but the founder and head of Fontaine Futuristics actually was a bonafide gangster. When the underworld thug Frank Fontaine made his move to the undersea city of Rapture he wasted no time cornering the futures market on gene-altering sea slugs. In the Objectivist utopia of Rapture, health and safety boards only stifle creativity. The company wasted no time going straight to human testing, turning little girls into creepy corpse-sucking mobile ADAM factories, and made prisoners into soulless hulking protectors. Luckily for the citizens of Rapture, the other major company in the city was run by a complete lunatic. Andrew Ryan was a brilliant engineer and a debonair man of industry, but when he saw Fontaine's success as a threat to his own power he was the first to embrace the ADAM-powered economy. Even as the city died around him, Ryan was still spouting his gospel of prosperity at all costs. He even trumped up charges to kill Fontaine, seize his company and claim a monopoly on ADAM production, a betrayal of his own free enterprise principals. Perhaps that makes Ryan worse than Fontaine, who never had any scruples to begin with. That and beating his stripper mistress to death.

1. Umbrella Corporation (Resident Evil)

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Perhaps one of the best known and beloved of gaming's corporate gallery of rogues, Umbrella's red and white logo has become synonymous with its series to the point that even after the company's dissolution characters can't shut up about it. The notoriously accident-prone company was almost entirely the architect of its own destruction. Your character usually arrives on the scene long after most of the company's employees have been transformed into flesh-eating monsters by an "oopsie" in the viral weaponry department. If anything, I'm certain Umbrella's executives were just as frustrated that Jill Valentine had to electrocute their giant shark after it escaped its holding tank. I mean, do you have any idea how much a giant shark tank costs? But let's face it, any company that gives a green light to the employee who suggested giving zombies bazooka arms deserves whatever the hell it gets. And the fact the company's medical profits went into designing zombie viruses and other biological weapons is pretty evil – never mind the revelation from the company's reclusive founder that it was all leading toward the creation of a new super race that would replace humanity and anoint him king.

Good thing they lost their business license.

Filed Under   the dorklyst   corporations   evil
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