Villains often the reflect the era they were created in, which is why it’s no surprise that many contemporary bad guys are the heads of corporations with dubious morals. Soulless, profit-obsessed, unscrupulous suits are scarier than demons and zombies, because they actually exist. Real evil corporations dodge tax, cut corners, and overcharge customers; in videogames they assassinate their rivals, conduct sinister genetic experiments, and occasionally try to take over the world. Here are some of the worst offenders.
Umbrella Corporation (Resident Evil)
Specialising in scary biological weapons, Umbrella were responsible for the zombie outbreak that kickstarted the Resident Evil series. And while the company claimed to be working on a cure, they were secretly sending their creatures to kill civilians to test their combat effectiveness.
Shinra Electric Power Company (Final Fantasy VII)
As well as numerous underhanded business practices, Shinra neglected to tell the world that, to power its cities with Mako energy, its reactors were sucking the very life out of the planet, slowly killing it. Not to mention their experiments on humans to create an army of supersoldiers.
RuptureFarms (Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee)
Realising the animals it was farming for food were dying out, RuptureFarms decided to start turning its charming, simple-minded Mudokon factory workers into meat without telling them. A truly evil scheme devised by the company’s immoral, cigar-chomping administrators.
Aesir Corporation (Max Payne)
If there’s anything worse than an evil corporation, it’s an evil pharmaceutical corporation. Aesir created a drug called Valkyr and sold it to the mafia to distribute on the streets. And when Max’s wife got too close to their secret they sent Valkyr junkies to kill her and their infant daughter.
VersaLife (Deus Ex)
VersaLife sounds like a herbal dietary supplement, but it’s actually a multinational company with ties to the Illuminati run by Machiavellian cyborg Bob Page. Among their many crimes is helping to manufacture a deadly virus, spreading it, and charging a fortune for the vaccine.
Hyperion Corporation (Borderlands)
Handsome Jack, a lowly Hyperion employee, manipulates, blackmails, and murders his way to the top of the corporate ladder, then declares himself the supreme ruler of Pandora. He becomes a cruel dictator, ruling with an iron fist and building glorious monuments to himself.
Officially Vault-Tec built bunkers to shelter people in the event of an atomic war. But their vaults were actually part of the Societal Preservation Program, a series of dark, disturbing social experiments designed to study groups of humans and how they’d adapt to a post-nuclear world.
Abstergo Industries (Assassin’s Creed)
To most people Abstergo is a technology company with a sideline in advanced VR videogames. But they are, in fact, a front company for the modern incarnation of the Templar Order: a group bent on creating their vision of a perfect world by controlling people and information.
Fontaine Futuristics (BioShock)
Led by criminal mastermind Frank Fontaine, this company monopolised the Plasmid market in Rapture. To create the Little Sisters they implanted sea slugs in orphaned girls to transform them into the eerie, bug-eyed ADAM factories we see wandering the corridors of the undersea city.