Karma is a concept often used in fiction, especially in video games. It’s an easy way to bring a particularly satisfying end to a badass villain, ensuring they’re not only punished, but also punished in a way that matches their crimes. Given their action-oriented nature, a lot of video game villains die, and many do so karmically.
However, there are those villains in video games who get away with it without scot – or at least can, depending on the player’s choice. They may remain mean without repenting or expressing remorse for their actions, but they never face meaningful or lasting consequences from others.
ten Joseph Seed can get away with anything in one continuity (Far Cry 5)
Joseph Seed is the villain of Far Cry 5 and major character of its spin-off, Far Cry: New Dawn. He leads the Eden’s Gate Doomsday cult, setting himself up as the undisputed ruler of Hope County with violence and coercion. He is one of the baddest characters in the franchise and has several crimes under his belt.
All along Far Cry 5, Seed gets people killed, wages war on the Junior Deputy and the other cops, and brainwashes the Junior Deputy into ultimately serving his cult. Despite all these actions, there is no end in the game where the player can kill or stop Seed. In new dawnhowever, he may have tougher times.
9 The Patriots die peacefully and naturally (Metal Gear)
The Patriots are one of the main antagonistic forces in the metal gear Games. They are a dark cabal that slowly increases their influence over the world until they are able to take over almost everything and plunge the world into the stagnant and destructive war economy. There are two groups of Patriots: the initial group of humans and their AI replacements.
Patriot AIs do the most harm, but humans don’t have clean hands either. Among other things, they spend years destroying the life of Big Boss in their efforts to accumulate power and start many conflicts. Despite this, they are never fought or killed by any snakes in the franchise and presumably die peacefully.
8 Ashera simply becomes whole after trying to end the world (Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn)
The last act of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn deals with most of the world’s population frozen in stone as a result of the continental war that breaks out between almost all nations. Ashera, the aspect of the goddess who represents the Order, is harsh with her punishment and has no qualms about repeating the process to end the world.
Ike, Micaiah and their group bring Ashera down after a fierce battle. However, rather than die, Ashera fuses with Yune, the aspect of Chaos. Despite having a personal dislike for Ashera, Ike seems to think it’s satisfying and Ashera faces no negative consequences for trying to kill everyone.
7 Darth Scourge betrays Revan and gets a medal (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
In some cases, a villain can escape karmic retribution for their worst deeds, but also do good that can make the balance of the universe difficult to assess. In the background of Star Wars: The Old RepublicDark Scourge betrays Revan and the Exile (the two protagonists of the Knights of the Old Republic games) and kill the exile.
In the centuries between this and The old republic, Scourge allows Revan to be tortured endlessly, serves the Empire, and helps wage war against the Republic. Due to his aiding the Hero of Tython against the Sith Emperor, Scourge receives Medals of Heroism from the Republic despite still being a devout Sith Lord who constantly tries to corrupt the hero.
6 Scott Shelby can easily escape karma (heavy rain)
In Heavy rain, the player controls the four characters who are caught up in the mystery of the Origami Killer. One of the four is Scott Shelby, a private detective collecting evidence related to the killer. All along Heavy rainShelby is revealed to be the Origami Killer himself, using his job to cover his tracks.
Heavy rainThe ending of is incredibly variable depending on the choices the player makes with the four characters, with Shelby dying in many versions. In some endings, however, this is not the case. Shelby gets away with his crimes without even a lead to follow him, as all the other heroes are killed or taken out of the race, and Shelby is free to continue his crimes.
5 Asgore is spared in the pacifist ending (Undertale)
Much of the tension in Subtitle, especially in the more moral parts is that the King of the Monsters (Asgore Dreemurr) has sworn to kill any human child in the underworld. It’s a heartbreaking promise that Asgore doesn’t like to keep. However, he keeps his promise by killing six children before Frisk.
In a genocide or neutral ending, Asgore dies, though it is never treated as a heroic or triumphant moment. In a pacifist ending, however, Asgore lives on and even begins to reconcile with his family. His murder of six children on principle remains a sticking point, but not one for which he is ever punished.
4 Anton Sokolov instead turns a new page (dishonored)
Anton Sokolov is one of many conspirators targeted by Corvo in Dishonored. Sokolov is a scientist and artist who supports the conspiracy in exchange for resources for his work. Even aside from his betrayal of Jessamine Kaldwin, Sokolov is a totally unethical scientist, infecting healthy people with the rat plague to research a cure and create terrible weapons.
Sokolov is the only conspirator that Corvo cannot kill, as he needs him alive for information. Instead, he reforms of his own volition and is much more benevolent when it comes to Dishonored 2. The only time he comes close to karma is when Kirin Jindosh tortures him in Disgraced 2.
3 The G-Man is above karma (half-life)
One of the many unsolved mysteries by half lifeThe unfinished story is the nature of the G-Man. The vaguely humanoid figure is theoretically on the side of Gordon Freeman and the world, but he goes about it in a completely amoral and completely creepy way.
From letting terrible things happen on Earth for decades to forcing Freeman to work for him under the threat of death, G-Man is a chilling figure with plenty to his name. However, he is so above Freeman in power that, in the story as it is presented, there is no way for him to suffer karma.
2 The Aldmeri Dominion is beyond the reach of Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim)
In the events of The Elder Scrolls, Skyrimthe empire known as the Dominion Aldmeri are a major political force in the game’s story and surroundings, but have relatively little impact on the game. They are the power that controls the Empire, having defeated the empire to war and banned the cult of Talos.
Regardless of how the player affects the politics of Skyrim, there is not much they can do to affect the Dominion. Although they dabble in politics, encourage rebellion, and enforce religious oppression, the Aldmeri are so powerful and widespread that little can be done to bring them to justice.
1 The reapers accept peace in the end of the synthesis (Mass Effect 3)
The much-maligned end of Mass Effect 3 gives Commander Shepard four choices on how to resolve the Reaper conflict. In the “Synthesis” ending, all life in the galaxy is made synthetic and organic, ensuring that synthetic life will never destroy all organic life. This makes Reapers both obsolete and more like their enemies than before.
As such, the Reapers accept peace with the galaxy and help rebuild it. The millions of years (potentially up to a billion) they’ve squandered into conscious life don’t stop them from settling down. Given that the inhabitants of the Milky Way are barely surviving a war of extinction, they are unlikely to try to impose consequences.
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