Feature

The Top 10 Secret Organizations In Games

by Brian Albert on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The mysteries surrounding secret groups can be difficult to resist. What are their plans? What sort of things are they aware of that we're not? Because many games offer players a power fantasy, we want to know and have everything.

And when joining a respected and powerful order often comes with new gifts, teachings, and prestige, who are we to refuse? That’s just rude.

From ancient assassin guilds to futuristic intelligence teams, the following are the top 10 secret organizations in games.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

10. The Lin Kuei from the Mortal Kombat series


To be a feared Lin Kuei assassin, you must be “more stealthful than the night, more deadly than the dawn.” That sounds a little silly, but the ancient order turned out Mortal Kombat favorites like Sub-Zero, Cyrax, Sektor, and Smoke, so it must be doing something right.

Its warriors are selected at birth and trained to take life. The Lin Kuei demands total devotion; deserters are hunted and killed. Its leaders even chose to automate their warriors, including Sektor, who lost his soul in the process. Don’t feel too bad, though. He later went on to found and lead a cyborg ninja army.

9. The Hermetic Order from the Uncharted series


Katherine Marlowe, the antagonist of Uncharted 3, is the leader of the 400-year-old Hermetic Order. Its primary goal is to discover Ubar, a city of immense size and wealth, also known as the Atlantis of the Sands.

Queen Elizabeth I formed the order to combat Britain’s foes through deceit and espionage. Since its inception, the order has taken in historical figures like Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake, as well as contemporary members like Talbot, who uses hallucinogenic drugs against The Hermetic Order’s enemies.

8. The Monolith cult from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series


No list of secret organizations would be complete without the inclusion of a xenophobic, sacrificial, hyper-religious cult. Monolith from the post-apocalyptic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series fits the bill nicely.

Far inside a Chernobyl nuclear power plant is a device Monolith calls the “Wish Granter.” Members of the cult will fight to the death to protect the artifact, even if they are unarmed. If captured, they’ll commit suicide however they can. Most monolith members used to be regular stalkers before they were indoctrinated.

Up next: Spooks, Jedi-Sith hybrids, and ancient snakes...

7. The Office of Naval Intelligence from the Halo series


Not much is known about the operations of the Office of Naval Intelligence, which makes it perfect for this list. It’s technically an intelligence branch for the Navy, but its officers – known as “spooks” – operate independently (and with great autonomy) to gather information on the Covenant.

Though ONI usually fills a nebulous role, in Halo 3: ODST, ONI’s Veronica Dare takes command of your squad to fulfill a secret secondary mission. She wears the Recon armor that the Halo community has long obsessed over.

6. The Order of Revan from The Old Republic


In the binary world of Star Wars, members of the Order of Revan are content to stand in the space between light and dark.

Hundreds of years after Darth Revan, a former Sith Lord, disappeared, a cult of Revanites formed around his teachings. Unlike typical Sith, Revan believed that even the most intense of emotions should be reined in by peace and a clear mind. When you’ve earned the ire of the Sith Empire, you’ve definitely done something right.

5. The Darkwraiths from Dark Souls


Members of the Darkwraith covenant hunt for shards of humanity, take orders from an ancient snake, and seek to usher in the Age of Darkness. Sounds bad, right? But if you read into the lore of Dark Souls (please do, I’m lonely and need someone to talk to), you might come away with a different opinion.

Many Dark Souls players join the Darkwraiths for access to the Red Eye Orb, which allows for unlimited invasions into other players’ worlds. By the way, if you invade and grief others moments before the infamous Ornstein and Smough fight, I probably don’t like you.

4. The Special Tasks Group from the Mass Effect series


Salarians aren’t the most robust of races, especially in a galaxy where Krogan exist. To be effective in war, they formed the Special Tasks Group, an espionage organization specializing in assassination, sabotage, counterterrorism, and infiltration. Exceptional STG members may be drafted into the Spectre program.

As if that weren’t enough, STG alumni Professor Mordin Solus and Captain “Hold the Line” Kirrahe, are some of the bravest and most loyal allies you’ll meet in your fight against the Reapers.

Up next: Parkour masters, power armor, and our number one secret organization...

3. The Assassin Order from the Assassin’s Creed series


Not many organizations are powerful enough to wage an undercover war for centuries, but that’s exactly what the Assassin Order has done. Its sworn enemy, the Templar Order, wishes for the control of others in order to create a perfect New World Order. The Assassins fight to preserve free will.

If nothing else, the Assassins make the job look really, really cool. They wear stylish (and extremely conspicuous) clothing, leap from tall buildings, and skip across rooftops like a child at play

2. The Brotherhood of Steel from the Fallout series


The Brotherhood of Steel was founded by a U.S. Army deserter, and it has since spread to the Mojave Desert, the Capital Wasteland, and the Midwest. Its members are devoted to preserving pre-war technology and knowledge.

Whenever I start playing a new Fallout game, I can’t wait until I find the Brotherhood of Steel. In the first entry, the Brotherhood sends you on a mission deep into an irradiated research facility known as “The Glow” to retrieve a holodisk. It’s rough, but it’s worth it if you want to wear the series’ iconic power armor.

1. The Dark Brotherhood from The Elder Scrolls series


If you need someone killed in the land of Tamriel, contracting The Dark Brotherhood is probably your best bet. Its assassins have operated for centuries in accordance with The Five Tenants, though those rules were abandoned in Skyrim.

Some of The Elder Scrolls’ best quests are accessed through The Dark Brotherhood. In “Whodunit?”, for example, you posed as a doorman for a house party with several guests. If you were able to kill them all without raising suspicion, you received a powerful, permanent boost to your stats.

What’s missing? Would you rather see The Patriots from Metal Gear Solid or the Keepers from Thief instead of something we’ve chosen? Let us know in the comments!