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The 10 Most Evil Corporations In Video Games

by Ben Reeves on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM

There are a lot of corporations in the world that fail to look out for the best interests of the global population, but some video game corporations truly excel at screwing up the environment and everyone who lives in it. We rounded up the worst of the lot; here are 10 video game corporations that are probably facing some serious OSHA violations.

10. Abstergo (Assassin's Creed series)
While the Templars have always been the antagonists to the shadowy Assassins, the organization's machinations haven’t always been completely black or white. However, the Templars' modern-day corporate shell is clearly a few shades darker. While this corporation has produced some impressive memory-extracting technology that allows users to relive their ancestral pasts, it is also using this technology in order to create a totalitarian regime. Abstergo wants peace, but it only wants peace under the strictest terms. This isn’t Burger King Abstergo; you can’t have everything your way! (This joke brought to you by 2002.)

9. Cerberus (Mass Effect series)
Cerberus is a pro-humanity paramilitary group led by President Josiah Bartlet. It believes that humans deserve a greater role in the galactic community and operates (often covertly) in order to preserve the human race. However, if loving humanity alone made you evil, then Mother Teresa and my Aunt May would deserve a spot on this list. Cerberus’ problem is its disreputable practices. Mother Teresa never tried to brainwash high-ranking military personal or attempted alien genocide in order to achieve her goals; that’s why she’s not on this list.

8. Aperture Science (Portal series)
Aperture Labs started out as a simple manufacturer of shower curtains for the army, but its curtains probably only stopped some water from pouring out of the tub, because the company was forced to quickly diversify – experimenting with new kinds of plastics and lemon grenades before slapping physics in the mouth by creating a gun that opened holes in time and space. Not only does Aperture seem to care very little for its employees or test suckers subjects, but the whole company is managed by a ruthless and emotionally abusive artificial intelligence (whom we’d like to take to dinner).

7. Armacham Technology Corporation (F.E.A.R.)
ATC was founded in the early ‘60s as a military contractor that designed cutting-edge technology and weapons. However, since this is a video game company, ATC also started conducting shady genetic experiments on young girls. When the company discovered that three-year-old Alma Wade had psychic powers, it started experimenting on her in an attempt to create an army of psychically controlled super soldiers. Unsurprisingly, Alma’s psyche escaped and began terrorizing everyone involved with the project. Armacham execs never learned that genetic experiments are only cool if you produce something cute like white foxes, or something foxy like Captain America.

6. Fontaine Futuristics (BioShock)
A lot of people call their boss a crook, but the head of Fontaine Futuristics was literally a gangster. After fleeing to the undersea “utopia” of Rapture looking for new markets to exploit, Fontaine found a gold-mine in Adam – an experimental sea-slug goo that could rewrite genetic code. Fontaine started bootlegging plasmids that gave Rapture's residents superpowers, and was instrumental in the city’s ultimate collapse. Oh yeah, and Fontaine also exploited young girls – using them as worker bees who collected his honey, while turning ex-cons into the whale song-belching Big Daddies who protected his investment.

5. Hyperion (Borderlands series)
In the original Borderlands, the Hyperion Corporation was little more than a generic weapons manufacturer. The company made some of the crappiest weapons around – it was like the Rite Aid of weapons manufacturing. However, after getting his hands on some advanced alien tech, Hyperion leader Handsome Jack became Pandora’s ruler. Handsome Jack might be just one well-groomed face, but he wouldn’t be able to get away with killing anyone who stood in his way without the bankroll of this evil megacorporation.

4. Aesir (Max Payne)
When Max Payne’s wife discovered that this seemingly wholesome pharmaceutical company was racking in its profits by trading illegal drugs on a black market, she was silenced…with bullets. Max’s daughter and his job were also victims of Aesir’s need for secrecy. And while most drug companies hire out ex-mall cops to guard their factories, Aesir owns a private army full of thugs addicted to hair gel. Thankfully, Aesir wasn't very good at killing Max Payne. If Aesir were a college student, it would have been the kid who coasted through a four-year degree by selling Adderall to overachieving preppies.

3. Shinra Electric Power Company (Final Fantasy VII)
Shinra is primarily a power company, it supplies Mako energy to a world in desperate need for electricity. However, the company has also diversified and started military contracts that allow it to perform genetic experiments and test space flights. While this sounds like a company on the forefront of innovation, in order to achieve its success Shinra actually drilled giant holes into the center of the planet and started sucking out its lifeblood like a vampire bat. Thanks for giving vampire bats a bad name, Shinra! And those genetic experiments? They probably weren’t on the up-and-up either.

2. RuptureFarms (Abe's Oddysee)
Meat processing plants are almost always gruesome places to work, but the work at RuptureFarms is backbreaking. This food processing/manufacturing company is the biggest meat-processing plant on Oddworld, but it’s not able to produce this high output without a giant slave labor workforce, and that's not the end of RuptureFarm’s dastardly deeds. What's worse than having a labor force that's entirely composed of hostages? How about farming your livestock into extinction and then deciding to send your slaves through the meat grinder and selling their processed flesh as a tastily snack? The whole thing gives new meaning to the slogan "Finger-lickin' good!"

1. Umbrella Corporation (Resident Evil series)
Our number-one pick should be no surprise. Umbrella claims to be a pharmaceutical company, but everyone who has ever played a Resident Evil game knows that it really specializes in turning homeless people into genetically modified super mutants. Umbrella’s list of experimental chemical have done everything from mutating scientists into gigantic hungry crocodiles to sparking the zombie apocalypse. What kind of medication was Umbrella able to slip past the FDA? Pain pills that give you explosive diarrhea? Contraceptives that give you a third nipple? 

Bonus Evil Company Award: Electronic Arts
Sure, this sounds like a low blow, since EA got voted the worst company in America in both 2012 and 2013, but we’re actually looking at the company’s portrayal of itself in the 2007 release The Simpsons Game. During the Simpson’s adventure, Homer accidentally spills a can of beer on his computer and transports the entire family into the computer where they get a look at how EA makes its games. A oppressive factory pumps out iterative yearly releases while a deranged Will Wright attempts to annihilate old games that sold poorly. EA’s portrayal of itself was surprisingly self deprecating, but the company's biggest sin was turning one of the most beloved sitcom series of all time into a mediocre action game.