TA Top Five: Evil Corporations

By Dread Reaver, 2 years ago
Spoiler Warning: In the process of discussing the game's evil corporations, certain plot points which may spoil a story may be discussed. If you have not played a certain game on this list, read at your own caution.Money, money, money - that's basically the bottom line when it comes to a corporation's sustainability, and when that corporation becomes large enough, it begins to take on a personality of its own; in some cases, becoming an almost mythical entity of great power and influence. Sometimes these organisations start off misguided, sometimes they become rotten over time, and sometimes they're just used to doing evil, often under the control of an enigmatic personality. There are no charitable donations, outreach programs or environmental awareness initiatives for this lot - these are our Top Five Evil Corporations!

Honorable Mention

Tai Yong Medical - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Adam with a computer

In the future, humans will be a meld of flesh and machine, and companies like Tai Yong Medical stand at the forefront of the cybernetic revolution. Their specialty is the manufacture and installation of augmentation chips into willing individuals, for a profit (and secretly, on unwilling test subjects). The company stole secrets from other companies, and initiated direct attacks (both computer hacks and real-world assaults) on competing organisations and facilities, sometimes resulting in the death of innocent employees. Unbeknownst to the general populace, the CEO of the company was also in cahoots with the Illuminati secret society, and the company was used for their goals. Their most dastardly legacy was installing augmentations designed to malfunction at a specified point in time, so that people would have to "trade-up" for a newer model - one which actually dampens their augmentation abilities, and also more importantly, turns those people insane.

Any of the corporations in Syndicate
TA review

The 2012 Syndicate reboot put players in the role of Miles Kilo, who is little more than property owned by mega-corporation EuroCorp. EuroCorp have spliced him with state-of-the-art technology to serve as a weapon in a future where corporations run the planet. In this world, the term "aggressive expansion" includes warfare as well as profits, and no corporation, whether it's EuroCorp, Cayman Global or Aspari, are innocent of the murder, torture and kidnapping "special projects". These are all seemingly legitimate ways to improve the all-important bottom line and raise that share price. Each may want you to believe that they are morally superior, but the truth is that they are all as bad as each other.

Top Five

5. Hyperion, led by Handsome Jack - Borderlands 2

Hyperion is a major gun manufacturer in the Borderlands series that was largely like any other corporation on Pandora, until the ascent of the scheming Handsome Jack to the role of CEO before the events of the second game. Since his rise to power, Jack grew fond of wielding Hyperion's almost unlimited resources to effectively become Pandora's very own supreme dictator. In fact, he wears such titles with pride and further seeks to consolidate his power by using and abusing the residents of Pandora, and by harnessing the power of a creature in a Vault named The Warrior. Of course, the corporate culture proves to be contagious, and the employees themselves tend to become nasty pieces of work - as the heroes of the game soon find out, over and over again. This makes Hyperion our fifth most evil corporation.

4. Cerberus, led by the Illusive Man - Mass Effect 3
Illusive Man

Cerberus, one of the sizable paramilitary organisations in the galaxy, represented a fairly minor aspect of the first Mass Effect game, but became a major player in the two sequels. Led by a mysterious character, known only as the Illusive Man, Cerberus' primary mission was to advance the interests of Humanity throughout the galaxy. Sounds fair enough, until we realise that the methods they employ to achieve this tended to be fairly sinister - including nefarious activities such as blackmail, espionage, the harassment of non-human species and dubious genetic experiments, funded by near unlimited money and resources.

Of course, players reaching the end of the series discover that the Illusive Man himself, and therefore the entire Cerberus organisation, had become mere puppets to the genocidal will of the Reapers. When giant sentient machines and a powerful corporation are running the show unhindered, what hope does the galaxy have? The combined threat makes Cerberus our fourth most evil corporation.

3. Abstergo - Assassin's Creed Series
Abstergo building

When the Templars of old realised that they needed to adapt to flourish in the modern age, they constructed a business to advance technology, bring in the big bucks, and push their ideological agenda through the establishment of a new world order (with the Templars at the top of the food chain, of course). This organisation became Abstergo Industries and was responsible for a golden age of technological advancement. However, it was also a vehicle for the Templars to subtly enslave the human race - society seemed so amazingly eager to willingly subjugate themselves to Abstergo by buying their products, including mind numbing pharmaceuticals and video games filled with subliminal commands.

The worst part of this multinational enterprise is that most of its employees, including members of the Templar's Inner Sanctum, all believe they are doing good deeds for humanity. It's all a matter of perspective, right? If it weren't for their pesky Assassin problem, they probably would have had the world stitched up a long time ago. They keep trying, though, and are getting better at it every day. This makes Abstergo Industries our third most evil corporation.

2. Phenotrans - Dead Rising Series
The Last Agent 5

Phenotrans is a pharmaceutical company that makes the life saving drug Zombrex, which has a handy ability to stop people from becoming a zombie if they've been bitten by one. However, the company certainly isn't producing the drug out of the goodness of their heart. There is profit to be had and this stuff doesn't come cheap; survivors of outbreaks around the world are always in dire need of this vital drug. So what does this particular company do? Well, Phenotrans decided that the best way to maximize profit was to further withhold the drug during outbreaks so that they could charge a premium for remaining stock. It gets worse - the company was even outed as having caused a zombie outbreak or two, purely so they could bring in new paying customers. If that's not evil, I don't know what is! This makes Phenotrans our second most evil corporation.

1. Umbrella Corporation - Resident Evil Series

Umbrella was a key player in the consumer market for general goods, and was seen as a somewhat "nice" company to the lay person. However, behind that facade was a secretive militaristic-science division that was developing all kinds of nasty weaponized viruses and assortments of bizarre creatures, which they would attempt to sell to the highest bidder. Umbrella's main problem was that perhaps their employee vetting procedures were not up to scratch - one of their products, the t-Virus, was released into a township's water supply by a disgruntled scientist, infecting both Umbrella employees as well as the local population.

So what does a good company do to remedy their mistakes? Come clean? Nope, "Clean Up" is the more appropriate term - the company tried to take out anyone with knowledge or proof of incidents by using their own paramilitary forces as well as their more unconventional resources, such as their "Tyrant" type monsters. Eventually the smoke screen faded and the population finally saw Umbrella for what it really was. The toll, however, was devastating. Umbrella's meddling with dangerous sciences, as well as their unwillingness to accept responsibility for their misuse, make them our number one entry for evil corporations.

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!