It’s so good to be bad – whether rampaging in Grand Theft Auto or cackling with glee as you terrorize your town in The Sims.
There are always some delightfully evil things to do in games, and today, we’re celebrating twenty of the best times developers acknowledged your bad decisions by immortalizing them with unique and often evil endings.
Some might just be tongue-in-cheek pranks, but others are truly evil finales for only those wielding the most twirlable mustaches! We’ll be ranking the most evil game endings from bad to absolute villainy, starting with…
Rules Are Made to Be Broken – Batman: Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy
Batman: Arkham Knight may only have one ending, but the same can’t be said for its Season of Infamy DLC. Each mission included wraps up crucial plot threads from Arkham Asylum, City, and Origins, most significantly with Raj Al Ghul.
Left on the verge of death since the events of Arkham City, the head of the League of Shadows is caught in a League civil war. His loyalists aim to resurrect him once more, but his daughter Nissa has different plans. All she asks for Batman is to destroy the final Lazarus Pit in Gotham, and she’ll keep the League out of Gotham from that point on.
It’s not quite directly killing him, but Batman knows that by destroying the pit, he will condemn one of his oldest enemies to a slow death in a hospital bed. Raj will end up succumbing to several lifetimes’ worth of wounds under his watch.
It’s by far the greatest test of Batman’s code in Arkham Knight. If he sides with Raj, his code is maintained, but at the cost of Nissa’s life, and ensuring that the League of Shadows will never cease to endanger the world.
Yet by making the choice to let Raj die, he inches closer than ever before to crossing the line. To the world, it’s the happier ending, but for Batman, he finally follows through like Raj always wanted. He even tells Batman that he’s “proud” of him. In an already dark game, that hits particularly hard. It’s a bad ending for Batman, if for no one else.
Somehow This Isn’t the Start of Dying Light 2? – Dying Light: The Following
Dying Light: The Following is the strangest Dying Light game. It throws out the vertical urban ninja conceit for you driving across wide-open farmland in a dune buggy.
The Following also features an open world arguably as large as the first zone in the main game. Yet the rest of the franchise side-steps this expansion that was seemingly meant to be the original start of Dying Light 2.
What do I mean? Well, in the climactic finale of The Following, players discover that the so-called magic healer of a mysterious cult is merely an infected zombie that’s retained her consciousness. She retains her humanity in the light, particularly UV light, but knows that her existence is no acceptable life for the rest of humanity.
So, you have a choice – help her deploy a nuke to wipe the entire infected region and city off the map, or kill her.
Should you insist she’s wrong and kill her in a boss fight, you’re met with a bonus cutscene. Protagonist Kyle Crane becomes Patient Zero to the greater world, assaulting a family at a playground.
A bad ending for Kyle, and a truly selfish one at that. Strange that Dying Light 2 dismisses this finale entirely. Clearly, Dying Light 2’s story went through some changes for a fully voiced set up to be thrown to the wind.
Or maybe they just wisely realized that The Following is a weak expansion to a fantastic game.
Dead & Buried – Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Resident Evil isn’t a series typically famous for great dramatic storytelling. Campy shlock is what fans traditionally expect, but there are a few rare exceptions.
Resident Evil 7 is perhaps the most famous by now, but a few years prior, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 swung for the fences. It didn’t all quite land as Capcom was hoping for, but one aspect rings true – Moira Burton’s fate.
Now, for most players, in Revelations 2, you can swap between Claire Redfield and Moira at will, with Moira being deeply averse to guns. For the vast majority of the game, she instead uses a crowbar and flashlight. Yet during the penultimate boss fight, Claire becomes pinned by a mutated monstrosity. While you can choose to defeat him as Claire, the good ending requires you to swap to Moira. You have to help her to overcome her PTSD from accidentally shooting her sister years prior. It’s a touching, moving moment.
Or you could just kill the bad guy as Claire, leaving Moira’s fears unresolved. Should be totally fine, right? Well… not so much. If Moira hasn’t grappled with her trauma, she dies amid the collapse of the tower you’re navigating, falling short due to her fear overwhelming her.
Worse still, the absence of Claire and Moira to save the day in Barry Burton’s half of the game leads to a bad ending for him as well. He witnesses the little girl he’s guarding become possessed by the main antagonist.
He contemplates pulling the trigger but just can’t bring himself to do it. It’s a bad time all around, and easily one of the bleakest endings in the series’ history.
Time Paradox! – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Sometimes an evil ending isn’t simply a turn of events that sour things for the characters. Every now and then, it’s a bad ending for the player, such as in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
Thanks to a retcon in Modern Warfare 3, future Modern Warfare antagonist Makarov is canonically present alongside your intended target, Zakhaev, during the famous One Shot, One Kill mission. Except, Makarov didn’t even exist in the first Modern Warfare. So it’s only in the Remastered version that you can effectively prevent the rest of the trilogy.
It takes careful timing on your part to manage to wound Zakhaev and kill Makarov during the mission. If you do, congratulations, you just stopped World War 3 in the Modern Warfare series! Which, uh… means there are no sequels to play. No Modern Warfare 2 Strike Force co-op. Also no all-out bonkers fighting in Wall Street in Modern Warfare 3. No Lance Henricksen or Idris Elba?! Go back! We have to reset the timeline!
Nuked – Fallout: New Vegas
There’s not just one evil ending to Fallout: New Vegas. No, that would be easy. Instead, this game is full of awful outcomes. You can ruin the lives of your companions, genocide the entire Nevada region, support crazed fascists, or even end up canonically dead, little more than a hologram in the shadow of a damned casino.
Honestly, there are so many ways for things to go wrong in New Vegas to warrant its own list. Just trust me – your choices matter, for better or worse, Courier. It truly features some of the most evil endings for a video game.
J.D. Fenix Lives – Gears 5
Gears 5 is a hard-hitting tale of revelations and failure all around. It’s fitting then that its ending gives players the chance to either stand by their loyal, kind-hearted friend Del or fail to do so and keep J.D. Fenix alive.
Why is J.D. Fenix the evil ending choice? Well, for one, James has a sordid past and demonstrates in the opening of Gears 5 that he’s a terrible military tactician. While he may be the son of venerated COG hero Marcus Fenix, Gears 5 makes clear how far James has fallen.
By contrast, Del is a supportive ally throughout the entire resurgent saga, across Gears 4 and 5. He has stronger morals and a clever mind. He’s the sort of person who could help guide humanity after the war’s end, bringing about a brighter tomorrow thereafter.
James is like his father – built for war, both physically and mentally scarred by it. By no means is James’ death a victory, but in the grand scheme of the saga, he’s far from the ideal candidate to choose.
Sorry J.D., but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of an ill-tempered soldier.
Spartans to the End – Metro Last Light
The Metro series is famous for its despairing storylines. Yet few hit quite as hard as Last Light’s self-sacrifice ending. When you and the other Spartan Rangers are cornered by enemy forces, abandoned by the Dark Ones for your bad karma actions, you’re left with no other choice. As you lie, bleeding and broken on the ground, you pull the lever, igniting the explosives necessary to wipe out any threat to the Metro. No more Neo-Nazis or Neo-Soviets.
With all your enemies in one place, protagonist Artyom ensures that his lover and child will survive. That all the kind souls caught in the crossfire of the war between the Reds, Nazis, and Spartans can breathe easily once again.
By all accounts, this is the bad ending to Metro Last Light. Yet it’s also beloved by many fans for its poetic end to the conflict. In more ways than one, it makes the events of Metro Exodus an impossibility, so this outcome is obviously not canon. Yet for some fans, much like the secret good ending to Metro 2033, this bittersweet conclusion rings true.
No Right Answer – Alone in the Dark (2008)
Now we’ve seen games with tons of evil endings, and games with branching endings, but few games go out of their way to have branching endings that all end poorly. Yet, here we are with the flawed gem that is Alone in the Dark, also known as Alone in the Dark: Inferno.
If you dutifully carry out eliminating every Hellmouth that opens across Central Park across the campaign, you get a marginally better ending, but neither is happy. The only change is whether our hero Edward or his love interest end up possessed by the devil.
Now, there are slightly different endings for the PS2 and Wii version, which has alternate mechanics, pacing, and story elements. However, most experienced Alone in the Dark’s ill-fated 2008 reboot/sequel/clustertruck on Xbox 360 and PS3.
You have my condolences if, like myself, you experienced it on PC, with its many eccentric issues. Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had here, but not with the story. It was clearly meant to be the start of a bold new Alone in the Dark saga, as the two alternate, glaring cliffhanger endings leave a lot to be desired. In every respect, this is an evil ending.
L-Oops! – Oxenfree
OXENFREE is an amazing indie adventure game crafted by developers from Telltale and artists from Disney. It’s equal parts the Goonies meet Poltergeist, with an errant radio signal opening a portal to a ghost dimension, unleashing malevolent spirits upon the island.
It’s up to you as heroine Alex to make things right… or to capitalize on the ensuing time loops to alter the world as you see fit.
Time travel has consequences, including erasing people from existence. That step-brother you’ve been bonding with? Well, you might have your biological brother back, but kiss the new one goodbye! Were to hard on your sibling’s girlfriend? She’s possessed forever, lost to time. Worst of all, unless you go through NG+ and try to break the time loop, you’ll still be trapped on the island forever, repeating the same terrifying few hours for eternity.
Only the cleverest players will see a happy ending, and even then, some compromises are unavoidable. It’s up to you to decide which alternative is truly the evil ending.
The Deep Freeze – The Outer Worlds
In The Outer Worlds, you awaken to your colony ship abandoned on the edge of space. Every corporation is out to either exploit or kill you. Your only allies are a bunch of hapless hoodlums more likely to break something than save the Halcyon colony. The smartest man still standing is essentially Rick Sanchez with a slightly more optimistic outlook.
Yet for how rough things start for your nameless adventurer, things can get far worse, should you choose to side with the corporations. Rather than actually solve the issues of Halcyon, they’ll just jettison your fellow colonists into the void, brushing problems under the rug so the rich can survive while the poor stay frozen forever.
The colony will decay into a decayed mess in a few decades, but hey, you’re living the good life, so who cares? Just because it’s a evil ending doesn’t mean it’s bad for you!
Daddy’s Little Monster – Bioshock 2
Bioshock’s original entry had a fascinating paternal relationship at its core, but this aspect fell to the wayside by the last few levels. By contrast, Bioshock 2’s entire endgame shapes itself around how your behavior educates your adoptive daughter, Eleanor Lamb.
A former Little Sister, Eleanor is essentially the ultimate Big Daddy – capable of thinking for herself and able to use genetic modification without negative repercussions. She’s so powerful that she dwarfs even Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth when you compare their roles in combat.
She’s also very attentive, tracking every decision you make.
Unlike Bioshock, the sequel doesn’t just throw the moral dilemma of harvesting or saving a batch of Little Sisters at you. You also have to either punish or forgive several people who wronged you, Subject Delta, all of whom contributed to you becoming one of the first Big Daddy test subjects.
You can be kind to the innocent and a judge to the guilty. Use and abuse those tainted by genetics and spare the last shreds of humanity. There are multiple outcomes, each teaching Eleanor a unique philosophy in the end. Yet by far, the worst sees you become much more than a bad dad.
If you are a merciless brute who abuses everyone around you to your own ends, Eleanor will become a monster worse than her cult leading mother. In this scenario, you both escape Rapture, a threat to an unsuspecting world. The skies darken and bodies rise from the ocean as the underwater city of Rapture collapses beneath you. Eleanor’s face is a pale, emotionless expanse. Her body language is predatory. She’s like a slasher villain and a biological warlock combined.
If Cloud Chamber’s new Bioshock game acknowledges Bioshock 2 – and we sure hope it does – let’s all hope they choose one of the happier endings than this terrifying future for Eleanor.
All Alone – Mafia Iii
The Mafia series is famous for its dark endings. The first saw you gunned down in retirement during witness protection. Next, the sequel saw your best friend betrayed by the man you trusted to get you out alive. Then for the third, a whole mess of cause and effect unfurls depending on your choices.
In a game full of hard times and harder choices, none are quite as bleak as turning on everyone. If protagonist Lincoln turns on everyone, there’s just one fate awaiting him. The inferno of a car bomb.
Yet this is just one of several endings that follow this line of thought. It’s possible, rather than ruling together, to leave the city of New Bordeux in the hands of one of your three lieutenants.
Returning Mafia II protagonist Vito is the only one with a somewhat happy ending. He survives, if all alone, effectively leaving the town right back where it started. Yet if Burke or Cassandra rule on their own? Burke ends up butchered in a shootout of his own making, and Cassandra’s rule is taken on by the government, seeing the city turn into a flooded ghost town.
One thing is very clear – in Mafia III, you rule together, or you’ll die alone.
Zorked – Saints Row Iv
You might not realize that Saints Row IV has an alternate ending. For such an over-the-top, ludicrous absurd game, how could there be a bad ending? A badass one, sure, but truly evil? It’s true!
In your quest to defeat the evil alien emperor Zinyak, he pits you against a text adventure. It’s not a particularly elaborate one, but it culminates in a major threat: surrender your life, or he’ll destroy Earth. He’s already been collecting humans for centuries – Jane Austen herself narrates the game, having been kept in cryostorage by Zinyak.
Now, normally, players refuse to surrender, seeing Earth wiped out and declaring vengeance on the Zin Empire. It’s the core crux of the tale, kicking off the second act. Except, that’s not the only way to go about it…
If you’re feeling particularly self-sacrificial you can choose to lay down your life for Earth. An Earth that will be forever enslaved under Zinyak’s rule, but, uh… points for trying, I guess?
You’re Tearing Me Apart, Lisa! – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic is famous for being the first real Star Wars RPG. You can define yourself as your own swashbuckling Jedi or power hungry Sith Lord. The latter path is absolutely ruthless. It’s a rather wonderful, if horrific, subversion of expectations.
Your party, all playing along as you descend into evil, actually gain some agency of their own, helplessly dying by your hand. It’s possible to even force some of them to kill each other for good measure, compromising their morals and friendships until almost no one is left standing.
It’s not necessarily breaking profound ground for RPGs, but this sort of dark ending is rare for Star Wars. Few games in the saga ever let us explore such a sinister role.
Though it’s far from the evilest ending in Star Wars history, the first KOTOR set an impressive bar that only a handful would surpass.
Heartless Romantic – Vampyr
Speaking of betraying your loved ones and friends… Vampyr’s worst outcome requires being an absolute wretch. In this game, you only need to kill a few people to see the worst outcome.
You need to send London descending into total chaos to accomplish this goal. Your bloodlust will be unquenchable, worse than even the antagonists’. By becoming an unrelenting monster that’d make Dracula blush you’ll unlock countless amazing powers and be able to absolutely trounce anyone in a fight, but at a high cost – the life of your beloved Lady Ashbury.
Yes, that’s right. In every other outcome, it’s possible to save Lady Ashbury from her own self-condemnation. Yet if you descend into the absolute depravity of a rampaging, bloodsucking, genocidal maniac? She kills herself all the more gladly, horrified at the being she’s unleashed, leaving you in eternal anguish until finally, someone can put you to rest.
The Cycle Continues – Don’t Starve
As for biting off more than you can chew – there’s always Don’t Starve! You might not know it, but Don’t Starve has an ending… of sorts. Should players go through the many elaborate steps to achieve a final confrontation, they’re met with an unenviable prospect.
Certainly, it’s possible for you to go home, but not unless you condemn another fool to your fate. The man who lured you into this (cute) hellish dimension? Just another poor sap like you, even unlockable as a playable character.
And so the cycle of misery continues. Not just one evil ending, but an unending cavalcade of misery for eons to come!
You’re Not So Super, Man – Injustice 2
Do you want infinite power without being thrown into an alternate dimension of cartoon monsters? Look no further than Injustice 2’s Absolute Power evil ending.
If you side with the corrupted Superman of the Injustice timeline, it’s worse than ever. He rules with the power of Brainiac’s ship and he can mind control virtually any human he pleases. The one person who could challenge him, his cousin Kara, is trapped in a cell that drains her of all power. Even Batman has been brought to heel.
This ending was such a dark finale that DC themselves came back around with a crossover comic with He-Man, seeing the fantasy hero help liberate the planet from Superman’s regime. So, after it’s all said and done, even the bad ending to Injustice 2 has a silver lining, but it’s one mired in the terrors of a resurgent evil Superman.
More Powerful Than You Could Possibly Imagine – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
What’s more powerful than a DC superhero? A Jedi, of course! And few Jedi can match the awesome might of Galen Marek, aka Starkiller of The Force Unleashed.
Initially trained as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Galen eventually embraces the ways of the Jedi, finally able to best his old master with ease. Yet it’s in a final crucial decision that all that can be for nought.
After besting Vader, you have a choice: kill Vader and fully embrace the path of the Sith, or fight Palpatine one on one. The latter scenario is the canonical conclusion, yet somehow ironically the easier one.
In a rare case of confusing balancing decisions, Vader is vastly harder to fight when he’s pained and broken. It takes an immensely careful use of combos to wear the Sith Lord down, with the price of your revenge being everything you hold dear.
The Rebellion’s leaders die, as do your Jedi mentor Kota and your pilot/kinda girlfriend Juno. You’re left scarred and deformed, turned into a cybernetic tool for Palpatine to wield at his leisure.
On the, err, ‘bright’ side, this leads to two of the most iconic DLC ‘what-if’ missions in Star Wars history where you get to duel the likes of Obi-wan, Boba Fett, and Luke Skywalker. However, you also kill literally everyone in your way except for Luke, who you turn to the Darkside.
As evil endings in Star Wars games go, The Force Unleashed is one where only a shred of hope remains for the galaxy – which is somehow still more optimistic than one other Star Wars game that we’ll get to in a moment.
Life’s a Beach – Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6’s bad ending is unique in that it’s functionally quite similar to the fake-out endings in Far Cry 4 and 5. Unlocking it is simpler than most – you just have to walk away when the opportunity is presented.
Leave your homeland behind for the American mainland, by either boat or helicopter, and drive to the outer limits of the map. Then time jumps ahead to Far Cry 6’s protagonist Dani lounging on a beach, kicking back in the good ol’ US of A. Except, then the radio starts reporting about how everyone who helped you has been murdered, the dictator you were supposed to overthrow is doing just fine, and basically, everything in Yara is doomed to stay as fascistic as ever.
But hey, it’s not your problem, so why care if everyone else gets a bad ending in your happy ending, right Dani?
The Cold Shoulder – Telltale’s the Walking Dead: Season Two
Speaking of terrible outcomes that leave everyone high and dry, Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Two left players with an intense final decision.
After a season of being conflicted between whether to trust Kenny or Jane, our heroine Clementine has to kill the one she doesn’t trust. That’s if you trust either of them. There is the option to walk away, leaving whomever you spared to fend for themselves while you, Clem, carry baby AJ out into the dead of winter on her own.
This is easily the most harrowing season cliffhanger of the entire series. Until the next season, it was truly unclear what would happen to Clem. Out of every possible option, this ending was terrifying to consider.
Truly Infamous – Infamous 2
Okay – now we’re getting into the real gut-puncher endings. inFamous 2 is by far one of the hardest hitting for bad game endings.
While you might not devour a whole city like in Vampyr, it asks something much worse of you: to become the Beast and bring about an apocalypse where only the superpowered Conduits will survive. It’ll evolve humanity forward, at the cost of most of the world’s population.
Yet all of that is epilogue. You don’t have to play through that option. What you do have to go through is murdering Cole’s best friend and girlfriend as they stand against you.
Where inFamous 1’s story was relatively the same regardless of your alignment, inFamous 2’s endings are massively different. Being the hero is a challenge, pitting you against a giant threat to save mankind at the cost of your and every other Conduits’ lives.
But being the villain? It’s so much easier. Your final opponent isn’t some titanic monster… but having the will to kill the man who’s had your back across two games. inFamous 2’s evil ending isn’t just bad, it truly is downright infamous.
Peace in Our Time – Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 is a dark game, to begin with. Some would argue its infamous finale isn’t just a bad ending, but a terrible one. Yet what we’re addressing isn’t the overall ending, but the multiple endings within Mass Effect 3.
It’s not a single story arc being resolved here. There’s the Genophage with the Krogan and the Geth war with the Quarians. In each, it’s possible to bring about the worst possible outcome for friends who’ve fought by your side up to this point. You can betray and manipulate some of your closest allies, leading not only to their deaths but effectively the deaths of their entire species.
But hey, you achieved ‘peace’, so it was all worth it? Well, depending on your ending choice at the final mission, you could also end up erasing the Geth along with the Quarians, leaving Rannoch a lifeless wasteland.
Combined with the time needed to recover from the Mass Relays being destroyed, the Krogan will doubtless be running low on supplies while pushed to their limit, with most of their warriors dead off-world. While they might struggle on, the only real clans capable of truly surviving would be those in the Andromeda Initiative.
So yeah, congrats Commander Shepard. You managed to wipe out three species in the Milky Way – the exact thing you’re trying to stop the Reapers from doing! Great job! You’re now more evil than galactic dominating robots!
No More Jedi – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Ii: The Sith Lords
It figures that the best Star Wars game would have one of the bleakest, evilest game endings in gaming history, doesn’t it? Where Knights of the Old Republic let you become your own personal Darth Vader, Knights of the Old Republic 2 goes harder.
You can wipe out the last masters of the Jedi Order. You can sacrifice a companion just to make a boss fight easier. This isn’t a story of becoming the grand hero, but instead either Yoda or Palpatine.
The most unnerving part? It’s justifiable. In The Sith Lords, you play as the Jedi Exile, the only follower of Revan who repented, only to be cast out by the Jedi. In the wake of their failures, the Jedi are a corrupt band of babbling old fools, while the Sith are ruthless monsters permitted by Jedi ignorance.
Taking control of everything is a tempting prospect, which is what makes Knights of the Old Republic 2 so great. Even the worst outcome, the darkest ending, has a line of understandable reason behind it.
Evil for its own sake is one thing, but a logical one you can comprehend? That’s absolutely terrifying in just the right way.
Drowning In Guilt – Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is not a happy game at the best of times. You receive a letter from your dead wife, drive to the titular town, and uncover the misdeeds protagonist James Sunderland has kept hidden.
Out of every ending, the most upbeat one is generally considered the wrong one as it lets James get off easy with his fantasy world. Instead, the commonly agreed upon canon ending sees him owning up to his mistakes… and drowning himself with the corpse of his wife.
To say more is to spoil one of the best twists in survival horror, on top of one of the best bad endings ever made.
Worst Father Ever – Dishonored & Dishonored 2
The Dishonored series is a more acquired taste than some of the games on this list. There are those that love the immersive sim duology for its dynamic gameplay, and others who find the series wanting for its odd design choices. Yet one thing no one can disagree with is how purely evil you can be if you set your mind to it.
What’s most poignant about it all is how hard the series goes to humanize everyone around you. With the reanimated heart of Emily’s mother, across both games, can tell you the truths behind every NPC.
Who’s kind? Who’s despicable? At every turn, from the Chaos system and the Heart to how your actions mold the very dialogue around you, Dishonored makes you feel every cruelty you inflict. It might be a bit archaic mechanically, but it achieves a nuanced acknowledgment of morality that few games with such systems can boast.
How evil? How about… letting your child Emily fall to her death? Sending an entire country into chaos as it tears itself apart from a rampant plague? Or destabilizing an entire foreign principality under your rule, only to install yourself as a ruthless regent? Or leaving your father or daughter permanently frozen in stone, ruling in their stead? These are just some of the absolutely despicable things at your fingertips in the Dishonored series.
Many of the endings above are bad, and some are downright villainous, but Dishonored is one of the handful that truly permits for jaw-dropping evil.