Numerous games have morality mechanics that players can either align with their own or go rogue and live out a wild fantasy — do you play the role of an altruistic hero, saving everyone and everything, or could you, quite happily, throw a small child’s ball down a well and kick a chicken in the face? As it turns out, the majority of you are actually decent people who refuse to cave in to that tiny devil whispering for you to do bad, bad things, even in video games, surprisingly.
Before we jump into things, this article is purely a bit of fun. We understand that the majority of you are completionists, so you’ll be popping achievements regardless of their moral weighting, somewhat skewing the data a smidge. With that out of the way, on to the fun, you reprobates!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, players who join the Dark Brotherhood — the shady assassination guild that spinelessly guts people in their sleep — are awarded the With Friends Like These achievement. Upon completing the Innocence Lost quest, which asks you to kill Grelod the Kind, a woman who beats and verbally abuses orphans (we can’t judge you for offing her, she’s a bit of a dick), you are captured by Astrid of the Dark Brotherhood and held in a shack with no means of escape. That is unless you murder one of three bound and hooded prisoners and join the Brotherhood, or attack and kill Astrid, revoking your invitation to the guild. Looking at global Xbox achievement data, just 34% of gamers in the Xbox 360 version of the game went ahead and murdered at least one of the three victims in cold blood. The other 66% of you: good job on not being devoid of any moral decency.
It’s a very similar story over on Sony’s consoles. In the PS3 version of Skyrim, 35% of players who have explored the province of Skyrim committed a heinous act of murder, while nearly a quarter of all players in the Special Edition on PS4 served the Night Mother. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition on Xbox One, just 15% joined the Brotherhood along with 6% of Xbox gamers in the Windows 10 version.
For those that did kill Astrid and not sign up to the Brotherhood, you are then presented with the Destroy the Dark Brotherhood quest. Unfortunately, there isn’t an achievement or trophy for completing this, so we can’t see how many of you went on to wipe out the faction. Being the upstanding people that you are, we presume you went on to leave the Brotherhood in tatters. The rest of you? Well, you deserve some sort of minor inconvenience for your evil murderings, like stepping into a small puddle in the bathroom and getting a sock wet, or snagging an item of clothing on a handle as you rush out the door.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
If we’re continuing to judge gamers’ moral compasses based on the reliable metric of their actions in games developed by Bethesda (a solid data point, if you ask me), we should take a look at Oblivion and its Dark Brotherhood achievements. In Oblivion, you are awarded an achievement for completing a guild’s questline, and it just so happens that the most completed questline, according to global Xbox achievement unlock data, is the one that requires you to ruthlessly murder people under the gaze of the Night Mother. Almost 19% of Xbox Oblivion players completed the Dark Brotherhood questline, compared to questlines for the Mages Guild (16%), Thieves Guild (14%), and Fighters Guild (14%). However, 81% and the majority of players didn’t bother completing the Dark Brotherhood’s questline, which leads us to assume that most of you are actually good eggs, or you just don’t really care for the various guilds and how their stories play out.
That’s right. We’ve seen what you’ve been up to out there in the far reaches of the Attican Traverse (and we’re not talking about the time you flirted with that Krogan). We know about all of the dick moves you’ve been pulling (again, we’re not talking about Mass Effect romances here).
Mass Effect has achievements for playing the good guy (Paragon) and the not-so-good guy (Renegade), and while it’s pretty easy (and a lot of fun) to take the Renegade route, it seems, once again, the majority of gamers have been behaving themselves. Just 9% of Mass Effect Xbox players have unlocked the Renegade achievement, which is awarded for accumulating 75% of the total Renegade points in the game — this basically means you have to be a massive prick for the majority of a playthrough. However, Mass Effect also has an achievement for being holier-than-thou and accumulating 75% of the total Paragon points throughout the sci-fi epic. Playing as a Paragon is the more popular choice of the two, with 29% of Xbox Mass Effect gamers unlocking the achievement. It’s the same for the PlayStation crowd, with 36% of PlayStation Mass Effect players unlocking the Paragon trophy and 8% for being a space-hopping douche. If you did decide to play as a Renegade, your choices eventually catch up with you when it’s time to take on the Reapers in Mass Effect 3, so at least you do end up paying for some of your dastardly deeds.
“A man chooses. A slave obeys,” or so says Andrew Ryan. So are you going to blame ending the lives of numerous Little Sisters on Andrew Ryan’s brainwashing? It’s an easy out, but you know deep down what you (and the majority of Xbox BioShock Xbox 360 players) did with your time in Rapture. That’s right; you murdered a bunch of Little Sisters for their precious Adam, just so you could improve your health, energy, and plasmid powers. Despicable.
In BioShock, just 27% of global Xbox 360 players with the game managed to unlock the Little Sister Savior achievement, which is awarded for completing the game without harvesting any of the Little Sisters. This means, when presented with the option, 73% of players decided to kill the sweet darlings without mercy. It’s the same story for BioShock Remastered, if not slightly worse — 77% of players couldn’t help but harvest a Little Sister (or perhaps more) in their playthrough and not unlock the achievement.
The PlayStation gamers win this round for being the most evil. In fact, so many BioShock and BioShock Remastered players on Sony’s consoles couldn’t help but murder a child in their playthroughs that the Little Sister Savior trophy is actually considered a rare trophy in both versions. In the remaster, just 18% of global BioShock PS4 players weren’t ruthless child murderers and unlocked the trophy.
Infamous, Infamous 2, and Infamous Second Son
Sticking with PlayStation, Infamous, Infamous 2, and Infamous Second Son, are all well known for their karma and morality systems, allowing you to use Cole MacGrath’s and Delsin Rowe’s superhuman powers for either good or evil. Developer Sucker Punch also saw fit to include a bunch of karma-related trophies in each game and to see if you’ll be making Santa’s naughty or nice list.
Starting with Infamous, it seems that playing as the hero was the preferred choice out of the two options. Global trophy unlock data shows that 22% of inFamous players popped the Good Finish trophy, which asks you beat the game as a Hero. The Evil Finish trophy for beating the game while infamous has only been unlocked by 14.5% of its players. Infamous’ trophy list has a bunch of trophies that can only be unlocked if you play as an evil character, and it seems like they’re pretty unpopular with the PlayStation crowd: Evil Riot has been unlocked by 39% of players for starting a riot and using innocent people as a shield, Evil Intentions has been popped by 20% of players for sacrificing six doctors and saving Cole’s ex-girlfriend, and Evil Eats, which has been unlocked by 46% of players (still a little too high for our liking) for killing innocent, defenceless, and starving civilians as they try to scrounge food from a supply drop.
Infamous 2 doesn’t have any trophies that are tied specifically to events that make you pick between a good or evil option, but it does have a few that give us an insight into its players. The Fight the Good Fight trophy, which is awarded for having finishing the game with positive karma and unlocking the good ending, has been unlocked by 38% of players. Compare this to its counterpart, the evil ending trophy, which only 21% of players have unlocked. Once again, with Infamous 2, we see players favour playing as the hero rather than the villain. Also, it seems that quite a few of you who have started the game haven’t finished it yet, which makes us sad. Go back and complete it, please — it’s pretty good.
Infamous Second Son has a wealth of clear-cut trophy data that gives us an in-depth look at where players’ moral values lie. For each of the game’s major plot points, you are forced to pick between a good and evil option and are awarded a trophy for whatever you decide to do. For example, after the prologue, you are presented with the option of either turning your friends and a sweet old lady called Betty into the DUP, an organisation that arrests or kills people it sees as “bioterrorists” for the Ruthless trophy, or sacrificing yourself and turning yourself in for the Sacrifice trophy. Global Trophy data shows that the majority of Infamous Second Son players did the right thing and turned themselves in, instead of sacrificing poor old Betty with her brittle, ageing bones. 79% of players have unlocked Sacrifice compared to 38% for Ruthless. Looking at every other major karmic decision in Second Son, we see that the majority of players chose to play the hero, either saving others or exposing corruption.
With most Infamous Second Son players picking the righteous option, we naturally see more players unlocking the good ending of the game compared to the evil ending — 37% have unlocked the Reconciliation trophy compared to the Rebellion trophy with 20%.
What have we learned? While there are some obvious caveats with achievement/trophy data (players who want to unlock all achievements in a game being one), it looks like that most gamers tend to like playing as the hero, though there still is a small section of gamers who want their Shepard to be an intergalactic space scumbag (which is actually a lot more fun) and have no problem harvesting Little Sisters for their own benefit. For the majority of our examples, though, most gamers seem to have a moral compass that they stick to, which usually ends with them receiving ‘good’ endings. We have noticed that out of the two console platforms, PlayStation players are actually a little more evil when compared to the Xbox counterparts, so good job Xbox crowd, pat yourselves on the back for being good gamers.
In our research for this article, we uncovered a bunch of weird and somewhat immoral achievements and trophies awarded to players for being a bit, let’s say, an unsavoury person. Here are some random and strange achievements for your amusement:
- In Fable II, 58% of players or one of their friends have “kicked a poor defenceless chicken,” unlocking the Chicken Kicker achievement.
- In a similar vein, in Darkest of Days, players can earn themselves 100 Gamerscore for “punching a horse in the face and killing it.” Nearly 20% of Xbox Darkest of Days players decided to participate in animal abuse and unlock the Horse Puncher achievement.
- In the Windows 10 version of Frostpunk, just 30% of players have provided an amputee (an amputee in their care, mind you) with a prosthesis, unlocking the Once More unto the Breach achievement.
- Just 29% of Xbox players in Yes, Your Grace petted Dusty the cat three times or more (what is wrong with 71% of you?), unlocking the ‘Ooof, what’s that smell?’ achievement.
- Just over 13% of Xbox One Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons players saw fit to steal a small girl’s basketball and throw it down a well, unlocking the Wishing Well achievement. Nearly 90% of registered TA players who have started the game have unlocked this achievement. I’m sure you just did for the easy Gamerscore…
- In Hades on Steam, only 36% of players petted Cerberus 10 times or more. Shame on the 64% of players that didn’t give the Underworld’s best boy enough pets. We expect to see Xbox players do a much better job when Hades comes to Xbox Game Pass in August.
- Although only a small minority of players did this, 6% of Xbox Slime Rancher players thought it would be a great idea to pick up an adorable Chickadoo and throw it into an incinerator, unlocking the aptly named ‘You… Monster!’ achievement.
- In Lollipop Chainsaw, a weird 33% of Xbox players decided it would be a good idea to take a peek up Juliet’s skirt, unlocking ‘I Swear! I Did It By Mistake!‘. Of course you did…
- Surprisingly, not many have this achievement, but 8% of Red Dead Redemption Xbox players still saw fit to place a hogtied woman on the train tracks and watch her get run over, popping the Dastardly achievement.
Do you tend to play as the hero or the villain in your games? Also, if you know of any other strange or immoral achievements, we’d love to see them! Drop them in the comments below.