Sincere & Positive Leftism In Games

It’s interesting as Josh Sawyer has stated that the Legion themselves are clearly evil and totalitarian in nature as well. It established order via force not by anything else. That’s why it’s seen as “safer” in their territory as nobody is actually free most just keep their head down to avoid the legion.

I’m pretty sure the Followers are designed to be sympathetic same with the Great Khan’s, both don’t support the NCR but they’re two opposite ends of the spectrum in means to survive.

The ending slides make you feel like garbage if you help a single faction leader, especially with Caesar and House. The best ending, with the most people ending up in a good situation, revolves around rejecting each faction and taking over the middle one.

At worst, there’s minor mechanical dissonance between narrative and design, but it’s nowhere near the level of the utter shit show that is the entirety of Bioware’s TOR MMO.

This is mainly because karma isn’t a morality score, it’s a faction popularity score. The what goes around comes around nature of the system is less based on being good or bad and more on how much a given faction is likely to help or hurt you because of how you’ve interacted with them. Thus, karma is based on the given uniting philosophy of that faction, but it doesn’t represent the morality or philosophy of your player character. Do a thing the faction agrees with that helps them, gain karma, and you lose it if you do the opposite.

I think if the karma term was dropped, the system would make a lot more sense. The same can be said for the Shadowrun games, which reward karma for impressive feats and less for any sort of moral action.

I think it ties with the reputation and karma system being at somewhat operating at different scales. Karma operates on weird logic you can gain it from killing ghouls but you can do bad things but gain positive reputation within a town such as Novac where you can kill Jeannie May but still gain a room.

Though karma itself does reward you for not being an awful person outside of factions themselves via karma for caps (which is an interesting commentary in itself), giving meds, freeing prisoners etc. Karma in NV doesn’t matter (as much) as reputation which is again another aspect why it seems to be reinforced by the actions you take with factions.

You also go into those mines and murder a bunch of giant slaves that were buried underground for thousands of years because they dared to revolt. All so some Uldah company can reopen the mine and keep making that coin.

The Total War games actually are surprisingly pretty critical of capitalism, imperialism, and tons of history that ‘glorifies’ those time periods when you read about the units, buildings, technology, factions and so on in the ingame encyclopedia.

It is a shame that the actual gameplay doesn’t systemize these systemic issues like how Victoria 2 (by Paradox) as its basically about taking over the world militarily and not going bankrupt in the process.

But still props to whoever wrote the encyclopedia to debunk the Rose tinted glasses people have about empires and authority.


I know before someone mentioned Persona 5 before and while going through Youtube I found this amazing video from 2 weeks ago about dual power structures and systematic injustice within the game.

It kind of falls apart with the game’s ending and what it ends up preaching kind of just being meely mouthed conformity disguised as questioning authority and society. P4 had the exact same problem, though not quite as obvious (though the god awful new content in the Golden remake makes it a bit more obvious), and P3 only managed to avoid this problem by focusing instead on personal growth (though it has a whole other mess of problems that end up happening when your studio is primarily run by a queerphobic knob who seems to be actively getting worse the more years pass).


I’m surprised the Resident Evil series isn’t held up as a leftist game series.

While it’s VERY stupid, and had it’s problematic imagery, all the games and the films are all very anti-corporate. Even 5 is about a Umbrella rival experimenting on impoverished people to test weaponry. Umbrella seems to encapsulate all of our fears about corporate entities running amok, having more power than world governments, the ability to control the military and the police, and able to operate without any real damage to their power. It reminds me more of cyberpunk fiction with added zombies if anything.

Hell, in one of the CG films, I believe Leon and Chris are a part of a corporate busting world coalition specifically dedicated to exposing corporations who want to use BOWs.


So, I’m right here with you, and I agree about the anti-corporate messaging, but the main problem with RE being leftist is that all of the protagonists (with some exceptions) are cops.

This puts the games conflicts in the position of state entities vs corporate ones, and doesn’t ever really touch on how they realistically influence one another.

I would love an RE game that delved further into the fact that like… Umbrella probably lobbies to have restrictions removed on their B.O.W. research, for instance. Also, as much as I love Leon and Ada and the rest, I don’t want to play as a cop. Realistically the cops would be defending Umbrella’s interests. Let me play as an eco-activist or something.

But also, I don’t expect this change to ever occur with RE. Like you said, it’s big and dumb and it being that way works towards what makes it fun.


Everyone is a cop outside RE7. Also Chris is basically been turned into a CoD lead.


That’s fair, but I think it’s good to show that these foundations tend to crumble around the protagonists and then they either have to fend for their own, as survivors, and abandon what comforts they thought they had. Their authority complex completely crumbles and puts the cop on level with everyone else. I feel like Leon does this especially in 2 Remake. As chapter after chapter go by, his cop uniform is shed until he’s basically just another dude. It also is nice to show characters like Ada Wong be like, “You idiot, you are so much smaller than all of this.”

RE7 is very much my favorite in the series for ditching a lot of the staples of the other games. You’re just some weird dude looking for his partner, and everything around you is completely fucked until it is revealed that UMBRELLA IS BEHIND IT ALL! I didn’t like the Chris and ‘Anti-Umbrella’ save the day in the end, but the typical ‘corporations are bad cause they hurt people’ is personalized to Jack and his family. Which I really appreciated.

Also, Alice in the films is pretty much a weapon turned against it’s creator. Very JC Denton.


I have been thinking about this lately. I don’t think that under capitalism you are going to get a AAA take father left than liberalism. Indies would be good but they can’t capture the same mass market saturation. So we aren’t going to get our counter animal farm there

I know my playthrough of Skyrim ended with me killing all the royals and calling it a day. As best as was allowed anyway.

I think the game that gave me the strongest emotional reaction against capitalism is Axiom Verge. I don’t think my take is supported textually. But thinking about what the goals and lives of beings unincumbered by capitlism might be like really put my in the headspace for it. And I think this kinda thing might be the most important for consciousness raising. At least for some people.

It’s not a perfect game by any means, but Beyond Good & Evil is a pretty decent look at what resistance looks like, how different marginalized peoples can work together and rise up against fascist authoritarianism, not to mention that it has a pretty strong “nature is worth protecting just for the sake of protecting it” bent imo. It’s also pretty hopeful despite bad circumstances.

(…which makes the labor issues wrt to the sequel and hitRECORD all the more disappointing)


So, this is a good point, but I also have to wonder about the conspiracy trappings of Beyond Good & Evil. Conspiracy theories tend to be associated with right-wing reactionaries, and the DomZ could easily be substituted for whatever group you want to demonize. I’m not saying that this is what that game was going for, but the aesthetics of anti-authoritarianism can serve more than one ideology here