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Crapsack World: Video Games
Crapsack Worlds are common in video games, because they give a player a great justification for the large number of enemies they typically have to deal with and the conflicts they find themselves in.

  • Go on, just pick ANY Shin Megami Tensei game. The first one starts fairly nice for the first hour or so, then promptly gets doused in nuclear fire, leaving a pockmarked hell, and even before that happened, demons were attacking damn near anything, and after the world goes to hell, we're treated to a replay of The Great Flood. By the end of first game and by the time of the second, it seems to have gotten slightly more tolerable, only to utterly crush your hope when it get revealed that YHVH HIMSELF is planning to destroy everything the demons haven't raped to extremes that make the first game seem like Sunday school, and regardless of ending, a hell of a lot of dead people/demons pile up trying to save what's left of the planet. In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the world is reduced to a demon filled embryo like state, and most options you have to fix things still leave it mostly crappy or can make it even worse. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey takes place in a Crapsack World, and depending on what ending you get, the whole planet can join in on the fun. In short, if its a SMT game, pack a lunch, cause the crapsackiness is gonna be around for awhile.
    • Word of God is that all of this is because the universe itself is somehow broken, and YHVH's insanity is a symptom of the problem.
    • And then there's Digital Devil Saga. Imagine a vast battlefield populated by soulless automatons. Each of the warring factions has to kill all others to reach Nirvana. Then add human emotions and the Superpower Lottery into the mix. The rigidly imposed order breaks down into a Social Darwinist society, and then a Tribe succeeds in killing all major competitors and breaking the final rules. Then it's revealed it's all an AI simulator... and the real world's blasted beyond recognition, corrupted and twisted... due to a human attempt to study God and harness his power.
    • Devil Survivor takes everything about Pokemon (already a Crapsaccharine World if you look at it hard enough) and deconstructs every trope it was built on for as much horror as possible. For one, handing civilians the ability to summon demons is shown to have sickeningly high level of abuse and potential for disaster. Second, the mons running around ARE A VERY REAL AND DEADLY THREAT to mortals and each other, and if you don't have the ability to fight them, they will kill you without an ounce of pity. This is also a universe where supernatural forces can literally decide THE VERY INSTANT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DIE, and speaking of supernatural forces, did we mention The Powers That Be are in the middle of kicking off The End of the World as We Know It even before the game starts?
      • In the "Freedom" ending of Nocturne, things improve note . The world still has problems, but at least the demons are gone.
    • Persona 3 and 4 start out happy, until you find out about The Dark Hour and The Midnight Channel. However, most people aren't affected by those events, so the world is otherwise okay. Psyche. As both games progresses, things start turning to shit; in Persona 3, a demon named Nyx is descending to screw over humanity and there's a cult that starts up and grows in the later months of the game, and in Persona 4, a fog has appeared seemingly permanently, and if you don't get rid of it, the Shadows come into the real world. Still though, unlike the other Mega Ten games, the world will still be in a happy, normal state if you get the ending and True Ending in the fourth game's case.
    • Persona 4 still manages to be the most optimistic game in the entire series. Hell, one of the most optimistic in the entire Mega Ten franchise.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV has East Mikado, which proves you can have this even in a lush, fertile land: there's a brutal, racist caste system, demons literally live under their capital, and the citizens above believe themselves to be the single civilization in existence. Public executions are considered national holidays. You Do Not Want To Know about the Ashura-Kai and their dealings with demons. And no matter which ending you get, people are getting hurt. You wanna change the world? Learn to live with the consequences.
      • The Alternate Timelines of Blasted and Infernal Tokyo don't have it good, either. In Blasted Tokyo, the angels' plan went off without a hitch, God's Chosen have left and God's Wrath has reduced most of Earth to a barren wasteland. In addition, God has enacted a plan to control all underworld divinities to ensure the remnants of Humanity are eradicated. Pluto's poison, which fills the atmosphere, has a 100% lethality rate. Say you destroy Pluto; a very short time after, God will send his Knight Templar avatar the Ancient of Days, which is very nearly successful in finishing all Blasted Tokyo natives.
      • In Infernal Tokyo, the angels were quickly killed and nuclear holocaust was averted, but the demon technology quickly rotted society as the barriers between Demonoids and Neurishers were established. Governments and states have all disappeared in favor of a Social Darwinist world, enforced by the will of the King of Tokyo. Okay, kill the guy. Shortly after, the divine monster Sanat will head there to check on his experiment. Though in Infernal Tokyo there are a surprising number of Neurishers who don't mind their situation and enjoy life alongside the Demonoids, unlike in Blasted Tokyo where most people can barely struggle to survive.
  • End Of Nations civilization has fallen the economy has crashed and every remaining resources are controlled by the Order of Nations who will impose their will on the world with massive Land Battleships.
  • Emperor: Battle for Dune and the rest of Westwood Studios' Dune games have a few examples of this. Most notably the homeworlds of the great houses:
    • Atreides' homeworld Caladan is a questionable example of this. They throw babies into the ocean, and only those who can swim are considered worthy (those who don't obviously die). Also, the whole planet is governed by a monarchy, with all the issues that come from that. But, Atreides, considered as good guys, definitely have the best of the homeworlds to live in.
    • Geidi Prime of house Harkonnen is a crapsack world by all means. Volcanic Single-Biome Planet with polluting industry and few nobles with almost unlimited power, fighting between themselves for even more power. Klingon Promotion is very common.
    • Sigma Draconis of house Ordos is basically the same as Geidi Prime, but an ice planet. Instead of power-hungry nobles, Sigma Draconis is a corporate driven world. But the deception and Klingon Promotion is basically all the same as Geidi Prime. However, Ordos can see the value of someone, so, as long you are useful, you probably won't be killed just for fun. You will be killed by you competitors instead.
    • And, well, the actual Dune is pretty much this too:
      • It's a sand planet, where the water is very scarce. People have to wear suits which prevent losing body moisture and recycle their...waste.
      • As the spice, a highly addictive drug, comes from this planet, it's in the very air and soil. So if you live on Dune long enough, you've become addicted no matter if you want to or not.
      • Ah yes, the spice is produced by sand worms. Those gigantic sand worms the trope is named for.
      • Spice is exclusive to this planet. And it's the most valuable substance in the universe. That means the planet is plagued by constant warfare of houses fighting for Spice. In the last installment, the three houses agree on a legal all-out war for Arrakis to finally decide who will rule the planet, and thus the Spice and the universe. It ended up as the biggest war for the planet yet, and the traitorous house Tleilaxu unleashed the self-replicating zombies on population. You don't want to live on Arrakis.
  • Battlefield 2142 applies for this trope. Earth is in the midst of a new ice age and two superpowers are battling for what little unfrozen land they can get.
  • Notch's upcoming Science Fiction game 0x10c is set in the dying era of the universe.
  • Xenogears. * deep breath* The nation of Solaris controls basically the entire world and rules with a decidedly malevolent fist. They conduct horrible, sadistic medical experiments on people. They kidnap surface dwellers to use as slave labor, and basically treat them as something like occasionally-useful parasites. They keep the world in a state of perpetual warfare. and, assuming you survive all of this, it turns out that all humans on earth, save one, were created for the sole purpose of one day being used as living material to recreate an ancient doomsday weapon which has been worshiped as God. By the end of the game, you're either dead, absorbed into the ancient doomsday weapon, a flesh-hungry zombie, or one of the roughly thousand people in the whole world still alive and intact.
  • I WANNA BE THE GUY! No, you don't. This world has One-Hit-Point Wonder characters, lethal traps, and the apples fall up!
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden sends the good guys to a crapsack alternate future, where mankind was really screwed three times over. First, a gigantic gravity wave devastated the planet, then the Dinosaur Empire from Getter Robo beat up on the survivors, and THEN a full fledged war broke out between the Earth bound Innocent faction and the Space bound Moon Race that totally set back civilization for a good, long while. By the time your heroes get there, the ocean level is about 45% what it used to be, over half the world is a wasteland, the politicians on all sides are scheming, technology hoarding assholes with power complexes, and did we mention the Dinosaur Empire wants to turn the planet into the Mezosic Era, killing us all off, or that some creepy mechanically mutated humans called the Ancestors also want to kill us and literally redefine the world by their terms? It should also be noted that it's implied all the space colonies are destroyed, and whats left of the planet is valiantly struggling to heal from centuries of nukes, biomechanical destructive nanomachines, and more than a few Colony Drops. In an interesting aversion of SRW's idealism, even if you do give the alternate future Earth the ability to have a second chance and change history, that does NOT activate the Reset Button, and the Earth is still shown healing from all of the damage it has taken.
  • Castlevania II Simons Quest shows what kind of world you saved in the previous game. The land is barren and lifeless, gravestones are everywhere, people are too poor to afford anything but unfurnished brick rooms, most will lie to you or tempt you with sin, expensive mansions once owned by the rich have signs of torture and enslavement, and creatures don't even bother to inhabit areas that people have long since abandoned and left to crumble. A lot of it is due to "Dracula's Curse" , but there's a reason why most of the games take place inside Castlevania — who's to say things are better on the outside?
    • Made a little better in later games, particularly Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, where the Hub Level is a small, well-kept village (well, well-kept once you save the villagers). Still, being attacked by Dracula and his monstrous hordes every few decades earns the world a few points in the "crapsack" column.
    • Whenever the world turns into one, it's usually a sign that Dracula's coming back (it's certainly no coincidence that he returned just in time for both World Wars.)
  • Legacy of Kain, a series of fantasy games where time traveling Vampire lord Kain clashes with his soul-eating undead son Raziel across the ages. The world of Nosgoth the series takes place in is host to massive web of ancient conspiracies, and over the course of the series experiences poverty, political warfare, extra-dimensional invaders, vampire empires, and due to the way the forces of nature are governed during it all the very ecosystem is slowly getting worse. It gets so bad that in Soul Reaver, which takes place the furthest down the timeline, the humans of the world are confined to one city up in the mountains, the vampires are scattered and going hungry, and the world has become a desert wasteland.
    • The game Nosgoth shows a world in between Raziel's execution and his resurrection. Humans and vampires are fighting a war in battlefields full of lush foliage, beautiful (and often destroyed or defaced) architecture, several trails and even fountains of blood, all just to enter the wasteland that we see in Soul Reaver where nobody wins in the end anyway.
  • The Resistance games appear to be built purely on this concept. Over the course of the game, every single thing you attempt ends up either failing or blowing up in your face. On top of that, at the end of the second game you single-handedly manage to bring about the end of the world that the entire goal of the games was to prevent. i.e., The Bad Guy Wins. By the time of the third game, humanity has been reduced to scattered enclaves of survivors, and extinction is looking very likely.
  • The Oddworld is also a World Half Empty. The first three games center on industrial excesses taken to such an absurd degree that no-one bats an eye at a meat packing plant planning to make their slave laborers into their next product line, while Stranger's Wrath takes place in more of a Crapsack World of a Western, where the townsfolk are so exaggeratedly helpless and cowardly they're literally chickens.
  • Combine-controlled Earth in Half-Life 2. The environment and infrastructure are in such an extreme state of disrepair after just a decade or two of Combine rule that it threatens the human race's very existence.
    • It's implied in the games (and outright stated by Word of God) that the Combine has zero interest in Earth's infrastructure; their interest begins and ends with raping the planet of any usable resources (and stealing our teleportation technology, which is by some aspects superior to theirs). Supposedly, Half-Life 2 was supposed to feature a plant designed to remove the oxygen from the planet's atmosphere, though it was scrapped early in development. Various types of aliens, such as the antlions (insectoid aliens which are extremely aggressive towards any other lifeform), headcrabs (which the Combine actually seems to breed for biological warfare), and ocean-faring leeches which make even wading out a short distance into the ocean a suicidal endeavor.
  • Pretty much all of Earth in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars is a World Half Empty. There's the politically unstable hellholes of the Yellow Zones, which are ravaged by war, disease, famine, and Tiberium. Then there's the Red Zones, which are completely uninhabitable by human (or any carbon-based) life, and filled with the horribly lethal Tiberium. The only nice place to live is the Blue Zones, which are clean, healthy, pristine, and.... wait, what are those Scary Dogmatic Aliens doing here? ...oh, crap.
  • Madworld takes place in a world where war is replaced with a Blood Sport, the one the game takes place in having been made possible via destroying the bridges to an island city, cutting off communications, infecting most of the populace with a deadly virus, and sicking psychos on the rest while promising a cure for the game's winner. The Spiritual Successor Anarchy Reigns also takes place in a Crapsack World, in this case after a nuclear war rendered the world a nigh-inhospitable hellscape.
  • Shadow Bane: The world has been shattered into numerous fragments, the All-Father is missing or dead, the Green Mother is crippled and in agony, Malor has joined the forces of Chaos, the most powerful sword in existence is in the hands of a vampire queen, and the Titan Torvald has been raised as a walking corpse by the Mother of Winter. Oh, and every time someone is reborn the world come a bit closer to destruction.
  • The Max Payne series takes place in a Crapsack New York, through and through. This is as the game is intended to mirror a noir atmosphere, thus making the presence of a Crapsack World a must.
  • The world of Sanctuary from the Diablo series. The first game starts with the noble king of Khandruas going insane and being corrupted and his kingdom being destroyed. Then you have to kill the undead king, plus demons are killing people, the prince has been kidnapped and possessed. After 16 annoying levels you finally make it to the Big Bad, the title archdemon and beat him... except the prince is now dead and you just became Diablo's new, more powerful host. The second game lets you kill most of the Seven Great Evils... too bad it turns out they all end up getting revived, and the thing holding some semblance of stability over the world is destroyed. So horrible monsters are even more common. Did we mention there is no god and all the angels (except Tyrael...) are humongous jerkasses?
    • Humans get a vast power boost because of the destruction of the Worldstone. In the long run, there may be some hope. They're supposed to get stronger than demons or angels.
  • The world that the Resident Evil series takes place in: bioterrorism is common, an American city was nuked in order to end a zombie outbreak, and major corporations are involved in huge conspiracies which could cause the apocalypse. Really, when you get past the action movie cliches and the narm of some of the dialogue, the series is quite disturbing.
  • The world of the Grand Theft Auto series, especially Grand Theft Auto IV, which had fewer lighter elements than the others. Here we have a world so filled with corrupt politicians, crooked cops, backstabbing criminals and just plain crazy people that whatever amoral protagonist you're playing as almost looks like a saint by comparison.
  • If the Luck-Based Mission that is the majority of the game's storyline, stopping a Colony Drop in Mega Man X 5 fails, this leaves a Crapsack World.
    • Mega Man Zero elaborates on this, there being only one last bastion of civilisation in the planet, a racist dystopia that gets destroyed before the end of Zero 4. To drive the point home, the Colony Drop mentioned above is now possibly the last hope of restoring it. Which is exactly what it did, at the end of the series.
      • And then the Elf Wars occurs sometime after the Colony Drop. Two apocalyptic disasters, one after the other? It has to be a record or something...
    • Speaking of Mega Man...the band The Protomen have based 2 albums on a What If idea that turns the Mega Man Universe into one of the most crappy Crapsack Worlds there is.
    • The series as a whole is like this, to be honest. The series chronologizes about five hundred years of human suffering due to constant robot uprisings, almost all of which can be traced to two men- Wily and Weil. Fast forward to Mega Man Legends, and humanity has gone extinct, and most of the few remaining sapient robots are trying to kill the replacement species humanity left behind.
      • The only time life was not pain was the years between 20XX and 21XX, after Wily's death and before Cain tried copying X. Even the golden age between 22XX and 24XX was marred by occasional maverick uprisings and no less than three EvilPlans running just below the surface.
      • When a post-post-apocalyptic world is considered Lighter and Softer, that should clue you in on how bad it had gotten...
  • The world of Sands of Destruction doesn't look that bad at first — there's some intense Fantastic Racism, but nothing too alarming. Then you start seeing what the world is actually like as you play. Plagues of natural disasters and hostile creatures. Humans who are literal or virtual slaves to Ferals — beastmen who rule the world, and have so much political and physical power that they can literally get away with eating human children over trivial slights. The fact that the world appears to be headed for an inevitable decay into an uninhabitable desert. And that's just some of the first things you see or hear about. It's not too surprising that the heroes are the ones who said "screw it" and want to destroy the world because whatever comes next will have to be better — even if what's next is nothing at all.
  • Any setting in The Suffering. It's bad enough that Carnate Island had seen just about every sort of crime and punishment in history before its infestation by the Malefactors; it's even worse when the city the PC hopes to escape to is a fetid den of urban decay and misery that promptly suffers a Malefactor infestation of its own.
  • Holy crap, does the world in BlazBlue suck. After being ravaged by a being called the Black Beast, it then became governed by a totalitarian institution known as the Library. This totalitarianism resulted in the Ikaruga Civil War which, of course, left many, many people either dead or oppressed. Furthermore, the government imposes restrictions on anyone who uses a magic known as Armagus will be killed. To put things in perspective, when a man who kills every man and woman within a government institution is seen as the main Anti-Hero, you know things are screwed up. There's also a angelic woman who's kind to everyone and possibly the only good soul out there in that world and to be taken seriously. Guess what? She's siding that totalitarian institution now (albeit only to save someone and she's been broken quite a bit). Aside of that there's also a hammy hero of justice who really swore to uphold justice. There's only one problem though: He's your Joke Character. That's right, the world made it so that if you ever try to be overly positive and unbroken, you'll not be taken seriously. Of course, there's another catch: The totalitarianism is rumored to be controlled by a Troll. And God help you if you got a vagina in your body while living in this world. That monster troll will have his delight in breaking you physically and mentally for his own amusement. Have fun.
    • And here's more for the crapsackism. So if you remove that totalitarian institution, everything will be all fine and dandy, right? WRONG. You still have to deal with the fact that the world is ravaged, and the Black Beast left poisonous fumes in the world that linger in high concentrations even 100 years afer its death. Also, said totalitarian institute? It is actually a case of Well Intentioned Extremism, and if they disappeared, random people would be able to start picking up dangerous Artifacts Of Doom, enabling seeds of further war and chaos to spread in this world that is already teetering on the edge of destruction. So it's either totalitarianism, or a world in utter chaos. Yeah. Hang in there, bro.
    • But if said Troll is defeated, things will at least make it to a World Half Full status, right? Well, they might and, frankly speaking, that is probably your best bet here, but considering the fact that said Monster Troll is highly cunning, intelligent, powerful to extreme (it also seeps to gameplay), and frankly speaking, unfair levels, and is approaching Infinite levels of effectiveness, no known weak spots for Karmic Hammer to hit, making his opposition look inefficient even when "beating" him note , not to mention the fact that he's accompanied with a taciturn, but equally monstrous Mad Scientist whose powers are also off the scale... Good luck with that, mate.
    • Exacerbating the matters is the fact that the cast, aside from the Big Bad Duumvirate, is quite disorganized. Here's a rundown on why: note  TL;DR, rather than realizing the threat and working for a better future, everyone else is minding their own business. Here's to unity, chap.
    • With all these you may think that perhaps there will be some good God to handle divine punishment if that monster gets too out of hand... wait, said 'God' is 'dead' by the monster. And there's this term 'World Antibody', which may be our last bet in place of the dysfunctional cast... except said 'Antibody' is that brother-complex-suffering psychopath, and even if he's working on it, who's designed as the world's enemy by that term? Not the villain, but the resident Anti-Hero, because he harbors a power of apocalyptic proportions that, if it conquers him, not even the Troll can suppress, much less control. Yes, just to rub the salt to the wounds, the world hates you and would prefer to keep the villain to exist rather than designating it as an enemy so he could be stopped. Simply put it as, the more cynical you are, the better chance of succeeding and being taken seriously. What a wonderful world, fellas.
    • That said, thanks to all the work of some of the protagonists, by the next game, things have gotten maybe a little better, starting to claw its way out of pure Crapsack territory, but it's still a mixed bag overall...note  It's a long way, but Keep up the good work.... and hope that Mr. Troll doesn't Ass Pull a Villain Sue card out of nowhere.
    • Amazing enough, things somehow get worse right after said Troll is Killed Off for Real. The real Big Bad Izanami, the bonafide goddess of death, enslaves Ragna and turns him into a monster and declares that she will create a "world of death".
  • Implied through the emails in Assassin's Creed I. Africa's population has been decimated by a plague, massive number of illegal immigrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexican border...into Mexico, and hurricane season no longer exists, since hurricanes happen all throughout the year thanks to climate change.
    • And one continent doesn't exist anymore.
    • And the entire movie industry was killed by online piracy.
    • Lampshaded by Dr. Warren in the first game. He said that there's no difference between the time of the Third Crusade and the time of the future, that people were just as violent and destructive than as now. And the second game reveals that the time of the Renaissance was even worse than both of them together.
  • Deus Ex A devastating plague is storming throughout the world, a good deal of food seems to be limited to processed artificial food, and not to mention the all the secret cabals running about in the background. The world could also be considered A World Half Full however, depending on what ending you choose.
    • The sequel is once again a Crapsack World, and there aren't really any A World Half Full endings this time.
      • Theoretically, the Omar ending is better than the alternatives. You take out all the assholes pulling the strings, leaving the one group that gives a crap about the common man. Sure, the world will kinda suck for a while, but the entire point of the Omar is that humanity can survive this. And once everything is in place on the ground, the stars are waiting.
      • Technically, the AI ending is considered better by many players. You cause all of humanity to be included into a Borg-like collective intelligence overseen by a benevolent hybrid of an AI and the previous game's protagonist. Inclusion is mandatory, but global conspiracies and the need for world leaders of any sort become irrelevant in the new order. But the whole point of the game is how one person's choices can make a massive difference. Each of the endings may be considered a A World Half Full ending depending on the player.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution actually plays this down a little. There are still problems, but there are also extremely prosperous areas, and augmentation is widespread. Again, the game has Multiple Endings, where if you choose Sarif's, it causes things to potentially improve for humanity as well as arguably diverging the storyline from being a prequel to Deus Ex, while others will let them carry on as they were or get worse.
  • Stages 3-6 in Radiant Silvergun take place in an inhabitable post-apocalyptic world where there's absolutely no signs of life, only ruins which are partly transformed into a factory for Stone-Like to produce ships and weapons against the remaining battleship crew.
  • The Destroy All Humans! series makes the otherwise detestable and villainous lead character likable and somewhat sympathetic by planting him in a Crapsack World, in this case a warped and insane version of America during the Cold War.
  • Another parody example that actually has a story of why the world is that way is the PC game Pyst, which is supposedly what the world of Myst ended up looking like after millions of tourists wandered through it.
  • The Postal series. In Postal 2 at least, every townsperson is a jerk, the cops are mean, and the town of "Paradise" is portrayed as very corrupt and broken beneath the surface. All this is played up for humor, and also makes your Heroic Comedic Sociopath the most sympathetic character by comparison.
  • The world at the start of Breath of Fire is practically under the control of the Dark Dragons, with most of the towns being screwed over by them either For the Evulz (Gant, Prima), For Science! (Gust) or for particular Revenge (Tantar/Tuntar, Carmen). Those who can don't even try to stand up to them, as anyone who did ended up either dead (or close to, like Wyndia's king) or captured (Tantar's chief, Ox and Mogu's tribe).
  • The world of Breath of Fire II looks funny and slapstick, right? Except for the cheap circus with the freak show, the children crying from hunger in Whale Cove after you personally take away the family's source of income, the face-huggers, the witch's tower filled with beautiful men turned to stone, and the whole men being seduced to evil and turning into monsters, in service of a dark god you thought was really Saint Eva thing.
  • Breath of Fire IV opens in a world which has gone through 4 centuries of world war, with fears of a fifth breaking up soon. Most of the East Continent's towns are in varying levels of ruins and poverty, with the less fortunates being victim of the Fantastic Nuke owned by the Western Empire, which has left entire patches of them contaminated and unusable until they are cleansed, which in the best scenario can take up to several years.
  • In Breath of Fire V, the entire population of the world lives underground due to the surface having been rendered "uninhabitable". Not too bad, until the logistics of proper air control is brought into question. Their solution? Genetically engineer little girls to suck up the pollution (Who then die). Oh, and everyone has a D-Ratio, essentially an unchangeable classification of how valuable you are as a person. A 1/8124 is doomed to a life of menial labor. And the main character has a Dragon inside him, just waiting to bust out like something out of Alien. And this is not a story element, the player can cause this to happen in an irreversible way to force the game to be restarted. There's a reason the New Game+ option in this game doesn't require the player to beat it.
  • The world of Team Fortress 2, anybody? Sure, the characters all look like they're from a Pixar movie, but they are all pretty much amoral mercenaries who are killed in massive amounts every day. The only other option to this seems to be a life of submitting to bureaucracy. And it's all Played for Laughs.
    • That said, there are some nice people, even among the mercenaries. The Sniper comes to mind (ironically more so than the Medic), as does the Engineer. Also, we never really see anything outside of the battlefield, and the visible bits that don't have people warring over them look fairly normal. Although it's rather telling that even the nice characters in this setting are mass murderers.
  • Overlord. It's all played for laughs, but the world is so nasty, with everyone either corrupt, stupid, or useless, that your explicitly villainous Heroic Mime and his army of goblins are among the most likable characters. The character's brutal rule as tyrant or madman may actually be an improvement over what it's like already.
    • By the second game, the realm of the first games have been wiped out by a magical Cataclysm that apparently destroyed the haflings and dwarves, there's a massive anti-magic Empire wiping out as much as they can and the only real Hero Antagonists are the Elves that the previous Overlord apparently saved, but now they're all a bunch of whiny hippies concerned with the protection of fluffy creatures.
  • Azeroth, the eponymous World of Warcraft, is about as crappy a world as one is likely to find in the fantasy MMORPG genre.
    • Tirisfal Glades, the starting place of the Forsaken. It seems like a perpetual cloudy night, demons and Scourge roam the forests, and their very capital city is a bunch of tombs. The music is even the same for when you die and your spirit is trying to get back to your corpse. The Plaguelands are even worse. Icecrown turns it Up to Eleven.
    • The Worgen race is told to come from a vicious world, where no corner is truly safe. That humans could never survive there is a gross understatement.
    • Let's put it this way: the actual heads of each faction tend to be reasonable, but nearly every Number Two is The Starscream. Garrosh Hellscream will likely take control of the Horde, and wants nothing more than to charge at the enemy with the entire Horde in a fuel of rage, and literally wants to just charge and ignore anything that smacks of tactics. King Wrynn is equally as crazy and determined, and arguably in charge of enough of his faction to force a war no matter what. The few races that aren't burned from a history of dark magic and demons have done other spectacular things to either doom themselves. Only the tauren lack a significant fraction of their race that's trying to doom the world, and their leader is on his last legs.
      • Then Wrynn and Garrosh really did get put in charge.
      • And one of them becomes the Big Bad of the fourth expansion.
    • The effect is somewhat dulled when you wonder why can't your faction leaders just go out and single-handedly take care of many of the problems by themselves.
    • Better yet, humans and most of the other races only exist on Azeroth because of the "Curse of Flesh" that the Old Gods put on the machines that the Titans created, so they could escape more easily. The lore behind the Bonus Boss Algalon the Observer is that he is there to check on Azeroth and seeing the results, will tell the Titans to wipe out the entire world and start over. The Old Gods don't have anything nice planned for this world either, and if they are all defeated, they'll likely destroy Azeroth as well.
      • Mists of Pandaria shows us why the Titans sealed up the Old Gods instead of killing them. When Y'shaarj was killed, its dying breath corrupted the land, and created a race of energy beings that feed off negative emotions, the Sha; so killing an Old God, just makes things worse. If all the Old Gods were killed, the resulting corruption would be so severe that the only option would be to vaporize the planet and rebuild Azeroth from scratch.
    • Everyone that goes insane on Azeroth goes insane BIG-TIME. Every other week someone gets it into their head to kill loads and loads of people, and they're only defeated by the skin of the adventurers' teeth.
    • The setting of the fourth expansion, the namesake Pandaria is either this or a crapsaccharine world. YMMV of course, but the villain races: the sha, the mogu and the mantid, and the ever present faction wars between the Alliance and the Horde make a strong case for it being a crapsack world.
  • Besides undead fallen lords and their hordes of minions, demons from another world, scheming villainous feudals, bloodthirsty wild animals and monsters, uncaring murderous giant Trows, and no less uncaring mages, the world of Myth is a perfectly fine place to live.
  • Despite the Scenery Porn, Riven under Gehn's rule is pretty darn miserable: the landscape is being ravaged for bookmaking materials, the A God Am I ruler feeds dissidents alive to a whale/shark/whatever, La Résistance are a bunch of religious wackos in spook masks, and the underlying fabric of reality is inexorably falling to pieces.
  • The world of Infamous starts out as a pretty crappy place to live in. After having a good chunk of itself destroyed in a catastrophic explosion, Empire City is hit with a contagious plague, forcing the US Government to completely quarantine the city. Gangs and superpowered thugs rule the city, while the police are either dead or in hiding. Other than the occasional PR-stunt supply drop, the government doesn't even do anything to help the populace of Empire City. Oh, and if you try to leave, the soldiers guarding the borders have orders to shoot to kill. The only thing keeping the government from just bombing the entire city into dust is because they want to recover the MacGuffin. It's up to the player to decide whether to try and clean up the city or make it even worse.
  • And just because they're Dueling Games, Prototype has a crapsack world where super-viruses can rewrite people into monsters, civilians are shot on sight for no good reason, and people keep dangerous biological weapons in major metropolitan areas. It gets progressively worse the further into the story you get.
  • Thief and its main setting, the City. The gods appear to be jerks, the major religion is perfectly within their rights to torture suspected criminals and they're not the bad guys, the ones opposing them are terrorist hippie demon worshippers and they're not the bad guys either, the entire City is riddled with corruption from the top levels down, the dead won't stay buried, and at one point homeless, prostitutes and purse snatchers were arrested, killed to be turned into cyborg slaves and sold to the wealthy, and nobody with any power cared enough to notice. The main character, an amoral burglar, has to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing anything about it, and all he does is save the place from complete annihilation; it remains as corrupt as ever.
  • Baroque starts—and ends—in a barren wasteland, the world having been destroyed some time ago in a massive cataclysm known as The Blaze. Which is somehow your fault. And you don't remember anything about it.
  • In Dungeon Keeper, "the world is a lush, idyllic place full of happy people who live peaceful and fulfilling lives. Disgusting. We should do something about that."
  • Dwarf Fortress. The motto of the game is "losing is fun". Unfortunately that means the average dwarf will die of any combination of being torn apart by monsters, starvation, terminal depression, being set on fire, or a variety of other methods. Furthermore, the magnitude of enemy attacks increases as your fortress wealth does. Small fortresses have to deal with the occasional kobold thief, whereas a gorgeous obsidian citadel will likely have to close itself off from the world due to hundred-goblin sieges. In other words, the better your fortress, the more crapsack the world. Of course, this is ignoring any potential player decisions to build a "flood the world with lava" mechanism in the spirit of Boatmurdered. Finally, there's the world's current state of Devil but No God (unless you count the player as a god, which makes things no better); demons are clearly visible, actively claiming lordship over nations and generally turning the nations the rule into warmongering empires, while the gods respond to prayers with only silence.
    • Demon rulers don't rule any differently than any member of the civilization they're ruling. A demon leading goblins murders no more or less of it's citizens than a goblin ruler does, a demon in charge of humans may be a Pacifist or only kill in defense of their city. A demon in charge of an empire can make a World Half Full, at least bringing peace to large expanses of land and populations. Of course this is something you don't notice when they're busting down the doors of your fortress...
  • Phantom Dust takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the last few remnants of mankind are forced to exist in pressure sealed underground sanctuaries to avoid the titular dust and the terrifying freaks it creates. If aforementioned monsters don't get to you there's a good chance your trigger happy and mentally unstable allies will. Not to mention that the dust will erase your memories if you stay out in it for too long. As for the only known bastion of civilization, its leader only communicates through a single spokesperson (who may or may not deliver the message accurately), supplies are gotten through raids on the surface since no one knows how to grow or make more, the non-dust using civilians are kept locked away in what appears to be a giant pit, and, perhaps most tragically of all, its hospital consists of two stone beds lying beneath buzzing, malfunctioning machines run by a nurse who seems to have gotten the job only because she looks cute in the uniform and seems to cure all ailments by stuffing patients full of whatever medication is found on the surface.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI - The World Of Ruin. The name says it all. The ground is barren and crops won't grow. Monsters inhabiting the wild have grown stronger than ever. The entire human population has taken a severe drop. There are few bastions of hope for humanity. Oh, did I mention that this world also has an Omnicidal Maniac Physical God who sits on top of a giant tower and nukes towns if they don't worship him? Yeah, he also occasionally does it if he gets bored, because according to him: "Nothing beats the music of thousands of voices screaming in unison!"
    • Final Fantasy XIII's Cocoon. Oh, God, Cocoon. It looks all sparkly and pretty, but look past that, and it would make 1984 look like a Sugarbowl. People living in fear? Check. Run by a currupt Beaurocrat? Check. Willing to murder an entire city to kill two L'Cie? Check. The entire population set up as a mass Human Sacrifice? Check.
    • In Final Fantasy VII the Planet itself could have a very long list of reasons why it would qualify for this trope. But really it could be summed up simply by the fact that when people are exposed a large level of the life-giving force on the planet it either kills you or makes you mentally retarded. On top of this, after Meteor is summoned to destroy the planet, what does the planet do in response? Release several ancient monsters upon the world and wipe out all of humanity since it deems that humans are too dangerous for the planet's survival, even though only one person summoned Meteor and several others want the planet to survive. The monsters that are summoned have enough power to destroy cities and level mountains. Then there's also Jenova, an Eldritch Abomination who can create illusions to mind rape all sentient life, mutate them into carriers of her cells, and ultimately to suck the very lifeforce of the planet. AND there's her "son" who is a Humanoid Abomination instead and is basically doing the same thing except with even MORE Mind Rape. Fun times!
    • The world of Final Fantasy XV is no better. Far from the more fantasyesque locales of past iterations in the franchise, it takes place in a grim and realistic metropolis, seemingly modeled after Tokyo, where it is always night, and barren wastelands. The plot on a supernatural level is about a goddess of death and on the human level it's about power politics with much backstabbing and paranoia. Even Noctis' love life appears to be headed towards tragedy. The names of many of the locations aren't helping things either, with examples being "Tenebrae" (Shadows), "Vallis Acerba" (Harsh Valley) and "Nihilsomno" (Dreamless). Perhaps the only bright spot in all this is the camraderie between Noctis and his male friends.
    • Spira of Final Fantasy X certainly counts, which sees large chunks of its populace slaughtered by an Eldritch Abomination on an almost daily basis and is ruled by a Corrupt Church specifically designed to ensure that the suffering never ends. And that doesn't even include the Nietzsche Wannabe whose idea of ending the people's suffering is to simply Kill 'em All.
  • Final Fantasy XIV may not have things seem so bleak at first until you start looking deeper. After the Calamity occurred, many locations and cities were destroyed and people are still rebuilding their homes and their lives. An ancient group of people known as the Ascians had taught the beastmen tribes how to summon deities called Primals; every time a primal is summoned, they absorb a large amount of aether, which is the planet's lifeblood. Some primals, like Garuda, exist to kill everything and gorge on as much aether as possible while other primals are more content with tempering people to their side so that the victims will mindlessly support and pray for that primal, giving them even more power. The worst part? Primals can never be truly killed, only temporarily stopped until the beastmen summon them again. When the primals aren't threatening the balance of the world, The Empire looms over the distance, trying to conquer the rest of Eoreza.
    • The city states themselves, on a smaller scale, aren't exactly pleasant places to live. Gridania, located in the middle of a forest, has its people extremely weary of outsiders. The people of Gridania are also compelled to please the elementals of the woods to keep the peace, even if it means doing very questionable things like letting a sick child sccumb to their illness. Ul'dah is supposed to be run by a democracy, but a handful of people within the group are content to keeping things as they are and not giving the other side any leeway; the merchants harass and bully people in the streets, criminal groups and corruption run rampant, and anyone who can't make a living deserves to fend for themselves because the city supposedly has no funds to spare to aid the needy. Limsa Lominsa is a city run by pirates, many who are very immoral for the sake of having freedom, that are at constant war with the Shagain beastmen tribe who are aggressively expanding into the Lominsa territory.
  • Chrono Trigger - 12,000BC and 2300AD. In the former, the majority of humanity is left cowering in caves on a frozen planet (it being the Ice Age); the lucky few with magical powers live on a Floating Continent cluster... which is being held up by the stolen power of an Eldritch Abomination that slumbers within the planet. Their ruler has gone mad from this power, and the only decent person among them is doomed to a terrible fate. The latter is 301 years after the Eldritch Abomination emerged and laid waste to the world. What's left of the human race survives in a constant state of starvation, the machines that maintain their lives on the verge of breaking down, and many are left to think they're alone because the landscapes between their domes are inhabited by horrible mutants. And down south, a mad AI is turning humans into energy for her robot army. You cannot fix 12,000 BC, only survive its collapse; fortunately, preventing the horrors of 2300 AD is the goal of the game.
    • Although it is revealed in Chrono Cross that all the matter and people from terminated timelines, such as the post-apocalyptic 2300AD are dumped into the darkness beyond time, an endless, hopeless void from which there is no escape. It's a portion of this timeline that materialises on top of one version of Chronopolis, destroying it. So while you saved the future from unspeakable horror you at the same time condemned the survivors who already existed in that era to an EVEN WORSE fate.
  • The planet Pandora in Borderlands. Although it was originally colonized in the hopes of turning it into a lucrative, prosperous mining settlement, it was found to be an almost completely barren and borderline uninhabitable wasteland - and that was before the spring cycle began seven Earth years later and the local wildlife woke up from hibernation. Then, of course, there are the several thousand murderous bandits who prey on the few remaining locals, the extreme scarcity of food, water, electricity and medical supplies, and the near-complete lack of anything resembling functioning infrastructure or an effective government. Death is so common that never once do you see an NPC express grief, even when close friends or relatives are killed.
    • According to extra details and subtle implications throughout The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, the rest of the galaxy is no better off. The {{Mega Corp}]s run everything and are heavily corrupt and incompetent, human life is worthless, and nepotism is rampant (to the point General Knoxx takes his orders from an Admiral who is a [possibly mentally retarded]] five year old).
      • Some aspects of The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned paint the background this way as well. For example, listen to the automated messages in Jakob's Cove, which include things like admonishing the now-gone survivors for using weapons designed by other corps because Jakobs doesn't produce the Fire ammo tech modded gear that is so helpful for fighting off the zombies.
    • Things aren't much better in the sequel. In addition to the above, the planet has now been taken over by a Corrupt Corporate Executive with a major god complex.
    • Actually in the sequel, there's a lot more expression of grief. The bandit NPCs will acknowledge that someone near them died, and the Hyperion guards will actually admonish you with phrases like "He was two days from retirement!"
  • Dragon Age: Origins takes place in one. The opening cutscene introduces you to a world where Heaven has been destroyed, the world is threatened by a near-unstoppable army of monsters, and the only people who could possibly stop them are nearly extinct and are forgotten and ignored by the world at large, to the point that it might be too late to save the world. It gets worse. Let's see... there's the Knight Templars who go around killing anyone who shows magical ability and didn't submit to be stolen from their family and allow themselves to be turned into a soulless husk or subjected to an oppressive training regimen that possibly ends with their death — and might actually be justified in doing so (mages are the ones who blew up heaven and created the Blight, and their very existence attracts Demons to the world); the fact that elves only exist as virtual or literal slaves to humanity or exiled tribes in the wilderness; the dwarves have been waging a losing war against aforementioned army of monsters for generations and only have two remaining cities; the fact that government and nobility seem to be corrupt and laden with treachery almost by nature... well, from here, let's just mention that the developers specifically mentioned A Song of Ice and Fire as inspiration and leave it be, shall we?
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness gives you the future. A future where infinite night rules.
    • Better yet, Treasure Town is a fine place to live in, if you don't mind a crime rating BIGGER THAN Detroit, a Cloud Cuckoo Lander guild master, time traveling saints from Hell, your daily dose of horror, and an exploration team that actually steals from children. What's fine about Treasure Town again?
      • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity it's such a crapsack world that... One of the main villains wants to destroy it and kill everyone in it, since no-one can hate or suffer if they're dead the Villain even outright admits it's a crapsack world, though doesn't use that word.
    • For those of you who want humans in your Pokemon experience, we have Orre or, as a better word, Hell). The government barely has anyone of note. The police are utterly pathetic and cannot keep two goof-offs behind bars for very long. The deserts which make up the Eclo Wastes are almost utterly barren of life. The police turf in Pyrite Town has more hoodlums per square foot than any other region to date. Occasionally, these hoodlums form gangs which make life for the locals pretty bad. And then, there's Cipher, the patron saints of Paranoia Fuel in the Pokeverse. The group believes only in power, and will engage in methods to obtain it that can only be described as inhuman - trainer assault, Pokemon theft, federal subversion, Mind Rape, homicide... these guys were the undisputed bottom of the morality barrel in the Pokéverse before Ghetsis showed up, and the two are fighting over that title to this day. The Ranger Corps talks about lots of other regions (except maybe Unova due to limited intel) - even they will not bring Orre up. It's THAT bad.
      • To make this even worse, whatever disaster turned Orre into a wasteland rendered Pokémon almost extinct in the wild, making them rare. Villainous organizations not only steal them the way typical villains in the franchise do, but use a horrid technique that turns them into Shadow Pokémon, corrupted, evil creatures that are prone to mad rages in the midst of a battle. (In both games, a big part of the heroes' mission is to rescue ["snag"] and then cure ["purify"] these corrupted Pokemon.)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Hoooolyyyy fucking shit!
    • To elaborate, the Modern Warfare universe at first seems to be a slightly different version of our world today. For all of the first two missions. When, via Controllable Helplessness, you are shot in the face point-blank range by a power hungry warlord, you realize that this world ain't particularly friendly. When you lose your entire troop regiment to a goddamn nuclear bomb, and die slowly due to radiation, the crapsackiness of this world sets in. Believe it or not, it gets worse as the game goes on. You learn that Russia is being torn apart by a civil war between hard liners called the Ultranationalists and a Russian army that can do all but very little to hold them back. Next, during a flashback, it's revealed that low-level terrorist groups have more than ready access to nuclear weaponry. However, this all gets eclipsed by the American campaign in the second game. Those hard liners? They took power. And, wouldn't you know, they've just been itching for a reason to attack America. Needless to say, it's given to them. By you, no less. You spend the rest of the American campaign defending a war-torn Washington, DC from the Ultranationalists. To finally let you know how much the world in Modern Warfare sucks, when you kill General Shepherd, the guy who instigated all of the crapsackiness of the second game, it does absolutely nothing to stop his plans. In fact, he's already succeeded. All you did is prevent him from seeing it. Considering the Modern Warfare series placement on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, it'll probably get even worse by the time if Modern Warfare 3 roles around.
      • Oh it does get worse in Modern Warfare 3. VERY MUCH SO. Just from looking at a few teaser trailers, the world is fully engulfed in a Third WORLD WAR. And considering this series track record with nukes,expect them to be dropped like rainfall.
      • Ironically, no nukes in Modern Warfare 3. You do get to see New York City get torn apart. Later on European cities start resembling themselves in 1944-45. Use of poison gas in several of those same European cities just makes things worse.
  • EVE Online is a crapsack world for anyone who isn't a capsuleer or safely tucked away in a station, as most of the game consists of going out and blowing up everyone else.
    • And even if you ARE a capsuleer, nullsec is a never ending hell of being podkilled unless you're in a powerful corp.
    • Even if you are in a powerful nullsec alliance, some crafty person can steal everything from you and hundreds of alliancemates, and this is the intention of the game. Lowsec is plagued with the more ethical pirates who simply want to ransom you, to the less ethical ones who will take your ransom and kill you anyway, then post your pleas for mercy to the official forums. Highsec, theoretically the carebear section of the game, has dozens of people waiting for you to take out that 5-billion isk faction battleship and blow it up simply for the bragging rights. The backstory for the game is worse.
      • And now it's being invaded by cybernetic zombies, intent on turning everyone in the galaxy into a Wetware CPU.
      • Nullsec, even for veterans, is a cycle of never-ending conflicts and skirmishes. You fight to defend what you have from others who want to take it, and you fight to take from others what the alliance leadership wants. It's a constant fight, fought with ships, spies, and public relations.
  • The world in Fallout is a crappy post-apocalyptic wasteland, where 200 years after nuclear holocaust the civilization is still fighting for survival. Attractions include, but are not limited to: Chaos and anarchy, bandits, mutated animals (and not only animals), killer robots, radiation, crazy religious cults, outdated technology that will most likely fail you and plenty of deadly diseases. Also, the only food that you will find are either 200 year old frozen dishes or meat of unknown origin. Either way, the best option is cannibalism.
    • ...Or, you know, just eat Brahmin (cows with two heads) meat, or plants. There's a number of places people can get them plants, though they aren't omnipresent.
    • The Pre-war world was actuallly not much of an improvement due to lack of resources. The events leading up to the nuclear holocaust involved a Euro-Middle Eastern War over oil, only ending when the wells in the Middle East dry up, leaving no point in fighting, Alaska is invaded by China for its oil, the U.S. basically forces Canada into being annexed, with protesters being shot on sight, the country is ravaged by a plague, particularly in Colorado, nuclear power and weaponry are both looking better with each passing moment, propaganada can be found even in schools, robots are replacing human workers, increasing unemployment, riots and death are increasingly common, and, with the fear of nuclear winter on everyone's mind, the U.S. government has had over a hundred high tech nuclear shelters known as "Vaults" to protect the people who can afford them. And even then, the vaults were just an experiment for the government to see how humanity would deal with varying circumstances. A handful of "control" Vaults were built and ran exactly as th public thought they would, but the rest of the vaults had special conditions. One was overcrowded, one had a door that wouldn't fully close, leading to radiation flooding it, one was an experiment to use sound waves to mind control people, which failed, and the subjects went violently mad, killing off everyone in the vault, one had hallucinogens pumped through the vents, one was set never to open, and one had the residents trapped in a virtual world completely controlled by a scientist who would torture them for his own amusement A nuclear war may have just been the Reset Button the world needed.
      • As stated earlier, the Fallout games are much closer to A World Half Full. Yes, the world does suck, with innumerable things that will either kill you or make you wish you were dead, but the stories of the games always end happily. (Canonically, at least they do...) Fallout 3 was probably the closest that the series came to this, and even then the main storyline ends with the Capital Wasteland on the path to recovery. The world sucks, but the player can do everything they can to fix it up, and yes, make a long term difference in the Wastelands. Plus, the Oasis in Fallout 3 shows that someday, the world CAN get better. Ironically, this has really pissed off the guy who created the series, who insists that his plan was for things to continue to get worse.
      • You know the worst part? It's been noted, on at least one occasion, that the Fallout 'verse is an optimistic view of what the world would be like post nuclear war.
  • Tales of Symphonia is a crapsack world for sure. You start in a world dying from a severe lack of Mana,(Sylvarant) which causes the world to become barren, the only person who can Save the World is a 15ish year old girl who just happens to be a major Klutz and a Dumb Blonde. Not to mention the world is being oppressed by a group of half elves called the Desians whose sole purpose is to enslave humans and stop the world from being saved. This causes the humans to develop a hatred of ALL half elves. This is all made worse when you realize EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS A LIE. And even after this revelation, and you travel to the second world(Tethe'alla), things aren't much better there. The world is pretty much ruled by a corrupt church, who's pope is poisoning the king, and actively promotes racism against half elves. It turns out the worlds are in a tug-of-war over a dwindling mana supply, so when one world prospers, the other begins to die, and the tug-of-war is being controlled by a group of "angels" called Cruxis. Oh, and remember the Desians? Yeah they're PART of Cruxis. They appear in which ever world is being depleted of mana to force the tug-of-war to continue. And even when you start to manage to fix things, you just end up messing them up again. In fact, the whole plot of the second game is that because you "fixed" everything, you screwed up BOTH worlds. How's that for a crapsack world? Admittedly it can also fall under Crap Saccharine World and A World Half Full.
  • Let's face it: the Red Faction universe sucks. Civilization on Earth is collapsing because all of its metal ores are used up and running dry, so Mars is colonized and mining operations begin there. Unfortunately, the Ultor Corporation's last concern is the safety and treatment of the miners, with the people constantly abused, shoved into atrocious working and living conditions, and infected with a mysterious plague caused by Ultor's experiments in nanotechnology. The titular Red Faction, with assistance from the Earth Defense Force, manage to destroy Ultor, and the EDF gains control of Mars, and terraforms the surface so humans can live unaided on the surface. Unfortunately, the EDF begins running the mining operations exactly like Ultor, and the Marauders, descendants of Ultor, regularly raid colonist settlements. The new Red Faction, after several hundred casualties and deaths, manages to fend off the EDF and the Marauders, and take back Mars again. In Armageddon it is revealed that the EDF's terraforming technology has malfunctioned horribly, causing severe storms to ravage the surface and make it uninhabitable, forcing humanity to flee underground. All seems okay now... at least until an alien species sealed in old Marauder temples is released, terrorizing humanity again. The colonists just can't catch a break, can they?
    • Don't forget that Red Faction shares a universe with the Saints Row series, set in the present day where you play as a gang member who takes over the criminal empire of the city of Stilwater twice. In the first game you were just a member of a gang trying to restore order to the city, yeah, but in the second game you lead the gang in your war to turn the city into your own personal playground. Oh, and the second game also deals with Ultor heavily, and at times even foreshadows the role they'll play in the Red Faction games, most notably in the DLC "Ultor Exposed".
  • Filgaea is a very, very, very unfortunate planet. Some ancilliary media indicate that all the games- at least five at last count- take place on the same world, separated by millenia. If this is true, it has had at least three invasions by time-traveling robots, invading alternate universes, invading aliens, etc... and throughout it, most of the time, the entire planet is a resource-poor desert wasteland. Generally, every time they start repairing the environment enough for life to not suck royally all around, they get another bunch of would-be conquerors up in their grills, and, in the process of fighting them off and/or sealing them, ruin it again.
    • It is near impossible for the Filgaias of the various games to be the same planet. For example, humans are natives in 1 and foreigners in 3, Elw were technological gods in 1, turning to nature later whereas in 3 they were always hippies. And extinct. This isn't even going into the various incarnations of Zeikfried and such. It's sufficient to say that each Filgaia is a crapsack in its own right.
  • Sera in Gears of War has been rendered a truly awful place by decades of nonstop war. The Locust Horde has been waging a campaign of genocide against the human race since their sudden assault on Emergence Day. The human government (COG) had to resort to using the Hammer of Dawn WMD system simply to stall the Locust and prevent them from using COG's own resources against them, which had the side effect of killing millions more humans and rendering most of Sera a desolate wasteland. By the start of the series, only a minority of the human race survives in the handful of remaining cities or living as Stranded, many of whom are hostile to the COG. Finally, the COG itself has a fascist/communist feel to it.
    • Made worse in Gears of War 3, where Sera is so screwed and uninhabitable that the remaining humans have to go live on giant boats, with no government over humans and with not only one, but TWO races trying to kill everything.
    • Even the hailstorms on Sera are doing their best to kill you by dumping razor sharp shards of ice on your head. Any creature that steps out of cover during a razorhail storm is reduced to ground meat in seconds.
  • Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon slightly hints humanity was at war with each other before the Class Cage was activated. It was the reason why people said "yes" to the whole thing, in the first place. Unfortunately, they didn't expect it would also bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In The Elder Scrolls games, Tamriel has always had its fair share of bad spots, but after Oblivion, it turns into this outright as the lack of any apparent heir to the Empire has caused much of the continent to descend into anarchy and infighting. Daedric cultists have sparked a civil war in the Summerset Isles. Skyrim declares war on Morrowind. Black Marsh declares war on everyone. Elseweyr cuts off all ties to everyone else and goes into seclusion. Morrowind itself has become little more than a barren wasteland due to the combination of the Ministry of Truth colliding with the province and Red Mountain erupting, and what's left is quickly conquered by Black Marsh. The tiny island of Solstheim becomes literally the last holdout for independent Dumner. Yeah, things aren't exactly looking well for the Empire right now.
    • Then along comes Skyrim, which takes place 200 years after Oblivion. The Empire's still intact as a new dynasty, the Medes, rose to take power. However, Summerset Isle, Elsweyr, and Valenwood have all fallen under the thumb of the Thalmor, a xenophobic extremist group of Altmer that seek the eradication of the Empire and the extinction of the human races altogether. The Great War, which was fought between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, ended with massive atrocities committed by the Thalmor and both sides heavily damaged. The only real glimmer of hope is that the Empire is quickly trying to rebuild to retake territories lost to the Thalmor, but the civil war in the province of Skyrim has thrown a huge spanner into those plans. And then the Dragons led by Alduin the World-Eater show up...
  • Santa Destroy, as shown through Travis' map of the place. The Beach is full of toxic chemicals, there is an old weapons testing ground filled with killer scorpions, the people are actually ashamed to live in the town and all to happy to leave, the job employers send you tips for work at the assassination centre disguised as an advertising agency, and the fast food places are garbage. That's not even getting into the Ranked Assassins....
    • And in the sequel, it turns out that the main character inadvertently popularized the assassination business and turned the town into a booming Wretched Hive.
  • Geneforge. Ah, Geneforge. Very much a grey and gray world, but that doesn't stop everyone from trying to kill one another. The Awakened are easily the nicest faction in the first two games: they can be ruthless killers when they need to be, but are at least fighting for a world in which creations and humans can get along as equals. Guess what happens to them? By the third game, the two main sides are the Shapers and rebels. The former have an extreme case of Fantastic Racism regarding their creations, keeping all Serviles permanently enslaved and attempting to exterminate several entire sentient species. The latter are full of violent maniacs drunk on power who tend toward a lot of A God Am I, and dabble in racism as well. The nicest characters with any real pull on either side tend to be anti heroes and well intentioned extremists.
  • Monday Night Combat takes place in one of these, though you couldn't tell by looking at it. Underneath the cartoony art style hide Presidents for Life, food dispensed from tubes, a life expectancy of 28, and churros.
  • The World Ends with You has this for the afterlife. You can have a normal life and then die, and what's waiting for you after death? A seven-day game run by the Composer. You do tasks, but you're hunted down by Noise, things that can erase your existence, Reapers, that can erase your existence... and if you make it to the end, you can either choose erasure or reaper— not many people win the ultimate prize being reborn The game is also fixed. Good luck!
  • Psychic Force has a world constantly ravaged in a war between Psychiccer and humans, creating an endless strife. However, what makes it crapsack is that the world will go out of its way to NOT give anyone with sympathetic qualities a happy ending. Happy endings goes to villains, anyone else receive Downer or Bittersweet Ending
  • Dragon Quest VI When you first arrive at the Dread Realm/Dark World not only is everyone in this world weakened to the state where the human inhabitants can barely lift a glass of wine, they are also forbidden by the big bad from having any hopeful or pleasurable thoughts at all. This got to the point where many of the villagers would contemplate suicide just to escape this hell. Later in the same realm we see a group of villagers willing to kill elderly men and women for the treasure of a sage, which turned out to be an empty chest anyway, this was all a plot by the archfiend to spread a rumor of said treasure to lure everyone into looking for it, then watch as they all kill each other over an empty box. Then there is the prison where humans who had so much as hope were sent, seemingly just for the pleasure of torturing them, who are given very small rations of sustenance, beaten on a regular basis, and have daily hangings in front of the other prisoners.
  • NieR has magic infecting an unsuspecting world via the inverted Golden Ending of Drakengard. As a result, seasons and even the daylight cycle have been utterly broken. Wildlife is disappearing, and contact between the few remaining human settlements is being eroded by the ever-increasing hordes of monsters known as Shades literally lurking in every shadow. The few humans that survived are slowly succumbing to a disease known as the Black Scrawl. Humanity as a whole is slowly facing extinction. The title's Chronic Hero is doing whatever he can to brighten people's days, but even he can only offer bittersweet closure, not any actual good news.
    • Hell, the original Drakengard universe counts itself. When a party made up of a murder-happy psychopathic mute, a cannibalistic elf woman, a pedophile, and a religiously racist old man Mission Control are meant to be the good guys, you know you're in a Crapsack World.
  • Air Force Delta Strike: Earth is under constant, unrelenting assault from the OCC, who use just about every cool, technologically advanced weapon imaginable from artillery-wielding rolling tires, to giant flying battleships, to multi-shot rail-guns big enough to ''fly into''!
  • Left 4 Dead seems to make the world absolutely ruthless for anyone who is a survivor in the zombie apocalypse. Most of humanity is either dead, a cannon fodder zombie, or a special zombie with hideous deformities. Any survivors you do happen to meet will be paranoid of your immunities and will call a horde of zombies on you just to prove whether or not you are immune.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 makes it a whole lot worse where every rescue attempt ends in failure, forcing you to trek your way to your next rescue attempt and the military in the final campaign is bombing New Orleans to wipe out the zombies and they ask the survivors if they are carriers. It's shown on the graffiti on the walls that some people think carriers are dangerous to non infected people and the military decided to kill anyone they thought were carriers. Nick comments about this a few times and is greatly worried about their own fate.
    • The Sacrifice comic reveals that carriers are people who are immune to changing into a zombie, but can still spread the virus to others unwittingly, which is what the survivors in both games have been doing! On top of this, when the military "saved" the survivors in Left 4 Dead, they only saved them to see if they can develop a cure for the virus and planned to kill them if they couldn't get a cure. The survivors barely manage to escape (with the help of a few soldiers who were wise enough to listen to them) and get on a train heading south as Bill explains his plan to get them to the Floria Keys, where they can live in peace without zombies (they can't swim) or the military trying to kill them. So in a nutshell, if you aren't a carrier, you will become an infected and if you are a carrier, the military will try to kill you. The world be fucked.
  • Homefront. The central story of the game takes place in 2027, after the American economy has fully collapsed, the Middle East is on fire, which causes gas prices to nearly hit twenty dollars a gallon and North and South Korea have joined forces and annexed Japan and a host of other nations. Also, a massive thermonuclear weapon has been detonated, shutting down America's electronic infrastructure and the Korean People's Army has seized the entire US west of the Mississippi River. Which is irrevocably toxic thanks to said thermonuclear weapon. And a variant of the bird flu is killing off citizens left and right.
  • Rift: So a bunch of dragons (so to speak) are in the process of ripping the world a new space-hole for their own crazy reasons. This could be because the gods fucked up big-time, or it could be because people were building artifacts of doom. As if that weren't bad enough, either a bunch of crazed heretics or a bunch of delusional religious zealots are trying to thwart your attempts to save the world. And to ice this cake, if you play Defiant, this is all a vast improvement on your starting point...
  • Earth's pollution in Run Saber has reached the breaking point, turning it into unhabitable for humans. And then appears a Mad Scientist with promises of cleansing it, only to end up exiling humanity into space colonies and filling it up with mutants and parasites under his total control. Most of the locales are abandoned ruins run over by monsters, and while the ending does end on a high note, it's still pretty much a barren Earth humanity is returning to. And that's assuming the good doctor did take care of pollution before enacting his master plan...
  • Knights Ofthe Old Republic II has the Republic basically shattered, with the protagonist being one of the last surviving Jedi in the galaxy, even though canonically the first game has the player saving the entire galaxy. Pretty much every planet visited by the PC is either a desolate wasteland or it has a corrupted government, where there's basically no authority to keep things in order. The only exception of this might be Telos, but then again the Exile blows up its only fuel source. Guess what happens when a giant space station that acts as a city doesn't get its fuel. You can fix it later on though.If that wasn't enough, everywhere the player goes there's someone trying to kill him/her. There's actually very few places that get to be saved from impending doom.
    • The new The Old Republic MMO has it that the galaxy is in complete chaos. Then again, judging from the trailers, it doesn't look that bad.
  • In Ultima V Britannia becomes this, which is saying a lot since this is the land that went through being terrorized by not one, but two evil sorcerers and their demon/computer/whatever creation. True, the monsters that once roamed the countryside are now mostly gone, appearing mostly at night or in the wilderness, but the new regime of Lord Blackthorn has taken a bit of a hardline on Britannia's philosophy of the Eight Laws of Virtue, making charity mandatory, punishing most infractions of justice with death, and even forcing dishonored people to commit suicide! Then there are the Shadowlords the entities who corrupted Blackthorn to begin with whose presence is enough to turn an entire city violent and sadistic.
  • Earth becomes this in Darksiders after suffering through a premature Apocalypse in the beginning of the game. Humanity itself has died off. The world is littered with the ruins of civilization. Sandworms patrol entire deserts created from human ashes. All while the forces of Heaven and Hell wage their meaningless war for supremacy.
  • Termina, from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Most of the characters are in despair all thanks to the eponymous mask, as well as the moon slowly falling. Majora does so many malicious things to almost everyone in Termina. And for what? For the Evulz. Thankfully, you as Link have the opportunity to save it from this trope.
    • But, as fitting for a game that resonates doom and despair in every way, it's not possible to save everybody in a single 3 day cycle.
    • While not quite as oppressively miserable as Termina, Hyrule isn't exactly a picnic, either, considering the land is fairly dangerous even during peace times. Factor in the civil wars, racial tensions, power struggles over the Triforce, and a Big Bad who wreaks utter devastation every few centuries, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that many of the games end on a bittersweet note. Skyward Sword justifies the crapsack: the God of Evil Demise cursed Link and Zelda (the mortal incarnation of Hyrule's goddess Hylia) to face an incarnation of his hatred every time they reincarnate.
    • Even after the cycle is broken in Wind Waker by leaving Hyrule and Ganondorf trapped at the bottom of the ocean to slowly crumble away, the new lands that people settle have their own various monsters and demons causing trouble for everyone else.
  • Unless the trailers are lying, the world of Final Fantasy Type-0 is not going to be a particularly nice place to live, as it depicts a world caught up in a full-on, no-holds-barred global conflict against the Empire of Milites, with plenty of death and suffering all over the place. In fact, it can all be summed up in this quote:
    It was their destiny, and theirs alone to decide.
    Free from fear of fate, gazing undaunted into the eye of death.
  • Ah, Demons Souls. The world is being swallowed by a colorless fog that unleashes demons because someone had the bright idea to awaken the Old One from his sleep. Boletaria, the kingdom where the game takes place, has been almost completely destroyed, and very few people who are still sane and still have their souls remain. The rest have been eaten by demons. Even BEFORE the events of the game, it's a crapsack world; The Land of Defilement is filled with trash and filth, and the lost and unfortunate make their home there. When the demons arrive there, it's actually an improvement. The island of the Shadowmen was formerly full of people who cared more about the dead and storms than the living. The God of Demon's Souls turns out to be none other than the Old One himself. Even at the end of the game, you can't catch a break; your choices are to either: A, Allow the Old One to go back to sleep and become a Monumental, half-living yet aware statues who are supposed to be immortal, but die anyway, and be charged to watch over this crappy world for the rest of your unnatural life,, or B, Kill the Maiden in Black, join with the Old One, and destroy the world as you know it.
  • Tales of the Abyss wouldn't have much of a story without reaffirming this with every single plot development. Out of the six playable characters, Ion and Mieu: two don't know who their real parents are, two aren't who they claim to be, two are double agents, two are exiles, two have to kill family members, the very existence of two of the main characters has ruined the lives of two of the villains, two are replicas, two are relatives of the villains (four if you count the replicas), one desires to kill Luke, one is indirectly responsible for killing Ion, one is indirectly responsible for a mass genocide and one is responsible for the creation of the most despicable science in Auldrant, and MORE. And these are just the HEROES.
  • Both worlds in Alice: Madness Returns.
    • One is the once-beautiful Wonderland, slowly being corrupted by Alice's own psyche, and filling with Creppy dolls and ruin, even without getting into level-specific features such as the dodo "misery-ium" in Hatter's Domain, the Ink Wasps' brutal oppression of the ants in the Oriental Grove level, and the Dollmaker's Workshop.
    • The other, Alice's "real world" is a grimdark Dickensian London where practically everyone has an agenda and/or one of the worst lives in existence, even without Angus Bumby running around pimping orphans.
  • It is quite possible to create one in Tropico by tearing down all buildings one could live in (besides your palace), let crime go mad, barely have enough food for your people, and pay them all a dollar for anything that isn't being in your military, and let the enviroment go to Hell. Of course, be prepared for rebellions and your international relations to go VERY sour.
    • The island always starts out as a Hell hole. Tropico 3 states that "Tropico has just been declared a fourth world country."
  • Earth 2150. The never-ending war between the Eurasian Dynasty and the United Civilized States comes to a head when the UCS' military AI shoots a nuke into the North Pole, screwing up Earth's orbit and hurtling it into the sun. The conflict escalates because both sides are trying to harvest what's left of the planet's resources. Not even the independent lunar colony is safe so they are pulled into the conflict. The sequels showed they all escaped Earth's destruction but their conflict continues.
  • Total Annihilation. The name says it all.
  • The Starcraft universe. Earth's government oppresses its inhabitants and exiles its criminals and political dissenters to the Koprulu sector. Said convicts found the Confederacy which proceeds to oppress its inhabitants. The Sons of Korhal overthrow the Confederacy and found the Terran Dominion in its place, which also oppresses its inhabitants. Then Earth's government comes to bring order to the lawless and war-torn sector (read: oppress its inhabitants). All while embroiled in a seemingly Hopeless War between the Protoss and the Zerg.
  • The world of Dark Souls isn't a happy place at all. The flames that gave rise to life are going out leading to most places in the world to have endless nights. Mysterious brands called the "Dark Signs" are cursing humans with undeath (including the player character) whom are doomed to lose their humanity and become insane Hollowed monsters. The gods of the world are also suffering, except two Gwynevere and Gwyndolin, and they either abandoned their people to their fate or care more about their own power and influence than about fixing the world. One god is a shadow of his former self after some of his power was stolen by a mere mortal, another lost her sanity when she tried to rekindle the flames and is now the source of all demons (oh yeah, demons prowl this world too), and another sacrificed himself to a horrible burning existence to keep the flames going just a little longer. There's also no guarantee that either choice you make at the end of the game will make the world a better place for anyone.
  • Crisis City from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) can be considered this as the entire city is on fire thanks to Iblis. This, in turn, causes Silver the Hedgehog and Blaze the Cat to turn to Mephiles and travel back to the past in an effort to save the future. Unfortunately, this involves the killing of Sonic the Hedgehog himself.
  • Whilst Mass Effect's future is pretty similar to the present, there are some pretty awful places to live: Omega and Tuchanka being the obvious ones, and territory controlled by the Batarian Hegemony is presumably not especially nice.
    • Things only get worse in the third game when the Reapers come knocking, especially on Earth. In the best possible endings, the galaxy at large overcomes this and moves on. In the worst possible endings, several species are wiped out and Earth in particular is a smoking cinder.
  • The post-apocalyptic Caves Of Qud, featuring the usual irradiated wastes and ruins infested with mutants and killer robots. Civilization? Small, isolated, and still in such a hole that purified water is precious enough to be used as currency. Hey, at least there are also lush jungle regions... filled not only with mutants (some of whom are heavily armed), but plants that want to shoot you, terrify you, bleed you dry, or rust all your equipment.
  • Armored Core depicted this kind of setting pretty early in the series, and has gotten worse with each new installment.
    • Armored Core V takes it up another level. The story starts out with the heroic rebels trying to overthrow Father, the resident dictator who controls a massive city that serves as the only real bastion of civilization in the region, which itself is cut off from the outside world by the after-effects of a massive war that polluted the land around it. Eventually Father gets overthrown, but immediately afterwards the Corporation comes in and starts wiping out the rebels. In the resulting chaos, the city is abandoned and the rebels wander aimlessly, breaking up into many groups of ever-warring migrants who are constantly claiming and losing territory in the never-ending war that serves as the multiplayer mode. So instead of a single totalitarian dictatorship that rules over a megacity, you end up with what is effectively Somalia. With mecha.
      • The sequel Verdict Day up's the ante with having the "Somlia with mecha" and upping it to a global scale. This series doesn't catch a break, then again most games that From Software make ever get one.
      • Armored Core 4 and For Answer may also qualify. The world is ruled by a series of various oppressive Mega Corps who wage war with each other for resources and influence, and has stables of pilots piloting their titular mechas which are equipped with weapons and shields that all the while corrode and poison the landscape. Taken to its literal extreme in For Answer where the only set of clean air on the planet is literally high up in the stratosphere, where many influential members of society reside while many of the soldiers and common folk waste away on the surface. To drive the point across, it's implied that the events of 4/For Answer occurred decades, maybe even centuries before V/Verdict Day.
  • In Epic Mickey the Wasteland that the story takes place has a very depressing appearance when we first see it. It use to be beautiful until Mickey Mouse created the Shadow Blot and spilled thinner onto the world, causing the beautiful features to be swept away. There are pools of thinner (acid-like chemical) surrounding certain areas and many areas are teaming with blot minions. Depending on the decisions the player makes, the Wasteland's depressing features can be minimal or dramatic. While it is true that for many structures, the player can use paint to make them look less gloomy, the sad features still exist beneath the paint.
  • Doom II: "Now you are the only Human left on the face of the planet. Cannibal mutations, carnivorous aliens, and evil spirits are your only neighbors…"
  • If you're a human in the God of War series, you have two choices; Lawful Evil gods who view you as little more than a plaything or possession, and are only good in that they represent stability, or a Chaotic Evil demigod who's a Nominal Hero at best and might kill you for no other reason than he's having a bad day, which is often.
  • EV Nova to some extent, though it never quite loses a hopeful tone. The Federation is a police state thanks to the elected government having been suborned by one of its intelligence agencies, and has the Vell-os (a psychic offshoot of humanity) enslaved to it. The Auroran Empire is a loose confederation of warrior houses that fight among themselves as often as they fight the Federation. The Polaris are xenophobic isolationists with a higher tech base that lets them blow away anyone to looks at them cross-eyed. Then there's all the Space Pirates floating around. On the other hand, there are a great many people trying to make things better. The Rebellion against the Federation, for instance, which seeks to destroy the Bureau and restore democracy to the Federation's government.
  • The Lost Land in the Turok franchise is a universe between universes where "Time Has No Meaning". Tears in the fabric of reality pull objects and life-forms from other worlds out of their own universes and deposit them there. Tribal warriors, evil sorcerors, demons, dinosaurs, androids, aliens, giant bugs, man-eating plants, and countless other horrors are commonplace. Everything Is Trying to Kill You. There are a number of Lost Superweapons / Artifacts of Doom capable of unimaginable destruction. The world is highly unstable (both geologically and dimensionally). The land is ruled by a manipulative Omniscient Council of Vagueness with its own nefarious agenda. And there's ALWAYS some jackass trying to conquer/destroy The Multiverse. If it wasn't for the Badass Native protecting this place, the omniverse would have ended a long time ago.
  • Apparently, crapsack worlds just arise naturally if you keep playing Civilization II for long enough. The year is 3991. Only three civilizations are left, and they're locked in a Hopeless Guilt-Free Extermination War, and have been for the past 1700 years. The war has killed the vast majority of mankind (90% of people are dead), the polar ice caps have melted and nearly all of the earth's surface has been reduced to radioactive swampland where hardly anything ever grows, nuclear attacks on what's left of the cities are an almost daily occurrence (either from ICB Ms or terror attacks), and all industrial capacity for all three nations is spent entirely on producing more munitions to fight on the frontlines, which haven't moved at all.
  • Evil Islands: Let's see. First, an After the End environment (Gipath) with ruins everywhere and people living in Stone Age. Second, an empire (Ingos) governed by The Caligula, and where just leaving the city means you'll get ruthlessly shot either by rioting villagers, the incredibly powerful gang of local thieves or the Private Army under orders from the local merchant. Finally, an empire (Suslanger) with basically no freedom, soldiers everywhere, and with legal slavery. What a happy world, don't you think?
  • DayZ simulates how a real life Zombie Apocalypse would go. Supplies are scarce, zombies are everywhere, and all the other players in the game will be more than happy to kill you just for your can of beans. The gameplay itself also lends itself to the trope quite well; firing guns will attract zombies and paranoid/rouge players towards you due to the noise, having your legs broken forces you to crawl everywhere and only morphine can fix broken bones, losing blood makes it hard to see or aim and losing too much blood can make you fall unconscious at random times, you have to keep eating and drinking to keep your energy up, and you never know if the other players helping you are going to back stab you later. Even being shot once is enough to break your bones or make you lose a ton of blood. Needless to say, only the strong survive and even they can't survive forever.
  • It is practically a Mercy Kill for the people of Midgard in the original Valkyrie Profile, because life there positively sucks compared to Asgard and the other roots of Yggdrasil. It's saturated with brown, with one of its leading powers constantly going on religious crusades, the other being an intense military force, loads and loads of poverty, child prostitution, monsters rampaging everywhere, constant political strife...a lot of this is displayed in only the first two chapters!
    • We eventually find out that several of the roots, including Midgard, are sustained by one of four great and powerful treasures; along with the three others, Midgard's treasure, the Dragon Orb, was stolen by Odin to be used during the battle of Ragnarok, and the after-effect pretty much turned Midgard into this trope.
  • Pretty much any title by Rockstar Games is going to be set in one, in addition to the previously mentioned titles like GTA and Max Payne. Heck, even Bully has shades of this.
    • Speaking of Bully; Bullsworth Academy. A school where all the students are separated into their own cliques which can't seem to get along with each other. Bullying has become such a rampant epidemic, to the point that campus guards march around the school all day. A simple infraction such as a dress code violation or being slightly late to class results in the school's prefects coming after you in mass numbers. The nearby town is not much better, with it's homelessness, regular theft and violence, and unfriendly townspeople.
  • The world of the Disciples games is a pretty Grim Dark place. Almost all of the gods are Jerkass Gods, the most sympathetic gods are the gods of the evil factions (the Satan expy was wrongfully accused and driven mad by imprisonment and the goddess of the undead is a Woman Scorned by an Ungrateful Bastard), and in the third game, the "good" gods want to destroy the world since they think it's a hopeless mess. The mortals aren't any better. The human Empire is falling apart due to the events of the games, the dwarves are in a similar bind, and the Elves become warmongers that turn on their former allies at the whim of a mad god. And these are the good guys. The bad guys are Omnicidal Maniac demons who want to free their wrongfully imprisoned master and the undead hordes are unflinchingly loyal to their goddess and don't care who they hurt while obeying her orders. The demons are also slowly dying because their master's power is fading. The only race that isn't really suffering are the Undead Hordes, because they are already dead. Nobody is wholly good, even evil isn't spared from suffering, and the only gods that think that resetting the world is a bad idea are the "evil" ones.
  • Messiah: Future Earth is ruled by dictators who freely snatch civilians off the streets to use them for genetic experiments or to feed their blood to the Sealed Evil in a Can. Police brutality is rampant and pretty much everyone carries a gun, to the point where shootouts on the streets between the cops and various armed factions are commonplace. Everything is drab and gray and polluted, and contact with nature is something that only the few lucky can afford. The only people who cared to rebel against the government have long since became savage cannibals who sometimes kidnap random people to eat them. Also, God doesn't care about humanity anymore.
  • Despite its cute looks, the world in Skullgirls is an utter hellhole. There's a powerful Eldritch Abomination wandering the world, most sources of income are in debt to or controlled by a crime syndicate, the only safe country is a totalitarian state based on Nazi Germany, mad scientists can act with impunity (or worse, support), and slavers are able to operate in the open.
  • BioShock has as its theme how the best-laid plans of men will collapse under contact with human failings. This is aptly illustrated by both Rapture, the crumbling, leaking city under the sea where anyone who's not insane is trying to use you, and Columbia, the flying city that regularly has pieces fall from the sky... which is probably a better fate for anyone on them than living in the city.
  • Fire Emblem has its fair share of worlds razed by war, but most of them either make due during the war or recover fine when the war is over. The exceptions are the Jugdral continent and the Bad Future from Fire Emblem Awakening.
    • In the former, most of the ruling countries and houses are run by the descendants of twelve heroes. When the game starts, at least three of them are turning on the others, and by the second half of the game, all of the ruling houses are fighting amongst one another (which itself is lampshaded in the introduction to Chapter 8). The Hero is ultimately duped by a man he thought was his ally, his father is blamed for the death of another lord (who turns out to be the father of his love interest), and he, along with most of his allies, are burned alive for treason. This all began because Sigurd merely wanted to a.) find some answers about why the Kingdom of Issach was invading Grannvale, and b.) he wanted to save Adean, a childhood friend, out of the goodness of his heart. By the second half of the game, while Arvis was able to keep a ten year peaceful rule, it all comes undone when both a number of nobles begin to fight again and when the Loptyr Cult starts acting out on its plans to revive the dark dragon god Loptyr, which is now possible because Arvis' son Julius has the blood needed to become his vessel. Needless to say, Arvis becomes regretful when Child Hunts and sacrifices become commonplace, and he even finds out that having Julius was a part of the cult's plan the entire time - they even brainwashed his half-sister so that she could marry him and have his children, as they both possess Loptyr's blood. Jugdral is also far more of a No Woman's Land compared to any other entry; in the second half of the game, it's implied that Leen/Laylea was raped by the nobleman she was serving because she refused to become his personal dancer.
    • In the latter, the Fell Dragon Grima is resurrected, and with the help of his army of Risen that continues to multiply, the world is razed and humanity is nearly extinct. The children who come from here lived poor lives even before the dragon's resurrection, with most either losing their parents at a young age or never knowing them at all. All of the children are bizarre to high degrees, and in some of the DLC chapters, they also talk about their lives in the future compared to the present - Owain and Inigo, for example, have lost track of how many they've killed, which disturbs both of them.
  • The world of RuneScape: For starters, while none of the major deities are really evil, they're not exactly the nicest bunch of folks, and many of them think nothing of starting apocalyptic wars to expand their dominion, wipe other gods' followers out, or just for the sake of warfare. And that's just the gods; there's also:
    • A nation of Nigh Invulnerable vampires hellbent on expanding their rule over all of Gielinor, held in check by a tiny resistance movement and a blessed river (that they've almost managed to corrupt);
    • A clan of elves conspiring with the ruler of one of the largest human cities to bring Zamorak back into the physical plane of existence;
    • Not one, but several holes in reality spewing hideous extradimensional monsters;
    • A Proud Warrior Race of Humanoid Abominations called the Mahjarrat, many of who seek to ascend to godhood and usurp their leader, Zamorak;
    • A race of draconian Humanoid Abominations known as the dragonkin, accidentally unleashed, empowered, and enraged by one of the Mahjarrat, who seek to annihilate all life on Geilinor.
  • As far as post-nuclear wastelands go, the world of Metro 2033 and Last Light often makes Fallout look downright cozy. Just 20 years after the requisite nuclear war, humanity has literally been driven underground, with the surviving citizens of what used to be Moscow living their entire lives in the metro tunnels beneath the city. The very air of the surface is poisonous and radioactive, and every inch of the ruined city is infested with vicious, bloodthirsty, man-eating mutants that attack from land, sea, and air (and sometimes all at once). People are crowded into cramped, filthy train stations ruled by Nazis, Dirty Communists, or corrupt merchants' guilds, and life is generally a short, unpleasant slog in which death by mutants, bandits, radiation, or war seems almost inevitable. Oh, and there's no afterlife anymore; it, too, was destroyed when the bombs fell. Those who die end up as tortured souls trapped on Earth, unable to pass on and constantly reliving their final moments for eternity.
  • In Xenonauts, you must stop an Alien Invasion before it causes too much damage to Earth powers. After each mishap, the game gives you a popup message about how the current UFO is messing with the world and terrorizing people, and these incidents only get worse and worse as the invasion progresses. (The designer specifically made this system to increase the feeling that you're fighting an escalating war and that the fate of mankind is at stake.)
    • Moreover, the Xenonauts and their support personnel all have uniformly unhappy expressions whenever you see them. (Wouldn't you?)
  • An example in a racing game of all places, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit and its sequel NFS IV: High Stakes have Empire City, a winding course through a decaying industrial sector and red light district. Described by the course narrator as a 'Metropolis gone bad,' it features rundown buildings, Gothic-esque architecture with glowing red windows, a seemingly ruined cityscape against a lighting-wracked, smog-reddened sky and a spherical space station staring at you.
  • The Dead Space universe is not a happy place for anyone except maybe the Brethren Moons. Humans have resorted to planet-cracking for resources. The government does terrible things out of sheer desperation to solve the energy crisis because planet-cracking isn't enough anymore. An insane cult that worships mysterious alien artifacts is gaining ground. Said artifacts inevitably drive people insane and transform them into flesh-eating Necromorphs. The government can't destroy/seal away said artifacts because they are the only possible solution they can find to the previously mentioned energy crisis. Said artifacts are nothing but Schmuck Bait to facilitate the Brethren Moons' lifecycle. The third game reveals that this awful situation has been repeated countless times with different alien civilizations. It's reflected in the games' environments as well. Everything looks dark and rusted, with the exception of the third game which takes place on an icy hellhole of a planet.
  • Heavily implied in Tom Clancy's End War. A nuclear terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia has killed six million people and crippled the supply of oil from the Middle East, causing a massive worldwide financial crisis. Only the most powerful and wealthy countries survive; the United States (which has the funds and reserves to keep going), Russia (which has become the world's number one supplier of oil and gas now the Middle East has been crippled), and Europe (who have the technology to mass-produce hydrogen engines), and some independent countries like Britain, Switzerland and Israel have managed to keep going but most others couldn't sustain themselves and collapsed. The United Nations has been disbanded due to massive diplomatic disputes, China's gone to pot and is plagued by environmental disasters, Africa and India are experiencing droughts which are killing tens of thousands, and the Balkans have descended into complete anarchy. And then World War III kicks off.
  • Zalanthas is one through and through. The world has a desert climate, with wildlife that is extremely dangerous and aggressive, with metal being so scarce that any survival gear has to make do without it. The centres of civilisation that do exist are all invariably ruled by autocrats, corrupt officials, and packed with scores of thieves and criminals. To top it all off, the resident pair of sorceror-kings running the most powerful cities out there are heavily implied to be directly related to the world's crapsack state.
  • The Ace Attorney series shows just how common corruption and the ends justifying the means is in the world of law. Trials used to go at their normal pace until the public complained that trials went on for too long and nothing was resolved in a timely manner, along with correctional institutions being overcrowded with felons and suspected felons. To kill two birds with one stone, the courts decided that all trials have to be concluded within 3 days, which means the prosecution and the defense are under a strict time limit to prove that the defendant is guilty or innocent. It's even noted in game that many innocent people were sent to jail due to the new rules.
    • The courts are also heavily biased against defense attorneys due to said courts adopting the "guilty until proven innocent" mindset. The burden of proof falls heavily on the defense while the prosecution just needs to make a plausible case on why the defendant is guilty. You can see the concept of it all in every single case you play where the prosecution will pull every single stunt possible (within legal means, mostly) to make sure that you don't win. Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney himself and the main character in the "Phoenix Arc", is always riding by the seat of his pants and starts freaking out when things seem to be unwinnable for him until he can turn things around at the last possible moment.
      • This is also painfully Truth in Television, as the courts are based on the Japanese judicial system at the time the first game was released.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney explores the flaws of the court system further with Apollo noting that no matter what evidence, theory, or logic he comes up with, the prosecution comes up with a simple rebuttal that puts the game in their favor and Apollo feels like there's no true justice for the innocent. The broken law system is part of the reason why Phoenix helped create the Jurist System so that there can be people with an unbiased view overseeing the trial and the group can vote on a verdict.
    • By the time Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies rolls around, after several incidents of defense lawyers using forged evidence to win trials and prosecutors pressing false charges on the defendants to get them locked up happened, the public lost nearly all of their faith in the law system and "The Dark Days of Law" came to be. Defense attorneys and prosecutors will do anything to win, knowing that the public has given up on the system.
  • Let's take a look at a tropical holiday spot in the Pacific. A nice place frequented by tourists. The perfected getaway location. Where the natives practice cannibalism and the resulting disease has mutated into hell on earth. There is very little in the way of shelter, even less in the way of defending against the infection, the few survivors are either evil, go crazy, or otherwise doomed, with it heavily implied there are no survivors, period. This is Dead Island.
  • In Emerald City Confidential, Oz is run-down and riddled with crime and corruption, magic has been outlawed, and Oz is at threat from attack by the Phanfasms, since Oz's magical protection is out-of-balance due to the death of the four witches.
  • Mine Craft. Just about every humanoid thing is out to kill you along with every humanoid thing that isn't you that doesn't want to kill you. The only peaceful people live in constant fear of a zombie attack and the player themselves can never outright exterminate the plague of undead.
    • This picture particularly shows it.
  • The world of Dishonoured fits this trope to a tee. Civilization as we know it exists only on a handful of small islands in the middle of a mostly unexplored ocean on a world that's implied to have been created entirely by accident and that humanity is rapidly bringing it closer to its destruction. There's one other continent, but it's so inhospitable that every settlement quickly goes mad and/or dies. Virtually everything in this world can and does kill humans, with giant vicious rats that carry a horrible plague and can reduce a human to nothing in seconds, acid-spitting river krusts that infest the shores, giant Lovecraftian horrors that only vaguely resemble real whales and are implied to have magic powers, and wolfhounds with crocodile jaws. In Dunwall, it's just as bad; the city is crumbling, half the population is dead to plague, and it's run by a corrupt and crazy dictatorship with an oppressive police and strict religion. Depending on your actions, you can make it slightly worse, doom it for eternity, or lead it into a golden age.
  • Analogue: A Hate Story exists in one, made all the more worse by the fact that you can't actually do anything about it. The game's focused on reading through the logs of an ancient Korean Generation Ship, the Mugunghwa that was lost thousands of years ago in order to discover why the ship, and everyone onboard, disappeared in the first place. The only way to achieve this is by working with the ship's only working AI, *Hyun-ae, who is the brain uploaded version of the girl who single-handedly killed everyone on the ship by shutting off the life support systems. Of course, you don't find this out until the climax of the story, after discovering that the Mugunghwa was in a misogynistic and ignorant society where the average life expectancy was between 30 and 50 years old and where the knowledge of Hangul, the Korean alphabet, was all but forgotten. Of course, the world outside of the Mugunghwa is better, but still...
  • The world of Skull Girls has just barely begun to recover from a cataclysmic war, and as a result much of the world is in ruins. Nearly every single country in the world is being secretly controlled by the Medici crime family, and those that aren't are borderline fascist police states. Mad science runs amok, with horrifying abominations and killer robots rampaging across the land. Slavery is legal and slavers are not only permitted, but encourages to abduct their victims in public specifically to instill fear into the populace. And this is all before the Skull Heart appears and begins to wreck its own havoc.
  • Phoenotopia subverts this; the ancient humans who went to space expected Earth to be stuck as one after the war, but it got better. Played straight in the Dread Lands.

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