Crapsack Worlds are common in videogames, 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: 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. 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.
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?
Actually, in the "Neutral/Freedom" ending of Nocturne, things improve. 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.
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's Dune games has few examples of this. Most notably the homeworlds of great houses:
Atreides homeworld Caladan is questionable example of this. They throwing babies to ocean and only those who can swim are considered worthy (those who dont obviously dies) Also, the whole planet is governed by monarchy, with all issues that comes from that. But, Atreides, considered as good guys, have definitely best of the homeworlds to live in.
Geidi Prime of house Harkonnen is 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 its ice planet. Instead of power hungry nobles, Sigma Draconis is corporate driven world. But the deception and Klingon Promotion is basicaly all the same as Geidi-Prime. However, Ordos can see value of someone, so, as long you are useful, you propably wouldnt be killed just for fun. You will be killed by you competitors instead. And did I mention it is an ICE PLANET?
And, well, the actuall Dune is pretty much this too:
Its sand planet, where the water is very scarce. People have to wear suits wich prevents loosing body moisture and is recycling their...waste.
As the spice, addictive drug, comes from this planet, its in very air and soil. So if you live on dune log enough, you've got addicted no matter if you want or not.
Ah yes, the spice is produced by sand worms. Those GIANT SandWorms the trope is named for.
Spice is exclusive to this planet. And its the most valuable substance in universe. That means the Dune is plagued by constant warfare of houses fighting for Spice. In the last instalment, Emperor annouce legal all-out war for Dune to finally decide who will rule Dune and thus the Spice and the universe. It ended up as biggest war for dune yet, and the traitorous house Tleilaxu unleashed the self replicating zombies on population. You dont want to live on Dune.
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.
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 one characters, lethal traps and the apples fall up! 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.
In general it's safe to assume the world in any Super Robot Wars game is going to be pretty crappy, with various anime bad guys invading the Earth, conducting their plans, joining forces or fighting against each other, with the original villains on the top of all of it. And it's up to heroes to fix things up.
Castlevania II: Simon's 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. Blame this all on "Dracula's Curse" if you want, but there's a reason why most of the games take place inside Castlevania — who's to say things are better on the outside?
Um, yeah. The curse is causing all this. And you're trying to break it. That's the whole point. ("Tempt you with sin"?? You're reviewing this game for the Family Research Council or something?)
Made a little better in later games, particularly 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.
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 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; this got taken out because of time constraints. 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.
Actually Air Ex (Air Exchange) was removed because they wanted to take the story in another direction, its removal had nothing to do with time constraints. It was actually cut 2 years before Half-Life 2 was released, with the last Air Ex map having been modified in 2002.
Pretty much all of Earth in Command And Conquer 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.
And this was an improvement from Command And Conquer Tiberian Sun, where the atmosphere and oceans had been contaminated enough to leave the human race months from extinction, with the few safe population tucked away in the arctic.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert isn't any better. The world keeps getting devastated by two superpowers for no other reason than they distrust each other. And thanks to Tim Curry, now there are 3 superpowers.
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.
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is a perfect example of this when you see Madd Dogg is threatening to kill himself via jumping off a roof. CJ tries to talk him out of it, but the locals tell CJ to hush because they already made a bet over whether or not Madd Dogg will jump. CJ can only say "Damn, this town is cold..."
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.
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 mentallyfor 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.
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 The aforementioned Anti-Hero shuns company, though winds up tolerating a clearly mentally underdevelopedcatgirl. The aforementioned angelic doctor is on the wrong side of the tracks, all for the sake of an amorphous aberration who she once knew, and said abberation, when human, was instead a glory-hound, self-serving, fame-seeking man with gigantic inferiority complex and constantly rejected her help and support (and he's not showing any signs of fixing that ego of his after what happened to him), and while she still cared on other people that do cared about her, a love from a hammy ninja of justice goes unrequited as said ninja of justice got designated into the role of Joke Character and Butt Monkey (though with some... things, he's working on that), while attempting to defend his country rather than saving her (granted, he's not aware). There's a werewolf butler who serves a vampire, but he's only as modest in attitude as she allows, and she is too haughty for good's sake (she's working on that). The son of one of the major villains has a mechanical custodian who's actually his sister, who he was forced to service on his own due to daddy's abandonment of them, aaand he's got a knack on killing you with a polite smile on his face in case you're holding some information that he wants (he's working on that, thanks to said angelic doctor and hammy ninja of justice). The iron knight patrolling the land is quite aloof and easily driven to violence under the wrong circumstances, and his idea of 'justice' would be "This world is corrupt, I'm gonna cleanse EVERYTHING there, innocent or not!"... and does NOT trust humans at all. And then there's the Magical Girl who harbors three personalities, two of which are literally childish while the third is sealed away 99% of the time. Under the NOL banner, we have a determined, if psychotic, young man with severe brother-complex with the Anti-Hero (he's working on that), a warm young lady who goes cold when she's on the battlefield (don't ever ask why that is); and said psychotic young man just plain HATE HER for no reason; and another young lady dedicated to upholding justice (mostvigorously). There's a resistance movement, which are also no better than the totalitarian institute in general practice, its three members of note include a Mad Scientist whose nuclear arsenal vastly outweigh her temperament and is so hell bent in exacting vengeance on that Troll with her own hands; so much that nuclear arsenal is a viable option for her, and she would neglect on the pleas of help from that angelic doctor, who was once her student, thereby setting her off to the wrong road in the first place when she could've prevented that; a well-mannered and capable scientist/cyborg who is loyal to the aforementioned to a fault, programmed to do so and he's not fixing it for the moment, and a (normally) ditzy agent playing under the resistance banner while also paying lip service to NOL, but cares for the young lady with a Dark Secret to the point she's willing to betray just about anybody in the name of keeping her safe. And recently it's revealed that amongst its ranks is a dangerous Blood Knight who gives off particularly dense villainous vibes, who was reputedly kept in prison the whole time due to said villainous vibes, only to be released for whatever reason. And just also recently, there's another girl who belongs to another group that HATES said resistance movement, meaning that now it's leering closer to be as bad as the totalitarian institute. Aside of that, there's also an actually wise badass cat who may actually be the candidate for goodness and unity, only to mostly fail to unite and be cryptic, not to mention having a grudge to said Troll for killing his human wife... which may be that dark, mysterious magician under the Troll's employment, who doesn't speak. EVER. Not to mention that if you walk somewhere wrong, you may meet up some robotic girl with tons of swords ready to cut you down, and if that Anti-Hero was nearby... God help you if you get between them because she'll get so jealous even on sight alone, and kill you for getting in between them. Or alternatively, a rather convincingly fabulous Dude Looks Like a Lady who is so fixated on youth that he's chasing said 'son of major villains', giving off pedophilia vibes and if you ever so not meet his standards, he'll decrease your age. 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. 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 First of all, the Anti-Hero learned forgiveness from the Heroic Sacrifice of the formerly yandere robotic girl, and time with the ditzy catgirl may help ease his conscience further and said yandere robotic girl garnered enough willpower to re-materialize... unfortunately she picked the villain's quarter as a respawning point. Speaking of that, the vigorous justice-fighting lady has gotten even worse thanks to Mind Rape and goes into Knight Templar territory, but thankfully, the nice girl with Dark Secret has grown enough spine to make it her mission to save that justice fighting lady, a spine big enough to at least get said Dark Secret into a tame Super Mode for her to use for that mission, while her other squirrel friend has proven herself to be an actual nuisance for the enemy that could make things go haywire when unchecked (she's rubbing off her spirit and spine to the girl with Dark Secret), and from the inside, turns out the angelic doctor hasn't been reduced into an obsessed fanatical dark Love Martyr like everyone else expected, in fact she still retains most of her conscience, so with luck she could act like a mediator and a calming presence for the justice-fighting lady. Speaking of that, she is stabilizing her own condition and judging with her personality and her distrust to the bastard in the first place, only a matter of time until she stabs him in the back... She's also doing the same to the blob, but only as far as making him coherent, he still hadn't learned to be more humble or not getting himself into trouble for his own glory. And moving out from that, the badass cat is taking the psycho brother into his tutelage in fighting, hopefully getting him to be less dependant on the Anti-Hero... but he STILL hates that girl with Dark Secret. The young lad with the mechanical sister is managing his own problems thanks to said doctor and the hammy ninja... but he STILL remains angry at his dad instead of trying to take things calmly, thus bound for more upcoming mistakes thanks to rage. The hammy ninja, manages to realize just enough about his inheritance from his master to search for the truth in his homeland and uncover the rest... and if prediction comes true, then it is possible that the son of his master that he sought for turns out to be that fabulous pedophilia Dude Looks Like a Lady, though problem arises whether he'll take up his heritage and duties, or continue goofing off with his troupe and age obsession. Oh, and he has caught the attention of the the aforementioned vampire, who is working on her haughty disposition, meaning that he really could be pivotal. But on the other hand, the badass iron knight is still stuck in the same mindset, and the aforementioned La Résistance got worse as more of their dirty laundries get revealed, including murder of the squad of that vengeful girl, and the catgirl is still holding the nukes to ruin the world just so she gets to frag the villain. Moreover, the resistance released one crazy Blood Knight as its member that would find more home to be drinking buddies with that Troll... And the well-mannered cyborg is STILL not questioning his superiors for those crazy moves. 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.
Implied through the emails in Assassin's Creed. 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.
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.
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 Taurens 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.
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, it's 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.
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.
And now, not only does Manhattan host Alex Mercer, it also has James Heller to contend with, who is willing to whatever it takes to destroy Alex. In other words, two psychopathic mutants sharing an unending hunger for flesh are now rampaging in a war-ravaged city. To further accentuate the degeneration of the situation in New York City, fresh and potent strains of the Blacklight virus are emerging, creating whole new abominations to wreak havoc on the hapless survivors. There is no way this will end well.
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 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 Versus XIII 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.
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.
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?
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?
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 Pokeverse 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 Pokemon 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 Pokemon, 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.)
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 timeifModern Warfare 3 roles around.
Oh it does it 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.
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 the upcoming sequel, Armageddon, it is revealed that the EDF's terraforming technology has malfunctioned horribly, causing severe storms to ravage the surface and make it inhabitable, 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 Stillwater 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 Warhas 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 on 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.
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....
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.
Nie R 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.
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.
The sequel 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 1, 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.
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 2 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.
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, Demon's 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.
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 Grim DarkDickensian 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."
Earth2150. 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.
Not only that as the leaders of the Eurasian Dynasty and the Lunar Corporation suppress information about the planet Eden] so they can keep rigorous control of the population. Its implied why Mars hasn't gone Earth-like yet is due to the dystopic control agreed by the leaders of the ED and Lunar Corporation. The only 'good' leader in this situation is the Phoenix's AI who went [[Magnificent Bastard with a plan to wait until both sides brutalize each other then use its numerous bases across the solar system to overwhelm the other factions with AI driven vehicles]].
Not only that but the three factions secretly agreed that those who left behind (of Lost Souls fame) so the [[Status Quo Status Quo]] would not be disrupted.
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 (more specifically the 2006 game of the same title) 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.
To be fair, Sonic's world in general is a Crapsack World. Eggman constantly terroises it and through his schemes, he has destroyed an entire city (And probably has a large body count), nearly caused the world to be destroyed numerous times and/or enslaved a large portion of it by making them the power source of his robots. Plus all the angry god like figures, fragments of gods or genocidal aliens that set out to destroy the world for whatever reason as well as the Chaos Emerald, Master Emerald and any other source of supernatural power, it's amazing that the world hasn't been permanently destroyed or made inhabitable.
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. Then, with the events of the ending, almost every place in the galaxy is going to become a Crapsack World, due to being cut off from every place else. Only not, due to an author saving throw dlc, extended cut, that hits the reset button and says the galaxy managed to rebuild the relays and avoid the worst of the doom predicated.
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. Withmecha.
In the game 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 Evilgods 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.
The LostLand 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 it's 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.
Major cities are a thing of the distant past; 90% of the world's peak population is dead.
More than 30 nuclear wars have ravaged the planet.
The world is dominated by two repressive theocracies and a totalitarian Communist state, which have been at war with one another continuously for more than 1700 years.
All land has been so badly polluted/flooded that agriculture is completely impossible.
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?
Day Z 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.
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.
Bio Shock 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.