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Hard-Coded Hostility
Sometimes, in a Strategy Game, Role-Playing Game, or other circumstances, complex deals are possible: you can negotiate treaties, break them, form secret pacts against common enemies, join factions, recruit unaffiliated people into your personal faction or party, etc.

On the other hand, sometimes Violence is the Only Option. Such is the case for a faction with Hard-Coded Hostility. The distinguishing feature of this group is that it will never be at peace with you or anyone else. The only reaction when encountering its forces is to kill them or avoid them.

A deeply unsympathetic, even evil faction — perhaps even one that starts off the game trying to kill the player — is not necessarily an example of Hard-Coded Hostility. If The Horde is ravaging the local area looting local cities, enslaving people, and tries to kill you on sight, but you can prove your worthiness to join them if you kill a dozen villagers and present their heads to their khan, then the horde does not demonstrate this trope. By definition, someone with Hard-Coded Hostility cannot be joined or negotiated with within the parameters of the game.

The term is best reserved for games in which it is not the norm. For instance, in a First-Person Shooter in which the bulk of the game consists of killing demonic enemies, the demons are best not thought of as having Hard-Coded Hostility; rather, the term is best applied in circumstances which otherwise feature a diverse set of factions which can be opposed or cooperated with depending on the player's actions.

Related to Absolute Xenophobe. Compare Always Chaotic Evil and The Usual Adversaries. This is about games which allow the player to build alliances with most factions except one in particular. See also No Campaign for the Wicked.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Four X 
  • Pirates in Galactic Civilizations are heavily armed ships that attack ships, particularly freighters, of all civilizations. Sometimes they randomly appear, sometimes a fleet of them shows up after a breakout from a galactic prison, and when an evil or neutral civilization is defeated many of their remaining ships become pirates.
    • GalCiv2 also introduces the Dread Lords, Abusive Precursors who get let out of their can in the campaign or a random event in sandbox games, and then proceed to attempt to wipe out all other life in the galaxy. And unlike pirates they invade planets as well.
  • Barbarians in the Civilization series: no civilization can have diplomatic relations with them, and they are hostile to every civilization.
    • A glitch causes Ghandi to go this way when India becomes a democracy. The "hostility" was coded on a 1-255 scale, and democracy was coded to lower the aggression rating. With Ghandi, set to the lowest levels of aggression, going to a democracy broke the aggression ratings and put the civilization to the most belligerent setting possible. The developers, upon realizing this, kept it in because they thought the whole idea of a nuke-happy Ghandi was too hillarious not to use.
  • In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Mindworms. You can train your own or capture individual units, but wild Mindworms will always spawn as hostile to absolutely everyone.
  • Persistent, mobile, Unknown menaces and pirates in Sword of the Stars. Menaces ranging from asteroids to Von Neuman probes to system killers show up randomly or semi-randomly to attack colonies.
  • Master of Orion series:
    • In Master of Orion II, the Silicoid are a borderline case. They have the Repulsive flaw, which limits their diplomacy option to war, peace and surrender, and the Agressive and Expansionist traits. In practice, this meant they wouldn't ally with anyone, declare war frequently, and nothing but the most crushing military steamrolling of their fleets/worlds would get them to sue for peace or surrender. And since they had no diplomatic options like offering money, worlds, technology or tithes, (nor demanding them) once war is declared things tend to stay that way.
    • Master of Orion III has both the Antarans occupying the Orion system, and the Harvesters. Neither can be effectively negotiated with. The Harvesters (who use other alien species as food) will declare war on any neighbor (even other Harvester factions) fairly quickly, will refuse any offer for peace, and never make alliances. The Antarans generally stay in the Orion system and never expand or settle outside of it, but occasionally will send a huge fleet to attack a planet or system outside the Orion system, for no stated or apparent reason, then withdraw the fleet back (unless the attackee or other power destroys it). They will not engage in or respond to any diplomacy.
  • In the PC game Imperium Galactica II, the Kra'hen faction (Absolute Xenophobe Blood Knight aliens from another galaxy) are always hostile and won't receive diplomats or traders, and if you play as them, you can't use the diplomacy, trade, or espionage options.
  • The Cravers in Endless Space have a trait that makes them unable to make peace with other factions. The best they can be is at cold war. Any custom faction can be given the same trait.
  • Rebels and Symbiots in Emperor of the Fading Suns, though the other non-playable factions (the Church, the Guilds, the Vau...) can be negotiated with.
  • The Zuul in Sword of the Stars cannot trade, only raid other species' shipping. They gain no benefits from alliances or non-aggression pacts, and cannot unlock higher-level integration tech that allows empires to host multiple species on the same world or take over worlds peacefully. AI Zuul empires never go to the negotiation table and are in a constant state of war with any civilization they encounter, including other Zuul, and when playing as Zuul other empires are hardcoded to despise you. Their playstyle is pretty much geared towards Attack! Attack! Attack! as well.
  • In vanilla Sins of a Solar Empire, the Space Pirate faction and the non-affiliated ships protecting newly discovered worlds (they're the original colonists) are always hostile. The Pirates are always hostile, but you can pay them off enough to attack someone else. Averted in the Rebellion expansion, where the Trade Emergency Coalition Rebels can unlock a research item that makes Pirates and non-affiliated ships neutral, allowing them to expand unopposed.
  • Rebels and Symbiots in Emperor of the Fading Suns, though there are many non-playable factions that can be negotiated with such as the Church, the Merchant Guilds, and a few alien races. In addition the Imperial Guard will attack any units on Byzantium Secundus that they detect outside of its House embassy until one player is elected Emperor, then they swear loyalty to him.

    Hack And Slash 
  • The Yellow Turbans in Dynasty Warriors. They're very rarely a playable faction in the Story Mode (and then, only Zhang Jiao is a playable officer) since they're pretty much there to be the tutorial enemy; however, it is possible in some games to play on their side in Free Mode.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game 
  • You can work for the human pirate faction in EVE Online if you're willing to brave the lawless space they make their bases in. Good luck trying to negotiate with the Rogue Drones or Sleepers, however.
  • The Scourge, and the faction responsible for them, the Burning Legion, in World of Warcraft.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In the Empire Earth series, the diplomacy settings are locked in single-player missions so you can't try to ally with your enemies.
  • By necessity, the creeps in Warcraft III (since they're there to provide experience and items, they're even called the Neutral hostile faction). However, in the campaign they're often set to being allied with your enemies (to prevent them from being killed).
  • In Dune II and Dune 2000 Sand Worms just pop up to eat units out on open sand every so often. But in Emperor: Battle for Dune Fremen units can summon and temporarily control them.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Dwarf Fortress, any civilization with the [BABYSNATCHER] tag is automatically and forever hostile to any civilization that lacks the tag. Only goblins have it by default, but you can mod in as many hostile races as you like.
  • In the Privateer game of the Wing Commander series, the Retros. While the pirates and Kilrathi start off being enemies of the player, it's possible to get on better terms with them through the main storyline or talking enough of them down in random encounters. Only the Retros are truly irreconcilable regardless of the player's actions.
  • X-Universe: The Xenon and Kha'ak. The Xenon are artificially intelligent terraforming drones that went haywire centuries ago due to a badly coded software patch and now seek to "terraform" biological life out of existence, while the Kha'ak are so thoroughly alien that the Community of Planets races are simply unable to communicate with them.
    • In X Rebirth, the Reivers are always hostile due to their insanity.
  • The Shivans from Descent: FreeSpace and its sequel.
  • In Freelancer, any faction in the game, even the ultra-xenophobic Xeno terrorists, can be made to like you if you pay them a big enough bribe, with one exception: The Nomads. They're the only non-human faction - they're aliens who were artificially created to act as caretakers of Sirius, and their duties include wiping out the human invaders.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Rebels in the Total War series. The rebel faction, while perpetually at war with everyone, is also used in the early games not just to represent rebels and criminals, but also minor independent faction (such as, in Medieval II, the Florentine Republic, Valencia under El Cid, Kievan Rus, the Abbasid remnant state in Baghdad, etc). This leads to "real" factions, being eternally at war with rebels and incapable of negotiating with them, conquering most such minor "rebel" factions early in the game without qualms.
  • In Gemfire, you can form an alliance (technically a non-aggression pact, despite the name) with any faction... except Lankshire, who nearly all the other forces are rebelling again. Oddly enough, if you used a cheat code to play as Lankshire, you can send alliance offers to other forces — and they may even be accepted!
  • Screenshots from the upcoming game Armello suggest that King's Guards note  and Banes are hostile to everyone, including each other.

    Western RPG 

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • The Talon Company in Fallout 3, a group of evil mercenaries that attack on sight, and send hit squads after good karma characters. They're even hostile to an evil karma character. Ditto for Raiders, the Enclave, and most Super Mutants.
  • Some gangs such as the Jackals, Scorpions, Fiends, Vipers and other wasteland raider groups in Fallout: New Vegas are not affected by reputation and will attack you on sight no matter what. Other "criminal" groups, such as the Powder Gangers and Great Khans, are not permanently hostile factions (siding with them is often unsavory, but it is possible).
  • In a country with Romans, Vikings, Jedi, Dragon Hunters, Demon Hunters, Thieves, Bandits, Professional Mass-Murderers, Assassins / Stand-Up Comedians, Mages with Ph.Ds, Vampires, Werewolves, Naked Murderous Nymphs, Crazy Bird Ladies, Big Lizards, Dragons, Demons, Ghosts, and Drug-Addled Catgirls, The Elder Scrolls Skyrim has only one faction whose members are unrepentantly evil and will NEVER be on your side: |You! Fucking! Thalmor!|. The Thalmor are a racist, ultraviolent nation of light elves that have taken the credit for almost every heroic act the hero of the fourth game did, and are using their empire to eradicate humanity. This would be bad enough, but they are so hated by the end of the game that even a light-elf Dragonborn has enough hatred of them to wish they were born with four legs, bad breath, and a tail: The Thalmor used subterfuge (and brainwashed the viking faction's leader) to start the civil war that Skyrim is suffering from, and are completely willing to DESTROY THE SOLAR SYSTEM OF NIRN IF IT MEANS ERADICATING HUMANITY, ELVES BE DAMNED. Don't believe that? Arcano the Thalmor Ambassador gets his hands on an unstable but nigh-almighty source of power. What does he do, kill everyone in the college and quietly find a way to use it to rule the world? Nope! He immediately sets it to self-destruct (it has enough power to blow up Nirn by itself) and places a barrier on the college so that no-one will be able to stop the self-destruct. After you kill him, the Thalmor will put a bounty on you. YES, YOU JUST SAVED THE WORLD FROM AN OMNICIDAL MANIAC, AND THEY SENTENCE YOU TO DEATH FOR IT.
  • In the Escape Velocity series factions flagged as "xenophobic" will be hostile to anyone not of a faction marked as an ally. This is most often used for creating Space Pirates; so are the aliens in the first game. There's also an "always attacks player" flag which is supposed to be used only for mission-specific ships.
  • Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction: There are five factions in the game: the Allied Nations, South Korea, the Russian Mafia, China and North Korea. The attitude of the first four depends on how you treat them: North Korea is always hostile to you and all of the other factions.
  • The pirates in Uncharted Waters and Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. There are three other factions in the first game (Portugal, Spain, and Turkey) and six in the second (same plus England, Netherlands, and Italy) but you can ally with or even defect to them (New Horizons only). Pirates, on the other hand, are always hostile.
  • Appears in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series to varying extents:
    • In STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, you can more-or-less ally with both Duty and Freedom by doing missions for them (simultaneously, even, so long as you try to avoid doing the missions that involve killing groups of the other faction) and can also be on good terms with the Ecologists and Loners, although the in-game effects on the latter two are minimal. Monolith, the Military, and the Bandits are always hostile.
    • In STALKER: Clear Sky, you can ally with or even join Duty, Freedom, the Loners, or even the Bandits, provided you don't kill any of them before talking to their leader (no easy feat, considering their usual course of action is to mug you). Ecologists are at worst neutral, and the military and Monolith are still hard-locked to hostile. You are always on good terms with Clear Sky, however.
    • In STALKER: Call of Pripyat, you are always on good terms with the military, since you are undercover, but you can also be on good terms with the Bandits or Loners and Duty or Freedom. Again, Monolith is always hostile.
  • Grand Theft Auto
    • In Grand Theft Auto II, there are seven gangs you can gain respect from, and losing respect from one of them will cause that gang to become hostile. However, there's an extra gang in the third level that only appears on the small Mad Island, and it's always at negative respect, so they will always attack you on sight. Also, the final mission for each level makes the heavily-armed gang leaders come after you personally, no matter if you had their respect at the time or not. Oh, and defeating them makes the entire NPC population of the map attack you and each other.
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas gives us a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation: Los Aztecas will always mob and eventually attack both you and other Grove Street members outside of missions if given a chance, no matter how close CJ's bond with their leader, Cesar Vialpando, is.

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