Only in It for the Money
"Barf, we're not just doing this for money. We're doing it for a shitload of money!"Some heroes do what they do for honor, some for glory, some For Great Justice. Others are only looking for the cash. This attitude is held by people who are honestly greedy, just need a living, or don't want to act like they care. Characters fitting this attitude are often Hired Guns and the Bounty Hunter. In fact, the Evil Overlord List states that bounty hunters should only be hired for money; those that love the thrill of the chase are too likely to give the prey a chance to get away. Of course even this can backfire if The Hero is Genre Savvy and has access to the funds to pay said Hired Guns more to turn on the villain. This is a sub-trope of Not in This for Your Revolution. Money, Dear Boy is when it happens in Real Life. Villains who say this are likely to be Punch Clock Villains who work for the bad guys because Evil Pays Better, and might show that Even Evil Has Standards. On the other hand it might show they're a Greedy creep who doesn't care about anyone. Contrast the Psycho for Hire, who while equally villainous, has other motivations. Compare to Signed Up for the Dental. This may also provide an Evil Versus Oblivion motive if the Big Bad proposes either to destroy everything, or even simply to destroy the economy. A character following this trope but on the heroes' side may, if asked for further help, claim that said help is Not in My Contract.
— Lone Starr, Spaceballs
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Anime and Manga
- While Eisuke of Stepping On Roses (Hadashi de Bara wo Fume) nobly brings abandoned children home to live with himself and his orphaned sister Sumi, his primary motivation is to have them work for him in his future business schemes when they grow older.
- Similarly, the basis for Sumi and Souichirou's Arranged Marriage was money: Sumi needed it to save her family from destitution, while Souichirou needed a wife to actually gain access to his inherited wealth and to use said wife as a Honey Trap for his rival Nozomu. Both of them have very clear that there's no love in the deal, only striking deals for to make their lives better. At least at first.
- In Honey Honey No Suteki Na Bouken, Phoenix claims to be protecting Honey and her cat Lilly because he doesn't want the valuable ring that Lilly ate to fall into anyone else's hands and repeatedly says that he wants money and only money, but part of this is because the two are starting to fall in love and he can't stand to admit it. And later it turns out that Phoenix's father Erik has bonds with Honey's long dead parents... and by that point, Phoenix is fully in it for Honey herself.
- In the Nirvana arc of Fairy Tail, Hot-Eye of Oracion Seis initially only ever talks about making money, and about how it's the greatest thing in the world. Once the effect of Nirvana changes his alignment, however, he reveals that he only wanted money so he could fund a search for his lost brother: Wally, who the protagonists from the eponymous guild had already encountered in the Tower of Heaven arc.
- Fleet Admiral of the Free Planets Alliance Yang Wenli expresses it this way:
"I won't get paid if the Alliance ceases to exist, so I fight the Empire to secure my livelihood after retirement. That's pretty logical, right?"
- Bleed Kaga from Future GPX Cyber Formula at first wants to get into races for the money to pay for his car, but at the last episode of the TV series, he refuses Kyoko's offer for the money and instead gets himself out of the race so Hayato, Shinjyo and Randoll would take the top three spots.
- Gamble Fish has Kaoru Gokijima, a disgusting but cunning hustler who is only willing to help out Tomu Shirasagi as long as he believes there's money in it for him. It's important to note he is more aligned with the It's All About Me camp more than anything else and goes as far to actively sabotage his own side for chance at more money.
- In One Piece, Merman swordsman Hyozu makes it quite clear that he's only helping Hody Jones because he's being well-paid for his services. He actually would've went with Arlong to East Blue if he had paid better. So Arlong may have done the heroes a favor at the time.
- Naruto: Kakuzu is a villain who is only in it for the money. He doesn't really care about Akatsuki's plans and goals and is only interested in being paid. He's also known to go on side missions involving earning cash on the side, and tends not to want to involve himself in anything that isn't profitable. He feels that money is the only dependable thing in the world, though he does have a Freudian Excuse involving his village betraying him after losing to the First Hokage.
- A good version would be the Wild Geese mecenaries from Hellsing. Walter even states that as long as they are paid they will not betray their contract.
- Leorio from Hunter × Hunter is an interesting example, claiming at the start of the series that he's only interested in taking the Hunter Exam because being a Hunter could easily make him filthy rich. Not only does he turn out to be the nicest guy in the series, but the reason he wants to be filthy rich is so he can get his PHD and open a free hospital after an old friend of his died from lack of treatment after he couldn't pay the medical fees.
- Ginka from Il Sole penetra le Illusioni claims this. Apparently being a Magical Girl pays well in this universe.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Yuffie mutters that she's going to send a bill to a woman for their service of saving her from a bunch of Shadows. Leon calls her out on this.
- Ghost Talkers Daydream: Misaki works as a dominatrix at the Roppongi S&M Club, but also works with the Livelihood Preservation Groupnote as a medium, on occasion. She doesn't really care for either profession, however, especially the latter. Yet, she can't deny that it pays well which is the only reason she does it. Though her attitude towards necromancy changes in chapter 12.
- Shinnosuke from Apocalypse Alice will often insist that this is his sole motivation. He's lying.
- Witz Su from After War Gundam X, at least at the start. Although he's always on a job with his Bash Brother Roybea, he makes no bones about being a mercenary. However, he's using the money to support his family, so it's not unsympathetic.
- Buck Godot once offered to take down an apparent pirate for free. Someone asked his friend Al if this was normal, and Al replied, "Buck? Are you kidding? I'm convinced that somewhere there has to be somebody paying him to breathe!"
- Death's Head, Freelance Peacekeeping Agent, doesn't believe in killing if there's no profit involved.
- In JLA: Rock of Ages, Batman convinces Mirror Master to defect from the Injustice Gang by doubling Lex Luthor's paycheck. This probably inspired the Justice League example under Western Animation.
- Mr. Nobody once explained this concept to Spider-Girl:
Spider-Girl: Why did you kill all those people? What did you hope to gain?
Mr. Nobody: At a million dollars a head — plus five for Fisk — it's kind of a no-brainer.
- Deadpool, particularly in his early appearances, was only in it for the money. It was not uncommon for him to switch sides in the middle of a fight if someone offered him more money.
- An old friend of Han Solo's sets him up to be captured by Boba Fett in Dark Empire. Money was not only a reason, but the only reason he betrayed Han. It's pretty sad if you read The Han Solo Trilogy prequel novels, in which he also appears, and see what a great friend he used to be before his descent into villainy.
- In the end of Batman's Hush storyline, Riddler is explaining how he roped the majority of Batman's Rogue Gallery into a grand, convoluted plan. For some, there were various motivations, like Joker thinking the Dead-Robin gag hilarious, but he dismissed almost half of them, including Catwoman, Clayface, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc, as being in it solely for the money he paid them.
- In Mega Man, Dr. Light mentions having designed several military robots early in his career strictly so he could gain the money and notoriety he needed to work on more benevolent projects.
- Taskmaster will work for whoever is willing to pay him the most money.
- Martian Manhunter villain Commander Blanx, who exterminated his entire species so that he could sell their planet to an offworld mining corporation.
- Plastic Man (along with his sidekick Woozy Winks) were in the superhero business for the money originally. Character Development hit over the years however.
- The Flash's Rogues are strictly this. At times, they will try to save the Twin Cities from more maniacal villains. This can't be said for some of the Flash's other villains, such as Zoom and Grodd.
- Deadshot, who only does what he does for the money, which he uses to support his daughter. If the payment is somehow negated, he'll stop the job and go home.
- Barracuda, a noteworthy foe of The Punisher, will do just about anything for money. He will also do just about anything to you if you don't pay him. "I kill a motherfucker, I expect to get paid. I kill a whole buncha of motherfuckers, I expect to get paid on time, not still be waiting for my money a week later.'' The person he was speaking to ending up getting fed to a Great White Shark.
- 2000AD's Lobster Random, mercenary, in his earliest appearance sells his skills as a torturer, in exchange for cash, stating his complete lack of interest for the tortured or the revolutionary cause that he was hired for.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Black Shadow, one of the Decepticon's Phase Six soldiers, a notorious and Nigh Invulnerable group of Super Soldiers, only committed his massive list of crimes for money. The Autobots eventually bribed him to turn against the 'cons and blow up a fleet, which caught the attention of the Decepticon Justice Division, and Black Shadow didn't last long after that.
- The recent Heel-Face Turn of Spider-Man villain Hobgoblin is based on this trope. Hobgoblin's still a greedy jerk, but he's realized that he can make a major profit out of being a Luke Cage-style hero for hire. Thus he gets paid while avoiding the risk of jail time if things go bust.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars:
- Han Solo in A New Hope: "Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money." Or so he says. It's also justified, as he really needed the money to survive against Jabba the Hutt (let's just say that he needs a lot of money to redeem himself for not delivering spice to Jabba).
- Also the reason bounty hunter Boba Fett (among others) agrees to help Darth Vader capture Han and company, as Jabba made good on his threat to "put a price on Solo's head so high, he wouldn't be able to get near a civilized system." Averted with Boba's "dad", Jango, however; Boba is Jango's payment.
- The Star Wars parody Spaceballs provides the quote for this page. Lone Starr and Barf originally wanted to claim the reward for rescuing Princess Vespa to pay off a debt to Pizza the Hutt. It later turns out that Pizza the Hutt ate himself to death after being trapped in his limo, which meant that Lone Starr and Barf could keep the entire reward for themselves. However, when the mission is accomplished, Lone Star realizes that he loves Vespa more than the idea of obtaining the reward, only accepting enough from her father for lunch, gas and tolls. (He asks him not to tell her but he does anyway when she gets angry because he left.)
- Tom Cody in Streets of Fire: A Rock and Roll Fable originally agreed to save his former girlfriend, singer Ellen Aim of the Attackers from Raven and his gang, The Bombers, for $10,000. After accomplishing the mission, Ellen finds out, leaving one half of her pissed off at him, and the other half feeling her love reignite.
- In the Film Noir Murder, My Sweet, Philip Marlowe perfectly describes this. He outright states that he only did it for the cash.
Lt. Randall: You're not a detective, you're a slot machine. You'd slit your own throat for six bits plus tax.
- In The Mechanic, Charles Bronson's character says this is it. His Bastard Understudy however does it for the thrill of existing outside morals and laws, and kills Bronson's character for not living up to that image.
- An example from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:
Jack Sparrow: Who are you?
Tai Huang: Tai Huang. These are my men.
Jack Sparrow: Where does your allegiance lie?
Tai Huang: With the highest bidder.
Jack Sparrow: I have a ship.
Tai Huang: That makes you the highest bidder.
- The bath house owner in And The Band Played On.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, right before the big fight, Kim says "We are Sex Bob-omb and we're here to sell out and make money and stuff." She changes her tune in the replay.
- Dee Jay of the Street Fighter movie only worked for M. Bison because he promised him a fortune, and was fully aware that he was a power-mad dictator wannabe unlike the clueless Zangief. This became a case of Laser-Guided Karma as his "fortune" turns out to be stacks of worthless Bison dollars.
- Juno Skinner in True Lies admits to Harold Tasker that she's only helping the terrorists because they are "well-funded raving psychotics."
- From Mad Max: "I'm just here for the gasoline."
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Blondie, Tuco, and especially Angel Eyes. Unlike many villains with this trait it doesn't make him more sympathetic; in fact, it does just the opposite.
- Hard Rain: Jim, says this almost word-for-word several times in the film. Even in the end, when Tom thinks Jim helped save his life:
Jim: You just don't get it, do you? (He grabs the money bags and puts them in his boat.)
- In the Star Trek universe, Federation scientists and engineers such as Geordi LaForge revere Zefram Cochrane for inventing the warp drive, which allowed the Federation to form. The Cochrane that Geordi meets in Star Trek: First Contact breaks the pedestal somewhat: he invented the warp drive to get rich and had no idea what would happen because of it.
- In Tropic Thunder, Pecker is offered cash and a G5 airplane if he keeps his mouth shut in Tugg's abduction and murder.
Peck: Let me get this straight. You want me to let my client of 15 years, one of my best friends, die in the jungle alone, for some money and a G5?Grossman: Yes.Peck: [pause] A G5 airplane?Grossman:Yes... and lots of money.
- Smokey and the Bandit: When Bo explains why he and Cledus Snow are driving to Texas to bring back a truckload of Coors beer: "For the money, for the glory, and for the fun. Mainly for the money."
- Branch Rickey gives this in 42 as the reason why he wants to add an African-American baseball player to the Brookyln Dodgers. He's lying.
- Pee Wee Reese also cites this as the reason why he won't sign the team's anti-Robinson boycott petition.
- From The Muppet Movie:
Doc Hopper: I'll double your salary.
Max: ...I'll open the door.
- In Iron Man 2 Nick Fury claims that Vanko's father wanted to get rich off of the arc reactor technology, rather than use it to benefit the world. This is the reason why Howard Stark had him deported back to Russia.
- Winston Zeddmore only joins the Ghostbusters because there's a steady paycheck in it for him; it's implied in his first scene that he doesn't even actually believe in ghosts. Naturally, this changes through the course of the movie.
- In 5 Fingers (1952), the butler turned spy Diello (Agent Cicero) makes it clear he cares not a whit who wins the war, and in a gesture of contempt for his German employers, demands to be paid in British pounds sterling for spying against the British. When his controller points out that when the Nazis win the war, as Diello is helping them do, British pounds will be valueless, he coolly replies that he is confident the Nazis will lose whatever he does for them.
- The Wolverine:
- Noburo Mori is only marrying Mariko for the power and money that comes with such a connection to Shingen.
- Shingen Yashida’s big objective is to gain his father's inheritance.
- In The Rock, it turns out that some of Hummel's men only joined because of money, and as soon as Hummel realizes this, it's already too late.
- In Woman In Gold, Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann approaches attorney Randy Schönberg for help in recovering a painting of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis. Randy initially accepts after learning that the painting is worth $100 million, which he thinks will be good for the law firm he just started working at. However, Randy has a change of heart after accompanying Maria to Austria and visiting the Holocaust memorial in Vienna.
- In the Disgaea novels we meet the Ozonne, who believe money is the solution to helping people, not love like all the other angels of Celestia. Ironic since her sister Flonne is the Love Freak.
- The Mistborn trilogy has the Kandra, helping the protagonists only because they're being paid in Atium.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long claims that one of the (thousands of) jobs he's held was as a mercenary, that he used it to finance his way through college, and never got higher than corporal because he was only doing it to get enough money for another semester, then he'd quit.
- In Heinlein's The Star Beast, the Rargyllians while honest, are like mercenaries. They would sooner let a man die of thirst on an alien world, rather than tell him the native word for "water", unless money was first offered up-front for their services.
- In Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi, Dannik Jerriko was hired to take out Vader's assassin before she could kill the Arrandas. That's it, that's all, as soon as that's done he's gone and never mind the rest of the danger there, it's what he was paid for.
- Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) once runs into a bunch of saboteurs dedicated to the Tau cause who kill nearly everyone aboard a Starship Luxurious, intending to use it as a giant bomb to take out an Imperial General. Cain escapes and makes it to the escape pods, but there he meets one of the saboteurs, who reveals she's actually a burglar, looting the staterooms and leaving the others to heroically give their lives for the Tau cause.
- Bronn, Tyrion's dragon from A Song of Ice and Fire only works for the person who will pay him the most. Unlike some cases, Bronn is much less moral than his AntiHero employer, and will commit any dirty job so long as he gets a good price for it. Tyrion isn't shocked when Bronn refuses to champion him in spite of their pseudo-friendship since Tyrion's sister, Cersei, has paid Bronn much more for him to not risk his life trying to save Tyrion.
- Stannis Baratheon, rightful king of Westeros, Azhor Ahai reborn, the man who stands between the world and eternal night... and the guy who can be depended on to pay back the colossal amounts of money the throne owes to the Iron Bank if he wins. As such they're all too happy to give him financial support. It just means they'll get more money in the end.
- In Interesting Times, Mad Hamish recalls fighting in the Battle of Koom Valley.
Boy Willie: That was between dwarfs and trolls, Hamish. And you ain't either. So whose side were you on?
Mad Hamish: Whut?
Boy Willie: I said WHOSE SIDE WERE YOU ON?
Mad Hamish: I were on the side of being paid money to fight.
Boy Willie: Best side there is.
- Subverted with Goodman Grey in Skin Game. While he makes reference to being loyal to whoever hired him, his open bloodlust makes it clear what side he's really on, which makes the price he charges Harry, the one who actually hired him, all the more surprising: One dollar.
- Reserved for the Cat: Ninette has this motivation at first. It's portrayed sympathetically; it's not that she's greedy, it's that she wants to survive.
- Nero Wolfe is very reluctant to accept a case without the prospect of a big fat paycheck at the end of it. This is both due to his incredible laziness and his expensive tastes (a rooftop greenhouse full of orchids and five star dining every night doesn't come cheap) meaning that if he's going to work, he's going to get paid big for it. He's not entirely without honour, however, and can sometimes be prodded into working for free if the circumstances are right.
- Miles Straume from Lost, who only joined the freighter crew because he was paid $1.6 million and would be willing to switch sides if he received a better offer.
- Jayne from Firefly. He eventually becomes one of Mal's True Companions.
- Spike at the end of season 4 and the beginning of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Sergei Bazhaev in season 8 of 24, who's only involved initial Big Bad Farhad Hassan because he's set to make lots of money selling him spent nuclear fuel rods. After he gets captured by CTU and sees his deal has fallen through, he actually tries (unsuccessfully) to help Jack recover the rods.
- An episode of Reba made a reference to this:
Reba, after watching a recorded clip of Barbra Jean with her dog: I feel bad for the poor sap who had to tape through all of this.Kyra: Eighty bucks is eighty bucks.
- You know all those hysterically insane Conspiracy Theories presented on the Glenn Beck show? Beck's admitted that if they didn't bring in the ratings, he'd dump them in a heartbeat because even he knows how loony they are.
- A majority of the villains on Leverage. Notable examples include Marcus Starke's crew, who as a Similar Squad provide a strong contrast with the Leverage team (who are motivated equally by cash and a desire to help people), and Mr. Quinn, a mercenary hired by Sterling to give Eliot the worst beating of his life.
- In the Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns", initially Kirby only takes the job offer to look for La Fin Absolue du Monde to pay off his enormous debts. Subverted later on as he becomes increasingly obsessed with the film itself due to its corrupting influence. This is lampshaded by Bakovic's widow who notes that the money is just an excuse.
- In Star Trek, this is basically the Ferengi's Hat, doing everything just for the pursuit of profit. They will do evil if it will land them cash, but are not willing to just do evil for evil sake.
- Person of Interest: How Zoe Morgan presents herself to the world; it seems she actually has a Hidden Heart of Gold.
- Andamo of Mr. Lucky seems to be all about the money, all the time, though occasionally it becomes apparent that there are a few other things he prizes more highly.
- In Veep:
- Sue Wilson is persuaded to stay on only with the promise of a salary raise.
- Selina Meyer herself, although in a variation, this is more about political donations rather than personal wealth: she is already loaded. Her team even comes up with codewords for donors who they feel are being stingy: HADDAnote and GUMMInote .
Sue: We also have $2,000 from a guy named Paul Duffy from the local dry cleaner —
Selina: Okay, for two grand, you don't get a call from me, okay? Just send him a button or something.
- Jeeves and Wooster: Bingo Little replies to Bertie with this when asked why he would ever tutor Oswald Glossop.
- Bertie: What would you want to tutor the Glossop kid for?Bingo: Money, Bertie. Moolah. Oof. Spondulicks.
- Although there are both noble and malevolent Glatorian in BIONICLE, a lot of them only agree to help out others (or at least, people from other settlements) for a reward. Especially Strakk, who will partake in a battle to have an opportunity at looting the bodies.
- Subverted by Frank Zappa when he released a Mothers of Invention album entitled We're Only in It for the Money. The cover featured a parody of The Beatles and the whole thing was designed to satirize rock stars profiting off the counterculture.
- The song Mang Jose by Filipino band Parokya Ni Edgar sings of the eponymous Mang Jose (Mr. Jose), a superhero for rent. He is described as "being like Daimos, except that he charges you after saving you". The music video shows him presenting the people he saves with a receipt right after beating up the bad guys.
- This pretty much defined Steve Corino's attitude towards then fledgling organization Ring of Honor during its early days, as he was set up in direct contrast to Christopher Daniels, who cared deeply about the promotion (read: he wanted to destroy it).
- Samoa Joe joined Christopher Daniel's Prophecy only because he was paid and later defected to more liked minded Steve Corino's group. In a Shocking Swerve he would revert to this mindset in TNA after fighting the Main Event Mafia for breaking his arm and trying to murder Scott Steiner.
- With Samoa Joe bought, it was no surprise Jenna Morasca of the Main Event Mafia would also be able to buy off Awesome Kong. However, money only went so far and when Morasca slapped Kong (who had so far succeeded in everything asked), that put an end to all deals.
- Austin Aries claimed so in TNA, proclaiming this trait made him better than Alex Shelley, Brian Kendrick, who he proclaimed only cared about making sure the fans were entertained (presumably, those two things would be directly intertwined but whatever)
- This was Wade Barrett's attitude in WWE's version of FCW. However, he felt he was treated so badly on NXT that he had abandoned this motivation by the time he got to the main roster. He was now motivated by revenge.
- Basic Dungeons & Dragons adventure The Keep on the Borderlands. The ogre in the Caves of Chaos will fight for whoever pays him the most money.
- Billy Flynn in Chicago.
"Now listen: I'm not interested in your looks, your age, your sex—nothing except as it affects the case. You mean just one thing to me: five thousand dollars. Get that."
- Advanced V.G.: While the other waitresses have entered tournament in the spirit of competition, Satomi's only interested in winning the prize money. She's had to support herself and her kid brother and needs the money to cover the cost of the procedure that can cure his condition.
- This applies to just about every playable character in the Jagged Alliance series to a greater or lesser extent, as well as quite a few of the non-Mook enemies. Taken Up to Eleven by "Mike", the top-tier (and top pricenote ) mercenary from the first game; in-game flavour text from the sequel states that he's parted ways with the Association of International Mercenaries because they were tired of his ridiculous salary demands. Not altogether surprisingly, he turns up working for the other side.
- Wario in general. Pretty much any time he's trying to do something it's either to get some treasure or the reclaim the stuff stolen from him, and anything else that happens (i.e. saving the world) is a side effect.
- The Goblin Alchemist hero in WarCraft 3 has "For the highest bidder!" as his warcry.
- The GLA's Hero Unit in Command & Conquer: Generals is implied to work for money rather than to further the cause.
- Almost averted in the Ratchet & Clank series. When the Thug Leader is discussing a service with a client opposed to their current employer, he initially declines until he's offered a lot of money.
- In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Cipher and Pixy initially fight in the eponymous conflict for Ustio's money, as Pixy regularly reminds us on the radio. In fact, many regular forces comment on this in disdain... until both of them are so feared/revered for their accomplishments that nobody mentions it anymore (especially if you take the Knight route). The fact that Pixy goes MIA and is replaced with PJ, who is a commissioned Ustio officer, as your wingman probably contributes.
- Fire Emblem series. One particularly good example is Farina from Blazing Sword. The only way to recruit her is to have Hector pay her 20,000 gold. In fact, contrary to what might have worked elsewhere in the series, not even having her sisters talk to her will convince her to join your team! Oh, and once she's on your team, expect her to brag about her pay in her support conversations (besides her sisters and Hector). And just to top it off, her quote during the final battle? Making sure you don't forget her bonus pay! It turns out that Farina has a very good reason to invoke the trope, however: her eldest sister Fiora got in massive debt for saving her and her unit despite her orders at that time, so what Farina actually wants is to acquire money to return the favor and release her sister from it.
- Hugh from Sword of Seals, a Mage with a serious itch to line his pockets. For his recruitment, he wants 10,000 gold. Unlike Farina, you can haggle him down to as low as 5,000 - the catch is that the less you pay him, the crappier his stats will be! (And if you decline to pay 5,000, he goes back to trying to kill you.)
- Volke also charges for his services—as a thief in Path of Radiance, 50 gold per lock picked; as an assassin in the same game, 50,000 one-time, and all locks picked afterward are free. Radiant Dawn plays with this characterization, however; while he does cost a 3,000 gold one-time fee for his services for the rest of the game (and you only get him very late in said game), he comes with a weapon that, by itself, normally costs about four times that, and is a worthwhile fighter in and of himself—in short, he's giving you a bargain. Volke also has a Running Gag along these lines; while he charges reasonable prices for his regular services, he charges far higher prices for "tasks" not part of his regular services (such as eating meals with the rest of the company), or to learn his real motivations—in other words, things he doesn't want to do.
- Humorously subverted in Fire Emblem Awakening. A group of assassins attack the Ylissean palace to kill the current ruler, but one thief named Gaius lets on that they were only informed to kill her once they were five feet from her room, and he was led to believe they were just robbing her blind and he really doesn't want her to die. If the player has the ruler's younger brother Chrom talk to Gaius, he explains his situation to Chrom, who offers to have him join the good side. Gaius says he'll only do it for pay. Chrom is a little peeved at this, but reaches for some cash anyway, only to drop a bag; Gaius looks inside and, accompanied by the delightful voice clip of "sugar...", decides to defect to the good side if he gets to keep the bag. The contents of said bag? Candy that Chrom was keeping for his *other* sister, Lissa. Double Subverted when he says "don't worry about the gold-I'll take that later." Triple Subverted when he says quite obsessively "Unless you have more candy. DO YOU!?"; Chrom says he'll check with his sister, securing his spot as the thief on your party.
- Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is in theory only for the money, due to his boss's three million dollars getting stolen during a drug deal gone awry. He does builds loyalty with some people, though. In turn, Ray Liotta said he voiced Tommy Vercetti for the money. Which is the opposite of irony. Possibly.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey:
- Jimenez admits outright that he volunteered just because of the pay (he's contrasting himself to the various more idealistic members of the Schwarzwelt expedition). We're not exactly talking the most pleasant human on the planet here...
- Captain Jack and his mercenary squad are the same way, but unlike Jimenez, they're actual villains.
- Gobi in Breath of Fire joins and stays in your party because Ryu owes him money.
- While many Champions in League of Legends are motivated to fight for their city or for influence and power, Sivir is motivated solely by material wealth and riches and has become one of the richest people on Valoran. She no longer works for Noxus after objecting to their war on Ionia; not on moral grounds, but simply because she foresaw that the war would end in a stalemate.
- Mass Effect 2:
Zaeed: This mission doesn't sound like good business... but your Illusive Man can move a lot of credits.
- Zaeed Massani only joins up with Shepard because of the pay. This may end up being subverted if you earn his loyalty.
- Initially this may look like utter stupidity on his part since he is explicitly informed that this is for all intents and purposes a suicide mission...until you talk to him on the ship a few times and he reveals that he's been on a number of so-called "impossible missions" before and has always managed to come out in one piece. He's just that good. (Nevermind that he is usually the only one to get out of his missions alive.)
- His dossier in the Shadow Broker's ship also shows that he's really unconcerned about survival at this point. One of the retirement plans he considered was buying a ship, packing with explosives, and blowing himself up. Not that he's anything close to suicidal. You just can't go and settle down someplace quietly after a lifetime of kicking ass.
- Kasumi Goto also initially appears to play this trope straight, as she tells you when you initially recruit her that Cerberus is paying her very well for her assistance, but it becomes obvious quickly that she's really more of a thrill seeker who considers the money to be more of a bonus.
- The Bounty Hunter class in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a cross of this and Glory Seeker. They sure as hell aren't loyal to the Empire, and have very little reason to be (especially if you play non-human). Your alignment determines if you're a Hitman with a Heart, a Psycho for Hire, or a Consummate Professional.
- Depending on how the player chooses to play the Smuggler class, they can be helping the Republic because they feel it's the right thing to do, or just for the money.
- This seems to be the team's motivation to do their work in the Star Fox games. In Star Fox Adventures, Fox constantly whines that he's not being paid enough to save the planet.
- It's easy to forget that Star Fox isn't a team of lone wolf heroes that work for the good of the Lylat System, no matter their personal ties to the villain. Thankfully in Star Fox 64 you're reminded of the fact that Star Fox is just four hired guns looking for some quick pay right at the end of the credits when you get to see the bill for their services, and General Pepper's reaction if you did well enough.
- This was, however, completely averted in their original incarnation, where they were outcasts - criminals - drafted into working for Pepper. Instead of payment they're allowed to return from exile (and, in Fox's case, get revenge.)
- The summon Yojimbo in Final Fantasy X must be paid for each attack he makes. Which attack he uses depends partly on how much you pay him and partly on his affection level, with higher levels resulting in stronger attacks. His affection level rises when you overpay him or when he uses a strong attack, and it drops when you underpay him or he uses a weak attack.
- In The Babylon Project, the Raiders begin doing mercenary contract work for an unknown employer. At one point they're told to stand down from massacring civilians, and they reply they would miss out on a big payout if they did.
- Magnus in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Apparently, he's willing to fight the forces of an evil god for it.
- Seems to be a Subverted Trope when Palutena discusses his motivation and you see his personal ties to the villain of the chapter. He also seems to actually be doing hero work later on, but it's implied his appearance in Chapter 25 is just him being hired again, this time to face off against Pit, though again it's for the benevolent purpose of making sure he's worthy.
- Disgaea 4: New angel Vulcanus is in it only for the Zenons. She's called the Angel of Avarice for a reason. Hard to say if it's to fuel the Great Flonnger or not...
- Mortal Kombat has their fair share of people who work only for money: Kano, Kira, Kobra and Erron Black, with Erron mentioning it when against Raiden.
- Pierre, Lara's rival in Tomb Raider, raids tombs for artifacts like Lara does. However, Pierre only raids tombs for the money while Lara does it for appreciation of the past.
- Finn, the main character of Adventures to Go!, likes the recognition that comes with completing quests, but he mainly does it because he gets paid to do so.
- Many minor characters in Armored Core series is explicitly described as purely in it for the money. Since Ravens are, after all, mercenaries (or, as one of the Bureau said it, "Dispute Resolution Agents"), fighting purely for the filthy lucre isn't all that unjustified. People who do espouse this kind of view run the gamut from being simply in love with cash, greedy bastard(s) who couldn't care less about others, recently unemployed ex-blue-collar worker that needs to desperately earn a living, a notoriously spendthrifty person who uses only Energy weapons due to them not having an ammo cost, all the way to a Hitman with a Heart. This tradition is continued all the way to Armored Core: Verdict Day, where the player character is yet another mercenary eking out a living amidst the war between the Three Great Forces.
Wong Shao-Lung: "Do you...have any pride, Wynne?"Wynne D. Fanchon: "Of course. Otherwise, aren't we simply in the business of killing?"
- Subverted with Wynne D. Fanchon, and otherwise the majority of LYNXes in Armored Core 4/for Answer. Being one step above the rank-and-file soldiers that use MT or Normals, some of them truly takes the Honor Before Reason approach a bit far.
- Also subverted with Rosary in Armored Core V. Although she started out this way, she genuinely grew to be fond of her latest clients: Fran, the daughter of a late revolutionary, and you, the player character.
- Then double subverted in the ending of the Order Missions, where, when asked what to do by "living for one's own sake", she immediately suggests making money as the first thing to do.
- Borador in Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II is out to earn as much gold as possible, although his motivation is a bit less selfish than it first appears; his clan owes a massive debt to the elves, and he's just doing his bit to make sure they pay it off. Few people know his clan name, Goblinbreaker, but since avarice is his most obvious trait, he's earned the nickname 'Gold-hand' amongst people who know him.
- Lawrence the helmsman in Skies of Arcadia makes it clear that he doesn't give a damn about Vyse's goal, but he'll follow him to the ends of the earth as long as he's paid.
Lawrence: If I had known how big this job was going to be, I would have asked for more than 10,000 gold...
- In Sonic Adventure 2, Rouge the Bat appears to be this at first, going into action to get her hands on the Master Emerald, but she's actually a government spy trying find out what Dr. Eggman is up to. Although she still insists on getting paid for her services.
- In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix is initially reluctant but is spurred into action when their client offers to "pay them handsomely"—they are working for Dr. Eggman, and Vector knows it, but they are perpetually broke and desperately need the money. They ultimately manage to obtain two Chaos Emeralds and are the extra nudge Sonic needs to defeat the final boss. Eggman WAS going to pay them, but only after he had taken over the world. Vector has hadenough of him and forcibly removes the money from his pockets.
- In a subversion, Vector, according to his background, is willing to do anything for money, but he usually does it when there's good deeds involved and he also has a sense of justice as well.
- In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix is initially reluctant but is spurred into action when their client offers to "pay them handsomely"—they are working for Dr. Eggman, and Vector knows it, but they are perpetually broke and desperately need the money. They ultimately manage to obtain two Chaos Emeralds and are the extra nudge Sonic needs to defeat the final boss. Eggman WAS going to pay them, but only after he had taken over the world. Vector has hadenough of him and forcibly removes the money from his pockets.
- In Jedi Outcast, Kyle Katarn sarcastically asks Reelo Baruk what a decent crime lord like him is doing associating with the likes of Desann and the Imperial Remnant, and Reelo answers "Making money, of course." He's probably indifferent to who ends up ruling the galaxy.
- The Wealth aspiration from The Sims 2.
- While the Teladi in the X-Universe have a very respectable military and rather large industrial capability, as well as having their entire society organized like a Mega Corp., their borderline obsession with profitsss makes it clear that they are this trope; although it shouldn't be discounted that they are a Proud Merchant Race. It's not surprising to see some rogue Teladi operate as pirates who do whatever unscrupulous activity possible, and all in the name of the almighty buckzoid. The encyclopedia explains that this is mostly only true of Teladi spacefarers, however: planetside Teladi exhibit much more variation and can be as cynical or as selfless as any human.
- Balrog from Street Fighter operates entirely on what will earn him the biggest paycheck. Once his boxing career derailed he became a full-fledged criminal in Shadaloo because Bison was paying so well. The promise of money is a good way to keep him in his place since he's otherwise none too bright.
- Dex from the webgame Strike Force Heroes 2 is the only member of the title team who isn't in it for the cause. He turns out to be the one tipping off their enemies, the evil organization Globex, for cash. He kills West, the General of the team, and Professor Iagi, whose research the team was counting on against Globex's clones, but is ultimately killed by the Globex Leader, who considered him a great pawn, but too expensive to keep around.
- MechWarrior 2 Mecenaries: this is unsurprisingly pretty much your character's only apparent motivation. Summed up rather well during the game's intro movie when your commander fails to make it back to the dropship in time. Right after she's killed and the screen starts to fade to black, the dropship captain tells you "Look at the bright side, kid. You get to keep all the money."
- No surprise it shows up again in 4: Mercenaries. Castle will occasionally comment on Spectre's various choices of employers, and his responses include things like "We're here for the payday, not the politics" or "That's the mercenary's lot—we go where the pay is."
- The Striker in Sword of the Stars: The Pit is a mercenary on Arbuda IV only to search for phat lewt, in contrast with the other characters who are either there under orders or because It's Personal.
- Star Trek Online: The Letheans and Nausicaans are mercenaries who joined the Klingon Defense Force because they're being paid.
- Ninja Kage from Suikoden is willing to do anything (robbery, murder, deliver messages), as long as he's being paid. In the first Suikoden, you even have to pay him to join you (and he leaves as soon as his contract is up).
- In Shadowrun Returns dialogue choices allow you to roleplay this way, and the game encourages it by having some times when the only way to get payment for services awarded is to directly ask for it.
- A major plot point in HAWX, where the player works for the PMC Artemis. After spending significant capital to get a defense contract with Brazil, tensions flare between that country and a terrorist organization, prompting the United States to assist with military force. Facing loss of profit (a defense contractor loses out when they're not the primary defense force anymore), Artemis makes the illegal decision to switch sides mid-conflict to support the terrorists, who are paying them more. They then go completely off the walls when they decide to attack US forces in retaliation for the loss of their profit margin (and also to hold the country ransom).
- In the Descent series, Material Defender is entirely in it for his paycheck from the PTMC, going so far as to grumble that he doesn't really care if they sue him for breach of contract at the start of the second game, but he's got no choice if he wants his money, despite having risked his life repeatedly through a long series of hellish robot-infested mines. Though the third game's plot involves MD working with a group out for revenge against the PTMC, during his final confrontation with Dravis, he seems more concerned with getting his payment than actually stopping the computer virus that's caused all the problems in the first place.
- In Emerald City Confidential, Dee hires Petra to find her Runaway Fiancé. Petra admits that she only takes the case because of the large amount of money Dee offers. This is later subverted though once Dee offers more money for Petra to get involved in obtaining illegal magical items. Petra refuses.
- Tales of Destiny: Rutee's only ever into anything for the money, including community service. At least she has a reason for it; the orphanage she grew up in will get shut down if it doesn't repay a huge debt.
- Mercenaries in Crusader Kings will only fight for you if you have money and they will simply disband if you run out of money.
- In Elf Blood, mercenary information saleswoman Carlita Delacroix sells to both sides of the central conflict and is very open about this. She even requests a down payment on information that would ultimately be used to help save a dying client's life.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, November, realizing Perrault has no nobility, offers gold.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley is apparently only interested in treasure. While she does have a very good reason to gather large amounts of gold, even before then she was greedy. Though she does have a noble streak, and in one case funded a resistance movement out of her own pocket.
- Miron, one of Tarquin's associates, appears to be mainly motivated by money. He was the one responsible for Haley's money motivation by holding her father for ransom.
- In Schlock Mercenary, Tagon's Toughs play this to the hilt. The one time they weren't, the Reverend thought Tagon had developed a conscience, until he realized Tagon just hated Xinchub more than he wanted the money. It makes Tagon in particular very easy to manipulate: if you give him the chance to get paid twice for something, he will take it unless it is overtly suicidal, and even then he'll have the brains trust take a look at it to see if there's a way to handle it.
Dr Bunnigus: We'd all feel really bad if the local biosphere got consumed by nanobots after we left.
Tagon: We'd still get paid, right?
- In Sinfest, he suddenly can sing Britney Spears when she shows she has money.
- In Idiotsitter, Billie is hired to babysit the adult Gene as a mixture of legal guardian/nanny/tutor. Being a Harvard grad, she is quite resistant-but she is also quite poor, and is swayed by Gene's father eventually offering double his original price. Slowly, she starts to actually like Gene.
Billie: We're going go in there and tell her that this is over, because it is a terrible and violent tradition.Mr. Russel: Yes it is. It is terribly cleansing and violently healing, and if you don't do this, you're not part of the Russel family.Billie: I'm not part of the Russel family!Mr. Russel: I'll give you a thousand dollars.Billie: Let's go beat up your daughter.
- "Fight Day" has a textbook example of this trope at work.
- Marshall, Carter, & Dark of SCP universe only are interested in SCPs for the massive profits they make off selling the stuff to the rich, unlike the other organizations, most of which are Well Intentioned Extremists (the others being a few insane cults, a group which makes paranormal toys, and a group which makes paranormal Dadaist art).
- Conversed in the SF Debris review of Star Trek: First Contact (see Film, above). Off of the Enterprise crew's surprise that Zefram Cochrane invented the warp drive to get rich, Chuck points out that a lot of major historical scientists and engineers and whatnot weren't thinking of much beyond how much money they could make from it.
- Strexcorp from Welcome to Night Vale. For example, this representative is really thankful that those "death oranges" they were selling were discovered, since...
''"we could have harmed a lot of people on our way to making a ton of money! So very much money. What’s a few lives? So much money!"
- Michael Bay states that this is his motivation during his appearence in Epic Rap Battles of History. To quote:
Michael Bay: "If there's one thing I learned, bitch /This game's about /Motherfucking money!/ I make that dollar, y'all/ Motherfucking money!/Even make Mark Wahlberg/ Make some motherfucking money!"
- Parodied on The Boondocks where we find out Ann Coulter's entire conservative agenda is a ruse to make a lot of money.
Huey: Are you even a Republican?Ann: Hell no! You think I like going out there, and saying this ridiculous shit?Huey: Then why do it?Ann: Cause a bitch got books to sell.
Jack Flowers: Don't you have enough money?!Ed Wuncler: No.
- And again in "It's Goin Down", when a plot to unite and inspire the American people was enacted mainly because a few already rich people would stand to make a lot of money.
- The Ghost in Iron Man: Armored Adventures abandoned his contract on Tony because Whitney paid him more to do so. He shows up later with a new target, indicating the previous hire was mad about him taking a better offer.
"You don't have enough money for that."
- Then they want him to kill Ironman:
- In the Justice League cartoon, Batman is able to convince the Ultra-Humanite to double-cross the Injustice Gang by offering double what Lex Luthor was paying (which made sure that the Ultra-Humanite got plenty of opera when he went back to prison).
- In The Legend of Korra, professional competitive firebender Mako doesn't care about glory, fame, the art of bending, or anything else - he just wants the cash prize that comes with winning the league, to keep himself and his younger brother Bolin from getting turned back out on the streets.
- One episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo featured a man who sells comic books for a living and claims to hate them and that he's Only In It For The Money. The fact his name is Cashmore does help with the impression. However, he's simply too ashamed to admit he likes comic books.
- Parodied on The Simpsons where Krusty the Clown is quite often shown taking roles that are beneath even him (which is saying something) because his incredibly poor money management skills have left him constantly in debt. In one episode, Bart chastises Krusty for lending his name to an inferior production, to which Krusty replies, "They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house! I'm not made of stone!"
- Transformers Decepticon Swindle is this. True, he's a Decepticon. But as early as G1 he's sold his own teammates for parts when they were paralysed, and will sell out to anybody, for anything. In Transformers Animated it's pretty much stated that he's only classed with the Decepticons because Megatron is his best customer.
- In Gargoyles, MacBeth is a subversion. He takes a job with Xanatos to get the gargoyles out of the castle, but MacBeth wants revenge on Demona, and uses the pretense that he's doing it for the money to get the gargoyles without raising suspicion.
- In an episode of Wolverine and the X-Men, Wolverine accuses Gambit of selling out his kind for a little of cash.
- A rare case on The Spectacular Spider-Man where Sandman only wanted to make a big score and not try to hurt anybody. When his actions caused an oil tanker to catch fire, he saved everybody on board (even Spider-Man) and seemingly performed a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the explosion from harming anyone on shore.
- Kim Possible has Shego, Dragon to the villain Drakken who only follows orders because of pay.
- One episode had the heroes-for-hire of Team Impossible, who try to put a stop to Kim's heroics because her willingness to help people free of charge is cutting into their bottom line.
- Hurricanes: It's revealed in one episode that Wyn and Genghis would stop working for Garkos if they didn't need the money he pays them.