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Fate Worse Than Death / Video Games

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  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, when Huey is found guilty twice of betrayal over the course of the story, Venom Snake opts against killing him despite everyone in the Diamond Dogs wanting him shot. Instead he has Huey exiled on a tiny life raft too small to support his prized mechanical legs, forcing him to drop them overboard to stay afloat. He spent the rest of his life as a disgraced fraud until he committed suicide years later via drowning himself.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine:
    • It's implied in chapter 4 that the ink people passively standing around or crying in corners are former employees of the company, transformed by the machine and forced to remain in the studio forever.
    • Also in Chapter 4, there's Bertrum Piedmont inside Bendy Land. He's been fused with a ride that's rooted to the spot and has gone insane. And then, Henry destroys his only point in mobility during the boss fight by chopping off the ride's mechanical arms. There's no indication this killed him.
  • Ghost Trick: So you have a ghost who has outlived his usefulness, and you really, really don't want him coming after you after the fact. What do you do? Why, leave him in a flooding submarine at the bottom of the sea, completely alone, launch the room containing his body as far away as possible in a random direction, allow said room to collapse due to the water pressure, mangling the body beyond repair and all but ensuring Time Travel doesn't come into play, blow up the submarine with a torpedo, and make sure no possible path of escape remains. And since he's already dead...
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  • Team Fortress 2: The disembodied head of the BLU Spy in the "Meet the Medic" video, somehow permanently Übercharged and now spends his invulnerable days mostly having a smoke break and chillin' in RED Medic's fridge. Spy seems rather calm about it though, especially compared to his initial reaction.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, a l'Cie who fails to complete their Focus is doomed to become a Cie'th; a crystalline monster that wanders the world in sorrow, until it eventually fossilizes into a Cie'th Stone while still alive, awake, and suffering sorrow and regret, forever. The fate for those who complete their Focus isn't much better..becoming an immortal servant of the fal'Cie. And spending most of the time as a crystal statue, except when they want you for something. The fal'Cie are jerks.
  • StarCraft: Zerg infestation usually alters your mind into conformity with the collective will of the Swarm and its Overmind. However, Starcraft II shows that this is not always the case. Some infestees end up fully aware of their miserable condition, and only have enough control over their bodies to beg other people to kill them. Sarah Kerrigan is only one that, while still "zergified", still has her own control over herself, and eventually the entire Zerg swarm. Until she passed the title and control of them over to Zagara willingly after becoming a Xel'naga.
  • Sorcerer:
    • Dallying in the prologue area will result in a Non Standard Game Over where the game's villain condemns the protagonist to an eternity in the Chamber of Living Death, wherein victims are perpetually (and painfully) eaten alive by plagues of parasites.
    • Dallying too long in the final room without acting will get the protagonist sent to the Hall of Eternal Pain, where they will spend eternity as a powerless disembodied mentality, being tormented telepathically.
    • In the next-to-last room, there are three doors. Two of them lead to the Chamber of Living Death and the Hall of Eternal Pain. Try to find which one is the third one. Try hard.
    • Failure to obtain (or, for that matter, use) the correct spell before the final confrontation results in a demon possessing the protagonist and using this new body to enslave the entire world. (In the demon's own words, "Now begins an epoch of evil transcending even your worst nightmares; a reign of terror that will last a thousand thousand years!") The kicker? He keeps the protagonist's mind alive and aware, so the protagonist is Forced to Watch helplessly as his controlled body sacrifices babies, forces slaves to build massive idols - with his face - and generally creates a literal Hell on Earth.
  • Infocom was at it again in The Lurking Horror. Don't kill the final monster fast enough and one of its formerly human slaves grabs you and throws you into it, which by this point you know is how it makes humans into former humans. Instead of the standard "You have died" message, you see the far more chilling "You have changed", followed by "Sometimes, during your future existence, you remember your old life. At these times, you wish you had died instead."
  • In Drakengard, the Anti-Hero defeats the Creepy Child Big Bad. She begs him to kill her, but he decides that instead he's going to drag her around the world, forcing her to see the devastation she has caused. He's going to make her take responsibility for everything, a child's nightmare. This turns out to have been an effective punishment; she's a playable character in the second game, and she has repressed all the memories of her being the Big Bad and the punishment the protagonist of the first game inflicted on her. This becomes obvious when the Anti-Hero of the first game shows up as an Anti-Villain in the second, and the mere sight of him makes her go crazy. She gets better.
  • Odin Sphere: Marriage, to the valkyries. Most of them would sooner die than give up their warrior lifestyle to tend house and bear children. The fact that most of their prospective husbands are sexist assholes may have something to do with it.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3:
      • Played for laughs when the boys "accidentally" spend too long in the hot spring, until after it switches from boys-only to girls-only. When Mitsuru and the rest of the girls enter, Akihiko freaks out and with good reason: if Mitsuru detects the boys in the ensuing minigame, she "executes" them; a fate not seen but referred to as "hell on earth".
      • A more serious example in the underlying implications of The Fall: with the coming of Nyx, the incarnation of Death itself, every single living thing will be consumed from the inside out by its own desire for destruction. Thus everything, everywhere, will lose all sense of self and become a mindless, soulless shell that can only moan and whimper, completely unaware of its own death. Should the protagonists choose to challenge this fate, the Appraiser/Nyx Avatar warns them that they will suffer more than they could possibly imagine, then die. It'll be even worse for Aigis, who's a robot, and thus most likely won't be affected by the Fall. Instead, she'll get to watch her friends turn into shambling shells of their former selves, and then spent the rest of her life in a lifeless wasteland until her body mercifully breaks down.
    • Persona 5 drops this trope by name. When Ann is explaining why she spared Shadow Kamoshida, she explains that she'd rather he spend the rest of his life repenting for his sins and living with the guilt rather than simply die.
      • In a much darker note, at the endgame, when The Holy Grail fuses Mementos into the real world, it also manipulates the public into thinking the Phantom Thieves don't exist. The end result is they get erased, and not in a peaceful way either; You can see them, starting from Futaba/Oracle to Ren/Joker, writhing in pain and making incredibly agonizing screams and expressions until they all collapse into the ground and fade out. And apparently, the Grail/Yaldabaoth has imprisoned them in the Velvet Room and it's impersonating as the Big Good Igor, and the Velvet Room is also revealed to be subverted by him. He then offers you to join him; If you do, you become a slave of the Grail and everyone in Tokyo will be enslaved by it as well. To top it all off, none of your Phantom Thief comrades ever appeared after you joined Yaldabaoth, indicating that they are all still imprisoned and are doomed to rot in the subverted Velvet Room for eternity alongside the real Igor. Oh and it's never explained what happens to Lavenza or the other Velvet siblings afterwards, but you can guess they are doomed in no time.
      • In Royal, Dr. Maruki inherits the power of Yaldabaoth and uses it to turn reality into a utopia where everyone's wishes are fulfilled. Akechi is brought back to life but he resents Maruki's actions on the grounds that he robs people of their agency and leaves them with nothing to strive for, in some cases even changing people's personalities to make them more amiable, and word-for-word calls it a fate worse than death. In the Bittersweet Ending where you accept Maruki's reality, the Phantom Thieves and the rest of humanity have everything they ever wanted at the cost of mankind's ambition, and Akechi's personality is rewritten exactly as he feared. But the Non Standard Game Over where you don't give Maruki an answer in time is a much more straightforward example; he comes to the conclusion that Joker never confronted him because the stress of having to make a decision was too much for him, and "fixes" it by essentially removing his will to live and causing him to spend all his time sleeping.
    • In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, it was revealed by Enlil near the end of the game that the Cinema that acts as the hub is just one of the Lotus-Eater Machine Cinemas and the one housing Hikari; she has an entire street filled with these Cinemas and each of them were housing people whom like Hikari before her rehabilitation, are people that she "protected" from their real-life hardships, and they don't even look like they wanted to live in the first place; It turns out that the movies in the Cinemas are actually pure negativity with all of the positivity cut off appearing as a documentary film, fueling their already horrible depression to outright dangerous levels. Since the movie labyrinths in Hikari's cinema are merely transformed by Doe to allow her to rehabilitate, this is actually what Hikari is watching in her confines all the time. There's no wonder that she was an Empty Shell at the start of the game, and it is heavily implied to be much worse than that. While thankfully Everybody Lives, if Doe didn't appear to drag in Persona users with the movies, Hikari (Or other people trapped) wouldn't even be able to sustain their mental health and will most likely be Driven to Suicide.
  • In Planescape: Torment, when you explain to the Mercykiller Vhailor how your immortality works, he moves to punish you as each time you die and regenerate, someone else dies in your place... but you can get him to back off by explaining the downside. Vhailor, thought of even by other Mercykillers as a fanatic who'll scrag someone without evidence, decides that you are suffering punishment enough.
  • In the add-on to Dungeon Siege II called Broken World, anyone caught by the Familiar Surgeons is horribly mutilated, fused with parts of other bodies or weapons, and transformed into an insane "bound creature". Fortunately, this cannot happen to player characters.
  • In the backstory of Utawarerumono, Witsarnemitea reduced the scientists who studied him to immortal slimes not unlike the I Have No Mouth example above.
  • Lost Kingdoms has the Runestones. In the first gave, they weren't alluded to much, but when the second game came around, you find out that a Runestone is a soul that one of the three gods sucked out of a living person and turned into one.
  • Warcraft:
    • One of the Scourge's Evil Plans is to spread the plagued grains in Stratholme, so people who ate from that will turn into zombies, and their souls will be taken by Mal'Ganis and transferred to the Lich King. Arthas, having learned this, makes a drastic decision to purge the entire city, thinking that such fates are something worse than death. Poor chap didn't know (at the time) that it's not the Stratholme citizens' souls the Lich King is after. It's his soul.
    • Arthas again (after the Lich King got his soul this time), gets in on this during the invasion of Quel'thalas. The leader of the High Elven resistance is the ranger-general Sylvanas Windrunner. After battling through her defences for hours, he finally traps her and mortally wounds her through the chest with Frostmourne. With a pained murmur she asks Arthas for a clean death. A clean death, she does not get. Instead he mutilates her body and tortures her to death, and then defiles her spirit by raising it her as a powerful banshee bound to his will. And then he turned her on her own people. As a final, unintended insult, this also glitches Sylvanas' soul and forces her into The Maw after death, driving her completely insane and facilitating her resurrection as the Banshee Queen, who makes everything the Lich King did seem noble in comparison.
    • Most of what the Scourge does is this. For instance, one of their bosses in World of Warcraft is Thaddius, a Frankenstein-lookalike who's described as: "..built from the flesh of women and children, it is said that their souls are fused together - eternally bound within that foul prison of flesh." Add that some of his voice sounds like a child. When your raid finally defeats him, his last action is to thank you.
  • Half-Life:
    • Headcrabs are small (about the size of a domesticated cat), aggressive aliens that attach themselves to a viable host and commandeer its nervous system, creating what are cheerfully named Headcrab Zombies. Said host is still alive and still aware even as its body rots, it tears off all of its skin (Fast Zombies) and/or is injected with so much neurotoxin it bloats to about twice its width (Poison Zombies). It's become an infamous fact that when you reverse a Headcrab Zombie's cry, you can hear the human screaming for mercy.
    • Half-Life 2 has the less commonly seen Stalkers - humans surgically altered by the Combine and forced into slavery. They more or less look like emaciated humans with most of their internal organs, muscle, and fat removed, and their limbs replaced with metal stumps. Alyx, quite reasonably, hopes they don't remember who they used to be.
  • Reaching the end of the Fourth Kalpa in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne reveals that Jyoji Hijiri has been condemned to an eternity of life, death and rebirth without hope of reincarnation. He will be forced to witness the Conception and the creation of the new world over and over again until the end of time, but will never be allowed to influence its outcome himself. He received this punishment from God for committing "the ultimate sin" in a previous life; because of this, many suspect that he is a reincarnation of Aleph from Shin Megami Tensei II, who committed deicide at the end of the game by killing YHVH (God). That's right, God.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, YHVH threatens eternal damnation to hell upon Nanashi for rebelling against him and reducing him to his hideous One-Winged Angel form, declaring that "the weight of your blasphemy is too great for death!"
  • Plundered Hearts, another Infocom title, uses this to get around having to state upfront that people want to rape or have raped the main character. This makes more sense when you realize that the game is an interactive version of a cheesy Romance Novel.
  • In Zork: Grand Inquisitor, all crimes under the rule of Inquisitor Yannick are punishable by being "totemized", having your body painfully transfigured into an immobile totem for all eternity. Justified in that this is part of Yannick's plot to eliminate magic from the land of Zork: if a person is totemized instead of killed, their body's natural supplies of magical energy aren't released and the overall level of magic in the world drops slightly.
  • Baldur's Gate (and the source world) has the "Imprisonment" Spell, in which the victim is instantly trapped deep within the earth, and magically kept alive forever, unable to escape until someone casts "Freedom" at where the Imprisonment is held. In Shadows of Amn, the main character is threatened with this by a particularly hard-lined Harper, and could optionally fight against a high-powered wizard that was driven insane by the experience.
  • Diablo:
    • Both Tal Rasha and the player-character from the first game make the unwise decision to insert a soulstone with a demon into their bodies. The results for both of them are not pretty.
    • In Diablo III, Adria, in the cruelest betrayal of the series, does this to her own daughter Leah, using the Black Soulstone to turn her into the vessel for Diablo to be reborn as the Prime Evil.
  • The Quake series, with the exception of the first game, feature a cybernetic alien race called the Strogg, who build their ranks by capturing their enemies and putting them through a horrific process, referred to by the human soldiers in the fourth game as "Stroggification". This process not only involves having several body parts sliced off and crudely replaced with cybernetic parts (without any anesthetic whatsoever), but also involves having a chip implanted into the brain of the unfortunate victim, which is then activated by a machine, so that the victim can be controlled by the Nexus, a giant brain that has control over all other Strogg soldiers (it is unknown if there are any original, pureblood Strogg who possess free will). Watch it here! Worst of all, is that the victims still retain their humanity for a short while after the chip activation but they are unable to control their actions. This is seen in the fourth game, when Scott Voss is transformed into a huge, hulking cyborg, and yells at Matthew Kane to run away and that "I can't control it!", shortly before going berserk and attacking Kane. Sometimes, the process fails, resulting in the victims becoming shambling, zombie-like creatures (the "Failed transfers" and "Slimy transfers") who are then transported to a dumping ground.
  • Since nearly every major character in Grim Fandango is already dead by virtue of the setting, these are the only things that are real threats. Examples include being made into a dam by demon beavers, and being "sprouted" — having plants grow from your body until you become a patch of flowery meadow.
    • Word of God mentions that dead souls who fall into one of these fates gets reincarnated. It's still considered a punishment worse than death, because you're forced to live and die again before getting another attempt at reaching the Ninth Underworld and "true" eternal rest.
  • In the Fallout series in general, Ghouls got it especially rough. Just to cite a few aspects in which their life sucks:
    • They are permanently decomposing, but the healing they obtain from radiation keeps them alive, just barely.
    • The constant pain makes it a challenge to do anything at all, and may send them feral at any given time.
    • They are banished from most of whatever remains of society.
    • They are effectively immortal but that immortality comes with an overbearing sense of pain and isolation.
    • They're completely sterile, and it's likely most of them had their genitals fall off at some point anyhow.
  • Fallout 3:
    • The good end to the "Tranquility Lane" quest has you condemning Braun to be trapped in his vault with no possible way to leave or interact with the outside world. Rather fitting.
    • Harold. When you find him, he's been turned into a tree and cannot grow or die. He, naturally, begs you to kill him.
    • On a more humorous note, Liberty Prime believes that "death is a preferable alternative to communism".
  • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • The option is given of doing this to Mr House, if you release him from his life-support unit. Even though exposing him to the outside world ensures his eventual death, his longevity treatments will keep him alive for, he estimates, about a year.
    • The Marked Men from the Lonesome Road DLC, who were created by the nuclear explosions that destroyed the Divide. Sandstorms have torn the skin from their bodies, and the radiation from the nukes has mutated them into ghouls, making them immortal. Ulysses tells you that if there's no way to save them (there probably isn't), then it's "mercy, not murder" to kill them.
    • Craig Boone views what would have happened to his wife and their unborn child at the hand of the legion as this. He may not be that far off. So he took the shot.
    • Joshua "Burned Man" Graham, former Legate to Caesar, was set on fire and thrown into the Grand Canyon, but unfortunately survived, is in constant pain exacerbated by the daily changing of his bandages, and Immune to Drugs.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • From Devil Survivor, Naoya AKA Cain, as in the biblical Cain and Abel, has been cursed to remember every single memory from all of his previous reincarnations, including the first one where he murdered his brother, resulting in him living non-stop for thousands of years constantly tormented by far too much information for one brain, never being allowed to forget his greatest sin. What makes it so sad is that he could get out of this; God didn't 'curse' him, this was a genuine attempt to give him time to reflect on his sin and repent. All he has to do to be forgiven is to admit he was wrong and sincerely apologize for the fratricide... but by this point, he's far too bitter to even consider that.
  • Lezard from Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria threatens your party with this if you die against him (the only way you can actually get a Game Over in the game):
    "I will not slay you. From now and forever, no matter how much you entreat me, how pitifully you lament, you shall not die!"
    "I grant you the rights accorded to an enemy of the gods: You will live from now and forever, in an endless cycle of rebirth, condemned in each life to be hated, feared, scorned, punished and obliterated!"
    "Live always with the screech of insects buzzing within your skull, ants gnawing at your eyeballs forever and ever!"
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Dying whilst under the effects of a soul trap spell will condemn the being's soul to spend eternity in the Soul Cairn, a desolate plane of Oblivion crafted by the Ideal Masters, a group of immortal beings who were once powerful mortal sorcerers. The Ideal Masters traffic in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls, and have a Horror Hunger for more. The Soul Cairn itself is a dark and gloomy place, with frequent lightning strikes, frightening rock formations, and the Ideal Masters themselves taking the form of giant crystalline soul gems feeding on souls who wander too close. Souls of sentient beings in the Cairn will remark on how they have spent countless years wandering the Soul Cairn, wishing for a proper death that will never be theirs. The Ideal Masters themselves consider this place a blessing, believing that it grants "eternal peace" away from Mundus' Vicious Cycle of death and rebirth.
    • This is likewise the case for mortal souls claimed by the more malevolent Daedric Princes upon death. While many of these souls are voluntary servants, there are instances of souls being taken by the Princes against their will. For example, anyone killed by Mehrunes Razor may have their soul sent to Mehrunes Dagon's Deadlands realm. Likewise, the souls of vampires and lycanthropes are believed to be claimed by Molag Bal and Hircine, respectively, even if the mortal in question may not have chosen to become one of these creatures. Being trapped in Molag Bal's realm, Coldharbour, for any reason whatsoever, counts as this. The ground is sludge, the sky is on fire, and the air is freezing. It resembles a ruined and desecrated copy of Nirn that is filled with suffering and "spattered" with blood and excrement. It contains charnel houses full of the dead and slave pens beyond count. The smell of the place alone is enough to break most mortals. It is specifically designed to break and torment mortals as efficiently and cruelly as possible. Being a follower or faithful servant of his will not save you in any way, and in fact, may make it worse. He is also known to dole out fates like this as punishments to servants who disobey or fail him.
    • Morrowind
      • This is what the Tribunal Temple considers Vampirism. It's why they consider a swift Mercy Kill as the only "cure" for the disease, regardless of what the vampires themselves might believe.
      • The non-Sixth House victims of the Corprus disease. In essence, it combines the effects of leprosy, cancer, and dementia. The two "positive" effects of the disease are that you stop aging and become immune to all other diseases. Combine these, and your only hope for relief once the disease has advanced is to be killed mercifully.
    • From Oblivion: Mankar Camoran's followers are subjected to one of these if killed: His followers are made immortal and condemned to slavery for eternity, working under lesser Daedra. The new inductees in Paradise are dipped into lava.
    • In The Elder Scrolls Online, Mannimarco, the former Dragon, ends up being captured and tortured by Molag Bal after Mannimarco attempts to Starscream Bal. The tortures are so vile that Mannimarco, a prideful and arrogant Lich/Necromancer who is one of the most dreaded beings in all of Tamriel, literally screams in immense fear and begs for mercy.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Reapers possess the ability to subtly brainwash sentient beings, slowly altering their thoughts so that they eventually override their will entirely, creating willing slaves that follow their orders without hesitation. The downside is that too much use of this ability turns them into mindless husks, incapable of doing anything without an order from their controller. Shepard encounters many people at varying stages of this "indoctrination", and has the option of performing a Mercy Kill. It can be even worse to people with strong mind and psychic talents; Matriarch Benezia sealed a part of her consciousness away out of sense of duty to use her free will in some critical moment, and was effectively trapped in her body in the meantime, unable to prevent herself from committing heinous acts under Sovereign's control.
    • In Mass Effect 2 this is revealed to be the fate of not only the entire Prothean species, but indeed all of the species the Reapers have harvested, converting them into new Reapers.
    • Mass Effect 3 off-handedly mentions a human colony world that was about to be attacked by the Reapers with no hope of evacuation. So the colony nuked itself, reasoning that that would be a better fate than what the Reapers had in store for them.
  • God of War:
    • Somewhat based on the relevant mythology, God of War II features Prometheus in his liver-consuming fate. Instead of being freed by Hercules, however, he is freed by being dropped into the Fires of Olympus by Kratos. Kratos is then awarded with Rage of the Titans.
    • What Aegaeon the Hundred-Handed faced in God of War: Ascension: after breaking his oath to Zeus, the Furies hunted him and punished him by turning hollowing out his body and turning it into a living prison, all while he was still conscious all the time. As if that wasn't bad enough, at the start of the game, his body gets possessed by puppeteer parasites spawned by Megaera to kill Kratos and his arms are twisted into horrific monstruosities. His face also gets infected by the way of his eye and his mouth turns into spiked horror with crab arms trying to devour Kratos. He gets released from this state following Megaera's death.
    • In God of War (PS4), Mimir is found bound in a tree that Odin enchanted so that no weapon can free his body from the wood. He instructs Kratos to cut off his head since they don't need his whole body and have the Witch of the Woods reanimate it so that he can aid them on their journey. When Kratos reminds him of the possibility that the Witch's spell may fail, Mimir somberly explains that Odin has been torturing him every day for over 100 years. As far as he's concerned, death is an acceptable alternative.
  • Runescape:
    • The Spirit Beast locks a group of ghosts into its own plane of existence, where it slowly feeds on their souls. Erik Bonde, one of the unfortunate fellows to have this fate, said that for the first twenty days, they couldn't do anything but scream. At the beginning of the second quest it is revealed it's trying to enter the REAL world, which means that EVERYONE would share this fate.
    • What happened to the hero Arrav after his Heroic Sacrifice to save the city of Varrock from Zemouregal hundreds of years ago. Zemoreugal brought him back to life as a special kind of zombie that still had his consciousness trapped inside his body but having no control at all over his actions except for talking when Zemouregal wasn't focusing on him. During the quest The Curse of Arrav you go on a mission to recover his heart so that you can save him from this fate without killing him and you finally free him during the final battle of the quest Ritual of the Mahjarrat allowing him to turn on and attack Zemouregal, but after the quest his body turns to dust when you talk to him due to his body no longer being preserved.
    • The souls that were eaten by the queen black dragon. When you battle her she uses them as unwilling weapons against you, they can talk to you but can't control their actions. Similarly, getting turned into a wright and enslaved by Sliske is probably this too. Finally, during the quest Missing Presumed Death, when Death gets kidnapped and imprisoned by Sliske, dead souls all over the world became unable to properly separate from their bodies, leaving them in an agonizing state of half death.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • The Darkspawn Blood Taint. Essentially, drinking darkspawn blood (sometimes even coming into contact with it) will usually kill you very very painfully, if you are lucky. Otherwise, you will slowly turn into one of them. And that is still better than the treatment they have for the women: they are implied to be raped (everywhere) before being forced into devouring their own kin and slowly turned into immobile betentacled Broodmothers, the purpose of which is to give birth to more Darkspawn.
    • In Awakening, some of the "Awakened" Darkspawn consider their "freedom" to be this. Bereft of the Call of the Old Gods, they find the silence unbearable. All of the Mother's actions are driven by her desire for revenge against the Architect who cut her off from the music. In the Final Battle, she actually looks forward to dying in battle, hoping to hear the Song again in death.
    • Mages are prone to demonic possession. The exact effects vary but it generally seems to be pretty bad. As a way to "protect" vulnerable mages from possession, Templars sometimes perform a process that severs their connection to magic - and also destroys their ability to feel emotion or dream. These "Tranquil" mages don't seem to mind, at least not after the fact... There was one case of a tranquil mage being temporarily cured by direct exposure to a Fade spirit. He begged his friend to kill him rather than be allowed to become tranquil again.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition a Mage Inquisitor has the option to punish Livius Erimond for working with the Big Bad by making him Tranquil. All other options including execution don't faze him at all, but if sentenced to Tranquility he will begin to panic at the idea of "losing himself". A few mages protest the Inquisitor's judgement and claim it overly cruel, but it's not really encountered outside the war table.
  • How Pokémon Mystery Dungeon got the Explorer games to have an E rating, the world will never know. In the Bad Future, time never passes, meaning that if you die, you will be stuck in that dying state forever. To make matters worse, shortly after arriving there, you and your partner are to be executed by Sableye, by means of their razor-sharp claws. Imagine an eternity of being cut to shreds...
    • In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, you and most of the main cast are turned to stone, sending your souls to a hellish dimension called the Voidlands, with seemingly no way out. To make matters worse, this eventually happens to almost EVERYONE on the entire planet.
  • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Ghetsis gets hit right in the face with this at the end, going so insane that he's reduced to a catatonic vegetable. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke.
  • In Pokémon X and Y, Lysandre falls victim to this right at the climax. Or at least in X. He fires off the Ultimate Weapon, with the intent of using Xerneas's power to make the player character and their friends immortal. Only then, the Flare base proceeds to collapse, with him still inside it. Since Lysandre was right there when it went off, it's likely he's now immortal himself and stuck under the crater for all of eternity.
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon it's revealed that three Type:Null were put into Cryogenic Suspension for all eternity because they didn't work out the way the Aether Foundation wanted them to - effectively be man-made Arceus. Even worse, we find out that Lusamine has numerous other Pokemon, such as a Slowpoke, a Starmie and a Pikachu frozen all in the name of "protection".
    • While some dialogue in the post-game implies that the Aether employees have decided to thaw out all the Pokémon that Lusamine froze (and Gladion even gives the player one of the other Type:Null, seemingly confirming this), it still makes the initial reveal no less horrifying. One can only wonder how long they've all been like that, as well as how conscious they were.
  • Grissom in Vagrant Story. Having been killed by Ashley, his soul seeks out a new vessel, and winds up bound to his old corpse.
  • Mother 3 provides an incredibly literal example: Porky Minch hides inside the Absolutely Safe Capsule when things start falling apart for him. Dr. Andonuts tells the heroes that it's "absolutely safe" in an incredible literal way: Porky can't be harmed at all in it, nor can it be destroyed, and he's permanently locked inside with no escape at all. Porky can't die of old age either, as his time travel abuse made him immortal. Therefore Porky, a frail and decrepit old man (if with a child's mind) is condemned to living forever locked inside the tiny Absolutely Safe Capsule. Incredibly, the ending implies that he's actually totally fine with this.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, when you finally find the man who betrayed Niko years ago he has a heavy drug addiction and is ridden with guilt, and begs you to kill him. Here you are given the option of killing him or letting him live with the guilt. Niko finds more satisfaction in letting him live.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • Raziel doesn't have one of these. He has three. At the start of Soul Reaver on seeing his new misshapen body he claims "Death would be a release from this travesty" and "I would choose oblivion over this existence". At the end of Soul Reaver 2 he learns his fate is to have his soul imprisoned in a sword where he would be reduced to a mindless hunger devouring the souls of those the sword is used on, trapped for thousands of years. Finally at the end of Defiance he is left trapped in a room with no way for him to escape, and the only thing to look at is a mural showing not only is he not The Chosen One, but that he killed the real Chosen One shortly before getting trapped. Said Chosen One turns out to be Not Quite Dead, and (accidentally) allows Raziel to escape the room - at which point Raziel finally ends up imprisoned in the sword.
    • The Hylden race collectively suffers one of these as their war with the Ancients ends with their banishment in the demon dimension, which keeps them immortal, but deforms their bodies and drives them insane. The Ancients themselves suffer similarly when the Hylden retaliate by cursing them with vampirism, which ends up severing their connection to their god. Most chose to kill themselves rather than live on like that.
    • Janos Audron, the last living Ancient, when the Hylden hijack his body and imprison him for 400 years to feed their machinery. At the end of Blood Omen 2 he ends up trapped in the demon dimension with the Hylden.
  • What happens to Galen, your character, in the Dark Side ending of The Force Unleashed. He's nearly crushed to death by a spaceship, reconstructed by the Emperor (Galen is conscious the whole time) to barely be human anymore and then he's forced to live out the rest of his life as the Emperor's pawn. So the mirror-image of Darth Vader.
  • Dr. Weil, from the Mega Man Zero series was given this before the series even started (approximately 100 years prior, give or take). As a result of his war crimes and instigating the Elf Wars, everyone in Neo Arcadia decided to get revenge on Weil or inflict justice (depending on how you view it) by killing his body, turning his memories and psyche into program data, and placing it in a carbon-mechanical cyborg body that prevents him from dying ever, and then he is exiled from Neo Arcadia into the wastelands of the world that he was responsible for ruining.
  • This trope is almost mundane in the Silent Hill series, as although it only occurs after death the victims tend not to stay dead, the eponymous town consuming and imprisoning them. This definitely happened to Lisa, Kaufman, Walter and his victims, and Alex in one of the endings, and probably happened to Dahlia, James in one of the endings, and Claudia.
  • This is what happens to Kirie and Mafuyu in Fatal Frame's canon ending. They're going to be spending the rest of eternity at the Hell Gate deep underground, with Kirie making sure that the gate stays closed, and Mafuyu staying with her so that she won't have to suffer all alone.
  • Final Fantasy XI:
    • Raogrimm a.k.a the Shadowlord is forced to watch over Dynamis until hatred no longer exists.
    • Lilisette has no other choice but to leave her world behind, and replace her Evil Counterpart in her own world in order to close Atomos's maws and allow the two futures to survive. And her actions during the Crystal War are Ret-Gone, which means that only you remember her.
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Chimera in Resistance. The first game even has a level titled "Fates Worse than Death."
  • Malefor gives the Apes one of these in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn Of The Dragon. He turns them into skeletons that are forever cursed to remain in the shadows, hungry for the energy of others but never able to be full. This fate is so terrible that Spyro and Cynder are visibly horrified by it.
  • Portal 2:
    • GLaDOS states that after her "death" at the end of Portal, this was inflicted on her.
    GLaDOS: You know the biggest lesson I learned from what you did? I discovered I have a sort of black box quicksave feature. In the event of a catastrophic failure, the last two minutes of my life are preserved forever for analysis. I was able - well, forced really - to relive you killing me again and again. Forever.
    • GLaDOS threatens this to P-body and Atlas, who as robots can be brought back again and again.
    GLaDOS: Don't disappoint me... or I'll make you wish you could die.
    • At one point GLaDOS says that death is too good for Wheatley, and she muses about all the things she could do to them. One of them includes locking him away for ten years in a room where "all the robots scream at you".
    • Wheatley's fate at the end of this game would qualify as one, as he was shown to be stuck floating through space for an undetermined amount of time, with Space Core by him to make matters worse.
  • In Jak II: Renegade, Baron Praxis can occasionally be heard addressing Jak over speakers normally reserved for spewing propaganda. The Baron promises a quick and painless death if Jak turns himself in, because the Dark Eco inside him will eventually do much, much worse. And if he doesn't turn himself in and Praxis finds him instead, he promises Jak he'll wish he died in prison.
  • Dark Souls has a lot of this. Most of the enemies are tragic monsters. There is horrible Body Horror, being imprisoned while effectively immortal, becoming a hollow and Linking the Flame leaves you burning alive, forever until someone puts you out of your misery.
  • In Might and Magic: Heroes VI, The Necrocracy of Heresh punishes its worst criminals by transforming them into ghouls. Because most citizens of Heresh are devout worshippers of Asha who are fully aware of the reincarnation cycle that governs the world, the threat of being permanently removed from that cycle by becoming a non-sentient undead is a horrifying prospect.
    • Worse, they field whole armies of ghouls as one of their basic troop types, implying that it doesn't take much to be condemned as one of Heresh's "worst criminals".
  • Comes up in Dishonored, if you're attempting a Pacifist Run. Need a couple of slavers "gone"? Have them disfigured and sent to be worked to death in their own mines. Need a member of the aristocracy taken out of the picture? Knock her unconscious and give her to a creepy admirer, who assures you she won't die but will "never be heard from again." Need the corrupt leader of a religious order removed? Brand him as a heretic, condemning him to spend the rest of his life as an outcast eventually falling victim to the Rat plague and becoming a Weeper. Time to take out their leader, the guy who had the Empress murdered and framed you for it? Broadcast his confession over the PA. note 
    • And things only get worse in the Knife of Dunwall and Brigmore Witches DLC. Need to get rid of a sadistic slaughterhouse boss after he tells you what you want? Nail him inside a crate headed out to the coldest regions of the world. Need a corrupt barrister removed? Swap his immunity documents with a search-and-seizure letter for his own house and dump some unidentified smelly contents into the air system, making the house smell like a plague nest. Need to stop a witch from possessing the future Empress? Swap the painting in her ritual with another so that she instead gets trapped in the Void.
    • Dishonored 2 is generally more merciful with its non-lethal solutions, but some are still frightening. Need to keep a wicked inventor from building an army of mechanical soldiers? Lobotomize him with his own electroshock chair. Need to depose the corrupt Duke who led the coup to overthrow you? Convince his body double to replace him and have him declared a madman to be confined in an asylum. Ironically, A Crack in the Slab is about saving Aramis Stilton from such a fate. He was involved in a ritual that drove him mad, and you can travel back in time and knock him out so he doesn't attend. Or, y'know, just kill him.
  • Saiki and Ash Crimson at the end of The King of Fighters XIII, as the two are erased from existence due to a time paradox.
    Saiki: Do you realize what you have just done? You have condemned us both to a fate worse than death!
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Lich King is either being forced to spend eternity keeping the undead in check like what happened to Bolvar Fordragon or finally dying and moving on to a fate like this. Arthas Menethil dies as the Lich King and ends up in a Purgatory-like area where he is reduced to a sobbing, crying, tormented child. Sylvanas almost pities him for the monstrous fate he was doomed to. Sylvanas' primary motivation after Arthas' demise is to avoid the same fate.
    • Sindragosa. She knows what she's doing as a Dracolich and as she is finally dying, she admits that she is relieved to be free of the Lich King at long last.
    • The trio of Rook Stonetoe, He Softfoot, and Sun Whisperwind in the first quarter of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. They were destroyed by the blast of energy unleashed from the Vale of Eternal Blossoms being scarred and their souls are bound to the tainted land, dooming them to eternally suffer for their inability to prevent such a tragedy. Lorewalker Cho describes their predicament as this verbatim upon seeing them.
    • Garrosh Hellscream, instead of being killed off by Varian or Thrall, is instead taken back to Pandaria by Taran Zhu to be tried for his war crimes. For Orcs, death on the battlefield is glorious, but for Garrosh, there is no glory for where he's going.
    • The Forsaken, which could be considered the Token Evil Teammate for the Horde, consider stripping an undead of their free will to be this and thus, an unforgiveable crime in their society. After all, most of them were slaves to the Lich King.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Presea's sister Alicia is trapped in an Exsphere upon her death. After explaining how Regal was forced to kill her after the Exsphere turned her into a monster, she pleads with the party to kill her because being existing in the Exsphere for eternity would be "true hell". Regal and Presea agree, and Lloyd shatters the Exsphere.
  • Invoked by Saavedro in Myst III: Exile. In one of his rants to Atrus, he mentions how Sirrus and Achenar destroyed his civilization and separated him from his family, concluding that "It would have been better if I had died."
  • This is the fate of a character in Undertale whom one will only ever know about if they modify the game's files (or, after a later update, get lucky): that being previous Royal Scientist Dr. W. D. Gaster. After falling into one of his own creations, he was shattered across time and space (and the game's files), resulting in all records of him being erased from existence. Anyone who knew him well suffered his fate as well, while everyone else forgot about him and attributed his creations (which remained) to others. Gaster is still able to see the universe he left behind, though, and unlike your typical It's a Wonderful Plot, it functions perfectly fine even without him. Even worse, what is implied to be the machine he initially fell in has been stated by Toby Fox to be unfixable, meaning that Gaster is likely staying shattered for good.note 
    • Also Asriel, who is turned into a soulless flower unable to feel compassion, and in the pacifist ending, after getting to be himself again for a while, refuses to go back to the surface because he will turn back into Flowey.
  • While suggested in the second game, the third game of the Deep Sleep Trilogy makes it clear that the game's creatures were once ordinary people who were captured in a Dark World via a Grand Theft Me; damning them to be trapped in the deep sleep for what is implied to be eternity with their only chance of escape being to capture a traveler and wake up in their body, continuing the cycle. The protagonist falls victim to it, and has to decide whether to stay trapped forever, or capture some unlucky person.
  • Dead by Daylight: The game's manual describes that the Entity, the godlike creature that the killers sacrifice the survivors to, has trapped the group in a "Groundhog Day" Loop. If a person manages to escape, they'll find themselves back at the campfire. If a person is killed, part of their soul will be eaten before they'll find themselves back at the campfire. This all happens over and over again; the humans being a mere Cosmic Plaything at the Entity's mercy.
  • Overwatch: Amélie Lacroix was tortured, programmed to murder her husband, brainwashed, had her personality obliterated, and her body's physiology altered so it experienced no emotion apart from the joy of killing. The renamed Widowmaker is essentially a completely different person inhabiting her body and mind, and serves as nothing but a tool of murder for Talon. Even if Overwatch ever managed to revive Amélie, she would have to deal with the guilt of murdering her husband, helping to break up the original Overwatch, and murdering countless others. Not to mention the fact that all the pain she caused to the world wouldn't magically go away should she become a good person again, as the world would still be in fear of her. It's also been implied that deep down, the old Amélie is still there on some level, and is at least partially aware of what she has done.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth's birth mother, Lucrecia Crescent, willingly put herself in one of these as penance for having contributed to the experiments that made Sephiroth the way he is. Since she was unable to die due to having Jenova cells in her body, after Sephiroth's birth she created a Crystal Prison for herself in a hidden cave and locked herself there there, mentally beating 'self up for what she had done. She's still there in Dirge of Cerberus.
  • Last Scenario has two. Tiamat was sealed away, semi-conscious, in biorite for over 300 years. She eventually reawakens and she's pissed, especially at Barasur who led to her being in this position. The other is Tazar, who for his failures as a military leader is locked up and forcibly experimented on, becoming a mindless mutant that the party must kill.
  • Injustice 2: In the "Absolute Power" ending, Superman not only kills Brainiac and gains control of his ship, but also turns Batman into a brainwashed cybernetic minion and threatens Supergirl with a similar fate if she refuses to become The Dragon to his new Regime. And his arcade ending implies he did the same thing to Batman's allies and members of the Society so he could restore and expand his tyrannical dictatorship in other universes.
    • In Gorilla Grodd's arcade ending, the ape not only killed Brainiac (and stole his technology), but also turns Batman and his allies by into mindless robotic slaves. The worst part of this ending? It's Not So Different from Superman's ending in the fact that both of them use Brainiac's resources to conquer and expand their authoritarian rule, besides turning their enemies into robots.
  • Corpse Party is a variation as everyone is dead and it is more a case of "How to make death way more agonizing?". The solution to that question is to make one forever feel the pain of their death, if they died in that school. And not only die a lot o people in the games, some die in absolutely horrible ways. And to rub salt into the wound, once you die in the school, you will disappear from the real world, meaning nobody will even know you ever existed.
    • The Dragons of the Big Bad are a zombie-like man and young mutilated children that had been killed by the Big Bad, too. To elaborate, the children got kidnapped. The boy ends up getting his tongue cut out, chocking to death on his own blood. The first girl got her head cut off from the jaw upwards and then the tongue removed. The second girl got her eye thoroughly destroyed, then also her tongue cut. All with a rusty, unsharpened scissor. While alive. And the man? Just a mentally-challenged man that the Big Bad forced to kidnap the children and then made him watch in horror as she killed the children slowly. When he later got accused of having been the murderer, he simply hangs himself. The agony of their pain and the corruption of the school finally made them go mad, resulting in them helping the Big Bad unconditionally. And the best part? Big Bad Sachiko can be freed and get peace. Everyone else in the school? Nope. And Yuki, one of the mutilated children? She becomes the next Sachiko almost the second Sachiko leaves.
    • In a case of Laser-Guided Karma, Axe-Crazy Kizami gets this. He gets knocked unconscious, dragged off and is then turned into a anatomy model.
    • Mayu gets smashed against a wall with such speed, that her body pretty much explodes upon impact. And she gets to feel that for all eternity.
    • One of the ghosts of the victim diaries. He managed to survive long in school, but as a result started starving, resulting in him eating his friends. If Yoshiki reads all of them, he will end up doing the same to Ayumi, only eating her alive.
    • Big Bad Sachiko can count as well. As horrible as that person is after death, what happened to her is horrible and corrupted her thoroughly to torture and kill other innocents so get stuck in the school and keep her mother company. Depending on the game, either her mother got almost raped by the principal and then died in an accident when she fled, only for Sachiko to have been a witness and thus being strangled and buried in the basement to avoid being found out by the principal or got raped by a teacher and when she tried to run by escaping through the window, she fell to her death. And to make matters worse, the reason why she became the Big Bad and stuck in the school according to one of the games? Because her mother developed the "Sachiko Ever After" charm in an attempt to revive her dead husband, instead binding her daughter to the school forever.
  • Wizardry's manual uses the term to describe stoning. Not necessarily because the victim is trapped, still conscious, in an immobile body for eternity, but simply because being de-petrified applies the resurrection penalty of permanently losing one vitality point, and on top of that the character has a chance to die upon being restored, meaning you have to waste more time and resources reviving them and they get the vitality penalty a second time.
  • Randal's Monday: The business bum appears in the apocalypse chapter, unable to satisfy his thirst or even move properly, with all his skin missing.
  • The Dead Space features many horrific fates, but two particular varieties of Necromorphs stand out.
    • The Guardian is a horrific lump on flesh fused to a wall, usually protecting an important area from intruders. What makes their fate so disturbing is that unlike other types of Necromorphs, these are created from living hosts that are still conscious and unable to control their mutated bodies. Their intestines have been modified for use as Combat Tentacles, and the victim screams in constant agony until Issac kills them for good.
    • The third game introduces the Feeders, humans that consumed infected flesh when faced with starvation. Like the Guardians, they are still alive but have been driven insane by a Horror Hunger and mutated beyond recognition.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Hearts of Stone has Gaunter O'Dimm, who inflicts this on people with terrifying regularity.
    • The fate of Professor Shakeslock. Shakeslock delved too deep into forbidden lore in search of the true identity of Gaunter O'Dimm, and so attracted his attention. Shakeslock was rendered blind and trapped in a twenty foot-wide chalk circle in his study which protected him from Gaunter O'Dimm's evil. However Gaunter still found ways to torment the professor, like giving him horrible nightmares every night. One night however he presented the professor with a vision of a beautiful and brilliant daughter, something the professor had always wanted - even if she wasn't real, he delighted in her company and going to sleep to see her was the only pleasure he found in his cursed and miserable life. Then one day he met her in the dream again, and she was covered in boils filled with blood and pus; the professor was made to watch his beloved daughter waste away in his arms. Gaunter O'Dimm can take everything from you, and still find ways to take more.
    • In Blood and Wine, Geralt has to deal with a Wight supposedly haunting an old estate in Toussaint. On investigating the Wight, it is discovered that the Wight was once a young baroness who loved to hold parties. One night Gaunter O'Dimm came to her door under the guise of a poor beggar and asked for food; in violation of Toussaint Sacred Hospitality tradition, she refused to give him anything and even told him that she would rather give the leftovers to her dogs than give him anything. Gaunter O'Dimm then cursed her, saying "None shall sit and dine with you at your table, no spoon you have shall sate you, never again shall you wish to spy your reflection in the mirror" before breaking his spoon and leaving. He meant it.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 add-on, Mask of the Betrayer introduces a fate doubly worse than death. First and most fundamental based on its source material, The Wall of The Faithless is reserved for those who do not worship any god, or if no god comes to claim their soul when they die. Your soul is placed in the wall, to be absorbed over time and eventually become part of the wall. The titular Betrayer was placed in the wall as punishment for going against his patron god... but just as he's about to be completely consumed, said god pulled him out of the wall, by which point his soul has largely been reduced into a ravening void. He became the living incarnation of the wall's hunger, the Spirit-Eater, compelled to devour soul to fill the void, doomed to never be sated, to die of hunger, and pass on the curse to other.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's
    • Ultimate Custom Night: You are in control of the protagonist who is eternally imprisoned in Freddy's Fazbear Pizzeria full of homicidal robots to pay for your crimes for being a child killer. You never die, you always come back to relive the horror of robots attempting to murder you over, over, and over again.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, the Joker doesn't seem to mind being dead, and he not only considers death more lively than being alive in the first place but also writes off his body, which had been reduced to ash, as something he'd long outgrown. What he does mind, however, is being completely forgotten, even by his colleagues in Batman's Rogues Gallery and the Batman himself.
  • Since the Chzo Mythos is a Cosmic Horror Story, it's not a surprise that most characters suffer unpleasant fates. The murder victims are, by and large, comparatively lucky.
    • Cabadath, a druid in ancient Britain, attempted to open a portal to Chzo in order to use its power against the invading Romans. His power was not remotely enough to control Chzo, who instead sucked him into its own dimension, painfully and deliberately warping his body and mind in order to make him its principal agent, the Tall Man, while sealing away his soul in order to render him immortal.
    • One of the Trilby clones is trapped inside Chzo itself, immobilised and subjected to constant pain for Chzo's enjoyment. By the time the Caretaker finds him, his only desire is to die, which the Caretaker grants. Made worse for the player since the game leaves it unclear whether he is merely a clone, or the former protagonist Trilby himself.
    • At the end of the fourth and final game, Theo is taken into Chzo and mentally and physically warped in the same way as the Tall Man in order to replace the latter as the New Prince (Chzo having grown tired of the Tall Man's machinations to overthrow it). The New Prince's dialogue implies that he is in constant pain, and his appearance hints at the Body Horror he has undergone, being covered in bandages and wearing a welder's mask with the visor turned horizontally.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War: It's a skill in the ability tree; Worse Than Death increases the probability that your Mind Rape of a Captain drives them insane, leaving them babbling about the last coherent thought in their head, and also adds an additional tiny chance that they go feral, where they devolve into enraged bestial screaming. Even the regularly Always Chaotic Evil Uruks call you out for inflicting this level of cruelty on their brothers.


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