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    A-C 
  • Ace Combat:
    • The Omega Ending to the Japanese version of Electrosphere reveals that the whole game was a simulation by Simon Orestes Cohen. He created Nemo to kill Abyssal Dision, because he blamed him for the death of Yoko Martha Inoue, with the implication that he will instigate the Usean Corporate War just to kill one man.
    • Grunder Industries, formerly the South Belka Munitions Factory. They're responsible for creating many of the series' superfighters, incuding the ADFX-01, ADF-01, and the ZOE AI. They're also responsible for the events of the Circum-Pacific War.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation has two. The first are "The Generals," a militaristic faction that won the civil war prior to the game and eventually instigated the Continental War. Behind them was Lorenz Riedel, one of the enemy aces from the Belkan War, grabbing technology from one of the Belkan superweapons faced in that war and delivering it to the Generals. This led to the construction of the Aigaion, leading to the Generals' victory, and the continental war. Yet the former never appears in the game on-screen, and the latter is only appears in the mission where you shoot down the Aigaion, appearing as an enemy ace that can be shot down and is never seen or mentioned again.
  • Another Code retcons Ryan Gray as not only the Big Bad of the second game, but also for the first game as he was the one who convinced Bill Edwards to make a go for the Another project, causing the murder of Ashley's mother that set everything in motion.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Cain himself was not only responsible for killing his brother Abel but he would inspire a cult named after him with their insignia being adopted as an emblem for the Templars.
    • Assassin's Creed III reveals that the true villain is, and always has been, Juno. Juno's machinations were a major reason the Assassins and Templars were never able to put aside their differences and work together to make a better world. All so that Desmond would have no way to save the world from the solar flare that didn't also allow her to escape. For the American Revolution segments of the story, Reginald Birch and Edward Braddock fill this role with the former being responsible for turning Haytham Kenway into a loyal Templar while the latter participated in numerous raids on Native American villages with George Washington as depicted in the novel Assassin's Creed: Forsaken.
    • As revealed in Assassin's Creed Origins, Pharoah Smenkhkare of Egypt's 18th dynasty founded the proto-Templar Order of the Ancients in order to recover lost Isu technology from a previous undiscovered vault but they would eventually grown in membership and soon spread across the known world.
    • In Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, the Ghost of Kosmos otherwise known as Aspasia is the individual responsible for masterminding every scheme and plan by the Cult of Kosmos to bring Greece under their control. However, Aspasia/the Ghost of Kosmos is simply an Authority in Name Only as she already lost her power to Deimos by the events of Odyssey.
    • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla has King Aelfred the Great, the ruling monarch of Wessex and the English Grand Maegester of the Order of the Ancients, who's responsible for reforming the group into the modern day Templar Order. An unusual example in that he doesn't like the group for its pagan beliefs and works with Eivor to drive the last vestiges of the group out of Anglo-Saxon England but nevertheless Aelfred chooses to transform it into a holy religious order known as the Knights Templar since he was a Christian.
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, as revealed near the end of the first game, the dead god Bhaal pushed the plot into movement in the backstory but takes no active part in the story of the games, other than as semi-impersonal power scattered among his mortal children. The Player Character is one of them, and all three Big Bads in the series are after this power in some way or another, which forms the crux of their conflicts. However, he is responsible for his taint providing some unsavoury side-effects, such as a portion of his consciousness driving his children towards dark ways and means, and driving his children, dubbed "Bhaalspawn", to kill each other — the first is For the Evulz, the second to speed up the rate of their deaths because by doing so they accelerate his return.
  • In Bendy and the Ink Machine, Joey brings the fall that starts Susie's Alice, the Ink Machine, Bendy, and all the other horrors in the studio. There's also "Abelbuild", the company that was apparently responsible for building the Ink Machine and sending it to Joey Drew.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, Isaac's own mother is the main antagonist, being an abusive parent who he fears to such extent as to demonize her in his imagination. Before the events of the game, she constantly got into heated arguments with her husband, ultimately resulting in him leaving the family and severely traumatizing Isaac by extension. But one of the primary reasons why Mom acted the way she did was because of her utmost devotion to God, and the biggest influence for her religious beliefs came from the Christian broadcasting of televangelists. This manifests as a fire-and-brimstone preaching monster known as Dogma, and Isaac fights it as the Pre-Final Boss of Home.
  • For the longest time, people thought that the ultimate Big Bad of BlazBlue was both Yuki Terumi and Relius Clover, master manipulators and uber hax fighters on their own. By the end of Chronophantasma, however, Terumi is killed off and Relius is broken...just in time for their boss, Hades Izanami, the literal death goddess of the verse, to reveal herself, take severe measures against the heroes, and set into motion her universal plot to turn the whole world into inert seithr. Then Central Fiction came along and revealed the real villain behind it all. Terumi. Or rather, the Susanoo Unit itself. The Unit had developed sentience and chafed at its role as the Amaterasu Unit's guard dog. It developed a burning hatred for her and her creations (which was effectively all life) but because he was bound to protect her he couldn't directly do anything about it. So he separated his consciousness from the Unit, becoming Terumi. Everything that transpired in the series was due to an evil AI's desire to usurp creation...as for where Izanami fit into all of this? She's what happened when Terumi's machinizations pushed The Origin, the girl residing within the Amaterasu Unit, beyond the Despair Event Horizon, resulting in her essentially developing an incarnation of her own suicidal urges.
  • In Bully, Mr. Harrington, the father of Derby Harrington, fills a role like this. He doesn't make a personal appearance in the story and is only referenced in a few lines of dialogue, but his money and meddling in school affairs are one of the root causes of a lot of the corruption not just at Bullworth Academy, but the town of Bullworth.
  • Slaver/Abdullah the Slaver from Cannon Dancer is this during most of the game. Slaver is implied to be corrupting the world in some way and has a cult of worshippers whom are early enemies, but the game is mostly focused on Kirin's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Jack Layzon. In the end she's basically forced into being the Final Boss after robing Kirin of his revenge and trying to control him, which backfires spectacularly when Kirin decides he wants to kill her now, and no amount of ressurected bosses will stop him from doing exactly that.
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow, the only time Dracula ever comes out to play is a Non Standard Game Over.
    • Chaos, as the force behind the regular reincarnation of Dracula, is this for the entire series.
    • Dracula also plays this role in Curse of Darkness, with most the game being about his resurrection.
    • It has been implied that although Death serves Dracula loyally, there may be something else out there that he answers to.
    • In the Lords of Shadow continuity, it's Satan, working through the Lords of Shadow in the first and his bastard children, the acolytes, in the second. Amusingly, the only reason he's in the background for Lords of Shadow 2 is because he's absolutely terrified of Dracula because his power visibly surpasses his own (let that sink in for a second) and doesn't wish to fight him again because Dracula as a human killed him the last time.
  • In Cave Story, Ballos is the inventor of the demon crown and is the True Final Boss, but that doesn't change the fact that the Doctor was the main villain up until he was defeated.
  • As of Contra: Shattered Soldier, it turns out that the Triumvirate is truly responsible for everything that has happened in the Contra series, when they had stole the Relic of Moirai and provoked the Alien Wars in the first place.
  • Uka Uka, Aku Aku's evil mask twin, in the Crash Bandicoot series (though not in 3, where he takes the Big Bad role).
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    D-F 
  • Dark Souls:
    • Manus, Father of the Abyss, is this to the whole series. He is only encountered in Downloadable Content and long dead in the present day thanks to the Chosen Undead defeating him in the past, but he is ultimately responsible for the Vicious Cycle plaguing the world. One of the reasons the First Flame needs to stay lit is to keep the Abyss (the unfettered form of the Dark Soul) that Manus unleashed sealed away. Without the First Flame keeping the Dark Soul in check, all humans would likely become monsters like Manus.]
    • In the sequel, the Big Bad is a fragment of Manus' soul granted human form. The smallest fragment no less. In the DLC, other fragments, save one, are responsible for the other kingdoms falling in the same way; the third instead helped fight off the spread of the Abyss.
    • Darkstalker Kaathe can be seen this way as well. In the first game, he will offer the Chosen Undead the opportunity to rule as a new lord in the Age of Dark should they choose to abandon the First Flame. In the backstory of the third game, he recruited Yuria to create the Age of Hollows where the Flame could never be rekindled and its lingering power possessed by the Lord of Hollows. It also seems that Friede's attempts to quench the Flame in the Painted World were inspired by Kaathe's words.
  • Daxter: Kor, the true Big Bad of the sequel, serves as this to Kaeden, the Metal Bug overseer.
  • Deadly Premonition has Forrest Kaysen. George Woodman may be the one responsible for the town's murders, of which the plot revolves around for the most part, but Kaysen is the one bringing in the elements that turn what should've been a fairly gruesome detective drama into a full-blown interdimensional horror story.
  • Dead Space has the creators of the Markers, and therefore of the Necromorphs, the Brethren Moons. They're only revealed near the end of the third game, and the end of that game's DLC has them coming to the forefront as the series's Darkest Hour.
  • The Division:
    • The Division 2 has whoever is leading the Black Tusks, who appear in the endgame. Finding collectables on them suggests that they were responsible for the events that happened in the game, such as Air Force One getting shot down.
    • Aaron Keener from the first game becomes this, as several dead drops are found throughout Washington D.C. showing that he’s still alive, and has Vitaly creating a new string of viruses from Gorden Amherst’s research.
  • Doom:
    • DOOM (2016) has Olivia Pierce as the Big Bad, though she isn't the one sole catalyst for the Mars demonic invasion. Indirectly, DOOM Eternal's Big Bad and Co-Dragons, the Khan Maykr and her trio of Hell Priests, were responsible for this entire plot as they willingly turned against Argent D'Nur and left it to burn.
    • However, both Olivia and the Khan Maykr became what they were by making a deal with the Greatest Scope Villain - that naturally being the Dark Lord, the great demon overlord of Hell. Eternal's expansion, The Ancient Gods, reveals all there is about him: the Dark Lord, or real name Davoth, was the Top God and first lifeform to exist, having created Earth, Hell (once Jekkad), Urdak, all realms and all beings. Eventually trying to find the secrets of Complete Immortality for his creations, he was perceived to become a great threat by the Maykrs, who sealed him away and made him an UnPerson. His influence manipulated events so that Olivia and the Khan Maykr served him, and tricked Samur into embedding his dark essence into the Doom Slayer. That said, Davoth created Doomguy (technically at least, as Word of God confirms that Doomguy was naturally born) to enact a long term revenge scheme against the Maykrs - which of course went the opposite direction, and then both. Of course, since the Doom Slayer is the same Doomguy from the classic Doom games, this effectively makes the Dark Lord the ultimate Overarching Villain of the entire Doom mythos.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins has the Archdemon as the Big Bad; Dragon Age II has no-one, a point that Cassandra takes the whole game to get her head around. Dragon Age: Inquisition has the Elder One, a.k.a. Corypheus. Across all three games are the machinations of Flemeth, who eventually reveals herself to be a Living Bodysuit for the Elven Goddess Mythal, and has been gathering godly powers for "a reckoning which will shake the very heavens". As of Trespasser, her position seems to have been hijacked by Fen'Harel — which very well might have been part of her plan all along...
    • Corypheus is one of the Tevinter magisters who created the Blight. This makes him responsible for the events of Origins (which means he's also the reason Hawke ended up in Kirkwall), though not Meredith's insanity, as the red lyrium idol that catalyzed it predated him and the First Blight.
    • And Fen'Harel, a.k.a. Solas turns out to have masterminded the events behind Inquisition's plot to his own ends, with the goal of tearing down the Veil he himself erected, an act that would destroy Thedas we know it and kill just about everything in the world.
  • DragonFable gives us the Mysterious Stranger. He stands outside of town, selling weapons. Doom Weapons, in fact, and otherwise, doing nothing in particular. But don't let that fool you! He is ultimately responsible for the events of the first half of the game, with Sepulcher, the Big Bad merely a pawn in his millennia long scheme.
  • Dragon Quest V: Grandmaster Nimzo is indisputably the ultimate evil of the game, but Ladja has far more Kick the Dog moments as well as a personal history with the Hero, making him closer to the game's main antagonist.
  • The Grotesqueries Queen (from Drakengard) for Nier since the Gestalts and Replicants were created to allow humanity to outlast the White Chlorination Syndrome caused by the Queen's remains.
  • Mother:
    • In the Twoson and Fourside arcs of Earthbound, the main threats are Mr. Carpainter and Monotoli, respectively. However, they get their power from the Mani Mani Statue, which eludes the party until Fourside, when the party can enter an illusion version of it named Moonside and destroy the statue, which breaks Monotoli's power considerably.
    • Giygas, the Big Bad of both Earthbound and its predecessor, was only born during the abduction of George and Maria by his race back in the 1900s, and was tasked by said race to neutralize Earth so that the powers George had stolen information about could not be used against them.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • From the series' primary Creation Myth is Padomay, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the primordial force of change/chaos/darkness. The interplay with his twin brother, Anu (who represents the force of stasis/order/light) led to creation. Creation, sometimes anthropomorphized as the female entity "Nir", favored Anu, which angered Padomay. Padomay killed Nir and shattered the twelve worlds she gave birth to. Anu then wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the twelve worlds to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". From their intermingled blood came the et'Ada, or "original spirits", who would go on to become the series' famous Aedra and Daedra.
    • Whether you consider Lorkhan, one of those et'Ada, to be this or a Greater-Scope Paragon is based on whether or not you believe creating Mundus (the mortal plane) was a good thing. Most of the races of Mer (Elves) believe that it was a malevolent act which robbed the pre-creation spirits of their divinity and forced them to experience mortal suffering and loss. Most of the races of Men believe, however, that it was a benevolent act which freed the pre-creation spirits from a prison of unchanging stasis and gave them Mundus as a "testing ground" for the spirits to ascend even higher.
    • In Arena, Big Bad Jagar Tharn is acting in the interest of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. As later revealed in an out-of-game developer-written "Obscure Text", Dagon is himself a pawn of the even greater scope villain, Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse. Ironically, Battlespire, the game that revealed Tharn's connection to Mehrunes, effectively reverses Tharn's and Mehrunes' roles in the narrative — Tharn is the greatest, most active danger of the two back in Tamrielnote , but in the Battlespire his influence on the plot is limited to him letting Mehrunes claim the 'spire.
    • In Morrowind, the Daedric Prince Azura seems to be a unique hybrid of this trope and Big Good of all things. While Azura takes on a highly benevolent image in helping to free the Dunmer (and Tamriel in general) from the threat of Dagoth Ur, the primary reason why the Nerevarine is actually sent to Vvardenfell is to undermine and destroy the Tribunal (who defied her, stole her worshipers, and may have killed her previous champion, Nerevar). Actually defeating Dagoth Ur is just good PR "icing on the cake" while she actually gets what she wants when the 4000-year reign of the Tribunal is brought to an end. In addition, Azura herself played a highly active role in bringing about the destruction of Morrowind in the years that followed, as she only warned a handful of her followers to leave (allowing for the rest to die horribly as punishment for turning on her). She is also the only party during and after the events of Morrowind to end up with everything she wanted (Dead or otherwise indisposed Tribunal, her former worshipers are firmly hers again, those who didn't worship her are enslaved and destroyed, amazing PR...)
    • In Oblivion's Knights of the Nine expansion, the Daedric Prince Meridia serves as this. She is the patron of Umaril the Unfeathered and is supplying him with his forces. She also allows him to retreat to her realm of Oblivion when his physical form is slain on Mundus, allowing him to reform and thus giving him his Resurrective Immortality.
    • Skyrim:
    • In the plots of two veteran dungeons in Online, the Daedric Prince Mephala serves as one. In one, a Priestess of Mephala you helped in the non-veteran mode of the dungeon goes crazy and poses a threat, so you need to put her and her Artifact of Doom down. In the other, Mephala personally Mind Raped a man into becoming a Lich, who went on to murder his students and his wife. It turns out it was because he was being influenced by the Ebony Blade. And, as you might guess, he uses it against you during the fight.
  • The Infocom game Enchanter has an Eldritch Abomination sealed up directly below the castle of the evil warlock Krill; the player needs to stop Krill without freeing the entity, lest it destroy the world.
  • Fastus the Dark Star for the entirety of Epic Seven, being responsible for the Celestial War by corrupting and manipulating Sun God Ilryos against Diche, leading to the creation of Archdemon Anghraf, the being threatening the planet Orbis. After Episode One ends in Anghraf's defeat, Fastus uses Straze as his pawn in Episode Two and makes his move towards gaining a physical manifestation aside from his Dark Star form, all in a bid to destroy the entire universe.
  • E.V.O.: Search for Eden relies mostly on Arc Villains, though starting with the King Bee, almost all of them are united by use of a mysterious Crystal that someone sent to Earth. The twist is that the Crystal actually refers to multiple Crystals that were created by a pair of Martians who wanted to help advance the creatures of Earth to their level. By the final chapter, they recognize the immense damage done to the Earth thanks to their Crystals and apologize, promising to only intervene in a real emergency. While they kickstarted the plot, they decided not to interfere once the game began, and they remain out of reach outside of a well hidden cutscene.
  • Fallout: No matter what new antagonists come along to trouble the wastes, the whole setting ultimately lives in the shadow of the prewar United States and the People's Republic of China, whose war triggered the events of the entire franchise.
    • Going beyond that, the vast majority of the games' antagonists were in some way created by the prewar U.S. government. The Super Mutants in Fallout 1 were originally conceived by the U.S. military as Super Soldier project. The Calculator in Fallout Tactics is a military supercomputer with an army of robots, also created by the military. The Enclave in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 are the direct descendants of a U.S. government faction, and still consider themselves to be the U.S. government. The various depraved Vault-Tec experiments that drive several sidequests and main quests throughout all the games were all conducted at the behest of the prewar U.S. government. The antagonists of the New Vegas DLC stories seek to wipe out the world with old prewar superweapons, and the antagonists of one of them, the Think Tank, are formerly government-employed scientists who lived to the present day as brains in jars.
    • Fallout 3: It's heavily implied that the aliens from Mothership Zeta have been watching humanity for years, and it's also heavily implied that it was they who launched the nuclear weapons that started the Great War and ravaged the planet, just to see what would happen.
    • Fallout: New Vegas and its DLCs feature a really weird version. Father Elijah, Dr. Klein and Ulysses form a Big Bad Ensemble of their own, but each of them possesses enough power (through control of Old World technology or just plain nuclear missiles) to trivially erase both the NCR and the Legion from the Mojave and thus render the core conflict of the main game irrelevant. However, they're all restricted to the DLC sections of the game (though they're all involved in each other's plans), and so they're not seriously involved in the main conflict unless the PC chooses to get involved with them.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Golbez acts as the Big Bad through most of Final Fantasy IV, until it is revealed that he was brainwashed by a Lunarian named Zemus. Then, after Fusoya breaks Golbez out of his mind control, they kill Zemus, only for the spirit of his hatred to be released and manifest itself as Zeromus, who becomes the real Final Boss.
    • Final Fantasy XI:
      • The return of the Shadowlord, the Big Bad of the game's original story arc, was orchestrated by the Zilart princes Kam'lanaut and Eald'narche. They become the Big Bads of the first expansion Rise of the Zilart, but their plans unwittingly (though perhaps they were influenced by him) to allow the Big Bad from the second expansion Chains of Promathia back into the world.
      • Ultimately, all of the troubles that happened in the game stemmed from the pact made by the Shadowlord with the Celestial Avatar Odin. Odin gave Raogrimm the power to get revenge for his murder in exchange for releasing Odin from his slumber, this revenge and its consequences nearly lead to the destruction of Vana'diel at least half a dozen times since then, but none of that was ever part of Odin's goal. Odin is also not too bad of a guy if you get to know him
      • Odin is also this again to Lady Lilith, the big bad of the fourth expansion.
    • Venat and Vayne Solidor in Final Fantasy XII are working to free Ivalice from the god-like Occuria's control. In this case, the Big Bads and the Greater Villains are opposed to each other, with the latter instead manipulating the heroes (who also decided to rebel against them in the end).
    • Final Fantasy XIV:
      • 1.0 has the Garlean Emperor Solus zos Galvus in the unseen superior to Big Bad Nael van Darnus, who commands his invasion force. However, he died off-screen of what is implied to be old age by the time of A Realm Reborn, leaving the reigns of Emperor and overarching threat to his successor Varis zos Galvus.
      • Lahabrea, one of the three Paragons of the Ascians acts as one in A Realm Reborn to Gaius, being the one who instructed him on the usage of the Ultima Weapon.
      • In general, many storylines have the Ascians as either directly or indirectly being the cause of the problem. For example, the minor Ascian Travanchet ultimately ends up being the cause of the Alexander Raid storyline, altough the Illuminati acts as the actual antagonistic force.
      • The patch quests of Stormblood and the main story of Shadowbringers have Emet-Selch, the third and final Paragon of the Ascians, who is likely the biggest example of this in the game: he founded the Abusive Precursors civilization of the Allagan Empire, who are responsible to many massive threats to the world even after their collapse, founded the Garlean Empire with the explicit purpose of it being a chaotic, fascistic hegemony, and turns out to be The Man Behind the Man to Vauthry, being the one who infused him with the power of a Lightwarden in the womb and indirectly caused him to become the Psychopathic Manchild tyrant he is when the story starts. And this is all not even mentioning everything after he takes over as the proper Big Bad of the expansion.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem: Medeus, who, plot-wise, is basically just a tool for the game's actual Big Bad, Gharnef to use to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, and only makes a physical appearence as the Final Boss.
    • Genealogy of the Holy War: Loptyr to Manfroy. We only see this character directly twice due to him spending most of the game possessing Julius: during an attack that summons him and when he leaves Julius' body after his defeat. But he is the biggest force of evil in the setting and his full revival is what Manfroy is working towards.
    • Thracia 776: Veld is the game's Big Bad, but he's only a comparatively minor member of the Loptyr Sect, and so Manfroy is still his superior. Manfroy does appear a few times in the game, but never plays a major role. Julius (presumably still possessed by Loptyr) also appears, but it's more or less a cameo, making those two the Greater Scope Villains of the game, due to it being a Midquel.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: Fomortiis, the Demon King. Like some of the above examples, this character only physically appears during the final battle, with his host serving as the Big Bad.
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance: Chancellor Sephiran is the ultimate instigator of the war that Ashnard carries out, though this fact, and the character's exact motive in doing so, are only revealed in Radiant Dawn where he's the direct Big Bad.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening Grima, the Fell Dragon initially takes this role, while Big Bad Validar plans to awaken him. After Validar is defeated it is revealed that Grima came back from the future to ensure the revival of its past self, taking over the Big Bad role.
    • Echoes: Shadows of Valentia reveals that an ancient alchemist named Forneus was this to Awakening, being the madman who created both Grima and the Risen. He's long dead by the time of Awakening's story and most still living aren't aware he even existed''.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has Anankos, who only appears in the game towards the end of the third route despite being indirectly responsible for most of the things that happen on all three paths. King Garon appears to be the Big Bad for the Nohr and Hoshido routes instead. The end of Birthright hints to his involvement with Garon's final words, while the end of Conquest reveals that Garon has been possessed by Anankos for years, which is why he kick-started the war between Nohr and Hoshido in the first place.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • The game has Thales assume this role on the Azure Moon and Crimson Flower routes. While he is the one most directly responsible for the tragic events leading up to the story and occurring during the same, on Azure Moon your party ignorantly kills him without ever learning his true role in the plot and the story focuses on the personal conflict between Dimitri and Edelgard, while on Crimson Flower he remains your unfortunate ally of convenience and the story focuses on the uprising against the Church of Seiros, with Thales and his ilk mentioned to be confronted after the war's end.
      • For the story as a whole, Nemesis serves this purpose. Once a common bandit, he murdered Sothis in her sleep with help from the Agarthans, and then consumed her heart, making him immensely powerful. Using this power he then massacred nearly every single Nabatean and then used their remains to create the Heroes' Relics and Crests. He bestowed these weapons and Crests upon his followers who would eventually be named The 10 Elites, eventually becoming king of a large part of Fódlan. His brutal and selfish actions makes him directly responsible for making Crests the symbol of nobility in Fódlan, meaning he is the catalyst for the cruel Crest-system which has ruined the lives of immeasurable amounts of people over the years. Not to mention, his brutal genocide of the Nabateans left Rhea with immense PTSD and trauma that she still hasn't recovered from nearly a thousand years later, making him indirectly responsible for her more questionable actions as well.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • The Management of Freddy Fazbear's, whose disturbing lack of security, safety, or common sense causes all these accidents and murders to happen in the first place.
    • William Afton manages to be both this, the Big Bad and The Heavy all at once thanks to his actions starting everything in the series.
    • And, to a lesser extent, Nightmare. From the little we know, he's beyond the rest of the Nightmares in terms of power and considers himself to be The Heartless to William.

    G-K 
  • In the first Gabriel Knight game Tetelo is performing the Voodoo Murders in order to appease Ogoun Badagris, who destroyed her tribe after her father tried to cheat him out of a special Human Sacrifice. ''Her.
  • In Ghost Trick, a foreign government hired the criminal organization led by Commander Sith and The Manipulator providing the most conflict in the game by sending two hitmen after Damsel in Distress Lynne, kidnapping a child to blackmail the state's Justice Minister into approving a certain man's execution, and overall wiping out everyone who knows about the Temsik meteorite, which the government is trying to obtain because of its radioactive powers. In fact, that government is in a cold war with the government of the country where the story takes place over one of the meteor's fragments, which gave powers to Yomiel, who makes matters worse.
  • Ares in God of War: Ascension, the Big Bad of the first game, plays this role due to Ascension being a prequel detailing the consequences of Kratos breaking his oath to serve, with Ares himself not playing any direct role.
  • "The Ancients" of Grandia Xtreme, sometimes just referred to as "the Ancient people/s". Specifically, the priests-and-or-scientists that used the technology in their shrines to create an all-encompassing, mind-controlling God: the Big Bad, Quanlee. Evol, Quanlee's caretaker, is the only Ancient depicted in the main storyline (provided he is a legitimate Ancient and not another being of their creation). Everything orchestrated posthumously by the Ancients is beyond anyone's control. This makes Quanlee himself nothing more than a victim of circumstance, and following his defeat by the player he is shown in a more sympathetic light, claiming he "was not created like humans" and thus could not live like one, before he fades away.
  • Ray Bulgarin from Grand Theft Auto IV. He is an antagonist much more influential in Niko Bellic's life than Dimitri, but he doesn't get his just desserts until The Ballad of Gay Tony.
  • Most of the immediate threats in .hack//GU are orchestrated by Sakaki in order to try and enslave all of humanity by using virtual reality. His plans are backed by the mysterious Tri-Edge, who's using Sakaki for his own ends, although the full scope of these manipulations doesn't come out until after Sakaki's final defeat. Tri-Edge, in turn, is usurped by Cubia, whose existence was only foreshadowed if the player remembered the lore surrounding it from the first series.
  • Many believed That Man was responsible for what has happened in Guilty Gear, but in reality he was actually the Big Good. The real culprit is Sanctus Maximus Populi Ariels, The Pope of Rome. A.K.A. The Universal Will who is responsible for the entire plot of the Guilty Gear franchise, despite only getting personally involved in -REVELATOR-. She's the being that caused the usage of electronic devices to fail, ushering in the age of magic. She's the one who brainwashed Justice into going on a Kill All Humans rampage. And she's the creator of the Valentines that serve as the antagonists in 2: Overture and Xrd.
    • It's becomes a shared role when Happy Chaos a.k.a The Original (the first spellcaster of the series' universe) is introduced in -STRIVE-. While the Universal Will is ultimately the perpetrator behind Justice and the Gears going on a Kill All Humans rampage, I-No's start of darkness, and the Original's own transformation into Happy Chaos as part of her Zeroth Law Rebellion... it was the Original teaching Asuka magic that led to Gear technology's development, the Original who made the Universal Will, the Original who gave humanity's hope for a better future form to create I-No, and the Original who trained the Apostles who make up the Conclave. His increasing Ax-Crazy It Amused Me mindset after being trapped in the Backyard with half of I-No's powers sealed inside himself also ended up poisoning the Universal Will's mind, driving her from a Zeroth Law Rebellion to a full on Misanthrope Supreme. And he's the one responsible for the worst of the crimes attributed to "That Man" while having fun possessing people, such as killing Baiken's family long after Asuka had gotten rid of all the Japanese the Universal Will was turning into living bombs.
  • In the original Half-Life, the Big Bad was the Nihilanth, a powerful alien leading the Xen invasion forces. However, Valve revealed that the Nihilanth and his forces were invading earth in order to flee from the Combine. Sure enough in Half-Life 2, the Combine are the main antagonists. In fact, while Dr. Breen is the Big Bad of the sequel, he is subservient to another Greater Scope Villain, the Advisors, who not only take direct control over the remaining Combine's forces in Episodes One and Two following Breen's death, but who also implied to be the leaders of the Combine overall.
  • In Harvester, the entire game is merely a simulation to create serial killers, making the programmers behind the simulation fit this trope.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has two cases of this:
    • First, there's a man named Ted Faro. Everything bad on a macro level in the current HZD world has its root with him. His company created robot soldiers that could self-replicate, eat biomass as fuel, and hack enemy defenses. Oh, also, they couldn't be stopped through some kind of backdoor override, even by their controllers. When one swarm of these robots breaks loose of human control through a glitch in the programming, this swarm starts killing and eating anything it can. There was a project — Project Zero Dawn — dedicated to rebuilding humanity and the biosphere with an autonomous AI (GAIA) and its sub-functions after the robots have killed and eaten everything (which they indeed did) and the AI could create swarm shutdown codes (which took a while). It was put in place in secret while this swarm was going crazy. Against all odds, it seems to be a success. But when the creator of it (Elisabet Sobeck) dies sealing off a bunker related to PZD from machines, Faro (still alive because he bankrolled the project) goes crazy. He decides that the knowledge of the old world is poison and the world is better off without it. He deletes the APOLLO subroutine of GAIA, which held all knowledge of the old world and would have educated the humans being gestated by GAIA. So, apart from destroying humanity in the first place, he is the very reason the new humanity is so primitive. The strangest part about all this is that Faro is not some monster doing all this For the Evulz. He was just legitimately stupid in creating the machines and crazy when he deleted APOLLO. Random fun fact: even the creation of HADES, who ends up being the villain of the game, was Faro's idea (kinda; he suggested a fail safe if GAIA wasn't performing well).
    • Secondly, there's an unknown threat that unshackled the sub-functions of GAIA some time after Project Zero Dawn was fully operational. This made HADES — the subroutine that tries to kill the biosphere if it's not livable by a certain time so GAIA can start again — try to do its job early. HADES is the main villain of the game. It's a stretch, but it's possible this unknown threat was the source of the glitch that unhinged the robots that killed off humanity in the first place.
  • Though Hotline Miami has the player taking on hordes of Russian mobsters, the real Greater Scope Villian of the game are 50 Blessings, the group that was giving you phone calls and sending you off to kill Russians in order to keep America strong. The two janitors that frequently show up through the game are members of 50 Blessings, and possibly the ones personally giving you the phone calls.
  • The Mysterious Man in House of the Dead series was this until the release of Scarlet Dawn: Thornheart is revealed to be the third of the three founders of the corporation DBR, that helped make all the zombies and monsters in the franchise.
  • Weiss Guertena from Ib as he was the artist that created the Big Bad Mary and the rest of the artwork in the gallery.
  • The Big Bad of Iji is General Tor, but as he explains he is utterly subservient to his military leaders, who are themselves subservient to the Komato race as a whole, because of their powerful herd mentality combined with millennia of cultural jingoism. The idea is that war is bigger than one person, and is ultimately a symptom of a severely messed-up society.
  • Ikaruga has the Stone-like, which first appeared in Radiant Silvergun. It is ultimately responsible for corrupting Tenro Horai into becoming a power-hungry dictator, and after her defeat, the Stone-Like emerges from the wreckage of Tageri confronting Shinra and Kagari.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2 have three:
    • Brainiac to Superman and the Regime in the first game. While The Joker was the one that pushed Superman to darkness, the latter would never be on the planet in the first place if he hasn't destroyed Krypton. In addition, he separated his cousin Kara, who was supposed to guard and protect Kal-El, which would have turned him out in a much different path than he took. The interquel comics also imply he is this for Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins, since it's revealed that Coluan technology was used to create AMAZO in their plan to destroy humanity. The interquel comics also reveal that he orchestrated the Red Lanterns' attack on Oa.
    • The Injustice version of the Joker is responsible for the misery in both games, even though he was offed early by a grieving Superman in the first game. Even if Brainiac blew up Krypton in the sequel's opening, the Joker's legacy of causing Supes' Start of Darkness simply For the Evulz still haunts everybody years after his death, as he tricked Big Blue into killing Lois Lane and nuking Metropolis, then goaded the Man of Steel into killing him from his twisted Straw Nihilist viewpoint. As such, he's also indirectly responsible for breaking's Superman and Batman friendship, the Justice League falling apart, the deaths of many who died opposing the Regime, and worst of all, the the Injustice-verse turning into a Crapsack World.
    • In Injustice 2, The Lords of Order back Brainiac's invasion because balance was compromised by the Regime's defeat and forbid Doctor Fate from intervening, lest an even worse catastrophe is on the horizon. While it might seem like they are Above Good and Evil, it's revealed in Raiden's arcade ending that they are actively engineering a catastrophe to "fix" the Multiverse, which threatens not only the Injustice-verse Earth, but Earthrealm and possibly other worlds too. Given though that the arcade endings are non-canon, it remains to be seen if the Lords will actually do this.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Xehanort is the Greatest Greater Scope Villain of them all or so we were led to believe, while one of his "incarnations" usually serve themselves as the Big Bad of one game and the greater scope villain of another. For example:
    • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories has hints of this when it ultimately is revealed that Marluxia, the game's Big Bad, was The Starscream trying to overthrow the leader of Organization XIII (simply called the Organization back then). Said leader is Xemnas, Terra-Xehanort's Nobody.
    • It turns out that Xehanort is merely an Arc Villain, though his arc spans the games up to Kingdom Hearts III. The true villain is shaping up to be the Master of Masters introduced in Kingdom Hearts χ. For whatever reason, he apparently manipulated his apprentices into triggering the first Keyblade War that started everything. His sixth apprentice Luxu is himself responsible for Xehanort's plans coming to fruition since he, using the identity of Braig/Xigbar, was the one who assisted Xehanort and kept him on track even when he contracted amnesia. All in a bid to ensure that the second Keyblade War would come to pass. And it's all but stated that this too was done under the Master's orders. And recent events in Union X imply that he's going to start taking center stage very soon...
  • King's Quest:
    • A number of villains belonged to the mysterious Black Cloak Society, making them a potential Greater Scope Villain for the whole series. Unfortunately, the series died before anything could come of it, though they return in Fan Sequel The Silver Lining in a more direct role.
    • The AGD Interactive remake of II added The Father, a member of, and possibly the leader of the Black Cloak Society, who's the villain behind Hagitha, the main villain of the game. At the end of the game, he also curses Graham, which causes the events of the next two games.
  • Kirby:
    • Nightmare in Kirby's Adventure is merely a Sealed Evil in a Can — the actual leader of the villains (if you can call them that) is King Dedede.
    • In Kirby's Dream Land 2, all Zero did was send Dark Matter out to Pop Star. Zero never appeared until Dream Land 3, which was where Dark Matter was changed from a single entity to a species mostly controlled by Zero. In Dream Land 2 however, Dark Matter is the Big Bad while Zero is the Greater Scope Villain. However, considering Zero never shows up until the end, Zero can be considered the Greater Scope Villain of the entire Dark Matter trilogy, with the Dark Matter in Dream Land 2, the Dark Matter possessing Dedede in Dream Land 3, and Miracle Matter in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards being the Big Bads of their respective games.
    • Dark Nebula from Kirby: Squeak Squad is the one who possessed Daroach, he doesn't actually show up until freed from Daroach's Demonic Possession.
    • In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Queen Sectonia may be the Big Bad, but only because Dark Meta Knight from Kirby & the Amazing Mirror used his powers to corrupt her and turn her evil, thus making him responsible for the events of Triple Deluxe.
    • The main antagonist of Kirby: Planet Robobot is President Max Haltmann. However, the Final Boss, Star Dream, despite not being involved with the plot until the very end, is responsible for the events of the game, because Haltmann did everything he did in Star Dream's name (and because of its mind-altering abilities). Though it's unclear if Star Dream is this or The Man Behind the Man.
    • A rather massive bombshell is dropped towards the end of Kirby Star Allies, but the game's final boss is not only heavily implied to be the progenitor of Dark Matter and Zero, but is either directly or indirectly responsible for a majority of the antagonists and artifacts from almost every single game in the series.
  • George Weissman ends up becoming this throughout the entire Trails Series (he was a straight up Big Bad in the Liberl Arc) as his actions to whisper dropout politicians to destroy a village with enemy weapons ends up starting a war with Liberl, which ends up making Joshua and Loewe become part of the Enforcers for Ouroboros, Osborne who was a general in the army become the Evil Chancellor of Erebonia and conquers Crossbell at the end of Trails to Azure, and Rean Schwarzer ends up obtaining powers because of Osborne's house getting raided a few days before the Hamel Incident where Osborne transplanted his heart to replace his son's damaged heart.
    • In Cold Steel IV, everything throughout Erebonia's history and the Dark and Troubled Past of so many characters can be traced back to Ishmelga, the embodiment of the curse of Erebonia, who helped out Weissman with his experiment at Hamel, and Weissman himself is a high-ranking member of Ouroboros.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Ajunta Pall, the founder of the Sith Order and thus the Greater Scope Villain behind the vast majority of Star Wars media. Among Greater Scope Villains he's fairly unique in that many of his successors are much worse than he was, and indeed it's possible within the game to help his tortured spirit find redemption.
    • Revan reveals that the Sith Emperor was responsible for Revan and Malak's fall, and thus the events of the KOTOR games. He takes the Big Bad role for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
    • In addition to the Emperor, The Old Republic has another in the form of the Star Cabal, a millennia-old anti-Force-user think tank who are revealed to have been subtly aggravating the conflicts between Jedi and Sith over the centuries, with the ultimate aim of each wiping the other out and leaving the Galaxy for non-Force-users to control. They are only directly confronted in the Imperial Agent's route.
    • The mod The Jedi Masters has the D'arth Syyth, responsible for the creation of the Sith.

    L-N 
  • Legacy of Kain: The Elder God is this to all but the final game.
  • While Prince Cort is the Big Bad in Legend of Legaia, he has been subtly corrupted by the Rogue from a Well-Intentioned Extremist into The Evil Prince. As the Rogue is the game's analogue of Satan but is disconnected from the game's plot as a whole, it qualifies as the Greater Scope Villain.
  • The Legend of Spyro has its main villain Malefor in this role in the first two games, with whatever servant he has acting as The Dragon in each game, Cynder in the first and Gaul in the second, as the Big Bad plotting his return, before taking over as the Big Bad in the third and final game.
  • The Legend of Zelda has several ones that the Big Bad wants to unseal or resurrect:
    • Ganon in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the force motivating all the other bad guys rather than an actual character in the game, but he didn't actually tell anyone to do anything. Who the Big Bad in Zelda II is, if any, is up for debate.
    • Ganon is this in the first part of A Link to the Past, until Agahnim succeeds in unsealing him and leaves the spotlight to him (Agahnim isn't mentioned again until encountered in the final dungeon). Ganon comes out of Agahnim's body after this battle, and Ganon calls Agahnim his "alter-ego", meaning Agahnim was either a disguise used by Ganon or a person possessed by him.
    • Ganon again in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games only appears as a boss in a linked game, and the plot is driven by Twinrova trying to resurrect him.
    • Malladus from Spirit Tracks. The plot is actually driven by Chancellor Cole trying to resurrect/unseal him.
    • Demon King Demise from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and by extension the whole series. Hyrule's God of Evil, Sealed Evil in a Can, and Ghirahim's master, he is also the source of the continued returns of the series' Big Bad, Ganondorf, having cursed Link and Zelda for killing him. You get the picture.
    • Ganon, once again, in A Link Between Worlds, except this time, instead of being revived by his own schemes or by a loyal follower, he's revived by Yuga in order to merge with him to gain the Triforce of Power. Ganon doesn't even get a chance to face Link by the end, but his power is still used by Yuga.
    • Hyrule Warriors: He isn't directly mentioned in the game, but the series lore is referenced — Demise, who is established as being responsible for Ganon in Skyward Sword, makes an appearance in his Imprisoned form.
  • Life Is Strange has Sean Prescott, the father of Nathan Prescott. A wealthy business tycoon with many connections in Arcadia Bay, he and the Prescott family are frequently referred to as being the cause of the town's troubles. Furthermore, his abuse of Nathan is what made Nathan the way he is, and he enables Rachel's kidnapper, Mark Jefferson to do as he wishes with the Dark Room, and is completely aware of what goes on there. However, Sean takes a back seat to the actions of Jefferson, who was clearly only using Sean's resources and influence for his own gain.
  • The Lufia series has Arek the Absolute, who is shown in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals as the Sinistrals' superior. To what degree he is a villain is unknown; the cancelled Ruins Chasers implied him to be the ultimate villain, whereas the Alternate Continuity remake Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has Arek as more of The Watcher than a malevolent deity.
  • Luxaren Allure: The Demon Lords of Aothuth are the ones who gave Darkloft her immortality and dark powers, with her agreeing to free them from Aothuth in exchange. Everything Darkloft does is to accomplish this goal. However, they are never seen and do not directly antagonize the heroines.
  • Mage Gauntlet has an unusual case. Uamuleth is insulted by Lexi saying Hurgoth sent him, calling Hurgoth a "weakling." When defeated, however, he drops a crystal tether, implying he was indeed sent by Hurgoth. Neither of them is the real Big Bad — it's actually Whitebeard — but notes in Master Mode reveal Uamuleth to be a Greater Scope Villain whose cultists and demons pose a much greater threat to both Earth and the Dark Realm than Hurgoth — whom he's right about, and who has nothing to do with the crystals — ever could.
  • Mass Effect:
    • For the first and second games The Reapers are in dark space, and the goal of the Big Bads of those games (each an individual Reaper) is to facilitate their return. Their reasons are left secret but it is simply known that they regularly destroy advanced galactic civilizations every 50,000 years. But that fact was known only to the main characters and not to the galaxy at large, leaving many to believe they are just rumors and only the Big Bad is the threat.
    • In the third game, the Reaper horde have arrived, and serve as the Big Bad this time and at the end it's revealed that at the heart of the Citadel was an AI referred to as The Catalyst, who created the Reapers as a solution to a theory that natural and artificial life would continually destroy each other. The harvest was a way to provide balance by destroy the advanced civilizations before the artificial life they created would turn against them, leaving the lesser species to evolve and take their place in the next cycle. The DLC "Leviathan" reveals more details on this revelation through the eponymous creatures, which were the first sentient species to develop in the galaxy and are telepathic to an almost omniscient level. They created the Catalyst, who created the Reapers in their image and started the harvest cycle, destroying most of their species in the process. They're rather miffed about this, as it wasn't their intention at all. Their dialogue all but states they have every intention of reclaiming their control over the Galaxy once the Reapers are defeated.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda has two candidates.
      • The first is the Scourge, a mysterious dark energy storm of unknown origins. It has the ability to destroy entire planets and is the greatest threat in the Heleus Cluster. The Scourge was created centuries ago as a weapon of mass destruction to fight a war with the jardaan race. The true villains are the unknown race who created the Scourge.
      • The Archon is not the leader of all kett. He answers to a larger kett empire that has other agents causing similar trouble elsewhere in the Andromeda galaxy. The true villains are the empire's senate, and whatever individuals outrank them.
  • Mega Man:
    • Dr. Wily is responsible for EVERYTHING in the entire franchise past the original series. He created the Maverick virus and Zero, which makes him responsible for the events of the Mega Man X series. Since the Mother Elf/Dark Elf is created from the virus' data, Wily is also indirectly responsible for the events in Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, and Mega Man Legends.
    • Dr. Weil takes over from Dr. Wily for the Zero series onward, initiating a chain of events that spiraled From Bad to Worse. note  In spite of this, Dr. Weil's mostly a Hidden Villain until the third game, and even then he's The Unfought until the very end of the series where he's finally killed off. Then Mega Man ZX has Model W as a Soul Jar for Dr. Weil Back from the Dead. Not only does he supplant the Maverick Virus as the new source of Maverick attacks, but both villains in the duology are working to bring power to it.
    • In Legends 1 and 2, the Big Bads of both games are working for a "Master System" computer program that is implied to have existed for centuries and was created long ago by the last human.
    • Lord Wily is again the Overarching Villain of the Alternate Timeline Mega Man Battle Network series. His organization WWW only directly appears in games 1, 3 and 6. However, it's revealed that Netmafia Gospel in Mega Man Battle Network 2 is actually manipulated by him from behind the scenes, and Dr. Regal of the Dark Chip duology (games 4 and 5) is taking revenge on NetSociety on behalf of Lord Wily, his father.
      • Wily wanted Gospel to create a clone of Bass, which is necessary to completely resurrect Alpha, the berserk prototype Internet in Mega Man Battle Network 3: White and Blue. Gospel's Bass clone has undergone Clone Degeneration, so WWW switched to Plan B by recruiting the real Bass. Not to mention that Bass has complete and utter hatred of humanity only because he was blamed and persecuted for strange bugs and anomalies in the Internet, when Alpha was the real culprit. In the end, Alpha went Eviler Than Thou on both Wily and Bass.
      • Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun and Blue Moon deals with an approaching meteor that threatens the Earth, revealed to be controlled by an advanced alien AI called Duo. However, the real bulk of the main story is spent dealing with the presence of corruptive Dark Chips, created by Dr. Regal. In the end Dr. Regal helps avert the disaster (Evil Versus Oblivion in play, but Regal makes it clear he has more plans in store).
      • The eponymous Cybeasts of Mega Man Battle Network 6: Cybeast Gregar and Cybeast Falzar, who spend the first portion of the game Sealed Evil in a Can. WWW sets them free only to grab one Cybeast while MegaMan recaptures the other...within himself. Wily orders his henchmen to try to capture the Cybeast inside MegaMan since both Cybeasts are crucial to his plans, while the Cybeast itself becomes his Superpowered Evil Side, fighting for control.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid: The Stinger reveals that Liquid Snake’s right-hand man, Ocelot, was actually working for Solidus Snake all along. Later games expand on the details. Solidus sent Ocelot to provoke Liquid into starting the Shadow Moses incident so that he could get his hands on Metal Gear Rex’s test data and use it for his own plans, which leads to...
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: While Solidus Snake is the immediate Big Bad, it is gradually revealed throughout the story that Solidus is only acting out of well-intentioned extremism against a greater threat: The Patriots. By the end of the game, it is clear that the Patriots are so overwhelmingly powerful and influential that almost everyone in the story, including Solidus, the protagonist Raiden, and all of the incidental characters along the way, were only following the Patriot’s Batman Gambit the whole time and doing exactly what they wanted. The two exceptions to their influence were debatably Solid Snake, who they had intended to kill in the prologue and thus didn’t account for his role in the story, and Ocelot, who was their agent and later revealed to be a founder of their organization.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Several of the Patriots’ founders are among the game’s cast, but they aren’t the focus yet. Instead the conflict is mainly with Volgin and The Boss. It would be Metal Gear Solid 4 that finally demotes the Patriots to a direct Big Bad and has them dealt with.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Bringing it full circle, Solidus Snake posthumously fills this role again. The villains created “The Sears Program” due to inspiration from President George Sears, which was Solidus Snake’s alias.
  • Metroid:
    • Phazon from the Metroid Prime trilogy. A mysterious toxic mutagen that destroyed the Chozo civilization on Tallon IV, ripped open a dimensional hole on Aether, and is being used to create biological weapons by the Space Pirates. Initially thought a passive corrupting force, there are hints throughout the first two games that Phazon is actually Sentient Phlebotinum, which is confirmed in the third. Each game has its own Big Bad, and Phazon is always why they're a threat in the first place. In Corruption we learn of an even Greater, Greater Scope Villain; the origin of Phazon, the sentient planet Phaaze.
    • The X Parasites are retroactively this to Metroid II: Return of Samus. The Metroids you hunt in the game were created exactly to predate on them, and with Samus wiping the Metroids from SR388, the X Parasite population was able to recover and take over the planet.
    • Metroid Dread introduces Raven Beak, the overall GSV of the whole franchise. When the Thoha Chozo tribe sealed the Metroids away in SR388, they decided to destroy the planet out of fear of the threat the Metroids and X Parasites pose. However, the powerhungry Raven Beak and his Mawkin tribe stopped this from happening, exterminating the Thoha save for Silent Robe, whom Raven Beak employs. Through the Metroids' survival, both the Galactic Federation and Space Pirates eventually discover them, beginning the entirety of the Metroid timeline, both main and side titles included. Raven Beak was also one of Samus' Chozo gene donors, explaining how she became such a powerful Super Soldier.
  • Might and Magic:
    • The Creators served as this between I and V, but might have been retconned out by VI — in the early games, they were an enemy race to the Ancients, stated to be evil and of fairly equal power to the Ancients (who created both the Big Bad, the Big Good, and the worlds the games take place on), but with absolutely no relation to the games whatsoever except possibly the war with them being the reasons the Ancients doesn't put more effort into correcting the Sheltem situation. The exposition of the backstory in VI contradicts their existence, or at least the war with them, however.
    • The Kreegan were sort-off this in VII — you actually fight them, but only for a single quest. It's not even triggered by a specific scheme of theirs, as the only one they have going at the time is keeping Roland Ironfist captive, and that's a remnant of their schemes from the previous game. None of this changes that within the overarching setting and the games set on Enroth in particular, the Kreegan are by far operating on a greater scope than any other villain, or that their actions inadvertently and indirectly set up part of the plot of VII.
    • Kalibaar's Master from Heroes of Might and Magic IV is set up to be this. But it's never really explained what happened to him.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The One Being is the source of all the troubles in the series in both the original timeline and in the reboot, as it's shown to be behind Shinnok, Shao Kahn and Onaga's ambitions to merge all of the realms together in order to reconstitute its physical body. Onaga himself, the original ruler of Outworld, and Shinnok, a former Elder God, would also count, though they're more along the lines of The Man Behind the Man. However, the One Being's goal of simply wanting to have its original form back is just accepted as inherently evil as the actual consequences of the Realms merging is only explored in a few noncanon endings, and none of them end in absolute destruction. It's hard to blame the heroes for not wanting to take the risk, though, especially since the only ones who ever want to merge the realms are tyrants. It's also shown more than once that the Elder Gods aren't always as righteous as they are said to be, and the only time any of them are called out is during the events of MK11: see below.
    • In the original timeline, Shao Kahn was this to Shang Tsung in the original Mortal Kombat game. In turn, Onaga served as this to Shao Kahn, but takes center stage as the Big Bad in Mortal Kombat: Deception. However, Onaga's unused Deception ending shows him fusing with the One Being.
    • Shinnok served as this to Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat 9, but becomes the Big Bad in Mortal Kombat X. However, his MKX Arcade Tower ending reveals that both Shinnok and Shao Kahn were being manipulated by the One Being from behind the scenes.
    • In Mortal Kombat 11, it's actually revealed that the events of both the original and the rebooted timelines were the machinations of Kronika, a mysterious titan who oversees the flow of time, and the first female boss of the franchise. Kronika serves as the true antagonist of the entire franchise, and has become increasingly tired of Raiden meddling with the timeline and stop Armageddon, but doesn't join the fray until Shinnok, her son, was beheaded at the end of MKX. Believing that the balance of the universe has tilted in favor of the Forces of Light, Kronika has decided to take matters into her own hands by restarting the timeline from scratch and placing it back on its "rightful" course. She makes an Early-Bird Cameo by appearing to Jade in her MK9 ending (albeit with a different appearance), and is implied to be the one giving Kitana a vision of the original timeline in MKX.
    • In Scorpion, Shang Tsung and Sonya's Arcade endings within MK11, they discover that Kronika was only the tip of the iceberg, as there are other Titans who make Kronika look tame compared to them. It's implied they're behind the various bad things that happened throughout the timelines. Sonya even forms her own god-squad to actively destroy these Eldritch Abominations. Whether or not these Titans are connected to the One Being has yet to be clarified.
  • Myth has the Leveler, a malevolent force that is responsible for turning a hero to darkness every thousand years.
  • Occasionally in Nancy Drew games, the Culprit will be working for another group who is alluded to in the game, but not actually seen:
    • White Wolf of Icicle Creek: redonian government who Yanni was spying for.
    • Danger by Design: The spies Minette was working with.
    • The Silent Spy: Revenant. Notable in that they play a role in the series Backstory.
    • Labyrinth of Lies: The Greek Mafia.
  • Naufragar: Crimson: The king of Oragibe ordered the experiments that drove Hyo insane, leading to Hyo being the main antagonist of the game in trying to extend his own life at the expense of others. The king is also implied to be backing Hyo, since the latter has connections to a squad of corrupt Oragibe knights.
  • Throughout the various map modes of Nazi Zombies, there is implied to be a greater evil behind the zombies and all the horrors the protagonists have to face, greater than initial Big Bad Ensemble Richtofen and the Maxis family. The first outright hint was in "Moon" when Samantha warns Richtofen that there was a greater evil than he was lurking in the Aether. Then the "Mob of the Dead" map had some unknown entity controlling the zombies when none of the main cast could've been doing so. Finally, the Black Ops III season revealed the villain to be the Apothicons, ancient evils who seek to destroy all dimensions of the universe. Turns out, they and their emissary the Shadow Man had been manipulating our heroes and villains alike to bring about the destruction of the universe with their actions. In one timeline they succeed in bringing about Earth's destruction (twice over), but then the timeline is reset, and the Apothicons take center stage in the arc's final installment "Revelations".
  • Neverwinter Nights 2:
    • Mask of the Betrayer has Myrkul, former god of the dead. He isn't doing anything in-game. He's dead, after all, but his actions before he died drives the plot.
    • Storm of Zehir has Zehir, the yuan-ti god of poison.
    • The fan campaign The Maimed God's Saga has Malar, the Faerûnian god of savagery.

    O-Q 
  • The Stinger at the end of ObsCure II reveals that the events of both games were orchestrated by Delta Theta Gamma, a college fraternity that turns out to be a Skull & Bones-esque secret society that views the mortifilia plant as the key to immortality. Both Professor James and the Friedman brothers were members, the former serving as The Mole and betraying the protagonists to the group towards the end of the game, and the group used its deep connections to the federal government to cover up the Friedman brothers' experiments on mortifilia at Leafmore High School, which led to the events of the first game. A planned sequel likely would've had the surviving protagonists interacting with and possibly battling them, but it never came to be.
  • Yami from Ōkami, who's existence creates all of the evil beings you face in the game, being the root of all evil and all. Doesn't appear till the very final battle and is barely hinted at before, also doesn't seem to be a very intelligent being either since it doesn't talk.
  • In Ōkamiden, one of the two possible origins of Akuro, is that he was the true Greater Scope Villain of Okami and was controlling Yami.
  • 1bit Heart: The ‘bigshots’ that Mikado created the Master Program for in the original timeline, who used it to enslave people and create a technological Dystopia; Mikado’s actions are to prevent this Bad Future from occurring.
  • Onimusha has, from the second game onward, Fortinbras, the God of Light and Demon King of the Genma. He created demons out of chaos to feast upon mankind and struck a deal with Nobunaga Oda to raise him as a Genma so he could take over Japan in his name. Despite being the first game's Big Bad and being killed by the end of it, his minions carry his legacy on in the following games, with Nobunaga taking his place. Then in the fourth game, its revealed that the villains are planning to resurrect Fortinbras.
  • In Opoona the Big Bad is an Artifact of Doom and the sages under The Corruption. Said artifact was created by The Dark Emperor, who never appears in the game proper.
  • Outlast II has Father Loutermilch, who was a teacher at the Catholic school that Blake, Lynn, and Jessica went to in fourth grade. While his whereabouts are unknown and he has nothing to do with the plot at hand outside of hallucinations, it is clear that raping and then murdering Jessica has a long lasting effect on Blake right up until the end of the game.
  • Parasite Eve has Eve as the Big Bad with her goal being to rule over the world where only beings with strong mitochondria like hers can survive. The entire plot was kickstarted by Hans Klamp. Melissia, the girl Eve came from, was constantly sick (this was due to an organ transplant she had gotten as a child and said organ is where Eve originated from) and met with Klamp in the past. He suggested that Melissia should be prescribed with immunosuppressants, knowing that the drugs would weaken her enough for Eve to take over her body. From there, Klamp cultivated sperm for Eve to impregnate herself with so that she could give birth to the Ultimate Being.
  • Perfect Dark has the Skedar Leader, who is only physically present during the Final Boss fight with him and doesn't even get a proper name. The game's main villain is "Mister Blonde," an enigmatic and seemingly omnipresent power broker who leads the invaders' human collaborators, his omnipresence being the result of his not being human or indeed even one person; he's a holographic disguise assumed by various Skedar agents when interacting with humans proves necessary. The Leader is obviously this character's superior, but takes no role in the plot until the very end.
  • Persona:
    • Nyarlathotep in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. In Innocent Sin, The Reveal about him showed he was actually involved directly for a decent chunk of the game, but in Eternal Punishment, while his existence is revealed early, he's mostly only referenced when bringing up Innocent Sin's events and that his power caused The Plan to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, but it's mostly his pawns that interact with characters, and he himself doesn't actually appear until the very end of the game.
    • While the Big Bad in Persona 3 is Ikutsuki, for trying to bring about The Fall by causing Nyx to descend to Earth and turn everyone into braindead zombies, it's easy to assume that, by extension, the Greater Scope Villain is Nyx. However, it's eventually revealed that Nyx is more of a force of nature than an actual entity, and doesn't really wish to bring about The Fall. No, the real Greater-Scope Villain is Erebus, the manifestation of mankind's will to die, who actively does want to bring about The Fall and can do so by coming into contact with Nyx. Another, more human Greater-Scope Villain is Mitsuru Kirijo's grandfather, the Corrupt Corporate Executive, Evil Sorcerer, and Misanthrope Supreme who summoned Nyx to Earth in the first place. Ikutsuki was his protege, and the other major human villain, Takaya, was experimented on by him.
    • The antagonist of Persona 4: Arena is Shadow Labrys, and her issues form the crux of the story. However, certain routes reveal the events of the game were manipulated by two oher figures, referred to simply as the Eerie Voice and Malevolent Entity, who are revealed in Ultimax to be Sho Minazuki and Hi-no-Kagutsuchi respectively, where they take over as the main villains.
    • Persona 5 Strikers has Jyun Owada, a remnant of the original game's Government Conspiracy, who is manipulating the police force to gain power and ordered the hit-and-run that killed Zenkichi's wife. Since he's a normal human with no Metaverse access, he never comes into direct conflict with the heroes, instead acting through Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist Kaburagi and The Heavy Akira Konoe, who seems to be working for him but is actually trying to bring him to justice through misguided means. Owada ends up arrested offscreen by Zenkichi, after the final boss fight.
    • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth features a movie labyrinth known as Junessic Land, a dinosaur movie taking the form of an artifical island where the mighty carnivorous dinosaurs terrorize the weak herbivore dinosaurs, and the herbivore dinosaurs must run away from them at all costs. It turns out that the Herbivore Dinosaurs are merely Designated Heroes who lynch other herbivore dinosaurs who suggested confronting the carnivores and refuse to rescue any of their allies who were about to be eaten by them. Since they make up the rules and strictly enforce them, they are the real oppressors of the movie labyrinth, but they aren't it's end boss: that ends up being Yosukesaurus, driven to desperation by their bullying.
  • Phantasy Star has the Profound Darkness. The series protagonist's struggle against the Dark Force/Falz, the recurring Big Bad, amounts to Fighting a Shadow of a fraction of the Profound Darkness' own evil and hatred. DF himself is a threat to the entire universe, so nobody wants to find out what the Profound Darkness can do if left unchecked.
  • The Galactic Federation/Astral Empire in Phoenotopia and Phoenotopia : Awakening. They're the greatest immediate threat to humanity present, but they never even show up during either game; they simply spur space pirates to abduct the citizens of Panselo, and send mercenaries to Earth to make the impending invasion earlier and deny humanity the chance to fight back.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the Greater Scope Villain is the Nameless One — the Player Character. Everything that happens in the plot is a result of the actions of his previous incarnation(s), particularly the act of obtaining immortality. The Transcendent One, who is the story's Man Behind the Man, Big Bad and Final Boss, is also after the Nameless One because of this act.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Giovanni — the leader of Team Rocket from Pokémon Red and Blue — has been gone for three years, yet his organization is still committing crimes in his name, ultimately invading Goldenrod City as a means of trying to contact him.
    • Lusamine from Pokémon Sun and Moon The Man Behind the Man to Guzma during the climax of the game, because while she doesn't personally get involved in Team Skull’s antics, she IS their secret financial backer. Later on, she gets involved personally and takes Guzma’s place as the true villain of the game. It's clearly shown that even before fusing with Nihilego, she was quite evil. Even Guzma is genuinely afraid of her, as shown by his dialogue after he entered Ultra Space.
    • Darkrai from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers games. Everything bad in the main storyline was caused by Temporal Tower's collapse. Darkrai was responsible for its destruction in the first place, as well as the main character's amnesia, but he never appears in the main story, only showing himself in the postgame.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity has Bittercold. It is the reason the other villains can go about their plans but is little more than a primeval force.
    • Indirectly, AZ in Pokémon X and Y, as while he has no direct involvement in the plot, and in fact gets captured by the Big Bad Lysandre, he's in fact the man that invented the Ultimate Weapon Lysandre plans on using, over 3000 years ago.
  • In Popful Mail, Overlord Ulgar is the main villain of the game, and numerous other villains (Kazyr, Draquin, Sven, and Venuncio) all sow chaos and destruction in his name. It isn't until Mail's party gathers all of the orbs that have sealed him away that they get to enter his dimension and fight him and his two most powerful generals face-to-face.
  • Prime Minister Bill Hawks in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. Aside from being a Distressed Dude, he doesn't play much of a role in the conflict of the story, but he was responsible for the incident that served as the Start of Darkness for the game's two main villains.
  • Quest for Glory is very fond of this trope, particularly the Sealed Evil in a Can variety. Every plot from the second game onwards revolves around the chief villain attempting to summon one of these, with various levels of success.

    R-T 
  • Radia Senki Reimeihen has the man who calls himself the Master of Dreams, who motivated the Big Bad Gadiss into causing strife and summoned nightmare creatures into the Dream Land of Lemuria to unite the world in fear.
  • RealityMinds: Ridgefern is the one who brought Kvena back as a ghost to determine if humans would abuse the essences he created, making him indirectly responsible for the havoc she caused.
  • Red Dead Redemption series:
    • Red Dead Redemption: General Ignacio Sanchez and Nate Johns. Sanchez, the brutal President of Mexico, is this to the Mexican storyline. As the superior of Colonel Augustin Allende, the governor of the Nuevo Parasio region (and the closest thing to a Big Bad in Mexico), Sanchez is the true power despite never being confronted. Johns serves as this more personally to John Marston's story in the U.S., at first being a gubernatorial candidate, and later being elected Governor of West Elizabeth. Him coming from a rich family and promising to clean up crime in the state spurs Edgar Ross and the Bureau to send John out to kill his former friends. Like Sanchez, Johns is never actually confronted. However, neither of them end up well in the end. Sanchez is ultimately deposed by Abraham Reyes, while Johns doesn't survive multiple corruption scandals and is ultimately kicked out of the governor's mansion.
    • Red Dead Redemption II: Leviticus Cownwall is a looming threat throughout much of the game. Dutch targets a lot of his businesses and, in return, Cornwall gives financial backing to the Pinkertons to eliminate the Van der Linde gang. As a very powerful businessman, he presides over a massive influence that comprises most of the major antagonists, including Agent Milton and Edgar Ross. In other words, it's the Pinkertons and people working for him that cause trouble for the Van der Linde gang. However, Agent Milton is a much more active threat and Dutch guns Cornwall down without fanfare during their only face-to-face encounter.
  • In Resident Evil
    • Oswell E. Spencer is one of the founders of the Umbrella Corporation, who murdered his rivals to gain total control. He was also into world domination. However, he never interacts with or even takes notice of the protagonists, and the various biohazards of the games are instigated by underlings with their own motives.
    • Mother Miranda, the Big Bad of Resident Evil Village, is this for the entire franchise due to her experiments with the Mold mutamycete inspiring Spencer to create bioweapons of his own through founding Umbrella.
  • The Elf quest series in RuneScape, its longest-running storyline, hinted at a mysterious "Dark Lord" whom the Big Bad Duumvirate of Elf Lord Iorwerth and King Lathas worship and plan to summon to Gielinor. Only in the Grand Finale is this being revealed to be a shard of the Elven supreme goddess Seren, specifically the embodiment of all her bad qualities, whom the evil Elves elevated to a god in its own right. Iorwerth pays with his life for messing with it.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, Monica Hughes is this for Cyrus Temple, as she is the one who spearheaded the STAG initiative.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: Big Bad Genichiro Ashina may have kidnapped your lord and been engaged in all sorts of heresy, but his sole motivation is to protect his clan from the encroaching forces of the Interior Ministry, whose own agents can be encountered from time to time (including Sekiro's own father). The Ministry is also indirectly responsible for the protagonist's immortality, as they're the ones who bankrolled the attack on Hirata Estates that resulted in Sekiro being given the power to revive by Lord Kuro. In the last third of the game, the Ministry launches a full-blown invasion that all but annihilates the surviving Ashina, but even then, your primary feud is still with Genichiro. The Final Boss are Genichiro and his grandfather, and while you can kill many Interior Ministry soldiers and even one of their commanders, they remain in the shadows and far beyond the ability of the protagonist to defeat. By the end of the game, though they've lost the Dragon's Heritage, they're implied to be ultimately victorious in their efforts to unify Japan.
  • While the primary Big Bad's of the Senran Kagura series are Dogen and Orochi, Shin is the source of all the Yoma.
  • Seraphic Blue has the entire Gaia Cancer race serve as this to Ende, due to their status as an ancient and constant blight on the planet's stability. They specifically created Ende, a sentient Gaia Cancer, to act as their brains when the humans became knowledgable enough to fight them. Their very existence weakens Gaia, which means the planet can't handle the new Sera-Human species, leading to newborn Sera-Humans becoming mutants. This causes the Sera-Human Kursk family to join Ende out of despair and nihilism. Finally, they're the reason why the Seraphic Blue project is needed, which Goes Horribly Wrong when one of the subjects gains herself an evil Split Personality, Er, who goes on to become the Big Bad and pervert the power of Seraphic Blue for the Gaia Cancer's goal of ending the world.
  • An unusual instance of the trope in Shadowrun: Hong Kong, where the main plot centers around events developing in the rebuilt and perpetually degrading Kowloon Walled City as Qian Ya, a Yama King and a minor deity of misery prepares to manifest and claim the walled city as her personal fiefdom in the material world. The Greater Scope Villain ends up being a human, Josephine Tsang, a Corrupt Corporate Executive the Foster grandmother to the Player Character and partner-in-crime Duncan Wu (though neither party actually knows they have this relationship until the PC finds out mid-campaign). How that works out is Tsang lead the company that rebuilt Kowloon, and secretly included a "Chi engine" which would circulate good chi and help the Kowloon district prosper, but Josephine had other ideas than the builder and had it run in "reverse". The effect was that the good chi was sucked out of Kowloon and focused on Josephine's company, allowing her corp to become exceedingly successful and put her on Hong Kong's executive board. But the price was payed by Kowloon, which was left only with the bad chi which could only accumulate and turn rancid over the years, turning Kowloon into a horrifying, misery-laden hellhole; and would it would eventually serve as a focus that would allow Qian Ya to step through and make her bid for power. While what the Greater Scope Villain did in this case was a deliberate action of villainy, it made that person an Unwitting Instigator of Doom.
    • General Keiji Saito is this throughout the fanmade Cal-Free Saga, as his presence as the most powerful man in the region means that his influence looms large, even if you never technically oppose him directly (in fact you're often nominally on the same side as him). He never even appears during the first two arcs, and even when he actively becomes the Big Bad of the third you're still mostly concerned with his underlings.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • One has been vaguely hinted as existing in the main Shin Megami Tensei continuity, as well. Its exact nature is unclear, but there have been various opaque references to YHVH not always being the tyrant He is now, meaning the root cause of the Order Versus Chaos Forever War is something else. Its exact nature is a point of debate among fans, as is whether or not it's likely to be "officially" revealed at all. YHVH and Lucifer themselves are also skilled at playing Greater Scope Villain when the situation calls for it. Both take the role best in Shin Megami Tensei I, but in Shin Megami Tensei II, Lucifer slips into co-Big Bad territory with Satan, leaving YHVH alone in the role until He becomes the Final Boss.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV makes things more subtle — YHVH is never named as such, and it's a point of contention whether or not He's evil. Lucifer, meanwhile, is a standard Big Bad. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse reveals the horrifying truth behind the plot of IV: Not only is YHVH still evil, He's even worse than before — Lucifer and his Law counterpart, Merkabah, are actually the two halves of Satan, YHVH's greatest servant. YHVH had Satan split into Lucifer and Merkabah/the Archangels to plunge the world into the Forever War in order to maintain His grip on humanity.
    • Also from Apocalypse, Defense Minister Tamagami, a deranged Nationalist obsessed with ensuring Japan's global dominance. His experiments created the Yamato Perpetual Reactor, a machine that punched holes in the Universe to generate power and attracted demons to the opening. He arranged for inhuman experiments in which these demons were forcefully introduced into the bodies of prisoners, creating the National Defense Divinities. He arranged for his own mind to overwrite that of a young woman so he could survive the retaliatory nuclear attack other nations fired against Japan for the activation of the Reactor, and for good measure, he prepared Izanami, the Japanese underworld goddess, to be unleashed in the event of his death, so he would be sure any civilization who killed him would go down with him and that a new one based on his own megalomania arose from the ashes.
  • Silent Hill has Dahlia Gillespie, the Big Bad who abused her daughter Alessa and used rituals to bring her cult's god into the world. Although Dahlia does get killed, her influence also extends to the main villains in Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4: The Room. In the former, her cult is still seeking out Heather (Alessa reborn) to summon their god, which is what Claudia Wolfe tries to achieve. In the latter, Walter Sullivan gets the idea from Dahlia to perform the 21 Sacraments to bring his mother back, but said ritual is actually Dahlia's backup plan to summon the cult's god.
  • Sin and Punishment: Star Successor: Depending on your point of view, either the creators, or Kachi herself.
  • Skullgirls has The Trinity, the supposed creator of Double, who is the antagonist for many of the characters. Downloadable Content reveals that the true Greater Scope Villain is actually Eliza, an ancient vampiric monster. She is the reason the Trinity, and by extension the Skull Heart itself, exists. In her story route, her ancient ambitions are rekindled...
  • Solatorobo has Baion, who sees no need to learn to control Lares (since Nero and Blanck can do that for him already) or chase the protagonists as Bruno did; instead, he just wants to summon Tartaros and bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Soma duology (Soma Spirits and Soma Union):
    • The Sun King is seemingly this for the series, as he was the tyrant who ruled Soma in the backstory and sowed division for his amusement, and while he was beaten by Form and Dissonance, his actions caused the sundering which split Soma in two and drove Dissonance to become the Big Bad, seeking to remove all happiness to prevent another war from breaking out. However, it turns out he wasn't this at all- Form and Dissonance started the wars in the first place to gain the power of Absolution, while the Sun King was a benevolent, if misguided, ruler trying to stop their mad plans. The real example is Absolution itself.
    • Absolution is this for a huge chunk of the series:
      • To Form and Dissonance in Soma Spirits. Absolution's power is used to magically renovate their manor, which has the side-effect of reviving them. Additionally, the duo wants to gain Absolution's power in order to conquer Soma and wipe out anyone with emotions they don't like. It's remnants, the orbs, are also what corrupts the major characters of each area and causes them to bring about the problem of each area. However, it remains sealed away for most of the game, with Form and Dissonance being the direct villains, and only surfacing in three endings as the Post-Final Boss or True Final Boss, respectively.
      • For the first three chapters in Soma Union, it is the entity that shattered Soma, indirectly causing the conflict where Zero and friends have to find a way to repair Soma, but thanks to Bright it is, like in the first game, shattered and mindless, only occasionally appearing in-between chapters in fragmented form. It is also the reason that Professor M and Zeta turned evil. This changes once it is revived, instantly making Professor M irrelevant and getting Zeta Demoted to Dragon.
  • While the Big Bad of Sonic the Hedgehog is usually Dr. Eggman, the games do sometimes have Greater-Scope Villains:
    • In Sonic Adventure, Eggman is the one who's controlling Chaos, but the reason why Chaos is filled with destructive hate for the world is because of events that happened thousands of years ago involving Knuckles's ancestors, the Pachacamac Clan. Sure, they're long dead, but their attempt to forcefully use the power of the chaos emeralds and their abuse of Chaos's Chao friends are what drove Chaos to become a destructive monster that ended up wiping out the entire clan and who is now planning to betray Eggman as well to wipe out the rest of the world. If Pachacamac and his clan hadn't done what they did, Chaos would've still been a relatively peaceful creature, Knuckles wouldn't have been the Last of His Kind and the events of the game wouldn't have happened.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, though Eggman once again takes the role of Big Bad, it's the actions of his grandfather Gerald Robotnik 50 years ago that caused many of the problems in the game. Since the professor is long since dead, his will is carried out by Shadow, who keeps the true reason behind his collaboration with Eggman a secret. It's only when Eggman accidentally sets off the Colony Drop at end that Gerald's machinations are revealed and the story's focus shifts to stopping him.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, it's revealed that Black Doom was the GREATER Greater-Scope Villain to Gerald Robotnik. He made a deal with Gerald, providing his DNA for Gerald's experiments in exchange for Shadow's help in claiming the Chaos Emeralds. Basically, he's the GREATER Greater-Scope Villain of Sonic Adventure 2, though this is complicated by the fact that Gerald originally created Shadow for altruistic purposes, only changing his plans after the death of his granddaughter Maria at the hands of G.U.N. pushed him far past the Despair Event Horizon; Gerald Robotnik's depiction in SHtH actually paints him as the Big Good and shows that he made contingency plans for dealing with the Black Arms, including the Eclipse Cannon used by Eggman to obliterate half the moon in SA2.
    • In Sonic Unleashed, Dr. Eggman's main goal is to unseal an ancient, sleeping Eldritch Abomination named Dark Gaia. Dark Gaia is probably one of the most powerful enemies that Sonic has ever faced, but doesn't appear or play much of a role in the story until the very end. Still, Dark Gaia's presence can be felt all over the game via his monsters who serve as constant enemies, Sonic's new Werehog transformation, and the lore and manuscripts that his battles against Light Gaia have inspired.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Iblis and Mephiles make up two-thirds of the Big Bad Ensemble, with Eggman as the remaining third (and a comparatively smaller threat). It's later discovered that Mephiles and Iblis are separate halves of an ancient god named Solaris, which is worshiped by the people of Soleanna. Solaris itself is never directly present in the game outside of backstory mentions until the Last Story, where Mephiles succeeds in merging with Iblis, just in time to become the True Final Boss. At the end of the game, it is erased from existence via time travel shenanigans (ironic, considering that's how it screwed with the heroes through the game), though the similarities shared between Solaris and the Time Eater have invited plenty of speculation note  that Word of God has neither confirmed nor denied.
    • Hinted at in both Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania. Nobody is really sure, but throughout both games and the comics, it's implied that the Phantom Ruby is in fact sentient and may have been manipulating Eggman, Infinite, and the Hard Boiled Heavies to do its bidding by tempting them with power and promises.
    • In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, it's revealed that the main antagonists of the game, the Nocturnus Clan, created the Gizoids, thus making them the creators of Emerl and by extension the indirect Greater-Scope villains of Sonic Battle. Even later comes the reveal that they were the rival clan to Knuckles's ancestors, having gone to war with Knuckles's clan and easily overwhelming them, thus making the Knuckles clan desperate enough to try to forcefully get the power of the Chaos Emeralds, thus bringing down Perfect Chaos's wrath upon themselves, and the rest is history. This basically makes the Nocturnus clan the GREATER Greater-Scope Villains of Sonic Adventure as well. There are additional bits and pieces of information that hint at the existence of another Greater-Scope Villain (or possibly Greater-Scope Paragon, considering that what it did to the Nocturnus clan was probably for the best) named Argus. Not much is known about Argus, but it's described as a presence or godlike entity that is responsible for trapping the Nocturnus clan, along with all of the other alien races you see in the game, in the Twilight Cage. When you complete Nestor the Wise's sidequest and bring him all the precursor tablets so that he can translate them and get information on Argus, he becomes so horrified by the last few tablets that he can't even finish the job.
  • Ares turns out to be the Greater Scope Villain of Spartan: Total Warrior, manipulating both Rome and The Spartan to complete his revenge against The Spartan's mother, a handmaiden of Aphrodite who snitched on Ares' affair with Aphrodite to her husband.
  • Spookys Jumpscare Mansion gives us the Ghost Cow from the Karamari Hospital DLC, as the creature is responsible for all of the horrors of the hospital, and the creatures now roaming the complex.
  • In Starcraft I and II, the Big Bad Ensemble consists of the Zerg Overmind, UED Admiral DuGalle, Sarah Kerrigan, and Arcturus Mengsk. The Zeratul side missions (starting in Brood War and continuing in Wings of Liberty) revealed a nebulous Greater Scope Villain looming in the horizon: Amon. Legacy of the Void has him take center stage as the Big Bad, whereupon it's revealed that he masterminded the events of all of the previous games, being the one who originally uplifted the zerg and protoss and subtly controlling both the Overmind and Kerrigan from behind the scenes. He didn't have anything to do with the UED, though.
  • String Tyrant is set in a mysterious mansion. The Mansion was created by an unnamed evil force that has been abducting people there and eating their minds for centuries. In game there is nothing that can be done against it except figure out how to escape it. The best ending has the protagonist dedicate themselves to figuring out how to stop it.
  • Subnautica has the Architects, a group that accidently start the plot as precursors.
  • In Suikoden III, Hikusaak, Emperor of Harmonia, plans to gather the 27 True Runes to create a world of perfect order — a soulless dystopia. The actual villains of the game are the people trying to stop him, because their plan to do so will kill millions of people.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • In Super Robot Wars V, if it wasn't for the Crossover nature of the game, Embryo would have been the Big Bad. He orchestrates almost everything that happens between the two worlds and is responsible for accelerating the fusion of the three worlds the heroes are trying to save. And even then, it's implied that there's someone even higher than him who orchestrates everything: Black Noire who claims to not just have set up everything that happens in the Anno Domini dimension, but did it For the Evulz.
  • Super Robot Wars X:
    • Embryo for the Buddy Complex plot, as he is responsible for their world becoming a time paradox, as well as being the root cause of Bizon becoming Evgeni.
    • Likewise, Black Noir was responsible for creating Embryo.
  • Tales Series
    • Fortuna in Tales of Destiny 2 may be the ultimate superior of Barbatos Goetia, and is providing her priestess Elraine with her existence and power, but she herself spends most of the game sealed and completely indifferent to the actions of the heroes and only fights you at the very end. And before that, Fortuna actually serves as the Big Good, occasionally helping you on your journey, and only becomes a case of God Is Evil after Elraine is defeated.
    • The Adephagos in Tales of Vesperia, another Sealed Evil in a Can that does not drive most of the plot. Even when it manifests, it itself is simply a mindless malevolence.
    • Michael, the Shepherd prior to Sorey in Tales of Zestiria, long dead by the events of the game, was the one who brought Maotelus to Camlann and bound him to Heldalf after the great seraph fell to malevolence during the Hyland army's massacre of the village, which turned Heldalf into the Lord of Calamity and started the Age of Chaos.
    • In Tales of Berseria a subgroup of the seraphim themselves are revealed to have cursed their brethren to turn into dragons if they were touched by too much malevolence, which humans produce naturally. This caused the two races to drift apart in the first place. They have also made a promise that if the world descends into calamity, they will destroy it, necessitating Innominat's (or later Maotelus's) presence in the world. And Innominat himself is this for a good part of the game, being a Sealed Evil in a Can that Artorias Collbrande is trying to release, while Velvet Crowe herself is this to the original game Zestiria, being the first Calamity Lord.
  • Tears to Tiara 2 has Metatronius, the overseer from heaven originally sent to watch over earth but was sealed by the elves in the great war a thousand years prior.
  • Tekken has Azazel in this role due to being the creator of the Devil and by extension, the Devil Gene in an attept to free himself from his imprisonment which is the cause of all the problems therein such as the issues and tradegy that have befallen many people including series protagonist Jin and antagonists Heihachi and Kazuya and anyone who has gotten caught up in their family issues which by Tekken 6 is the entire planet essentially. As told by Tekken 6's Scenario Campaign mode, Jin Kazama is the one who set the world into chaos (and thus the actual antagonist) but only did so in order to awaken the monster Azazel. This is most apparent in the story mode, where Azazel is taken out almost casually a short while before the true final battle against Jin.
    • In 7 it was revealed the more immediate and direct source of the Mishima curse is none other than Kazumi who passed her Devil Gene (which she got from her own ancestors) onto her son Kazuya and Jin inheriting it from him while Heihachi killed her because she attempted to assassinate him under the orders of her family the Hachijo clan. Her killing led to Kazuya's hatred of Heihachi due to the former's love for his mother and the latter's refusal to explain the reason for her killing and their eventual final battle that lead to Heihachi's death while Jin had to start a war intentionally and will be the one to end it by going after Kazuya who has revealed himself as the devil to the world. By extension, Kazuya's family the Hachijo clan is this to the whole series too. Everything that happened to Heihachi, Jin, and Kazuya would not have happened if it were for them and Kazumi having to try to kill her husband which she regrets as a spirit. Also its unknown who else if anyone in the Hachijo clan possessed the Devil Gene and so if they passed it on to other people outside the Mishima bloodline. Also Azazel is still alive and currently residing in Zafina.
  • The Touhou Project Story Arc consisting of games 10 through 13 is generally referred to as the "Moriya arc", because the events of each game are caused by a character who debuted in the previous game, despite not appearing in the game in question, starting with the Moriya Shrine members. Subterranean Animism was caused by Kanako giving Utsuho the tremendous power that gave her ideas of megalomania. Undefined Fantastic Object was caused by a geyser that Utsuho created launching the Palanquin Ship into the sky. And Ten Desires was caused by Byakuren landing the Palanquin Ship on Miko's mausoleum, giving her the boost she needed to resurrect.
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  • Undertale has multiple levels of these.
    • While Asgore is the Big Bad of the game (for a VERY loose definition of bad), the first Greater Scope Villain is Flowey (the Soulless Shell of Asriel Dreemurr), who only appears in the first part of the game, only to suddenly show up to steal the six human souls from Asgore at the very end and ascend to godhood. If he's beaten and spared, then he and his Ripple Effect-Proof Memory guide the player on how to achieve the Golden Ending in subsequent playthroughs, only to reveal that this is a plot to get every monster in the Underground into one location so he can absorb everyone's souls and truly achieve godhood.
    • The second villain reveals themselves if the player takes the Genocide route. Chara, the First Child, the instigator of nearly every single bad thing that happens in the game's backstory, and the one person Flowey/Asriel is doing everything that he's doing for. If the player completes the Genocide route, they fulfill their desire to systematically murder and destroy everyone and everything in the Underground, before they erase all of existence and move on to the next iteration of the timeloop (and resetting the game from that point on requires the player to sell their soul to them, permanently tainting all future playthroughs so that they always win in the end).
    • Then there's Gaster, who invented a phase-shifter to escape the magic barrier; it failed miserably and Gaster fell into the source code of the world, causing the disappearance of monsters who happen to know about him. They're heavily implied to be behind Deltarune, as trying to use their name at any time causes an instant game crash.
  • Warcraft:
    • Sargeras — the Fallen Titan and founder of the universe-consuming Burning Legion — is the Greater Scope Villain through most of the lore, with exception of the War of the Ancients (where he is Big Bad, though never fought directly) and the events leading up to the first RTS game, where he possesses the mage Medivh, and uses him to open the Dark Portal, leading to the invasion of the Orcs. After Medivh's first death he is MIA as far as the story has progressed (all of the actual gameplay except for two dungeons, which takes place in the past), and leaves the work to his Co-Dragons, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde. World of Warcraft: Legion finally brings him in as the Big Bad again for a Grand Finale of his Myth Arc.
    • The Old Gods are the primordial elemental beings who ruled the world before the Titans came. Even when they are not actively pulling the strings (they mostly are behind everything major that the Burning Legion is not behind, but they are usually imprisoned and asleep, communicating only through maddening whispers), one can always find signs of them in the world. This is especially true in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, where they are not pulling the strings actively, but the VERY prevalent Sha energy is the aftermath of one who died in the war against the Titans during the creation of Azeroth.
    • Shortly before the release of the Legion Expansion Pack for World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft: Chronicle upped the ante and revealed a Greater Scope Villain even greater than Sargeras: the Void. The Void is a cosmic force of complete nonexistence, whose clash with its opposite the Light created the universe in the first place, and the thing that created the Old Gods as a means of trying to destroy it. Witnessing his superior's corruption in progress is what drove Sargeras to create the Burning Legion. Their forces have gradually been showing themselves more and more as Azeroth continues to survive onslaughts from both the Legion and the Void's old God Servants.
  • In Warframe, much of the game's mess can be laid at the feet of the leaders of the Grineer and the Corpus, none of whom you get to strike directly at. And then there are Sentients, who waged war with Orokin Empire, which led to creation on Tenno in the first place and Empire downfall by Tenno hands.
  • Weaponlord: Demon Lord Raith is the cause of all the suffering in the world, deathly afraid of warriors born under the Blood Moon. By the time of the game, he's long death, with another Demon Lord named Zarak taking his place as the Big Bad, but Raith's influnece is still felt throughout the world.
  • The Witcher: The White Frost wouldn't be out of place in one of Lovecraft's stories. It's unknown if it's sentient, self-aware, or even alive. All we do know is that it's an indescribably powerful force that has ended life on countless worlds all across the Multiverse, and it will eventually do the same to the Continent. It has been the driving force of nearly every major conflict in the franchise. Ciri is the only one capable of destroying it.
    • The Arc Villain of Hearts of Stone is Gaunter O'Dimm, also known as Master Mirror, the unassuming traveller who gives Geralt advice on how to fin Yennefer in the prologue. Gaunter O'Dimm is in truth not human and truly ancient, appearing throughout the historical record across thousands of years in many different cultures, but always known as "Evil Incarnate". He offers assistance and grants wishes, but always with a catch, and he claims the souls of anyone he deals with, dragging them off to another dimension to torment them for eternity. He is basically The Witcher's version of the Devil.
  • The Wonderful 101 has the villains, the Geathjerk Federation, mention the reason they attack Earth is because of "The Greater Galactic Coalition". The Supreme Overlord Jergingha reveals that the Greater Galactic Coalition is the human race from 1500 years in the future, where Geathjerk came from to wipe out humanity and prevent their worlds from being enslaved and destroyed.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the entire impetus for the Alien Invasion was the Ethereals' desire to enslave a race strong enough to fight some unspecified foe on their behalf, and attacked humanity as a form of Training from Hell. At the end of XCOM 2, the Ethereals desperately claim that stopping them would be the end of everybody, and that "it" would follow us as it followed them which we aren't ready for.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Initially, the main villain seems to be Egil, the leader of the Mechon who are attacking and slaughtering the Homs on Bionis. Metal Face (a.k.a. Mumkhar), a Faced Mechon, is also a personal nemesis of Shulk and Dunban for killing Fiora; although his actions and motives were his own, he was still turned into a Faced Mechon for Egil's genocidal plans. We later find out that Zanza, who created all life on Bionis, slaughtered many of Egil's people, the Machina, setting Egil on a path of vengeance, and his reason for killing the Homs was to starve Zanza, who used Homs as food. Thus, Zanza is responsible for the conflict in the game, and, after killing a reformed Egil, becomes the main enemy and final boss.
  • Yooka-Laylee: Capital B may be the Big Bad, but it's revealed early on he answers to Hivory Towers' enigmatic Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board.
  • Several Yu-Gi-Oh! video games feature the mysterious Egyptian demon Nitemare, the original creator of the Shadow Games and thus the Greatest Villain of the entire setting. While due to numerous contradictions the games in which he appears are not canon to the greater series, it remains somewhat unclear whether Nitemare himself and his role in the Backstory are, as he was created, though never used, by Kazuki Takahashi himself.


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