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Hard-Coded Hostility

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"Raiders can't be bargained or reasoned with, and there ain't no use surrendering, cause they'll just shoot you anyway. So run, hide or... fight, if you've got the balls and the guns. But for God's sake, don't go wavin' the white flag. They'll just strangle you with it."
Three Dog, Fallout 3

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

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

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

The term is best reserved for games in which it is not the norm. For instance, in a First-Person Shooter in which the bulk of the game consists of killing demonic enemies the demons being inherently hostile is expected, making it a genre-specific case of People Sit on Chairs. Rather, the term is best applied in circumstances which otherwise feature a diverse set of factions which can be opposed or cooperated with depending on the player's actions.

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


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  • Pirates in Galactic Civilizations are heavily armed ships that attack ships, particularly freighters, of all civilizations. Sometimes they randomly appear, sometimes a fleet of them shows up after a breakout from a galactic prison, and when an evil or neutral civilization is defeated many of their remaining ships become pirates.
    • GalCiv2 also introduces the Dread Lords, Abusive Precursors who get let out of their can in the campaign or a random event in sandbox games and then proceed to attempt to wipe out all other life in the galaxy. And unlike pirates, they invade planets as well.
  • Barbarians in the Civilization series: no civilization can have diplomatic relations with them, and they are hostile to every civilization.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Mindworms. You can train your own or capture individual units, but wild Mindworms will always spawn as hostile to absolutely everyone.
    • The Alien Crossfire Expansion Pack introduces two alien factions, who are always at war with one another. The Progenitors can make peace with humans (after they figure out human psychology or humans figure out theirs), but never with one another. This also applies if the faction editor is used to create more alien factions.
  • Persistent, mobile, Unknown menaces and pirates in Sword of the Stars. Menaces ranging from asteroids to Von Neuman probes to system killers show up randomly or semi-randomly to attack colonies.
  • Master of Orion III has both the Antarans occupying the Orion system, and the Harvesters. Neither can be effectively negotiated with. The Harvesters (who use other alien species as food) will declare war on any neighbor (even other Harvester factions) fairly quickly, will refuse any offer for peace, and never make alliances. The Antarans generally stay in the Orion system and never expand or settle outside of it, but occasionally will send a huge fleet to attack a planet or system outside the Orion system, for no stated or apparent reason, then withdraw the fleet back (unless the attackee or other power destroys it). They will not engage in or respond to any diplomacy.
  • In the PC game Imperium Galactica II, the Kra'hen faction (Absolute Xenophobe Blood Knight aliens from another galaxy) are always hostile and won't receive diplomats or traders, and if you play as them, you can't use the diplomacy, trade, or espionage options.
  • The Cravers in Endless Space have a trait - Eternal War - that makes them unable to make peace with other factions. The best they can be is at cold war because they must continuously expand and consume or collapse in on themselves. Custom factions can also be given the trait. The Space Pirates are always hostile unless spawned in a Random Event where you can bribe them to attack enemies in a False Flag Attack.
  • The Necrophages of Endless Legend can never be at peace, only cold war or war. They can engage in a few more diplomatic actions than the Cravers, however.
  • The Zuul in Sword of the Stars cannot trade, only raid other species' shipping. They gain no benefits from alliances or non-aggression pacts, and cannot unlock higher-level integration tech that allows empires to host multiple species on the same world or take over worlds peacefully. AI Zuul empires never go to the negotiation table and are in a constant state of war with any civilization they encounter, including other Zuul, and when playing as Zuul other empires are hardcoded to despise you. Their playstyle is pretty much geared towards Attack! Attack! Attack! as well.
  • In vanilla Sins of a Solar Empire, the Space Pirate faction and the non-affiliated ships protecting newly discovered worlds (they're the original colonists) are always hostile. The Pirates are always hostile, but you can pay them off enough to attack someone else. Averted in the Rebellion expansion, where the Trade Emergency Coalition Rebels can unlock a research item that makes Pirates and non-affiliated ships neutral, allowing them to expand unopposed.
  • Rebels and Symbiots in Emperor of the Fading Suns, though there are many non-playable factions that can be negotiated with such as the Church, the Merchant Guilds, and a few alien races. In addition the Imperial Guard will attack any units on Byzantium Secundus that they detect outside of its House embassy until one player is elected Emperor, then they swear loyalty to him.
  • In older Paradox Interactive games, rebels operated like this. They were hostile to any army they came in contact with, even if said army did not belong to the nation they were rebelling against. Same thing applies to natives and pirates in the third installment of Europa Universalis. In the fourth game of the series, though, rebels can be friendly towards certain factions; for instance, nationalist rebels will be friendly towards the nation they're trying to defect to.
    • In the fourth expansion to Europa Universalis III, the steppe hordes pretty much worked like this to all their non-horde neighbours, automatically declaring war on anyone they share a border with and only ending it once either nation is completely destroyed or the other nation agrees to pay the horde tributes.
  • In Crusader Kings II and Crusader Kings III, peasant uprisings are hostile to all factions, as they are rebelling against their leaders and any other member of the nobility they can find. Since you play as a member of the leading nobility, they are always your enemies, even if they're rebelling against another lord. Truth in Television to an extent: feudal lords had a vested interest in making sure that the peasantry were appropriately subservient to their liege, even if it wasn't them, as the peasants always far outnumbered those they served.
  • Stellaris has a few different examples:
    • The various Space Pirates, Void Clouds, Crystal Entities, and Mining Drones found throughout the galaxy are Starter Villains and will always be hostile towards you.
    • Marauders will periodically venture out to raid settled empires but can be paid off most of the time. After enough dealings with them, they can be hired as mercenaries until the Great Khan unites them and sets out to conquer the galaxy.
    • Much later on, the Extradimensional Invaders, the Prethoryn Scourge, and The Contingency all have the goal to purge all life in the galaxy. They cannot be negotiated with in any way, though Psionic Empires can unlock extended dialogue with the first two.
    • Fanatic Purifiers, though not necessarily at war with everyone else, have a permanent -1000 opinion modifier toward everyone else and are incapable of any positive diplomatic action towards any other species. They can negotiate with other civs of the same species, but they're not very pleasant even then. This is also true for Devouring Swarms and Determined Exterminators; the former cannot negotiate ever, the latter can, but only with other Machine Empires (except Rogue Servitors, who go absolutely ballistic when encountering Exterminators) and organics who became Synths.
    • Anybody stupid enough to accept the deal with The End of the Cycle will also get a permanent -1000 opinion with the entire galaxy for having unleased The End. Not that it will most likely matter, but on the incredibly small chance The End is actually defeated, the player who unleashed it is not going to find the galaxy a welcoming place afterward.

    Action RPG 
  • In Grim Dawn, the Aethrials and Cthonians do have faction meters, but unlike most of the other factions in the game, they can only ever increase. This spawns ever greater enemy ranks until you eventually start spawning Nemesis units, which are basically mini-bosses.
  • The invasion missions in Warframe let you side with one enemy faction in order to take down another. The Infestation is one possible side of the conflict, but the game never lets you side with them, making the "pick a side" screen in those cases a mere formality.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Earlier Shin Megami Tensei games had "Good", "Neutral" and "Evil" Demons. While the former two groups could be recruited via negotiation, Evil Demons (which comprise the majority of bosses) could not, and couldn't even be made through fusion. Later games drop this distinction, but boss and miniboss demons will still refuse any attempt at negotiation. (They're usually unlocked for fusion via Defeat Means Playable instead)

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

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game 
  • You can work for the human pirate faction in EVE Online if you're willing to brave the lawless space they make their bases in. Good luck trying to negotiate with the Rogue Drones or Sleepers, however.
  • The goblin-like Vubbes were this to humans prior to Medis Diena in Tree of Savior. Now, more and more non-human races are starting to behave the same way. You can see it happening in the questlines around Srautas Canyon.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • The first scenario of the Genghis Khan campaign in Age of Empires II requires you to sway the other Mongol tribes to your side. All of them can be negotiated with (though the Naiman and the Tayichi'uds will only join you if you destroy the other), except the Kara-Khitai, who are described as "without honour" and will always be enemies.
  • In the Empire Earth series, the diplomacy settings are locked in single-player missions so you can't try to ally with your enemies.
  • By necessity, the creeps in Warcraft III (since they're there to provide experience and items, they're even called the Neutral Hostile faction). However, in the campaign, they're often set to being allied with your enemies (to prevent them from being killed), can be recruited via mercenary camps, Demonic Possession or Mind Control.
  • In Dune II and Dune 2000 Sand Worms just pop up to eat units out on open sand every so often. But in Emperor: Battle for Dune Fremen units can summon and temporarily control them.

  • NetHack: You can turn most monsters to your side with the spell of taming, and the ones that are untameable will become peaceful instead. There are however three bosses that are hardcoded to be immune to that spell, and as such always hostile: Medusa, your quest nemesis, and the Big Bad Wizard of Yendor, since the possibility of having either of them as an ally would throw the plot Off the Rails.

    Simulation Game 
  • In Dwarf Fortress, any civilization with the [BABYSNATCHER] tag is automatically and forever hostile to any civilization that lacks the tag. Only goblins have it by default, but you can mod in as many hostile races as you like.
  • In the Privateer game of the Wing Commander series, the Retros. While the pirates and Kilrathi start off being enemies of the player, it's possible to get on better terms with them through the main storyline or talking enough of them down in random encounters. Only the Retros are truly irreconcilable regardless of the player's actions.
  • X-Universe: The Xenon and Kha'ak. The Xenon are artificially intelligent terraforming drones that went haywire centuries ago due to a badly coded software patch and now seek to "terraform" biological life out of existence, while the Kha'ak are so thoroughly alien that the Community of Planets races are simply unable to communicate with them.
  • The Shivans from Descent: FreeSpace and its sequel.
  • In Freelancer, any faction in the game, even the ultra-xenophobic Xeno terrorists, can be made to like you if you pay them a big enough bribe, with one exception: The Nomads. They're the only non-human faction - they're aliens who were artificially created to act as caretakers of Sirius, and their duties include wiping out the human invaders.
  • In Spore, creatures displaying red angry faces are always hostile, and can't be allied with- unless you finished Cell Stage as a herbivore, in which case you can use your Siren Song ability to make it possible to get them on your side. There's also the Grox; it is technically possible to ally with them (which will turn every other species against you), but once they've declared war on you there's nothing you can do to improve your relations.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: The rules specify the level of trust and alliance between any given pair of factions, ranging from Battle Brothers (treat each other as part of the same army for all rules purposes, usually means that these are two different branches of the same overall faction), down through Allies of Convenience and Desperate Allies, and finally to Come The Apocalypse (treat each other as enemies for purposes of AOE effects, each unit has a 1 in 6 chance each turn of doing nothing because they're too busy watching for betrayal, and cannot deploy anywhere near each other). The Tyranids are the only faction to be listed as Come The Apocalypse towards every other faction.

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

    Western RPG 
  • Baldur's Gate: while wandering in the countryside, the player could find a xvart settlement, evil blue creatures that the game sets as enemies by default. It's normal to find hostile monsters in the wilderness, but one of them complains that they did nothing wrong and yet you are attacking their village. You are given no choice to answer by agreeing and offering apologies for the interloping (although you might ignore the hostiles and simply go away), the xvarts spawn automatically as hostile npcs and will thus attack you on sight, even if they are blaming you.
  • Mount & Blade has major factions which can be joined by the player and a faction of several kinds of bandits and deserters, who are always hostile to the player and the major factions.
  • Of the four factions in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (the Camarilla, the Anarchs, the Kuei-Jin, and the Sabbat), only the Sabbat cannot be negotiated with, and one of the endgame missions always requires the player character to eradicate their presence in LA entirely, regardless of the chosen ending.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Present throughout the series in general with the various random enemy bandits, smugglers, necromancers, and any other form of Mook. They will generally attack you on sight, and while there are temporary ways to make them non-hostile (a Calm spell, for instance), they'll go right back to being hostile once it wears off.
    • Morrowind:
      • Can be temporarily averted when dealing with always-hostile NPCs (bandits, smugglers, necromancers, etc.) by using a "Calm" spell on them. The higher level the NPC is, the stronger the Calm spell needs to be to work. For the vast majority of enemies, there is no point in doing this unless you're attempting some sort of Pacifist Run, but doing this with Sixth House Ash minions can allow you to have some entertaining conversations with them and it is required in order to converse with the Master Trainer of Enchanting. Technically this is not hard-coded for almost every NPC, including ones without a unique name — almost all hostile NPCs are set to Fight 90, which means if you can get their disposition to you up to 100 they won't be hostile even when Calm is not in effect. It doesn't work for creatures (like ash minions), who have no disposition.
      • Despite offers to do so, there is no way to actually join Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House, turning them into this. (There was supposed to be a way to join, but it had to be left out of the game due to time restrictions.)
      • The Camonna Tong, essentially the Dunmer Mafia, hate all outlanders, including the player. While they stop short of attacking the player on sight, their disposition is so low that most dialogue options are cut off outright, making interactions with them nearly impossible. Their disposition drops even lower if the player is associated with any of the Imperial Guilds (especially the hated Thieves Guild) or any non-Hlaalu Great House.
  • The Talon Company in Fallout 3 are a group of evil mercenaries that attack on sight and send hit squads after good karma characters. They're even hostile to an evil karma character. Ditto for Raiders, the Enclave, and most Super Mutants.
  • Wasteland raiders in Fallout: New Vegas, including the Jackals, Vipers, and Scorpions are not affected by reputation and will attack you on sight no matter what. Other "criminal" groups, such as the Powder Gangers and Great Khans, are not permanently hostile factions (siding with them is often unsavory, but it is possible). Another raider group, the Fiends, are a special case; the ones terrorizing Camp McCarran will all try to kill you on sight because they're too strung out on chems, making them a danger even to their fellow Fiends living in Vault 3. If you approach the Vault door while wearing a Great Khans outfit or pass a Speech skill check, the guards will think you're one of their chem (drug) dealers and allow you in. The vicious White Legs tribe in the Honest Hearts DLC also attack outsiders on sight, and the non-feral ghoul survivors of the Little Yangtze Chinese internment camp in Old World Blues are too traumatized by the heinous experiments performed on them by Big MT and later Father Elijah to talk to visitors, sadly meaning you'll probably have to kill them.
  • In Fallout 4, in addition to the aforementioned standard raiders, the Gunners, The Forged, and the Triggermen are hard-wired to be hostile.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • In Boiling Point: Road to Hell, the faction system plays heavily into who is your ally and who is your enemy, with every character in the game world belonging to one of the factions. The only exceptions are enemies who appear in main quest missions (such as the guards at Don Pedro's villa, Alberto Blanco's goons, or the Black Soldiers) who have no faction alignment and are always hostile towards you.
  • In the Escape Velocity series factions flagged as "xenophobic" will be hostile to anyone not of a faction marked as an ally (or that belongs to the same faction; almost all xenophobic factions are marked as allied with at least one of the "classes" they belong to, but there are exceptions). This is most often used for creating Space Pirates; so are the aliens in the first game. There's also an "always attacks player" flag which is supposed to be used only for mission-specific ships.
  • Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction: There are five factions in the game: the Allied Nations, South Korea, the Russian Mafia, China, and North Korea. The attitude of the first four depends on how you treat them: North Korea is always hostile to you and all of the other factions.
  • The pirates in Uncharted Waters and Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. There are three other factions in the first game (Portugal, Spain, and Turkey) and six in the second (same plus England, Netherlands, and Italy) but you can ally with or even defect to them (New Horizons only). Pirates, on the other hand, are always hostile.
  • Appears in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series to varying extents:
    • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, you can more-or-less ally with both Duty and Freedom by doing missions for them (simultaneously, even, so long as you try to avoid doing the missions that involve killing groups of the other faction or becoming a member of either and remaining a free stalker) and can also be on good terms with the Ecologists and Loners, although the in-game effects on the latter two are minimal. Monolith, the Military, the Mercenaries, and the Bandits are always hostile.
    • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, you can ally with or even join Duty, Freedom, the Loners, or even the Bandits, provided you don't kill too many of them before talking to their leader (no easy feat, considering their usual course of action is to mug you). Ecologists are at worst neutral, and the military, renegades and Monolith are still hard-locked to hostile. You are always on good terms with Clear Sky, however.
    • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, you are always on good terms with the military, since you are an undercover USS Agent after all, but you can also be on good terms with the Bandits or Loners and Duty or Freedom. Again, Monolith is, as usual, always hostile.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto 2, there are seven gangs you can gain respect from, and losing respect from one of them will cause that gang to become hostile. However, there's an extra gang in the third level that only appears on the small Mad Island, and it's always at negative respect, so they will always attack you on sight. Also, the final mission for each level makes the heavily-armed gang leaders come after you personally, no matter if you had their respect at the time or not. Oh, and defeating them makes the entire NPC population of the map attack you and each other.
  • Rimworld has Mechanoids, battle robots that attack any and all humans on sight for no reason that anyone in-universe is aware of. There are also "Pirate" factions that are hard-coded to be hostile to every other human settlement, added after people exploited the diplomacy mechanics to manipulate the AI storyteller into only sending the aforementioned mechanoids to attack the player's settlement and enabling them to farm otherwise quite rare materials from the wrecks.
  • No Man's Sky has the Sentinels, robotic wardens of the universe found in varying amounts, from sparse drones to frequent appearances of quads. Compared to the humanoid alien races, who are a grab bag of nice versus hostile, the Sentinels are always neutral to hostile and will never be bargained with. If you earn their ire (which can be as simple as just mining something in front of them), they will almost immediately go on the attack. And they will not relent unless you run away and evade their search long enough. Some planets have Sentinels that are SO aggressive that they will immediately attack you on sight, forcing you to be evasive while you're there, or just skip the planet entirely.