Follow TV Tropes


Pacifist Run

Go To

"No matter the struggles or hardships you faced... you strived to do the right thing. You refused to hurt anyone. "
Sans' judgement in Undertale if the player didn't kill anyone

In games that give you a choice between using lethal or non-lethal force in order to overcome enemies, the former method is usually the most convenient. Some gamers like to play through such games while avoiding any killings that are not absolutely required, even if there is no real reward for doing so. In essence, the player is applying a No-Harm Requirement towards their entire playthrough.

Pacifist Runs can sometimes be a requirement for the Golden Ending, or the best ending for that scenario, as it ends up with all of the cast surviving.

The inverse of this is the Genocide Run, in which the player's task is to kill everything that moves. This is only possible if enemies are limited in number and don't respawn, hardly meaningful if fighting every enemy is a practical or absolute requirement, and rarely acknowledged in games that meet both of these requirements.

Also see Thou Shalt Not Kill, a super-trope of sorts. Stealth Based Games and Stealth Based Missions often feature this trope alongside Stealth Run. When the game scolds you for not taking a more peaceful option, see What the Hell, Player? Can be related to Video Game Caring Potential. The Badass Pacifist and Technical Pacifist attempt this in real life.

Examples where a game recognizes pacifist runs:

    open/close all folders 

  • The Culture, Diplomatic and (to a certain extent) Space Race victories in Civilization can be achieved without a single battle (although the higher levels will manipulate you into conflicts with other Civs).
    • In Civ 5 it is theoretically possible to win using a city-state to do your 'dirty work'. If another civ has wiped out the others apart from you and attacks a city-state you can supply the city with army units as gifts. If they manage to take the opposing civ's capital you would win. As mentioned above, it would have to be a low difficulty level. Also, since a city-state usually will only attack a nearby enemy city you'd have to be lucky that it was their capital as they'd sue for peace if they lost an ordinary city.
    • A more literal version is "Always Peace", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. You shoot for one of the peaceful victories, but cannot go to war. In the first three installments this was a Self-Imposed Challenge, but since Civilization IV it’s also an official game option.
    • In a story now lost to the archives, someone once won a game of Civ 3 without building a single military unit. (This is a significantly more impressive achievement than just "never fight any battles" - the AI is able to recognise weakly defended targets and attack them opportunistically.) It was a diplomatic victory, if you're wondering.
  • Endless Space encourages this with an achievement that is rewarded for winning a game without ever placing a weapons module on a ship (bar the Starting Units). However, due to either an oversight or intentional exception, planetary invasion modules don't count as weapons, allowing Amoeba ships covered in defenses but with no "weapons" to invade and annex other empires' planets.
    • Endless Legend offers an achievement for winning the game as the Drakken (a faction which favors diplomacy) without ever being at war with another player.
  • Stellaris has the Pacifist and Fanatical Pacifist ethos. The first level locks you into liberation wars and defensive wars (You can only wage war to make your war-goal planets into a new nation that follows your ethos, stop atrocities like purges, humiliate the target empire, or to defend yourself). Fanatical Pacifists can only wage defensive wars, which means someone must declare war on them; they can't be the aggressor for any reason. In exchange for taking on this handicap, Pacifist empires can support a larger number of people without running into managerial issues and have a boost to the stability of their planets (because their people are more inclined to live peacefully with each other), and throw Peace Festivals to make their people happy.

    Action Adventure 
  • inFAMOUS: Second Son: It is entirely possible to make it through almost the whole game without killing a single person yourself, relying entirely on subduing people. The exception being when Reggie dies. It's impossible to subdue anyone during that scene. Delsin is so enraged that he obliterates every trooper in his way. It can start to bleed into Technical Pacifist, though.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past makes this easier than other games in the series because of two factors: The Magic Cape item, and the fact that the game doesn't require you to Kill Enemies to Open the way out as much as other games in the series.
  • The Ghandi bonus in the first two games of the The Journeyman Project series is awarded if you defeat your enemies with non-lethal force, which gives you extra points. It's possible to complete a game this way too.
  • Players have found ways to complete certain Assassin's Creed games with a minimum of blood on their hands. One standout example is Assassin's Creed: Odyssey where the player's kill scorenote  can be kept at near zero by letting the misthios' Animal Companion Ikaros do most of the necessary killing for them. In situations where this doesn't work, like in conquest battles, paralyzing arrows can be used to neutralize enemies nonlethally. Players on a New Game Plus run can also equip the legendary Pilgrim armor set to make themselves invisible indefinitely and just sneak past the majority of enemies in the game.
  • It is possible to beat Metroid and have the only enemy you defeat be Mother Brain. The main obstacle comes in the form of missile ammo: unlike later games, which have recharge stations for energy and ammunition, the NES original only gives you these through item drops from defeated enemies. Since missiles are absolutely required to get through the final part of the game and defeat Mother Brain, you will not only need to get pretty much every missile expansion in the game (as you no longer have access to the massive 75 missile upgrades that defeating Kraid and Ridley nets you), but you also can't afford to waste a single one before reaching Tourian. In addition, because some missile expansions are behind doors that require missiles themselves, you will have to use the (very simple to do) "door glitch" to enter those rooms.

    Action Game 
  • It is possible in Horizon Zero Dawn to wear outfits optimized for stealth, and the varied landscape offers numerous opportunities to sneak around without alerting machines that lack the radar-sensing functionality (and even the ones with radar don't engage it all the time). As a result, once Aloy has the ability to override basic machines like Watchers and Striders, it is possible to combine stealth with the override ability to take advantage of the tendency of non-overridden machines to attack the overridden one. Consequently, aside from storyline-mandated fights against machines, it is possible to go through the entire game without killing more machines than necessary.
  • Truly skilled (and crazy) runners will do this with Ninja Gaiden (NES) the game that is the epitomy of Nintendo Hard. Only the bosses are allowed to be killed and since most regular enemies die in one blow, a single errant button press will invalidate the run. If you want to see jaw dropping runs, check them out.
  • In Pharaoh's Tomb, you only have to kill two monsters in the first part. You do get a reward though: you have a maximum of 5 spears, and getting a 6th gives you a lot of points.
  • In Teppoman, if you run very fast and jump over enemies, you can freak out the AI, skip most enemies and rescue all hostages in the first part, but the second part is impossible to do, because the game treats destroying the turret as a kill. Pacifist run of Teppoman up to the "blue ending".

    Adventure Game 
  • In Quest for Glory, the Thief can make it through the first three games only killing two Big Bads. The fourth game also requires you to kill two Eldritch Abominations, a wraith, and the Big Bad. The fifth game does not really allow for a pacifist run, shifting as it did to a more traditional hack-and-slash action game.
  • Required in Open Sorcery for the Golden Ending.
    @Decker: You made friends with a virus.
    @Decker: What are you doing, maintaining network security, or playing Undertale?

    Augmented Reality Game 
  • There are three ways to gain AP in Ingress: Building portal infrastructure such as resonators and portal links, hacking enemy portals, and attacking enemy portals with weapon items. It is possible to achieve Level 8 without ever using weapons, capturing a neutral portal, or hacking an enemy portal—making links between co-aligned portals and making triangles out of portal links to generate control fields yield large quantities of AP.

    Driving Game 
  • Fatal Racing. Surprisingly easy to do unconsciously before you learn how to play the crash/fatality system, surprisingly hard to do consciously after you do.
  • In the classic arcade game Bump n' Jump, where the objective was generally to run as many other cars off the road as you could without crashing yourself, you got substantial bonus points if you completed a level without running anyone off the road.

    Fighting Game 
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The original game has a bonus ("Pacifist") for clearing a stage without even attempting an attack. Given how many stages have level hazards, this isn't as difficult as it sounds to obtain.
    • In the sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, this bonus still exists, and is joined by another bonus called "Switzerland" which requires not being attacked as well (complete neutrality). Yet another bonus is called "Peaceful Warrior," which lets you attack an enemy but not KO them. And all of these are necessary for 100% Completion. There are some AI quirks in certain stages that help with getting these.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Playing Postal 2 without ever killing anyone gives you the end-of-game rank "Thank you for playing, JESUS!" The game developers actually considered this a point of pride: the franchise was a big target of Moral Guardians, so in their view, the fact that the game could be finished nonlethally but players chose to murder half the populace anyway was probably a sign that people are just jerks.
    • The same holds true of the expansion pack, Apocalypse Weekend, but it's all theoretical since it's impossible to actually beat the game without killing anyone. It's more linear and combat-oriented than the original Postal 2, and there are several characters you have to kill to proceed. Even the zombies count as kills, and there are at least 2 different missions where you have to destroy a certain number of them to proceed forward.
  • Deus Ex Universe:
    • Only two characters have to be fought in order to complete the original Deus Ex (Anna Navarre and Howard Strong); neither have to be killed and both can be circumvented. The first can be injured to the point that they'll retreat and open the door they guardnote , and the second can be knocked unconscious and is also quite willing to blow themselves up for you due to poor AI. The rest can be stunned or circumvented in various fashions. The game encourages pacifism in the first level by having characters react positively to you if you don't slaughter everything in sight, but after that, there's no longer any explicit encouragement, and it's strictly a matter of pride (although you will get bitched out for slaughtering civilians). Two of the endings, however, require the death of the Big Bad. One ending is explicit, as the player presses a button that causes him to blow up quite violently where as the other he dies as a result of the player blowing up the final level with everyone in it. In the third ending, he seemingly lives.
    • The Nameless Mod lets you avoid all enemies, including bosses. With some endings, you can finish the game as an Actual Pacifist.
    • 2027 also allows this, however, you will not be able to complete the final Judician mission.
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War picks this up, as even plot-critical deaths are optional. The benefits manifest differently depending on which faction wants them dead and how their death affects gameplay (keeping one person alive grants access to a weapon you won't seriously need till the end), but ultimately there are no required kills. A hidden bonus is that the wrap party has a lot more patrons the fewer people you kill. Only one of the game's four endings allow for a complete pacifist playthrough, as the other three require you to kill various faction leaders in the climax.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution, like its predecessors, can be played in a pacifist manner, by circumventing enemies or knocking them out with gas grenades, tasers, tranquilizers, and fists, except four forced boss battles. Unlike the first two games though, the bosses can't be circumvented so you have to fight and kill them (even in the Updated Re Release you can't actually prevent their deaths due to conventions). There is an achievement for doing a pacifist run (excepting the boss battles). Technically, three of the four bosses can be taken out with non-lethal weapons, but they still die in the following cutscene anyway. There were plans to allow the player to spare at least two of the bosses, but this was cut due to time constraints. The Director's Cut went one step further, making the pacifist fighting methods a little easier to use in the boss fights. The base game itself encourages the pacifist run by giving bonus EXP for non-lethal takedowns.
    • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: Every enemy can be taken down non-lethally, particularly since the game features additional non-lethal offensive options as well as opportunities to talk down would-be enemies. The final and only boss of the game Viktor Marchenko can even be defeated non-lethally provided you can prevent him from activating Titan Armor.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Medic class achievement "First Do No Harm" entails reaching the top of the scoreboard in a game of six or more players on a team without killing anyone, instead relying mainly on assist kills while healing others, supplemented by the healing itself (1 point awarded per 600 Health healed) and Übercharging. Depending on the game mode, there are other means of earning points: capturing the Intelligence, capturing a Control Point, pushing the Payload Cart for 10 seconds, and reviving others (Mann Versus Machine). Given the fact that the entire enemy team would attempt tearing you a medically redundant new behind as Medics are high-priority targets, it's just as tough as it sounds. However, you can cheat by playing most of the round as another class, getting a high enough scoreboard position, switching to Medic, and then getting a single point without hurting anyone directly.
    • The Scout has a similar achievement called "No Hitter", where you capture the intel and bring it back without firing a shot (the icon is even a dove holding an olive branch above an intel case). Not nearly as hard to do, as a lot of people with the intel forgo attacking to just flat-out run anyway.
  • Under the rules of the Doom speedrunning site Compet-n (adopted by other sites like the Doomed Speed Demos Archive,) one of the demo categories is UV "pacifist," where the player must complete a level on the "Ultra-Violence" (Hard) difficulty setting without harming any monsters (Monster infighting and unintentional telefrags are allowed).
    • Beating Ultimate Doom Episodes 1, 3 and 4 is possible in this way, but E2M8 is Unwinnable by Design as far as Pacifist Runs are concerned, given that the map requires you to kill a Cyberdemon to proceed. Notably, E4M6, Against Thee Wickedly, while technically possible to beat pacifist, took a long time to do so, and ended up being an incredibly difficult challenge, with the run that achieved the challenge previously deemed impossible clocking in at 62 minutes and 49 seconds, compared to most levels' speedruns ranging from a few seconds to 2 minutes at most.
    • Doom II is technically possible to beat via a Pacifist Run in its entirety with three major roadblocks: MAP02 was long considered unbeatable, and the gruelling run that did it only happened relatively recently, clocking in at around 21 minutes (ditto it being the same runner who overcame E4M6 as mentioned above), MAP26 also stood unbeaten until 2010, with the run taking around 11 minutes, and MAP30, Icon of Sin, is Unwinnable by Design via a Pacifist Run, but a tool-assisted speedrun of MAP30 on UV-pacifist has been completed (again, by the same runner who beat MAP02 and E4M6!). The level's original design requires the player to shoot a rocket into the icon's exposed brain, but the TAS makes use of the fact that Archviles' attacks can deal Area of Effect damage and impart upward momentum onto the victim, as well as the Doomguy's height reducing to 0 upon his death. By precisely manipulating the game's RNG, the TAS gathers enough archviles in the level and uses the fires from their attacks to kill Doomguy, propel his corpse into the Icon's brain and deal enough damage to John Romero's head to finish the Icon off.
  • Painkiller sort of has this as one of the card conditions in Battle Out of Hell. The card condition for the Loony Park level is to finish with no more than 88 kills, meaning that the last section of the level has to be finished with minimal casualties. Fortunately, it's a rail shooter section to boot, so if the player has enough health, there's nothing stopping them from going and fetching another cup of coffee while the rail section plays out.
  • In Perfect Dark, the player has the ability to disarm opponents. Most enemies who get disarmed will give up, but some may pull out another gun, pick up the dropped weapon, or attempt to punch the player, in which case you can simply knock them unconscious with a punch or pistol whip.
    • However, it's impossible to go the whole game doing this. Some enemies, including the Skedar and the guards threatening Dr. Carrol on the Escort Mission cannot be disarmed. In the case of the Skedar, even if you could do this, their claws and lunge attacks still render them a deadly opponent, and they are very hard (if not outright impossible) to knock unconscious. You can't really outrun them either as they have lethal firepower. Also, some objectives explicitly depend on a lethal outcome, such as counter-sniping snipers or defeating the final boss.
  • Soldier of Fortune, despite its reputation for gorn, allows the player to pull this trope off by blowing weapons out of the enemies' hands, rendering them non-threatening. The ironic part? This is possible thanks to the GHOUL engine, the very same component responsible for the Ludicrous Gibs.
  • Metro 2033:
    • Two of the original game's achievements are awarded for relying on stealth instead of violence: Invisible Man (earned by completing "Frontline" without killing any Fourth Reich or Red Line soldiers) and "Merciful" (infiltrate "Black Station" without killing any of the Reich soldiers stationed in therenote  or raising an alarm). Notably, there's another achievement ("Hedge-Hopper") for doing the exact opposite in "Frontline", so you'll have to master both styles of play if you're going for 100% Completion. Avoiding killing human opponents also gives you hidden moral points, which counts towards the hidden/good ending.
    • Metro: Last Light also has multiple achievements and morality points for a pacifist run or Stealth Run, or both at the same time. It's possible to go the entire game, barring the last level, without killing any human enemies or being detected, thanks to the ruthlessly efficient silent takedown that involves punching your schmuck of choice in the face or the back of the skull. It's not strictly necessary, but avoiding bloodshed when possible is a good way to get the good ending.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist has the achievement "Pacifist", which requires finishing Counterfeit on hard difficulty or above without killing any cops or civilians. The special SWAT just got a whole lot harder since you can't kill them without ruining the shot of getting it. The achievement is notably absent when Counterfeit returned as a Classic Heist in PAYDAY 2.
  • PAYDAY 2 features seven achievements for completing a particular heist without killing anyone: "I Will Walk Through Walls" for Shadow Raidnote , "Sound of Silence" for The Alesso Heist, "The Pacifist" and "Looting in the Dark" for Murky Stationnote , "Pacifish" for The Yacht Heist, "Low Murder Rate" for Breakfast in Tijuana, and "Victimless Crime" for Lost in Transitnote . Unlike Counterfeit in PD:TH, all these heists can be completed in stealthnote , making them much less of a pain to earn.
  • PAYDAY 3 has the challenge "Just a Whisper", which requires finishing Touch the Sky in stealth without killing anyone, and whilst playing on Overkill.
  • Encouraged and possible, though insanely difficult to do thoroughly, in SWAT 3. Suspects can be challenged (in fact, not challenging them before firing will give you severe penalties) and can be prodded with rubber bullets, flashbangs, and CS gas to make them drop their weapons and surrender. Taking a large portion of suspects alive will get you a massive bonus at the end of each mission. Taking every suspect alive, however, is very difficult, as rubber bullets can sometimes be lethal (like in real life) and some suspects are very uncooperative and aggressive. This is in no way helped by your trigger-happy squad members, so going for a complete pacifist run is very much a Luck-Based Mission.
  • In SWAT 4, this is even more encouraged, and in fact mandatory to some degree. Like in its predecessors you need to challenge suspects and prod them with less-lethal weapons in order to make them surrender. Taking every suspect alive is a must for a perfect score, and taking at least a fair portion alive is necessary to get a good enough score to even progress to the next mission. Going for a complete pacifist run is much, much easier this time around thanks to access of more less-lethal weaponry, no risk of suspects randomly dying from being hit by them, and less trigger-happy squad members.
  • Although most of BioShock Infinite requires guns blazing and kill-counts in the hundreds to complete the game, Episode 2 of the Burial at Sea DLC becomes a Stealth-Based Mission, especially at the beginning, as Elizabeth begins the level completely unequipped. With the right use of the Peeping Tom and Ironsides plasmids, it is possible to finish the DLC with no kills. Some dialogue in this section hints that Elizabeth's fate depends on whether she avoids killing, which may have been based on an idea for multiple endings to the DLC, but in practice, it's just for bragging rights. 1998 Mode removes guns and the Radar Range from the game, meaning Elizabeth can only eliminate enemies using non-lethal methods such as knocking them out with the Air Grabber or using the tranquilizer crossbow.
  • It is entirely possible to win a round of Player Unknowns Battlegrounds without killing anyone, or even attacking at all, by letting the other players kill each other off, with the last two opponents giving each other a Mutual Kill or the last opponent getting themselves killed (such as being in the out-of-bounds area).
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts: The Altai Mountains mission has an in-game Challenge to complete the level and only kill the main target. This gives you some extra money and skill points.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: It is possible to go through the game without killing, if not necessarily without fighting, as the game offers multiple ways to neutralize enemies without killing them. Blunt weapons are categorized non-lethal and there are mods you can acquire that remove the lethality from your normal ordinance, meaning that weapons ranging from 4-gauge shotguns to frag grenades will become capable of putting down enemies without killing them. Any missions that require absolutely, definitely blowing up a few dozen people are entirely optional and, at worst, lock you out of select endings. The talking "Skippy" gun pokes fun at the choosing to fight nonlethally, as you're still brutalizing enemies pretty badly either way.

    Idle Game 
  • Anti-Idle: The Game: The third challenge invokes this. You have to get level 3000 while having features that involve pain or fighting revoked (even the Battle Arena).

    Light Gun Game 
  • In Virtua Cop, shooting an enemy's weapon or hand disables them and awards you with a "Justice Shot" that is worth a lot more points than simply killing them. Bosses and vehicle-bound enemies still have to be killed though.
  • Confidential Mission, another light gun game by Sega using many of the mechanics from Virtua Cop also featured "Justice Shots."

  • In Dungeons & Dragons Online, an experience bonus is awarded to the players if they can complete a quest with zero or otherwise minimal kills.
  • There is one player in World of Warcraft who has reached level 70 without killing anything.
    • This also inspires a debate as to whether a player limiting themselves to "only" healing allies really counts; if the allies kill enemies you still get the rewards.
    • With the release of Cataclysm, pacifist levelling became much easier due to Herbalism and Mining now granting experience for picking plants and mining ores. This can lead to the rather amusing result of some random schmoe who picked a lot of herbs becoming more powerful than an Old God.
    • A player successfully leveled a druid to level 90 in Mists of Pandaria without killing anything, without getting any gear to replace his starting set, and having completed only one mandatory quest.
    • There is in fact a guild of people who aim for zero kills called Peace Corps. While Cataclysm introduced a variety of ways to gain experience without killing things, it also introduced viewable statistics, so it's now possible to see exactly how many kills a character has. Since grouping with someone or even just healing someone who is fighting will credit you with their kill, it is by necessity a fairly solitary path. But gives you bragging rights that the most uber geared hardcore raider can never beat.
  • On the notable pre-MMORPG text MMORPG GemStone (now in its fourth iteration, as GemStone IV), it was extremely easy to get from level 0 to level 1 simply by visiting certain areas in the main town you started in, which gave you 1000-1500 experience of the 10,000 you needed simply by seeing them for the first time, as well as taking an interactive newbie tutorial which garnered you several thousand experience. However, after that, there were a couple of ways to gain experience without ever actually harming anyone. Anyone with sufficient lockpicking skill could gain experience by opening boxes that players found on dead enemies. One class, called empaths, could actually heal other people of their physical damage by transferring it to themselves, which also garnered experience points. Finally, if you really wanted, throwing trash away in trashcans gained you 1 point per item. So theoretically, you could throw away 10,000 things and level up.
  • Discworld MUD has many ways of advancing character without killing, including exploration, quests, and using skills. This way is generally slower, but also requires less effort. There is even a special term for it, quoting official wiki, "Idlechasing, the art of getting as much experience as possible by using commands, usually without going on a killing rampage or moving much".

    Platform Game 
  • Epic Mickey allows you to choose how you want to deal with the main enemies, the Blotlings. Paint will turn them into allies, and thinner will destroy them. If you always use paint to convert enemies to your side, you can play the game as a pacifist for the most part, though the robotic Beetleworx will either have to be dealt with lethally or simply ignored. Most of the bosses can be befriended as well.
  • In Prince of Persia, it was possible to get past any guard blocking your route without killing or even striking them with your sword. Careful use of parrying while moving forward inside their reach would see you suddenly swap places. At this point, it was possible to step back, sheathe your sword then quickly turn and run (to avoid a One-Hit Kill while unarmed) to reach the next platform or screen. This meant they were still there if you had to go back the way you came. The Final Boss was the only enemy you had to kill.
  • Beating Mega Man 9 by only attacking bosses and mid-bosses is actually a bonus needed for 100% Completion.
  • Some of the challenges in Contra 4 are pacifism challenges, which strip you of all weapons.
  • Mirror's Edge gives you an unlockable achievement, "Test of Faith", if you finish the game without killing anyone with a firearm. Funnily enough, the achievement is only for not shooting anyone; you can throw as many cops off 100-story buildings as you like and still be considered to be the Buddha.
    • It's actually one of the selling points of the game that you can finish the entire thing without shooting anyone, which is unique among first-person-perspective games (discounting medieval and fantasy games and the Myst series and its clones).
    • Doesn't stop you punching/kicking the snot out of the opposition, though it's not like you stop to break their necks, so they probably are really just unconscious. Apart from the poor guys that get kicked/thrown/punched off buildings. Besides, those blasted Pursuit Cops deserve it, they're like ninjas, but without the inverse law!
    • For even more of a challenge, try to get the Test of Faith achievement/trophy on the hardest difficulty setting. It's very satisfying.
  • The title character of adventure/platform shooter Iji wakes up to find that aliens have invaded and scientists have implanted her with nanotechnology to combat them. Iji is uneasy with the idea of killing, even though the aliens have killed most of her family. The game is designed to give you a choice - you can go in guns blazing and kill hundreds as in so many other games, or you can deliberately avoid bloodshed. The ending is the same whether you kill one or fifty enemies, but there are some Easter Eggs as a reward for completely holding your fire.
    • Doing a pacifist run sometimes adds new challenges to a stage. The third stage, for example, has a requirement of not coming into contact with any Tasen soldiers. Otherwise, you won't be able to skip Krotera, and will be forced to kill them.
    • From version 1.3 onwards, it is possible to have a perfect zero number of kills in all but the hardest difficulty (due one boss not being Skippable in that difficultyexplanation). Given that the boss is Asha, who either killed her brother or came close to, and called her being upset about it trivial, at least he's the most deserving example. Still, skipping him causes him to commit suicide out of shame at not beating you.
    • Version 1.6 also allows a "technically" pacifist game that can still have a high death toll, as reflecting enemy projectiles back at them no longer counts as a kill (this was reversed in 1.7 as the introduction of nonlethal weapons made this redundant). Also, the player can deliberately get hit by rockets so that nearby enemies get killed by friendly fire.
    • The final version introduced another step of pacifism, allowing you to non-lethally get past a certain lategame boss without having to rely on Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work. Sparing Iosa can only end in tragedy, though, as she gains nothing from this and will assassinate Iji when she's vulnerable after the Final Boss.
  • Trine has a Steam achievement/PS3 Trophy where you have to complete a level without killing a single enemy.
  • This is the point of the missions involving the Spirit of Kindness in Yoshi Topsy-Turvy. The less enemies you kill, the better Happiness Medal you get.
  • Brawl in the Family's Ode to Minions inspired at least one person with a Youtube account to play Super Mario World without killing anything. And really, it would inspire anyone to. Just listen to it.
  • Someone did this for Commander Keen 4 on hard mode without saving in level. Since the game was designed assuming the player saved constantly, it quickly becomes very difficult. It can be found here. A normal playthrough is a downplayed example, as the blaster merely stuns enemies.
  • Mark of the Ninja equips you with enough items and abilities to complete the game without killing any enemies.
  • Sonic Generations on the 3DS includes missions that require this. It's guaranteed to require multiple tries simply because of the homing attack.
  • Qwak has the "Peacefully done" bonus for killing no enemies on a level.
  • New Super Mario Bros. U has some challenges such as "Be Gentle To Giants" revolving around doing a level from the Story Mode without attacking any enemies.
  • Wario Land: Shake It! has bonus missions for each level, and almost every level has "don't kill any enemies". Since very few of the enemies in this game are actually a threat, and stunning enemies to use as stepping stones is still considered okay, there isn't much of a need to destroy enemies on your way to the end of the level. The challenge comes when you reach the end and have to return to the starting point before time runs out - almost every level has a launcher that will send Wario running at full speed, destroying any enemy he touches. Therefore, the best way to avoid accidentally destroying any enemies is to avoid using the launcher at all - meaning time is now even tighter.
  • In Cuphead, all the side-scrolling levels can be beaten without killing a single enemy. Accomplishing this task earns you a P-rank for that stage and unlocks the color filter option for the game.
  • One enterprising YouTuber attempted a pacifist-slash-Minimalist Run in Super Mario Odyssey wherein he collected as many moons as possible and completed the story while making only the Cap-tures required to complete the game (of which there are 15note , and the number of moons he got without requiring Cap-tures is 450).
  • Super Mario Maker 2: In this game where players can craft their own levels, some have created these runs. In levels made with the Super Mario 3D World game style, they seal off the path to the goal post or axe with a locked warp box. This will only activate when the player reaches it with a key. The builder then puts a key inside every single killable enemy in the board, from Goombas to Piranha Plants, and so on. The death of any enemy, sometimes even by neutral hazards, will give the player the key the enemy had, resulting in the player being warped away from the goal post to probable death.
  • Do It For Me: The "Innocent Love" and "Awake" endings require you to go through the game without killing a single Wooffle.
  • In Shadow Dancer for the Mega Drive, you get a "peaceful bonus" for beating a stage without killing any enemy.note  Easier said than done.
  • Gyossait starts the player off with just a shield, which can reflect enemy attacks. It later gives access to a gun, which allows you to outright kill most creatures and makes the game much easier to get through. While the shield technically allows you to kill enemies by reflecting shots back at them, using only the shield and ignoring the gun gets you an achievement for taking the more peaceful path and leads to the good ending of the game.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood gives a huge incentive to take enemies down non-lethally, as Robin's reputation as a merciful person will net him better rewards and lead more companions to join his cause. You do have to kill two enemies in the game, though: Sir Longchamps and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Also, in several missions you have AI-controlled ally units which will attack enemies on sight, so you have to either scout ahead, take down and hide all the enemies before letting them through, or make do with a Technical Pacifist attitude (and kills made by allies still impact Robin's reward at the end of the level).
  • AirMech has an achievement called "My Hands are Clean" that involves the player taking no part in the combat and only using units to defeat their opponent. While not pacifism per se, you're not joining the fight yourself.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Unlike most music games, missing an enemy in Muse Dash doesn't necessarily cause you to take damage; if you miss by simply dodging the enemy, you won't get hurt. Thus, on some charts, it's entirely possible to clear the chart with all of the notes missed, and it's even possible to combine this with a No-Damage Run if the chart is sparse enough.
  • Everhood: The second half of the game tasks the player to kill everyone, but they can refuse to do this and earn a different ending. More specifically, one of the game's bad endings.

  • In NetHack, 'pacifism' is one of the many voluntary conduct challenges that is tracked by the game (along with atheism, vegetarianism, breatharianism, illiteracy, etc). However, in NetHack 'pacifism' means that your pets do all the killing instead of you; you can attack the monsters all you want as long as it's not you that lands the killing blow. (You can also wear a ring of conflict to make the monsters kill each other, though then you have to make sure your (usually very powerful) pets don't kill you.) There actually isn't a single creature in the game who must die (as you can steal any important items instead - this applies to Quest Nemesis, Vlad, Rodney, and the High priest), but winning without you or your pets killing anything is impossible.
    • There's also the 'never hit with a wielded weapon' conduct, which holds a bit closer to the spirit of the thing (though barehanded martial arts and magic are still permitted). It can also be combined with the above for extra masochism.
  • If you want to complete your Baroque collection in Baroque, you'll have to do at least one run through the Neuro Tower without killing purifying any Meta-Beings. This is made a bit tricky by the fact that certain Meta-Beings like to block your path, forcing you to hit them until they get out of your way.
  • DRL enforces this behavior on players in the Angel of Pacifism challenge by simply disallowing any use of weapons. The player wins by running through all the levels and finally nuking the Spider Mastermind (the player gets the nuke at the start), and to ease things up (somewhat), the player gets a level-up after descending every third stair. This encourages players to enter certain special levels that have the entrance and exit close to each other, and any and all monsters killing themselves or others (through infighting, running through lava, or shooting barrels while standing next to them are credited to the player, with an according experience gain. On the other hand, there are extra challenges that take this concept to the extreme - the Archangel of Pacifism takes away the "level-up at every third floor" mechanic, and even worse, the Angelic Pacifist badge requires the player to win the game with exactly one kill (that one being the Mastermind) - if any monster is killed by other monster's attack, or even more unluckily, if a monster is generated on acid or lava, you can just kiss your run goodbye.
  • This is enforced for one character in Crypt Of The Necrodancer. The character Dove can only attack with a flower, and this doesn't even hurt enemies. It only stuns them (though they drop gold all the same). Attempting to bypass this by picking up a weapon or using a shrine of blood will instantly kill her thanks to "Cowardice". Thankfully, the exits for the levels (which are sealed by a Mini-Boss or Mook Maker) are automatically unlocked and all bosses are absent.
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, a pacifist run is actually considered easier than a run where you kill people, which isn't that surprising when your goal is to influence public opinion.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, one of the in-game achievements, titled "Coming in for my Pacifism run!", requires making it to Sector 5 without firing a shot, using an offensive drone, or teleporting.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Dice and the Tower of the Reanimator: Glorious Princess: On a fist run, Bambooblade will knock out enemies rather than kill them. This causes the good ending to happen, since the Reanimator can't revive her minions as undead if they never died in the first place.
  • The first two Fallout games are notable for the possibility of not needing to directly kill anyone, although this is more Technical Pacifist as the endgames for both require you to nuke the base of the main antagonists, knowingly killing hundreds of people. The Final Boss of Fallout 2 Frank Horrigan must be killed but you can have companions or several defecting Enclave officers do it. It is even possible, though very difficult, to do an Evil Pacifist Run in both games.
    • While difficult due to the more combat-oriented nature of the game, it is possible to complete the main quest and some sidequests in Fallout 3 without killing anything, with the exception of a single radroach during the tutorial. Though again this is very much an Exact Words Technical Pacifist cheat: several mission objectives, including at least one in the main story, require the deaths of all raiders/slavers/mutants/soldiers in a given area... you can just have a companion character do it instead of you. And it's flat-out impossible even with Exact Words in Broken Steel which requires you to kill dozens of Enclave troopers and nuke a base containing hundreds more; you can't tell your companion to do that.
    • According to Fallout: New Vegas's project director, Josh Sawyer, being able to play through the game's main plot both by killing everyone and killing absolutely no one was intended as "initial design tenets". The AI is liable to get funky if you attempt it, but at no point during the main quest is the player character forced to kill an enemy in combat, regardless of which faction ending they go for. This can lean into Technical Pacifist territory, however, and both House and the Legion's endings involve wiping out one faction in one manner or another; the Legion even tasks you with an assassination, though you can botch it. NCR and Wild Card runs, though, can use diplomacy to avoid wiping out any of the game's minor factions.
      • Notably, a full non-combat run through the game doesn't necessarily let the player finish with truly clean hands. Reaching any ending still forces some level of moral compromise on the player's part: the Omertas questline can be skipped but otherwise its Speech solution involves convincing Cachino to open fire for you; when siding against Mr. House you're given an alternative to directly killing the man, by disabling him from the computer interface that lets him interact with the world, but doing so is Cruel Mercy and is said to reduce him to a "year of life at most" note ; destroying the Brotherhood of Steel is mandatory for Housenote  and the Legion, and while this can be accomplished with stealth and setting their base to self-destruct, it still results in the death of anyone in there.
      • In addition to using Speech and Sneak to talk, avoid, and pickpocket your way around people as in most Fallout games, New Vegas has a few added tools to take advantage of. Disguises allow the player to avoid being shot on sight by factions they've irritated, though have limits. Weapons with fatigue damage exist, allowing players to temporarily ragdoll and stun enemies, though these do an amount of regular damage as well. Of course, as far as the Pip-boy stats go, kills by companions won't count as yours...
    • Due to the nature of the game, a pacifist run is wholly impossible in Fallout Tactics.
    • While it's possible to have a pacifist run in Fallout 4 (in the sense that you "technically" didn't kill anyone since more than a few quests rely on murder), the game's tone wholly expects you to at least have a few kills by the end of the game, thus it becomes close to impossible for some missions to resolve peacefully and requires a Manipulative Bastard with a really good silver tongue and lots of patience to complete it, and even then, the game has the potential to break. Most missions don't even have the option to end peacefully.
  • While Obsidian planned for nonlethal weapons to appear in The Outer Worlds, they were eventually cut from the game. As a result, the finished product doesn't allow players to knock out their enemies, and while almost all players will inevitably kill a few aliens and destroy a few robots, it's possible to complete the game and its expansions without directly killing a single person. A high Sneak skill, coupled with incredibly high Persuade, Lie, and Intimidate skills will ensure that the player character can skulk through the game undetected, using their rhetorical gifts to stop potential fights from happening. However, don't expect everyone to acknowledge your pacifism. During certain conversations, some characters will infer and imply that you've killed people!
  • Mars: War Logs allows you to spare the life of every NPC you fight.
  • Feros in Mass Effect has a mission where you can choose to simply knock out the colonists being controlled by the local Eldritch Abomination instead of killing them. While this makes the mission much more difficult, it is definitely worth it for a Paragon Shepard.
  • In the majority of The Elder Scrolls you can pass the game without killing or killing only the bosses.
  • One player managed to do this in Might and Magic 7 as shown here.
  • In Planescape: Torment, you can get through the whole game having to fight only four (And the zombie at the beginning who has the key out of the starting room!) characters, and you don't necessarily have to kill any of them. You're forced to "kill" the first character you have to fight this way, but it's just a Non-Lethal K.O.. Then again, this should come as little surprise in a game where a major objective is to find out why you can't die.
    • However, it's not possible to avoid dying and reviving a number of times. And every time you "die," someone else dies instead, making you somewhat responsible for their death.
  • Ultima:
    • Ultima IV encourages this somewhat, you still have to fight monsters to get Valor points, but letting them run away instead of killing them gives you Compassion points. Additionally, killing enemies that aren't evil (hungry or defensive animals and the like) will decrease your virtue points.
    • In Ultima VI, it's quite possible to complete the main quest without killing anybody. There are only a few monster-occupied areas that you must visit to advance the plot and it's possible to avoid combat in those by using invisibility rings and potions to slip by enemies unnoticed.
    • In Ultima VII, you only have to kill Hook, Elizabeth, and Abraham at the end.
  • In the Twilight of Edo Japan chapter of Live A Live, Oboromaru keeps a running mental tally of how many people he's killed (only humans; ghosts, demons, and machines don't count towards this total) over the course of the chapter. Somewhat overlapping with the Stealth Run, finishing the chapter with zero kills (which requires a good number of counterintuitive steps) nets you his Infinity Plus 0.5 Sword for use in the final chapter. It's possible to get an equivalent weapon by beating a rather difficult Optional Boss. This influenced Undertale's morality theme below, and the remake returns the favor by making you feel like Oboromaru truly accomplished his mission if you went this road.
  • A common and useful Game-Breaker in Final Fantasy VIII is simply to junction 100 Break spells to your weapon's elemental attack and hit enemies with that when you otherwise just can't run away. Doing this keeps you from gaining experience and levels, which helps in the long run once you find decent spells to junction your physical stats.
  • It's possible to get to the final boss of King's Field II while only killing one monster: a red mushroom that you can't get past on a narrow path just past Lake Noel. You're still level 1.
  • In Alpha Protocol, it is possible to get through the entire game without ever using lethal force on any opponent, outside of a couple of armored vehicles and one cutscene-mandated kill (dropping al-Shaheed's bodyguard off the bridge). In fact, this method is quite viable, if Mike has specializations in pistols, stealth, martial arts, and toughness. Make use of tranquilizer darts, stealth with nonlethal takedowns, unarmed attacks, and nonlethal gadgets like shock traps and flashbangs, and Mike can potentially get through the whole game with no kills. The game even keeps track of kills (with the "Orphans Created" stat) and non-lethal takedowns ("medical expenses"), rewarding the player with perks that boost the effectiveness of his stealth and other nonlethal skills.
  • It's not exactly a pacifist run, but Geneforge 4 occasionally mentions that a "great Shaper" can get through the game without ever lifting a hand in defense. This variously means sneaking past baddies, abusing the Leadership skill, and luring enemies to weapon-toting allies.
  • A few missions in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines have optional objectives to leave no civilian casualties. As in the tabletop game, experience is awarded for overcoming challenges, not killing enemies.
  • This article explains how it is possible to do this in Fantasy Life by deliberately and completely eschewing the four combat professions (Soldier/Paladin, Mercenary, Hunter, and Wizard). You can still obtain experience points through completing quests, and through crafting and gathering if you have the tools to do so. The plot-driven encounters during each chapter can either be skipped (by having your butterfly companion step in and resolve things peacefully for you) or circumvented (by avoiding the possessed creatures that attack you during the end-of-chapter "boss battles" and instead attacking the source of the corruption).
  • Devil Survivor Overclocked gives you this as an in-game option on Naoya's 8th Day. Now that you are the King Of Bel and are about to declare war on God and his army, the humans in the Yamanote Lockdown areas are pretty angry at you and want to kill you for causing demons to run free now. You are given the option to fight all battles against the army of angels and kill all humans who oppose you or you can choose to only fight the angels and leave all humans alive. Both options net you a title each and minor differences in dialogue and battles.
  • Undertale:
    • The original game heavily advertises the ability to SPARE enemies instead of fighting them, with the tagline "The Friendly RPG Where Nobody has to Die". A totally pacifist run without killing any enemies gets you the Golden Ending, which is by far the happiest ending. If you play a pacifist run, some of the characters will ridicule you for playing the game in this manner, while others will encourage you. Either way, you'll see the effects of your mercy as you progress through the game.
      • Interestingly enough, in the Neutral Pacifist run, required for the True Pacifist Golden Ending, one monster has to die: Asgore Dreemurr. And he does die, whether you're the one to strike the final blow, or you attempt to SPARE him and he's instead killed by Flowey. If he's the only monster that you kill, then all the other principals agree that you did what you had to do, and no one—not even Undyne, the Captain of the Royal Guard and one of Asgore's closest associates, if you befriended her—blames you for it. Going back for the True Pacifist ending undoes his death anyway, as it resumes from a point before that battle.
    • Its successor, Deltarune, has a similar mechanic where you can fight enemies either passively or forcibly (but nonlethally, outside of a special route beginning in Chapter 2). Much less actually changes about the flow of the game aside from a few slightly different lines of dialogue and a slightly different ending for each chapter to hammer home the point that your choices don't matter this time. For a while in the first chapter, you're even saddled with a party member who refuses to fight passively against a boss who can't be defeated violently, forcing you to actively warn enemies of her oncoming attacks to complete the pacifist run.
  • Pokémon: Since you can't actually beat the game without winning at least a few fights, you have to go the Technical Pacifist approach by inflicting indirect damage through actively administering status effects or entry hazards. For extra challenge, you can limit yourself completely to moves that only buff and lower stats, and use Pokémon with passive status- or damage-inflicting abilities (like Poison Point or Rough Skin), forcing the opponent to do all the work of knocking itself out.note 
  • Wasteland 3: The "Battle of Steeltown" DLC has a "Perfect Pacifist" achievement for not killing any of the striking workers or members of the revolutionary "ghost gang" (instead subjecting them to Non-Lethal K.O.), though you are expected to kill the cruel foreman who is the cause of the strike in the first place.
  • An early example of this being intended would be the Apple ][ game Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves made in 1981. Not killing anything, as implied in the Instruction Manual gave a special ending.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: The game throws tons of enemies on you with the expectation that you're going to make them all explode in waves of fireballs and/or green viscera. But for especially determined and patient players, you can pull off a no- or low-kills run to achieve the Holy Warrior rank. Easiest to perform as Valhalla, who gets a giant shield and the ability to prevent all damage for a limited time. A Challenge Run as increasing health is tied to number of kills, in the thousands, so you'd be completing difficult end game gauntlets and final bosses with 3 hits at most. 4 if you grab the secret at the end of Stage 5.
  • In Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, during the sequence on Endor on the speederbikes, you gain bonus points (called Bloodless) for shooting down the enemy's speederbikes instead of the enemy themselves. But considering they're speeding pretty fast in a forest full of trees, it probably would have been less painful to have been instantly shot to death.
    • The original Star Wars Vector Game gave a bonus if you 'used the force' and took no shots in the Death Star Trench except the single torpedo shot into the exhaust port, instead dodging the massive incoming fire.
  • Ikaruga, by virtue of inheriting twenty years of evolution in the shooter genre, allows the player to complete the game without ever firing a single shot. Your reward is the rank of Dot Eater.
  • Star Fox 64 offered an interesting variant since bosses are worth more "kills" if they are defeated quickly, so players attempting this had to wait a while in those fights while dodging the attacks and (depending on the exact definition and route) protecting their teammates in those cases where they can actually get attacked by these bosses.
  • R-Type Delta and Final both feature bosses which are automatically destroyed after a certain time; late in the game, bosses will instead kill you if the time limit expires, so the Pacifist Run is to destroy only these bosses. Can be made even harder if combined with a no-Force run, which severely decreases the defensive abilities of the player's ship.
    • Most Gradius bosses — including the final bosses — self-destruct after a certain time, as well. Most of them don't fight back anyway. Some exceptions to self-destruction exist—the wall boss in Stage 7 of Gradius V will smash you against the left side of the screen if you time it out.
  • As in other vertical shooters, this is a common type of run in the Touhou Project series despite the fact that the games actively punish trying to do this. Most Final Bosses and Superbosses have their final spellcard become incredibly difficult if you take too long, but have long enough timers that the average player will never see this. And there'll generally be a few patterns that will just get worse with time, and the occasional wave of enemies that will exit through the bottom of the screen, where the player is, if not killed.
    • Defied very hard in the fourth PC-98 game, Lotus Land Story, where Gengetsu's final attack suddenly becomes virtually impossible to dodge because hundreds of projectiles are coming at you at the speed of "HOLY SHIT!" This attack is known among fans as "Gengetsu's Rape Time". This video is not sped up - that's the normal speed of the attack. The player, however, had to significantly slow down the game's flow to beat it, because otherwise it would be easier to go outside in a thunderstorm and try to dodge rain.
  • Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved has an Achievement called Pacifist. To get it, you must not fire for the first 60 seconds of the game. Since the fast, homing square enemies spawn before that, it's a Nintendo Hard one to get.
    • The sequel has a separate game mode called Pacifism, where the objective is to avoid the said square enemies as long as possible. While you may not fire, going through a gate causes a shockwave that kills nearby enemies. In addition, the King mode has an achievement called Treaty and the Wave mode has an achievement called Surf.
  • Afterburner Climax with only 1 kill, possibly avoidable? Why not?
  • Night Striker has a bonus called the Pacifist Bonus, where if you do not shoot at anything and not take damage either, you earn 2,000,000 points. This bonus stacks up per stage for six stages. (ST.1 - 2 mil, ST.2 - 4 mil, ST.3 - 6 mil, etc.) An example of this in action can be seen here
  • NARC allowed you to "bust" (handcuff) enemies instead of killing them. Doing so was worth MANY more points than killing them, making it easier to gain bonus lives (necessary!). Only about half of the enemies could be "busted" though.

    Simulation Game 
  • This is half of what it's like to try and be a benevolent god in Black & White. The other half is being nice to your villagers.
  • Yandere Simulator is normally about blackmailing, manipulating, or straight-up murdering Yandere-chan's rivals for Senpai's affection, but it's possible to hook up your rivals with other boys instead, or to help them out with major problems, resulting in them agreeing to not pursue Senpai in thanks.
  • In Spore, it's entirely possible to get to the space stage without killing anything. You can play through the cell stage and only eat plant matter or scavenged meat, do the same in the creature stage and only level up by befriending other creatures, do the same in tribal stage and only level up by allying with other tribes, and choose to conquer other cities in the civilization stage only through economic or religious means. There's even an achievement, "Pacifist," that you can get by completing the cell stage without killing another creature.
  • Emergency! rates your efficiency in dealing with emergencies (fires, crime, natural disasters...), and the number of wounded or dead people is a big factor of it; this includes the lives of criminals (as seen in the main quote on the game's page. Even if criminals are armed and dangerous (and possibly holding hostages) the game rewards the player with a higher efficiency score if they're stopped without lethal force (usually by having a police officer jump on them; incapacitating the criminal with tear gas greatly helps).

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Metal Gear:
    • Aside from the bosses, it is possible to get through most games without ever killing anyone, though you are forced at one point to fight off a horde of enemies without access to nonlethal weaponry. In Metal Gear Solid, this just earned the player a suitably passive animal codename after the end credits. In the later games, you are given rewards for keeping enemy fatalities to a minimum. This became considerably easier with tranquilizer weapons in later games, resulting in an even more difficult variation: No Tranquilizer Run.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, since you only kill (in-story) two of the bosses, no real difference is made whether you stamina-kill them or not (only that a stamina-kill doesn't show up on your score as a real kill). Interestingly, not-killing Fatman, one of the story-killed bosses, results in him passing out at the end of his dying speech instead of dying. When Ocelot remarks on Fatman's death later on, the line is the same, but the implication is that Ocelot killed him rather than you, which provides a neat clue as to Ocelot's real alignment.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, you can avoid killing the bosses. They have non-lethal hit bars, and you get a special bonus for defeating a boss with non-lethal force, but if they were supposed to die, they commit suicide in the following cutscene. However, there is one exception: Even if you defeat The Boss nonlethally, the game still forces you to kill her. Alternately, even using lethal force against bosses who survive the encounter either way (Ocelot and Volgin) doesn't count as a kill, allowing you to "kill" them and still perform a pacifist run (you just don't get their camouflage this way).
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the first game in the series to let you do a true no-kills run, not even story kills. The game even allows you to take out all of the bosses using non-lethal means. Unlike the other games, it actually affects the cutscene afterward. The difference is really subtle, leading to many players thinking Kojima was lying when he said you could save them.
    • Even MGS4's online mode gets in on this, giving players the "Pigeon" ranking if they have a suitable ratio of kills to knockouts.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker lets you do a pacifist run one step at a time. Each of its stages is mission-based, letting you do a perfect no-kills stealth run once you're properly prepared, even against a missile tank supported by thirty troops.
    • The end-of-mission rankings in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain award more points for incapacitating enemy troops than for killing them. You can take over enemy outposts simply with stealth takedowns, just as you would if you went in guns blazing. A full game playthrough without any kills is impossible because there are a few mandatory objectives that necessitate killing, such as destroying occupied armored vehicles or killing soldiers with infectious parasites before they spread and cause a global plague.
  • In Splinter Cell, it is possible to complete the game with only one overt kill, which is a required mission objective. This is usually accomplished with liberal use of the "sticky camera" pseudoweapon to knock enemies out.
    • Three mandatory assassination mission objectives aside, in Chaos Theory it is possible to complete the game without killing any enemies. Mission requirements aside (e.g. knocking out a guard so a helicopter will come) it is possible to complete the game without knocking out more than three enemies (Bathhouse boiler room), and perhaps fewer.
      • In fact, it is entirely possible to get all zeros at the final score which equals to zero kills/KOs through the whole game. The bathhouse boiler room is indeed tricky as there are at least 4 guards that need to be distracted with sticky cameras.
    • Sometimes enforced in Splinter Cell: Double Agent:
      • You're free to kill or spare the enemy, but killing them will lower the NSA's trust in you which, if it's low to begin with, might be something you can't afford. The Wii, GameCube, PS2 and Xbox versions forcibly avert this in the final mission where you're forced to kill certain JBA members where no matter what you do to them counts as a kill. Even grabbing and using the knockout button triggers his stab move instead.
      • While infiltrating JBA Headquarters, killing is strictly forbidden: you are given a light and entirely non-lethal loadout, you can't perform a lethal takedown, and even accidentally getting a character killed via crossfire causes a Non-Standard Game Over: Lambert explains that while the JBA will tolerate a few odd goings-on like finding a couple of members passed out or a few stories about someone slipping around in the shadows, a dead member would put them into high-gear paranoia mode lockdown which would put Sam under too much scrutiny to continue the mission.
  • Styx: Master of Shadows and its sequel, Styx: Shards of Darkness give bonus skill points for each level for completing certain optional objectives. One objective that appears in every level, Mercy, requires the player to complete the level without killing any humanoids. Roabies, anyone who is killed by something that wasn't Styx's fault, and people whose death is a quest objective don't count against this though.
  • Most missions in the various Hitman games can be completed without killing anyone other than the mission's intended target(s). In Hitman 2 and onward, doing so earns the player the rating "Silent Assassin" and usually comes with a reward of some sort.note 
    • In the fourth game, Blood Money, killing anyone other than the target(s) can make later missions more difficult as your notoriety will grow, especially if you leave witnesses and/or get caught on camera. However, you can obtain the surveillance tape if you get caught on camera before leaving the mission, and pay money to cover up the crime after the mission. Killing witnesses, however, can make things worse.
    • Technically, a zero kill run of much of Blood Money is possible, owing to the fact that "accidents" are counted separately from outright kills and (unless you kill a VIP) have no impact on your rating (even if you kill civilians).
    • In the World of Assassination Trilogy, killing non-targets incurs a slight score penalty, encouraging the player to minimize collateral damage if they're aiming for a high score. Several optional challenges also require you to only kill the main targets, on top of more specific critera.
  • The Thief games, on higher difficulties, often require you not to kill anyone in a mission. Ideally, you do so by just getting around without being noticed. If you must pop someone, though, you have a blackjack that can knock the unaware victim out in a single strike. You can play through the first two games without knocking out anyone or anything, let alone killing them. In rare missions, you may be restricted from even knocking out people, or from even being detected.
    • Doesn't apply to the 2nd game, as one of the objectives is to kidnap a person. The only way to do that is to knock him out. Both games feature Big Bads in need of killing, though both times indirectly. However, beyond these exceptions, it's possible to complete the game without killing or knocking out anyone else.
    • The 3rd and final game can also be completed without a single kill or knockout, which includes plot-kills since the Big Bad can't be killed anyway and isn't explicitly killed at the end either.
  • Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, being a Bounty Hunter themed game, allows you to choose between killing an enemy, or simply stunning them long enough for you to trap them in your bounty bag. Live enemies are worth more than dead enemies. Challenges could include bringing in all bounties alive, bringing in all outlaws alive, or bringing in all enemies in the game alive. Minor challenges could also include never attacking a non-hostile NPC for Moolah, or neglecting to collect two optional Moolah rewards that require robbing innocents. Due to a Genre Shift late in the game, this becomes more difficult. You are required to kill several enemies (including the Big Bad) during the final levels. In addition, the previously pacifistic Bounty Bag is replaced with a Bait Bag that is used to breed your living ammo. Guess what they eat?
  • In Tenchu: The Shadow Assassin the player gets the highest rank S, Phantom, for finishing a level without killing and without being seen.
    • And in Wrath of Heaven, there is one level in which, at first, you can't kill any guard.
  • Despite being focused on assassination, Dishonored has an achievement for going through the entire game without killing anyone (not even the zombie-like plague victims) named "Clean Hands" (which the two DLC pieces focusing on the master assassin Daud up to "Cleaner Hands" and "Cleanest Hands", respectively). In fact, the game actively encourages players to attempt this, as not only does pacifism net you a better ending, it also makes the game somewhat easier, as there are fewer guards and weepers to circumnavigate (it also turns the final quest into something of an anti-climax, however). Even the high-profile targets you are ostensibly sent to assassinate can be neutralized in some other way, although this usually involves consigning them to a Fate Worse than Death. The sequel however establishes that while the Low Chaos ending is mostly canon, Corvo canonically killed a few guards as shown in a recap cutscene.
  • It is possible to complete a playthrough of Castle Wolfenstein without killing a single guard. However, it is very tricky and mostly relies on the Randomly Generated Levels arranging themselves in your favor. It is also important to keep grenades handy for blowing up obstructing walls and to steal uniforms so that regular guards will leave you alone.

    Survival Horror 
  • Dino Crisis can be run without even picking up a weapon. Not all endings can be reached this way, but one where Everybody Lives can.
  • In most of the classic Resident Evil games, killing ordinary enemies is almost always optional. Evading enemies without killing them means that players will save on ammunition and health that they may need for mandatory boss fights.
    • The remake of Resident Evil has "One Dangerous Zombie" mode as a Once Again feature, where a zombie strapped with explosives appears in new places around the mansion. Attacking him results in an instant game over.
    • Several of the game's bosses are optional. The first Yawn fight, Black Tiger, and Lisa Trevor can be evaded entirely.
  • Players do this in Resident Evil 4, but it's more a Minimal Kills run. While there are more enemies that can be circumvented than one might expect, there are still many, many enemies that must be killed to advance, starting with the first enemy in the game. There's also the Mine Cart section: Every passenger, besides Leon, dies at the end and the "kills" are credited to the player.
  • Silent Hill: Downpour, going through the game without killing so much as a single enemy is mandatory to get the best ending in the game. You're allowed to incapacitate enemies (where they're downed but still twitching) and to knock over Tormented Souls to slow down The Void, but given how aggressive and persistent some enemies are and how tricky it can be to not accidentally kill them while defending yourself, this amounted to one massive Scrappy Mechanic.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Second Sight tracks your "morality" score for each level of the game, which starts at 100% and decreases with each enemy you kill. Players can avoid killing enemies by tranquilizing them, sneaking past, luring them into hazardous terrain features, allowing NPC allies to kill them, or tricking them into killing each other. It appears that only four enemies (not counting your involuntary initial manifestations of Psy-Attack, and improved telekinesis) actually have to be killed. They're clones of the main character. Oddly, even without killing anyone else the big bad will still call you out for all the bodies you stepped over to reach him. The game also keeps track of how many km of "muddy feet" you walked per level i.e.: how far you walked with your shoes covered in blood from enemies you killed.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], it is impossible to go through the game without killing civilians. The closest the player can get to a self-imposed pacifist challenge is to try to keep their civilian kill count as low as possible (difficult, since you can kill them by running into them). There is an achievement for eating only 10 or fewer civilians.
    • Considering they're literally Too Dumb to Live, walking and driving around (and diving under the treads of that tank you just stole) in an active plague zone like nothing's wrong until an Infected runs up and decides to have a snack, you could simply stress it as a "no deliberate kills of civilians" run and ignore collateral damage. It's also nearly impossible to get through the game without wasting a few hundred soldiers in the course of the missions, but you could feasibly keep your Marine casualties to a minimum besides the required consume targets, only feasting on the Blackwatch goons and Infected.
  • In Reservoir Dogs there's a choice to go either "Psycho" or "Professional", the latter being if you concentrate on using hostages over shooting people. The issue is that hostages lose HP over time.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Fire Emblem doesn't normally lend itself to Pacifist Runs, since you need kills to level up. However, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 allows you to non-lethally KO enemies and capture them - in fact, you can steal their equipment and use it for yourself when you do! The only limitation is that, in order to capture a foe, the enemy's Build stat must be lower than that of the unit doing the capturing (Then again, Finn, who has 20 Build, is available from the start of the game), and when you use the Capture command, the capturing unit will have his stats reduced for the turn.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2 you can finish the game without killing anyone except the queen and without liberating any towns just by cutting across country to the capital, sneaking past the soldiers there, and killing the queen before any of her guards arrive.
  • Galactic Civilizations: you don't get an achievement for it, but you can win by forming Alliances with all the other races, forming an Alliance with one race and having them crush your enemies, or by using heavily upgraded influence starbases to either culture-hug enemy worlds into defecting to your side or to mark most of the map as your territory (which brings with it the incidental bonus that you can ram through any result you want at the United Planets and nobody will have the voting power to stop you).
  • Surprisingly possible in Eador, TBS similar to Heroes of Might and Magic, Master of Magic and Age of Wonders. You can capture most provinces by bribing guards, making alliances with local population/thugs/baron. Even if you've started battle you haven't to kill opposition: most units can be frightened (usually by magic) so they simply run away and the battle is won. If your empire becomes powerful enough other Lords may just give up and you've won the scenario.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has the Orator job class, which possesses a few abilities that allow you to recruit enemy units to join your army. With a maximum of five units to a given fight, this usually only comes in handy when (a) a unit has suffered permadeath and needs replacing or (b) there's a particular monster you want to turn on your enemies/poach for rewards. However, a semi-popular challenge run is to enlist an Orator as soon as is reasonably possible and get through the entire game with only the deaths absolutely necessary (which pretty much amounts to Eldritch Abominations and mastered Jerkasses).

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • You can go through True Crime: Streets of LA and True Crime: New York City without killing a single enemy, either by limiting yourself to non-lethal weapons or using precision aim to go for kneeshots.
  • Red Dead Redemption. You can minimize all killing in the game with your trusty lasso - aside from times you must kill, such as the gatling gun missions - but it's Nintendo Hard to do the entire game that way.
  • It's possible to play through all the X-Universe games without killing anyone directly, or without killing anyone at all (provided you don't do the plots). The goal is to keep your combat rank at "Harmless", which means you have zero kills. If you kill any enemy, the rank goes up and takes several real-time hours to go back down.
  • Killing is kind of unavoidable in the Grand Theft Auto series, but very few people have actually tried to not kill anyone as they go about the optional objectives - trying not to run over people on the sidewalk, etc. Doing their best to kill the absolute minimum number of people to finish the game.
    • Completely possible in Grand Theft Auto 2, where one can score points by performing stunts, taking cars to a crusher, or simply giving people rides in Taxis. Each level can also be finished by collecting hidden tokens scattered around the map, with each district having a bonus stage that can only be played after doing this.
    • Youtuber DarkViperAU has made a truly herculean effort to do a pacifist run of Grand Theft Auto V, though he's proven that it's impossible to proceed without a few mandatory kills here and there.
  • Watch_Dogs 2 gives all the tools for a pacifist run. Hacked power conduits, shock gadgets, the stun gun, and melee attacks all non-lethally subdue enemies, and drones can often complete an objective without Marcus even being in the danger zone. However, this isn't directly incentivised by the game, perhaps because it plays like a Self-Imposed Challenge - not only do lethal explosives have a much wider radius, stunned enemies will wake up by themselves after a couple of minutes or when roused by a buddy, and not using steam pipe explosions in car chases removes the most effective way of disabling an enemy vehicle.
  • Since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild allows you to face Calamity Ganon right after the Great Plateau and there's no mandatory fight in the early sanctuaries, it's possible to complete the game by just defeating Ganon and his Blights without killing anything else.

    Other Games 

    Tabletop Games 

    Other Media 
  • A Dearth of Choice: At first, the best the dungeon can offer is the prospect of fighting only lesser monsters who will not seek to land mortal blows, in exchange for a binding promise not to harm the core. As he expands, however, he constructs extensive non-combat areas, which adventurers are free to visit, and they can even obtain rewards by helping the skeletal cooks and tailors and blacksmiths.
  • The El Goonish Shive NP strips have two storylines about Grace trying a pacifist run:
  • Downplayed in I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?. While the parties delving into Taylor have to fight her minions for her to gain mana, she keeps it to sparring and takes care not to let her minions kill or seriously injure the adventurers. She also initially asks the adventurers to avoid killing her minions, but relaxes this rule once she gets access to spawners and confirms that minions linked to a spawner retain their memories and personalities when they come back to life.
  • Not a Villain: The Game, the virtual reality game a few people play and almost everyone watches After the End, has different ways/alignments to play, one of them the pacifist Erbana. Erbanas use plants and are not allowed to hurt or much less kill others, lest they lose their powers. Best exemplified by Kleya in the Game Tutorial where she manages to resolve every encounter peacefully and gains a 100% Erbana-alignment rating.
  • There Is No Epic Loot Here, Only Puns: Delta works hard to make her Dungeon into a place where people can just come and be. Test themselves, sure, but killing is strongly frowned upon, and will usually result in escalation. Such as her spider room, which someone could safely walk through blindfolded, or entirely avoid the webs for an extra prize, but if an adventurer starts killing off the spiders, a powerful "spidergeist" boss monster will emerge.
  • Free Guy: Blue Shirt Guy levels up by not attacking people, and he ends up going viral in the player community because he's the first person to attempt to play the game in a non violent, heroic way.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: In-universe example — Ralph climbs the tower in Hero's Duty and grabs the medal while no-one's playing it so he wouldn't have to fight a single bug.