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  • Command & Conquer's Brotherhood of Nod is unified in that they need to defeat GDI. That is the only thing they are unified on, and usually when Kane isn't around, they voice their disagreements with laser beams and fire. And when Kane is around, they still formally lodge their complaints with laser beams and fire... in the back. As for humanity as a whole, the war between GDI and Nod is so bitter that an alien invasion doesn't do much more than make them pause... for a couple of hours. Then they go back to blasting each other, much to the aliens' shock and disbelief.
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  • In the first Crysis, after the aliens wake up and freeze Lingshan island, you'd expect the Americans and the North Koreans to put their war on pause and turn their attention to this new threat. Wrong! As a matter of fact, in the Crysis Warhead Expansion Pack, your commanding officer will even give you explicit orders to consider the North Koreans the priority threat... after the aliens have woken!
  • Danganronpa: In every game in the series, the attempts by each protagonist to get the trapped students to work together and fight against the Killing Game is inevitably undercut by the students giving in to personal grudges and feelings. This also extends to the Future Foundation itself- despite being the symbol of Hope in a world run by the Ultimate Despair, the organization turns out to have crippling infighting issues:
    • Nagito Komaeda, while not a Foundation member, is trying to secretly help them, but sows despair believing that despair builds character.
    • Haiji Towa from Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, the Adult Resistance leader, refuses to work with the Foundation because he believes them to be the real mastermind behind the Ultimate Despair, and is fully willing to go to war with the Foundation.
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    • Shuji Fujigawa from Killer Killer wants to eliminate despair by killing everyone, putting him at odds with the Foundation members.
    • In Danganronpa 3, the factionalism comes to the forefront:
      • The Foundation council actually splits up into two factions; one faction supports the efforts of Makoto Naegi to reform the Remnants of Despair enemy agents, while the other faction believes that the enemy agents should be executed. The leader of the latter faction, Kyousuke Munakata, is not as extreme as Shuji, but still thinks that everyone even associated with despair or trying to help people in despair should die.
      • The prime example of this is when it is revealed that there is a spy among the council dedicated to subverting them, and has trapped them all in a final killing game. The council members readily turn on each other out of paranoia, while Ruruka Andou becomes more concerned with saving herself than aiding her friends. The spies are Monaca Towa (disguised as Miaya Gekkogahara), Chisa Yukizome, and Chairman Kazuo Tengan. Chisa wants to further Overarching Villain Junko Enoshima's agenda, Monaca wants to toy with everyone one last time, and Tengan is opposed to the extremism of the others- because he wants to brainwash everyone into feeling hope, not kill them.
  • Diablo III:
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    • It's mentioned that one of the biggest problems the demons have in their Eternal Conflict with the angels is that their egos get in the way of them working together, and on at least one occasion an almost-successful invasion of Heaven has fallen apart at the last second because the Lords of Hell started quarreling amongst themselves before they could secure victory. When Diablo attacks Heaven in the fourth act, he is the Prime Evil, a combination of all seven Lords of Hell in one being, and nearly succeeds in shattering the Crystal Arch, the very pinnacle of Heaven.
    • Also comes up in the Reaper of Souls expansion when a human noble and some peasants try to start a revolution against Westmarch's king at the same time an army of Reapers are leading an anti-human genocide. Your character suggests humanity should be uniting against the threat posed by the Reapers instead of bickering and killing each other... and is promptly attacked by the rebels, who've decided you're With Us or Against Us.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II the Player Characters are Godwoken, avatars of the local Fantasy Pantheon tasked with stopping the Void from swallowing all of reality. But rather than uniting against this common enemy, the gods are all more concerned with their squabbles for dominance and expect their Chosen One to subjugate their rivals and Save the World at the same time. In fact, the only time the assholes are willing to work together is when they try to kill the party for a Grand Theft Me near the end of Act 3.
  • Any game that features enemy infighting can qualify as this. DOOM gives an interesting example: aside from being generally united against the player, the different species of monsters comprising the legions of hell generally don't like each other, and while they'll attack you on sight, they'll be just as likely to attack any of their erstwhile "allies" at the slightest provocation (read: an errant fireball).
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, Loghain decides Orlesians are more dangerous than The Blight, betrays the Grey Wardens. Meanwhile, Orzammar is more concerned about crowning a new King than immediately helping out with the Blight.
      Alistair: You know, one good thing about the Blight is how it brings people together.
    • Continued in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where despite the hole in the sky from which demons are constantly pouring, the Inquisition created to combat the threat is declared a group of heretics by the Chantry; the Templars have broken from the Chantry, feeling they weren't doing enough to combat mages, and are now in a gigantic Civil War with the mages; meanwhile, there's another Civil War in Orlais, and also an elven uprising over their second-class conditions in human society.
  • In Far Cry 4, the leadership of the Golden Path is split between the traditionalist Sabal and the progressive Amita. The player is occasionally given the options of siding with one over the other in certain missions. Eventually, you are forced to choose one as an uncontested leader, who will later task you with assassinating the other. Depending on who's alive, Sabal becomes a full-on religious extremist who issues purges of non-followers of the native religion of Kyrat while Amita becomes a dictator who forcibly conscripts women and children to work in drug dens.
  • A tragic example occurs in Fire Emblem: Three Houses as Part 2 of the game revolves around the Adrestian Empire's attempt to conquer the continent, toppling the Kingdom and fracturing the Alliance in the process. Despite Claude and Dimitri sharing a common enemy, Dimitri in the Golden Deer route is so blinded by his Roaring Rampage of Revenge that he labels the Alliance as enemies just for "being in his way" and sends his forces to attack his former friends despite them trying to accomplish the exact same thing.
  • The Hua Lian Rebels in the People's Republic of Da Han Zhong in Front Mission 3 suffered from this, especially after they were about to win the revolution, leading to a crushing defeat of the whole rebellion.
  • The hatred between the human and servile rebels in Geneforge is matched by the hatred between the drayks and drakons, but each pair is held together by a greater hatred for the other pair, and all of them are forced to work together against the Shapers. In the fifth game, the four allies finally split off, with the humans and servile allying with the Trakovites and the drayks and drakons forming the Ghaldring faction.
  • If we take ambiguously-canon "midquel" Cataclysm as canon, this happened to both sides after the events of Homeworld. The death of the Taiidani Emperor and the ensuing power vacuum resulted in a swift descent into out and out civil war ending in the messy Balkanisation of three quarters of his regime's former territory, with the newly-formed Taiidani Republic squaring off against multiple Imperial Loyalist factions -most of whom are implied to hate each other as well- plus a number of Former Regime Personnel who've turned warlord or Space Pirate. For their part, the Hiigarans have achieved the goal that compelled them to unite under one banner and are now going back to business as usual, various "kiithid" note  jockeying with one another for greater power and influence, though their preferred medium is apparently equal parts Proportional Representation and behind the scenes wheeler-dealing.
  • Part and parcel of Imperium Nova.
  • In Life Is Strange: David is the only person who believes Chloe when she says that something bad happened to Rachel Amber, and takes her seriously enough to investigate. However, their relationship is so strained that they are incapable of working together.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 3, getting the races to co-operate is the main objective, with even those who are not actually at war with each other proving to be very unhelpful. In the most extreme case, the quarians have launched their attack on the geth, despite the Reapers actually starting their invasion in other parts of the galaxy. Unless Shepard has done literally everything right with regards to both species, the genocide of one of them is inevitable, despite most of the geth having actually wanted peace for the past several centuries--the remainder having sided with the the reaper Sovereign back in the first game, being Shepard's primary enemy back when the quarians were barely surviving on their own.
    • This trope is also very much in evidence with the Illusive Man, who both averts it and plays it straight. The aversion happens during his first in-game appearance in Mass Effect 2, wherein he orchestrates the rescue and recovery of Commander Shepard and forms an alliance with them to combat the Collectors, who are in fact slaves of the Reapers. However, after Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in Mass Effect 3, he plays it painfully straight as Cerberus spends a lot of effort and resources openly opposing the Alliance and Council rather than joining them, partially explained by his being indoctrinated, (the DLC Prothean character, Javik, says that this happened during his cycle too, suggesting that divide and conquer is one of the Reapers main tactics).
    • In fact, one of the few powerful characters who does recognize that personal goals need to be put on hold for now is the ruthless crime lord Aria T'Loak, who gives Shepard useful advice and prioritizes the overall war effort above her own short-term gains. Furthermore, thanks to starring in the Omega DLC, she actually gets what she wants as well as helping the war effort.
    • It's easy to ignore the Salarian threats about curing the genophage, since they quickly come crawling back when they realize the Reapers are threatening them. Depending on your actions in previous games, most of the Salarian military (and potentially their own Council Representative) will basically give the finger to their government and rally themselves behind you.
      Major Kirrahe: Regardless of what the politicians decide, you can count on my support retaking Earth.
    • The asari Councillor at least gets a Jerkass Has a Point moment when she says that "cruel and unfortunate truth" is that by letting the Reapers focus on Earth, other races can regroup. One of the soldiers guarding your war room even comments on it, saying that humanity would say the same thing if the positions were reversed. Why should other races risk their worlds falling to save Earth (which has already fallen)? Even after you do get the various races cooperating, retaking Earth doesn't really become viable or necessary until it becomes obvious the Final Battle will be held there, and the Crucible (the only chance anyone has) can only be fired over Earth.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: The angara face this with the kett, who as their opening strike took out nearly all the angaran leadership. Over the next several decades, their army fell apart. It wasn't until Evfra formed La Résistance from sheer exasperation (well, and personal motivation) that they made any organized effort to fight back. And even then, the angara still aren't a united front.
  • The Relationship Values in Miitopia can cause this. If two party members get into a fight over things like jealousy over a party member showing more affection towards a third person, petty fights in the middle of missions, using abilities that aren't pleasant on other party members (such as the Tank using them as a human cannonball or the chef using them as improvised flamethrowers via Fire-Breathing Diner) or some negative character traits (laid-back Miis hiding behind another Mii to avoid damage or stubborn Miis refusing healing), lead to infighting, causing things like characters sulking, which reduce their attack, healers having less effect on the offending party or both characters getting into a Big Ball of Violence which damages a random enemy, but also causes some damage to the involved Miis.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, there are at least three factions trying to bring about the downfall of the King of Shadows (The Player Character and his/her allies, the Githyanki, and the fiend army led by Ammon Jerro), who end up spending a lot of time at odds with each other and interfering in each-other's plans. There's also a fourth faction, the Githzerai, who refuse to involve themselves in the war, because the Githyanki hate them even more than the King of shadows, and would put their conflict with the King on hold in order to wage war against the Githzerai, allowing the King to grow in power unopposed.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla:
    • Fridge Logic has this being the only plausible outcome after the end. The Marauders and Red Faction unified in the name of defeating the Earth Defense Forces and shoving a gigantic torpedo with a Nanite Disassembler Swarm warhead down the throat of a huge warship capable of annihilating all life on Mars (and Earth, for that matter,) but what comes afterwards? The Marauders are the xenophobic, murderous descendants of Ultor scientists who survived after the EDF came down like a ton of bricks on Ultor and restored order to Mars (the first time around.) Red Faction are the spiritual successors of the original Red Faction, the miners who revolted against Ultor's brutal conditions. The Marauders have been for the last fifty years or so killing anyone they see, whether EDF or civilian. It can't end well.
    • Bonus suck is awarded for the fact that the only primary character other than the player who survives from start to finish, Samanya, the Wrench Wench Sledgehammer Ninja (as revealed in the DLC bonus campaign, Demons of Mariner Valley,) is a Marauder by birth, but wound up joining Red Faction when she risked life and alienation from her people to rescue Kepler and Hugo Davies (better known as RF Commander) from an EDF internment camp before a gigantic Marauder offensive wiped the captive civilians out along with their captors. She's going to be caught between both sides of the coming war.
    • That's basically what ends up happening in Red Faction Origins; the White Faction tries to pit the Red Faction and Marauders against each other, first by killing Samanya, then engaging in a False Flag Operation in the hopes of getting the two sides to destroy each other and allowing them to pick up the pieces.
    • Red Faction: Armageddon seems to show the two sides ended up agreeing to leave each other alone for the most part. There are definite tensions between the two camps, but they band together once again fairly quickly once the aliens show up to threaten the human populace.
  • In contrast to the first RosenkreuzStilette game where the RKS members are all (aside from Spiritia and Grolla) united in their fight against the Empire, Freudenstachel has them split and doing their own thing, completely disjointed while the Schwarzkreuz are hunting them down. Trauare and Zorne are actively trying to kill the Church's army, Grolla gets possessed by her sword, Luste is off playing superhero, Schwer-Muta is hiding in the Zeppy ruins, Sichte fights off anyone who comes near her thinking they might be a homonculus copy, Liebea is nowhere to be seen, her brother Kahl is off investigating the Schwarzkreuz, Schirarch betrayed RKS to join Schwarzkreuz, and Doris (who even calls RKS "random and unorganized") actively refuses to follow Luste's orders, thinking her to be an idiot (and she's not wrong). And every last one aside from Liebea comes into conflict with Freudia for one reason or another. This is likely a result of their commander, Count Michael Zeppelin, dying in the first game, leaving them without strong leadership.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, playing on the Imperial side reveals the fearsome armies of The Empire are the ones doing all the infighting this time. Because of the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder encouraged by the Sith religion, the Sith spend just as much time fighting each other as they do the Republic and Jedi while everyone else from their military, their intelligence service, and even low-level officials try to undermine each other. Their Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering is too busy trying to secure their own power/agendas to actually come together as effective rulers, The Emperor is more interested in his pet project on the edge of the galaxy than actually managing his civilization, and of the four playable storylines the Bounty Hunter who isn't even officially part of the military is the only one fighting a Republic target for their Final Boss. As a result, the Galactic Republic stood united while the fourth Sith Empire (not counting the Sith Triumvirate) had the infrastructure and political stability of a third-world Banana Republic crossed with 1600's Italy before its inevitable collapse. But damn if they didn't look good doing it.
  • Total War:
    • In Rome: Total War, Rome isn't a unified faction, but is divided into three houses, the Julii, Brutii, and Scipii. They start out allied with each other, and will spend the early part of the campaign fighting Rome's enemies on behalf of the Senate, but they're also competing with each other for favor and territory, and their ultimate objective is to overthrow the Senate, capture Rome itself, and crush their rival houses in the ensuing civil war.
    • Can pop up in Medieval II: Total War when the Pope calls a crusade or an imam declares jihad for a specific province. You'll usually see a bunch of Christian or Muslim armies rushing off to get some Piety points by participating in a holy war, but unless two nations are explicitly allied, their armies won't support each other in battle. So it's not uncommon to see a pile-up of Catholic or Muslim armies around the targeted city, which would stand no chance of repelling them if they all attacked together, but instead each force will wait its turn to be the one to try to claim all the glory for itself. And if some of those armies belong to factions that are at war with each other as well, you may be treated to the spectacle of a bunch of religious zealots ostensibly on the same side tearing into each other.
    • Total War: Warhammer:
      • This is a game mechanic for the Greenskins: Greenskin armies that go too long without fighting another enemy army succumb to attrition damage as the brutes' animosity and fight-happiness overcomes their discipline; setting up raiding camps can alleviate this somewhat but not fully.
      • Also comes up for the Empire, as Karl Franz starts out only controlling the city of Altdorf — the rest of Reikland is controlled by Empire Secessionists and other provinces are controlled by the various Elector Counts who will go to war with each other and Karl's own faction.
      • Subverted in what's known as the Ordertide, a late-game combination of events that involves the Order factions (dwarves, Empire, Bretonnia, elves etc.) maxing out their diplomatic relations with each other and ganging up on the disorganized and backstabbing chaotic factions. Very heartwarming and inspiring, of course, unless you happen to be one of those factions.
  • Typically occurs during Trouble in Terrorist Town. Teamwork between innocents is regularly undermined since nobody knows who the real innocents are. A sufficiently paranoid and trigger-happy group can often wipe themselves out while the traitors just watch and Pass the Popcorn.
  • This is the main theme of Tyranny:
    • Even though Evil Overlord Kyros has successfully conquered the known world, there are now job openings for governors and mayors of the multiple conquered districts, and all the former generals are throwing their armies at each other trying to grab these claims. You play as a Fatebinder, a representative of Kyros sent to deliver a message to the fascistic Disfavored and the bloodthirsty Scarlet Chorus that are infighting over the last disputed district: work together and get the job done, or the Overlord will use an Edict to kill everyone in the area, wiping out the resistance and squabbling armies alike. They don't, leaving the Fatebinder to be the tyrant, pick a side, and unify them properly. Alternatively, the Fatebinder can cite this as a justifcation for joining the Rebels. You can tell your superiors, truthfully or not you decided the Rebels, convinced to surrender, would serve Kyros better than Kyros' own squabbling armies. Your superior sees the logic.
    • The natives of the Tiers suffer from this problem even more because their deep-seated grudges have left them isolated enough for the overlord's armies to bulldoze through. Indeed, in one path, the aforementioned Rebel path, much of the struggle is in getting the Tiersmen to stop fighting one another, even in the face of a horde of rampaging lunatics and racist conquerers.
  • In Wrath of the Lich King, the Horde and Alliance agree on one thing: We need to destroy the Lich King. That doesn't stop them from insulting each other, stealing supplies from each other, and it certainly doesn't stop the war that they have been fighting. They even manage to restart their own war while The Scourge is still up there trying to wipe them out. If not for the Ashen Verdict, which is comprised of Death Knights and the Argent Crusade, you would be dead. That's right, you're killing your allies, while the Ashen Verdict is saving the world and actually doing what you guys came up here to do in the first place. And the moment the Lich King bites it the war becomes more prevalent. Even the giant dragon ripping out from the core of Azeroth while setting half of the land on fire isn't going to stop them.
  • Averted for the most part in XCOM: Enemy Unknown; the Council is made up of most of the G20 countries and a few others that give you money and support to keep everyone alive, but will bail if their country's panic level gets too high and they have to focus on keeping the peace. However, several lesser factions continue their infighting despite the full-scale Alien Invasion over their heads, as you learn from Zhang in the Slingshot DLC who defects to XCOM over the Triads squabbling for money and power. Enemy Within introduced EXALT, who wanted to use the alien technology to Take Over the World but does nothing to stop the aliens from doing the exact same thing and sabotages XCOM while they're trying to stop them.
  • XCOM 2's War of the Chosen expansion reveals that after twenty years under a Vichy Earth, XCOM isn't the only major Resistance group fighting the ADVENT Accord. Three other groups pose a serious threat to the alien occupation, but as Bradford puts it, "together they'd make one hell of a fighting force — too bad they hate each other." The Reapers despise the Skirmishers over the losses suffered when the latter were still part of ADVENT and hunting the former, the Skirmishers look down upon the Reapers' habit of eating the aliens they defeat, both factions consider the Templars a cult of psionics-obsessed lunatics, and the Templars in turn sneer at the other groups for being blind to the "true nature of the world." Making contact with each group, building their trust through joint missions, and incorporating them into XCOM is a large part of the game's strategic layer. On the aliens' side, the titular Chosen are competing with each other for the glory of being the one to recapture XCOM's Commander for the Elders and be granted rulership over Earth once the aliens' plans are fulfilled. A lot of their Boss Banter consists of digs against each other, and it takes the "Honor Among Thieves" Dark Event for the Chosen to actually share the intelligence they accumulate in their campaigns to track down XCOM's base of operations.

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