There are plenty of religious messages in video games—negative or positive, they can add to a story and give it depth. It often appears as a means to make an antagonistic organization seem realistic, or sometimes to flesh out the world and give the main character a divine goal. I don’t want to get into that messy area that is generalizing religion’s role in gaming, but I do want to highlight five very crazy religions that I’ve come across during game sessions.
5) Assassin’s Creed 2
This game is last on the list simply because it took a realistic spin on pre-existing religions. Instead of a crazy religion, we see a religion aligned with an old organization searching for the fabled Fruit of Eden. More than just part of their religion, it represents power beyond compare on earth, and it can hypnotize all in its presence. These ulterior motives of the Templars follow them throughout the game, and Desmond still has to deal with them far in the future.
4) God of War
It would be silly to keep God of War off of this list. While it is a game that depicts somewhat accurate religious views—after all, that mythology started off as a religion sometime in history—said religion is still crazy on its own, and the writers took an artistic leap on top of that. The gods in God of War are all feuding and killing each other, with Kratos starting as some kind of middle man and slowly working his way up the hierarchy of gods. Affairs, lies, cold-blooded murder, and trickery all abound in the workings of this game’s religion.
3) Fallout 3
There are a few different references to religion in Fallout 3, but the most notable one is the Church of the Children of the Atom. Members worship atoms, and anything that creates new atoms is holy—including the live atomic bomb in the center of their town. Atoms supposedly contain individual universes inside them. Depending on your choices throughout the Fallout 3 game, you might actually be able to grant them their wish.
2) Final Fantasy X
In Final Fantasy X, you play as a guardian who follows around a Summoner and defeats a mythical beast called Sin while exorcising fallen ghosts so they do not turn into monsters. On its outside, it seems like an admirable religion—but when you look at the inside, it turns out the Summoners must sacrifice themselves, have one of their guardians replace Sin, and the cycle begins again after only ten years of peace. This makes any efforts of the Summoner futile. Along with that, there are some organizations who use the power of Sin to their own ends, and they outlaw technology which could greatly help them since it supposedly created Sin in the first place.
1) Dead Space Series
Unitology is a religion that focuses around a Marker—a supposedly divine artifact left behind by aliens that infects everyone around it and gives them madness and hallucinations. Unitologists believe that by dying, they will be unified with heaven through the Marker. Dead bodies near it become infected with a virus that reanimates them, which the Unitologists see as a form of eternal life. Their beliefs are based on a video and a few logs—and when their supposed founder disagreed with them about the holiness of the original artifact, they killed him and pretended his death was a government conspiracy to suppress the religion. Since they want to bring the Marker back to earth with them and spread their ‘religion’ in order to further the evolution of humanity, they take the cake as craziest religion.