Religion in video games can be a contentious subject. Nobody wants their personal beliefs stepped on or made to look bad, while at the same time a world, even a fictional one, feels awkward and empty without some sort of religious backing.
Those that do it best come up with logical religions that would spring up in that area and give a reason why someone might actually be interested in following them. They’re complex, rooted in the history and culture of the world, and are needed for more than just cheap plot points.
10 Dragon Age: Andrastianism Grew From Andraste’s Teachings
Andraste in the Dragon Age games was originally a prophet who served as a conduit to the truth of the Maker and rallied her and Shartan’s people in some great historical battles. Natural disasters or darkspawn interferences were believed to be miracles performed by her, which aided her in her victories.
Eventually, her teachings split into two Chantries, the Orlesian and the Imperial. They have since become the dominant religion in Thedas. What makes this fictitious religion so amazing is that it is very clearly something that can and would really happen in a society, has some basis in real-world faiths without being thinly veiled, and has good logic on how it came about, why it is followed, and evolution across time.
9 The Elder Scrolls Have A Massive Cosmology
The Elder Scrolls series has a massive cosmology that breaks into many different pieces. It is all very complicated, with many of them having their own mini-quests or references throughout the series which holds it together well. There are both the Aedra and the Daedra, plus all of the extra forces such as Sithis, Padomay, Anui-El, and Anu which are neither.
They exist both as metaphysical concepts as well as actual beings with varying degrees of insanity within their cults. Even so, they all make sense within their universe and help to describe and teach the massive lore of the games well beyond the bounds of Tamriel itself into all of Aurbis.
8 Assassin’s Creed: The Pieces Of Eden Is One Of The Only Things Holding The Series Together
the Assassin’s Creed games have very little that keeps them connected, especially as the more modern games go into a new realm of gameplay. The modern plotline is contentious, to say the least, and doesn’t blend as seamlessly as it had in the earlier games. However, beyond that, there is one point that helps keep all of the games connected. That is the Pieces of Eden.
This is a mythos, cosmology, and historical fact for the games to explain some of the weirdness throughout history. The Isu used the Pieces of Eden to control humans and use them as slaves, which ended up being forgotten as they went extinct. The concept of magic stems from these as well, mystifying humans for millennia and is even a central point of obsession for the Templars.
7 Final Fantasy X: Yevon Let Final Fantasy Dip Into Religious Motivation
Any of the final-fantasy games will have a few nods to religion here and there, some feeling pretty close to real religions while others are nods to other games. However, the series has such a huge cosmology unique to each game and each world that don’t really take the spotlight. The exception is in X where a cult of Yevon served as the primary antagonists.
This was the true power behind Sin, which was a pivotal point for many of the protagonists. Yu Yevon created Sin, which in turn gave motivation for Yuna, Tidus, and the rest of the gang to exist and move through the plot.
6 Legend Of Dragoon: Soa Created All Life From Fruit Of The Divine Tree
A rather underappreciated religion is the driving force behind much of the plot in Legend of Dragon. The Divine Tree is the myth of creation in the world while also being a very real location that the players get to travel to late game.
The creator Soa planted a seed that grew into the great tree, bearing 108 fruit. These fruits grew to become all life in Endiness, except for the 108th fruit which the antagonists are trying to bring about due to the myth that it contains the Virage Embryo and the God of Destruction.
5 Fallout 3: The Church Of The Children Of The Atom Both Want The Bomb To Explode & Cherish That It Doesn’t
Fallout 3 is one of the most interesting installations in the series. Bethesda took the title and made some arguably good and bad choices with it, but one thing that really was something good in a weird way was a strange little cult.
The Church of the Children of the Atom is a logical inclusion for this setting and stems from a fallen, undetonated atom bomb which a group of nuts gathered around to look forward to the day it explodes while also cherishing each day it doesn’t.
4 The Order Is The Main Antagonist Of The Silent Hill Series
The Order is a religious doomsday cult primarily residing within Silent Hill but you have expanded outwards. They believe that they themselves are the only true faith with every other being lies and deceptions, which is something real-world religions do too. This fact alone makes it feel uncomfortably real, which helps add to the horror aspect of the game as a whole.
There are entire holy books and scriptures that they follow, multiple branches, and an extremely underground network of secret organizations that can all be linked together while they do some of the most terrible things in-game under the guise of their faith.
3 The Yamatai Sun Queen Was Compelling Enough For A Tomb Raider Movie
Yamatai is the setting for both the 2013 tomb Raider game and the 2018 movie. It was a lost Japanese kingdom once ruled by the Sun Queen Himiko who had great powers, including the ability to control the weather.
Instead of having children, the Sun Queen would select her High Priestess who would then take over their body to continue ruling long after her natural life had ended. Once it was found out though, things got out of hand fast which lead to the fall of the Yamatai and subsequent happenings the game uncovers.
two Los Illuminados Were Really The Catalyst For Resident Evil 4
Los Illuminados is a religion that popped up in the mountainous region of Spain and worships the parasitic arthropod Plagas. They see themselves as a continuation of native beliefs, though this cult was really formed by a complete madman named Osmund Saddler.
Osmund Saddler made himself seem like a prophet to the followers of Los Illuminados so that he could ensure the loyalty of his followers and implant them with the parasites. As with most cults, things got out of control and Saddler’s cultists became the main catalyst for Resident Evil 4.
1 Grand Theft Auto V: The Epsilon Program (Kifflom) Was A Cult Of Con Artists
Cults exist in the real world just as much as they do in fantasy. They don’t always look like a bunch of maniacs or highly delusional folks making up obvious falsehoods but manage to keep people in with brainwashing and a promise to do better.
The Kefflom cult in Grand Theft Auto V is something that someone might accidentally find themselves in realistically, which makes it terrifying. It’s a little beefed up for the tone of the game, but it is so realistic in their money laundering scams hidden behind faith and trying to become a better person that it really hits close to home.
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