You’re either with them or against them—cults are polarising at the best of times. But every so often, there’s a cult in a video game that is so powerful, so strong, so undeniably cool that you can’t help but try to join up. But sometimes, heartbreakingly, you simply aren’t allowed to.
Read more: 5 Strange Cults in Video Games (That Actually Had Pretty Good Ideas)
These are the best 3 game cults that you weren’t allowed to join:
1. The Order of the Black Worm | The Elder Scrolls
The Order of the Black Worm (or the ‘Worm Cult’ to its friends) from The Elder Scrolls is a perfect example of what all good cults aspire to be: violent, bloody, and hellbent on raising mayhem. In their case, it’s via necromancy. It was founded by the King of Worms, Mannimarco; an incredibly powerful necromancer who sought to achieve godhood and, surprisingly, ended up succeeding. But also didn’t, because of reasons. It gets quite complicated.
But regardless of the background, the Worm Cult would have been a sick cult for the player to join. Necromancy was poorly fleshed out in Oblivion, and this could’ve been an opportunity to expand it beyond the Conjuration magic school. You could’ve gained access to forbidden spells and knowledge, maybe even earned an undead companion or two. But instead, they relegated the edgy guild role to The Dark Brotherhood and forced the Worm Cult into the primary antagonist of the Mages Guild questline instead.
However, if you do want to indulge in your love for the undead (that came out weird), there are a few mods that can add some pep in your rotting step. Check them out here:
- Undeath for Skyrim
- Corpse Preparation: True Necromancy for Skyrim
- Necromancer’s Retreat for Skyrim
- Epic Necromancy for Oblivion
- Mannimarco Resurrection for Oblivion
2. Unitology | Dead Space
Isaac Clarke of Dead Space has never had a particularly good relationship with Unitology. First his mother gave them all their money when he was young, including his college fund, and now it turns out they are the ones behind the whole necromorph thing. It’s not surprising that Clarke goes on perhaps the first-ever STEM revenge quest in a game, and that we never got to really experience the Unitology religion from the inside.
But it would’ve been rad if we had.
Read more: The History of Cults in Video Games
Unitology, in the Dead Space universe, was one of the fastest-growing and most powerful religious sects across all of mankind. They had money, they had power, but more importantly they had mysterious secrets. Imagine if we could discover the Unitology-Marker-Necromorph link as an actual member of the cult; the entire time Unitologists being presented to us as the good guys. They missed a trick there…
You can get something similar by checking out the philosophy of the Unitologists. Check them out below, or have a look at one of our previous blog posts on the topic:
- The History of Cults in Video Games
- On Michael Altman, the Unwilling Prophet
- On Markers, the central symbol of Unitology
- On Convergence, the ultimate goal of Unitology
- On Octavia Clarke, Isaac’s mother
3. EXALT | XCOM: Enemy Within
XCOM is a shadow organisation designed for one thing and one thing only: killing
Nazis aliens. But defeating the aliens with our own technology isn’t enough; operatives must capture invaders and gather equipment for scientists to study and, hopefully, replicate. Lasers, plasma, hardened armour and genetic modification is just the beginning…
However, as the expansion pack Enemy Within reveals, you aren’t the only enigmatic troup of killers interested in alien technology. EXALT stands against you, a cabal that has different, nefarious plans for the technology.
It’s obvious why we never got to join EXALT, or recruit any of their members, or even strike a deal with them to fight the aliens together; it would have gone against the narrative of the game. But EXALT had access to technology that even XCOM couldn’t replicate—that is, even Mama Warcrimes AKA Dr Vahlen couldn’t bring herself to experiment on humans in quite the same way that EXALT did. As a result, we missed out on some cool tech. But considering that EXALT members would rather die than be captured by XCOM, perhaps that is for the best…
XCOM 2 has an expansion pack of its own announced now, and from the looks of it, we will get the chance to ‘join’ (or at least work with) other anti-alien fighting forces. We may have missed out with EXALT, but we won’t with this new addition!
You can find out more on the War of the Chosen, the new expansion pack for XCOM 2, below:
- Is an XCOM 2 expansion pack on the way?
- The War of the Chosen Steam page
- Jake Solomon interview with GameSpot
Have we missed any of your favourite unjoinable cults? Let us know in the comments below!