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nekobun avatar 9:26 AM on 10.24.2012  (server time)
Not fit for man, the beast.

(Some spoilers for the story of Tokyo Jungle follow. You know, if you're actually playing for the story. Mild spoilers for other games, too, that you may actually have heard of. Just sayin'.)

There have been quite the number of deranged, heinously-motivated villains over the course of video game history, be they blatantly so, or more subtly indsidious. As much as I love when a badguy proves to be more sympathetic in their drives, such as Handsome Jack's internal schism between personal ties and personal power in Borderlands 2, or Hans Tiedemann's best intentions for Titan Station, both before and after things went terribly wrong, in Dead Space 2, there's something about an irrepentantly twisted bastard that makes them that much easier to hate, and therefore that much more memorable.

Kefka Palazzo's underhanded tactics and genocidal bent toward the Espers made wiping the floor with all four screens' worth of him at the end of Final Fantasy VI that much more satisfying. Mortal Kombat's Shang Tsung oversaw and manipulated the series' titular tournament for ages, solely to feed his own need for warriors' souls. The Prophets' blind adherence to rhetoric and wielding of religious authority nearly got humanity, their own crew the Covenant, and anything else remotely sentient running about wiped from the face of the galaxy in the Halo games. The list goes on and on, to be sure, but there's one nemesis that outshines many, if not all of its counterparts, when it comes to bastardry, and you don't even get to meet or fight for the entire game it in which it features.

The new king of villainy is humankind itself, for its actions leading up to the events of Tokyo Jungle.

Even those familiar with the game may be unaware of just what people have done that makes them so reprehensible, seeing as how there isn't a single person to be found in the game save for a lone salaryman*, and he's optional DLC for survival mode only. The animals themselves featuring in the game occasionally wonder, in story mode, just what happened to everyone, but it's mostly a puzzle left to the player to piece together, in the form of data logs that unlock further chapters and eventually reveal the horrible truth.

In order to survive a global catastrophe, the remaining people of A.D. 2215 decide to transport themselves back in time to A.D. 2027. However, in order to do so, due to some quirk of the time travel technology, the human population of the past must take the place of those being transported in from the future. In short, humanity has decided to short-sell its ancestry wholesale just to live a few more years. Not only that, but to put the technology in place to perform such a swap, the scientists of the future find a way to get in touch with their predecessors, anonymously feeding them information and manipulating the development of the past in order to get their way.

As if that weren't dastardly enough, consider that, according to the logs that outline the game's story, said future population has been cut to ten thousand people due to some disaster, and they're trapped planetside by space debris. Considering the fact that 2027's world population, barring any disasters of its own, is likely to be somewhere a bit over seven billion, you're looking at a trade-off of 700,000 people for every person saved by this crazy scheme. Every single survivor, complacent or not, would be individually accountable for the combined kill counts of the Belzec and Jasenovac (upper estimate) concentration camps of the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. Think about that.

While the game's events, in a way, make those who set these events in motion accountable for their crimes against their forebears, albeit in a somewhat bittersweet fashion, it doesn't make the mere thought that people could actually resort to such a tactic any less reprehensible. With Tokyo Jungle, Sony and Crispy's have done wonders to remind us that, sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy, and have a responsibility to not let our personal greed lead to oblivion for our species en masse. In all fairness, they probably got what they deserved once Tokyo's future was handed over to the rest of the animal kingdom.

* - The lastest DLC pack, which features said salaryman, also bears a Homo erectus character, but it's doubtful he was part of the populace originally hanging around in 2027.

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