In the majority of games you are a hero, a good guy, and someone who stands for what is right in the world. The journey is all about bringing some good to the world in spite of any real reward for yourself, and it’s a trope that has proved popular time and again.
But then you have those stories where no one is a hero, and instead the various cabal of characters are all as shady as each other, stooping to lows in an effort to further their own gains while damning the majority to some form of hell or another. It’s these people that populate the world of Kane & Lynch Dead Men, and they will watch the world burn if it brings them profit.
You have the two lead men in Kane & Lynch, both death row inmates, who are busted out by a group known as The 7, not because they’re altruists who believe the death penalty is wrong, but because of money. You see The 7, led by The Brothers, believe that Kane stole money from them, so they break him out to get it back. What follows is a tale of robbery, psychosis, revenge and redemption that turns Kane against The 7 and fighting them. However, it isn’t the pair’s story that is the focus here, it’s The Brothers.
In a sense these two are gods of war who profit from the carnage caused by two sides who feel they simply cannot coexist. It’s not a secret that many do this, but what makes a god of war and rise above being labelled a lord of war is how they operate. A lord might supply arms in a war that has already broken out, but a god will seek to pour fuel on simmering tensions and watch as everything goes up in flames.
It’s a psychopathic mindset that is held by The 7, because they wish to cause war wherever they can just to fill their pockets. This is a mind which sees a place that could be guided to the path of peace given time and encouragement, but decides to introduce some factor into the area to find the long term profits of a conflict. In some circles that itself could be considered a form of terrorism, but the game would be a lot more controversial if that connection was made early on.
The Brothers probably don’t lose much sleep over this and that’s what makes them some particularly evil villains. They want money, they come to the conclusion that starting wars is a good investment, and then they do just that. At no point before that first job did they stop and turn back because of the potential suffering they were about to unleash, and once the money started rolling in, what did The Brothers care? Even during the events of Dead Men, they cast out their own people if they believe they’re no longer useful to them and will not hesitate to kill them either.
If you’re one of The Brothers, the way you see the world is vastly different to the person whose home was torn up by a tank. The world is already a place of despair, where different groups of people fight each other over the smallest of things. Why not start a full blown conflict in these areas already instead of tiptoeing around and waiting for years?
You can easily get a war started, make some money out of it and make sure that the victors remember who helped them to the top. In a way The Brothers may see the work they do as necessary to the balance of the universe, and yet the universe capriciously allows Kane and Lynch to kill them both.
Though The Brothers may be over the top caricatures they are representative of parties in real world politics that throughout history have sparked conflict somewhere in a way to bring about benefit for themselves. Various coups d’état to more modern military conflicts and situations all have a few people behind them influencing events through the power of speech, money or both. Kane & Lynch Dead Men was about a lot more than just money, it was about the seemingly unreal amounts of power that people can wield.