Study examines how much video game characters would earn in the real world, accidentally finds cops are overpaid

A recent study of how much money various video game characters would earn in the real world found that cops are actually some of the highest paid in our society. The fact that police officers figure so prominently in the study should come as no surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with video game characters.

The study was conducted by a gaming platform called Solitaired. The methodology employed by the company was to examine the average salaries received by people working in a variety of different occupations. “Video game character information was used to determine each character’s occupation,” the study established. “The averages for each salary were taken from the Salary Expert, Indeed, or Federal Pay comparison tool, then ranked from highest to lowest.”

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The study in question “examined some of the world’s most iconic video game characters and calculated how much each would earn if they landed their dream job in the real world.” This involved basing “character earnings on data from salary comparison sites as well as publicly available pay brackets to find an average annual salary for over 50 video game characters.”

The top ten earners according to the study were Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2, a CEO earning $432,524 followed by Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, Albert Wesker from Resident Evil, Alex Mason from Call of Duty, Max Payne from Max Payne, Cole Phelps from LA Noire, Gordon Freeman from Half-Life, Arthur Morgan from Red Dead Redemption 2, Mortimer Goth from The Sims, and Isaac Clarke from Dead Space. It’s worth noting how half of these video game characters are either actual cops or something very similar.

Virologist Albert Wesker would only earn slightly more than Detective Max Payne at $117,557 versus $98,600. “Having earned a doctorate in virology at age 17, Wesker began training at Umbrella Pharmaceuticals and later transferred to Arklay Laboratory as a senior researcher working on the T-Virus project following the disbandment of his training school.” Max Payne, meanwhile, “began his law enforcement career in the 1990s working for the New York Police Department as a detective before joining fellow Drug Enforcement Administration colleague Alex Balder in the Valkyr drug case following the brutal murder of his wife and daughter in 1998”.

The lowest paid workers are unsurprisingly retail and service workers, a fact that says a lot about our society. These include Assassin’s Creed’s Desmon Miles, a bartender earning $27,802, and Street Fighter’s Ryu, a martial arts instructor earning $28,212. “Desmond, who comes from a long line of assassins, used his training to hitchhike to New York where he worked as a bartender at Bad Weather before his eventual capture,” says the ‘study. As for Ryu, the character “made his first appearance in Capcom’s original Street Fighter game in 1987 and although his name roughly translates to ‘abundant’ in Japanese, the same cannot be said for his expected salary. “.


There were a few high-skilled jobs at the bottom of the list. The study, for example, ranked Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft “twenty-seventh, earning a salary of $54,690 as a British archaeologist.”

This follows a movement to defund the police which began after the killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin on March 25, 2020. While the world was in turmoil over the incident, there was little institutional change in during this time.

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