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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, if they existed in the real world, we check out research into the video game characters with the best paid jobs!

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Video Game Characters Jobs

Forget the daily grind and minimum wage woes! In the vibrant world of video games, some characters are living the dream with salaries that would make Scrooge McDuck blush. From corporate overlords wielding intergalactic riches to master thieves raking in pirate treasure, we’re diving into the Forbes list of fictional fortune. Hold onto your controllers, folks, because we’re about to discover the video game characters who’ve cracked the code to financial freedom, leaving us mere mortals green with envy (or pixelated green, I suppose).

So, whether you’re a plumber yearning for more than leaky pipes or a warrior tired of rusty swords and meager rations, strap yourselves in as we unveil the top earners of the gaming universe. Get ready for jetpacks, spaceships, and bank accounts so fat they’d make Bowser jealous. This is The Video Game Characters With The Best Paid Jobs, where reality takes a backseat to pixelated prosperity! Let’s game on!

Game enhancement provider SecureCheats looked at some of the world’s most iconic video game characters and calculated how much each would earn if they landed their real-world dream job. They based character earnings on data from salary comparison sites as well as publicly available pay bands to find an average yearly salary for more than 50 video game characters. 

Video Game Characters With The Best Paid Jobs

1. Handsome Jack, Borderlands 2

At the top spot is Borderland’s narcissistic bad-guy, Handsome Jack, who would take home an eye watering £333,043 per year as the ruthless CEO of Hyperion Corporation, a powerful mega-corporation that exploits Pandora’s resources and inhabitants. He oversees everything from mining operations to security forces, making him the undisputed ruler of the planet (at least, initially).

While Hyperion Corp is fortunately yet to be founded, it seems only fitting that as the fictional president of an intergalactic weapons manufacturer and supplier, Jack would take home such a huge paycheck. 

2. Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 

In at second place is Metal Gear Solid’s eye-patch sporting Solid Snake, who would take home an impressive salary of £107,517 per year as a Special Forces Soldier for the US Army. Snake excels at breaching heavily guarded locations, utilizing stealth, subterfuge, and his extensive training in CQC (close quarters combat) to navigate past laser grids, security cameras, and enemy patrols. He’s a chameleon, blending in with soldiers, using disguises, and exploiting environmental clues to avoid detection.

Snake, who boasts an impressive military career, was initially inducted into the Green Berets during his teenage years before later joining Big Boss’ special forces unit, FOXHOUND, meaning he would be substantially compensated for his acquired specialist skills. 

3. Albert Wesker, Resident Evil 

In third place is Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker, who would earn a salary of £90,519 per year as a virologist. Having graduated at 17 with a doctorate in Virology, Wesker starts as a rising star in Umbrella Corporation, a bioengineering giant obsessed with viral warfare. He heads the t-Virus project, responsible for developing the virus that triggers the zombie apocalypse. His official job is to unlock the secrets of human evolution through viral manipulation, but his true motives are far more sinister. 

Wesker injects himself with the t-Virus, granting him superhuman strength, speed, and healing abilities. He becomes a living weapon, a twisted testament to his own research. His transformation fuels his desire for domination, blurring the lines between scientist and monster.

4. Alex Mason, Call of Duty 

In fourth place is Call of Duty veteran and fan favorite, Alex Mason. Mason is unlikely to have trouble remembering these numbers, as he stacks up an impressive £82,317 per year as an Intelligence Analyst for the CIA.

Mason, who makes his first appearance as the main playable character in Call of Duty: Black Ops, joined the CIA Operation 40 squad in 1958 and continued to carry out several missions for the CIA despite his imprisonment and brainwashing at Vorkuta. 

5. Max Payne, Max Payne 

In fifth place is the titular action avenger Max Payne, who would earn £75,922 per year as a police detective in New York City. Early on, Max was a dedicated and skilled NYPD detective in the 1990’s who went undercover within the Punchinello crime family to investigate the Valkyr drug, a street drug linked to his wife and baby daughter’s murder. This role involved navigating the treacherous underworld, playing both sides of the fence, and gathering evidence while remaining undetected.

Unfortunately, Max’s mission takes a devastating turn. His cover is blown, leading to a shootout where his family is murdered by a corrupt cop working for the mob. This event shatters Max, leaving him scarred and consumed by grief and vengeance.

Richest Video Game Characters on The Table Read Magazine
Best and Worst Paid Video Game Characters

Video Game Characters With The Worst Paid Jobs

1. Pac-Man, Pac-Man 

At the bottom of the list, Pac-Man take the spot as the lowest earner, with a salary of just £15,916 per year as a security guard in Japan – where the character first debuted. While the creators don’t specify that Pac-Man has a job per se, the role seems fitting given the Namco classic shows the yellow sprite navigating through mazes trying to get rid of unwanted ghost intruders. 

2. Link, Legend of Zelda 

Second from the bottom is Legend of Zelda’s hero and protagonist, Link, who would earn only £19,661 per year as a knight – if the job were to still exist. A knight was paid an average of two shillings per day during the 1200s, which means that Link would take home just over £19k when taking into consideration currency conversions and increases in inflation. 

3. Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy VII 

The third lowest earner is Cloud Strife from the Final Fantasy series who would earn £19,964 per year as a Private First-Class Soldier in the US Army. Cloud was unsuccessful in joining SOLDIER, instead becoming a Shinra infantryman, hence justifying the lower pay band for our sword wielding fighter. 

4. Desmond Miles, Assassin’s Creed    

As the fourth lowest earner in the list, Assassin’s Creed’s modern day main character, Desmond Miles, would earn just £21,408 per year as a bartender in New York City. Desmond, who is the descendant of a long line of assassins, used his training to hitchhike to New York City, where he worked as a bartender at Bad Weather before his eventual capture. 

5. Ryu, Street Fighter 

At fifth from the bottom is the main character of the Street Fighter series, Ryu, who would bring home just £21,723 as a martial arts instructor in Japan. Ryu made his first appearance in Capcom’s original Street Fighter game in 1987, and while his name roughly translates to ‘plentiful’ in Japanese, the same cannot be said for his expected salary. 

Honorable Mentions 

Some character earnings meant that they ranked elsewhere in the list, however some are so iconic that it would be a shame to miss them out entirely. 

Given Super Mario’s Italian heritage, he would earn a salary of £32,895 working as a plumber in Italy, ranking him 41st in the list. Elsewhere in Europe, Tomb Raider’s female lead Lara Croft ranks 27th, earning a salary of £41,998 working as a British archaeologist. 

While Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t currently on the job hunt, based on his ability to run at supersonic speeds, it is only fitting that he would earn a salary of £36,592 as a professional athlete. Although he may have to wait a few years before he is eligible to earn, as the creators suggest he is only 15 years old. 

Pokémon’s Pikachu would be perfectly suited to a job as a detective given his latest movie role, earning him £37,282 per year – although considering his element type, he would also make for a great electrician. His trainer and best friend, Ash Ketchum, would just top Pikachu’s earnings, taking home £41,327 as a Research Fellow for Professor Cerise. 


Salary Expert, Indeed, Federal Pay, Army UK  


In game information on video characters was used to determine each character’s occupation. Averages of each salary were taken from Salary Expert’s comparison tool, Indeed or Federal Pay and then ranked from highest to lowest. 

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