On Endings

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On Endings

Wherein Yahtzee has a tough time finding games that actually have a decent ending.

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seems like games have always had huge problems with endings, back in the day allot of games just had a splash screen with the words game over, some didnt even have credits

That was one of the reasons I like the stories of most Final Fantasy games. The beginning and ending are usually awesome and epic. I will usually forget the middle bits, but the beginning and ending stick with me.

endings ARE important, thats why whenever i come up with a story, i have a definite "THE END" at the end, if i want to leave room for a sequel, then i end it with a lot of characters still alive/not changed from what they were in the beginning, but there is still a definite end to the specific story i was trying to tell in the beginning

i hated Halo 2 for leaving me on the damn cliff-hangar it did...

there have been more thatn a few games i never actually finished, so i would have said the starts are often more important...

Aside on multiple endings:

You're absolutely right that no ending should feel like the "proper" ending. Valkyrie Profile 1 for the PS1 had a incredible ending... if you got the A one. Most people got the B ending (which amounted to about 5 text boxes followed by rolling credits) since the REAL ending required the player to jump through ridiculous hoops.

I enjoyed the three endings of singularity as well, as I hated MW2 and BF:BC2 endings.
The single player experience is starting lo lack a good proper ending, heck, even the Mario 3 ending that was a cock slap was better than those two I mentioned.

Bioshock had a very satisfying good ending.
Half Life 2 had a creepy ending but good nonetheless
SC Conviction's ending was awesome

AC2's ending was just shallow

Well, the endings in the Oddworld series were pretty good, with bad endings that were a little lacking but darkly funny and realy ones with humour and a lighter note. The Breath of Fire series nomrally had good endings and there are others. I think that many modern games seem to keep thing open ended, in case of a follow-up.

Two words
Halo Reach.
Oh I forgot you hate Halo.
Well play it anyway!

I always felt the best endings were the ones that boiled the narrative into prospective, and ended with a sense of closure. I mean you can still have a "to be continued" at the end without it seeming cheap as long as the feeling that you finished something, or feel like the story went somewhere even if it didn't end. After all many movies, and tv shows have done that, and still gave us some form of closure at the end of their run time.(granted there are many exceptions *cough* Lost *cough*)

You know from what i hear from my friends who play singularity they all said you end up being the asshole no matter what you do! XD which sounds totally kickass. I'll have to try it when its out for cheap come christmas on steam :D

I recently completed Mass Effect 2 and it has an amazing ending with a plethora of variables.

Worgen:
seems like games have always had huge problems with endings, back in the day allot of games just had a splash screen with the words game over, some didnt even have credits

That's because they didn't having any plot to put an ending on. They have no excuse now.

mParadox:
Bioshock had a very satisfying good ending.
Half Life 2 had a creepy ending but good nonetheless
SC Conviction's ending was awesome

AC2's ending was just shallow

BioShock just peters out, it doesn't really end.
Agreed.
It was good, but I wouldn't say awesome.

AC2's ending was poignant, not shallow (not sure if you've got a word mixed up there).

OT: Mafia 2's ending is very odd. It needed 5 more minutes and for Vito to bloody say something.

Mafia and The Sands of Time have my favourite game endings.

Just going back to AC2, cliffhangers are perfectly acceptable if they are handled well like they did in it. AC 1 is an example of a very bad cliffhanger.

mParadox:
Bioshock had a very satisfying good ending.

Not to have a go at you or anything, but someone actually liked the ending(s) to Bioshock?

Yahtzee Croshaw:

It occurred to me to give an example of a fairly mediocre game that nonetheless had a good ending. And for some reason, what came to mind was Singularity. If any game illustrates the "beginning and ending good, middle bit dreary slog" rule, it's Singularity, because I remember quite enjoying the game at the start when things were a bit more BioShock-y and you didn't have fifty game-breaking weapons. But sat the end, while the plot twist was handled a little clumsily, there's three quite satisfying endings depending on your actions in the very last room. You can either shoot the nice scientist and join the evil one to rule the world together; go back in time and shoot yourself to prevent the game's events; or shoot both the scientists and bugger the whole business. Each course of action has a detailed epilogue movie and none of them give the impression of being the "proper" ending, which is how multiple endings should work.

(Excerpt from the article. Naturally.)

Reminds me heavily of Deus Ex's ending(s). Proof that Warren Spector actually did know what the hell he was doing.

What makes PoP: Warrior Within even worse is that the very beginning takes a long hard dump on the ending to Sands of Time.
I haven't played Singularity, but the thought of you actually going back in time to shoot yourself seems interesting. I think good, complicated time travel is something that should be explored in video games.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Now, I do have a fairly good idea of why so many games have disappointing and cut-down endings. For a lot of studios it would be a resource issue. Towards the end of a development cycle all the money for fancy cinematics and voice acting that seemed like so much eight months ago has dribbled down to an amount that would embarrass the snack machine. The ending will certainly feel the chop before the intro does, because the intro is what suckers the players into parting with their disposable income, and once they have your money producers couldn't give a shit about whether you leave the experience feeling enriched or not. And of course when it comes to make the ending all the actual developers will be tired and miserable and anticipating getting fired once the big project is complete. Well, they are if they live in Brisbane, apparently.

I'm pretty sure it's the sequel monster and it's little brother, the DLC imp, that are to blame. Wrapping things up properly means that there's less incentive for players to buy the next episode. As I was just saying, it's this very thing that stopped me from buying Alan Wake.

seditary:

Not to have a go at you or anything, but someone actually liked the ending(s) to Bioshock?

Ja. What too weird? :P

Woodsey:

AC2's ending was poignant, not shallow (not sure if you've got a word mixed up there).

Just going back to AC2, cliffhangers are perfectly acceptable if they are handled well like they did in it. AC 1 is an example of a very bad cliffhanger.

Thanks for that. Couldn't find a better word for it.

AC2's ending was fine in retrospect and yes, AC's ending was a horrible cliffhanger with a very long credits list.

Atmos Duality:

Yahtzee Croshaw:

snip

(Excerpt from the article. Naturally.)

Reminds me heavily of Deus Ex's ending(s). Proof that Warren Spector actually did know what the hell he was doing.

Warren Spector didn't write them, did he? I heard he designed the game, and hadn't written it.

Also, yahtzee here is bumping against a big point without really addressing it:
Who the fuck gives away their best work for a multimillion dollar earning project,
while being paid 40 k a year? Nobody. They clock in, repeat the prescribed techniques and go home.

imnotparanoid:
Two words
Halo Reach.
Oh I forgot you hate Halo.
Well play it anyway!

Halo 3 actually has one of the best endings I've ever seen in a video game.

"Wake me when you need me."

The legendary hero, sleeping until the day he is needed again. Very King Arthur-ish. It also bookends the beginning of the first game nicely.

I kind of get what the ending of AC2 was trying to do. It was supposed to provide some sort of bridge between the time you spent as Ezio and the future with Desmond. So presumably you'll play as Desmond in AC3. But it doesn't make the ending any less infuriating. I just don't see how stabbing a bunch of Templars is going to restore Earths magnetic field or whatever the fuck it was. Is the universe going to be happy once you've met a certain stabbing quota and save the world.

Bottom line: fuck you AC2 ending. good game, shitty ending

BloodSquirrel:

imnotparanoid:
Two words
Halo Reach.
Oh I forgot you hate Halo.
Well play it anyway!

Halo 3 actually has one of the best endings I've ever seen in a video game.

"Wake me when you need me."

The legendary hero, sleeping until the day he is needed again. Very King Arthur-ish. It also bookends the beginning of the first game nicely.

Oh I agree, but Reaches was just so sad and stuff, I was deppressed.
(admitedly only for a few miuites but I am bloody hard to depress)

The Bioshock 2 DLC "Minerva's Den" had one of the best game endings I've experienced in a good while, so I'd recommend that if you haven't played it already. It's better than the main game itself.

And Final Fantasy games, however sometimes agonizing, usually have really good endings (I'm thinking 10 in particular, for me at least).

AC2 had a shitty ending that tried to connect the time you spent as Ezio to Desmond and the future. I get that they had to somehow tie everything to Desmond, but how did that shit make any sense and left me pissed off. The game was good but the ending left me staring at the screen for an hour thinking "really, thats how you want to go out?" Seriously though, how is Desmond supposed to solve this problem. How can he and his scientist buddies restore Earths magnetic field or whatever it was? No amount of stabbing Templars in cool ways is going to fix that (unless the universe had a specific stabbing quota that Desmond must meet before it decides not to destroy the planet).

Bottom line: great game, terrible ending. How the hell are they gonna pull AC3 off?

also halo, but who cares about the story in that game anyway

oranger:

Who the fuck gives away their best work for a multimillion dollar earning project,
while being paid 40 k a year?

Somebody who hopes that penning a really good story will help them make it big. Writers, in general, do not make a lot of money. Writing is a lot like acting: tons of people want to do it, and are willing to work a day job while they try to make it. Most of them will never be able to make a living off of it. The ones who do know that there is a horde of people willing to take their spot if they don't work hard enough to keep it.

Yea endings are important to the story, but, in my opinion, the story isn't all that important to the game. Most people play games to have fun and.....play a game. When's the last time you turned on a game and said "Oh my god I can't wait to find out what happened to so and so at the thingy majig?" (I don't think I've ever had such a reason to start playing) Even in games that have amazing stories start to finish, the story is second to the gameplay. I'd much rather have an insanely epic and challengeing final boss fight followed by credits and a game over screen than a nice neat literary ending.

oranger:

Atmos Duality:

Yahtzee Croshaw:

snip

(Excerpt from the article. Naturally.)

Reminds me heavily of Deus Ex's ending(s). Proof that Warren Spector actually did know what the hell he was doing.

Warren Spector didn't write them, did he? I heard he designed the game, and hadn't written it.

I'm pretty sure he had at least some say in the endings, seeing how each one revolves around taking divergent actions in game.
And my correlation still stands with or without Warren Spector.

A great example of mediocre games with good endings is PoP, Warrior Within... if you don't get all the weapon upgrades you kill the Empress (the original, mildly evil goal) and you're OK. If you get the final sword, you can be the nice guy and kill the demon that's been hunting you the whole game. Both are good endings, in spite of the game's other faults

Only got to read the Singularity bit, but while the endings were interesting, I'm not sure I feel they were well done. What dulled their effectiveness for me was that three such wildly different conclusions come about from ONE decision made in the closing minutes of the game. It's not like Fallout or even Marvel Ultimate Alliance, where it's the choices you make throughout the game that determine the ending.

It's just strange to see "moral" endings in a game where there are no moral choices to be made until the very end. You can't really play the game as a nice guy or a jerk. All your missions are the same, and you don't get to deviate to help the old lady cross the street or drive over her. So the endings are cinematic, about some character who isn't "you"; you don't feel like you've really influenced or "deserved" the ending you got, aside from that one big decision at the end.

No doubt this wasn't the first game to do this, and I'm sure I've even played other games where this happened, but Singularity is the most recent, and the only one I can recall right now.

imnotparanoid:
Two words
Halo Reach.
Oh I forgot you hate Halo.
Well play it anyway!

I have a feeling he's going to be reviewing that game soon. And he's probably going to despise it.

Good article. Shame about the ending. ;)

I can think of another mediocre game that nonetheless had a good ending: Half-Life 2. Eat that, Yahtzee.

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