To be continued… maybe, if we ever make a sequel, which we probably won’t.
There’s nothing worse than a bad ending. Endings have been spoiling the fun in entertainment media for years- books, films, TV shows, and yes, video games. A good ending can elevate any kind of experience, but on the flipside, a bad ending can ruin a perfectly good game- and make a bad one even worse.
But this feature isn’t about bad endings per se- not exactly. No, it’s about the tropes that writers in our industry (and many others) resort to and eventually end up delivering unsatisfactory conclusions. So without further ado, let’s take a look at ten tropes for video game endings that we’re all starting to get tired of.
IT WAS ALL A DREAM
Picture this: you’ve spent hours and hours playing a game, you’re invested in its story and characters, in the central mystery, and you’ve been waiting to find out just what the hell is going on, and how it’s all going to turn out. Only, when you get to the end, the game goes “whoops! It was all a dream! None of this actually happened and you wasted your time!”
Not only is it deflating, it’s also been done so much, it’s just become a tired old trope. This happened with one of the endings in Silent Hill: Homecoming, where the entire game was just a delusion by a mental patient, it happened with Super Mario Bros. 2 for seemingly no good reason, it happened with Final Fantasy 10, where the entire game wasn’t a dream, but certain central characters were (only they became real thanks to their own actions). Of course, not all “it was all a dream” endings are bad, and some games are actually able to pull it off very well, like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, or the bonkers Typhon simulation of Prey (2017).