Please note: though it may seem obvious from the subject matter of this article, this piece contains some spoilers to some video games. You have been warned.
These are very powerful words in any form of media, be it the end of a song, the end of a book, a TV show, a movie or indeed – a video game.
Much like the industry itself over the last forty something years, the endings of video games have changed, they have evolved over time Gone are the days of the ending to a game being an afterthought, once upon an 8-bit time simply getting to the end of the game was deemed as ‘The End’ Saving the princess and defeating the bad guy in the process was admittedly not as satisfying as the actual journey through the game (I have more memories of the levels inside Super Mario World 3 than of the ending itself) but they were acceptable endings. Unfortunately as with the evolution of any fan base, acceptable simply isn’t good enough these days and we as gamers demand more from our games, we want to be taken of a spectacular journey, made to feel emotionally connected with the characters and finally, when the dust of the spectacular ending has played out and the credits roll, be left with an overall feeling of satisfaction.
That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
Well, when you think about it, no it isn’t. we want to feel part of the experience, like when you read an extremely involving book or watch an especially engrossing movie, sometimes you want to simply get lost in the atmosphere of the media and become part of the developers vision.
Unfortunately, not unlike the movie industry, for every blockbuster, heart-string tugging epic video game out there, there are literally dozens of straight-to-TV alternatives.
But today I want to focus on endings specifically rather than comparing the video game and film industry side by side. What makes a good ending? It’s a simple question with limitless answers. I’ve found that several factors all come into pla hen you consider a games ending.