It’s all about choice
For many people, a video game having multiple endings will warrant it as ‘acceptable’
From the classic variations on the ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ endings similar to the Silent Hill titles or Bioshock, to the complex decisions and choices that decided one of the (at least) 12 different endings in the timeless RPG, Chrono Trigger. There will always be people who want their own unique ending.
And this is a good thing, being able to say “What happened in your game?” to someone and there being a chance of a different answer from someone who has just played the exact same game as you is a thrilling prospect and one that works well.
Even recent games such as Pikmin (2001) and Dead Rising (2006) took your overall performance throughout the game and presented you with one of multiple endings (three and eight endings respectfully, in case you were wondering)
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line however, it feels like developers have opted for the ‘Button Choice’ method of game endings. Where the game offers you a multitude of choices and moral decisions throughout the story to close the gap between ‘video game’ and ‘video game experience’ but then near the end, offers you clearly defined endings which deflates any sense of uniqueness which you have forged over the last X amount of hours.
Take Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (2007) for example, in which you had a choice of two endings based on your choice during the final mission. More recently, Mass Effect 3 (2012) which gave you up to three paths to physically wander down to choose your ending and in extreme circumstances you even get games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) which ‘literally’ gives you a choice of three different buttons for each ending at the end of the final mission. I can’t help but feel I should patent the name ‘Button Method’ before it becomes an industry buzz word.