Cold Coffee: Crappy Endings

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bill-swift - September 13, 2012

Storytelling is a difficult skill to master. I'll admit right off the bat that it's not one of the easiest parts of making a game. It takes a shitload of time and a lot of true effort to make a story really captivate audiences. I get that, I really do. That being said, what is the deal with some of these putrescent excuses for endings in video games?

Games are meant to be enjoyed; they're tools of amusement that are constantly advancing as time goes on. In the beginning, all we needed was a few flashing lights and the ability to move something on the screen with a joystick in our hand and we were ecstatic, like the cavemen discovering fire, but as the decades have passed, the demand for quality games is constantly growing. How do you make a quality game? You make an intriguing narrative and paint it with a beautiful skin. There's obviously much more to a video game but that's what it all really boils down to. The gamers of today want a good story in a visually stimulating experience. The story is the real backbone of a lot of these games so it just completely ruins the experience when part (or all) of that story falls flat in any way.

Anyone can have an idea for a story and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to start progressing that story and filling in the gaps but it takes a true storyteller to be able to put an ending that satisfies their audience and wraps everything up in a nice little bow. Regardless, if you're making anything even close to a AAA game, I'm allowed to assume that you have those true storytellers working for you and not the company janitor whom said he'd do it for $50.

We've all experienced these atrocities; you're playing through this enjoyable game. There've been twists and turns and all sorts of good story points and then you finally reach the last couple hours and you know the end is coming. You're excited, you're ready and…you're completely let down in every way possible. While there are tons of examples to choose from, the one I'll use is one that has always stuck out in my mind was Resistance 2. Playstation's counter attack to Xbox's Gears of War was the better of the two in my book. I absolutely loved the first one and when I heard about the main character's whole ‘ticking time bomb' aspect of his alien infection made me really anticipate how his story would end. He figured he'll die within days due to the virus but in the back of your mind you know he'll find the cure at the last second. I mean, who kills off the main character midway through a trilogy? Resistance does, apparently. Nathan Hale being shot in the face followed by a black screen; that's what I was greeted with for completing my perilous journey against time to try and fight back against the alien invaders. Thanks guys. I haven't played a Resistance game since…

These endings suck! They leave us with a sour taste in our mouths regardless of how great the rest of the game may have been. I get trying to be bold and different but sometimes stories just need to end certain ways. We have absolutely no way of knowing how a game will end until we either try it ourselves or ruin it with spoilers so please…cut this shit out. If you're making a video game, hire an actual writer who can really do your creation justice or face leaving a permanent mark of disappointment on it.

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