Favorite Downer or Bittersweet Endings in Video Games (obvious spoilers)

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CoCage:

Hard to consider Gaiden a "to be continued" when the ending implies Leon is dead. Yes, it's TBC for Barry and the little girl, but once again, even Capcom realized how dumb of an idea it was.

Even if I agreed that the implication was that Leon was dead, as you said, that leaves Barry and Lucia. It's very much "TBC" for them.

Silentpony:

You wanted a downer from Starcraft, try Heart of the Swarm. We spend the entire Wings of Liberty campaign trying to un-Zerg Kerrigan, we succeed, Jim and her get together, and boom! Heart of the Swarm she volunteers to be re-Zerged again and completely breaks Jim and just turns out yeah she's the bad guy. Always was. Go fuck yourself happy ending.

That's a, um, interesting approach at looking at HotS. The Kerrigan there isn't the same one as in BW - certainly not in terms of personality, psyche, or anything like that.

Even if you disagree with the character arc, Brood War ends with "everything is terrible, and it's likely going to get a lot more terrible." HotS ends with Kerrigan having made peace with herself, the potential for the Dominion to be rebuilt, and the looming threat of Amon. There's some bittersweetness there, but it's hardly a downer.

Not many people usually bring these up, but the first 5 Mega Man X games all have very bittersweet/downer endings.

The series really should have ended with X5 as it was originally planned. The future sequels just really take a lot of the impact away from the first 5.

Zeraki:
Not many people usually bring these up, but the first 5 Mega Man X games all have very bittersweet/downer endings.

The series really should have ended with X5 as it was originally planned. The future sequels just really take a lot of the impact away from the first 5.

You can still ignore X6-8 by playing the Mega Man Zero games. Even the Zero series acts as is no other games after X5 happened. You can definitely thank Keiji Inafune for that one, as he has made it clear that he hates the X games post 5. I hate X6 and above because they're so inconsequential. Hell, a majority of fans pretend the rest of the X games never happened.

CoCage:
SNIP

I guess on that note we should bring up the Zero series too?

Heck, the entire Megaman series could be seen as a downer ending since Megaman Legends shows that true humans no longer exist and everyone left is a reploid, humans eventually WERE replaced by robots.

te="Silentpony" post="9.1057693.24327504"]

EvilRoy:
Dark Souls:

The whole game is fairly bittersweet, but the realization of what the game was about that hit me when I met the final boss was surprisingly visceral. The sudden realization that you are only perpetuating a cycle (or ending it, but most people don't get that the first time) that the last douche couldn't even pull off properly, and he was king shit of fuck mountain. It barely feels like a victory knowing that you're just setting up the world for failure.

Well I mean Dark Souls lore. Its either all a joke, doesn't really happen, its all a cycle, nothing matters, time doesn't matter, everyone comes back from the dead, etc...its all nonsense.[/quote]

Too true, but I'm thinking more of my experience with playing the first games without really thinking about how the sequels effected that outlook. I don't even really count DS2 just on the basis of "wut".

Silentpony:
Probably Far Cry 5, 'cause shit's fucked. The canon 'Good' ending is the world is engulfed in Nuclear fire, half your friends died, and you live as a slave or sex slave to Joseph Seed, depending on gender. Bad endings are all manner of you dying, everyone dying, all your friends dying, or you killing all your friends, then becoming a willing servant/sex servant.

So...yeah.

Also 'Oh by the way we infiltrated the Nuclear facilities off screen without your knowledge' is a hell of an ass-pull in the 3rd act. Great game, great story and character, fucked the landing so hard it got pregnant and gave birth to New Dawn.

I loved the fucking ending. Far Cry until now has been such a power fantasy to have the game just punch you in the gut and say "Fuck you, your struggles were all in vain", had me laughing.

Obvious answers of Telltale's The Walking Dead seasons 1 & 2, honorable mention to Mass Effect 3 as well. That damn music can hit you hard.

Elfgore:

Silentpony:
Probably Far Cry 5, 'cause shit's fucked. The canon 'Good' ending is the world is engulfed in Nuclear fire, half your friends died, and you live as a slave or sex slave to Joseph Seed, depending on gender. Bad endings are all manner of you dying, everyone dying, all your friends dying, or you killing all your friends, then becoming a willing servant/sex servant.

So...yeah.

Also 'Oh by the way we infiltrated the Nuclear facilities off screen without your knowledge' is a hell of an ass-pull in the 3rd act. Great game, great story and character, fucked the landing so hard it got pregnant and gave birth to New Dawn.

I loved the fucking ending. Far Cry until now has been such a power fantasy to have the game just punch you in the gut and say "Fuck you, your struggles were all in vain", had me laughing.

Obvious answers of Telltale's The Walking Dead seasons 1 & 2, honorable mention to Mass Effect 3 as well. That damn music can hit you hard.

Far Cry has plenty of downer endings before 5. Hell, the only straight up unambiguous good endings are from Far Cry 1, Instincts (Evolution not so much), and one of the secret endings from 4 you can achieve early in the game. This is nothing new.

CoCage:
Far Cry has plenty of downer endings before 5. Hell, the only straight up unambiguous good endings are from Far Cry 1, Instincts (Evolution not so much), and one of the secret endings from 4 you can achieve early in the game. This is nothing new.

I'd argue to the extent of it, it was. Far Cry 3 ends with you defeating the pirates & mercenaries, though if Jason decides to walk away is up to you. Far Cry 4 is kinda a better example. As you replace one despot with either a religious or immoral despot. Either way you defeat the bad guy. Far Cry 5 has zero endings in which you defeat the bad guy. No matter what his power is still there. None of the possible three endings can be called good. Unlike the others.

Elfgore:

CoCage:
Far Cry has plenty of downer endings before 5. Hell, the only straight up unambiguous good endings are from Far Cry 1, Instincts (Evolution not so much), and one of the secret endings from 4 you can achieve early in the game. This is nothing new.

I'd argue to the extent of it, it was. Far Cry 3 ends with you defeating the pirates & mercenaries, though if Jason decides to walk away is up to you. Far Cry 4 is kinda a better example. As you replace one despot with either a religious or immoral despot. Either way you defeat the bad guy. Far Cry 5 has zero endings in which you defeat the bad guy. No matter what his power is still there. None of the possible three endings can be called good. Unlike the others.

Interestingly, I'd consider the "Jason stays on the island" to be the real ending considering just how well it completes his descent into madness that seems to characterize the islands inhabitants so much. He's given the option to betray and execute his friends for the ultimate power fantasy, to live a life of murder and without rules on a tropical island with the bonus of getting to bang an exotic, dangerous hot girl....who promptly kills him once the sex is finished, because if you hadn't noticed before she's fucking crazy and murdering your friends for sex with a crazy lady ends just as well as you could imagine.

That and the other ending feels very truncated with "I went home but don't think I can adjust".

Elfgore:

CoCage:
Far Cry has plenty of downer endings before 5. Hell, the only straight up unambiguous good endings are from Far Cry 1, Instincts (Evolution not so much), and one of the secret endings from 4 you can achieve early in the game. This is nothing new.

I'd argue to the extent of it, it was. Far Cry 3 ends with you defeating the pirates & mercenaries, though if Jason decides to walk away is up to you. Far Cry 4 is kinda a better example. As you replace one despot with either a religious or immoral despot. Either way you defeat the bad guy. Far Cry 5 has zero endings in which you defeat the bad guy. No matter what his power is still there. None of the possible three endings can be called good. Unlike the others.

Check the two endings for Far Cry 2. It's a no win situation for everyone. Not even The Jackal.

Dalisclock:

Elfgore:

CoCage:
Far Cry has plenty of downer endings before 5. Hell, the only straight up unambiguous good endings are from Far Cry 1, Instincts (Evolution not so much), and one of the secret endings from 4 you can achieve early in the game. This is nothing new.

I'd argue to the extent of it, it was. Far Cry 3 ends with you defeating the pirates & mercenaries, though if Jason decides to walk away is up to you. Far Cry 4 is kinda a better example. As you replace one despot with either a religious or immoral despot. Either way you defeat the bad guy. Far Cry 5 has zero endings in which you defeat the bad guy. No matter what his power is still there. None of the possible three endings can be called good. Unlike the others.

Interestingly, I'd consider the "Jason stays on the island" to be the real ending considering just how well it completes his descent into madness that seems to characterize the islands inhabitants so much. He's given the option to betray and execute his friends for the ultimate power fantasy, to live a life of murder and without rules on a tropical island with the bonus of getting to bang an exotic, dangerous hot girl....who promptly kills him once the sex is finished, because if you hadn't noticed before she's fucking crazy and murdering your friends for sex with a crazy lady ends just as well as you could imagine.

That and the other ending feels very truncated with "I went home but don't think I can adjust".

This sounds pretty familiar to Noah Caldwell-Gervais's critique on YouTube about this game. I'd recommend it! Seems up your alley.

Dalisclock:
Interestingly, I'd consider the "Jason stays on the island" to be the real ending considering just how well it completes his descent into madness that seems to characterize the islands inhabitants so much.

I think there's two levels on which the final choice operates.

Firstly, I don't think the narrative paints the islanders as crazy. Even if we dismiss the actual magic and mysticism as just drugs, they still have a way of life and a culture which is obviously working out for them. They're generally presented to us as noble savages, as people who can offer a kind of meaning and realness which the modern, civilised world has lost. I mean, imagine Jason going home and going back to photocopying or flipping burgers. The island gave him a purpose and a chance to express a part of his nature which his own civilised society was never going to tolerate.

One of the people who worked on the game described the story as "anti-Avatar", James Cameron's Avatar being another noble savage/white saviour narrative. The ending is clever (or cleverish, there's a lot of things wrong with the game's weird messaging and politics which kind of prevent me praising it too highly for having some woke anti-colonial message) because it subverts expectations. We've seen this kind of story before, we know it ends with Jason being heralded as some kind of saviour and superior being, combining the best qualities of civilisation and savagery. Instead, Jason dies, because he is still an outsider. He is just another outsider wanting to control and rule this society to satisfy the inadequacies of his own civilised life. Maybe achieving that should not be something which is narratively assumed.

Secondly, there's a meta level to this because the player is put into the role of Jason. The player is playing this game to escape their civilized life, to murder virtual people and to generally indulge fantasies which would be horrific to ever act on in reality. The player will likely end up identifying with Jason because they have similar motivations, they're both enjoying the power fantasy.

I think it says a lot that the game can present you with a choice to murder your character's friends simply because they stand in the way of your power fantasy and have that appear reasonable. Escapism or not, I'm not sure that's something a player should ever be allowed to feel entirely comfortable with, so I sort of enjoyed it on that level too.

I think there should have been a middle ending in Far cry 3 where you had saved your friend and killed the shaman priest girl but then just replace her as the head of the islander and stayed on the island (a kind of ultimate power fantasy). Cause I agree the leave the island ending just doesn't work with the rest of the game, but I ended up picking it cause I didn't see any reason why Jason would kill all his friend and never liked the shaman women (plus it was kinda obvious she was going to kill you if you stayed).

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