7 votes

The problem with multiple endings in video games

2 comments

  1. hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm not super crazy about this video, but I do think it summarizes this issue very well, with "this issue" being player choice and gameplay not being managed well in how they affect a game's...

    I'm not super crazy about this video, but I do think it summarizes this issue very well, with "this issue" being player choice and gameplay not being managed well in how they affect a game's story.

    Dishonored honestly left me feeling exhausted by the time I completed the first game, because I had spent an exorbitant amount of time save-scumming and playing stealthily to get the "good" ending.

    While I really enjoyed the Metro and Mass Effect games, and will definitely play the Mass Effect remasters when they release, both of these trilogies also had me feeling a sort of weight or burden while playing. As if I needed to approach situations in a specific way to secure the result that I wanted, and the "optimal" approach did not always line up with what I actually (morally) felt like doing.

    Not to really spoil anything about any of these three series, but you get the good endings by doing good things, and the bad endings by doing bad things, or even just not doing the good things.

    I think this is lazy, or at least basic, game design.

    First, no individual player is going to universally agree with the developers on which actions or choices are "good" or "bad", or which ending they should lead to.

    Second, and even worse, is that a lot of these choices in these games don't even actually have a reason for affecting their endings other than they were programmed to do so as a system in the game.

    Honestly, these kinds of arbitrary, story deciding systems just should not exist.

    Having multiple endings is pretty great, but they should not be "bad" or "good", because then players will adhere to a specific play style, trying to secure a specific ending (and it will overwhelmingly be the "good" ending). Even if the players don't know the details of an ending, just that it is the "good" or "bad" ending, they will still optimize their playing to get that ending (and if they are like me, it will be a detriment to their overall experience).

    Instead, endings should be logical conclusions of the choices and actions of the player throughout the game. There should not be "good" and "bad" meters that the player has to fill up in order to get a specific ending, instead the story should just build on itself as a natural result of consequences.

    He talks about it in the context of worldbuilding instead of storytelling, but Shamus Young's video (or article) on Mass Effect and its "domino worldbuilding" is pretty great:

    8 votes
  2. hungariantoast
    Link
    Before you watch, you should know that this video has spoilers for the endings of tons of games, including Mass Effect 3 and Dishonored, and spoils other minor details from games like Prey.

    Before you watch, you should know that this video has spoilers for the endings of tons of games, including Mass Effect 3 and Dishonored, and spoils other minor details from games like Prey.

    7 votes