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Game Endings Going Out of Style? 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-be-continued dept.
An article in the Guardian asks whether the focus of modern games has shifted away from having a clear-cut ending and toward indefinite entertainment instead. With the rise of achievements, frequent content updates and open-ended worlds, it seems like publishers and developers are doing everything they can to help this trend. Quoting: "Particularly before the advent of 'saving,' the completion of even a simple game could take huge amounts of patience, effort and time. The ending, like those last pages of a book, was a key reason why we started playing in the first place. Sure, multiplayer and arcade style games still had their place, but fond 8, 16 and 32-bit memories consist more of completion and satisfaction than particular levels or tricky moments. Over the past few years, however, the idea of a game as simply something to 'finish' has shifted somewhat. For starters, the availability of downloadable content means no story need ever end, as long as the makers think there's a paying audience. Also, the ubiquity of broadband means multiplayer gaming is now the standard, not the exception it once was. There is no real 'finish' to most MMORPGs."
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Game Endings Going Out of Style?

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  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @07:39AM (#30748906) Journal

    For MMOs, I think this is forgivable. After all, they're supposed to be persistent worlds. That said, a competent MMO developer will set up storylines for players to work through (either at their own pace, or a pace forced by in-game world events). The two MMOs I've played both do this; WoW and Final Fantasy XI. I understand that the real masters in this field are Codemasters, with Lord of the Rings Online, but a variety of other factors have always kept me away from that game. Interestingly, I understand that Blizzard will actually be adding a proper ending cutscene in the next WoW patch, for guilds that manage to take down Arthas. Given this will be the culmination of a major plot arc that kicked off years ago in Warcraft 3, I heartily approve.

    For non-MMO story-based, however, I do want a story with a definite beginning, middle and end. This isn't to say that the game can't continue after the story has ended; I much preferred the way the Broken Steel DLC allowed you to continue exploring the Capital Wastelands in Fallout 3, after you'd beaten the original game and the continuation story. However, if your game has a story, that story needs an ending, even if this ending is open enough to allow for continuation.

    My real bug-bear are the games which eschew a real ending because they're angling for a sequel (or even an entire franchise), but never deliver on this. In my opinion, unless you already have funding in place for a sequel, you should avoid tagging a cliff-hanger ending onto your game. Doesn't mean you can't continue the story later if you want to; look at the first Star Wars movie - it has a perfectly satisfactory ending in itself, but still allowed for sequels. Then with funding secure, Empire was able to have an appropriate cliff-hanger ending. But if your ending is "the real story is just beginning" and then you never do continue it, then I'm definitely not impressed.

    It's not just games that suffer from this. So many TV shows are developed these days with the philosophy that you should continue making series until your audience figures fall low enough to shut you down. If there's an ending at all, only a tiny number of ultra-hardcore viewers ever see it. We're being bombarded with stories that have a beginning and an endless middle, but no ending. Sometimes, ending a show can be the best thing that's ever happened to it. I understand this was the case with the original Mobile Suit Gundam, which flew completely below the radar (probably because it wasn't very good) until the staff were told that they were being terminated, at which point they gave it a proper storyline and ending. The result - the show got noticed and went on to become a genuine cultural phenomenon in Japan (and attracted a good bit of nerdly attention in the wider world), with sequels and reimaginings running for decades.

    • So many TV shows are developed these days with the philosophy that you should continue making series until your audience figures fall low enough to shut you down. If there's an ending at all, only a tiny number of ultra-hardcore viewers ever see it. We're being bombarded with stories that have a beginning and an endless middle, but no ending.

      Totally agree with this, and pretty much everything else you said.

      Chuck had a good ending - and it came back!

      • And don't we all appreciate 3 episodes back to back with the last one being the a parter...

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Chuck had a good ending - and it came back!

        Largely the reason why Babylon 5's 5th season sucked so bad (or rather, was well below the standards set by the previous 4). JMS thought that the show was getting cancelled after the 4th season, so he wrapped everything up and had the ending filmed at that season. Then they get approved for another season and he had to try and make a show with completely new plotlines since all the previous ones were wrapped up.

        I must say though, I'd really, really favor a system of financing for shows that sets aside bud

    • I do want a story with a definite beginning, middle and end. This isn't to say that the game can't continue after the story has ended; I much preferred the way the Broken Steel DLC allowed you to continue exploring the Capital Wastelands in Fallout 3, after you'd beaten the original game and the continuation story.

      My favorite like with was Dark Sun: Shattered Lands [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by krou (1027572)
      Completely agree. Sequels should be about fresh ideas and new stories, maybe reusing some old characters, or allowing you to import save data from the old game. Otherwise, what you end up with is the computer game equivalent of some never-ending TV series. It's incredibly frustrating to play through to the end and have no conclusion, and have no real idea whether the end will be in sight at all. At the very least, if a game company plans on angling for the sequel, then make sure you've got the funding to de
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      On the reverse side of Gundam, there's Big O.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_O

      Quite a good science fiction/film noir styleanime about a city where everyone's lost their memories. Toss in giant robots, an interesting cast of friends and villains, and a Bruce Wayne like hero and you've got Big O. (A common jokes about the show is that it's what would've happened if Bruce Wayne had created a giant robot)

      The original season was produced in Japan and ended on a cliffhanger with quite a few unanswered questi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RogueyWon (735973) *

        Yes, getting a bit off the original topic, the anime industry does seem to have a few specific bad habits that it falls into regularly regarding endings (and even middles).

        The most common, of course, is the "shonen power escalator", where a show that might originally have been interesting and quirky (the original Dragon Ball being the classic example, though there are others) eventually boils down to having the (teenaged, male, skilled-in-martial-arts) male lead go through a never-ending cycle of power-ups

        • On the other hand endings are not always necessary and sometimes makes sense to make cliffhangers since the beginning, example, the first Halo ended in cliffhanger before it was obvious the franchise was a hit, but, it was such a short game, it was like the first issue of a comic book, you can't expect each comic book to be auto-conclusive, the idea is that it's ok to spread your stories in several issues because each issue is too short to tell a whole arc. Similarly short games can have cliffhanger endings

    • Sometimes, ending a show can be the best thing that's ever happened to it.

      See "Life on Mars". I only picked up the DVDs cause I knew it would end after ca. 20 episodes (read: deliver a good ending before it bores me to death) The spin of (Ashes to Ashes) was similar enough to be considered season 3&4, but different enough to stand on its own.

    • Stargate (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm (591458)

      One of the things that was perhaps best for the Stargate Atlantis and SG-1 series was that they were fairly faithful to their "meme" throughout the series, and then came to a fairly definitive conclusion.
      OK, well actually in the case of Atlantis the wraith are still out there etc - which might leave room for a movie - but the series was "completed" rather than be allowed to trail off until it was just a murmuring gurgle as it was pulled off life support.
      IMHO, Atlantis was a fairly successful way to "conclud

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pnewhook (788591)

        Love Stargete, and SGU is ok but I think it is trying way to hard to mimic the BSG look and feel.

  • Inaccurate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @07:53AM (#30748972)
    All arcade, most Atari 2600 and some NES games had no ending and consisted of stacking more and more points, until your thumbs bled or the PCB fried. That was the whole fun of it. The old school-way to do it.

    It's when games started telling stories (example, Final Fantasy) that we had elaborate plots and game endings.

    But now with the MMORPG craze, every publisher wants a piece of the action (and profit). Game endings are out, micro payments, subscriptions, DLCs are in.

    It'll be a truly sad day when all we have to play are Disney MMO, Star Wars MMO, Warcraft MMO, Sonic MMO, Tomb Raider MMO, Halo MMO, etc.
    • Re:Inaccurate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlackBloq (702158) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:38AM (#30749200)
      Take Dragon age ... what a piss off! They have some douchebag standing around in the party camp screen. He looks like a dude with something to say but... when you speak to him you realize hat he is only there to get more REAL cash from you for the companies! Right from the start of the game they LOCK OUT content from the storey so you have to pay to play from the start! This is significantly different then making content post game development to add value or dimension or just fun (plate armor for your horse in oblivion) . Whats next is the Nexon model takes over. You can 'buy' all your content (equipment) in game and it expires! Not only that, Maple story sells kids cards that get you in game items and in game cash at 711 stores! I've seen an eleven year old blow $50 in one glee-filled spree of waste. That's like $500 to an adult! And all that stuff expires IE: gets deleted! Well I've got to go buy a tractor for my farm in farmville! see ya!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by krelian (525362)

        The ones you should blame are those who pay for DLC.

        • by delinear (991444)

          It's not necessarily the DLC with Dragon Age that's the problem, I could have lived without that, but the only way to get a "stash" for your equipment is to buy that same piece of DLC. Otherwise you're severely hampered when you're carrying everything you own in game and can't pick up new stuff to sell, in that case you have little choice if you want to get the most from the game.

          Same thing with Borderlands, you have to buy the DLC if you want to have any extra stash space (and even then they've limited it

          • Or you can play Dragon Age on the PC, where there are no less than 4 separate mods to increase your storage space.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)

        I can't wait till WoW implements this as well. You'll see quest givers with a $ over their head instead of an !

      • I've seen an eleven year old blow $50 in one glee-filled spree of waste. That's like $500 to an adult!

        You either received too much money as a kid, or make too little money as an adult.

    • by plover (150551) *

      The Colossal Cave Adventure had an elaborate game ending and it was written in 1972, years before the Atari 2600 was even created. Old school indeed.

      (Of course prior to that we had Hunt the Wumpus and Blackjack, neither of which had a classic story ending.)

      I think you're right regarding the story nature of games being the type that delivered entertaining endings, but I think it took a combination of time, technology and imagination to come up with the idea of a story based game. Craps or Blackjack were ea

    • by rgviza (1303161)

      Inaccurate. Arcade games and 2600 games turned over (space invaders, asteroids etc.) or you finished them (pole position, dragon's lair). PCB's didn't fry.

      Been there, done it. Games you finish came about in the early 80's as a response to long lines at machines and people's capability to turn them over and play them indefinitely. If you could play for 3 days on the same quarter, the machine wasn't making any money. With pole position you finished the race. With Dragon's Lair you rescued the princess.

      Can't

      • by pnewhook (788591)

        Maybe the score counter rolled over but the game itself just got harder and harder (or in some cases maxed out).

        I thenk the article is inaccurate. When I think of 'classic games' I think of pac-man, joust, centipede, galaxia, etc. These were all games where there was no ending at all. The games with clear cut endings came much later.

        • When you got too far in Pac-Man in the arcade, the game glitched and the screen went wonky. Not really a PCB frying, but...

    • most Atari 2600

      Say it with me, old-schoolers...

      FUCK YOU, Sword Quest!!!

  • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @07:54AM (#30748984) Homepage

    My memory of classic games is of games that you'd have to be superhuman to finish.

    Games like Thrust, that do have a set number of levels - but then you play through again with reverse gravity, then with invisible landscapes, then with both at once.

    Or Chuckie Egg, where you end up contending with all the enemies at once, turned invisible.

    Elite didn't stop when you reached Elite status. You could play on and on.

    Yes, there were also games on home computers and 8/16 bit consoles with a beginning, middle and end , and a "Congraturations" page.

    But open ended games came first, and since then it's always been the case that both types of game were out there.

    • What games can you remember that Actually had a decent ending? Most people who buy a single-player game, don't finish them, and when it comes to testing, it's prohibitively more expensive to test the game from beginning to end. In some ways it's better to offer an open-ended sort of game that doesn't end, than a game that ends but hasn't been tested and therefore has some scripting bug that renders the ending unobtanium. I remember when I first started in games, we had a product that we released, the fina
    • Pong and Space Invaders just got faster and faster until you couldn't possibly keep up. No such thing as "finish"; more of a race against clock and record book.

      As noted above, it takes the stylistic move into "telling a story" to need an ending, and that move requires more of a computer and a database. The first games had playing logic but very little memory.
  • So MDK is out and Tetris is in?

  • Old games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:01AM (#30749022)

    Particularly before the advent of 'saving,' the completion of even a simple game could take huge amounts of patience, effort and time. The ending, like those last pages of a book, was a key reason why we started playing in the first place.

    I have a PSP with custom firmware and I went back and played some of those old games and, for me, the "patience, effort and time" needed to play the same damn levels over and over again (because I kept dying at the same key spot!) began to wear very thin very quickly.

    Sometimes I think we look back on old games with too much nostalgia. Whilst there are undoubtedly some really good games, a lot of them were just an exercise in frustration and slow methodical progress - something I don't derive much enjoyment from any more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sometimes I think we look back on old games with too much nostalgia. Whilst there are undoubtedly some really good games, a lot of them were just an exercise in frustration and slow methodical progress - something I don't derive much enjoyment from any more.

      Was anyone else 5 years old when they received their first NES? My parents distinctly remember the frustrated screams of this young child coming from the game room.

      On a positive note, all the exercise in frustration has prepared me for a lucrative career in .NET development.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheAndruu (1475165)
      For a lot of us, we were kids in those times we look back at those old games, and as kids, we had so little other things going on that we could focus our determination on finishing those games. Now other items take priority, like work and family. Plus most kids I knew growing up only had a few games, since you had to wait for birthdays or other holidays to get those games you really wanted. And since our attention was divided among only a few games, we'd often pick our favorite and play it over and over.
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Sometimes I think we look back on old games with too much nostalgia. Whilst there are undoubtedly some really good games, a lot of them were just an exercise in frustration and slow methodical progress - something I don't derive much enjoyment from any more.

      For proof of this, just watch these videos. [cinemassacre.com]

    • I have a PSP with custom firmware and I went back and played some of those old games and, for me, the "patience, effort and time" needed to play the same damn levels over and over again (because I kept dying at the same key spot!) began to wear very thin very quickly.

      Sometimes I think we look back on old games with too much nostalgia. Whilst there are undoubtedly some really good games, a lot of them were just an exercise in frustration and slow methodical progress - something I don't derive much enjoyment

    • by rwv (1636355)

      the "patience, effort and time" needed to play the same damn levels over and over again (because I kept dying at the same key spot!) began to wear very thin very quickly.

      I recall the running jump onto the single block in world 8-1 of Super Mario Bros being a particular nuisance.

      And saving 2 sets of P-Wings for level 8 of Super Mario Bros 3 so I could fly over the stupid gunships.

      But those endings... "Congrats, you saved the Princess" aren't that fulfilling. You just know the Princess is going to get herself captured again. The fulfillment is the journey to get from the beginning to the end. If games do successfully provide that, then let then write a crappy ending an

  • Resale (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grr (15821) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:03AM (#30749026)
    What the article fails to mention is the underlying reason for this: resale. If a gamer finishes the game it is done, a coaster in a pretty box. If the game always has something left to do, whether in the form of downloadable content, achievements, replayability or open endedness, it will retain some value and not end up traded in for a new game quite so soon. The game resale market may seem pretty small (mostly because stores take a huge second profit margin on them), but add to that the number of copies lended to a friend or rented for the weekend. In the end significantly more people will buy their own box if it provides limitless enjoyment.
    In my opinion adding more value to a game is the most customer friendly way to do it. Far better than strong arming stores to not take trade ins or locking installations to hardware, creditcard and so on.
  • by ATestR (1060586) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:06AM (#30749036) Homepage
    Depends on the MMO... The one I am currently playing has LOTS of endings... and also lots of beginnings. As with any good game or story, it is composed of a whole bunch of substories, each of which can (somewhat) stand on its own to some extent, within the framework of the overall game.
  • Small vs. big Ending (Score:5, Informative)

    by mseeger (40923) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:07AM (#30749046)

    The "ending" is not going out of style. But instead of one "grand ending" there are now more smaller ones. While reaching a big ending may be quite satisfying, not all players are able to achieve it with 20-40 hours of gaming time. So several small endings may help them to enjoy games more. If this is good or bad depends on the individual taste.

    I remember from my WoW-times, that killing Ragnaros or Lady Vashji (which were only small endings) for the first time was vastly more satisfying than any other game ending. Small endings does not mean small satisfaction.

    CU, Martin

    • I remember from my WoW-times, that killing Ragnaros or Lady Vashji (which were only small endings) for the first time was vastly more satisfying than any other game ending. Small endings does not mean small satisfaction.

      CU, Martin

      But there were times when those WERE the big endings.

      In fact - if you played a Human when WoW first came out, you had a fully fledged solid storyline. Little people realize this - but the very first questline takes you all the way up to Onyxia! You start in your starter area doing this and that and then he tells you to go here. Then you do the quests there and they tell you to go somewhere else. If you follow those around, and READ the quest logs, its actually a decent storyline.

      Then the one that everyone k

      • by mseeger (40923)

        You're at least partially right... the "ending" felt real big :-). And the lenght of the quest chain was really impressive.

        But it wasn't the end: By the time we defeated Ragnaros, Nefarian already loomed ahead. We eliminated Lady Vashji to get to Mount Hjial.

        It was the feeling of achievment that mattered. And this what the article meant: The biggest achievment may no longer be to "finish" the game. I'm not opposed to this trend. The older i get (now 43), the more casualized kind of gamer i become. Can't hel

    • by GlobalEcho (26240) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:54PM (#30752298)

      instead of one "grand ending" there are now more smaller ones. While reaching a big ending may be quite satisfying, not all players are able to achieve it with 20-40 hours of gaming time. So several small endings may help them to enjoy games more.

      So, you're basically saying the new thing is tantric gaming?

      • by mseeger (40923)
        At least gamers have a tendency towards Buddhism: They get reborn after death and can try the level again.
    • by Plekto (1018050)

      A lot of this is also due to the influence of Asia in our media. Their traditional storytelling has been to have stories not have a big climax or ending but instead to be more of a "chapter" in a person's life or a part of a larger story.(ie - one person's view of a war or something). This of course has caught on in the gaming industry as it allows for easy sequels and tie-ins with other products. IMO, it also makes for a more compelling story as sometimes the good guys don't win and thing's aren't always

  • by Max(10) (1716458) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:08AM (#30749048)

    There is no real 'finish' to most MMORPGs.

    Duke Nukem 3D was one of the last multiplayer games to feature a cool ending [youtube.com]. 3D Realms then decided to set a new trend of never-ending MMORPGs with Duke Nukem Forever. Playing other MMORPGs while waiting for the release of Duke Nukem Forever is the first never-ending MMORPG.

  • Modern endings (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lyinhart (1352173) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:18AM (#30749090)
    One big change in modern game endings is the fact that it doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment to finish a games. Games these days generally have mid-level checkpoints and infinite continues, so there's no satisfaction in reaching the end. You just feel like endlessly grinding to the end. Also, the concept of "completing" a game has changed. Whereas it once meant clearing all the stages in a game, completion might mean unlocking all the game content (e.g. 100% completion levels in Gran Turismo, or getting all the "achievements" in some titles).
    • by Inda (580031)
      It disapoints me. I 'finished' L4D2 in two days; 8 hours of game play and I was gutted. It was a Christmas present from the wife and she looked shocked when I told her. I guess I shouldn't have picked the easy setting...

      These 100% cheevos are often too hard, or require online friends which, at my age, are hard to find.

      Bring back long levels and only 3 lives!
      • On the Xbox at least, this is easy to do:

        Step 1: Join Scavenge mode with your mic on, play with randoms.
        Step 2: Rate the players you encounter...prefer the more mature ones, dislike the screaming 14 yr old.
        Step 3: Add players you come to recognize/come to recognize you.

        Doing this, I've added 3 L4D2 buddies, on top of my RL friends who own the game.

    • Re:Modern endings (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:16PM (#30751736)

      Games these days generally have mid-level checkpoints and infinite continues, so there's no satisfaction in reaching the end.

      For *YOU* there's no satisfaction. Other people have different attitudes about gaming. Me, I hate having to redo an entire level and by the time I get back to the point of fail, I forget what the hell I did wrong the first time.

      The archetype of that, for me, is the quadruple pillar jump in the first Tomb Raider. It was really twitchy, but doable as you figure out the precise sequence of moves. You fail and get sent not back to the entrance of the room, but about two miles away. You had to run back through a completely eventless set of corridors just to try the jumps again. I beat it eventually, but I wanted to hunt down every programmer of the game and punch them all in the face. That's fun? How can that, in any way shape or form, by even the loosest definition, be considered fun?

      Although even that can vary. With Batman Arkham Asylum, even if I beat an area successfully, I would sometimes think "I could have done that better" and go back and replay. But it's at *my* discretion. *I* decide what is fun for me.

      The end user should be treated as king by the developers. I want to save anywhere at any time. I do not want to be subject to someone else's Grand Unified Theory of Gaming Challenge, especially if it's someone whose career is games and they have forgotten what it's like to have a life and career where gaming is just a hobby and time is precious. If you don't like "save anywhere" then DON'T USE IT. Let those of us who have to answer a phone or go to the bathroom have things our way, too.

      I actually hope the next gen of consoles implement a system level game save, sort of like hibernate on Windows, where it just dumps the state of the machine to the hard drive, and it can power up back to that state.

  • You can compare gaming to the movie and TV industry. Games designed with no end in sight are like TV shows whose life is controlled by the interest of the public, where other games with definite endings could be compared to movies. Sure TV shows do give you that feeling of really getting to grips with the characters and the story, and lore.. But who turns down a great Movie for that dose of fast paced intense action? If gaming with set endings ever came to an end, it would truly be a horrible state of aff
  • The article mentioned something about open ended worlds, score grindeing, and top scores.
    This has nothing to do with an ending. If a game has a story (MMOs excepted), it will most likely have a clear cut end of the story, but if you get a chance to continue after the end is a completely different thing. Its called replay value. Take Fallout 3 as an example, it has a clear cut end, but is has a DLC that unlocks gameplay after your done. This is not to continue the story, but rather give you the opportunity t

    • The ending in Fallout 3 annoyed me.

      SPOILER ALERT!
      I didn't realise it was the last mission. I'd just met a radiation-resistant mutant who I got on my side and who has done some missions for me in radioactive areas that I can't access. Then it comes to the last bit and I have to go into a highly radioactive room and will surely die. "Can't you do this bit for me?" I ask my radiation-proof friend. "No," he says, "It is your destiny." And so I die and the story and the game itself end. Couldn't meeting the muta

      • by delinear (991444)
        It's been over a year since I did this but I thought there was a "if you go beyond this point there's no going back" type warning, which generally indicates EndGame ahead? In any case, this is why lots of save points are your friend, I've been stung by this one too many times in the past!
  • Divergence? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by malkavian (9512) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:52AM (#30749288) Homepage

    For some games, I can see that there's no need for an ending (the 'arena' styles). For many (personally, I'm an RPG fan, and love story), there needs to be an end. Or at least a 'volume end', where you can say a subplot has finished, though the world goes on.
    With DLC, I think it may well be that the world does carry on, and producers will make the longer episodic content where the 'end' of the main story still has the characters with 'loose ends' to tie up, and hints that more will be going on.. That will allow greater engine and world reuse, giving more content per release, and longer story arcs than possible with individual releases.
    'Ends' meet a nice psychological satisfaction point. You've seen the trials, tribulations and interplay that creates an end point, and you get to reap the rewards of your endeavours (so, multiple endings should be de-facto these days; play the way you want, and get the reward you deserve). You get the 'payoff' that keeps people striving for something. Nothing wrong with having sequential 'ends' and ongoing subplots, but in a lot of games, certainly for the story minded (which is quite a few), I don't think true 'endless' games, especially in single player, would work that well in the long term..

    • I'm playing Odin sphere right now, and in that game you play through as multiple different characters, and get a different story perspective each time. You even fight different sides of the boss battles in the different storylines--kind of "fighting yourself". So every 10 hours or so, you complete a complete mini-rpg with its own character's storyline, but with an overarching storyline that involves everyone. I thought it was a fresh take on "ending" considering you get to complete a relatively short, thoug
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zerobytes (1607393)
      I'd have to agree with you here. For me, gaming is all about the story and I have yet to find a story that I loved SO much that I didn't want it to end at some point. Harry should finally face off with Voldemort, Luke should finally face his father and save the galaxy, and Mario should finally find the princess. Preferrably, all this should happen before I turn it off because I feel it's wasting my life.

      It seems so many games nowadays will carrot you as long as they can until you leave the franchise
  • Games should be about the journey, -not- the ending. If a bad ending can ruin the entire game for you, then you're playing them wrong.

    Personally, I prefer games that have an 'ending' but then allow you to continue playing anyhow. End of the storyline shouldn't mean end of my playtime. Fallout3 made this mistake, then fixed it with some DLC. There were a -lot- of complaints about the game ending after the final quest.

    • Maybe so, but isn't it the promise of the ending that motivates the journey and gives it meaning?

      Socra^H^H^H^H^HHAL.

  • Credit roll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeanLearner (1639959) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @08:54AM (#30749296)
    Whatever happens, even if they stop doing it right now... I could be playing and finishing games 50 years from now and I will still wait for the credits to finish rolling on the off chance there is something at the end. I will no doubt get that awkward, "so.... do I turn the console off now then or?" feeling as well.
  • But.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by symes (835608) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:00AM (#30749336) Journal
    ..my ADHD stops from getting even close to the end of a
  • This is the ending from Eye of the Beholder, fast forward to 4:45

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dmbryaF6pU [youtube.com]

    After killing Xanathar, you get 2 pages of text and throw out into C:\>

  • My take... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Crock23A (1124275) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @09:28AM (#30749518)
    Video game endings have always been of interest to me. Ever since my siblings and I first starting Super Mario Bros. in the 1980s, that and subsequent game completions were fun to discuss and play around with. We discovered that turning the volume all the way up on the TV during the ending song produced a much different sounding song and purposefully annoyed the adults around. Then one of us beat Castlevaina 2: Simon's quest and I discovered not only that game endings could have awesome, uplifting music, but that there could be alternate endings!. The simple fact that there were 2 endings gave the game great value in re-playability. Fast forward to today and game endings have less of an impact. More emphasis goes to the 'completion' of a game, as in getting 100% achievements or the equivalent. You also have to factor in the cliff-hanger endings. Too many games leave it open to a possible sequel. As the area matures even further I'm sure things will continue to change.
  • Not all books, films, or games need to wrap everything up in one installment. Pick up Fellowship of the Ring sometime and let me know how much you would enjoy the series if you stopped right there. Do the same with any other famous trilogy or long running series. The Empire Strikes Back certainly didn't end with everything tidied up in the story-arc department.

    Just because we've become used to single, stand-alone, do it once and be done with it video game packages, doesn't mean they all have to be that way,

    • Pick up Fellowship of the Ring sometime and let me know how much you would enjoy the series if you stopped right there. Do the same with any other famous trilogy or long running series

      The Lord of the Rings was actually written as a single book (or more accurately, a single novel composed of six internal "books"), but the publisher decided to split it into three physical parts for economic reasons. So Fellowship of the Ring was not originally written to be part of a trilogy.

    • That isn't to say you can't have story in there with pivotal points, such as the climax of Dragon Age, or the end of A Song of Fire and Ice, but I know in each case that there will be more to come, and it isn't over. That's a good thing if done properly.

      If you mean "A Song of Ice and Fire", i.e. George R.R. Martin's series, then there IS no end, and he seems to have adopted the Blizzard approach to releases... my best friend (who turned me onto the series, damn him) is afraid Martin is gonna pull a Jordan on us now.

  • It isn't the ending that's going out of style, it's the plot.

    The reason we had an ending before, is because we had a plot. There was a beginning a middle and an end. Exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. These days a lot of games don't have much of a plot.

    Instead, you'll have a setting... You're some random soldier in WWII, or a grunt running around World of Warcraft... And there really isn't any exposition or climax or anything like that... It's just kind of a day in the life of...

    And th

  • How do you keep open the possibility of making more movies using the same characters....
    a small but not very finished ending.
    Take for example the hardcore movie Wolverine Origins (XMen). The ending with deadpool's head being severed but then his eyes still opening after it takes a fall down the 100feet high silo....makes me think they might want to imply that they technically could do some
    Deadpool movie should there be an interest, as we all know how hard Deadpool is to kill. I actually liked deapool and th

  • Japanese TV stations put their most high profile dramas on at popular times just like American TV stations. But what's interesting from an outside perspective is that these are constantly new stories, usually either 13 or 26 episodes long, with beginnings, middles, and ends.

    Yes, there are sequels sometimes, but usually these involve the same characters with a completely new problem/story that also has a beginning, middle, and end.

    While I'm not a huge fan of TV dramas, a few of these have sucked me in
  • I've been playing the recent Tales of Monkey Island WiiWare games/chapters, and they most definitely have clear cut endings.

    For us it's been a great way to have some friends over and get back into adventure gaming. The endings are welcome, a chapter can be completed in 3-4 hours, giving a great signal when to stop, get to bed, and schedule the next time.

    I believe there has always been and will always be games with and without endings. And there are hybrid approaches too: For example in Super Mario Galaxy yo

  • It depends on the gamers but endings really don't mean much to me. The first game I ever completed personally was Nonterraqueous on the Spectrum... it took ages, I had my father/brother mapping my progress as I went (we were going to send it in to a magazine but, the next day, they published someone else's map of it!) and, yes, it was fun to finish it. But since then, an ending doesn't really mean much at all... I don't think I really complete the majority of games I play that *could* be completed... at s

  • by khallow (566160) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @10:50AM (#30750414)
    The only way I've seen it work is to end the game for everyone in the MMO. For example, there was a web-based MMO called "FaitH" that ran roughly 2000-2007. It was a real time strategy game where people had abstract kingdoms (the group was a "kingdom" and the individuals were "emperors", I kid you not) and launched various "attacks" on rival kingdoms. The game ran in cycles called "eras" about 2-3 months long. The goal of the game was to harm other players. You could receive points for growing big (that was a valid strategy), but most of the time, the real points were in hideously bloody battles (the bloodier, the better). At the start of an era, everyone grew up as fast they could. Then the middle stretch (which lasted most of the game) involved a long, brutal grind of coordinated attacks and spells (usually some sort of speed up or war boost) among members of the kingdom. Finally, there was "Chaos" (I'm not spelling it right) where score from anything bloodshed-related was doubled or tripled. A lot of stuff was saved up for that. Then the era end, scores were calculated, and a huge list issued of everyone who played - sorted by score. Shortly thereafter, a new era would start.

    A second approach was used by a web-based game called "Kings of Loathing", a parody of fantasy RPGs like WoW and Final Fantasy series. The player levels up, defeating more and more powerful monsters. At some point, they reach the final stage where the big boss (called the "Nasty Sorceress") is finally defeated and then the player reincarnates as a new player. As a reward, the player gets to keep a single skill permanently throughout the rest of their career (their stuff can be carried over, depending on the difficulty the player chooses).

    To be honest, I can't think of other natural ways to end a player experience in an MMO except to end it for everyone in a big bang or to have some sort of reincarnation as a new player with a little something carried over from the old character. The fundamental constraint of MMOs is that they want the player to come back and play again. If you play through and finish, then what's going to draw you back?
  • In Prototype there was a full story with a satisfying ending. After the ending, you still had the whole world to continue playing in much as before. Gathering more secrets, killing more bases, improving your character etc.

    I didn't play TOO much after the ending but it was still fun.
  • I've never played any of the MMOGs out there for one reason: When I play a game I'm looking for entertainment, not commitment.

    Between career, marriage, kids, and trying to be involved in the community, I don't have time to sit down and dedicate hours a day to a game. If I did, then I would be doing it to the detriment of those other things. A game is just a game. Those other things are real life.

    So when I look for a game to play, I look for a game that doesn't demand you spend a minimum amount of time with

  • Borderlands has the most unsatisfying ending of any game I've played to the end. And the weird thing is, they roll the credits, which goes on and on, and if you wait for them to finish, you're dropped back in-game with one small task to complete.

    Although the ending leaves a possible sequel, it seems a whole lot more like a 'whoops - ran out of money' ending.

    • by delinear (991444)

      *Possible Borderlands Spolier*

      Yes, I found this massively disappointing, especially since I'd invested so much time and effort levelling my character that I'd killed it before the "Angel" had even finished telling me how much of a challenge it was going to be to beat. Then I went to make a sandwich while the credits were rolling, and when I came back the game was still going and it basically ends with you muling the key across a couple of maps so someone can reward you some cash (which you don't even need a

      • by Whorhay (1319089)

        Ninja Claptrap could make for an excellent sequel. I haven't had the Destroyer die that fast, he's not hard to kill just time consuming. That's playing as a Berserker Brick and a Gunslinger Mordecai, but yeah the end fight was disappointing.

        I finished the Zombie DLC the other day and now I can't even remember if it had a cutscene at all. Now that I think about it hard enough the cut scene at the end was funny but not memorable, I can remember bits of it but nothing major. The beginning cutscene though was r

  • Congraturation!

    A Winner is You!

  • One where at the end you gun down your ally from the first half of the game like a punk when you think he has betrayed you, then you get surrounded by soldiers and the credit take over with gunshots being heard behind them....

Air is water with holes in it.

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