Rabidgames’ Guide to Good Endings

Since this article is about endings, you can expect spoilers.

No, Rabidgames does not mean happy endings. They are not necessary. However, Rabidgames would love to see endings which make sense, fit the plot and above all, don’t feel like a brainstorming result. Mind you, Rabidgames is not talking about confusing endings like Dragon’s Dogma, where you see the ending after the ending and then something new once more after a second playthrough, nor is Rabidgames talking about some lame crap like Max Payne 3, nor about obvious plot twist endings like in Dishonored. Rabidgames is talking about serious fucking insane shit! So let’s have a look at what went wrong – and how to avoid it:

Case file No. 1: Mass Effect 3

Yeah, we know all about it. There is no use in going into detail once more. It has been done a million times. It’s the bigger picture we have to look at: If a bunch of gamers grasping at straw cans make as much sense as the official first ending, well, that just means it fucking sucks. Simple as that. Yes, your artistic integrity sucks donkeys’ balls. Let’s be honest for a minute: What we witnessed was either incredible stupidity or ridiculous mismanagement – how could anyone seriously think that travesty was anything but a nuked trainwreck? And how could anyone in his sane mind think we would swallow that pile of multi-coloured shit? And sorry to say it again, but the worst thing is … it happened to fucking Bioware – to Bioware of all developers! How the mighty have fallen … To be fair, it is not just about the ending – it seems ten different writers wrote different parts of Mass Effect 3 – just compare the greatness of Rannoch with the stale disappointment of Thessia. Yet sadly, the worst writer wrote the ending. Please bring back Drew Karpyshyn!

Lesson to learn: Write an ending and read to at least three more persons. It helps. It really does.

Case file No. 2: Assassin’s Creed 3

Again, we have had a big story stretching across many games and now we were promised an ending, and closure to Desmond’s story … let’s face it, the ending was disappointing beyond all time periods. Both endings, actually: Connor’s ending was lame (why wasn’t Haytham the last Templar standing? why wasn’t the Homestead actually attacked? and why the fuck does Connor still help Washington after all?), and Desmond’s even lamer (don’t show us a choice and then deny it). What makes this particular Dea ex machina finale even worse than Mass Effect 3’s Starbrat is the fact the ending is just there to prepare us for Assassin’s Creed 4. Seriously, fuck off! And no, if you end a trilogy, you don’t end it with a cliffhanger the size of an interstellar cock!

Lesson to learn: Never ever should a PR team to be allowed near dev teams. Never! Again! Please!

Case file No.3: Far Cry 3

So far we have had artistic integrity and PR ingenuity, but Far Cry 3 added artsy twattery: If your plot and especially your ending make no fucking sense whatsoever, don’t start babbling about artsy fartsy shit and a bigger picture hidden for those who seek. Dear author, relax, lie back and reflect: If no fucking person on this goddamn planet is able to decipher your plot full of Alice in Wonderland clues and wild drug fantasies, maybe, just maybe it is because you fucking failed to spell…it…out! And then, that ‘bad’ ending … you die, but you’re magically still alive after the credits. Holy crap!

Lesson to learn: If one person doesn’t get your ideas he might be a dumb person. Fair enough. But if one million people don’t get it, you failed to bring across your point. Yes, YOU and only YOU are to blame, Mr Yohalem!

Rabidgames ponders: Maybe 2012 was an exception. Maybe game endings have always been bad and we haven’t realised. Fuck knows. But while Far Cry 3 suffered only from delusional writing and ivory tower symptom, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Mass Effect 3 are worse example because they suffer from terrible writing with no hidden meaning whatsoever, and probably short-term decisions, be it to satisfy an ego, be it to maximise profits – and if this trend is a sign of things to come, we are doomed.

And one more thing: A bad ending doesn’t ruin a game, that’s true. But it ruins our perception of a game. Forever.

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