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An amazing game almost always features a beautifully crafted story with an ending that nicely brings it to a close. Whether it’s finally managing to get your revenge on the villain or bringing peace to the land, video game endings normally deliver the goods. We say normally because that’s not always the case; some video games seem to go out of their way to provoking more questions than they do to providing answers.
Some will give you just enough information to let you make sense of the entire plot, but still leave open some significant questions. Even worse is that some video game endings will purposefully create more questions in the process. The result of this is players thinking “Wait, what?” while staring at the end credits.
Having said that, some video games do it better than others and these ambiguous endings become a core attraction of the game itself; after all, figuring out what the ending actually means can provide a certain amount of fun. Beware spoilers for Life Is Strange, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Alan Wake, Final Fantasy IX and Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Life Is Strange
Life is Strange is one of the most memorable games released over the past two decades; through a hauntingly realistic murder mystery plot we follow Max as she realises that she can rewind time to save childhood friend Chloe from being murdered. Through the use of her time travelling abilities, however, Max causes a supernatural storm to occur in her town.
Because of this, she’s forced to choose between saving Chloe’s life again or stopping the storm from destroying her hometown. This ending has become one of the most difficult choices in gaming history; players come to love both the village and Chloe throughout the game in equal amounts. No matter which option you choose, though, the consequences aren’t made entirely clear.
Chloe has been murdered several times throughout the game; if you choose to save her, will she still be hounded by death? If you save the town, will the storm come back again because of such a large time jump? What exactly happens to Max after choosing to save the town or Chloe? None of this is made clear and is left open to interpretation.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Nothing in the Metal Gear Solid franchise has ever been simple; with an extremely convoluted timeline, it can often be hard to make sense of everything. With bombs that can turn into whales and people who can control bees with mind control, it’s little surprise why the majority of gamers find the franchise difficult to understand.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was supposed to wrap up the franchise by positioning itself as a prequel. In an effort to come full circle, the protagonist of MGS V was the villain of the first game – told you everything was convoluted. However, the game takes it one step further by showing that the protagonist had had plastic surgery to look like someone else so that they could be the enemy from the first game.
While there were extensive creative conflicts between Hideo Kojima and Konami, this still smells of a rushed ending and a host of content cuts; this ends up leaving gamers with the question of ‘Why?’ And that’s before we even get into how a barely dressed woman breathes through her skin.
The story of Alan Wake ends on the line ‘It’s not a lake, it’s an ocean.’ While this may have been intended to provide some kind of closure for the game, it only brings up a host of questions for players. The game tells the story of the titular Alan Wake who travels to a small lakeside town in order to overcome his writer’s block.
Soon his wife disappears and his work begins coming to life; we eventually find out that to get rid of these shadowy forces and save our wife is to trade places with her at the bottom of a lake. As Wake is about to descend, he mutters the line and the credits start to roll. But this still leaves open the question as to what was haunting the town. There are also questions relating to the book that Wake was writing and if the games ending is mimicked in the book etc. In the end, all we really find out is where his wife has been but that’s it.
Final Fantasy IX
The Final Fantasy series had been well known for its beautifully crafted stories for years prior to Final Fantasy IX. Out of the first ten main entries in the franchise, only IX and X suffered from any kind of negative ending. However, it’s FF IX that definitely takes the cake when it comes to more questions than answers.
Initially, we’re led to believe that Queen Brahne is the primary antagonist, only to learn than the wizard Kuja has been manipulating her the entire time. This quickly sets him up to be the main antagonist for the rest of the game. However, when it comes to the ending, Kuja isn’t the final boss; it’s an entity known as Necron. While defeating Kuja closes out the story, the introduction of Necron makes things a whole lot more confusing; where did it come from? What is it? What’s its relation to Kuja? Maybe we’ll just never know.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
Whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not, it’s undeniable that Five Nights At Freddy’s has become huge in the survival horror genre. As lore was expanded upon with each subsequent tie-in, many were expecting the fourth entrant in the gaming franchise to provide a lot of answers. However, throughout the game players are promised answers once a mysterious box is opened at the end of the game.
This unfortunately didn’t happen, as the code to open the box wasn’t present in the game; since Five Nights At Freddy’s Part 4 has been released, nobody has been able to find out what’s in the boxy. Scott Cawthon, creator of the franchise, doesn’t seem like he’s going to change this anytime soon as he’s reportedly said that he sees it as a fitting end to the game.