More Thoughts From Me #21: Games Shouldn’t End on Cliffhangers
Recently, I was playing a game that I really loved. I got to the end and….it said the words To Be Continued. I couldn’t believe it. I felt really let down. And I have no idea if there is going to be a sequel. That’s the worst part. Today, I want to talk about games and cliffhanger endings.
Here’s the truth about video games: you just never know how well a game will sell. What if you create a video game, give it a cliffhanger ending, it sells badly, and so you never make the next game?! The people who did like your game will feel betrayed and let down. They’ll never get to see the rest of that story. There are rarely times when we are guaranteed a sequel…
Even when a game does sell well, like for instance Half-Life 2 episode 2, we never know if we’ll get that next game (or episode). Each video game that’s done should be a complete game in my opinion. Even if its just an “episode” of what you hope will be a trilogy or more, it should feel complete because you just never know what will sell or if it’ll sell and the companies priorities change. Gamers deserve to play a full game, especially if they are paying a high price for a game. Though, even it’s a low price, games should have a beginning, middle, and end. I’m not saying that players deserve a good (happy?) ending. The ending can be whatever the creator thinks the ending should be and then the fans judge it. But there should be some type of ending. It can be obvious there is going to be another game by having some loose threads/unanswered questions, but to just end on a cliffhanger or to just stop a game all of sudden is wrong.
Why is it important to end a game? Even if you put aside the “we don’t know if there will be a sequel” part, games never feel complete without a stopping point. A “To Be Continued” leaves you hanging and makes you wonder if you should’ve bought the game. I still remember (SPOILER WARNING) playing Halo 2 and getting to the very end and the game just stopped. There wasn’t even a To Be Continued! Sure, I knew there would be another Halo, but I couldn’t stop myself from feeling disappointed. The game was getting really exciting and I wanted to know what would happen next. Thankfully, I just rented Halo 2 and didn’t buy it. If I had bought it, I would’ve had thought it was a waste of money.
There really isn’t much we can do about cliffhanger endings though. Some developers like to do that sort of thing. I think its wrong, but of course that’s only one fans opinion. I wonder if there are people who like cliffhanger endings in video games…
What do you all think? Are cliffhangers in video games a bad thing? Do you have a favorite cliffhanger? Do you have a least favorite cliffhanger? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Next week: Crash and burn. I’ll tell you why I love the Burnout franchise!
More Thoughts From Me is an opinion column. All of the opinions here are mine and mine alone. Everyone else at this site…
TO BE CONTINUED!