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What's your opinion: multiple endings or not?

Would you like multiple endings for the DFA?  

517 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you like multiple endings for the DFA?

    • Yes, the more the merrier. I want control over the story.
      119
    • Yes, two or three, with subtle differences that reflect decisions I took.
      184
    • No, a single ending will give DF more control over the story arc.
      214


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While I am an advocate for multiple solutions to puzzles where logical, and possibly even multiple possible paths through a game (ala Fate of Atlantis or King's Quest 6), I'm not a huge fan of multiple endings. Variation in the ending depending on what you did in the game is ok (see again: KQ6, FoA), but the major narrative arc of a story-driven game shouldn't be too mutable.

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I like multiple ends as long as they're different enough to be worth any effort it takes to get them; Thus far in my eyes, Chrono Trigger is the only game to accomplish this.

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I've played a few of the LA Adventures multiple times even with just 1 ending. I would love if there could be branching paths and multiple endings. We have the technology! Make my multiple replays a little less predictable.

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ONE ENDING. JUST ONE. JUST THE SINGLE ONE.

I want a point & click adventure game goddammit. This isn't a goddamn RPG.

Devil's Advocate: Tim & Ron have always wanted to experiment with the genre, and I doubt they want to make a game with no surprises in it. Probably they want to be at least somewhat surprising, and who knows what that will mean. Multiple endings maybe??? I doubt it, but I think it might be wise to not get TOO caught up in a strict definition of "adventure game". If we had done that a long time ago, point-and-click interfaces wouldn't even exist, amirite?

You're treading on dangerous ground when you mention "experiment with the genre".

I'm all in favor of multiple endings, but people backed the project because they want an old-school adventure game. Multiple endings are rare in adventure games, but they don't detract a game from the old school flavor.

On the other hand, things like having puzzles replaced by quick time events (this was just an example) so it can reach a "broader" audience would be a serious no-no.

Concession: But in truth, I share your frustration. I just don't see the point. The very existence of multiple endings suggests that no ending you receive can ever be accepted as the *actual* ending, which is inimical to good storytelling. Choose Your Own Adventure books were quirky and weird and interesting, but they were never as interesting as just books. A good story has a sort of thesis. Not necessarily some fortune cookie wisdom it beats you over the head with, but an important thread that runs through the whole thing and ties everything together in a compelling way. Multiple endings always feels like the author had no thread or s/he forgot what it was. 99% of the time it's just not worth it.
I completely disagree with you here. Why do you expect an "absolute" ending? Some form of absolute truth?

An author can have in his head a predefined ending, but he can also explore the divergent realities of "what if". Which can be much more interesting. What is better and worse... things aren't always black and white. Leave that as an exercise for the player.

I recommend everyone to get their hands on The Last Express and play it. Multiple times. (available on gog) There are four non-fatal endings, where only one is considered to be the proper ending.

But more important than to simply focus on multiple endings is having non-linearity in the game.

I'm not asking for all puzzles to have multiple ways to solve them, but having different options for a handful of moments (either puzzle solving or choosing an option in a dialog) can enrich the game so much. Indiana Jones and Maniac Mansion had this to some degree.

This opens doors for different endings, where the difference may go from subtle to dramatic.

This allows for replayability in the game, thus providing a different experience and a ton of extra gaming hours.

EDIT:

Blade Runner isn't a RPG.
This! :) I forgot this one.

OP forgot this option:

Yes. Two or three completely different endings. Where some of those could have additional subtle variations that reflect decisions I took.

While I am an advocate for multiple solutions to puzzles where logical, and possibly even multiple possible paths through a game (ala Fate of Atlantis or King's Quest 6), I'm not a huge fan of multiple endings. Variation in the ending depending on what you did in the game is ok (see again: KQ6, FoA), but the major narrative arc of a story-driven game shouldn't be too mutable.
Ah! :)

I remember trying all the dialog options dozens of times with the hope of becoming an Atlantean God. It would have been awesome! The dark side is always so tempting :)

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While working through a pre-scripted story leading to one, single preordained ending can be fun in the "watching-an-interactive-movie" sort of way, I generally like to feel that the things that I'd doing are in some way consequential to how things end. It increases my sense of 'being there' which is in large part what started me gaming and what has kept me gaming all these years.

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Given the limited budget and Double Fine's credentials, I trust them to make a single ending that is totally amazing.

I enjoy branched games, but they also cause a lot of trouble.

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Multiple endings is something that has to be worked in from the start if you want them to be meaningful, engaging, and interesting. From Mass Effect's "choose-different-things-but-get-the-same-result-anyway" to Deus Ex's "here-are-several-buttons-to-press-for-your-preferred-ending-I-will-even-narrate-what-will-happen-beforehand", I think it's a completely counter-productive notion to place a false element of 'choice' in a game simply so you can put a dot point on your marketing pamphlet.

It should be a decision made very early on, because creating a world that supports multiple separate options in one playthrough (Witcher 2) requires a completely different approach to making a semi-linear one (Psychonauts). Changing your mind half-way through is not conductive to development, in this respect.

Er, I suppose my point is I don't mind either way. Choice or not, I want quality, and that comes from making your high-level decisions early (what type of game? what setting? will we have choice? are there going to be lamingtons? etc?).

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Blade Runner isn't a RPG.

Definitely check out Blade Runner for a game that did multiple endings very well, it added a ton of replayability and was most certainly a point and click adventure.

I have to say though that it very much depends on the story of the game, some games do well with multiple endings, and others don't.

I think the most important aspect has to be that like Blade Runner, none of the endings should punish the player. And in fact, playing the game over and over again to find out what makes the different endings tick could be a huge bonus.

//D

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I see adventure games as very much like an interactive novel. Their purpose is to tell a story in an interactive and graphical manner. As such I think one of the great strengths of a story is having a proper ending and you can really only do that if you have one. It also means there's largely a single path through the story though perhaps different ways to accomplish a specific goal at a given time. So for me I want one ending. You can maybe give a small nod to certain choices of solving areas of the game but it shouldn't change the climax of the game but more-so be recognition for your unique participation.

Multiple ending games can certainly be good as well, don't get me wrong, but they tend to generally have weaker stories and are much harder to get right. They also end up being VERY weak in any sequels as the developers basically have to choose what path is canon and build on it, thus negating many of the player's choices and experiences from the previous title.

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As a writer, I say no. When I create a story, it starts out with multiple different paths, or endings if you will, but then I choose the one that I think fits the project best. I then spend the rest of the time structuring the story to lead down that path, making it as fluid as possible. If I were to make a game, I would do exactly the same thing with my story, so that the path the game followed was the best that I could come up with. That's what I want with a game, the best. Instead of wasting time creating different endings, just make it longer and better. Give everyone the same story to interpret and talk about. What a silly world it would be if the Monday after Empire Strikes Back came out, people were sitting around the water cooler asking each other, "So, was Darth Vader Luke's father for you too?"

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"So, was Darth Vader Luke's father for you too?"

Isn't that what many games are all about?

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I prefer a single ending, but I'm not against multiple endings. It really depends on the kind of game, I think. A separate joke ending would be funny I think, or the possibility of getting an extended ending if you uncover more secrets/items/etc. I like those because you're being rewarded for more exploration.

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Agree, I feel like even some different lines of dialog at the end depending on some of your choices would be rewarding for the player and add to replayability. The more player choices are acknowledged with unique outcomes, the more of a 'game' it is. I don't think games should be trying to be books or movies, they should play to their unique strengths, namely interactivity. Good game writing is a challenge distinct from non-interactive mediums.

(edit: I should say 'less' interactive mediums.. I think all art is interactive. Half of the creative process happens in the mind of the viewer\player\listener\etc. Even your experience of a sculpture is unique and personal, determined not only by your interpretations but also your choices of where to look, for how long, etc)

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Personally, I would think it depends on what they want the game to be, because multiple endings, I would think, would work better for some narratives and poorly for others. Not knowing the narrative, however, I admit I think I would prefer multiple endings, or at least some reflection on the player's choices mattering—which doesn't have to be at the end. Honestly, though, what I think it would need to be for it to matter is a change in story throughout the game and not just at the end (does not need to be drastic, could be very subtle), and definitely not just for the sake of having multiple endings (as others have said). I strongly believe showing that choice matters is crucial—it is an interactive medium, after all. But again, this is without knowing the intended narrative at all, meaning my hopes could also be entirely inappropriate for the game.

And I will be 100% fine, too, if Double Fine also just wants to create a single ending/narrative, since they've proven themselves to be a creative bunch. I'm backing them because I trust them to make an enjoyable game, as I am sure most other backers are, too.

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multiple endings are ok as long sa they are executed well. dont make the player feel like they got a "bad" ending

look how chrono trigger did it. multiple endings but all were fun

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The thing I like about adventure games is that I can't mess up. I can waste my time, but eventually the story will unfold properly. The idea of multiple endings would make an adventure game too stressful.

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If you have ever played a visual novel game, you will often encounter multiple endings.

It definetly isn't a smooth system, you end up being on "tracks" and it can be very arbitrary to move from one track to the other. However, it does encourage you to replay the game multiple times, and if it is done well it can be a dramatically different experience each time.

One playthrough you might fight and defeat a person in combat. The next playthrough you get defeated and captured. Then you learn about the enemy's motives, about their plans, about their backstory. Suddenly it expands the world for you in a wonderful way.

The tricky part is making the player aware of the important choices so they don't feel like they are lost in a maze of dialogue options.

If they simply add multiple endings that only change the last 5 minutes of the game, then it is totally a waste of time and effort.

If you really want to add depth to the game, you need to have the player make game-changing decisions as early as 25% completion and have chain reactions ripple through the game. This is obviously a massive design decision that changes the whole development process.

There is certainly a trade off between a long linear game that always plays the same, and a shorter non-linear game that you can replay over and over and discover new things each time.

I think a real important point for developers is the question "is it really worth spending X hours/dollars making feature Y if only 10% of the players will actually experience it?"

I think its funny that so many people complain about the ending of Mass Effect 3 when only 50% of players actually completed Mass Effect 1, and I am sure that number is about the same for 2 & 3.

Is it really worth spending time and money on the ending if that many people wont even experience it? Shouldn't they spend more time on the first half of the game... maybe increasing chance people will actually play the whole game?

Also, the game is still just beginning... I realize that some design decisions will only work if they are present from the start of development, but lets worry about the ending later on...

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I would like to see something like the Silent Hill endings, especially some of the joke ones.

It was all the actions of an adorable puppy, all along!

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The problem is if there are multiple endings any committed gamer will want to experience all of them. So you end up loading the games at various points to replay it to see all possible endings. Frustrating experience and little value add. Would I want a book with several endings depending on what I like or how I feel? Me? Not! The story drives the game and the writer has to have only one logical conclusion. All other "endings" should feel wrong given a good story. And thats my personal opinion.

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While multiple endings can be fun. I feel it detracts from the actual gameplay. You might play through the game once for fun, but the other times you end up just reading a guide on how to get the other endings. I enjoyed the way Stacking was done. There is only one outcome for each puzzle, but the way you achieved that outcome is up to the player.

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Not a fan of multiple endings which are reached on the basis of a few minor yes/no choices, however I would be a fan of multiple paths a la Fate of Atlantis which significantly alter how the same basic story is experienced prior to its ending.

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Multiple endings and freedom of choice all the way! Like I previously said, I'd eagerly sacrifice some game length for it.

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Multiple endings and freedom of choice all the way! Like I previously said, I'd eagerly sacrifice some game length for it.

Ok about the freedom of choice, but how would you feel when developing a sequel? What ending would you choose as connection? You couldn't please everybody, unless you did barely different endings.

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Different endings don't have to be incompatible plot wise (for sequels), or any kind of opposites. I think the polar opposite approach to multiple endings some developers go for is really heavy handed and forced. Usually for two outcomes to be so different, the paths leading to each scenario would have branched a long time ago, not right before the end as they often do.

Different endings could bring out different outcomes in the relationships of some characters, for instance, without changing the outcome for the world at large, or even for the main character, to the degree that a sequel couldn't pick up the plot. I don't think playing through the game with some ominous feeling that you might finish the game "wrong" is fun at all. Having different endings which uniquely reward and emphasize the player's choices during non-linear moments in the game, while still bringing the game to it's logical narrative conclusion, however, sounds like a great idea to me and only ices the cake regardless of which ending the player stumbles into.

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Another good example which springs to mind is The Dig. A small part of the ending is swapped out depending on a choice you made towards the end of the game. It doesn't effect the course of the game's conclusion, but it shows that your choices (even if it probably is the only one in the game) have an effect on the characters and their relationship to the player character.

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I'd like multiple endings if it works well.

That is crucial, nothing forced.

But anyhow, in my mind those endings are perhaps failures to accomplish certain puzzles, maybe. Or doing them wrong.

I honestly can't think of a way where it wouldn't be frustrating though.

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