Finales, Endings, Epilogues...what works for you?

Taking blatant inspiration from @Eric_Moser’s Craft of Writing threads, I’m interested in how you feel (as a writer or a player) about the latter sections of CSG games! I’ve noticed occasional comments about games feeling rushed at the end, or players feeling like they don’t have influence on what’s happening, or that a plot element came out of nowhere, and am curious about how to mitigate that.

Which games have you found really satisfying for climax or finale scenes? Where have you really felt like they drew threads together and made you feel like you had influenced, and carried on influencing, the story? Did the stakes feel in-keeping with the earlier parts of the game?

And for after the climax…

Do you enjoy open-ended endings (like in something like Pendragon Rising) or a short-term epilogue (like in Heart of the House) or a longer-term epilogue (like in Cannonfire Concerto where it describes until the main character’s death. How much do you like the fates of the characters, or the main character’s future plans
to be stated, how much do you like to choose, how much do you like to be left to your imagination?

I really like the Choice of the Deathless ending for several reasons, but especially how, although it doesn’t go far into the future, you have a sense of where the main character will be going after the game ends and whether they change firms, etc. And the final lines are just lovely. I don’t find it rushed at all, and yet it has a shorter wordcount than some other games, and isn’t super branchy.

…and, for writers, what do you do personally to craft a satisfyingly branchy, yet meaty, finale and ending/epilogue, while keeping your workload manageable?


On one end of the spectrum you’ve got Return of the King. On the other, the Rob Zombie Halloween remake. I would much prefer the former given the choice.

Personally I think that most games, books, movies, etc. spend way, way too little time on the ending. A lot of stories are about the main character struggling to put their lives into a state that’s happy for them, and most happy endings involve that. It would be nice for us to, you know, spend at least a little bit of time in that happy place.


That has to be @AllenGies " Tin Star " … the final decision on what to do with Upton senior is ultimately the climax of our adventure , we are given multiple choices ( in fact more than 10 choices ) on what to do with the final decision of our journey and each decision gives a different impact on the long story of epilogue , to the extend of defining our own legacy as well as personality …

Personally , i chose to walk a “grey line” in bargaining with upton … a bargain that was necessary for me to forge a comfortable life with both Maria and Carrie , by exchanging upton’s freedom and family legacy for him to help me to become Governor of Mexico, it had to be Mexico because Maria was going back to Mexico soon …:slight_smile:

You could say that i forgo " Justice " due to self interest … but in a way it could be argue that Upton was already in the sunset of his life with all his children gone , perhaps it was mercy for his part… either way, that was a classical grey line :slight_smile:

Other choices will each lead to other different epilogues that define MC’s legacy as a true hollier than thou Saint or a true Evil…

And each epilogue clearly define how the actions and outcomes of our previous endeavours influence events in the course of history…

Thus far… i haven’t encounter another title that can match the epic ending of Tin Star …

But i think @Havenstone’s Choice of Rebel and @Cataphrak’s Infinity Series could match Tin Star’s Grand ending in their respective final Book :slight_smile:


thats alot of questions…

choice of magic was perfect . As in , I never seen a game has so many ending . And made me wanna replay and seek another ending , then do it again and again . Which I did , and thats not normal for me cose I’m happy with my ‘Happy ending’ and thats it . I don’t care to see what happen if I picked the wrong choice . I don’t wanna see my precious Li die lol

and those ending were so much fun and diverse .

Pendragon Rising and Heart of the house are also good ones . I loved both . Yet they were different . And I enjoyed both . Honestly , don’t ask me to choose !! because I SHALL NOT!
what they have in commun is that they leave an opening for a sequel if they wanted one . Yet it leave you satisfied if there isn’t one ever .

didn’t play that one , and honestly from the blurred spoiler that would mean there will be no sequel . and if there is one its either Deux ex style or a new hero .

thats a hard question to answer . You should give the reader a satisfaying ending . Leave some opening for a futur sequel if you ever change your mind , but also leave some decisions to the reader imagination .

epilogue are a trap!!! I tell you! They are a trap! :rofl:

when I wrote mine (a story not a game) , I end up making 3 more sequel to the damn story . and I wrote myself in a corner with the 1st epilogue . OMG I had to write around it lol hardest thing ever . And you would think I learned ? omg no…the 2nd sequel had an epilogue too!!! and so did the 3rd lol its the 4th…that I just gave up for good about epilogue…and just made something else instead lol . I made ‘cut content’ LOL way safer then a bloody epilogue .

‘‘the hero and their Li run in the Sunset! The world is at peace and your companions went back to their daily boring life…cose lets face it , without you …its really boring . So expect some Hate chrismas card next year’’ kinda of ending . Don’t tell me the hero grew old and died , don’t tell me how the climate changed after I was gone…it kinda undo everything you did . And don’t tell me I got married and had kid…thats my choice and nobody else .

that really depand who you are writing for . The story I mentioned above , I was writing for myself and as a hobby . But my reader was my friend who died last november from cancer . In the 4th story , I did something I never though I would do . I changed the ending to make her happy . She was really sick and making her smile was more important then sticking to my gun .

my advice is stick to the characters not what you had in mind when you started . cose by the time you get to the ending , what you had in mind often wouldn’t fit anymore . If you force it by changing things around…it would feel weird and akward . If anything I believe one should do the opposite…what you had in mind should change and adapt . Not the other way around .
those characters have a mind of their own y’know :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Promise I’m not sucking up, but I really found Blood Money to have a strong build-up to the climax (and a tremendously satisfying one at that!) Plus, I am totally hopelessly gone on Nico, and there was some sweet resolution with him that made for a satisfying ending for me.

I wish I had an answer for this. @HoneTheDroll and I are hyper-aware of this concept as we continue our WIP-- scares the poo out of me, honestly, because it’s so crucial. But I’m of the school that a lil’ fear in writing is a good thing. Keeps you focused.

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I personally enjoy the concept of a long epilogue depending on how well it was executed and how it ties up all of the plot holes that the story may had up to that point. (7th Sea: A Pirate’s Pact did this pretty well in my opinion, alongside with Cannonfire Concerto and many CoG and Hosted games that has this.)

I’m also a sucker for the finale where everything just gets absolutely crazy and the only way to calm it down is do something that you’d need to do. (Prime example of mine probably would have to go to the Battle of Blogia in Sabres of Infinity, since it offers you several choices on what you would do with your squadron and some of them are drastically different from each other.)

Hopefully I helped a bit in this conversation.


On one hand, Tally Ho’s climax/finale before the epilogue is so much fun – but Tin’s Star’s epilogue is still the best of all the Choice of Games/Hosted Games I’ve played. I think it’s because it wasn’t just the Marshal’s story but the story of the West, and the epilogue recognizes that by telling us what happened to everyone else we met on our journey. I liked that you got to have options even during the epilogue of Tally Ho, but at that point I was ready to let go of the main character and see the consequences of choices already made. Although I do think both solve the problem of the player feeling like they don’t have influence, even though I prefer Tin Star’s less active approach.

As for shorter epilogues, it depends. I enjoyed Heart of the House, but I found the epilogue disappointing because it was so small compared to the scope of the setting and theme. But at the same time, I absolutely loved the epilogue for The Harbinger’s Head (and that story as a whole is one of my favorites). It may be “short”, but it felt less like the author was rushing and more simply because it was like a classical short story.


It’s on my mind since I’ve been working on Superlatives 2, but I love the perspective switch for the epilogue of Superlatives: Aetherfall. It was a clever way to create figurative distance from the PC the player just spent time embodying.


The best has to be Tin Star as many have said. I play different paths just so I can read the epilogue again. It on my “To ReRead” list.


The only time I remember being dissatisfied with a CSG’s ending is in I, Cyborg. I enjoyed it at first, but it just dragged on and on. I’m all for getting a quick wrap-up on how the NPCs are proceeding with their lives, but I must’ve done something horribly right in my PT, because my cyborg ended up getting about ten different job offers in a row. It was frankly exhausting.

On the whole, I’ve loved COG endings, even the bad ends. I got AotC’s bad end so many times… But I love the distant epilogue. My sons avenged me. tearwipe

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Sounds like I, Cyborg’s problem was the repetition rather than the length of the ending! If every positive interaction with an NPC nets you a job offer, that’s kind of samey, isn’t it?

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I do like it when a good amount of weight and importance is put on the denouement. I found Stronghold really good for this, I felt like there was a nice amount of breathing room there after the climactic events.

Thank you very much, that’s so kind! I was pleased with the resolution scenes in Blood Money :smiley:

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Hmm. I’ve never really considered this, to be honest, but I think I tend to prefer open-ended finales or short-term epilogues. Perhaps it’s the post-Harry Potter trauma, but long-term epilogues feel bittersweet and almost frustrating for me. Perhaps it’s that element of feeling like the story has moved on without you?

Regardless, I enjoy having closure, but still feeling like I can imagine how I’d like the narrative to continue from the finale onward.

This is the big thing for me. I can’t stand having a misunderstanding left unresolved, a character’s fate being decided off-camera and acknowledged, that sort of thing. A little open-ended mystery is one thing, but an ending should feel like an ending imo.


I’m not a fan of books ending with the protagonist’s life. I can understand why some do and obviously the author knows if there’s gonna be a sequel or not. Maybe it’s just my old fanfiction streak but I like to imagine where the story goes from there and the interactions to come death is just… death.

Yeah, this is one of those times where no epilogue would have been absolutely fine. After having his entire life be bound to the prophecy and Voldemort, it would have made sense to have an ending where the Harry’s future is now full of possibilities because he’s finally free from all of that. Although I do think a long-term epilogue could have worked if it had actually fit the rest of the narrative.

I agree, although I’m much more forgiving when I know there’s a sequel on the way like with Samurai of Hyuga.

This is exactly how I feel about epilogues. They’re very bittersweet to me, and kind of leave a nasty taste in my mouth. A few were done well, such as the oft-mentioned Tin Star. Perhaps because Tin Star was framed as a story being told about someone, rather than your story? It felt like a western novel, rather than standard IF.

Western novels always end with a strong conclusion such as that.

But, if I’m being honest, I think that is the only epilogue I can think of, in any game (not just IF), that I like.

Of course, this is coming from a woman who still hasn’t watched Deathly Hallows Part 2 and refuses to finish ME3. I don’t like endings. They’re too final.


Come to think of it… Slammed! Ending and epilogue was well done too , a happy coupling ending with Evelyn and looking ahead for the evolution of Wrestling serve as ending and beginning at the same time…

The saddest and most emotional ending for me was @JimD Original Zombie Exodus… i feel so lost for most of the endings, Heather relationahip cool off, even if we bear a child and my heart sadden for the cruel fate of Mindy

I like the climax scenes of Heart of the House,The Mysteries of Baroque and Fallen Hero: Rebirth.Because there’s a grand sense of finality to the first two’s climax scenes.In another words,they are really big.As for Fallen Hero: Rebirth,the climax is what we’ve been preparing for in the whole game(in a really low key way),we can finally put our characterization into test(in a flashy way) and see the outcomes,which make it really satisfying.
About epilogues,I like it short and all-around,like in traditional crpgs or in a Charles Dickens’ book.I want to see how life turns out for the MC and their friends and encounters,how my choices influence their fates.But not how they live their life till their death.I’d like to imagine there’s more adventure waiting for them,not everything is dead and sealed.My favorite example is,like many others,Tin Star.For negative example,I once played a indie rpg Loren Amazon Princess which I really like.But in Loren’s ending,it’s said Loren died many years after in a duel for the throne,which left me traumatized

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