Happy Endings

Do you think a CoG HAS to have at least one happy ending?

I don’t mind a sad or bad ending as long as if I work for it I can get a happy ending.

For example in my WiP Unnatural I am planning ten endings, only three of them you can survive. So that is seven endings that will end badly for you (though one may not be bad for the world) The other three endings will be a definitive happy ending, another one will be just scrapped through ending and the other will be a survived but at great cost. So in my game, there will be a 70% chance of a bad ending, but it will be possible to get to a happy one if you put in the work to get it.

But what do you think?

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I like it. Happy endings always leave me feeling good, but bad or sad ones leave me with so many feels.

No, but people will be pissed if it doesnt have one atleast bitter-sweet conclusion.

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I tend to agree, there needs to be bad and/or sad endings but I prefer when there is the chance of a happy ending if I worked hard enough to earn it.


I think having bad/sad endings make you feel the happy endings more and vice-versa

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Basically what 2Ton said, you don’t need them, but some people get upset if they can’t “win.”

I say stick to your own vision. If your story isn’t about happy endings, then don’t put them in just because some people won’t like it. It’s like when people all upset about a story not having any romance in it. Not every story needs them. They can create their own story or read something else.

That being said, make sure to make your many many bad endings are interesting and sufficiently bad. Having multiple ways to horribly die/lose whatever has been a big staple in lots of CYOA books, Adventure games and RPGs. Makes it more fun to choose wrong just to see all the ways to die/lose.

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I like happy endings, or at least endings that end with a certain amount of hope. I like realistic endings.

I actually flip to the end of books to ensure that the endings aren’t too depressing. I’ve had too many of my favourite characters die, and had endings that are just unsatisfying or unhappy.

Unfortunately in a Choice game I can’t flip to the end. I think to allow for choice you need to have a happy ending in there, or at least a satisfying one. Unhappy endings feel like failure. They feel like punishment and what’s the point of playing if I can’t win? They won’t feel like a real ending.

Dragon Age spoilers! I’ve not actually played Dragon Age, however, from what I’ve read their games tend to be filled with unhappy, you die sacrificing yourself to save everyone endings? That getting the ‘happy’ ending can mean compromising your morals, and letting others die in your place.

Personally, I like happy endings. I want an ending where you get your romantic interest, you win, you defeat whatever foes you’re up against, you come out on top as a hero. I like escapism.

I also like proper endings where everything gets wrapped up and none of this “to be continued”. I like all the loose ends nicely wrapped up, although in Choice games I’ll easily forgive the game for only wrapping up certain loose ends in each playthrough.

I don’t know about the second one, but in the first dragon age, there is a way to survive without someone dying in your place. I won’t go into the specifics but it involves a ancient ritual, that you automatically get the option to do or not. It’s unmissable

If anything there’s too many of the major choices where you don’t have to compromise anything and you’ll get the ultimate good outcome. The only one where you don’t involves choosing between the dwarven kings.

@WolfieGrey Yes, I know. However it does involve another sort of a deal with the devil, doesn’t it?

That said I should stop using examples of games I’ve not played. :slight_smile:

Hmm! I could have used Choice of Romance. Where you have the choice of rejecting the Monarch and thus ending the game early. Carrying out an affair with the Monarch and trying to be satisfied with your position. Or arranging their spouses demise through quite wicked means. Are any of those endings happy?

I prefer 2 neutral endings to one good and one bad ending because everyone knows what you’ll always strive to get :confused: (although realistically I prefer more than 2 endings :v)

I don’t get upset if there isn’t a happy ending but I prefer when there is.

In the ‘death’ endings of my game you can still continue in season two albeit as a different MC. The survive endings will be hard to get and even then you might not be in a good situation in season two.

BTW I was talking in general not about Unnatural :3

It’s ok I know.

@2Ton summed it up best. Myself? I’m fine with sacrifice endings, I’m fine with ‘in the end you didn’t manage squat’ endings.

However, those endings HAVE to be well written. If its a bad end for the sake of it then I might be “eh, are you serious?”

I think rather than focusing on whether you’re making a happy/sad/good/bad ending, you should focus more so on the results that came with those endings. People can interpret things like sacrifice endings quite differently, as this topic already shows.

To me, if a good ending is gained without much effort, it doesn’t really mean much. Sometimes you just expect things to not end well. It doesn’t mean that playing the game was for nothing; the journey is really the important part.

I’ll use the overly-referenced Mass Effect series as an example (spoilers here). The “Shepard lives” ending (to me, anyway) was pointless. I played the entire third game without expecting to have Shepard survive, regardless of how hard I tried. Didn’t stop me from doing everything I could and enjoying the game, but the ending breath scene got a shrug from me at best because it just didn’t mean anything.

Anyway, a sacrifice ending is a good ending as far as I’m concerned. Goals were accomplished; that’s a win. Yeah, the PC isn’t around to feel the effect of it, but if they wanted to put their lives above their goals, they wouldn’t have chosen the sacrifice option.

I’m also aware that not everyone feels that way. Having hope for a happy ending is a good motivation for players to do the best that they can and really weigh their priorities, even if it is just for a slim chance. @Nocturnal_Stillness, it looks like Unnatural’s endings will mostly come down to results since they continue to affect the next season. As long as there’s some chance to get a “happy” ending, it’ll probably be fine.

To me, the epilogue of each ending is the one you should be interested in, although I am for good endings. Regardless, if the hero survives or not, it’s the effect they left behind that interests me the most. You find out what has happen afterwards and see if there were good and bad changes
It does not matter if the MC is there to witness this or not, as there a chance they know what will occur, due to the choices they did beforehand leading up to this point.

I find bittersweet endings hit me hardest, though I don’t imagine anyone can say they don’t like happy endings.

I’m largely with @RVallant if the ending makes sense and is well written, I’d appreciate it regardless. I don’t appreciate premature “You died” because you went left, not right endings - they annoy me to no end.

If it’s more:

  • Epic fight
  • all your NPC team die (dramatically, not all in one go)
  • You sacrifice yourself to bring them back - or save the world or something

And this is all done in long, well thought out prose, I don’t mind.

This has made for some interesting reading. Thank you all.

I may have changed my mind. I just remembered, my favourite piece of interactive fiction is extremely short. There’s only one significant choice in it, which leads to four endings. None of those endings are happy. The happiest (and that is relative) of the endings is also the most difficult to achieve, but it’s satisfying once you get there since it ends on the greatest note of hope.

But it wouldn’t have felt believable, it wouldn’t have had so much impact and power if those endings hadn’t all been tinged with sadness. The ‘happy’ ending wouldn’t have been quite so powerful if not for those sad ones.

I think it does need to be well written to pull this off though without leaving a bitter taste in the player’s mouth.

Death can be a bittersweet ending. You could sacrifice yourself, and know that you saved people by doing it.