Ancient thread is ancient but to heck with it, I’ll throw my two cents in anyway.
Overly cheery endings make me projectile vomit and overly depressing endings make me feel apathetic and are often rather anti-climatic.
There needs to be some balance, as anything too extreme is always bad. Bittersweet endings are usually my favourite kind. Happy endings with a great cost. Though I don’t mind downer endings so long as they aren’t trying too hard and I don’t mind happy endings as long as they aren’t cliche as all heck and TOO perfect .There needs to be at least a little grit to keep me interested.
Maybe it’s because I’m a depressingly cynical, pessimistic and overall negative bastard. So anything too “cheery” makes me more than a little nauseous. It’s interesting to note I’ve never ever liked any kind of utopian setting. I always despise them. They’re like an entire society of Mary Sues to me.
Not to mention, works featuring utopias tend to preach to the reader of the author’s political, religious, philosophical or ideological viewpoints. And I do so very loathe preachiness. Even if the work is preaching in favour of something I agree with. I came to be entertained, not proselytized.
Above all: What type of ending it is doesn’t really matter, it’s the execution of it that’s important. I say bittersweet endings are my favourite kind, but what I really mean by that is in my opinion they’re usually the best written. I’ll happily embrace a grimdark downer ending or sugar coated sugar with sugar filling ending so long as it’s written well.
Also, when I say “bittersweet ending”, I mean the “World Half Full” kind. Not “World Half Empty”. Because I also tend to dislike the latter. Despite what I said earlier, you could say I’m more of an optimistic cynic.
Good examples are the likes of the Fallout series, which is a horrible, depraved setting to live in and it’s implied that it was somehow even WORSE pre-war. Like a nuclear apocalypse was humanity’s redemption instead of it’s doom. Unless of course the post-war generation never learns from the mistakes of their ancestors.
But, as the series goes on, the world seems to be getting better and although by the end of it the Fallout setting will always be a very depressing place, you can at the very least make a small part of the world somewhat better in each game. (Incidentally, you can also make it alot worse.)