I was talking to a friend and mentioned that I have around 56 different “endings” planned for my game (10 general different endings regarding how the story ended for the player, 46 supplemental endings concerning the NPCs that they recruited and certain parts of the world they interacted with). To my surprise, my friend said, “That would drive me crazy!”–their reason being that they’re a perfectionist and love to hunt down all of a game’s endings, but 56 would be frustrating, since it’s pretty much never attainable.
When you’ve played games that could have potentially many different endings (Bioware games come to mind), did you find all of the possibilities overwhelming on replay? Or did it not matter to you?
Too many endings would make me feel anxious and overwhelmed.
I enjoy lots of endings and replayability!
The amount of endings doesn’t affect me either way.
I usually replay a game I enjoyed at least once.
I usually replay ANY game at least once, regardless if I really loved it or not.
I never replay games, regardless of how I felt about it.
I have been playing Dragon Age: Origins since it first came out, have all the achievements, and I still replay it once a year or so. For me, replay value isn’t about getting all the achievements—though they are a nice incentive—it’s about re-exploring the story and characters as though they’re old friends.
Granted, I don’t have 100% on any other Bioware games beyond ME2, but that’s more because of a lack of free time than anything related to too many endings.
I would say that having a lot of endings isn’t a bad thing, but that it’s really the characters and story that will tempt people to replay.
Personally, I think that unless if the NPCs made choices or did things that drastically altered the landscape of the world/story as a whole it’s quite unnecessary to be that thorough.
So instead of adding an ending that simply read “Because we recruited A in city 1 and helped this one merchant then the local guild managed to defeat the tyrannical lord” you could make an umbrella ending which the only fork is if your party helped the city or not. That would drastically trim down the number of “endings” and make it less daunting for completionists.
If I understand you correctly, you have planned multiple endings which is an issue with your friend who would try to get all the endings, i.e. they have to play the game almost 56 times.Well, I personally don’t think that’s a problem because it increases the replayability so much. The problem might be the execution of such a complex game. Needs both patience and persistence, obviously.
But my opinion is obviously my own. I can’t be, and am not speaking for everyone. When it comes to relaxation, like games and books and all, everybody has their own preferences. I can very well imagine someone getting irate, probably so because they have to play the core game, which I assume remains same irrespective of the branches it diverges to. So basically it’s like playing almost 50-60% of the story again and again, with the rest of the part adding the variability.
But, it’s obviously a good thing to have that much variability in the story. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference, isn’t it? I think a poll might be more helpful to gather the opinions.
@TheZod Part of the reason why there are so many endings is that I expect people to care what happens to the characters by the end of the story, which could drastically change depending on any number of factors. If, for example, Character A is 1) alive 2) in love with the player 3) was not able to resolve their own personal conflict, they will have a different ending than if they were 1) alive 2) not in love with the player 3) able to resolve their own problem. I could trim all of that out, but it would essentially mean getting rid of a big part of the gameplay, imo.
@CalcuttaCalling A poll is a good idea! And yes, the execution is definitely complex, but I think I’ve got the coding and framework for it all down already, which is already 50% of the problem.
This. The best part is coming back to a game years after you last played it.
ME is one of the great exemple of the last year for me, recently I replayed the whole trilogy (crazy how many time it actually takes once one has a full time job). The amount of nostalgia was really though the roof, and the moment when you see the characters for the first time again (well not Ash, obviously) is always bringing back some many memories.
Of course there are many others exemples and each is personal (though I feel tingles each times I hear the witcher soundtrack, which is also why the witcher 3 dlc are to me the best of all times, since in addition to being great pieces of video games they allow you to stay with those awesome characters a bit longer and make your goodbye properly).
A number of different ending can really give syou the incentive to go through another games though. Quantic Dreams’ games are a great exemple, and even though you could argue that the characters are interesting enough (for exemple in Heavy Rain adn Beyond Tw Souls, maybe even Farenheit) in Until dawn the characters are boring to the extreme. And yet the sheer amount of possible ends got me playin more than once.
And to finish my point, I’d say that having the same ending but different ways to reach it is mostly the essence of video games, and that the one that offers the most possibilities to do it are the one with the highest chance to succeed a be considered good games by a majority of player.
Gotcha–so it seems to be commonly-agreed on that replays for a lot of people depend on how attached they are to the characters and whatnot! I get that, being a huge DA replayer myself. I’ll have to work hard to make my characters nuanced and interesting enough for people to want to keep spending time with them, then!
Quantic Dreams is a great example (I’m very excited for Detroit: Become Human tomorrow). I will point out that I think Until Dawn was made by a different company–Supermassive–that makes games less compelling in their story, but present so many different choices that you can’t help but want to replay. That ending is definitely “gamified,” though; it all boils down to how many people you can keep alive!
Wooooow I admit I was convinced it was from Quantic Dream, haha…
I remember know there was a lot of sarcasm about it not being a David Cage game… like “it’s the best David Cage game not made by David Cage”…
It’s true and the scenario was not that great but the ramification system was very well done and all the deaths were woth seeing. Which is my point, though the ending is pretty much still boring no matter what you do, the way you reach it is what make the game woth replaying
In my situation if I enjoyed the characters and the story, I would replay the game as much as I can. Though majority of the time, I only play one or two playthroughs, with restarts. Only few CoGs and HGs I played that makes me want to do another playthrough but I am planning to expand my horizon so I could maximize my purchase. XD
Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I do re-runs if it part of a series so I could remember the story, characters and choices I made before.
I play my fav series several times a year. For example samurai of hyuga I play the entire series every couple months same with the heroes rise series and versus and several standalone ones. If I am bored and on the plane I just pull out my phone and replay them (with similar choices tbh) for me it’s all about the story.
The number of endings doesn’t bother me, because I play only one time. Games for me have one major storyline which I complete with my first character. This is why I don’t care about Telltale games not having a different impact on the story depending on choices. After the first time it feels weird to change something even if I got a bad ending. If I try a different route, It is like trying to achieve a perfect world, which in turn makes the game not immersive.
So, yes, endings don’t matter, because I won’t see more than one anyway.
@rinari It occurs to me that, while I’m like 90% certain they are, you haven’t explicitly stated that these 66 endings are not mutually exclusive.
I think it’s just good to inform people that, while there are a lot of endings, that you won’t need to play half a hundred times just to get them. It would, if I’m assuming things correctly, take maybe 20-30 at the most to complete all the achievements.
As I could not care less about achievements - unless I am really bored and looking for an excuse to play something, although achievement-hunting usually bores me too - I love ‘too many endings’, as it helps cater to many more playstyles than a specific ending - at least in a one-short story.
Now, if you make sequels, well, then it would be insane to make too widely divergent endings (as each sequel would swell exponentially!) and leave it to variants around a central thread instead, to be sure.
This and all the rest you said, except the achievements which I have not even checked, ahem… But all of your post is so true for me too.
Ah, that’s so true! Very good point! Yes, a lot of the endings are not mutually exclusive. I’d say there are 10 general story endings, a few other player-specific endings tacked on to that, and then each NPC has 4-6 different endings of their own added to that: 1) NPC is dead, 2) NPC is alive and 2a) they romanced a player who is alive, 2b) they romanced a player who is dead, 3) they are alive, befriended, and the player influenced them in X way, or 4) they are alive, befriended, and the player influenced them in Y way.
And since there are 10 potential NPCs in one playthrough, I’d say the player can knock out 10-12 “endings” in one playthrough? I hope that makes sense!
Edit: Urgh that didn’t make sense so I’m drawing a diagram.
A look at what the “epilogue” will look like:
How did the story end? 1 of 10 different possibilities
What happened to the player-character? 1 of I’m guessing 15 different possibilities
What happened to NPC 1? Only 1 applies:
They are dead
They are alive and were in a romance with the living MC
They are alive and were in a romance with the dead MC
They are alive and in a friendship with the MC and were influenced X way
They are alive and in a friendship with the MC and were influenced Y way
They are alive but were not friends with the MC at all
What happened to NPC 2?
Same as the above
Goes on until NPC 10
I uhhh don’t want to do that math actually but that’s what we’re talking about here, haha!
There will not be a sequel, or if there is one, it’d be several hundred years into the future, so any past choices would only tangentially appear.
As long as that’s not going to be overwhelming for you to write, I don’t see why it’d be an issue. Makes it more tailored to the player’s experience, really. I’d probably just call it ten endings with several additional variables rather than 56 endings, though since it sounds like those are more like additional aspects that you fit into the main ending. I guess the more that the endings are mix-and-match, the harder it gets to figure out how to count them, though.
As for the replaying question, though, I feel like my answer would be a bit misleading. I’ve most often played once (but occasionally replayed), but have then code-read the game, so I basically take in all the paths and possibilities after having already experienced a playthrough.