I’m pretty sure that my game Choice of Magics will want to advertise itself as having X different endings. But, it’s not super clear what constitutes a different ending.
There are 5 different climaxes. There is something big threatening the world or protagonist, and it’s different in each. Probably too coarse an ending count.
There are about 40 different resolutions to those climaxes - basically, the # options to those climaxes and success or abject failure for each. These tend to be pretty different even for the same climax, like shrink all monsters everywhere versus become a monster yourself.
There are getting to be maybe twice that many last lines to the game in the final chapter. The resolutions are modified by different stats and earlier decisions, so an ending might read differently if you have high Empathy versus high Calculation, for example.
Then there are all the ways these are modified by asides about romance and such, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t count as a different ending.
Then there are all the ways you can die in earlier chapters - not many, but they’re there. Most classic CYOAs counted deaths as endings, so I’d include these in a total count.
My inclination is to count all the deaths as endings, as well as all the different flavors of the resolutions as different endings. An immortal specter who goes to read books forever is different from an immortal specter who haunts houses forever, for example.
But I realize others may not be on board with minor variations counting as different endings, or may not consider early deaths to be real endings. And I want the advertising copy to be honest.
So - what does it take to count as a different ending? Or more pragmatically, what kind of ending counting scheme would not upset people who bought the game on the basis of it?