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Delivering on the promise of true multiple endings

[Continued] Page 2

Why bring up a classic like Chrono Trigger?  Quite simply, because it had multiple endings – real multiple endings.  There are a total of 13 different endings.  This includes the ‘you suck’ ending where Lavos (the end boss) takes a dump on everything you love and does not include the variation endings depending on certain things you did during the game.  It was impressive for a game that came out in 1995 to have such vastly different endings!

One of the infinitely awesome things about Chrono Trigger is that it gives you the option to attempt to beat Lavos at nearly any time (bad pun) you want.  Since the game involves a ton of time travel, depending on when you defeat Lavos in the story can have a powerful butterfly effect on the future of the world represented though the ending.  The easiest example of this is that in the prehistoric period you have to fight a reptile boss named Azala.  If you beat Lavos right before you beat this boss the future is dominated by humanoid like reptiles because Azala was never defeated. 

Most of the Chrono Trigger endings are quirky like that.  Some are just bizarre though.  Like in one ending, Lucca and Marle just scroll through the various male characters, say which are attractive, and make some possible innuendoes towards them.  The ‘New Game +’ option gives you the opportunity to start the game from the beginning with all your levels and gear from your first run through.  This mode allows you to actually beat Lavos with ease any time you want.  There is even the ‘developers ending’ which can only be seen through this method.    

Besides my obvious bias and love for Chrono Trigger, my point in using it as an example is that it is the model of what I think of when a game boasts ‘multiple endings.’  Sure some of Chrono Trigger’s endings are weak in comparison to its stronger ones, but they are still vastly different.  There are variations on the same ending depending if you saved someone, destroyed your ship, saved Chrono, let Magus live, etc.  These slight subtleties are the difference in certain games.  The Epoch flying by doesn’t have different colored fireworks depending on what decisions you made. 

Another good example would be Silent Hill: Homecoming.  This horror survival game rocks five completely different endings which vary depending on choices you made throughout the game.  There are three characters that, depending on how you interacted with them, will decide your ending.  Did you kill Lillian, did you forgive Adam, and did you save Wheeler?  The endings vary from a good ending, to you essentially becoming a Boogeyman, and even the now staple to the series - UFO ending.  My point is, that games don’t even need to have RPG elements to have successful multiple endings.

In conclusion to this rant, no matter how strong a game series is, don’t deceive or use technicalities to support your promises.  Fans remember what is said verbatim by publishers and developers, it is a boon and curse of the internet.  If a game boasts 20 endings, I want to see a way where I can view 20 drastically different endings; it’s simply a matter of following through with what is promised.  Multiple endings can also add multiple play throughs to your single player game.  I’m always down for more bang for my buck.  The discussions too!  You know those conversations you have with your friends after you both beat an amazing game, “Whoa, that didn’t happen in my play through – what did you do?” Or “You SAVED him… WHY?”  Happy fans make for happy gamers; give me true multiple endings if you boast about having them - that's all.

Tags: Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect, Chrono Trigger, Silent Hill: Homecoming

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