What would make your list?
Did Game of Thrones’ ending drive you crazy? What about Lost’s? The Sopranos’? Or, moving away from TV for a second, what about a video game where you’ve invested dozens upon dozens of hours of your time, become deeply invested in its lore and characters, only to discover its ending has the consistency of a wet fart?
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the IGN staff’s most hated video game endings. Take note, not all of these are 100% serious, and feel free to tell us why we’re wrong in the comment section below!
As fulfilling as the loot system might have been in the original Borderlands game, you spent the entire campaign learning about a vault full of wondrous treasure and alien technology. By the end of it, you learn there was only a giant tentacle monster hoarding… nothing.
Your entire journey was about acquiring the riches of an alien stockpile and becoming an ultimate badass. Sure, we killed the big old alien squid and couldn’t have felt more badass while doing it, but it still remains an utter disappointment when this monster with no prior narrative tease bursts out of a tantalizing portal to a supposed dimension of loot and rewards you with a credits roll. – Brian Malkiewicz
Batman: Arkham Asylum
As a lifelong, intense Batman fan, the idea of scrapping the entire Batman/Joker dynamic for a silly brawl seemed to flush decades of character development between the two down the toilet. The Joker’s entire schtick is trying to outsmart Batman in the funhouse he’s spent so long preparing!
On top of that, the Joker has watched Batman defeat monstrous enemies with combat experience throughout this whole game, while he seemingly has no martial training. It’s just not the Joker’s style. This moment fell so flat in my first experience that I literally groaned out loud when it materialized. It trades a gorgeous history between two iconic characters for a generic video game boss fight. – John Borba
The long-awaited Halo sequel did almost everything right, but concluding its “the war with the Covenant comes to Earth” storyline isn’t one of them.
Halo 2, in all honesty, doesn’t really end so much as it just stops. After surprising players with a Raiden-esque switch to a second player character, the Arbiter, Halo 2 bounces back and forth between the Covenant anti-hero and the Master Chief. But after taking down Tartarus, a glorified Brute mini-boss, a cutscene sees Master Chief return to Earth’s orbit, with his commanding officer asking him what he’s doing. “Sir,” Spartan-117 says, “Finishing this fight.” And we all thought, “Yes! Here we go – the climactic conflict on Earth that the game has been building up to! This is going to be awesome!” But instead, Halo 2 fades to black and rolls credits, leaving us hanging for three years until Halo 3 arrived. – Ryan McCaffrey
New Super Mario Bros Wii
I know what you’re thinking. How could I be disappointed at the ending of a Super Mario Bros game? The point is, of course, to save the Princess from Bowser at the last castle. But, have you ever beat the game as Luigi? I have. My friend and I were playing New Super Mario Bros Wii in co-op mode as Mario and Luigi.
We were in the last castle, fighting Bowser, and my friend lost all his lives as Mario. It was up to me as Luigi to kick Bowser’s butt, and I did. But, you want to know why I’m peeved? The end game scene starts up, Mario and Luigi are there, and this hot air balloon so that we can get out of dodge. Princess Peach runs up to Mario and they both get on the hot air balloon and fly away, leaving Luigi behind. I don’t even remember if they waved goodbye. ‘You’re welcome’ would have been nice. – Khalilah Alston
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The story of Metal Gear is near the top of my favorites for any video game series. And while I didn’t hate MGSV’s twist as much as most people, I was severely disappointed by what wasn’t included in the final game due to Kojima’s early departure from Konami.
The final heel-turn for Big Boss didn’t have enough time to breathe, and young Liquid Snake’s insurrection only happened in behind-the-scenes storyboards after the game was released. – Ronny Barrier
Far Cry 4 & 5
The Far Cry games usually have big stories and huge open worlds to explore. But for some reason, Far Cry 4 and 5 don’t have that. It’s weird. In Far Cry 4, right at the beginning of that game, after eating with the main villain Pagan Min, he tells you to wait. So I did, and then the game ended.
Same with Far Cry 5. The cops tell you to arrest Joseph Seed, but I didn’t think it was a good idea, so I didn’t. But it didn’t matter, because we just left and the game ended anyway. Why did they even put big maps in these games if you never get to explore them? 60 dollars for 10-minute games. What a waste. – Mark Medina
Prince of Persia (2008)
The standalone Prince of Persia with the gorgeous art style had a pretty intriguing story to keep you going. Instead of unleashing the sands of time, you and a mysterious princess named Elika travel around an infected kingdom to slowly root out the corruption of an evil god. Along the way you learn that the princess actually died once, and her father sold his soul to bring her back to life – corrupting him in the process. So after your entire adventure of sealing away the corruption, you and the princess return to where it all started, and Elika eventually uses all of her power to seal the dark god away, killing herself in the process.
So what does the eponymous prince do? He marches outside and undoes everything you’ve accomplished over the course of the game so that he can bring the princess back to life. Again. At the cost of unleashing the dark god. Again. That’s it. That’s the game. (Ubisoft eventually released an epilogue DLC, but at that point the damage was already done). – Brendan Graeber
Final Fantasy X
I love Final Fantasy X. This game broke my mind when it came out. I never knew an RPG could be like this. From the voice acting to the addicting Blitzball mini-game, FFX seemed to have everything going for it until the end. Tidus and Dad were physical manifestations of dreams created by the Fayth… you spent 60+ hours with this guy and he wasn’t real.
He and Jecht were just dream boyz. It’s like the ending of Dallas when you find out it was all a dream and Patrick Duffy pops out of the shower but instead of not being dead, Tidus leaves Yuna and jumps into some dumb clouds. I’m still upset. – Michael Huynh
Mass Effect 3
It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for, the ending most of us love to hate: Mass Effect 3. You’ve been playing for, I’m guessing nearly 180 hours. Maybe you cured the genophage? Maybe you figured the Krogan were just too much of a liability for the universe to bear. You smoothed things over with the Geth… or perhaps not. You either freed the Rachni Queen or you committed bug genocide. You saved Ashley or you saved Kaiden (Just kidding. Of course you save Ashley. Kaiden is the worst.)
In the end, none of it matters; You pick your favorite color, the relays blow up, everything more or less starts over, and Joker does or doesn’t get to keep his robot girlfriend. All of those decisions you agonized over, all the character development, the romances, the political drama, it’s all reduced to blue, green, or red.
I will say this though: isn’t that kind of on par with the way things are in reality? What about the universe we occupy now would ever lead you to believe that the day-to-day decisions of any man or woman would matter, truly, on a universal scale? It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but rarely has any form of media this big and this dense ever fully delivered on its expectations in the end. Maybe Mass Effect was never about the color of your ending, but about the journey we all took to get there? That’s what I tell myself, at least. – Jeremy Azevedo
Assassin’s Creed 3
I won’t lie, the strange tie-in between Assassin’s Creed’s visions of the past and the way it heralded a dire warning for the present had me hooked (Remember when we were all supposed to die in 2012? Good times). And how about that ending in AC2 where you fist fight the pope and a mysterious hologram lady starts addressing you directly? So cool! So you can see why my expectations were high going into Assassin’s Creed 3. Sadly, both Connor and Desmond’s story ended AC3 with a whimper, not a bang.
Instead of an epic showdown, Connor winds up having a bunch of wooden planks fall on him, before lazily shooting his nemesis, and then embarking on the world’s most sluggish chase … to a bar. Then you get to share a beer before stabbing your mortal enemy, because sure, why not.
Back to the present time, Desmond finally finds out his singular purpose: to either save the earth from a solar flare and near-extinction by pushing a button, or let the world burn and lead what’s left of humanity and start again. So, of course, he sacrifices himself, and future titles aren’t really sure what to do with the present-time sequences… but maybe that’s a blessing in disguise? – Brendan Graeber
Bethesda loves to make meaty open worlds just begging to be explored, and Fallout 3, their first take on the Fallout franchise, was no exception. However, if you decided to focus on the main story before exploring the rest of the Capital Wasteland, you met a rather abrupt end. After your dad (Liam Neeson) floods a very important room with radiation to stop the bad guys, you learn that in order to make things right, the player must sacrifice himself by entering the radioactive room to bring life back to the wasteland.
For all the choices presented to you over the course of your adventure – this was one task you couldn’t choose how to solve (apparently all the Rad-X in the world can’t save you). And then the game ends. If you didn’t save right before taking on that final quest – too bad! Sure hope you saw your fill of the D.C. area and did all those neat side quests!
Thankfully, Bethesda rectified this error with their Broken Steel DLC, allowing the player to miraculously wake up after finishing the main quest. Even Fallout 4’s ending – for all its faults – wisely let you keep adventuring after completing your main story. – Brendan Graeber
I don’t know why I expected anything out of the ending of Karnov. The titular character is a Soviet strongman and his motivation for fighting dinosaurs and punching skeletons is to retrieve the Lost Treasure of Babylon. The game had some decent graphics for the time, and I spent the entire weekend when I rented it working my way to the end. With the evil dragon defeated, I braced myself for a rewarding “cinema scene,” perhaps showing the fire-chucking strongman gazing with wide-eyed wonder as he peered into the golden glow of the Lost Treasure of Babylon. No such thing happens.
Immediately after beating the final boss, the screen goes black and the words “CONGRATULATIONS!! THE END” appear on the screen while Russian circus music plays on a continuous and mocking loop. Some say the lost treasure was the fun we had along the way but that is bullshit. – Seth Macy
No Man’s Sky
It’s weird to include a game that technically shouldn’t have an ending, since the whole point of No Man’s Sky is to just explore, and survive. Instead, HelloGames put a light at the end of the tunnel by telling you on-screen how far you were from the center. After spending days of playtime hyper-jumping to reach the center. You then discover it was completely all for nothing.
The game plays music for about a minute, and then teleports you to a new galaxy, and the game essentially starts over. No revelations. No rewards. All you’re left with is a bunch of broken tech and a maddening realization that you just wasted a lot of time. – Mark Medina
Far Cry 5 (Seriously, This Time)
Okay, but for real, Far Cry 5’s actual ending is one of the most unsatisfying conclusions to a video game that I’ve ever played. You play through the entire game liberating Hope County from the clutches of this evil cult, and then when you finally get to the head of the cult, Joseph Seed, you’re again given two options: Arrest him or let him go free. Neither choice really makes a difference though, because it’s a bad end either way.
If you let him go, you drive away and presumably murder your friends after being triggered by the song on the radio; and if you arrest him, a nuke goes off murdering everyone but you and Joseph Seed. Whichever you choose, it kind of makes you wonder, what was the point of everything you did in the game up to that point, if both endings still lead to the villain winning in the end. – Mitchell Saltzman
What game ending really ground your gears? Let us know in the comments!