Did Journey Blow Its Ending?

Illustration for article titled Did Journey Blow Its Ending?

ThatGameCompany's Journey was an immaculately constructed game; one that felt like it didn't have an ounce of fat on it. From beginning to end, not a single experience was repeated.

Advertisement

But how about that ending? (If you've yet to finish Journey, read no further.) From freezing ice to soaring mountaintops in seconds. But was it one sequence too many?

Edge columnist Stephen Poole thinks so. As his little red dude collapsed in the snow, he thought he was seeing a truly bold, visionary ending.

The screen faded to white, and I thought, ‘This is the best ending of any videogame ever.' The game told you exactly what was coming, and fulfils that promise with a brutal purity. It is a fond yet unyielding comment on the simplistic quest-triumph narrative of nearly every other videogame, and a memento mori demonstrating that all lives, whatever joys they contain, end the same way. It is Passage writ large on a HD canvas. And then my glowing white spirit-mother, or whoever she was, appeared to me, and I realised with a horrible sinking feeling that the game wasn't over after all. The truth is that Journey doesn't know when to stop.

When I picture the gaming ending where Poole suggests it might have, I have to agree that it would have been an exceptionally bold move. I'm one of those people who thinks Bioshock should've just ended after the protagonist golf-clubs Andrew Ryan.

But when it comes to Journey, I'm in the camp where I prefer to think of the final sequence as "whatever comes next" after death and before rebirth; it's not some happy ending, not by a long shot. I don't really care that they gave us a view of heaven before sending us down to do the journey all over again.

Maybe if they had done alternate endings, depending on the choices you made in the game… wait no, that would've been terrible.

Journey's Ending is a Cop-Out [Edge]

DISCUSSION

I liked Journey a lot, and think it's a great game. I enjoyed the triumphant ending, but I don't think it was a fantastic ending. Like most of the game, it's just going from point A to point B. The ending is point B. It's so stripped down that I lose interest on multiple playthroughs.

Journey ended right when it could have gotten even better. Instead of showing a white light, some grass and some mountains, I think they could have really explored what that environment might have been like; and really gone to greater lengths to show convincing divine imagery and art. If the whole point of the game is the journey to enlightenment, I know I'd be a bit let down to get up there and just find some grass and mountains.

Where Journey ends, El-Shaddai begins. I respect this game's courage and artistic vision way more, personally. It takes a lot to try to actually delve deep into divine imagery, and make it convincing, instead of panning the camera away and ending it before it even starts. The game is criminally underrated, and I think it's a much better visual, and artistic spectacle.