Why Do Video Games Hide Their True Endings?

Illustration for article titled Why Do Video Games Hide Their True Endings?

In today's slightly spoilery episode of Speak-Up on Kotaku, commenter 黒人 laments the games that require a player complete countless complicated steps in order to see their "true" endings.

I have a bit of a distaste for "real endings" in games. This doesn't apply to all games with multiple endings where one of them is the "true" one, but applies to how the player gets to that ending. It's fine when games use the Halo or Starfox 64 route, where you get a new ending if you play the game on legendary or take the hard route, that kind of method is fairly well-known and getting an ending that way is usually not a secret. Even at the end of Dragon Quest games, the player sees something happen to a certain area of the map, letting them know there's more to be done and where they need to go to find it.

What I don't like is having to use some secret method to get an ending that is clearly the "true" ending for the game.


This first annoyed me when I played Persona 4, which has a great regular ending, and I enjoyed it so much that I took a look online as to what other things I could do in the game that I might have missed. That's when I found that speaking to specific people, then going to a specific place and choosing a specific option will unlock the final dungeon, a new final boss, and an even better ending. I couldn't believe how difficult it was to figure out how I could access this, it's not something I would've found out on my own.

This same problem arose when I played Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which I thought had a pretty crappy ending. Now that game at least tells you there's a chapter to play after the credits, but it doesn't tell you how to access it (play a bunch of extra missions), or that you need to have some very specific requirements in order to fight the final boss and get the much, much better ending.

Now I don't mind having secrets and Easter eggs, but when something as important as a "true final boss" or a "true ending" is concerned, I appreciate being able to get to them without needing a guide. I think these developers enjoy the word-of-mouth secrets, where you have to converse with people (or buy a guide) to see all the cool stuff, but I personally like to figure these things out on my own. Maybe getting these endings was actually easy to figure out and I'm a bit slow, what do you guys think about secret "true" endings?

About Speak-Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak-Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak-Up posts we can find and highlight it here.


(Image | Shit Storm)

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The biggest offender I know of in this regard is Valkyrie Profile. That game just required WAY too much randomness for the true ending, and NO, SIR, I don't like it.

Secrets are cool, but obscureness is not.