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Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the whatever-happened-to-pacman-anyway dept.

Games 178

After the closure of Tabula Rasa over the weekend, the Opposable Thumbs blog asks if that's what it takes for a game to have an actual ending these days. Quoting: "It's no surprise that most games hope for a sequel, as it's the easiest way to get some of that money back while taking advantage of the staff, engine, assets, and other advantages you've banked while creating the first title. The problem? This has lead to a generation of cliff-hangers at worst, and endings that hedge their bets at best. ... As all the game's characters die, as the servers are shut down, as the data is erased or backed up and then boxed or whatever happens to MMO data once the game is done, it's hard not to be a little sad. The sights and sounds of the world of Tabula Rasa are gone, forever. All the memories written into those ones and zeroes will quickly be forgotten, and no one will walk those grounds again." Massively put together a few screenshots and videos to commemorate the ending of the game.

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Not just - or primarily - games that this affects (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049633)

I'd go broader than games. Pretty much any mass market entertainment these days has to fail to get a real ending, and even then it doesn't usually manage it.

When was the last time you went to the cinema to watch a major release that didn't end with a blatant hook for a sequel? When was the last time you saw a TV show end without some form of cliff-hanger? And yes... when was the last time you saw a game end without a plug for a sequel?

I think TV has it worst. The push to wring as many seasons as possible out of a particular intellectual property has destroyed the capability of a generation of screenwriters to actually write an ending for a story. They write a strong beginning to get people going, then just sit down and churn out "middle" for season after season until the ratings drop and the network starts to swing the axe. Then, if possible, they write in an ending from whatever point in the story they'd managed to get up to.

I remember when I got into watching anime, back in around 2001, the first thing that struck me was that many series did actually have endings. Sure, in some cases the endings were incomprehensible, but at least they were there. However, even with anime, as time has gone one, the classic stand-alone 13 or 26 episode series has fallen from favour in recent years.

The problem is that we are creating a body of cultural products which will not stand the test of time. Now, ok, you can write off 95% (at least) of modern pop culture as ephemera, but it would still be nice to think that we might actually be creating a few things that will still be watched, read or played in fifty years time (and beyond). But unless things have ending, it just won't happen.

Can you imagine if Hamlet never came to an end (ok, if you've ever sat through a bad student production, it might have felt like that) but instead ran on for 17 plays, with 8-12 comprising the little-loved Finland arc, play 4 introducing a new love interest who got written out in play 9 and then the whole thing stopped abruptly after play 17 because the Globe burned down? How many modern TV stories have been ruined by this kind of thing? The X-Files? Lost? Buffy?

Ironically, given what sparked this discussion, MMOs don't actually need an ending. They're not usually intended as a story as such - more as an ongoing, but usually static, world that players participate in. They generally kind of exist in the same continuity-free zones as daily-gag comic strips in newspapers and the like. That they ended Tabula Rasa in the way they did is actually kind of cool and probably rather better than the shoddy game deserved.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049779)

To paraphrase:
"The most irritating thing about the play 'Hamlet' is that the first and third portions of the trilogy are clearly missing."

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (3, Informative)

averner (1341263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049787)

2001? Long anime has been around before that. For example, Detective Conan started airing in 1996, and still is. Dragon Ball, though a bit shorter at ~150 episodes, aired back in the 80's in Japan.

On the other hand, there are still way more "stand-alone" animes than long ones. Though, if a stand-alone anime becomes really popular and well-received, they'll produce a second season for it, such as with Code Geass. I see nothing wrong with that as long as the second season is good as well (and in the case of Code Geass, it was good).

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051613)

True but Detective Conan doesn't feel like it's just dragging on and on. There is still a lot of story left in that series but it's always exciting and interesting so I'm happy to have another 300 or whatever episodes.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (2, Interesting)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049829)

Sadly this has even moved on into books. For instance, The Wheel of Time dragged on so long that the author died before he finished it. It is sad, and he was too sick to really write. I feel for Robert's family, but there are other examples. Another one is GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire, he's not a young man keeps pushing dates back. Authors have lives, as do any content producers, but I think that they may need to look at maybe limiting their scope a little more so their projects can be finished in their lifetimes.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049859)

Sadly I can point to George Lucas as a good example of that. He's clearly stated that he wont make eps 7-9 for starwars because he wants to do something else before he dies!

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049987)

Sadly I can point to George Lucas as a good example of that. He's clearly stated that he wont make eps 7-9 for starwars because he wants to do something else before he dies!

Ah, in a rare moment of lucidity, he saves us all...

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (2, Interesting)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050623)

Thrawn Trilogy [wikipedia.org] + Ridley Scott [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050571)

Yeah, like licence out Clone wars cartoons...

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050081)

Authors have lives, as do any content producers, but I think that they may need to look at maybe limiting their scope a little more so their projects can be finished in their lifetimes.

Authors may also want to decide whether they are actual people who deserve to have a life of their own, or simply story vending machines which exist to provide people with a lfew hours entertainment and then fade away.

Another one is GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire, he's not a young man keeps pushing dates back

And he has this to say on the subject [livejournal.com] . Given the choice between hearing about how GRRM has been watching football all day, or reading a hacked up finale to an otherwise great series of books which he just felt he needed to put together even though he was miserable doing it, I'll be one of the first to order him some beers and pizza and hand him the remote.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (3, Insightful)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050855)

Authors also have to decide whether or not they want to eat. Once one story has sold, it's a lot easier selling sequels to it than to sell something entirely new. If they don't sell stories, they don't eat. So sequels and long-running series are the norm.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

edward2020 (985450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051113)

Funny enough, the clip at the bottom of the post features Ricky Nelson in 1985 - the year of his death.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050115)

And even sadder, this is not new. In my opinion, Dune never really ended, either. It was only terminated by the death of Frank Herbert, and I know from historical articles that he had other stuff planned. That stuff is all lost, now and will always be.

No, the Brian Herbert books don't count. They're not a continuation of the original in any way; they're inspired by the original and in some ways are a reasonable attempt to close the gaps and tie up the loose ends that were left when Frank died.

The lack of an ending for the sake of telling an ongoing story is not new.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051099)

What are you talking about? I thought the ending in God Emperor was very satisfying.

Wait--are you trying to tell me he wrote books after that one?

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

edward2020 (985450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051147)

Son and Co. claim to have unearthed notes and whatnot left by Frank concerning Dune.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050949)

I'm gonna have to disagree on that about WoT. In my first reads I never felt that there was any intentional dragging out just to sell more books, I loved each of them and I think they all add something important to the story.

I do agree that it is a very common phenomenon now to drag everything out. I dont read much anymore, but usually have the TV going while doing homework and recently I've been going through Heroes season 3. The first was good, the second was okay, the third is showing obvious signs of stretch. Just kill the bad guys when you have them so they dont escape for the 10th time!

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

indytx (825419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049835)

Can you imagine if Hamlet never came to an end (ok, if you've ever sat through a bad student production, it might have felt like that) but instead ran on for 17 plays, with 8-12 comprising the little-loved Finland arc, play 4 introducing a new love interest who got written out in play 9 and then the whole thing stopped abruptly after play 17 because the Globe burned down? How many modern TV stories have been ruined by this kind of thing? The X-Files? Lost? Buffy?

The inherent assumption that you are making is that Shakespeare would would have a bad sequel. I don't think this is true. Shakespeare was in the business of making money. If he had thought he could make money through making prequels or sequels for some of his popular plays, say Young Hamlet or How We Miss Caesar, he would have, and some of them would have been excellent.

However, I really think that you're missing the point. You're really comparing apples and oranges when you compare Shakespeare's plays, written for the stage, with big budget games or movies. The latter cost a lot of money to develop while in general the former do not. Thus, I think to some degree movies, video games, and even many books (with high unit and distribution costs) become formulaic because of the production costs involved. Many video games cost millions to develop; many movies cost over $100 million. For those types of entertainment, when a corporation with shareholders footing the bill, you're going to see less chances taken. A successful movie or video game is almost like the lottery, so the smart, responsible thing to do for your shareholders is to milk it. Before you say that this doesn't apply to video games, think about how many lines of code it takes to write a decent game that's going to sell. For that, you need someone with money paying you to pay your rent while you're developing your game. That means someone, ultimately, expects to get paid.

Besides, this is what people want. They want to watch or experience the same things that made them happy before. The last thing that a video game developer wants it to hear that its new game sucks compared to the old one. Fanboys can be vocal and vitriolic, and unfortunately many developers spend much of their time keeping their original audience happy, rather than expanding the audience.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051447)

If he had thought he could make money through making prequels or sequels for some of his popular plays, say Young Hamlet or How We Miss Caesar, he would have, and some of them would have been excellent.

He did. And he did. Henry IV Part 2 was basically a tacked-on sequel to wildly popular Henry IV Part 1, where he reversed all the character development of Prince Henry (the future Henry V) to do it all over again. And then he did The Merry Wives of Windsor to bring Falstaff back for yet another encore.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (4, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049845)

"When was the last time you went to the cinema to watch a major release that didn't end with a blatant hook for a sequel?"

The only films this statement really applies to are the "Blockbuster" style of films. I would say that the majority of films don't end in this fashion (then again, I am rather choosy regarding the films I watch these days, so perhaps I just don't notice).

What's perhaps worse are those films that are not expected to have sequels, but because they're successful, you end up getting a bright spark claiming it's time for a sequel.

That small gripe aside, you're spot on. I remember an interview with Dominic Monaghan (from Lost) who was saying (around Season two or three) that the original script for Lost was intended to end after Season Three or Four, but the studio executives objected and told them to stretch it out much further. Funnily enough, this was around the same time I lost interest in the show.

I find this approach alienating. It decreases the chance of new viewers being attracted to a show (how many people want to play catchup with a weeks' worth of viewing just to figure out what's going on), not to mention that the "indefinite" approach is likely to encourage a high fall-out rate as people either get bored, annoyed at the never-ending and increasingly more unbelievable plot twists, or simply fatigued.

Oh, and yeah, kids, get off my lawn!

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051587)

LOST does have an ending in sight -- next season, the sixth, will be its last.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049869)

Who goes to see "major releases" for the story, anyway?

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049893)

When was the last time you saw a TV show end without some form of cliff-hanger?

Television is the absolute worst offender. It is very rare that the writing staff has enough advance notice of their cancellation to end the story appropriately.

When you're a new show and worried about being allowed to finish 1 season, do you plan out arcs that span 4? When you finally make it to season 4, where do you aim at to end the show? Where will the studio decide to axe you?

Too many variables.

Some shows DO have an ending (0)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049897)

Star Trek Enterprise had a pretty good ending IMO, showing Captain Archer present at the formation of the Federation (albeit as a holodeck recreation on NCC-1701D). The final scene showing 3 generations of Enterprise is pretty good.

Star Trek Voyager also had a good ending where they made it back to earth (and beat the Borg as well IIRC, its been a while since I watched the show)

I havent seen enough TOS to know how that one ended as a TV series. The real ending to TOS is where Kirk passes the mantle on to a new generation in the NCC-1701A in Generations and also dies in that film (and it was a proper ending at that)

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (3, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050075)

Star Trek Voyager also had a good ending where they made it back to earth (and beat the Borg as well IIRC, its been a while since I watched the show). I havent seen enough TOS to know how that one ended as a TV series. The real ending to TOS is where Kirk passes the mantle on to a new generation in the NCC-1701A in Generations and also dies in that film (and it was a proper ending at that)

The Voyager ending was a lot of Deus ex Machina for an ending. TOS died without any ending. The "ending" in Generations was a rushed way to kill off Kirk so they could never make another TOS sequel. Tada, Prequel!

The only passable ending I remember to a TV show that was not a cartoon is from Quantum Leap. They actually had enough advanced warning that they could create an ending. Live TV shows have good endings too. Since there's no preparation time, "this is your last week" means they can make the last day special, even if it's a video montage.

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

edward2020 (985450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051173)

A video montage is supposed to be special lol

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051321)

A video montage is supposed to be special lol

It's better than ending in mid senten

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

edward2020 (985450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051415)

Disregarding any ad hominem attack that may exist in your post, I don't believe I've seen any TV or film that ended in mid sentence. Seriously, the montage is the height of 'we don't give a fuckism.' Since I like campy movies I'm fine with them, but I would hardly characterize them as 'special.'

ending in mid senten... (1)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052827)

"No one expects the .. Oh bugger"

Of course, that was all part of the joke but it was a darn good episode and it ended in mid sentence.

And if you are drawing a blank, it was Monty Python, and "Spanish Inquisition"

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050215)

Oh come on. Enterprise? That only got an ending because they were given some advance notice and cobbled together an ending as quickly as possible. The entire show was intended to be milked for years, but lack of popularity killed it when the execs decided they'd had enough. It was only because they knew the fanbase was rabid enough that they agreed to let the show end when the season did, thus allowing that rather bolted on ending.

I mean, really. Is there any of the seasons of Enterprise where that ending wouldn't have fit just as well... or just as badly?

Voyager, much the same. That one though only got as far as it did because it was a pet project for people in power... it was in some ways even less successful than Enterprise! And the deux ex machina ending? Urgh!

TOS didn't end. It was terminated because management decided it was too expensive to continue. The movies... well they sort of carried on but were thematically FAR removed from TOS. So much so, the movies can almost be considered a completely different "series" with the same cast.

If you want to see science fiction that "ends" properly, then you're looking in the wrong place in Star Trek. The recent movie that springs to my mind when I try to think of one that really ends was "Sunshine". While it's not without flaws, it does definitely end.

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (5, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050727)

TOS - canceled by NBC, revived by fan campaign, canceled again. Was intended to be "Episodic", such that Episode X being broadcast before Episode Y really didn't mean much. There was no "ongoing story" intended.

TNG - A tad of ongoing story but not really enough intended to matter. The "ending" I thought was a pretty damn well-done episode.

DS9 - one hell of an ending, especially after the "switch" from episodic (early seasons) to arc-driven (later seasons, cardassian/dominion war stuff).

Voyager - only existed because it was Berman & Braga's toy. Also, Seven of Boobs. "Ending" was a fanwank from Berman & Braga

Enterprise - could have gone on a lot longer, ESPECIALLY after Paramount execs finally got the message and kicked Berman & Braga off the franchise to get some real writing staff in. Sadly, they were too late and most viewers couldn't be won back.

If you'd like a series that REALLY never ends, try Doctor Who.

Now as for the rest of sci-fi and the rest of writing in general, you have a few different scenarios:

#1 - "Drag it on forever" - arguably you can put shows like Cheers, Frasier, Simpsons (which has jumped the shark so many times the damn thing is just getting bored) here. Also, Dragonball/Dragonball Z/Dragonball GT, or InuYasha/Bleach/Naruto.

#2 - "Oh crap the creator just left but it's still popular" - see West Wing (which got crappy within a season of Sorkin leaving but dragged on two more seasons), or Smallville.

#3 - "Why won't they let it die?" - Lost, Heroes, etc. Caused by desperate networks that know damn well they have nothing palatable to replace it with and we're bored out of our gourds with so-called "reality TV."

#4 - Last, but definitely not least, the rushed/tacked ending, personified by a number of tropes from anime such as the Gainax Ending [tvtropes.org] , Mandatory Twist Ending [tvtropes.org] , and similar. Basically where you have the writers "counting on" a 2-3 season arc, doing the 3-4 episode "premise and characters" intro, 16-18 episodes of happy silly fluffy slapstick, and then needing to "turn the show serious" at the end. Great examples: just about any anime out there, including (but not limited to) Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion (though that was also the result of Anno going off his meds)...

Now if you want to see a series that had multiple seasons all of which had a real ending, and which kicked the ass of all of these conventions, pick up Slayers sometime.

As for video games... it doesn't have to fail to get a real ending. Some games get an ending, some don't. The Baldur's Gate / Icewind Dale games all had pretty encapsulated stories. Legacy of Kain has a definite cyclical storyline - sure there was "room" for a game centering on Kain afterwards, but they wrapped up Raziel in a nice neat package and there's no harm in leaving the "what happens now" question behind: the focus of contention ever since Soul Reaver (given that the original Blood Omen had a "definite ending" pair and the rest of the series is premised on assuming which ending the player chose and running with it) has been resolved. Hell, we even got to take care of the unfinished business and kill Turel.

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051883)

You're implying the Simpsons has ever attempted to have a ongoing story when in reality every episode is basically it's own standalone adventure. In this regard it's not much different from the sunday comics.

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (2, Interesting)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051895)

Where do you put Babylon 5 and Avatar the Last Airbender? Two series with definite, planned story arcs and seasons? Avatar was always going to have three seasons, and the story reflects that. Babylon 5 was always going to have 3, 4, or 5 seasons (JMS wrote hooks into the story that would have allowed for abortive wrapups, unfortunately he pulled the line too quick and ended the show with season 4 and it was unexpectedly renewed for a fifth)

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053015)

Actually, Avatar was originally supposed to have FOUR seasons: the fourth "Chapter", Air, was supposed to center much more heavily on the whole "spirit world connection" thing (with the face-stealing demon making his promised reappearance). It was only after Nickelodeon treated the show like crap and started playing Futurama-ish timeslot games that they cut it to 3 seasons, and the rushed nature of the final few episodes (ESPECIALLY the rushed, cramped-feeling "finale movie" with the barely-explained Turtle Dragon Ex Machina "Aang won't have to kill him" ending) shows this quite well.

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (1)

Banichi (1255242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052447)

>pick up Slayers sometime.
Do you mean Slayers(TV), Slayers Next(TV), Slayers Try(TV), Slayers Revolution(TV), Slayers Evolution-R(TV), Slayers The Motion Picture(Movie), Slayers Return(Movie), Slayers Great(Movie), Slayers Gorgeous(Movie), or Slayers Premium(Movie)?
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slayers [wikipedia.org]

Re:Some shows DO have an ending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050299)

Farscape had an ending. Just don't watch the last 10 seconds, or you'll scream along with D'Argo, "Nooooooooooooo."

In Japan... (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049955)

> I think TV has it worst. The push to wring as many seasons as possible out of a particular intellectual property has destroyed the capability of a generation of screenwriters to actually write an ending for a story.

Anime may have leaned towards no ending series goes on as long as it can, but many still stop at one season. Berserk. Fruits Basket.

Japanese Live Action dramas usually only go for one season. Stories are so much better with a beginning, a middle and an end.

c.f. The X-files. a beginning, middle, middle, middle, middle, middle, middle, middle, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049975)

When was the last time you went to the cinema to watch a major release that didn't end with a blatant hook for a sequel?

I the last two months? "Doubt", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Revolutionary Road". Don't they qualify as "major releases"?

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050753)

I'd be on board for a Coraline 2 - Bedlam Strikes Back.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

samael (12612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050015)

I, for one, am looking forward to the end of Battlestar Galactica in a few weeks time...

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050031)

You mentioned Lost. Lost *is* working toward a planned ending. But that does illustrate your point. The writers felt like they were floundering because they didn't know how many seasons they had to write. Now that they know, the writing is much tighter (though I'd argue it's also rushed occasionally).

Really what we're talking about, in terms of American television anyway, are miniseries. I miss the days of 12-week epic TV events like Shogun and Centennial. Nowadays, a miniseries is rarely more than a three hour movie over two nights.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (2, Informative)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050053)

When was the last time you saw a TV show end without some form of cliff-hanger?

The first series of 'Sledge Hammer' ended with a nuclear explosion destroying LA. And it STILL came back for another series! So writers should not be afraid to end stories if they wish - you can always explain your way out of it if you get another chance.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052119)

As much as i loved the show when I was 8, it's hardly a high water mark for artistic merit.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (4, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050091)

Ooooh, surveys! We're getting so MySpace these days.

"When was the last time you went to the cinema to watch a major release that didn't end with a blatant hook for a sequel?"

Changeling

"When was the last time you saw a TV show end without some form of cliff-hanger?"

Off the top of my head, Life on Mars which is extremely ironic since the TV show has a sequel and the sequel is actually pretty decent once you get past the first two episodes.

"And yes... when was the last time you saw a game end without a plug for a sequel?"

Mario Galaxy (also ironic since there will no doubt be a sequel)

"Can you imagine if Hamlet never came to an end (ok, if you've ever sat through a bad student production, it might have felt like that) but instead ran on for 17 plays, with 8-12 comprising the little-loved Finland arc, play 4 introducing a new love interest who got written out in play 9 and then the whole thing stopped abruptly after play 17 because the Globe burned down?"

Yes.

"How many modern TV stories have been ruined by this kind of thing? The X-Files? Lost? Buffy?"

42

Now pass this along to 6 other friends or you will be cursed forever and your wang will fall off (if equipped).

TV - HBO and the BBC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050213)

I can think of a number of *good* TV series that do have a clear end - e.g. HBO's "Six Feet Under", or the original BBC version of "The Office".

Then there are series that do have a clear ending, only to carry on in a spin-off anyway - e.g. the original BBC "Life on Mars", continued as "Ashes to Ashes"

I don't really see this tendency (1)

albieg (1491075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050233)

Let's see some examples about games I recently played: Bioshock has an ending narrating also the last moments in life of the main character decades after the events played in the game, when he dies for natural causes at an old age. Dead Space has an open ending that leaves room for a sequel, but not really a cliffhanger. GTA IV definitely has an ending for the main story, but since life goes on for Niko Bellic we don't know yet if we'll see him again in a sequel, or in cameos. Fallout 3 has once again an ending for the main character, but it's very likely there will be a sequel with a different playing character. World of Goo, well... it's surreal. It's a game that doesn't need to tell a story to be fun. But overall we assist at the creation of worlds and ambients that can spawn a thousand stories, and commercial considerations aside there seems to be an approach to storytelling that reminds in some way the social sci-fi of the sixties, where stories were often unfinished or widely open to the considerations of the reader who's implicitly invited to fill in the gaps and tie a few knots. The main character may die, but the world goes on.

Re:I don't really see this tendency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27053009)

Fallout 3 has once again an ending for the main character, but it's very likely there will be a sequel with a different playing character.

Fallout 3 is about the worst example of a game not having an ending that you could have possibly pointed out. The ending to Fallout 3 is being redone in the "Broken Steel" addon in order to allow the game to continue.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050253)

How many modern TV stories have been ruined by this kind of thing? The X-Files? Lost? Buffy?

I agree with you on The X-Files and Lost, but Buffy had a very strong ending. The characters continued to develop throughout the show's run until a very climactic ending.

Buffy suffered more from losing focus in the middle of the seasons. A couple of them start strongly, lose their way a bit in the middle and then have a strong ending. But that tends to be true of a lot of shows that work to a standard 22 episode season. 12 episode seasons tend to be a lot tighter but US television isn't geared up for that.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050379)

When was the last time you saw a TV show end without some form of cliff-hanger?

Avatar: The Last Airbender. But then, they actually planned their arc. Before that, Cowboy Bebop. Before that, Firefly. Before that, Babylon 5.

when was the last time you saw a game end without a plug for a sequel?

Fallout 3. Mirror's Edge. Dead Space.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050461)

Mirror's Edge.

The immediate story (getting Kate off the hook for Pope's murder) was resolved, but the news report during the credits saying Faith and Kate were on the run is just begging for a Mirror's Edge 2.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052411)

Good thing Mirror's Edge all but tanked.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050801)

Don't forget Stargate Atlantis. That had a great ending imho.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051337)

I'm pretty sure that the fact that Fallout 3 is the fifth game in the Fallout series pretty much implies that a sequel is not only possible, but also quite likely.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050529)

Well what about Watchmen or V for Vendetta?

Plus sometimes the writing is a post-script season(read, oh shit! We're still on the air and we've ended everything! Such as SG-1).

Now back to the topic at hand. MMOs aren't meant really to end. I completely agree with you on that point and that how they ended it was kind of neat, sort of like what Blizzard did for their "End of Beta WoW" days.

Like Seinfeld? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050547)

You're probably right for shows like 24, but I don't think you're right for most sitcoms.

The TV show Seinfeld had a pretty definitive ending (despite the spinoffs that followed). It sucked.

Contrast that to South Park and Family Guy, where although there's a tiny bit of ploy carry-over from one episode to the next, each individual episode tends to have an ending that completely wraps up that episode's story arc.

So the thing common to Seinfeld, South Park, and Family Guy, is that they do have good endings: at the end of each episode. And when a series final ending was attempted (Seinfeld), it failed.

Re:Like Seinfeld? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050735)

How did the Seinfeld finale fail? The characters were thrown in jail for doing what they'd always done: nothing. There was really no other way it could have ended satisfactorily. Typical sitcom endings where all of the stories are wrapped up (Jerry and Elaine getting back together, or Kramer finding his long lost father, for instance) would have been completely out of style for the series.

Did you expect something else?

Re:Like Seinfeld? (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050941)

How did the Seinfeld finale fail? The characters were thrown in jail for doing what they'd always done: nothing. There was really no other way it could have ended satisfactorily. Typical sitcom endings where all of the stories are wrapped up (Jerry and Elaine getting back together, or Kramer finding his long lost father, for instance) would have been completely out of style for the series.

Did you expect something else?

I say it failed because, from what I saw anyway, a significant majority of the fans said the ending sucked.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050575)

Sequels, when done well, allow for the characters to evolve and become more complex. Normally for a Movie a good chunk is establishing the character. Then less time with actual plot in the 1 1/2 - 3 hour block of time. Sequels allow for the character to go from where they left off, or further down where their character background is already known.

Prequels, on the other hand are for more dangerous, As the plot usually stinks as they need to establish the characters again for their younger self, and try to make these new characters to try to fit into the later ones, and if the character is that well established before hand your view may not mesh with the imagination. Like Darth Vader being a whinny little brad.

But for these stories it is important to understand when it is good to make an end or when to allow for sequels. If there is room for more character growth then it may be good for a Sequel. But in such as Austin Powers sequels will not expand the character any further just the same old in a different environment.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050837)

Can you imagine if Hamlet never came to an end (ok, if you've ever sat through a bad student production, it might have felt like that) but instead ran on for 17 plays, with 8-12 comprising the little-loved Finland arc, play 4 introducing a new love interest who got written out in play 9 and then the whole thing stopped abruptly after play 17 because the Globe burned down? How many modern TV stories have been ruined by this kind of thing? The X-Files? Lost? Buffy?

You are judging two different things. You should have the comparison be sit down and watch all of Shakespeare's plays vs watching a watching season of any show of your choice on DVD. I have no idea how many plays Shakespeare produced, but I can't stand most of them that I've been exposed to. Now let's compare that to B5, Smallville, or Buffy. Taken individually, each show is usually a complete product. It's taken as a whole where each wraps around your head and you've just gotta find out what happens next to these folks. Actually, I'd say that they are getting better now with DVD releases of at least finishing a show/season in such a manner that its a fair pausing spot that may or may not be resumed if it does great on DVD sales. B5 was great for all the little things in one episode becoming important later on.

It reminds me of something that I was forced to read in college. It was a French soap opera thing were basically a single writer produced dozens and dozens of books set around his slightly different Paris. All those little people in one book might or might not get a book of their own. I wonder if we had complete Roman or Greek plays if they had the same thing back then. This concept doesn't seem new. It's just that the stage effects and presentation that have changed somewhat over 2 thousand years.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050871)

MMOs don't actually need an ending. They're not usually intended as a story as such - more as an ongoing, but usually static, world that players participate in. They generally kind of exist in the same continuity-free zones as daily-gag comic strips in newspapers and the like.

This, in an nutshell, is the problem with MMOs. I love RPGs, but I have no interest in a perpetual grind.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050909)

There's also the opposite problem of too many endings - presumably because the writers repeatedly think the show will be cancelled (e.g., Stargate).

Hamlet (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051135)

If anyone could drag a Shakespearian plot out for 17 plays, Hamlet could do it. Or at least think about doing it or not doing it for 17 plays before being forced into action when the Globe burns down.

Staple of television from the beginning (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051243)

Until relatively recently, the idea of a television series getting a proper "ending" was unheard of. A TV series would run until the network canceled it, and then it would just stop. David Banner was never going to find a cure for his Hulk disease, the Fugitive never would find his one-armed man, The Prisoner would never escape from the island. The idea of a special "final episode" that marked an explicit and unambiguous end to a TV series didn't really come along until the 80's. The idea of a "final seasons" and even the rare series with a definite running time for the whole *series* (such as Babylon 5 and some BBC series) followed even later.

Re:Staple of television from the beginning (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052245)

> the Fugitive never would find his one-armed man,

He DID, though. The ratings for that episode were supposedly not matched until the last episode of MASH.

> The Prisoner would never escape from the island.

He did, several times. The last time has him discover that he (or his exact double) is also Number 1, as I recall.

That is 2 out of 3 examples that are wrong. Boy, do you suck at arguments.

The Invaders (a Quinn-Martin production, just like The Fugitive) didn't have an ending. Neither did Run For Your Life (Ben Gazzara as a lawyer with a fatal disease that will kill him in about a year) (not a Q-M Production, though), despite the premise almost demanding one. Nor even Mission Impossible (the series, not The Abortion That Lived that was the movie franchise). Try those as examples.

Re:Staple of television from the beginning (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052383)

Hey, I still remember the awesome Hulk TV movies, including 'The Trial of the Incredible Hulk' which utterly and unamibiously ended that particular series.

Re:Not just - or primarily - games that this affec (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051517)

X-Files I'll give you cause it went downhill after Mulder left, and the ending, while kinda cool learning the date for something important to happen (not gonna post a spoiler for those that never saw it) had you going "huh?"

But Lost and Buffy? It was around season 3 that they announced their plan for a total of 6 seasons, with a clear cut ending, no movies after the show's over or anything. By the end of 6 seasons, it would be wrapped up quite nicely.

And Buffy was just stellar tv. Yea I'm a biast Whedon fan but damn, you're telling me season 7 of Buffy wasn't good? Even if it felt like it was dragging on past it's time, each season had a logical reason to continue. Seasons 1-3 high school, Season 4 and 5 college/home life/dealing with several deaths. etc etc It even had a logical conclusion that you always wondered about since season 1: "If there are so many demons, vampires etc in the world, how can ONE Slayer take care of them all?" Answer: the ending of season 7.

Oh and not to be a dick, don't mod down for it but, if Buffy over stayed it's welcome, then how come the Buffy Season 8 comic book series is selling like hotcakes? It's Dark Horse's best selling series, ever (even more than Witchblade). And they've already announced a Season 9 comic series once 8 is complete.

Ruling out a sequel is not always a good thing (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051697)

If you manage to tie up all the loose ends, then yes, you might not have a powerful and satisfying story. But you may also never be able to revisit the characters in that story. To put it bluntly, sometimes you want to have that option, since doing so can make the entire series better. The original Starwars movie was reasonably self contained. But the original trilogy as a whole is a much better story.

Shows like Lost or X-Files that seem to lurch forward with no idea what the hell they are doing may well be the result of trying to draw things out longer than you ought to. (I know this to be the case for X-Files. I am on the fence regarding Lost, since they may just have no idea how the hell they wanted it to end).

Not all shows have an obvious long term story arc though. Star Trek Original Series and the Next Generation were very episodic in nature. When should those shows have ended?

For modern media, each movie or TV season should have an arc and a good end point. But that does not mean you must tie off every possibility of continuing the story.

END COMMUNICATION

Cliff-hangers are dumb (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049661)

It possible to end a story and still leave enough open for a sequel. A cliff-hanger doesn't end a story, it just stops it. And with the time it takes to create a sequel people will have forgotten about the cliff-hanger when they start the sequel.

Memories... (1)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049675)

All the memories written into those ones and zeroes will quickly be forgotten, and no one will walk those grounds again

All the more reason to make sure you're actually having fun playing. Too many people think they're accomplishing something and end up ignori...

.... BOP EPIC!! Finally, about time that trinket dropped. I mean really they need to up the drop rate, or make it boe, all this grinding is ridiculous.

What was I saying again?

Re:Memories... (0, Offtopic)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049717)

The honest truth is even if current games had a story arc with a planned ending, only a very small percentage of players would experience it. For the majority of the players the last chapter is entitled "TRAIN TO ZONE" or "PK SPAWN CAMP" or "CRAFTED TO DEATH".

Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049681)

Do Games With Real Endings Fail?

Re:Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? (1)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049697)

Do Games With Real Endings Fail?

Only if they can't spin it into a low cost sequel.

If it was really closed off hard they may need to resort to time travel, alternate dimensions, or the ever popular "it was all a dream" approach.

Single-Player Games (2, Interesting)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049789)

It appears that single-player games can afford to have real endings, yet be successful in a sequel.

  • In Monkey Island 1, 3, 4: LeChuck is defeated. Each one has a real ending.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 1, 5: IIRC each one has a real ending.
  • Command and Conquer 1 GDI: Kane is defeated. Solid ending.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D. The sequels were Spear of Destiny, and later Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

Not sure about Warcraft though.

Others include movies (Indiana Jones, Star Trek) and books (Tintin, Asterix). Weird, huh?

Re:Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? (1)

August_zero (654282) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049791)

I forget, do we like final fantasy in these parts or not?

Final Fantasy, while the very definition of a game series that has been milked for all it is worth, is notable in the fact that almost all of the iterations of the franchise come to a concise ending. Characters die, are rejoined with their long lost whosits et cetera. The Dragon Quest series does this too, although they do tend towards three game story-arcs with a running theme.

Given that the two above series are two of the most successful franchises in the games industry worldwide, I would say "no they don't have to fail, but loose ends are the bread and butter of modern media"

Re:Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049883)

But in FF each game is its own self contained world, with the exception of the horror that was X-2 *shudder*. While they all have a similar theme of fantasy RPG with crazy weird world and epic story line and there are similarities between the worlds, dragons spells sometimes, they are each a separate world and dont touch each other, much.

Re:Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? (2, Informative)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050017)

FF XII also rehashes the horrid world Ivalice From FFTA (as opposed to the war-torn Kingdom of Ivalice from the far superior FFT).

Whingy Bishonen weren't bad enough, they had to make a pseudo-MMO with furries in it...

Does a Game Have To Fail To Get a Real Ending? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049711)

No, the fat cats need to grow some balls and know when to quit.

a psychological observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049725)

During the period this game was about to shut down, I thought it'd be interesting to see the reactions of the players in the game. I wonder if we can use the virtual world as a substitute for the real world to probe the psychological attitude and behavior of the inhabitants/players within when the world comes to an end. What went through their mind as their virtual world, which they have come to love and enjoy, which packed all their emotions and experience, had finally come to an end?

Re:a psychological observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049753)

During the period this game was about to shut down, I thought it'd be interesting to see the reactions of the players in the game. I wonder if we can use the virtual world as a substitute for the real world to probe the psychological attitude and behavior of the inhabitants/players within when the world comes to an end. What went through their mind as their virtual world, which they have come to love and enjoy, which packed all their emotions and experience, had finally come to an end?

In the game, people were seen doing random stuffs, killing random things, shooting at random people/aliens, running around without any direction, or may be even group together, as if to witness the end of the world. Will people do that too, if, hypothetically, our real world also comes to an end?

Re:a psychological observation (1)

TrnsltLife (779961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049973)

In the real world, it's called dying. The game doesn't shut down, you do.

Re:a psychological observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051961)

"What went through their mind as their virtual world, which they have come to love and enjoy, which packed all their emotions and experience, had finally come to an end?"

The game was online for, what, 4 months? Gimme a break, i feel more sentimentality than that when i throw away a toothbrush.

Do games need endings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049727)

Isn't it the nature of games to never really end? I mean a game of chess ends when one of the players is checkmate or when there is a draw, tournaments end when one of the finalists win the final, but there will be no end to chess (barring an "Idiocracy" scenario...).

Books and movies have endings, but games are meant to be played over and over, more so than books and movies are meant to be re-read and re-watched. Games should ultimately be released to the community for modding and improvement.

Re:Do games need endings? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050617)

That's what annoys me about the trend of big studio games, it's like the more money you throw at a production, the more it's gonna have to look like a movie. Take GTA IV for example. It's just a huge movie in which you get to partially play the scenes and dick around pointlessly in between scenes for the sake of fun or boredom.

Yeah, it's a great game, but it tries to hard to be just like a movie, so hard it ruins the fun. "You failed the mission? Yay, you get to try it over and over again until you succeed! Linearity baby!" or even "Oh wait, you can't swim to that part of the city quite yet or we'll send every NPC we have to take you down cause we don't want you to go there before our linear story takes you there".

It's not all bad, but it's a shame we should project the characteristics of a media/form of art onto another just because we can't rethink the way to do things and exploit the new advantages of the new medium.

Im saying this again : OPEN SOURCE IT (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049773)

and it will live forever.

Re:Im saying this again : OPEN SOURCE IT (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049813)

On who's servers?

Re:Im saying this again : OPEN SOURCE IT (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049877)

On who's servers?

Presumably the same people interested in supporting it as open-source. Servers are very, very cheap.

Re:Im saying this again : OPEN SOURCE IT (1)

Nossie (753694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050001)

doesn't matter... within a few years you could emulate (if required) the cluster within a virtual machine. More to the point, if that was really the case you wouldn't have any unofficial wow or daoc servers available now like you do. (just google them)

The reason most companies do not want to open source is that ANYONE (including the fans) could take that code base, rewrite the code through love (or whatever else spurs these entities on) and bring out a better mmo than the company had planned as a sequel.

What if for example... Mythic open sources DAOC, the fans rewrote it and hosted it for free - and was, shock horror, better than Warhammer? shareholders would blame the possible bad 'sale' of Warhammer due to the popular demand for an IP that they dont really own anymore.

I don't agree with it AT ALL, I'd love to see the Amiga classic 'jet strike' open sourced or superfrog (or Cannon Fodder!) so I can continue to play it without needing the original hardware or emulation... but it will never happen because these MEDIA companies (from games, music and film) are scared of their past. Team17 (or their current owners) will keep the Cannon Fodder IP on the off chance that maybe some twit will be willing to pay for the same thing again on their PSP. (and they have)

I believe quite strongly that if the MAFIAA want us to conform to not pirating media, a new law should be put in place that ALL digital media after 10 - 20 years becomes open source and freely available to the public domain. This would encourage the sharing of source, the bettering of society and reduce the splurge of sequel after sequel after stinking sequel.

But I admit I live in a dream world where logic exists and money is only an afterthought. The media conglomerates hold the key and the drm and you need to bend over and take it like a man.

Btw. A perfect example of this is Falcon IV. To quote wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_4.0 [wikipedia.org]

"The game was originally designed and produced by Steve Blankenship and Gilman Louie and published under the MicroProse label. The game was rushed to the market in order to make the 1998 Christmas selling season. Unfortunately, Falcon 4.0's first release contained numerous bugs. The final official patch (version 1.08) fixed most of them. After completion of 1.08 patch, the original development team was laid off by Hasbro Interactive. Nevertheless, Falcon fans still sought further improvements of the game. Early modifications altered the game's multimedia and the executable by editing the hexadecimal code. After the game's source code leak, a Falcon 4.0 player optimized the game further by re-programming parts of the game's original programming code.

Through its lifetime, Falcon 4.0 has received ongoing fixes and enhancements from various groups of volunteers, which have enhanced the detail and complexity of the simulation over the years to its current state, as well as mended the numerous errors in the original release and its patches. Much of this comes as a result of the source code being available to the developers of modifications. Benchmarksim (BMS) being the premier team to take on the task of user modifications. However, game publisher Atari later issued a cease and desist order against all executable modifications, and thus many modifications were not hosted by websites. Private modification development did continue, even so, as can be seen by the FreeFalcon/RedViper and Open Falcon leaks. It is rumored that the FreeFalcon and RedViper teams have recently separated."

To add pain to the developers ... Hasbro did in fact release a sequel to Falcon IV. It is considered 'better' than the original falcon but most enthusiasts still find it too rigid than their hacked ones...

http://www.combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2001/12/f5-part1/ [combatsim.com]

It's life in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049777)

To me, it seems that this is life in general too. Of course, the memories and screen shots and perhaps some online buddies from your ingame time will persist. But it seems to me that even though life you end up completely dropping one chapter and moving on. After high school, I didn't talk to too many people I spent 4 years with. Same thing with college. It's kinda sad, but life, as well as games go one.

OK, that was horribly written, I'm still sleepy. zzzzzzzz

Tabula Rasa is dead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049785)

Step outside and let the rays from that scary yellow ball of fire called the sun bathe your sickly translucent skin.

Leisure Suit Larry series (3, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049805)

LSL is the counterpoint... these games were full of fail, and yet there was always a happy ending.

And they produced what, half a dozen sequels to it? Well, I'm including the missing one.

Even worse than Leisure Suit Larry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051017)

...is Duke Nukem Forever.

It's a real failure that will never end.

Missing option (2, Funny)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049921)

I play Solitaire, you insensitive clod.

Where have the videos gone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050449)

It seems all youtube videos for the final moments are down. What gives?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCgcizG3qbk

What about the Guild Wars Trilogy? (and expansion) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050521)

All of those games had a very clear ending point, sure, there was stuff to do afterword, and you could keep replaying all the older missions, but there was a definite ending in the missions where you saved the world/became a hero.
None of the three main games ended on a cliffhanger, and the only expansion Eye of the North was obviously a lead into Guild Wars 2 which was already in production. Even so, that game still had story closure.

A Tale in the Desert (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051141)

Why not play a MMO that intentionally wipes all the user data when the story ends?
I only know of one: http://www.atitd.com

End it the classic way! (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051453)

With a "kill screen" [wikipedia.org]

When I was a kid we didn't HAVE friends to play with, if we wanted morrpmgsss (or whatever you youngsters call 'em) we had to leave the house and truck down to the arcade. Then we had to wait in line to continue the life of someone else's character. And by "mass" we meant 4 players and we liked it.

It wasn't about exp and armor either, it was about gold. We didn't have to wait for a posse to go into the dungeon. Our games were ALL dungeon and we liked it. None of this customizing your character hoot-nanny. You got an elf, thief, hero or whatever and did we complain? No. And we didn't pay monthly for it either. We payed quarterly (well, with quarters anyway). So dying meant money. You kids have it easy.

That games looks badass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051593)

I've never heard of Tabula Rasa, but that video looked cool as hell! Where can I download it?

Brain dead (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051725)

As far as MMO's go, they're "brain dead" when the bulk of the population departs. The body is still kicking, but there's no heart and no thought going into it.

For me, I consider a game dead when I stop playing it, stop hearing about it from friends and stop visiting the website. Isn't that pretty much the point at which it dies for each of us?

Take Ultima Online. Notably the first graphical MMO that reached a real massive population even though it was surpassed in many ways by successors. It's still running. Last I heard the population is about 30k. I heard the last live gathering of players and devs was more like a trailer park smoke and bitch fest.

Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, Lineage, Guild Wars... I guess they're still running, but who cares? The few thousand people hanging on will be jumping, too, just as soon as they find a new MMO that tickles their fancy or they buy a new computer that can run a game from this decade. They're just more reluctant to change.

A note for Lord British (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051837)

Welcome back to the real world. Now that you've failed in the MMO market TWICE, you can go back to what youre good at. Making fun games.

Those of us who still play RPG's will forgive you for courting the MMO world, it's obviously a very attractive suitor, but MMO's can be just as costly and cruel to developers as they are to players, and now its time for you to rekindle that flare you seemed to have had for crafting excellent stories into living worlds and fun games.

Sometimes you have to step back to move forward.

Abrupt endings can improve sales. (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052003)

Just look at Firefly. Would there be such a rabid fan community if the series had finished even one season with a cliffhanger? They made every show like it was their last and they never had a cliffhanger. 6 seasons of fighting, say, niska, or badger, or the reavers would have gotten predictable and dull. Hooray for endings of any kind. Also, try to remember this is just one more reason TV sucks.

It's not about a sequel (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052231)

Let's not confuse MMOs with "normal" single player games here. MMOs have no ending. You are supposed to play (and pay) forever. That's what they're about. Single player games need no cliffhanger to spawn a sequel. Did Call of Duty have a cliffhanger? Or Command and Conquer? The big nasty warlord needn't escape your grasp in the end to allow a sequel, wars didn't go out of fashion just because Hitler was beaten in WW2, there's plenty of nasties to start new wars. And just because the princess was rescued in the first part you needn't let the bad guy escape to have her kidnapped for a sequel.

MMOs continue for a simple reason. It's not about the game and "beating" its content. You can do that fairly easily and in relatively short time (depending on MMO). It's about items. What makes people play MMOs over and over is that they don't have the last item for their set yet.

That's also why TR failed. No item hunt. You could actually "finish" this game. You have seen all the instances after a fairly short time and ... well, why bother doing it again, it's not like you need to get some ultra-super-duper-rare drop from some boss monster in a 8+ hour 25 people instance.

MMOs today also do what single player games offered for the longest time: Different difficulty levels, for better rewards on higheer levels. You could play on harder modes for better scores for quite a time. Then single player games came equipped with "unlockable" goodies like concept art or better weapons or graphics. MMOs do pretty much the same these days, usually you can choose your difficulty to increase your chance for a drop or to unlock different, more powerful drops, on higher difficulty.

TR failed to deliver any of that.

And that's why TR failed.

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