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As excited as I am for PoE, one thing really has me worried: western RPGs have a problem with endings.

 

Anyone remember the Mass Effect 3 debacle? Everybody got mad about ME3's ending, and they were right to be, it was crap. But to be honest, it was probably the best ending Bioware had ever done - not because it was particularly good, not because it was head-and-shoulders above the rest, but because it was perhaps the only ending they had ever done.

 

Think back. How did BG1 end? BG2? Jade Empire, KotOR? NWN? Each game reaches its climax, final challenges are overcome, and then, they just sort of ... stop. An authority figure tells you about the rest of your life. Maybe you get a 30-second cinematic. A scene where assorted peasants cheer meaninglessly for you. Paragraph-length written epilogues for your party members.

 

This isn't strictly a Bioware problem, although they certainly exemplify it. It's an issue with the entire genre of RPGs in the west1, including everything from older, pure-action games like Diablo and newer turn-based games like Divinity: Original Sin with the familiar abrupt cutoff, to sandboxes which don't have any ending at all until you inevitably get bored. It's a trend that Black Isle/Obsidian has sometimes ducked partially - in having protagonists that are more complex and involved with the narrative than just "HELLO MY NAME IS PLAYER SURROGATE," games like PS:T and TSL are slightly better than most. In other cases, like Stick of Truth or MotB, they've dodged the bullet entirely and delivered a really genuine wrap-up that left me with a feeling of being finished. But then on the other hand we have games like the IWD series, or the NWN2 OC (light spoilers) ...

 

Maybe this isn't as important for most people as it is for me, but since I'm here for the narrative, I want things to wrap up in a way that's satisfying. I want a proper denouement, and an ending more emotionally substantial than just watching something explode while someone narrates ominously. That doesn't necessarily mean wrapping everything up, or answering all of my questions in life, or giving me 15 minutes of Hobbits getting patted on the head in different locations. But it does mean that I want a story to end like a story, not like a game of Connect Four.

 

All of this leads back to my greatest worry about PoE: that, like so many of these otherwise excellent games, it will fail to deliver an effective ending, or even a closing act. It's not that I don't have confidence in Obsidian's ability to write an ending - as I've mentioned, it's one of the very few developers that definitely has the know-how to write and direct solid endings. But it is something I hope they give active thought to avoiding, because this is such a plague on Western RPGs. So much time is devoted to giving players things to do that core narratives lose emotional significance, and become little more than an arbitrary - and often extremely sudden - stopping point. I hope that, as a spiritual successor to the IE games, PoE can surpass them in giving real emotional satisfaction to its ending.

 

(Sorry if my thought process here is a bit disorganized - this is the kind of thing I have an essay's worth of thoughts about, but no desire to write a paper on, so I'm trying to sum it up.)

 

tl;dr - In developing PoE's story, I encourage Obsidian to carefully consider the historical flaws in the endings of IE games and other CRPGS, and how to avoid them.

  1. Japanese RPGs are by no means necessarily better, but in my experience it's a less persistent issue for them, in part because JRPGs often duck the biggest underlying causes of No Ending Syndrome.
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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Does PoE really need a grand ending? We're getting a limit on levels like in Baldur's Gate, so presumably they fully intend to follow up with a PoE 2 if PoE doesn't crash and burn.

 

I hope the whole story line set in motion by PoE gets a grand and suitably satisfying ending when its done, but until then they just need to gracefully segue into whatever the next part of the series will be.

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I've been very satisfied with Obsidian's endings recently, Alpha Protocol's magnificent bastard ending (one of many) was very satisfying, Dugeon Siege 3 wrapped everything up very nicely (though i'd have preferred to be able to skip the final bossfight, perhaps with the use of the god fragment from Gunderric manor.) New vegas was a testament to reactivity and consequence, and South Parks was oddly enough quite touching I thought. Apart from the latter what really made these stand out were the fluidity of them, the reactivity to the players choices, and the consequences born thereof. They acknowledged my actions and were true proponents of interactivity, that wrapped everything up satisfactorily, but also left plenty of room for sequels and unanswered questions that arose naturally.

 

Just my personal opinion however.


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I think KOTOR2 and NWN2 have been Obsidian's disappointments regarding endings. MotB was *fantastic* and SoZ was... well, it was alright at least. AP was alright. New Vegas and its DLCs were *great*, as was DS3. South Park was fitting for what it was.

 

This is one area I'm not worried about at all, and I hope they bring reactivity to a new level here.


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BG2 ending was fine as it led into TOB and TOB was as good an ending as any.

 

ME3 ending wasn't though the overall game was subpar.

 

I didn't mind either NWN2 or KOTOR2's ending. Not great but not bad.

 

I'm of the belief that you cna't do much more with endings anyways. What do people want explicitly?

 

From what I see, it's almost random what endings people like or don't like.


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Does PoE really need a grand ending? We're getting a limit on levels like in Baldur's Gate, so presumably they fully intend to follow up with a PoE 2 if PoE doesn't crash and burn.

 

I hope the whole story line set in motion by PoE gets a grand and suitably satisfying ending when its done, but until then they just need to gracefully segue into whatever the next part of the series will be.

 

 I agree with you on a graceful segue. 

 

 It probably doesn't need a grand ending, but it does need a little bit more than the one line in your combat log that you got as the ending to BG1 "Sarevok has fallen. The battle is won." Or, at least I think that's what it said. I blinked, so I'm not really sure about the ending.

 

 A cutscene like BG2 or even a text window describing the aftermath with a voiceover would probably be fine.

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I hope it won't be a "gateway" to a new game, at least not expliticitly. I hope this game will feel like it has ended properly when it's done, that it feels self-contained even though we're getting an expansion and possibly a sequel.


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I agree with you on a graceful segue. 

 

 It probably doesn't need a grand ending, but it does need a little bit more than the one line in your combat log that you got as the ending to BG1 "Sarevok has fallen. The battle is won." Or, at least I think that's what it said. I blinked, so I'm not really sure about the ending.

 

 A cutscene like BG2 or even a text window describing the aftermath with a voiceover would probably be fine.

I don't know if it is in the original, but in the EE you are treated to a FMV of his death's aftermath, which also sort of hints at ToB.

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I agree with you on a graceful segue. 

 

 It probably doesn't need a grand ending, but it does need a little bit more than the one line in your combat log that you got as the ending to BG1 "Sarevok has fallen. The battle is won." Or, at least I think that's what it said. I blinked, so I'm not really sure about the ending.

 

 A cutscene like BG2 or even a text window describing the aftermath with a voiceover would probably be fine.

I don't know if it is in the original, but in the EE you are treated to a FMV of his death's aftermath, which also sort of hints at ToB.

 

 

 It wasn't in the original (and it sounds like a good addition to the game).

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^It's not added by the EE - the FMV with the statues is also in the original (unless it was added by TOTSC?)

Edit: apparently the EE changed the FMV ending but there's still that one in the original - hinting that the story is far from over.

 

I thought NWN2 OC had a good ending if you played the Evil path - the Good path ending was a bit 'meh' but led into MOTB, which had a better ending.

BG2:TOB ending was good (other endings up to that point were less 'complete' but that's ok).

 

Worst would be to get a cliff-hanger ending and then no sequel ever being made.

 

I'm hoping for an ending that ties up the main quests of PoE but leaves the door open for the sequel.

As for the expansion - I'm hoping it adds more side-content a la TOTSC, rather than tacked on the end a la TOB.  But so long as it's done well, it's not a big deal either way.

Edited by Silent Winter

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All the FMV's have been changed in BG:EE, probably because of the resolution. The new ones are not nearly as well done though, so I'd recommend modding in the original files.

The ending with the statues has always been there, AFAIK.

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PST ending was superb.

Fallout 1 as well, but i don't know if Tim Cain had anything to do with it.

From Obsidian's games, MotB and AP had great endings, and KotoR 2 would had as well if Obsidian had the time to implement it right.

DS3 and NV (and Fallout 2) had Ok endings, nothing special but very reactive.

Only NWN2 OC and KOTOR 2 had outright bad endings.

So Obsidan games and games made by Obsidian devs had good endings more often than not. And without a rushed release i'm confident that PoE will have a great ending as well.

Edited by Malekith

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I think KOTOR2 and NWN2 have been Obsidian's disappointments regarding endings. MotB was *fantastic* and SoZ was... well, it was alright at least. AP was alright. New Vegas and its DLCs were *great*, as was DS3. South Park was fitting for what it was.

 

This is one area I'm not worried about at all, and I hope they bring reactivity to a new level here.

AP Thorton Inc ending is great.

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^It's not added by the EE - the FMV with the statues is also in the original (unless it was added by TOTSC?)

Edit: apparently the EE changed the FMV ending but there's still that one in the original - hinting that the story is far from over.

 

I thought NWN2 OC had a good ending if you played the Evil path - the Good path ending was a bit 'meh' but led into MOTB, which had a better ending.

BG2:TOB ending was good (other endings up to that point were less 'complete' but that's ok).

 

Worst would be to get a cliff-hanger ending and then no sequel ever being made.

 

I'm hoping for an ending that ties up the main quests of PoE but leaves the door open for the sequel.

As for the expansion - I'm hoping it adds more side-content a la TOTSC, rather than tacked on the end a la TOB.  But so long as it's done well, it's not a big deal either way.

 

 

 Oh, right, I misunderstood the previous post. Yes, it was in the original. I think it needs more than that.

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Does PoE really need a grand ending? We're getting a limit on levels like in Baldur's Gate, so presumably they fully intend to follow up with a PoE 2 if PoE doesn't crash and burn.

 

I hope the whole story line set in motion by PoE gets a grand and suitably satisfying ending when its done, but until then they just need to gracefully segue into whatever the next part of the series will be.

 

I don't ask for a grand ending - just a satisfying one. I want to see how the main cast feels, what their intentions are, where they're going. I want to know, at least in vague terms, what impact the story had on the world it's set in and the people who participated in it. That doesn't mean exclude ambiguity or even cliffhangers, nor does it require every question to be answered. But it does require the game to make me feel comfortable letting go of (at least for a while) all of the things I have come to care about while I played.

 

With a good RPG, I feel connected to and part of the world, and it's dissatisfying to just get a sequel hook, a congratulations for killing the final boss (as if the point of all those hours of play was to gib some dude), and a couple of epilogues telling me what they should probably show.

 

South Parks was oddly enough quite touching I thought.

 

inorite?

 

 

Apart from the latter what really made these stand out were the fluidity of them, the reactivity to the players choices, and the consequences born thereof. They acknowledged my actions and were true proponents of interactivity, that wrapped everything up satisfactorily, but also left plenty of room for sequels and unanswered questions that arose naturally.

 

The interactivity and consequence thing doesn't really so much matter in my book. It's not like I'm against it, mind - I'd just rather have a less interactive, BETTER ending than a very interactive, worse ending. I know a lot of people really care about this, but I'm fine with the ending being limited in scope and type, as long as it's good.

 

I'm of the belief that you cna't do much more with endings anyways. What do people want explicitly?

 

Catharsis? Melancholy? Elation? FEELS, man, I want dem feels.

 

Oh, right, I misunderstood the previous post. Yes, it was in the original. I think it needs more than that.

 

Yeah. You kill Sarevok, the game gives you a 20-second cinematic hinting at the larger futility of this adventure arc, and then ... FINAL SAVE derp.

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If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Completely agree. I'm here for the narrative as well so I hope for a good story and a good ending (good as in emotional, not necessarily "good"). 

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