Endings can make or break just about any piece of media: get it right and you've crafted an indelible moment fans won't ever forget, but screw it up, and they'll never let it go for a whole other reason.
That's certainly as true in the world of video games as it is in movies or TV, especially where beloved, epic franchises are concerned.
Though games as a whole aren't as singularly dependent on storytelling as other visual media, that doesn't mean fans will simply put up with a poorly-executed ending.
And so, we have these 10 video games, all of which dished up highly divisive, contentious, and even fanbase-splitting finales, in turn throwing the very future of the franchise into doubt as fans scrambled to make sense of what they'd just witnessed.
Whether it was a fatal creative misstep or a sign of the changing tide, in each case these endings left a major section of the fanbase alienated and perhaps even feeling that their time had been wasted...
10. Choices Mean Nothing - Mass Effect 3
It's tough to think of a AAA gaming franchise that burned its bridges with fans more thoroughly than Mass Effect, which for its first two games was unquestionably one of the most immersive and smartly written blockbuster video game IP ever made.
Fans were chomping at the bit to see how BioWare would wrap up Commander Shepard's story in Mass Effect 3, while factoring in the choices they'd made throughout the series...only for the ending to reduce dozens if not hundreds of play-hours down to a simple choice: pick a colour.
That's right, Mass Effect 3's ending lays out three rigid, delineated choices which take zero account of the player's decision-making up to that point, leaving an entire fanbase feeling like they'd been bait-and-switched. The release of a "clarified" extended ending didn't much help, either.
In addition to souring fans on the third game entirely and retroactively lessening the power of the two prior games, it ruined all of BioWare's goodwill moving forward, surely contributing to the fourth game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, flopping commercially.
Reports subsequently emerged that EA had put the franchise "on ice" for the foreseeable future, and though Andromeda was hardly a great game, the series' downfall was clearly caused by Mass Effect 3 aggravating so much of the fanbase.