10 Genius Trick Cliffhangers In Video Games

The games that left players desperately needing more.

DRAGON AGE trespasser

Cliffhangers are risky business, especially in gaming, and especially these days. 

Video games take a long time to make, and have only become more expensive to produce. There's rarely any guarantee that your game will get a sequel, even if you're successful; just look at poor, poor Tango Gameworks for proof of that. Leaving audiences on a cliffhanger, either temporarily (or even permanently in worse cases) can have an audience feeling unfulfilled if executed wrong. The story can feel incomplete, the final act sliced off for no other reason than to bait you into coming back for more later. 

There are countless examples of this, including several that never got to follow up on that promise at all, but we're not here to talk about those. This is about the ones that pulled it off. 

Whatever the follow-up may have been, these cliff-hangers ended the story at exactly the right time and teased exactly the right information to hook people for the next entry. You simply cannot watch these cliff-hanger endings and not be left clamouring for the next chapter in the saga.

Major spoiler warnings for all games covered.

10. F.E.A.R

DRAGON AGE trespasser

F.E.A.R earned acclaim upon release for its brilliant combat and dark, twisted story of child experimentation and how the past can never be concealed forever. It's a bleak affair from top to bottom, so really there's only one true way this story could end: nukes fall, everybody dies. 

Realizing that there's only one way to put down his increasingly all-powerful and deeply pissed-off mother, Alma Wade, protagonist Point-Man proceeds down to the reactor room at the heart of the Origin Facility to make it go nuclear. After an intense fight, Point-Man makes it out of the facility just in time to watch it reduce an entire city to a smoking crater.

By some miracle, Point-Man manages to survive, and is carried away by his friends in a helicopter. The player is given a minute to survey the nuclear holocaust they've just visited upon an entire American city - left wondering if it was even worth it. 

Turns out the answer to that is a terrifying and resounding "Nope!" as Alma climbs up into the chopper, the game cutting to credits right after. The death of her father and the destruction of the corporation that allowed her abuse and violation were not enough. Alma intends to show the entire world what it created. And she will not be denied.

This is a chilling cliffhanger to end the story, which is later continued in the game's expansion packs. However, it must go at the bottom because it could be argued thanks to the bleak tone of the game, that you don't need to play the following chapters to be satisfied. 

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John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?