10 Most Painful Video Game Cliffhangers EVER

The cliffhangers that left players on the edge of their seats, and the ones that NEVER got resolved.

Dead Space 3 Awakened Ending

The cliffhanger is one of the oldest storytelling tropes in the book. Just when everything moves towards a dramatic climax and your investment couldn't possibly be any higher, the curtains are pulled on the performance without any warning, leaving your gawking self wondering just what on earth happened.

Obviously, it's not done just to be needlessly cruel, as a good cliffhanger also serves to heighten the suspense for the next instalment - most of the time, anyway - and video games are no different.

Then again, cliffhangers exist solely to be resolved, and the more dramatic their conclusion is, the more eagerly fans await the grand resolution on the other side.

Regardless of how rewarding this payoff ultimately is though, it's that agonising waiting period, that limbo of uncertainty, that has us chomping at the bit until we can finally see what becomes of our beloved characters' journeys.

Worse still are the games whose stories will never see a conclusion; the series that were cancelled before the definitive end could ever come to light.

Whichever the case, cliffhangers in gaming both giveth and taketh - and some are just entirely too painful to bear.

10. Doom (2016)

Dead Space 3 Awakened Ending

As modern reboots of retro games go, 2016's Doom is absolutely up there among the all-time best. The chaotic run 'n' gun bloodbath that was the original's gameplay is translated ingeniously into the current generation, with claustrophobic 3D arenas that perfectly capture the feeling of having a horde of demons constantly up in your grill.

On the other hand, a polarising aspect of the reboot was its increased emphasis on story. Throughout the game, the Doom Slayer is guided through both the UAC facilities on Mars and the bowels of Hell by the cyborg, Dr. Samuel Hayden, and along the way, learns of dangerous cultists, ancient holy orders and powerful arcane artefacts.

After the Slayer defeats the Spider Mastermind and returns to Mars, Hayden is waiting for you. He explains that he cannot allow you to destroy everything he has built, taking the Crucible you have obtained and opening it out into an intimidating-as-hell energy sword. He then reactivates the portal and walks away as the Doom Slayer is sent back to be stranded in Hell.

The implication here is that Hayden is being set up as the sequel's main antagonist. And despite Doom Eternal not strictly giving us that, it's the first game's abrupt and eyebrow-raising ending that simultaneously piques your interest and leaves you with that crushing feeling of, "wait, that's the end?!"


Graduate composer, on-and-off session musician, aspiring novelist, professional nerd. Where procrastination and cynicism intertwine, Lee Clarke can be found.