Endings are important. Few (if any) players want to spend hours on a game only to reach an unsatisfying or genuinely terrible finale.
A shocking ending, however, is different. They can leave a player slack-jawed or staring at the screen in sheer disbelief as they wonder what on earth they just witnessed.
How can that be the end?
These scenes range from bizarre spectacles or even pleasant, if very unexpected, surprises. From the casual annihilation of the fourth wall, to a dog masterminding a realm of pure horror, there are a multitude of video game endings which have shocked the world.
As the industry progresses, players are encouraged and driven to explore new worlds and stories hundreds of hours. Certain games have multiple endings for this very reason, and can act as comic relief or designated “bad endings” which don't (usually) affect the “true ending.”
At the same time, developers do not want to appear predictable and may try to subvert player expectations. This can affect a game for better or for worse. However, for the unsuspecting player, these shocking endings still hold the potential to hold them in their grasp until the credits roll.
10. Zero Time Dilemma - Coin Ending
The third game in the Zero Escape series manages to contradict its own formula and title within ten minutes. Escape is more than possible. In fact, there is a fifty-fifty chance it can be accomplished within the first cutscene.
Players may be skeptical when the mysterious Zero immediately appears and offers the protagonists a choice. After all, why would they trust someone dressed as a plague doctor who admits to abducting them? After a speech about how life is unfair, Zero proceeds to flip a coin with one red side and one blue side.
Covering it with their foot, they then ask Carlos to decide for the group whether the side facing up is red, or blue.
If Carlos (through the player) guesses incorrectly, the protagonists will be forced into a game in which at least six of them will die. If they are correct, they will have their memories erased and be set free. Silence is not an option.
If the player chooses red, it is the correct option, but relief may be soon followed by confusion as Zero is seemingly true to his word. The characters are all freed, but nothing is resolved and the game simply…ends.