10 Video Game Endings Where Nothing You Did Matters

What was it all for in the end?

The Dark Pictures Anthology Little Hope
Supermassive Games

One of the best ways that video games can well and truly invest players in their ultimate outcome is by promising that their actions and decisions throughout the story will have an effect on the ending, ensuring they feel like an active participant rather than a mere passenger.

But sometimes video games bungle this enough that players are only left with a strange feeling of emptiness, that nothing they did throughout the game actually had much impact on the overall narrative, or really made any difference whatsoever.

It's frustrating to sit and roll credits on a game while feeling that you did little to truly cause the outcome, and perhaps even that the central characters haven't really changed at all.

Sure, this can certainly be an intentional creative choice done for dramatic effect and isn't always a flat-out mistake, but it's always going to be something that ends up heavily dividing players en masse.

While not all games absolutely need to make the player feel like they're having a direct impact on the story, these games well and truly made you feel like your presence in the world was a pure afterthought...

10. Shenmue III

The Dark Pictures Anthology Little Hope
Ys Net

Shenmue III, man, it still hurts.

Though franchise creator Yu Suzuki made it clear that the belated sequel was never intended to be the end of the story, fans nevertheless expected the ongoing narrative to gain some forward momentum.

Instead, the action-adventure threequel ended with Ryo Hazuki more-or-less in the same place he was at the end of the Shenmue II - once again chasing the coattails of his father's killer, Lan Di.

Shenmue III concludes with a "boss fight" - and we're using that term very liberally here - against Lan Di, where the player spends 30 seconds punching air as Di blocks all of their attacks, before a cutscene shows him escaping once again. The End.

For fans who'd waited almost 20 years to see some sort of story progression, this felt like a slap in the face - an almost hilariously perverse refusal to give fans what they wanted.

And given that Shenmue IV is rather unlikely to ever get made, that nothingburger of an ending stings all the more.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.