10 Video Games That Started At The End

Spoiler alert!

Spider Man Web Of Shadows

One of the most common narrative framing devices across entertainment is "in media res" - that is, kicking the narrative off at a later point in the story, which will then be returned to near the end with an entirely new context.

It's used fairly frequently in video games, and while it will often link up to a mid-game sequence - such as Uncharted 2's iconic train opening - every so often it'll actually provide a glimpse of the game's final area, set-piece, or cutscene.

These 10 games, most of them critical darlings praised for their inventive narratives, all kicked things off near the chronological ends of their stories.

Whether a result of simple narrative shuffling or more creative time-travelling shenanigans, the rest of each game then filled in the lead-up to that teased climax.

In each case, it resulted in a sure lightbulb moment of recognition from players, as the mystery and uncertainty of that early glimpse was finally reconciled with its full context being laid bare.

10. Every Max Payne Game

Spider Man Web Of Shadows

All three Max Payne games opted to kick things off within the same narrative structure: giving players a glimpse of the final battle's aftermath and then setting the rest of the game in the lead-up to that showdown.

The opening scene in the first game shows Max atop the Aesir Plaza holding a Sniper Rifle as he tells the player, "They were all dead." Lo and behold, it turns out that this scene occurs immediately after Max kills the game's final boss, Nicole Horne, at the very end.

Similarly, Max Payne 2 opens with an injured Max laying with Mona Sax in Alfred Woden's mansion as the police move in, which happens after the final boss, Vladimir Lem, is killed.

Not wanting to upset the trend, Max Payne 3's opening cinematic shows a brief clip of a wounded Max approaching a severely maimed unidentified man, and in the final minutes of the game, this scene plays out again, revealing the man to be antagonist Armando Becker.

In each case, the clear intent is to show players what drove Max to these violent ends, and in each case, it's smart use of a classic framing device.


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.