Many writers base their stories off the well-established “Hero’s Journey” structure, seeing their main character go on an adventure, overcome dramatic odds to defeat evil and find themselves a changed person.
But some try to subvert this structure, showing us what happens when the good side loses despite their best efforts and evil triumphs.
It’s not a new idea by any means, but gaming’s interactive nature makes it more personal and instead of watching it unfold like you would in a film, your actions can be instrumental to evil’s success.
This comes in several forms, be it a deliberate effort on the protagonist’s part, a major deception by the big bad or unconsciously assisting them in other means. Prequels often see this occur, finding themselves constrained by established history.
There might be a pre-determined outcome but it doesn’t stop developers choosing to depict a tragic event to expand franchise lore.
Many games provide bad endings, usually as a non-canon game over scenario or alternative ending, but some games see evil winning regardless of your actions and here are some of these titles.
Note: Spoilers within
10. Resistance 2
It’s a common theme amongst trilogies that the second entry is darker, staging the odds for heroes to make a glorious comeback. Star Wars is a prime film example with both The Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi, so it’s unsurprising this happens within gaming too.
Resistance 2 is one such game. Developed by Insomniac Games, it’s a series we’ve not seen since the PS3 era and 2 continued the journey of Sgt Nathan Hale, moving away from its original UK setting to the United States, fending off the Chimeran invasion.
You worked as part of elite group “The Sentinels”, soldiers all infected with a Chimeran virus that enhances their strength. As the story progresses, Hale tries to keep succumbs this virus in check, stopping Chimeran leader Daedalus but inadvertently absorbing his abilities afterwards.
Hale leaves with another Sentinel, Corporal Joseph Capelli, but after waking up from their crashed escape vessel, Capelli discovers Hale has now fully succumbed and is forced to shoot him.
Resistance 3 may have provided a happier ending, seeing the Chimera finally eradicated but at the time, players were left on this sombre note that would continue to haunt the Corporal.