We all love a happy ending, don’t we? The evil villain is vanquished, the good guy gets the girl, peace is declared…you know the cliches.
Well, somebody never told these video game developers, as they’ve decided to be just a tad more ‘screw you’ with their choice of finales, making for some rather curious moments where our hours and hours of grinding resulted in quite the punch to the gut.
Now that's not to say these types of endings were hated or chastised, but it's safe to say that few saw the grim and bleak closing moments of these titles coming, and often left players spiralling in an existential crisis of their own!
We play games to escape but here, it looked like the only place we were taking a tour of was that of our first break-ups with Hawthorne Heights playing on repeat.
“What’s that?!” I hear you cry “Surely you’re not putting a shooter about downer endings into a WhatCulture list that isn’t Spec Ops: The Line!”. We are indeed dear viewer, and the spot goes to this forgotten gem from the PS2 and original X-Box.
Told by protagonist Jack Kellar in a military interrogation immediately after the events of the game, Black unfolds in a series of missions as Black Ops soldier Kellar and his team chase the Seventh Wave terrorist organisation. After the discovery that former CIA operative William Lennox is leading Seventh Wave, Kellar defies orders to chase down this turncoat and put a stop to him once and for all.
Cornering the villain in a disused Gulag, Kellar triggers an explosion that buries the last of Seventh Wave and secures victory for the beleaguered operatives.
As we catch up to the present however, Kellar’s status as definite winner is stripped from him, as it turns out the authorities had known about Lennox all along, using Kellar as a pawn to weed him out. Worse still is the news that Lennox had survived the explosion, and the new plan would be to fake Kellar’s death and throw him in the deep end all over again. No more Seventh Wave. Kellar’s under the thumb. Nobody gets a day off. Credits roll.