We are quite far into gaming’s story as an entertainment medium now. To drag the film industry in by the scruff of its neck by way of a comparison, we are in the equivalent of the big studio era of Hollywood, with over four decades of tradition now propping up every new venture. There are two notable discrepancies in that comparison, mind you: unlike Betty Grable, Troy Baker hasn’t had his legs insured for $1 million (to my knowledge), and unlike the vintage silver screen weepies from the Hollywood studio era, games still can’t do endings.
Had enough of endings? Want a fresh beginning? Look forward to the best upcoming PC games.
Perhaps it is a hangover from the arcade days, when people simply were not expected to finish games, and the sense of achievement for having done so was enough to satisfy. Maybe it is the jarring feeling of watching a story pan out without agency. Somehow, we just do not seem to have found that tradition of wrapping up interactive stories in consistently thrilling ways yet. But there are exceptions.
Let’s celebrate those exceptions, unshackled from the heavy constraints of spoilers, and weigh them up against each other using the relative effort of actually reaching the ending as a yardstick. I have picked ten of them, because who are we really kidding when we make lists of nine things? And just so we are doubly clear, here: There Will Be Spoilers.