In these games, it doesn’t matter how hard you try.
In the world of video games, many different kinds of stories have been told. Most of them, though, have one thing in common: you win the game in the end. This could mean that you have to kill the main bad guy, save the world, or just stay alive. No matter what your story is about, the end is usually a happy one.
It makes sense, because if you spend hours on a game, you want it to be worth it. But not every developer thinks that a good ending has to include a victory. There are a few games where you actually lose right before the end. These are some of the most well-known cases.
Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 is about stopping a doomsday cult and getting their charismatic leader, Joseph Seed, into custody. When you meet the guy face-to-face at the end of the game, you can choose to fight him or leave. Neither choice gives the main character a happy ending.
If you walk away, you’ll never be able to stop the cult. The same thing happens if you don’t arrest Joseph at the start of the adventure. On the other hand, if you choose to fight, you do end up arresting Joseph. But it turns out that the cult’s talk of the end of the world isn’t all made up, as nuclear bombs start going off in the distance. In all the chaos, your allies die in a car crash, and you get knocked out. When you wake up, you see that Joseph has dragged you to a nearby bunker. So, the main bad guy is still alive, all your friends are dead, and there is a nuclear war going on around the world.
In the original Portal, you find out that the funny AI that is helping you solve the puzzles isn’t really on your side. She only wants to use you as a test subject, and when the test is over, she plans to get rid of you. When you find out this, your goal changes to getting out of the dangerous Aperture Science building before she can set you on fire and kill you with nerve gas.
In the end, you make a huge hole in the ceiling and float through it. You land in the parking lot of the Aperture Science Facility. In the first version of the game, your journey ended here. But when Portal 2 was announced, the ending was changed in a small way. Now, while you’re still lying in the parking lot, you start to be physically pulled back toward the facility. This means you didn’t escape.
In the first Saints Row game from 2006, the character you make joins a street gang called The Third Street Saints. Then, the crew tries to get more respect in the made-up city of Stilwater by hurting the criminal groups that run it. In the end, this mission is a success because the Saints take over the whole city. But that’s not the end of the game.
After that, the main character is forced to help the person who will soon be mayor of Stilwater. The whole thing blows up when he meets the politician on their private yacht. At the time, it’s not clear who set off the explosion, so the story ends on a cliffhanger. But later games show that Julius, one of the main character’s best friends and mentors, was the one who tried to kill them.
Halo: Reach is a game that takes place before the main Halo games. Master Chief isn’t around, so he’s not there. Instead, Noble Six is the main character because they fight against the Covenant with a group of powerful Spartans called Noble Team. Throughout Slope Game, the aliens attack an important human colony called Reach and try to take it over.
It’s a bloody fight that kills a lot of people, including all of Noble Team. At the end of the game, only Noble Six is left, and they are fighting for their lives. But in the end, they lose because the Covenant’s plan to take over the colony works. In future games, humanity will win because of what the main character does, but they lose in this one.
Call Of Duty: Ghosts
In this Call of Duty game, you are a member of the Ghosts, a special operations team. They are fighting directly with a group called the Federation, which wants to destroy the United States. One of them is a man named Rorke who used to work for the Ghosts. In the middle of the game, he kills one of his old friends, who happens to be the father of the main character.
So, in addition to stopping the Federation, your mission now is to get back at the bad guy. But in the end of the story, you fail to do what you set out to do. Even though you try to kill Rorke, he stays alive while you help bring down the Federation. And when the game is over, he drags you away.
Red Dead Redemption
At the beginning of Red Dead Redemption, it’s revealed that government agents are forcing John Marston to find his former outlaw friends and bring them to justice. He won’t be able to see his family again until he does that. You spend the game as John looking for your old friends. Once you have all of them, you can go back to your wife and son.
Still, it seems too good to be true. After a short time of peace, the government agents go back to John’s property to tie up the last loose end. And they do this as they kill the main character with guns. In the epilogue, his son Jack gets his revenge, but he does it by becoming a skilled gunslinger and outlaw, which is something John never wanted for his son.