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Confusing game endings explained

Astrophysics are a touch bewildering. And love is a bit of a noodle-scratcher. But a convoluted, multi-layered plot about a genetically engineered pensioner; now that’s really complicated.

The following game endings are all either vague, slightly ambiguous or just downright indecipherable without advanced degrees in picking up on minuscule - but vastly important – plot details. In an effort to make things a little easier, we’ve broken down the following six confusing endings so they can be explained in a sentence, while also including a detailed Q&A for each for anyone who wants all the details. Simple, eh?

Oh, and obviously this article contains... MASSIVE SPOILERS!

The short version: The princess doesn’t exist, instead representing Tim’s guilt over helping build the A-Bomb.

Once more…

The long version:

I just wanted to jump on baddies’ heads, but now I’m all confused. Does Tim actually rescue the princess?

In a word, no. The Princess doesn’t actually exist and instead represents Tim’s obsession with the A-Bomb. Our hero is not a brave warrior in a fantastical kingdom, but is instead actually a weapons’ scientist based in New York. He was involved in the Manhattan Project that gave birth to the Atomic Bomb, the first of which would be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, effectively ending the Second World War.

So the events of the game aren’t real then?

Nope. The entire game is actually a succession of Tim’s dreams and the gameplay mechanics involving time manipulation are merely in place to convey the themes of regret and the desire to do things differently that are so prevalent in his mind thanks to his involvement with the bomb. That’s why the final level is actually the first level and the entire game that follows is Tim’s way of trying to replay events and change his relationship with the Princess/A-Bomb.

Super, I’m on board now. Things aren’t real, but still, what the hell’s going on in the level before the epilogue?

When you reach the end of Act 1 (the game’s final level) the game rewinds. In the normal passage of time it looks like the Princess is aiding you, so that you can be reunited. When the level rewinds, though, you discover the truth. The Princess is really fleeing from you, the knight who appears to capture her is actually saving her and all because, in reality, you’re the bad guy who’s been stalking her, not trying to rescue her.

Hmmm. So why is Tim so obsessed with finding The Princess/A-Bomb if he’s actually the bad guy?

The stalking of the Princess is Tim’s way of trying to alter events to appease his guilt for the creation of the bomb. He knows he participated in a terrible act, which his natural inquisitiveness as a scientist drove him to. However, he’s got enough self-awareness to regret his actions and that’s why levels are themed around rewinding time, stepping outside of yourself and being given a second chance. Tim needs to find the Princess/Bomb because he seeks forgiveness. What initially appears as a quest fuelled by heroism is actually one fuelled by obsession and remorse.

What does the epilogue mean?

Provided you stand behind specific bits of scenery, you’re rewarded with the game’s true message. Quotes like: ‘Now we are all sons of bitches’ – uttered by Kenneth Bainbridge, one of the scientists from the Manhattan Project after the initial testing – and: ‘She stood tall and majestic. She radiated fury’ – alluding to the explosion and subsequent mushroom cloud from the A-Bomb – shows Braid is really about the regret of the birth of the atomic age. And not merely a Mario clone where you have to save the damsel in distress.

86 comments

  • key0blade - July 31, 2009 2:23 p.m.

    Ocelot was a good guy in MGS3 but I always thought something made him go bizzaro-shit like
  • Yuleen75 - April 13, 2009 6:04 a.m.

    Now I need someone to explain me the end of Xenosaga!!! Three cofusing games and didn't undertand anything!
  • cdukes13 - March 2, 2009 10:50 p.m.

    What about the dog ending from silent hill 2
  • Orionthefirst - February 27, 2009 10:25 p.m.

    Can't wait for Assassin's Creed 2 now!
  • Willsky - February 26, 2009 9:32 a.m.

    Hey what does the Grat wall of China have to do with the next Assassins Creed? I know I know...lol P.S. Employ me!!!
  • soulbrothaftw - February 26, 2009 5:27 a.m.

    I'd love to see Dead Space on this list. I wanna know wth happened!
  • Thequestion 121 - February 22, 2009 11:16 p.m.

    Wow. That was awesome. The ending of MGS4 was amazing and your explanation just blew me away!
  • Mike1095 - February 20, 2009 1:02 a.m.

    isnt the great wall of china in china not japan xD
  • Games_Radar_DaveMeikleham - February 19, 2009 9:20 a.m.

    @thochaos I'll give it a shot. Snake isn't an exact clone of Big Boss on the genetic level. Most of their genes are the same, but not all. It was Solidus Snake who was the exact clone of Big Boss and thus considered to be the strongest of the three from the Les Enfants Terribles Project. That's why, if you look closely, Big Boss in MGS 4 closely resembles an older Solidus. This is why, even though both Snake and BB are a similar age, they look different. Why Old Snake looks closer to Snake Eater's Big Boss than BB himself? Put it down to Kojima wanting to create continuity between every Snake design, while also wanting to make Big Boss/Solidus distinct. Still, it does feel like a slight fail on Kojima Productions' part.
  • punkmetalmage - February 19, 2009 6:28 a.m.

    so long as you pay attention (at least the attention span of a goldfish), You could understand what was happening in the Metal Gear series. But don't worry you only need simple adding skills where most of you will end up at. Captcha: Runabouts Gemini
  • foarthelulz - February 19, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    even after reading the explanation on ur sister sight assasin's creed still confuses me so does braid
  • FierceDeity - February 19, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    sorry for triple post but anyone care to explain world of goo's story, that confused the hell outta me
  • Bassist94 - February 18, 2009 11:14 p.m.

    great wall of china = japan!?
  • noofer7 - February 18, 2009 11:14 p.m.

    wtf never played any of these games
  • barrage7667 - February 18, 2009 10:28 p.m.

    wait so in MGS you were the somewhat bad guy yet the good guy yet the guy who was trying to kill the good guy who everyone thought was the bad guy and the bad guy who everyone thought was dead was actually alive and a good guy...but wat about the fact that they say snake was a ticking time bomb cause of foxdye and how the hell does this story make any sense.
  • Darthkeyblader13 - February 18, 2009 10:19 p.m.

    hey I actually thought the ending for FFX-2 was pretty easily explained
  • cricket0 - February 18, 2009 9:20 p.m.

    Cooooooool
  • Clownsarescary - February 18, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    Braid's alternate reality is a clever way of dealing with big themes with the limited space XBLA dictates. Makes me wonder why we need hugely contrived, convoluted adventures found in Assasin's Creed and MGS4 when smart use of limited hardware can unlocks a system's potential much more effectivly. And costs less.
  • Orange - February 18, 2009 7:59 p.m.

    ooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhh... Liquid is good? Awesome! Ive always liked him! Braid's twist is so awesome... It reminds me of the sixth sense...
  • rollaire - February 18, 2009 1:06 p.m.

    Wow, that Metal Gear Solid gets me every time. That pesky liquid snake! RT www.anonymity.eu.tc

Showing 1-20 of 86 comments

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