The story isn't over
Nothing incentivizes gamers to replay their favorite game like trying to unlock multiple endings. Making every conceivable choice through an adventure, seeing every branching story path play out, and trudging through every alternate quest is a completionist's favorite pastime. But seeing how a ton of games featuring multiple endings, I was curious to know which game in history actually has the most.
How many endings does it take to outpace every other game in history? Well, you can skip to the end of the gallery for the answer--but first, I want to explore some of the other games out there that push the limits of multiple outcomes. Did you know that these games could conclude with so many possibilities? Take a look on the following slides.
It probably goes without saying, but there will be some SPOILERS for the following games!
Dragon Age: Origins - 4 endings
As soon as you boot up Bioware's epic fantasy RPG, you practically know that the story won't end the same for every player. There's even multiple ways to start the story thanks to the three races' separate origins (which could also differ when you choose your character's status in society). On top of all that, you're constantly making choices that will affect the results of quests. Do you kill a tribe werewolves, sacrifice an army of Golem soldiers, or execute a tyrant? The choice is up to you, and whatever you decide will totally change how the story progresses.
But as far as the branching goes in Dragon Age: Origins, the game still converges back down to four endings. Those endings further branch with a save game in the sequel (and presumably in the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition), and seeing how every possible outcome plays out in Dragon Age 2's plot is even more rewarding. But on this list, four endings is small potatoes. There's quite a few games with even more alternate conclusions.
Way of the Samurai - 7 endings
The entire premise of Way of the Samurai revolves around making various choices through the relatively short campaign and seeing which ending those choices lead to. You play as a wandering swordsman that finds himself in the middle of a conflict between rival clans. Even the smallest decisions can affect your standing with the various samurai groups, which leads to some interesting moral conundrums. Do you save an innocent villager from abuse and make enemies with a clan leader, or leave the poor villager to his fate? You might make a friend, but you'll also probably really piss someone off in the process.
Because the story's so short, you're encouraged to play through again and again to see all of the narrative possibilities unfold. And the paths are dramatically different from one another. Still, with all of the choices and polarizing conclusions, Way of the Samurai only has seven endings. And in this countdown, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Mass Effect 3 - 8 endings
Ah, the infamous Mass Effect 3 ending. After such a distinguished trilogy, the last sequence of Shepard's quest to save the universe comes down to a choice between green, blue, or red. Sounds like three possible endings, right? Well, not really. Another variable that factors into the equation is the galaxy's effective military strength (EMS). The degree to which you prepared the galaxy for the Reaper threat determines whether your crew members survive, Shepard lives, or the Earth goes kablooey. So, you could end up with several very different results.
Even with the hundreds of decisions you made throughout the Mass Effect series, the final tally came far short of hitting the most endings video games have ever seen. All those choices converged on just a few conclusions. But we haven't even broken the games with double-digit endings yet. Let's move on.
Resident Evil - 13 endings
It's hard to believe that the original Resident Evil had so many distinct outcomes, considering how the sequel (RE2) only had a mere four alternate endings, and the rest of the series generally shied away from branching storytelling. But Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine's adventure could end in six different ways per character, with the last ending being complete failure of the mission.
The cutscenes had variations showing either one of the heroes surviving, the hero and support character (Rebecca or Barry) surviving, or both heroes and the support characters sitting on the helicopter at the end. But best of all, each variation treats players to a live-action scene featuring low-budget costumes, awkwardly long stares into the camera, and classic Resident Evil lines like "This case was just too weird." A moment that was well worth the effort, to be sure.
Chrono Trigger - 18 endings
Here we go. Now we're getting up to the big boys (or so you might think). Chrono Trigger is famous for its multitude of dramatically different endings. But the events that unfold after defeating the world-destroying Lavos is determined by a number of factors--mainly, who is in your party, who you may or may not have killed off, and what items you picked up on your journey. "How different were these endings?" you ask. Well, you could completely save the whole world, with every main character living happily ever after (even the once evil Magus), you could get killed by Lavos and witness the apocalypse, or get the dozen more possibilities in between.
The epic RPG definitely has some of the most emotionally stirring endings from the games on this list, but we're going for quantity rather than quality. With a whopping 18 possible endings to the timeline-jumping adventure, even Chrono Trigger doesn't hold a candle to the the game that holds the title for the most endings. It's actually not even close.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - 50 endings
50 endings!? Really? I know what you're thinking: "How could a fighting game have so many endings?" Well, it's actually really simple. Just look at the fighter roster. Yeah, there's 50 characters. 50 characters that all have a unique ending clip after. It's legit, I swear.
Once you finish punching the crap out of Galactus' chest in the final battle to save the Earth, you learn what happens to your winning fighter as they mingle with the respective Marvel or Capcom universes. I bet you never thought you'd see Amaterasu fighting dinosaurs in the Savage Land, or Zero hanging out with Silver Surfer--but it all happens in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's many epilogues. Think that's a lot of endings? Guess you haven't heard of...
Star Ocean: Second Evolution - 100 endings
And the game with the most endings is...Star Ocean: Second Evolution! With...What!? 100 endings! But how? How could a game possibly have that many endings? Well, it all comes down to the relationships between the characters. The game plays mostly like a typical RPG. You'll explore dungeons, level up your party, and battle through quests--but one thing that makes Second Evolution stand out (and produce so many endings) is your ability to pair up characters romantically or platonically.
As you play through the game, you have to option to interact with your party members, which could influence the way they think of you or others. If you play your cards right, this could lead to some of them hooking up and therefore providing one of the 100 possible endings in the game. If you're a completionist, this is your Everest. Surely, you could get plenty of endings using save points, but to get them all, you'll have to play through the game several times. Good luck with that.
What ending did you get?
There are a hell of a lot of games with multiple endings out there and these were just a few. Got any multiple-ending games that were your favorite? Was there any particular ending that stuck in your memory? I want to hear about it. Leave a comment in the comments section below.
Looking for more video game articles? Check out our 9 popular games you didn't realize had lingering plotlines article and our Top 7Games you just need to play to understand