I love a video game that can immerse you so deep in its world that you honestly forget who is doing the controlling, you or it. As an art form, games are unique and wonderful, and the ability for them to tell one-of-a-kind stories is what draws me back into them night after night.
But, as with any art, sometimes you're going to find things that affect you deeply. Thankfully, some of those get left on the cutting room floor because they are incredibly depressing. Here are five unused endings from famous games that would definitely have sent you to the Internet for kitten therapy if they'd been kept in.
Tomb Raider Last year's Tomb Raider was my favorite game of the year, a perfect mix of fun, drama, realism and mysticism that has led me to play it three times. The ending shows Lara Croft sailing away on a new adventure, having become a survivor who can stand against the worst odds.
Most of the game is spent with Lara trying to rescue her friend Samantha Nishimura, who has been abducted by a crazed cult and is to become host to an immortal witch-queen. Originally it was planned for Lara to have to sacrifice Sam's life in order for the rest of the remaining crew to escape the island. This idea was scrapped by the developers because it felt like forcing failure onto the player. And also because damn you guys!
Assassin's Creed III When Desmond Miles confronts Daniel Cross at the end of Assassin's Creed II, it's actually a little anticlimactic. The Bleeding Effect, in which memories of ancestors begin to bleed through into a present-day person's mind, affecting his or her mental state, begins to overwhelm Cross and he flees Miles through the Abstergo Industries Rome facility. The chase is exciting, but the ultimate assassination of Cross is something of a letdown.
There is a deleted audio speech, though, that has Cross begging for death. The Bleeding Effect has completely overrun him, and he sees no other escape. You can hear from the video above it's very hard to listen to, and a truly sad sending for such a great villain. Speaking of disturbing audio...
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Portal 2 The final relationship between Chell, GLaDOS and Cave Johnson is never really made 100 percent clear. It's known that GLaDOS was definitely the secretary and assistant of Johnson, and that he eventually had her consciousness implanted in the artificial intelligence that ultimately turned on Aperture Science. Whether or not the two were romantically linked or Chell is their daughter is speculation.
There exists in the game's files audio recorded by Ellen McClain that was supposed to be her being forcibly inserted into whatever machine would kill her and rebirth her as GLaDOS. The lines are, well, really rapey. Extremely rapey. So much so that Cave Johnson voice actor J.K. Simmons refused to even record his part. For a game that delivers well on black humor, such a scene would probably have been a step too far.
The Last of Us Okay, how in the hell can you make The Last of Us more brutal? The game is already the most depressing major console release ever. It's excellent, don't get me wrong, but it's also a parade of death and misery that makes The Walking Dead look like Ruby Gloom.
Earlier in the game, Joel's friend Tess is bitten and infected by the fungal virus that turns people into murderous zombies. She chooses to commit suicide by cop so that Joel and Ellie can escape and help find a cure. In the original script, Joel was supposed to betray Tess so badly at this point in the game that she would spend the rest of it pursuing him through infected America over the course of a year to try to exact revenge.
At which point Joel would just kill her.
Naughty Dog realized that coming up with anything that made such a revenge trek plausible would be difficult. That means that Tess's suicide is actually the happier ending for her. Man, this game should come with coupons for therapy.
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Chrono Trigger Not every example is a modern masterpiece. Even a 16-bit RPG can stomp your feels. Though it is entirely optional to do so, after Crono is killed by Lavos in the Undersea Palace, he can be revived through a side quest and recruited to save the world once more. Even if you don't do so, the ending that results implies that you will still go searching for a way to save him and succeed. In a game that is all about changing the future to save everyone, surely that was always the case, right?
Nope. Crono was supposed to stay dead. Story planner Masato Katō said in an interview that after Crono's death, the main party was supposed to recruit a younger version of Crono to help them defeat Lavos. Without telling him of his fate, the party would save the world, but sadly return Crono to the past to await his eventual, unavoidable death. This was considered way too depressing, and the sidequest was used instead.
And that's why when Squaresoft killed Aeris a few years later, we didn't see it coming. Personally, I think they just wanted to wait until they could render something that sad in CGI.