The Finale

  • I've been thinking a lot about finales. Whether it be in movies, TV, books, or games. The final chapter of a story always has an interesting impact on the perception of that story.

    I personally am of the mind that the finale of a story isn't as important as the journey. Proof of that is that I genuinely hate the endings of a lot of my favorite stories. But I want to know what the rest of the allies think about finales.

    How important is the finale to a story? What is your favorite ending? What's your least favorite?

  • I got inspired to make this thread because I watched the final episode of Law and Order today and I think it's one of television's strongest final episodes. It was poignant, well written, exciting, and McCoy's monologue towards the end of the episode is one of my favorite monologues ever. Not to mention we got a very happy ending to an arc that had been building throughout the season. That being said, with 20 seasons and the episodic nature of the show, I really doubt that a bad final episode would have tanked the perception of Law and Order.

    I find it's more common for me to dislike the endings of my favorite stories though. I'm not sure why that is, since I think my favorite stories are generally very well written.

    Some Examples Are:
    *Pushing Daisies: PD is my favorite TV show ever made. When I watched it for the first time it felt like I had written it since I always felt like the show's story progressed in the way I would have wanted it to. But the ending. My god. What a disappointment. The reason PD's ending is bad, isn't Bryan Fuller or any of the writers faults. The show got cancelled by ABC mid season, and the team behind it had to scramble to wrap up the story. All throughout the season the story introduced new plot points and characters that were clearly meant to be resolved in a third season but they had to cut things short because they got the ax. The final episode didn't even get aired at TV, it was first shown at a film festival. Bryan Fuller wanted to continue the story as a comic book series, and they had a deal with a DC comics subsidiary, there was even one edition of the comic released at comic con, but the deal fell through and PD's story never got to be fully told. The final episode isn't even that bad, it's well written and enjoyable, but it also feels rushed. The resolution to the story seems obviously crammed in. Bryan Fuller's talked about wanting to do a mini series or a movie to wrap up PD's story at length, and I truly hope one day that happens, because until then I just feel like I'm lacking closure on the story.
    *Persona 3: Anyone who's played Persona 3 knows why people hate the ending to this game. I HATE it. And yet Persona 3 is still my favorite game of all time, which I why I still encourage people who haven't played it, check it out. But that doesn't change the fact that the ending of this game crushed my soul. To this day, whenever I replay the game I stop around December so that I don't have to feel the pain again. I did play fully through to the end in new game plus so that I could get Shinjiro's ending, but that was the last of my trips to the ending of P3. Just hearing "Memories of You" is enough to make me cry. Like I understand why the ending is the way it is, and I understand that it's meant to have a profound impact on the player. It certainly accomplishes everything it sets out to do. I still hate it.

  • Global Moderator

    I think that Finales are really important. Its a chance for a story to wrap everything up and create a satisfying ending. For me it can make or break the entire story for me. A lot of endings have left a sour taste in my mouth though. I mean I LOVED the whole Penny Dreadful TV series, but it all kept building and building, then the ending came so sudden and.. empty it became this horrible anti climax and it felt like it didnt even try.

    On a other hand, say what you will but the ending in Life is Strange left me emotional impacted for years. Sure the story seemed a little rush and so on (no spoilers) but it still impacted me greatly and I felt like I wanted to experience it all again and get more from the world.

    So I want a Finale to be grand, bring everyting back around and preferly have an emotional twist/impact. I want to after a Finale look back and feel like I agree with what happened and that it fitted the whole story arch and the characters that were in it.

  • Ending strong is very important as giving a generic the-heroes-win ending or making your story come full circle and reference back to one of the beginning areas or scenarios of the game without that premise carrying some weight or deeper meaning makes your game look pathetic to me.

    Like I really love Life is Strange's first 4 episodes, but the finale has too many insecure references to hella and other things that felt like the developers gloating at critics. Each of the other episodes were a good length, but the final episode could have stood to be longer, less jarring, and better foreshadowed or explained. There are so many other games that can't afford or otherwise manage to create long main quests so the ending becomes where all of their story resources went.

    For instance, I think The Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda games, but people who talk about its story being great... noooo... You can't just have your villain deliver an expository monologue in the last hour of the game. That is not good plot writing, it's trying to retroactively cover up your lack of motivation for your antagonist. Don't get me wrong Ganondorf's speech has some interesting environmental themes and is a great scene when taken alone, but the rest of the game's plot just isn't there.

    Something like Twilight Princess or The Last of Us with a companion character that gets developed over the course of the game generally works much better. Think about how much you care when

    the boat gets killed compared to when Midna is seemingly killed by Ganondorf and later returns to her realm forever.

    And the Last of Us just has a really gripping Fall into Winter into Spring so when its ending comes on it feels like an ending.

    Skyrim has a good 'ending' for the style of game that lets you continue to play after the credits.

    Leaving the player standing on the summit of the Throat of the World with the dragons circling around, freed from Alduin after you defeated him in a place as stunning as Sovngarde was really cool and did well to explain the return of dragons to Tamriel.

    It's not the type of ending that makes you feel like the world is ending because it's not — you're supposed to keep playing until you're satisfied with your character and faction progression.

  • I don't think a bad finale is ever a deal breaker, I'm definitely of the "journey and not the destination" mindset, but having a good ending is nice. The only times I really get upset with an ending is when it feels less like it ended badly and more like it just kinda "stopped." The main example that comes to mind is the first Gravity Rush. My favorite ending is probably Kamen Rider Kuuga. It has one of my favorite fights in all of media followed by a "where are they now" montage and ends with a pretty simple but beautiful message.

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