Warning: This countdown contains spoilers for 15 different story driven games.
The most recent game in this list is from November 2013.
- From noble sacrifices that bring a tear to your eye to ignoring the needs of the world and saving a girl, we count the 15 most depressing video game endings of all time.
15 – The Last of Us,
- The Last of Us is the latest game by Naughty Dog and has been universally praised for its dreary look at what happens when society breaks down – the ending of The Last of Us shows flawed humans dealing with a harsh environment.
- The game begins with Joel, the main character, losing his daughter, this sets up the ending where he refuses to sacrifice Ellie for a chance at saving the world.
- When Joel learns that the Fireflies need to kill Ellie to extract her immunity to the infection he kills everyone on the way to save her, despite the fact that the fireflies are the good guys and the fact that he didn’t want to kill them in the first place.
14 – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening,
- ‘It was a dream all along’ usually these words make people groan when this is the plot twist in a story; well Link’s Awakening pulls it off in an interesting and depressing way.
- The game is about Link’s adventure on Koholint Island where he needs to wake the Wind Fish that is in the egg on top of the mountain, throughout his adventure he meets and becomes close with many of the island’s inhabitants.
- In the end it turns out the entire island was a fabrication of the Wind Fish’s mind and that waking it up and allowing Link to leave would also wipe the entire island, and its inhabitants, from existence.
13 – Halo: Reach,
- Succumbing to your inevitable and untimely death is a sombre subject that Reach tackles head on; if you’re even a little bit familiar with the Halo universe you’d be aware that things weren’t going to end well from the beginning, but it still manages to tear jerk with its execution.
- You play as Noble 6 in Halo Reach, a newly added member to a once squad of 5, and as the game goes on your squad-mates die one by one until you’re the last one left. After Noble 6 delivers an important package he denies a ride off of the doomed planet so the ship carrying it can leave safely.
- Next he is tasked with the chilling objective ‘Survive’; after endless hordes of covenant swarm you, you realise that the task was impossible. There’s no respawns this time though, as Noble 6 dies fighting on Planet Reach.
12 – Conker’s Bad Fur Day,
- Conker’s Bad Fur Day is a game of jokes about bouncing on boobs and pitch forks with googly eyes, yet it has one of the most surprising and saddest endings in gaming.
- Conker’s journey started so he could save his girlfriend and maybe get some cash on the way, he goes through a bunch of wacky areas, beats some ridiculous bosses and even breaks the forth wall in order to get the programmers to do his bidding.
- However, at the end of the game his girlfriend is dead and he forgets to ask the programmers to bring her back to life, he is then elected as king of the land, even though he doesn’t like anyone in the kingdom and all he wants is to go back home with his now dead girlfriend.
11 – Grand Theft Auto IV,
- The GTA series is well known for immersive worlds and environments, with the story taking you into a crime world that most people would never want to be in; the characters are out for it big and at the end of GTA IV you’re given two choices but both of them end in tragedy
- The first choice is to side with Kate, Niko’s girlfriend; which involves Niko giving up on his criminal life so he could be with Kate; however, this ends in Kate dying.
- On the flipside if you side with Roman and decide to go for the money Roman is the one that ends up dying. This is orchestrated so that the person you care most about is the one that dies, giving maximum emotional impact.