what do you think about "open endings" ?

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what do you think about "open endings" ?

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jack1974
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what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by jack1974 »

I just finished watching Dexter finale, so I was thinking about the open ending thing. In my kind of games usually there are multiple endings, so that problem is solved with that.
But if somehow I had to pick just an ending, or there could be variants of an ending that would still need to be open, what would you think of it ?
For example, in case I decide/must to stop a series for the moment, like happened after Heileen 2 (I wasn't sure the artist could work again, and I didn't want to use another artist). There were multiple endings, but each one was open, since you didn't know what was going to happen next (would she find the other friends? what she would do aboard with Morgan next? etc).
There always was two different "factions", those who hate open endings because they don't solve/settle down things, and those who like them because leave doors open to each one imagination (and fanfiction probably!).
In the past, I used to hate them, but recently I think that if they're well done, they are cool :)
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Aleema
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by Aleema »

For small, character-driven stories, sure. I love thinking about the endings to Memento and Inception after they're done. For grand, plot-driven epics? Not so much. I'm sure it could be done, but I feel it could just be unsatisfying to not know where 100s of your hours have gone to.
Tsukasa Buddha
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by Tsukasa Buddha »

I think there are different kinds of open endings. In my mind, the best ending is when you feel like the world keeps turning even after the final scene/page/etc. The worst is when there is no resolution or it is "up to the viewer to decide". Random sequel hooks at the end are plain bad.

I guess as long as the narratives are properly settled, it is fine with me.

(Again, all IMO.)
fleetp
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by fleetp »

I view open endings as a cop-out for lazy writers (and that includes me).
Why? I like big ones, that's why.
P_Tigras
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by P_Tigras »

As long as the ending is a crescendo and not a nadir, it's fine by me. There needs to be a sense of accomplishment over having achieved the major goal of that episode at the end, even if there is a greater overall goal that still needs to be completed, or if ther is no such greater overall goal, than something big that's just been added to your immediate todo list. The attempted assassination of King Foltest at the conclusion of The Witcher was brilliantly executed since not only did Geralt get to whoop a** in style, but it also made everyone look forward to unravelling the assassination ring in the second game.
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jack1974
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by jack1974 »

Yes the Witcher was a good example of what I mean. Though maybe that is more like a cliffhanger for the next episode/title, now that I think about it... :)
Nightsnow
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by Nightsnow »

I am not going to vote on this because the answer is not black and white.

Open endings can be brilliant as in Alemeena's example in Memento where it adds to the overall story off the movie. And open endings can also be good in the rare case where the ending would distract from the goal of the story.

Open endings can also be a cop out where you just have a sense of 'Well the writer didn't know what to think of this'.

In generel open endings are a little easier to accept with a villain protagonist since ideally both audiene and writer properly balance between 'this person really, really shouldn't win in principle' and 'it is kinda hard not to root for this person'. This is escpially true when you first realize that the character is actually a villain in the final act.

Another general rule is that the longer a series has gone on the more unsatisfying it is. I can say it would have been kinda irratated if Heeileen 3 had ended only open endings.

Also a cliffhanger is not an open ending it is a kind of sequel hook, if the answer is clearly meant to be followed up then it is basically 'Please buy the next installement'. I personally don't like cliff hangers. The quesiton raised in a cliff hanger is meant to be followed up. If they end up become the ending of the story they usually end up becoming bad opened endings because they were meant to be closed.

I think you should be carefull with open endings, at least in the kind of games you usually make, mostly because you would have to make a game with a story where the writing goes above good to make the ending feel satisfying for the players and to make a good open ending the audience still needs to get some satisfaction from it.
candesco
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by candesco »

It depends on the game and also how that open end is executed. Open end could be good, like in The Witcher, as someone here also mentioned. An example of a bad open end is probably Mass Effect, especially the third one.
You then have the feeling of frustration and something like of "this was it?". With some games an open end won't fit. D&D games for example, like neverwinter nights. Or The Elder Scrolls.
And i think with visual novels you also better don't do any open ending. Or it has to be really fitting. Making an open end needs some work and thinking about it.
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RPGatWill
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by RPGatWill »

Open endings are not by themselves a good thing in my opinion. Open endings only work if the current ending is wrapped up in a satisfactory manner. I really liked the way you handled it in Loren the Amazon Princess.

SPOILER ALERT! TURN AWAY IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED!

The fact that all the characters have a nice minuet about their life after Fost is great and leads into a nice ending.
The part with Zeal creating a small button open ending there for the sequel doesn't feel like it's taking away from the game I played, and all that I had just accomplished. The worst thing about open endings is when the current problem the heroes were facing doesn't get dealt with for a sequel bait. Of course, I'm still guilty of falling into sequel bait traps a lot, so I'm not sure if I'm the best person to talk about it.
For Loren the Amazon Princess and Other RPG Let's Plays and Reviews, check out my youtube page.
https://www.youtube.com/user/Tatsu55
ChickenFoot
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Re: what do you think about "open endings" ?

Post by ChickenFoot »

I think, of course, it depends on what has happened before. But, on the whole, I like them. So long as it doesn't just like feel like: 'O I wasnt sure how to end this so ....'

It give some agency to us, and forces us to think, and engage at little more, after the game, and not just pack it away and never think about it.
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