Storytime: Other Games Could Learn From Black Ops 2′s Endings

But if you kill Menendez under the same circumstances — or really, any circumstances — you make a martyr of him, and this is an even worse outcome. If the world military infrastructure is crippled by Menendez through the course of the game, murdering him results in a huge popular uprising; it’s basically the end of the world. Congrats, that’s your fault.

Of course, there are positive endings, too, and both the negative endings can have positive results for major characters in the series. But the best ending in Black Ops 2 is actually kind of hard to achieve. It results in a captured Menendez, sitting impotently in his cell, with his cyber attack machinations thoroughly defeated. It’s extremely satisfying to see this supervillain rendered completely inert. And it’s hard to achieve.

The point is, Treyarch could have made it’s multiple-ending plan extremely simplistic. It could have phoned the ending in with a single binary choice. Hell, it could have even taken a page from the multiple ending standard of many games, and it would have gotten a pass. Instead, Black Ops 2 is to be commended because its ending has multiple moving parts, all of which are cobbled together to make what are several technically unique endings. And they don’t all come from making a single choice at the end of the game.

And while Black Ops 2 has its troubles with storytelling and with actually conveying its choices, it’s worth pointing out that a game that’s not exactly lauded for its story does something of a better job with its ending treatment than a lot of big-name RPGs out there.

Read more of Phil Hornshaw’s work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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2 Comments on Storytime: Other Games Could Learn From Black Ops 2′s Endings


On November 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Modern Warfare 3′s ending is one of the most underrated in videogame history. On the simple basis of getting the endgame right, the Modern Warfare trilogy has a better and more sincere story than Mass Effect, even though it has far less character development and frankly far less plot. They got it right when it mattered.


On November 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Here’s something I thought I’d never hear. Call of Duty took a chance and did choices in games better than a company that has been doing it for YEARS!
Call it beginner’s luck.