Multiple Paths in Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!
I’ve been playing a game that’s new to me and I know that the game has multiple endings depending on the choices you make as a character. While I want a good ending, it makes me think of all the other games I’ve played with multiple routes.
What are your favorite games that have multiple routes? More than one ending or path to reach the final part of the story?
More and more video games nowadays caters more to bringing the player fully into the story, allowing the player to have different reactions to critical points in the game to effect the final outcome. There are games that have the same general ending but different ways to reach it, while a few games have brilliant code that allows the game to “remember” what you have done on previous playthroughs.
I was always a sucker for “choose your own adventure” kind of stories. I’ve been writing for over a decade and play around with tons of fanfiction ideas to satisfy my “what if” questions when it comes to certain books, movies, and — of course — video games. Being able to fully integrate myself into the role of the hero (or anti-hero or antagonist, whatever position the route takes me) and have my choices mean something to the story is amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of games that I love that have a linear playthrough, and I continue to replay them when I can — Super Mario RPG, Ocarina of Time, the Ace Attorney series — but games that give you more free reign always have a certain charm.
I never have to have the same Pokemon team whenever I play a mainline game. Breath of the Wild gives you an entire world to explore, with Calamity Ganon always waiting at the end for whenever you’re ready to take him on. Dream Daddy and Asagao Academy have multiple routes, each with their own multiple endings.
On that note, games with multiple routes tend to have the Good Ending, Neutral Ending, and the Bad Ending. I like completing all the endings, but damn do I feel awful going after the Bad Endings, haha! Yeah, the game is full of pixel characters, but if the writing is amazing enough to give them feelings, then why would I want to make them sad?
Especially if they, you know, “remember” how you treated them on a previous playthrough…

What are your favorite games with multiple routes? Do you tend to go for the Good, Neutral, or Bad Endings first?

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Readers Comments (9)

  1. I could list some recent stuff like Mass Effect or similar, but I think back at a game that showed me this very early on. Harvest Moon on the SNES. The first time I beat it, I actually hit the worst ending. Sucky farm, no money etc. But I played through again and did everything right, got married, had a baby etc and the ending was completely different.

  2. Generally I try to get the best ending possible (if you have to do or achieve certain tasks and goals) or I play as a good guy (e.g. light side choices / ending if I’m playing a Star Wars game). Though sometimes I try to play in character and that causes.. less than ideal choices leading to a less happy ending.
    Very rarely do I replay the game, normally I’d look up the other endings on youtube.
    As for games that I’ve played with multiple paths and endings, the Witcher series is still my favourite, but I do have a soft spot for Knights of the Old Republic even if the endings are just light side and dark side.
    Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored should also get a mention since how you play them also affects your ending.

  3. I agree with Kairos5; I generally go for the “good” ending first… I just like pretending to be a hero, what can I say? 😛 But recently with my Year of the RPG I’ve been experimenting with different alignments, and it’s been really fun and interesting to vary how I/the character approach(es) different plot points and seeing how it affects the ending or game world. I always liked the concept of this flexibility, but seeing that there is a real change to a game is really awesome to experience, as well. I am tempted to talk about every BioWare game I’ve ever played, but I think I’ll leave my comment nice and nebulous, instead.. 😛

    • I need to break free of my hero path and try to experience the “bad” endings more often, haha! Glad you’re experience with playing different alignments is going well, though! 🙂

  4. I go for the best ending I can obtain (for example, unlocking Payday 2’s good ending is WELL beyond my skill or friend coordination). I think one exception is Undertale, where I felt like the violent neutral route I did without looking ahead was more emotionally powerful than a robotic, guide-following true pacifist route.
    I got all four faction endings in Fallout New Vegas, including the slaving, unstable Caesar’s Legion.

    • I tend to go for the better endings too, as I feel guilty if I’m being mean! I keep thinking about doing a genocide run in Undertale, but it warps the True Pacifist ending, and I just want everyone to be happy, lol.
      I’ve never played any of the Fallout series, actually. How long did it take you to get all of those endings in New Vegas?

  5. Fable and Dragon Age are probably my favorite games that contain multiple endings. I’ve played through every entry of both series multiple times just to see what changes would occur during and at the conclusion of the story. In fact, there may have been a year where almost all I played was the three Dragon Age titles…

    • That sounds fantastic! I love being able to find a game or series to completely immerse myself in for a while, and it’s a bonus if there are multiple endings. They do their job to keep you interested and playing. 🙂

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