Every week, Richard Cobbett writes about the world of story and writing in games. No game should ever use them. Well, I'll make one slight exception - it's okay in an episodic game where, and this is important, the next episode is both confirmed and imminent. Telltale's Game of Thrones for instance, or Dreamfall Chapters. In those cases, they're being stated with warranted confidence.
Nothing else though, and that includes episodic games on a wider time-frame, should be allowed to use them.
To Be Continued endings the narrative equivalent of a developer dropping their trousers and farting as loud and hard as they can into their players' faces, despite that sometimes not being the intent. Their official goal is, of course, to end a game on a hook for the next part, but what they actually serve to do is a double-whammy of things that are just flat-out bad ideas - to rip away the hard-won illusion of success see the classic villain declaring "And now it's time for our TRUE plan!
Never though is it a good idea. What games tend to be going for here is what's referred to as the 'Zeigarnik Effect', which is that unfinished business continues weighing on the mind.
In short, a TBC ending offers a lingering pull effect that isn't usually strong enough to last years and years and years, but is intended to add a bit of a hook.
On the surface, sure, that makes some sense. However, it comes with some major downsides in the case of gaming. To simply stop a story in mid-flight is a betrayal of the covenant made between developer and customer, that the story bought into will be the story told. Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle for instance ends on one of the most insulting endings I've ever witnessed, in which the cast literally sit on a boat chatting about how they've accomplished basically nothing, including the rescue of the main character's girlfriend which was at the core of the story, and brush off everything from that to dealing with the villains as a story for another day.
In the celebrated words of the philosopher Aristotle: Fuck off. The same also applies to last minute screw-yous, like the character ending up in an asylum or wondering if it was all a dream Realms of the Haunting.
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