A great story always has a great finish, and this is especially true in video games. Sometimes, though, the creators of a series have grandiose plans for sequels and decide to leave fans hanging. Here are ten of our favorite examples. And just in case the article title doesn't make it clear, there are plenty of spoilers ahead.
It's a shame that this comic book-style, cel-shaded shooter didn't harness a little more profit, because the story and the lead-up to an obvious cliffhanger ending left every fan hoping desperately for a sequel. After following our amnesiac hero (branded with a tattoo of the roman numeral XIII), we uncover the true nature of the sinister group called XX, and eliminate the members. By the end of the game, the identity of number I is revealed to be the assassinated president's brother, Walter Sheridan, who coordinated the murder and now has you trapped in his office on a yacht. With no clear escape, the game fades to the credits. If you want some closure to this story, you'll have to read the comic books from which it was based—that is, if you can find them in English.
I realize the second game in the Halo series was not everyone's favorite (although I personally loved the storyline following the Arbiter), but the ending is a perfect primer for the next game in the original trilogy. Cortana has been left on High Charity and captured by Gravemind, more Halos are revealed and on standby to cleanse (destroy) the galaxy, and the Master Chief has hitched a ride on the Prophet Truth's ship bound for Earth. When asked by Admiral Hood what he's doing, he promptly replies, "Sir, finishing this fight."
Warcraft III's long campaign is spent playing as several different factions, but the journey of Arthas is the most compelling. The Crown Prince of Lordaeron—a Knight of the Silver Hand and a devout paladin—sought to purge the evils of the world. As his campaign continued, his sanity crumbled, and, taking up the cursed sword Frostmourne, his new mission was to merge with the Lich King in Northrend and unleash an undead army called the Scourge to devour the world. He succeeds in claiming the icy throne, but the fate of the world is unknown as the final expansion of the third game ends. If you want to defeat Arthas and bring peace, you must invest several hundred hours into World of Warcraft. Good luck.
At the end of the first game, we understood (well, at least Shepard did) that the Reapers were still a threat, whom our Commander vowed to stop. But that wasn't much of a cliffhanger, was it? In Mass Effect 2, after a suicidal journey through the Omega-4 relay into the unknown, the crew of the Normandy makes many sacrifices (depending your choices throughout) to destroy the Reaper being fashioned and fueled by liquidizing humans. Whether you received the praise or ire of the Illusive Man, the ending shows a fleet of Reapers heading toward the Milky Way, doom following in their wake. How could you not be curious as to how the final game in the trilogy would rectify this?
Modern Warfare 2 continues the battle between the Russian Ultranationalists and the West. Task Force 141 is again called upon to handle the most dangerous of missions, including an undercover operation by Private First Class Joseph Allen where he is exposed by Makarov and killed, sparking even greater tensions between the two nations. Captain Price, a freed prisoner, becomes a lead in the fight and helps avert a nuclear disaster in Washington D.C. Price and Captain John "Soap" MacTavish then head to Afghanistan to locate Makarov, only to find that their commander, Lieutenant General Shepherd, has betrayed them. In the final scene, Soap pulls a knife from his chest and throws it straight into the eye of Shepherd, who was grappling with Price. The game ends with them looking for a safe place to go where Soap can receive medical attention. But Makarov is still out there and the war rages on, so now we've all got to plop down some more cash for Modern Warfare 3, right?