The 10 Most Epic Secret Endings of All Time

Silent Hill 2's dog ending is one of the industry's strangest.

The 10 Most Epic Secret Endings of All Time

The video game industry has a rich history of rewarding players who travel off the beaten path. Plenty of games feature amusing, and occasionally even disturbing easter eggs fans can find by exploring thoroughly and untangling secrets. A lot of these easter eggs take the form of jokes, references, and other humorous bits. They entertain fans as a private reward for their hard work. Fallout: New Vegas even has an entire trait you can pick up at character creation. Weird Wasteland litters the world with strange little encounters like this. But some games take the concept of an easter egg even farther by having these secret discoveries tie directly into the game’s conclusion. Here are some of the best secret endings you can find by going above and beyond what the game asks of you.

Far Cry 4’s Secret Shortcut

A monkey appears in a cutscene from Far Cry 4.
A monkey appears in a cutscene from Far Cry 4.

©Screenshot from Far Cry 4 – Original / License

The Far Cry franchise is known for featuring grim, brutal storylines, with an emphasis on violence and moral degradation. The series boasts a line of charismatic villains who are absolutely monstrous and irredeemable. The stories then explore what would drive a man to such cruel extremes. Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min is no exception. This cruel autocratic despot will torment the protagonist throughout his grueling quest to spread his deceased mother’s ashes. That is, unless you’re extremely patient. At the beginning of the game your character is captured by Pagan and brought to his castle. The despot steps out to take a phone call, giving you a chance to escape. If you turn down this opportunity and wait for him to come back, he’ll help you lay your mother to rest, effectively nipping the entire game in the bud.

Chrono Trigger’s Hidden Room

Chrono Trigger's plucky heroes get the ultimate reward in one of gaming's most meta secret endings.
Chrono Trigger‘s plucky heroes get the ultimate reward in one of gaming’s most meta secret endings.

©Artwork from Chrono Trigger – Original / License

One of the most quintessential easter eggs in video game history is the secret ending to Chrono Trigger. This legendary RPG features a confrontation with the apocalyptic main antagonist fairly early in the game. The battle is almost impossible to win. Indeed, the story of the game is dependent on Crono and his allies falling before the behemoth. If you manage to score a victory, possibly by taking advantage of bonuses from the game’s New Game+ mode, you’ll unlock a truly bizarre secret ending. This ending takes you to Chrono Trigger’s secret developer room. There, the creators of the game themselves are waiting to congratulate you on your victory. This is a truly gamebreaking reward for conquering a challenge the game simply did not expect you to defeat.

The Big Reunion in Hades

Zagreus journeys to the realm of Chaos.
Zagreus journeys to the realm of Chaos.

©Screenshot from Hades – Original / License

SuperGiant’s beloved roguelike tasks the titular god’s rebellious son with repeatedly breaking out of his father’s domain in a quest to reunite his fractured family. The main ending of the game is a sufficiently emotional climax, wherein Zagreus convinces Hades to reunite with his wife. Persephone returns to the underworld and the House of Hades is made whole. However, that’s not the true ending. Players are encouraged to press on, fighting through the underworld again and again. Eventually, Zagreus can go further than reuniting his mother and father, and restore the unity of the entire Greek pantheon. Through repeated runs, you can invite all the Greek gods who’ve aided you throughout the game to a party in the Underworld. There, the truth of Persephone’s past is revealed and order is restored.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s Controversial Cutscene

The military complexes of MGSV play host to one of the biggest controversies in the history of secret endings.
The military complexes of MGSV play host to one of the biggest controversies in the history of secret endings.

©Screenshot from Metal Gear Solid V – Original / License

The nuclear disarmament ending of Metal Gear Solid V is a truly bizarre story. This secret ending was teased by Konami. They claimed it would only occur if every single player in the game’s asynchronous multiplayer mode disarmed their nuclear weapons. Unlocking this ending became the goal of a dedicated group of players who reached out to thousands of other fans. This massive group effort finally culminated in the unlocking of a special secret cutscene. Or so the story goes. In truth, a large-scale organization, reported by Eurogamer, revealed that it was actually impossible to legitimately unlock this ending. Nukes obtained by banned players could not be secured and disarmed, preventing fans from completely clearing the server. Instead, the secret ending was discovered and unlocked by a hacker, causing Konami to disqualify the entire attempt. This makes the victory cutscene arguably the most secret ending in video game history.

Silent Hill 2’s Legendary Dog Ending

One of the strangest secret endings of all time reveals the truth of Silent Hill 2.
One of the strangest secret endings of all time reveals the truth of Silent Hill 2.

©Screenshot from Silent Hill 2 – Original / License

The infamous secret ending of Silent Hill 2 is so famous that people who don’t know anything else about the game have probably heard of it. This eerie psychological horror game is an absolute classic in its own right. Its eerie, disturbing tone has been an inspiration to countless other psychological horror titles. But for some reason, by unlocking a secret key on a second playthrough, players can discover the true heart of all the game’s nightmares and madness. It’s a dog wearing headphones, sitting at a control console. The Dog Ending has become a widespread meme at this point. With a remake of Silent Hill 2 on the way, many fans are wondering if the mysterious hound at the center of it all will get a new look too.

Undertale’s Secret Character

Undertale's simple graphics hide a deeply complex story.
Undertale‘s simple graphics hide a deeply complex story.

©Screenshot from Undertale – Original / License

The complex web of decisions, replays, and determination that make up Undertale’s plot lend the game well to secret endings. The culmination of the Genocide Route is arguably the most dramatic. This ending, as the name suggests, requires you to slaughter every creature you encounter. This includes common enemies and the bosses you can befriend on your path. The course culminates in an iconic boss battle against Sans, the most difficult enemy in the game. If you manage to defeat him, you’ll meet Chara. This lost human is integral to the backstory of Undertale. In recognition of the carnage you’ve spread, they will shut the entire game down. You can only replay Undertale if Chara allows it, and even then, it will be haunted by your past crimes.

Cave Story’s Hidden Final Boss

Robotic protagonist Quote explores the floating island of Cave Story.
Robotic protagonist Quote explores the floating island of Cave Story.

©Screenshot from Cave Story – Original / License

Cave Story is one of the most significant indie games of all time, and its DNA can be spotted in countless subsequent games. The game has two main endings; one where you decide to stand your ground and confront the villainous Doctor, and one where you flee, leaving the floating island to its fate. A third secret ending requires a long series of additional tasks, starting with the frankly baffling decision to avoid aiding a clearly injured Professor Booster. At the end of this long road, Quote will unlock the Bloodstained Sanctuary. This grueling gauntlet of end-game challenges will eventually lead players to the true final boss: Ballos, creator of the Demon Crown. Slaying him will free the island and unlock the best possible ending in the game.

The Age of Stars in Elden Ring

Elden Ring Age of Stars ending

©Ranni the Witch in the Age of Stars ending from Elden Ring

All six endings of Elden Ring depend on the choices you make during your journeys in the Lands Between. The magical and divine forces you ally with and the runes you acquire will allow you to shape the Lands Between in whatever image you choose. One of the most elusive endings, and one of the most sought after, is the Age of Stars. This ending requires you to ally with fan-favorite demigod Ranni and aid her in hunting down the celestial fingers which seek to puppeteer her fate. Eventually, you can become her consort, and aid her in bringing about an age of contemplation and darkness. Depending on how you interpret Elden Ring’s complex lore, this secret ending is arguably one of the better fates for the realm, making it well worth pursuing.

NieR: Automata’s Final Choice

NieR: Automata's protagonist faces off against a giant robot.
NieR: Automata‘s protagonist faces off against a giant robot.

©Screenshot from NieR: Automata – Original / License

The secret final ending of NieR: Automata is equal parts bizarre and emotionally devastating. At the very ending of the title, you must get in a spaceship and fight the end credits themselves. These scrolling attributions serve as a legitimate enemy and can swiftly overwhelm your vessel if you’re not exceptionally skilled. At the emotional height of the credits sequence, the game will ask if you want help, and another ship will fly in to aid you. This dramatic rescue is the setup for a mindblowing reveal after the credits; the ship represents another player who willingly deleted all of their save data in order to help you. The game then asks if you want to make the same choice, and if you agree, your data is in fact fully expunged, requiring you to make a palpable real-world choice in the name of kindness to your fellow player.

Bloodborne’s Secret Horror

The bloodsoaked history of Yharnam unravels in horrific detail over the course of the game.
The bloodsoaked history of Yharnam unravels in horrific detail over the course of the game.

©Promotional art for Bloodborne – Original / License

FromSoftware’s cosmic horror masterpiece has three main endings. Each one depends on how far you’re willing to go in pursuit of the hunt. The two endings most players are familiar with come at the climax. Your constant companion Gehrman offers to ritually execute you in order to free you from the nightmare that has gripped Yharnam and filled its streets with blood. You can choose to accept this release or resist and battle Gehrman yourself. If you do, you succumb to the nightmare yourself and take his place, subjugated to the thrall of an unfathomable eldritch presence from the moon. In order to resist this cosmic influence, you must seek out and consume three pieces of an umbilical cord hidden throughout the game. This unlocks the true finale; a hardcore battle against the Moon Presence and the chance to forsake your very humanity.

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