10 Great Video Game Stories Left Unfinished

Gaming has a great many unresolved stories and sub-plots, left abandoned or forgotten by their developers. Here are 10 of gaming's biggest unfinished works.

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Gaming history is littered with unresolved stories, sub-plots, and cliffhangers. Here are 10 of the biggest unfinished works in video games, with questions that may never answered. Perhaps, if we're lucky, will see a resolution some of these games in the far future.

Warning: This article contains plot spoilers.



All Too Human Imperfection - Too Human

Too Human was an ambitious trilogy, with a story that creatively mixes Norse mythology with cyber-punk sci-fi. However, the game may have been too ambitious for its own good. The entire game serves as a prologue for later additions. Critics and players panned the game due to its terrible controls and other gameplay problems, which led to low scores. The developer, Silicon Knights, went on to sue Epic Games, alleging that it sabotaged the Unreal 3 Engine, which contributed to how Too Human being a sub-par game. Silicon Knights lost the lawsuit along with the Epic's counter-suit, which required the developer to destroy all unsold games, works in progress, and code that used Unreal Engine 3, including Too Human. The studio subsequently went bankrupt, and as of January 2013, was removed from Xbox Live. The odds of ever seeing a continuation are practically nil.



The View-Mastermind - Viewtiful Joe

Viewtiful Joe is one of Capcom's great gems of the GameCube and PlayStation 2 era, with a fantastic mix of cel-shaded comic book art, lots of fast-hitting action, and time control powers. After saving Movieland twice from an mysterious threat, Joe and Sylvia are challenged to make their way to a darkened castle and face the villain that's behind all the chaos. Powerful dangers, the likes of which they had never seen, awaited in what would have been the third and final game. However, despite positive critic reviews, Viewtiful Joe 2 sold poorly, causing Capcom to shelve the series indefinitely. The game's development studio, Clover Studio, created two Japan-only spin-off games (Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble and Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble!) before it dissolved in 2007. Capcom still retains ownership of the Viewtiful Joe brand, and could someday decide to revive it, as incredibly unlikely as that might be.



Presidents Reporting for Action - Conduit 2

The Conduit's story was always a little zany, but things really got kicked up several notches in Conduit 2. This shooter for the Nintendo Wii takes bits of Sumerian mythology and combines it with a reptilian conspiracy in a plot where a group of ancient deities (which are actually extraterrestrials) are out to conquer the world and enslave humanity. Making sense of it all requires a lot more than can be explained here, but suffice it to say that Michael Ford (the main character) ends up in Atlantis, and then the center of the earth, where he must coordinate efforts to fend off a full-scale alien invasion of earth. A portal opens up and several soldiers come running up to meet Ford, including ex-Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who are there to help in the upcoming battle. What? But that's it. No more Conduit games are expected to release.



Death Rides On? - Darksiders

In yet another case of a trilogy that fell apart before its completion, Darksiders tells the story of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In the original game, War was blamed for triggering Armageddon and ending humanity. In the sequel, Death sought to clear his brother's name by sacrificing himself to resurrect humanity, thereby erasing the crime altogether. However, even with humanity restored, Darksiders 2 ends cryptically. The seventh seal from the first game is broken, triggering the End War. The four (yes, Death apparently returns) horsemen join War in a battle against the forces of Heaven, Hell and the Charred Council, and mysterious nemesis - presumably the one who really caused Armageddon and framed War - is heard from the shadows during the post-credits sequence.

A third game, which might have featured cooperative play between the two remaining Horsemen, Strife and Fury, would have wrapped things up. However, the development studio Vigil Games was dissolved when its owner, THQ, went bankrupt. Although the rights and assets to Darksiders have been sold to Nordic Games, there's no guarantee that the series will see a conclusion.



Unsaving the World - Prince of Persia (2008)

Prince of Persia got a big reboot in 2008, which introduced a cel-shaded art style, an all new Prince, and a supporting character named Elika who could step in with magical abilities. Together, they combined their skills to fight an evil deity named Ahriman, who has been freed from his prison, and seeks to cover the world in darkness. The player successfully fights against an army of darkness, cleanses the land, and returns Ahriman to his prison, but at a cost. Elika had to be sacrificed. Then the writers did the unthinkable during a post-game credits sequence. Players are forced to guide the grief stricken Prince as he takes Elika's body back into the temple and sets Ahriman free again in exchange for her resurrection, thus undoing all the work done throughout the game.

A DLC mini-campaign called Epilogue was released a few months later for consoles (but not PC), but it doesn't provide any closure. Instead, Elika berates the Prince several times for bringing her back to life before parting ways with him for good after they escape the palace, leaving him to face a vengeful Ahriman alone. Worst of all, the Prince never found Farah, the donkey referred to during the game's intro sequence, who is carrying a king's ransom in gold. There's a chance that the story could continue, but it's miniscule, considering how the game released over six years ago and Ubisoft seems far more concerned with the Assassin's Creed series.



Haestrom's Killer Solar Effect - Mass Effect 2

Haestrom, once a Quarian Colony before it was taken by the Geth, is having some crazy problems with its sun. It appears, in defiance of all known science and logic, that it is prematurely collapsing into a Red Dwarf star. Tali and a group of marines arrive to collect the data and find out what's going on, but suffer major losses. Shephard and crew arrive to blast away a bunch of Geth and recruit Tali by helping her complete her mission. And... that's it. Reapers are out to kill all sentient life in the Galaxy, so there are bigger concerns, right? But a lot of Quarians, a race that can't afford to lose many soldiers, died getting the data. Was it worth it? Was it part of Reapers' plan, or was it something altogether different? How did dark energy infect the star and to what end? Nobody knows, because Bioware seemed to forget all about Haestrom. There's a rumor that Haestrom was supposed to play some sort of role in Mass Effect 3's finale, but it never materialized. We'll have to see if this little subplot is ever referenced in the next Mass Effect game.



An Old Soul - Dragon Age

There are a ton of subplots left in the Dragon Age series, but few bear the same weight as the God Child ending from the first game. In Dragon Age: Origins, the player is given the opportunity to impregnate Morrigan. Even if they don't do it, she might find a way through magic or using Allistair. Of course, this baby doesn't have to be an ordinary union between a Gray Warden and Flemeth's apostate mage daughter. When slaying the archdemon, the soul of the Old God can instead be transferred to the unborn child, cleansed of its Darkspawn corruption.

Although the topic is touched upon briefly in the Witch Hunt DLC for Origins, the topic was practically forgotten about in the sequel, as it dealt Hawk and the events in Kirkwall. The plot sort of concludes in a traditional "not really" fashion in Inquisition, where it's revealed that the God Child was part of Flemeth's plan all along.

Wait. Flemeth planned to have a Grey Warden impregnate her daughter, then kill an archdemon so that its Old God soul will be transferred to it, all so that she could steal the soul for herself sometime in the future in order to execute some even bigger scheme? Well played, Witch of the Wilds. Well played. So, what's next?



What now, G Man? - Half-Life 2

There's a reason why so many fans are clamoring for a Half-Life 3. The ending for Half-Life 2: Episode Two goes from happy to WHAT THE HELL in a matter of seconds. It starts with Alyx delivering a subliminally implanted message from the G-man to her father, Eli Vance, which goes, "prepare for unforeseen consequences." Eli is convinced that the message has something to do with the Borealis, a lost Aperture Labs research vessel. He promises to tell Gordon more information at a later time. A missile is launched through a massive interdimensional portal, which presumably nukes all Combine sitting on the other side, and it looks like the resistance won a major victory. The portal is shut down, a catastrophic explosion averted, and the remaining Combine forces are cut off from reinforcements. Now, about that information... SURPRISE! A couple Combine Advisors come flying in and they grab hold of everyone. One of them kills Eli while Alyx and Gordon are forced to watch helplessly. Dog comes busting in to the rescue, but it's too late. Eli is dead, Alyx is screaming over her father's body, and we're left with seven years (and counting) wondering what happens next.



It Looks a Little Infected - Beyond Good & Evil

A lot happens in Beyond Good & Evil, but it can more or less be summed up by how an alien parasite called DomZ needs to feed on souls to survive. Jade eventually uncovers the truth behind the conspiracy, which involves the kidnapping of Hillys and stealing energy from their souls. While doing this, she learns that her uncle Pey'j is actually the chief of the IRIS Network, and underground rebellion against the totalitarian government. Pey'j is killed on the DomZ lunar base, but is brought back to life by a strange energy. Later, in a post credits sequence, Pey'j is shown to have a DomZ spore growing out of his hand.

Ubisoft has been dangling the possibility to a Beyond Good & Evil for a very long time, which includes a short cinematic video that shows Pey'j in generally good health, even though his infected(?) hand is wrapped in a bandage. Will we ever see a Beyond Good & Evil 2? Anything is possible.



Where's the Proof? - Shenmue

In a game that was ahead of its time, Shenmue was envisioned as an epic 16 chapter open world project. Originally released on the Sega Dreamcast, before the concept of episodic games became a reality, Shenmue only managed to five of its proposed chapters, costing somewhere around $70 million to make. Astronomical costs and poor sales made a third game an impossibility, and Sega ended up keeping the game packed away until it lost rights to Shenmue (by not renewing it) in 2014. Unfortunately, the fans were left with a major cliffhanger at the end of Shenmue 2.

Players discover two ancient Phoenix Mirrors, which can be used to "find the proof." What is the proof? What does it do? How is it important? No one knows. Actually, one person knows. Series creator Yu Suzuki is rumored to have the entire story written out, and has expressed some interest in completing the series as a Kickstarter project. However, he has made no firm commitment one way or the other.

Managing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 9, 2015 12:30 PM

    Steven Wong posted a new article, 10 Great Video Game Stories Left Unfinished

    • reply
      March 9, 2015 12:32 PM

      no freespace2?! shame on you shacknews!!

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      March 9, 2015 2:21 PM

      Anachronox belongs on this list. Hopefully Square Enix's Collective program creates something worthy of the franchise (as well as Fear Effect)

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        March 9, 2015 6:30 PM

        Came here to see if it was.

        Disappointed.

    • reply
      March 9, 2015 2:23 PM

      XIII

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      March 9, 2015 2:45 PM

      I kept scrolling until I found Psi-Ops. I can tell you one Shacknews story that was left unfinished!

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      March 9, 2015 2:53 PM

      I totes forgot about Haestrom after rescuing Tali. I always thought it was just some throwaway mission but I guess it made a bigger impact on other people.

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        March 9, 2015 6:25 PM

        From what I remember hearing Haelstrom was supposed to be a key part of the plot going forward. The main writer got moved to another project and they ended up changing a bunch of stuff and we got the shitty ending that was ME3.

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      March 9, 2015 2:56 PM

      No legacy of kain games :( While the last one did tie up some of it, there was still a lot left to cover!

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      March 9, 2015 3:20 PM

      MDK

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      March 9, 2015 6:27 PM

      It's a shame about the Prince of Persia reboot it was a nice story. Sadly Ubisoft decided to make a movie tie in after that and basically abandoned that story.

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        March 9, 2015 7:16 PM

        Ubisoft could make a killing if they made a new PoP game (no cell shading please). Asscreed reached its peak at AC4, and now it has just outstayed its welcome.

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      March 9, 2015 6:27 PM

      KOTOR and the HK factory holy shit fuck

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      March 9, 2015 10:03 PM

      Bulltstorm, man. Bulletstorm.

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      March 9, 2015 10:16 PM

      Quake1, who built the slipgates, where did Shub come from? Quake 2 strogg peoples, why were they so angry... or was that answered in quake4?

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        March 10, 2015 12:14 AM

        Id can't write stories. That's as good as it was ever going to get.

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      March 10, 2015 1:10 AM

      Max Payne 2. No, Max Payne 3 doesn't count as a sequel.

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      March 10, 2015 2:13 AM

      Legacy of Kain. Defiance ended with the perfect set-up for an incredibly grand, all out battle for the next game. Then Amy Hennig left for Naughty Dog, Tony Jay died, and the rest was finito forever.

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        March 10, 2015 4:02 AM

        Yeah, that one makes me sad. :(

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      March 10, 2015 5:32 AM

      Wing Commander 5 is the first I thought of. Maybe we'll get there at some point, now that space sims are somewhat back.

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      March 10, 2015 5:38 AM

      System Shock 2. Shodan took over the chicks body in the escape shuttle back to earth.

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      March 10, 2015 5:55 AM

      Chalk me up as one of the few who enjoyed Too Human and am sad that it had such a horrid development history.

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        March 10, 2015 7:08 AM

        The game is so good that I'm fine with its development history, it's more the aftermath that's the problem. I wonder what the deal is for people who bought that game digital. I remember reading about the court decision on shacknews, and continuing to see the game for sale on XBox Live for several months afterwards. It's gone now of course but it was up for a good long time after the news broke. Folks who purchased it digital still have it? Or can't download it again? Or does XBox Live kill it off their drives?

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      March 10, 2015 7:06 AM

      I still love the hell out of Too Human, just thinking about its unfinishedness makes me sad. Sadder when I replay it and see the awesome cliffhanger ending.

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      March 10, 2015 9:41 AM

      Rage. I want the ending.

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