A "cliffhanger" is an unresolved ending that hopes to lure the audience back by promising new and exciting content, and that you'll find out what happens next. It's a time-honored technique in television, cinema, and of course video games. But sometimes, that promise turns out to be empty. The problem comes when the producers of movies, television shows, and especially video games view the cliffhanger ending as a guarantee of a sequel and then can't follow up, leaving the whole story unresolved. Cliffhangers usually happen when the game ends with the protagonist in a life-threatening dilemma, or right after a shocking, game-changing revelation.
There are cliffhanger endings where we will likely never find out what happened next, since either there was no sequel, the company making it went under, the sequel got cancelled, or the sequel just went ahead and ignored everything that happened previously and continued on its merry way. Not all games have sequels, even if they were made with multiple entries in mind. Like a film that ends with its main characters dangling off a cliff and holding on for dear life, in the gaming industry few things are as frustrating as loving a great game and having the plot unresolved, sometimes for years at a time or even indefinitely.
Here are 15 unresolved cliffhanger endings that still drive us crazy to this day. Keep in mind by definition there will be major spoilers ahead for each of these games.
15 BloodRayne 2
This underrated hack-and-slash game is one of the few sequels that surpassed the original. 2004's BloodRayne 2 had an excellent story, mechanics, and pacing, and ended with a bang: Kagan is defeated, but the Shroud still hangs in the sky and a cutscene plays where the city is completely destroyed by vampires. Realizing leadership is required and she's the legitimate heir of Kagan anyway, Rayne declares herself Empress at Severin's suggestion. She says that she and the Brimstone Society will destroy the Shroud, then there's footage of Brimstone making a base in the city and saving survivors, and...that's it.
As if that weren't enough, Severin suggests more vampire overlords will come after Rayne. BloodRayne 2's ending screamed sequel, but a third installment will likely never see the light of day, as Terminal Reality closed its doors in 2013.
14 Half Life 2: Episode Two
At this point, the Half-Life series is synonymous with cliffhangers in video games. Half-Life 3 was announced over a decade ago and simply never materialized, and has since become a meme in the gaming community for a highly anticipated game that never seems to come. The last installment of the series was 2007's Half-Life 2: Episode Two, which ended with a sobbing Alyx clutching her father's body right before the credits roll.
Since then, there has been very little news from Valve about the ultimate fate of Half-Life 3. The company itself is famously tight-lipped about anything having to do with the series at all, and rumors and supposed leaks abound. Whether gamers will ever get any new adventures with the silent Gordon Freeman remains to be seen, but in the meantime we'll have to make due with Valve's beloved Portal series.
P.T., or "playable teaser" was not a game but an interactive teaser for Silent Hills, a horror collaboration between Hideo Kojima, director Guillermo Del Toro, The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, and horror manga artist Junji Ito that was set to be released by Konami. P.T. would go on to be influential in the horror genre, but the ending left many questions unanswered.
At the end, a mysterious voice talks about their murder at the hands of their father, then talks about coming back. It ends with a cutscene involving Reedus (our protagonist) walking through a deserted city. Sadly, due to a falling-out between Kojima and Konami, Silent Hills was cancelled and P.T. was even removed from the PlayStation Store, prompting outrage. Chances are we'll never find out the real story of Silent Hills, though there's hope in Kojima's new game, Death Stranding.
12 Prince Of Persia
The 2008 reboot of the Prince of Persia franchise charted a different course than the uneven trilogy, but whether you were a fan of the new style or not, one thing remains unsatisfying: the ending. We learn the source of the inky black corruption plaguing the land is because Princess Elika, the girl we've been traveling with, died before the start and her father cut a deal with the dark god Ahriman to revive her. Now, she has to die to seal away the darkness.
Elika gives her life to stop evil, but the Prince brings her back to life by making the same deal with the same ancient God a second time. She awakens and as Prince carries her away, evil consumes everything once more. Sadly, it looks like we'll never find out what happened after that, as subsequent games have simply ignored it.
11 Mega Man Legends 2
Nintendo's Mega Man series is mainly known for everyone's favorite blue robot running around and shooting things to the classic music, but the character also starred in two action RPGs for the Playstation. In the second one, Mega Man Legends 2, the plot revolves around the quest for a valuable treasure and infinite energy source known as the Mother Lode. Eventually, this leads them to Elysium, a "perfect world" that orbits over their homeworld of Terra.
Unfortunately, Mega Man and his friends Sera and Yuna end up trapped on Elysium with no way back. A post-credits sequence shows plans to build a rocket to rescue them, and the game simply ends right there. Tragically, plans for a Mega Man Legends 3 were cancelled by Capcom in 2011 and creator Keiji Inafune quit soon after, making the rescue mission to save Mega Man unlikely.
XIII's first-person shooter cel-shaded comic book world received critical acclaim and its story about an amnesiac man who is accused of assassinating the President of the United States is compelling enough to keep you going. As the story unfolds, it's up to you to figure out who you are and unravel the conspiracy at the heart of the assassination. The problem is that the game ends right before you do.
When protagonist Fly is about to confront Walter Sheridan and learn the real identity of the assassin and the nature of the entire conspiracy, the game ends on a cliffhanger. It's clear that a sequel was intended, but sales for XIII were lower than expected, and seeing as how it came out in 2003, gamers probably won't be seeing follow-up anytime soon.
9 James Bond 007: Blood Stone
Blood Stone had all the makings of a great Bond game: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Joss Stone as Bond, M, and Bond girl Nicole respectively, as well as fast cars, international intrigue, and shoot-outs. The game takes place after the events of Quantum of Solace, where Bond faces a Russian oligarch manufacturing biological weapons. But at the end he is betrayed by Nicole and, after a car chase, Bond confronts her on a bridge in Monaco.
It's revealed that Nicole has been working for a mysterious powerful man all along, who she claims is "bigger than everything." However, before she can say the name of this mystery villain, an unmanned drone shoots her dead. The game ends there, with the credits promising that "James Bond will return." Unfortunately, the studio Bizarre Creations shut down the following year, meaning Blood Stone's mystery may never be answered.
8 Shadow Of The Colossus
Considering this beloved fantasy adventure is the spiritual prequel to Ico, some may not consider the ending a cliffhanger, but there's no denying the ending of Shadow of the Colossus leaves more questions than answers. After killing all the colossi and being possessed by Dormin, Wander is defeated and sealed in the Temple. Mono awakens, follows Agro to the pool where Wander was trapped, and finds an infant with tiny horns. She takes the child and the horse with her to the highest level of the Shrine, and enters a secret garden. Then the game ends.
There are numerous fan theories as to the ending's real meaning, including the role of the monk wizards who kill Wander, the horned baby, the shadow people, and how SOTC ties in with Ico, but it's doubtful we'll ever know the full truth.
7 Clive Barker's Jericho
Horror author Clive Barker provided the storyline for this first-person shooter survival horror game about a seven-man team codenamed Jericho, who work for a secret government organization called the Department of Occult Warfare (DOW) and battle the Firstborn, a being created before Adam and Eve and imprisoned by God who is trying to break into the mortal realm with the help of a former DOW member, Arnold Leach.
Jericho was met with mixed reviews upon its release. Though Barker's dark style was praised, the poor AI and squad-based combat were criticized, as well as the abrupt ending where Leach and the Firstborn go into a tunnel of light, with the fate of both left unknown. The game ends with the members of Jericho escaping and emerging in the ocean under an orange sky. Rumors of a sequel were confirmed by Barker, but has never materialized in the decade since.
6 Conduit 2
2011's Conduit 2 for the Wii stood out from the typical alien invasion plot with various conspiracies, plot twists, Sumerian mythology, Reptilians, and the Annunaki. It's similar to Deus Ex in envisioning a world that basically amounts to "what if every conspiracy theory is true" – in this case ancient astronaut theories.
During the final battle, you fight the human and alien form of antagonist John Adams in a dramatic fight in a city in the center of a hollow Earth, after which Abraham Lincoln and George Washington show up in Sci-Fi armor and say they're "here to help." No, seriously. The surprise cliffhanger is clearly a set-up for a sequel which will never see the light of day, as the game didn't sell enough to justify a sequel.
5 Battlefield: Bad Company 2
The basic plot of this Battlefield spin-off series is that the members of your team are made up of misfits instead of the typical grim-faced seasoned soldiers, and these form the titular "Bad Company." Together they save the world from scalar weaponry being developed by a rogue Russian army colonel in order to disable the United States' power grid to prime it for a Russian invasion. Against all odds, the company manage to foil the plot by shooting pretty much anything and everything that stand in their way.
But just when they land in Texas and start to plan their celebration, General Braidwood shows up to inform them of an incoming Russian invasion, much to the squad's shock. Unfortunately, the game ends there with no sequel in sight, so fans of the Russian invasion plot will just have to keep playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
4 The Darkness II
The sequel to 2007's The Darkness continues the adventures of Jackie Estacado, who is now don of the Franchetti crime family and still has his demonic powers from the first game, including his deadly heart-eating tendrils. By the end of the story, Jackie finds himself in hell alongside his girlfriend, Jenny Romano, who died in the series' first installment. The Darkness reveals that it is holding her soul hostage in hell, ensuring Jackie will do its bidding.
Eventually, Jackie manages to free Jenny from her demonic prison, but she is then taken over by a being known as the Angelus. The post-credits sequence shows Jenny/Angelus saying Jackie and The Darkness have become too powerful, and informs them that they are now trapped in hell forever. Sadly, there is no The Darkness III, meaning gamers won't see Jackie fight his way out of hell anytime soon.
3 Dante's Inferno
This 2010 action-adventure game was widely panned by fans and critics as a shallow God of War rip-off based on the Inferno book of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. In this version, Dante is a Crusader who commits atrocities and breaks a vow to refrain from "pleasures of the flesh" while fighting in the Holy Land, and as a consequence his love's soul is dragged off to hell. Dante must crawl his way through to save her.
Eventually, Dante defeats Lucifer himself, trapping him in ice. But in the epilogue when he rips the tapestry off his chest, it transforms into a snake and slithers away, laughing with Lucifer's distinctive evil cackle. Clearly, the snake is the devil out for revenge, and Dante's Inferno ends with a fitting "to be continued" message. But years on, no continuation is in sight.
2 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
It's difficult to explain what The Phantom Pain is about. Mechanically, it's the best out of the series, but the plot is simply unfinished. Due to the same falling-out that doomed Silent Hills, it seems it was always destined not to end in a satisfactory way. The plot revolves around Metal Gear Sahelanthropus, which the Diamond Dogs disable, only to have it stolen by a group of children led by Eli (young Liquid Snake).
So children under the command of a super-genius now control a WMD and fly off into the sunset. Quite the set-up! Unfortunately, that's the last you see of them in all 50 missions. On the bonus disc of the collector's edition, you can see concept art and partial cutscenes for a mission into Eli's "Lord of the Flies"-style island. Instead, we get no closure.
1 Dino Crisis 2
At the end, Regina activates the time gate to return to their home time, but Dylan's daughter Paula is trapped by falling equipment after an earthquake. Refusing to leave her, Dylan orders Regina to go back alone and find a way to save them with the Third Energy data – pretty great set-up for a sequel. Unfortunately, Dino Crisis 3 is set in the far future, and the fate of Dylan and Regina is never mentioned.