Post-credits scenes have become increasingly popular in recent years. Movie and video game franchises have decided that since they’re planning on making a sequel, they might as well tease that sequel in a post-credits cliffhanger! Unfortunately, that can be a really harmful way to end an experience. Instead of giving us proper resolution, developers throw unnecessary cliffhangers at us so we come back for future installments.
Of course, not all post-credits scenes relate to sequels and cliffhangers. Several post-credits endings on this list contradict with the rest of their game. They either clash with game lore or stupidly complicate the game’s simple, well-written ending.
Then there are the post-credits scenes that reveal the entire game was a dream. Only a few games on this list utilize this trope, but those few games are awful! This trope is old and cheap at this point. It doesn’t work particularly well in movies or books, but it’s especially harmful in video games. As an interactive medium, video games give us more control than other media. By ending a game with “it was all a dream,” the developers take away our control and make our actions feel pointless.
Warning: this article contains major spoilers! After all, I’m talking about post-credits endings, which usually relate to the major pre-credits endings. But I hope you’re fine with spoilers, because these game-breaking scenes are worth discussing! Hopefully, these developers learn from their mistakes and design post-credits endings that benefit their games instead of ending games on a wrong note.
25 Mass Effect 3... Enough Said.
The post-credits scene in Mass Effect 3 takes place long after the game’s events—and it’s even worse than the regular ending. A father or mother tells their son stories of “the Shepard.” When he/she begins another story, the scene fades, and a message from the developers says Shepard’s story isn’t truly over: there’ll be DLC that expands his/her story.
This scene is terrible in every way! Poor voice acting combines with boring, cheesy writing. The developers blatantly advertise DLC instead of letting players immerse in Mass Effect 3’s ending. When I play the last game of a choice-based trilogy, I want a satisfying end for the characters; I don’t want a message saying “give us your money for the true ending.”
24 Darth Vader Wins! – Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
The regular ending of Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader ends like the original movie trilogy: the Rebels defeat the Empire. But once you beat the game and watch the credits, you have the opportunity to unlock two secret missions.
In these final missions, you actually play as Darth Vader!
This secret alternate ending takes you back to the beginning of the game, where you defend the Death Star as Darth Vader and subsequently destroy the Rebel base. It’s fun playing as Darth Vader, but it’s also brutal. Destroying Luke and Leia feels awful, and it completely contradicts the rest of the game.
23 The Ending That Lets YOU Break The Game – Halo: Reach
The post-credits ending of Halo: Reach is amazing! Instead of ending with a sad cutscene where the Covenant overwhelms your character, you battle overwhelming Covenant forces! You fight against impossible odds and eventually fall at the hands of the Covenant. Bungie wonderfully utilized the game’s central mode (fight challenging, endless waves of enemies as long as you can) to create a devastating interactive ending.
I included this ending because players found ways to break the game. Since it’s an interactive ending, you can survive forever with either incredible skill or the game-breaking tactic of hiding behind boxes, where enemies can’t hurt you. But be warned: your Xbox will overheat.
22 There’s No WAY He Could Have Survived – Metal Gear
You destroy Big Boss at the end of Metal Gear. There’s no question. You fight him, and he literally disappears. Yet the post-credits scene completely discards the ending by revealing that Big Boss is alive and looking forward to the next fight.
If Konami really wanted Big Boss to miraculously survive the explosion at the end of Metal Gear, Big Boss should have fallen and not disappeared when you defeat him. That way he could have conceivably escaped the facility after you abandoned him. As it is, the post-credits cliffhanger makes absolutely no sense.
21 What’s This Have To Do With The Game I Just Played? – Kingdom Hearts 2
The default post-credits scene of Kingdom Hearts 2 is great! The lighthearted ending brings together the main characters, who happily reunite and set off for more adventures. But if you fulfill the right requirements, you’ll unlock a second, secret post-credits scene that abandons resolution for over-the-top cliffhangers.
The post-credits scene is epic but way too vague.
Three knights grab Keyblades amongst hundreds of Keyblades, which lie scattered across a battlefield. That’s it. We have no idea who these characters are, what they want, or how they’re connected to the protagonist. For all we know, they might not even be villains! If you want a good cliffhanger, Square Enix, you need to connect it to the game we just played.
20 It Was All A Simulation! – Prey (2017)
Prey (2017) presents some awesome, high-stakes choices! Some choices save other characters; some determine your own character’s fate. But those outcomes drastically change in the post-credits scene, where you learn the entire game was a simulation! You are actually a Typhon embedded with a human’s memories: the humans are testing you to see if the Typhon show empathy toward humans and can be reasoned with. If you made the wrong choices, the humans destroy you and prepare another test subject.
This ending is awesome in some ways, but it’s also frustrating. I enjoy this meta ending and the final choice given in the post-credits scene, but I wish the developers hadn’t thrown the game’s epic main story out the window.
19 All Those Tears For Nothing – Final Fantasy X
Before the credits, Final Fantasy X has an incredible—and incredibly sad—ending. You spend most of the game fearing that Yuna will sacrifice herself, but Tidus sacrifices himself instead. He and Yuna embrace before he disappears, and Yuna’s left to lead the world forward.
The post-credits scene ruins this powerful ending.
Instead of sticking with this incredible ending and leaving fans in bittersweet tears, Square added a post-credits scene in which Tidus awakens underwater and swims to the surface. This teases Tidus’s survival in the vaguest way possible, which I find more aggravating than relieving.
18 Is That Dark Samus’s Ship!? – Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
When I finally earned the 100 percent ending for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, I was severely disappointed by the post-credits scene I unlocked. Admittedly, my disappointment came from personal misinterpretation. As Samus flies away, a mysterious spaceship follows her—and I misinterpreted that as Dark Samus’s ship! After all, the ship looks like an “evil” version of Samus’s ship, and the cockpit resembles Dark Samus’s helmet.
Actually, it’s Sylux’s ship.
But the spaceship looks very little like Sylux’s original ship in Metroid Prime Hunters. So the ending isn’t all bad, but it can mislead players (like me) into thinking Dark Samus is still alive—which would make a poor ending to the Metroid Prime trilogy.
17 If They’re Clones…Why Didn’t Anybody Notice? – Metal Gear Solid
The post-credits scene in Metal Gear Solid reveals that the President of the United States is actually the villain behind the scenes! That reveal is fun in the most ridiculous way, but the scene also reveals that the President is a clone of Big Boss—which I find incredibly dumb. I’ve never enjoyed the clone trope in the Metal Gear games, but it’s especially weird here. Would nobody recognize that the President bears an uncanny resemblance to Big Boss and Solid Snake?
16 How Could You? – Detroit: Become Human
After the credits roll in Detroit: Become Human, you return to the menu—where Chloe awaits you. She comments on your playthrough and various choices.
I’m fine with some of these comments, but when she criticizes you, she breaks the game. If bad things happened to your characters, Chloe angrily asks why you would be so cruel to them. That’s fine if players are specifically trying to unlock bad endings, but it unfairly scolds players who accidentally lost their characters. Yes, I could’ve restarted the chapter, but I didn’t want to break the immersion; I wanted to follow through with my choices and endure heartbreaking consequences. Chloe’s comments also blatantly tell players to replay the game for better endings, which I find annoying.
15 Inconsistent Characters – Mass Effect 2
In the climax of Mass Effect 2, you reach a critical decision. You can either destroy the Collector Base and infuriate the Illusive Man (the leader of Cerberus), or you can save the base and hand it over to Cerberus. In this pivotal moment, your companions offer their own thoughts. Half insist you destroy the base, while half encourage you to save it and utilize its technology.
But if you continue playing after the credits, everyone wants the base gone!
Instead of maintaining their original beliefs, all your companions praise you for destroying the base or condemn you for saving it. This glaring plot hole foreshadows Cerberus’s antagonistic role in Mass Effect 3 but creates inconsistent characters.
14 That Doesn’t Make Any Sense – Ico
Even though I’m happy to see Yorda alive in the post-credits scene of Ico, I’m not happy with the actual scene. Before the credits, the developers gave us an incredible ending in which Yorda turns into a shadow-creature and saves Ico. She carries him to a boat and pushes the boat away, watching him go while the island crumbles around her.
The post-credits scene negates the ending and contradicts the rest of the game.
Earlier in the game, the Queen explains that Yorda can’t survive in the outside world. The ending supports this, for Yorda remains on the island instead of leaving with Ico. The post-credits scene conflicts with the game’s lore and throws the emotional ending out the window.
13 Not Again… – Horizon Zero Dawn
Soon before the ending of Horizon Zero Dawn, Sylens explains that he undug HADES—the antagonist of the game—and helped HADES gain power. When HADES betrays Sylens and plots to destroy the world, Sylens switches sides and helps you destroy HADES. Until the terrible post-credits scene.
In the post-credits ending, Sylens undoes all the player’s progress!
The post-credits scene reveals that HADES still lives and is now under Sylens’s control. Sylens ominously carries HADES toward a Metal Devil, where he originally discovered HADES. So he’s making the exact same mistake he made before and starting the cycle anew!
12 Paradox Upon Paradox – BioShock Infinite
I hate BioShock Infinite’s ending. I’m sorry if you disagree, but I find the ending gimmicky and illogical. Instead of giving us emotional resolution with Booker and Elizabeth—two incredible characters who’ve bonded throughout the game—the developers play with time travel and have Elizabeth emotionlessly drown Booker (with his consent). All to prevent Booker from becoming a villain in the future, but…that makes absolutely no sense. If Booker simply chooses to be good, he’ll be good; he doesn’t have to sacrifice himself.
The whole “point” of Booker’s sacrifice is to destroy all versions of himself in all timelines. Yet the post-credits scene contradicts this ending, showing Booker back in his apartment. Talk about convoluted.
11 "Kratos Will Return" – God Of War (2005)
The original God of War game, released in 2005, has an awesome pre-credits ending. Kratos defeats Ares and takes his place as the new God of War. Clips of modern war flash across the screen, emphasizing that Kratos is the God of War now and forever, and he’ll cause as much destruction and misery as Ares did before him.
But the developers ruined this incredible conclusion with: “Kratos will return.”
So there isn’t a full-on post-credits scene, but that ending line is still frustrating. After such a tidy, well-written conclusion, the developers threw in an unnecessary cliffhanger. Come on, Santa Monica Studio—at least wait a few months to see if the game does well before teasing a sequel.
10 The Developers Mistreated Sylvia – No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle would have been much better without its frame narrative or terrible post-credits scene. In this frame narrative, Sylvia recalls the game’s events from two years in the future. Those two years have been rough for Sylvia. The regular ending shows her happily driving away from Travis, but the frame narrative shows her in tears.
After the credits, Travis reveals himself to be the unseen character listening to Sylvia’s story. It’s terrible! He’s let her deal for weeks, yet she’s ecstatic to go home with him! This scene—and the entire frame narrative—mistreats Sylvia and suggests she’s completely helpless on her own.
9 What’s Even Happening!? – Final Fantasy XIII-2
I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII well enough, but the sequels are terribly convoluted—especially Final Fantasy XIII-2. After an entire game of fighting Caius, including multiple final boss stages, it turns out Caius wants you to defeat him, and he uses Noel’s sword to end his own life. This makes your hard work feel pointless, especially since Caius’s passing unleashes Chaos upon the world and destroys everything you’ve been protecting.
The post-credits scene only worsens the game’s terrible ending. After the credits, we see Caius alive upon the throne of Valhalla. He states that he and Yeul are finally free to live together, even though Caius destroyed himself so Yeul wouldn’t be reborn. Even now, years after the game came out, I have no idea what’s going on.
8 The Prank Ending – Banjo-Kazooie
Banjo-Kazooie’s post-credits scene is the ultimate game-breaking scene. If you don’t have all 100 Jiggies, the post-credits scene teases you with a special, 100 percent ending. But when you finally collect the Jiggies, the ending turns out to be a prank! The new post-credits scene shows Banjo and Kazooie collecting the Ice Key and Mystery Eggs, but you can’t actually collect them! Rare promised that Banjo-Tooie would teach you how to unlock those areas, but it didn’t.
A group of fans, known as the Rare Witch Project, finally solved the mystery by hacking the game. They discovered lengthy passwords which unlock the Ice Key and Mystery Eggs. Instead of giving us those passwords, Rare sat back and watched their fandom suffer.
7 Why’s There Only One Character? – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Expansion
When I heard that main characters return at the end of Witcher 3’s final DLC, Blood and Wine, I couldn’t have been more excited! I loved the main story of Witcher 3, and I couldn’t wait to see Ciri again!
I was severely disappointed. Ciri didn’t return.
Turns out only one character visits you in the post-credits epilogue. So I saw Triss but missed out on Ciri’s, Yennefer’s, and Dandelion’s potential cameos. I loved seeing Triss again, but CD Projekt should’ve sent every character to your house for a proper reunion.
6 This Could All Be A Dream – To The Moon
To the Moon doesn’t explicitly say “it was all a dream,” but the post-credits scene certainly implies it. When Neil is the only person left on screen, the screen flashes red, and Neil takes pills to ease his pain. The screen flashes red earlier in the game inside Johnny’s mind, too: it flashes whenever Johnny experiences pain. By doing the same thing in the post-credits scene, the developers suggest that the entire game has taken place in Neil’s head. Neil could be linked to a memory-altering machine just as Johnny was.
Obviously, this might not be the case. The developers might just be comparing addiction and painkillers to the desire to change one’s past. Regardless of their intentions, they set up the theory that the entire game isn’t real, which makes our journey feel pointless.
5 Why’d They Turn Naija Into A Damsel In Distress!? – Aquaria
If you collect all of Naija’s memories in Aquaria, you unlock the “true ending” after the credits. In this ending, Naija’s mother takes her, her son sets out to rescue Naija, and the game ends with: “To be continued.”
I want a sequel starring Naija, not rescuing her.
I understand that Bit Blot wanted a drastic cliffhanger ending, but they could have done that without depowering Naija. Naija’s mother could have simply threatened to destroy the world, or she could have taken Naija’s son. Instead, Bit Blot whisks away the powerful heroine we’ve fallen in love with and turns her into a helpless damsel in distress.
4 The Longest Post-Credits “Scene” – Advent Rising
The post-credits “scene” of Advent Rising is actually really awesome, but it changes everything about the game! The base game feels complete and peacefully resolved, but the post-credits epilogue throws the galaxy back into chaos. You discover your character’s fiancé is actually a god-like alien who commanded the Seekers to destroy humanity—even though she was posing as a human! You battle her before being sucked into a wormhole, which drops you on a barren, icy planet. An alien greets you, saying: “Come with me, human. There is much to be done.”
This lengthy epilogue is epic and fun, but it raises so many questions. Sadly, those questions were never answered because GlyphX Games couldn’t afford to make sequels.
3 They Never Learn – Castlevania: The Adventure
The Castlevania games revolve around Dracula as a villain. This makes for fun gameplay, so I’m fine with the repetition—but I wish they would make more original cliffhanger endings. Castlevania II ends with Dracula reviving after his supposed defeat, and the post-credits scene in Castlevania: The Adventure does the exact same thing. Even though you clearly defeated Dracula in the final boss fight (he literally disappears), he reappears after the credits. I know vampires are immortal, but this…this is so unoriginal for the Castlevania series. Will the characters never learn that Dracula can’t be permanently destroyed with brute force?
2 This Is Uncomfortable… – The Witness
The credits of The Witness aren’t actually part of the regular ending. You have to uncover a hidden, surreal area of the game, where audio recorders contain the game’s credits. After making your way through this bizarre world, you’re “rewarded” with an 8-minute cutscene.
Get ready for an uncomfortable 8 minutes.
This cutscene was recorded in real life. You view the world from the first-person perspective of a man, who breathes loudly and interacts with the world in odd ways. He knocks over things, only eats perfectly intact cookies, and hits dishes with a spoon. This cutscene offers fun commentary on gamers and the bizarre things they do in games, but it’s still painful to sit through.
1 Oops, Wrong Order – Undertale
I appreciate Undertale’s various paths and endings, but there’s one post-credits ending that can ruin the game for some players. Many Undertale fans complete the three major paths. If you begin with Neutral, the game encourages you to do Pacifist next and end with the 'bad' one.
But if you end with Pacifist, you’ll unlock a nightmarish ending.
Chara is only introduced at the end of the bad ending. After that, Chara becomes a permanent part of the game. So if you play Pacifist afterwards, Chara reappears and destroys the world and characters you tried so hard to protect. If you wanted a happy Pacifist ending, you’re out of luck: Chara will break the game in this post-credits scene.