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->''"Many might go to heaven with half the labor they go to hell."''
-->-- '''Ben Jonson'''

Many video games have MultipleEndings, and among those endings are often at least one where things go... [[DownerEnding less than favorably]] compared to the others. The general rule, though, is that these bad endings are a sign that the player screwed up somewhere down the line. Maybe they picked the wrong dialogue option at a crucial moment, or got to the end of the game without collecting enough [[MacGuffin MacGuffins]]. Either way, the game usually lets you know right then and there that you did it all wrong and it's time to try again.

Then there's the bad endings you have to put an extra amount of effort into getting, often separate from what you have to do to avoid it. In the most extreme cases, they can actually be ''harder'' to get than any of the good endings. It might involve [[LordBritishPostulate beating a boss]] [[HopelessBossFight you're not supposed to beat]], or [[ViolationOfCommonSense making counter-intuitive decisions]]. Whatever the case is, many of these types of endings won't be found by the average player unless they're actively ''trying'' to get them.

Compare DoWellButNotPerfect and UnwinnableByInsanity. See also EarnYourFun, NonStandardGameOver, and ItsAWonderfulFailure. This is the exact opposite of the GoldenEnding. Getting one of these by ''accident'' generally qualifies as an EpicFail. This trope is often an inversion of PathOfMostResistance.

----
!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Action Games]]
* In the first ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'', getting the bad ending where Sophie returns as a zombie is even harder than getting the good ending where she's miraculously alive. This is doubly true on the PC version. The bad ending only occurs if your number of continues used ends in a 0 (for most people, this means they ''can't die at all'' to get the bad ending), while you get the good ending for scoring more than 62,000 points by the end of the game (which is fairly easy to do). What ''really'' makes the bad ending fall into this is that the good ending overrides the bad ending; thus, to see the bad ending, you need less than 62,000 points ''and'' to have a number of continues ending in 0.
* ''VideoGame/InTheHunt'' rewards a well-done [[NoDamageRun one credit playthrough]] with such an ending -- your submarine fails to escape the exploding base and perishes along with it. Finishing the game in multiplayer [[FightingYourFriend also]] [[FaceHeelTurn results in disaster]]. The good ending is achieved if you saw the continue screen at least once AND end the game on single player.
** It's conceivable that the game punishes the player for what it assumes is cheating. Such an assumption is almost certainly right -- ''In The Hunt'' is an '''[[NintendoHard extremely]]''' [[NintendoHard hard game]] at the best of times, and there are sections whose difficulty level goes beyond even that and goes straight to unfair. Remember that this is originally an arcade game, so getting more money from the player is kind of the point -- so in some areas, not losing lives is utterly impossible unless you were to somehow know exactly where the threats are coming from and when.
* While none of the endings in ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' [[DownerEnding could be considered good]], three of them come from the game's epilogue. The best ending happens if you [[spoiler:surrender to the rescue squad]], while the other two happen if you [[spoiler:try to kill them instead. One happens if you die, and the ending in question happens if you manage to kill them all.]]
* The endings in ''{{Necrovision}}'' get progressively darker as you play on higher difficulties. [[spoiler:On easy difficulty, Simon actually escapes back to the real world. On medium difficulty, he allows himself to be turned into a demon general in exchange for 100 years of peace to give mankind time to prepare for the apocalypse. On hard difficulty, he kills the BigBad and becomes the new King of Hell, ultimately deciding he no longer has anything in common with mere mortals and looking forward to taking over the world.]]
* In ''CallOfJuarezTheCartel'', the good ending is the default ending. To even have the option to pick the bad ending [[spoiler:where you choose to kill your partners, thinking it's a necessary ShootTheDog sacrifice but which turns out to be playing into the hands of the main villains]], you need to score a certain level of character points by completing optional sub-objectives. Each playable character has a separate bad ending, and you need to unlock each one separately.
* ''VideoGame/SavantAscent'' added one in the void update. After beating the new Samurai boss, [[spoiler:he would simply laugh at you, grab the Alchemist, and throw him into the tower, crashing him into the basement and presumably killing him.]]
* ''VideoGame/WizOrb'' has the worst ending, obtained by purchasing the Crown, a ''10,000'' gold item (when other items are only in the triple digits at the most). Buying the crown causes [[spoiler:Cyrus to become overcome with greed at the end of the game and become the new overlord.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Action-Adventure Games]]
* Collect all the hidden memories in ''VideoGame/{{Aquaria}}'', and you get to see Naija [[spoiler:taken away from her happy family life by her mother, who comes out of [[DiabolusExMachina absolutely nowhere]] to MindRape and kidnap her daughter]].
* Though the bad ending of ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow]]'' is pretty easy to get, it unlocks Julius Mode, which is basically an extension of the bad ending revolving around Julius, Yoko, and Alucard teaming up to kill Soma after he becomes Dracula. Julius Mode is ''[[NintendoHard tough as nuts]]'' to complete.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fangame ''VideoGame/SuperFillyAdventure'', getting the worst ending requires you to see all possible dialogues for every character and have your computer clock set to a time between 11 pm and 6 am when you play the game.
* In ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', the mansion Luigi obtains at the end depends on how much money you obtained during the game; the more money you have, the better the mansion. The worst possible one is a mere tent, but it is even harder to obtain than the best mansion, as you deliberately have to avoid collecting ''any'' kind of money other than the one treasure Luigi automatically collects to get it. [[note]] Ending H (the tent) requires collecting any amount from 5,000G to 4,999,999G. It is impossible to not acquire any money at all, since King Boo's crown (the only treasure that is automatically collected) is worth 5,000G. [[/note]]
* A literal example in ''VideoGame/MediEvil2'', in which collecting all of the chalices results in the bleak CliffHanger ending where Sir Dan and his love interest go back in time, only to arrive in the exact place and time that the BigBad of the first game reached his final form. Cue giant clown dragon attempting to eat them both.
* In ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'', all four endings have various shades of grey, but it's pretty clear that the Denton and Illuminati endings are on the lighter side, while the Templar and Omar endings are ''very'' dark indeed. The Dentons just ask for a FetchQuest -- the fastest one to obtain and the only one that can be done on a 100% PacifistRun. The Illuminati and the Templars, however, demand that you kill both the Denton brothers -- and JC Denton turns out to be ''the single most powerful enemy in the game.'' And the Omar want you to ''KillEmAll'' -- and the Templars and Illuminati brought a ''lot'' of EliteMooks to the party. [[spoiler:The Illuminati create a global surveillance state, the Templars re-enact UsefulNotes/TheSpanishInquisition, and the Omar basically let all life on Earth besides themselves die.]]
* The worst ending of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaHarmonyOfDissonance'' (where both the LoveInterest and RivalTurnedEvil die) takes a lot more effort to get than the "normal" ending, since it requires entering the final boss room in Castle B, which only opens if you have all of Dracula's body parts. (However, the same room is also the key to obtaining the GoldenEnding.) The final boss room in Castle A, which leads to the Normal Ending, can be entered the moment you reach it.
* There's one ending in ''VideoGame/WayOfTheSamurai 3'' where [[KillEmAll everyone dies]]. To get it, you have to... kill everyone. This is a lot harder than it sounds because killing certain people before others will trigger other endings, so you have to kill everyone in a specific order to get this one.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Adventure Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/CryptWorlds'', you can awaken an EldritchAbomination called The Chaos God that destroys the world and everybody inside it. Awakening him requires you to pay an archaeologist, wait a few days for the archaeologist to finish the dig, enter the archaeological ruins, and collect just one tear of god. Repeat 3 times; there are 3 Tears of God. Then you have to go to Hell itself and meet the cultists.
* In ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'', you get the ultimate Achievement "Perfect Crime" for bringing about the situation where the good guys all perish and TheBadGuyWins -- which is accordingly hard.
* ''VideoGame/TheWhiteChamber'': Getting the worst ending requires your KarmaMeter to be at zero when you complete the game. Since you start the game with one free karma point and there's only ''one'' specific action that will take away that point from you and five other actions that give you more karma points instead, this is trickier than it might sound. The good news is that you can always [[spoiler:look at the chalkboard]] to check if you're on the right track.
** Slightly less tricky is the joke ending [[spoiler:that ends with everyone that Sarah killed revealing that they were just playing a prank on her. And then everyone dies anyway]], which requires a maxed out KarmaMeter.
* The evil ending of ''VideoGame/ATaleOfTwoKingdoms'' is rather obvious if you think about it: [[spoiler:rather than confront the princess with the murder evidence, confront the murderer and offer to join forces]]. However, he won't ''believe'' you unless your Honor score is zero, and doing ''that'' is rather difficult, [[spoiler:requiring you to kill an NPC in a small timeframe in a hard-to-reach optional sidequest]].
* The darkest ending in the online game ''Where We Remain'' can only be achieved on the highest difficulty setting, and you need to continue to explore the caves even after you've found the girl you're looking for to get the power you need for it.
* In ''VideoGame/TheDig'', near the end, if you go grab a life crystal (after losing all that were on you) before proceeding with the natural course of events, you can use it at a certain point to eventually get the game's somewhat secret bad ending.
* In ''VideoGame/ZorkGrandInquisitor'', there is a game of Strip Rock-Paper-Scissors and a way to see the opponent's hand. To win takes around 3 turns. If you intentionally try to lose, it turns out that you have around 20 pieces of clothing to lose. You then get a bad ending where your character becomes a fish merchant.
* Getting the absolute worst ending in ''Videogame/ConquestsOfTheLongbow'', where King Richard finds Robin guilty of all his crimes and has him hung, requires a ''lot'' of effort, as getting every CharacterWitness to hate you enough without outright getting yourself killed is tricky, [[NintendoHard seeing as this is]] [[TheManyDeathsOfYou a Sierra game]]. This also involves going out of your way to avoid getting any treasure or other points, and letting Marian die at the ''one'' point the game doesn't immidiately kill you for it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Beat-Em-Ups]]
* ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage'':
** The bad ending of the first game could only be achieved through 2-player mode, and requires both of them to follow [[GuideDangIt an esoteric list of steps]].[[note]]When Mr. X asks if the players want to work alongside him, both of them must have conflicting answers, and they will then fight each other. Mr. X will ask the surviving player again, to which they must say "no" ([[TheStarscream that they would rather take his place]]) and defeat him in the ensuing match.[[/note]] The surviving player will then take control of Mr. X's criminal enterprise, [[FaceHeelTurn going against everything they fought for]], while the game sarcastically congratulates them for it.
** Failing to save the chief in ''Streets of Rage 3'' has the player deviate from the main storyline to stop the imposter chief, culminating in an extra boss fight against Shiva and the main characters arriving at a dead end as to Mr. X's whereabouts. This wouldn't be an example, except that Shiva is even harder than the final boss for the good ending!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fighting Games]]
* In the story mode of ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'', several of the "Bad Endings" (not that the canon endings, or even the gag reels, are always full of rainbows and sunshine) require the player to do some very specific or unintuitive things (for example, to get Tsubaki's, you have to finish off Carl, Jin, ''and'' Noel with either her LimitBreak or her FinishingMove, [[spoiler:causing her to go blind from overusing her weapon]]).
* This applies to the ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'' games as well. One of [[spoiler:Anji Mito]]'s endings in ''XX'' has him getting [[spoiler:a WeCanRuleTogether speech from That Man]]; this is ambiguous enough, but later information says that [[spoiler:Anji ''did'' take the offer and had a FaceHeelTurn]].
* In VideoGame/RivalSchools's sequel ''Project Justice'', the team of [[spoiler:Edge, Akira, and Gan]] must fight [[spoiler:the BrainwashedAndCrazy Daigo]]. By finishing said match with certain moves, you get an ending where [[spoiler:Daigo ''collapses dead'' and the last scene has Akira crying over his body, while Edge and Gan swear revenge]]...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Hack and Slash]]
* The first ending of ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' is bittersweet, but all the rest go from depressing to horrifying to worse-than-the-end-of-the-world. Each is progressively more difficult to unlock, too.
** Its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/{{NieR}}'' is like this too. The first ending is bittersweet and the final ending requires you to [[spoiler:delete your save file, symbolically erasing your character from the memory of everyone in the game.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Platform Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Braid}}'', if you take the time to collect the eight secret stars, which are extremely difficult to get -- one requires you to wait in a particular spot for ''two hours'', another becomes LostForever if you don't obtain it before you complete a certain puzzle, and still another relies on near-perfect timing and reflexes -- you get to see the ending where instead of merely [[spoiler:having the princess run away from you]], you [[spoiler:make her ''explode'']]. There's probably a message of the dangers of obsession somewhere in there.
** [[spoiler:The princess is a metaphor for the atomic bomb. The ending is you succeed in catching her... thus acquiring a weapon of mass destruction.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DuckTales'', there's a bad ending that you will see by having ''exactly'' zero dollars' worth of treasure at the end of the game, which requires you to spend everything you get just by playing, and there are only so many ways to spend it (and obviously you can't spend money if you don't have enough, so you have to collect ''exactly'' the right amount).
* In the Famicom version of ''VideoGame/KidIcarus'', you can have the end where Palutena turns Pit into a monster if you defeat Medusa without any life or arrow upgrades, no special weapons, and with a minimalist score. This, however, has been cut in the NES version.
* The reward for finishing ''{{VideoGame/Deadlight}}'' on Nightmare difficulty is the alternative DownerEnding instead of the normal BittersweetEnding.
* Collecting all the secret items in ''VideoGame/PauseAhead'' unlocks a BrutalBonusLevel you can access instead of fighting the final boss. Completing this area gives an ending that's far more depressing than the regular one, as it [[spoiler:leads to a computerized screen where you learn that you've done exactly what you were supposed to do and were terminated, as opposed to escaping when you beat the final boss]].
* ''VideoGame/AncientPowers'' plays this trope unusually. [[spoiler:What may be the best ending of the game is the easiest to get; just leave after talking to Kalish, avoiding the first boss battle and accepting her death. The next ending is a bit ambiguous, as you get the soul key so you can sacrifice yourself to bring back the girl, but in the process you unleashed the evil demon Harold. If you defeat Harold, it is too late to bring the girl back, so you might have well not done anything at all.]]
* ''VideoGame/WarioLandSuperMarioLand3'' has an ending that varies depending on how many coins you end up with. You need to avoid collecting coins and treasures at all costs to get the worst possible house for Wario, the birdhouse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puzzle Games]]
* Some ''VideoGame/{{Grow}}'' games have a secret "wrong" ending only available by doing everything in an unintuitive manner.
** ''Galves Adventure'', made by the same ''Grow'' creator, has a "devil" ending so obscure that many players don't even realize it exists. To get this ending, you have to notice that one inconspicious pebble is clickable and deliberately pick two specific "wrong" choice sequences for the red ball in a row to be able to hit the lion with it. If you do all of this right, you can then make a choice near the end of the game that would otherwise kill you.
* ''VideoGame/PuzzleQuest'': You have to release the necromancer at the beginning of the game, then at the end, follow the path the sword directs. At every turn in the path, you'll lose one of your good-aligned allies if you choose to go forward[[note]]Everybody except Sunspear, [[PsychoSupporter Patch]], [[ExtremeOmnivore Drong]], and [[DirtyCoward Galnoth]][[/note]]. The ending implies that you (the player) will eventually become just as much of a threat as Lord Bane.[[note]]You'll get the same ending if you manage to hang on to your allies (just remove Darkhunter from the party before opening the path to Bane's citadel, ditch the rest before following the path, then bring them back before entering the citadel), but the implication is far darker without them.[[/note]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Meteos}}'', the only way to get the worst ending in Multi-Path is to allow an incredibly easy opponent to survive for a certain amount of time before defeat. This is complicated by several factors. Firstly, like all story mode battles, it's a TimedMission, so your actual window in which you can defeat the enemy for this ending is a mere 30 seconds. Secondly, the game mechanics allow a hopelessly overwhelmed player to stick around for a ''very'' long time before finally succumbing. And finally, the enemy you face here [[ArtificialStupidity might just plain die without you doing anything to it]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Riven}}'' has nine possible endings. Eight of them are bad to some degree or another, and each of them requires doing something you've been specifically warned not to do, to the point that they're nearly impossible to get by accident. To whit:
** Three of them involve opening the Star Fissure and signalling Atrus early. At the beginning of the game, you are given the two explicit goals of capturing Gehn and rescuing Catherine before you open the Star Fissure. One of those endings requires reloading an earlier save to access (since you have to figure out the password to the Star Fissure cover ''before'' you officially learn it).
** Four of them involve trapping yourself in the prison book, which you are explicitly told is a prison book. Two of these endings require doing so [[TooDumbToLive after you have already successfully tricked Gehn into trapping himself in it]].
** The eighth bad ending involves ''not'' trapping yourself in the prison book at the one time the game prompts you to do so. Even then, you have to do so three times before Gehn gets fed up and shoots you. The second time, he warns you that while he's letting you go, he won't be so forgiving in the future if you don't cooperate.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Rail Shooters]]
* ''VideoGame/StarFox1'' has a bad ending [[GainaxEnding of sorts]] that requires you to unlock the Out of This Dimension area. Once unlocked, you then have to complete the stage and fight a slot machine boss at the end that can take anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes [[LuckBasedMission depending on your luck]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Rogue-like Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TheBindingOfIsaac'''s standard ending isn't particularly happy ([[spoiler:or at least it is at first, until it's revealed that it was AllJustADream, and Mom is still hunting down Isaac]]), but some of the endings you get for progressing even further in the game get even worse. Some of the items you obtain after beating [[WombLevel The Womb]] come with cutscenes like [[spoiler:finding a rope in a chest and hanging yourself with it, transforming into a demon, and having Mom's hand bursting out of the chest and dragging Isaac into it]]. Beating [[BonusDungeon Sheol, the Cathedral, or The Chest]] each comes with their own unique bad endings. ''[[UpdatedRerelease Rebirth]]'' ups the number of bad things that happens to Isaac when he obtains an item from the chest in The Womb, and adds two more unique bad endings (both requiring the clearing of even more {{Bonus Dungeon}}s and {{Bonus Boss}}es than the previous endings). Its expansion, ''Afterbirth'', adds two more.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Role Playing Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', you have to put at least as much effort into getting Shepard and the rest of the crew killed during the SuicideMission as into getting the GoldenEnding where EverybodyLives. As long as you bring two loyal squadmates with you to the final battle, they and Shepard will survive even if ''every other'' squadmate dies in action.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' escalates in this regard. Getting the lowest possible War Asset score requires planning and precision to make sure there are no loose ends. And then there's the "N7 Special Ops Team" asset, obtained through promoting characters in multiplayer (75 per promotion). Unless you're on the PC version of the game, there is no way to remove the asset, giving you a permanent boost in the war effort for better or worse.
** The trilogy as a whole requires a very specific sequence of game choices to arrive at the worst possible PyrrhicVictory over the Reapers (where Joker is pretty much the only major character to survive), as outlined [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Koveras_Alvane/The_Deadliest_Path here]].
* In ''VideoGame/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaPortable'', [[spoiler:there are ways of turning the main characters into witches]] in certain routes. Most notable is [[spoiler:Homura's witch Homu[[YuriGenre lilly]], as you have to beat Walpurgisnacht under very specific conditions in order to see a screenshot of her. Also serves as a little foreshadowing for a redesigned Homulilly's proper debut in ''The Rebellion Story'']].
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'', it is possible to get the horrible ending of Shuyin winning and destroying Spira -- you just have to wait half an hour to let Vegnagun fire.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' handles death in an... unusual fashion; every time your player character dies, he comes back to life (both in-story and in terms of gameplay). There are, however, a few ways to get a GameOver, but most require doing something ''[[ViolationOfCommonSense stupid]]''. Some Torment fans make a point of finding every one. Some of the possible ways to lose the game for real:
** Anger the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Lady of Pain]] twice. (The first time, she just sends you to an extradimensional maze.) This one can also cause an UnwinnableByMistake situation, depending on playstyle.
** Agree to become [[spoiler:king of the Dead Nations]], which is extraordinarily unwise as the appointment is, well, for life. It is implied that the binding is magical as well.
** Threaten Lothar, a magical priest of godlike power.
** Get Marissa the medusa to remove the veil that prevents her from petrifying you.
** Get Coaxmetal the iron golem to build you a weapon that will kill even an immortal, then use it on yourself in the final dungeon. (It won't work anywhere else.)
** Fail to prevent [[spoiler:one of your other incarnations from forcing you to merge with it.]]
** Kill someone who has information that is essential to your quest (there are several such characters).
* The Conquest ending of ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptuniaMk2'' requires going out of your way to trigger[[note]]In essence, you have to meet the conditions to bypass the premature Normal ending, then start doing the exact opposite, and intentionally screw the pooch when the option comes up[[/note]], but involves brutally difficult boss fights against nearly all of your party members [[spoiler:as Nepgear kills them to power up the Magic Sword. None of the death scenes are pleasant, either.]] After all this heartache, you face down the BigBad, [[spoiler:but don't actually fight them, as Nepgear has just achieved their goals for them and irreparably damaged the world in the process; see CruelTwistEnding.]] While considered painful to play through on every level, getting this ending does reward you with a GameBreaker weapon for the main character on NewGamePlus.
* Some of the endings in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' qualify, given that most of them are nearly impossible to get without a NewGamePlus.
** Ditto ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', with the standout bad ending being [[spoiler:the Dragons deciding to KillAllHumans.]]
* The Seeking Mr. Eaten's Name quest in ''VideoGame/FallenLondon'' requires the player to utterly destroy and ruin their character repeatedly, even as the game itself repeatedly tells them to stop. The final step of the quest even requires the player to [[spoiler:make their character account unusable. Forever]].
* The [[spoiler:Accomplice Ending]] in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}: [[UpdatedRerelease Golden]]'' requires you to [[spoiler:not only rise Adachi's Social Link to as high as possible before a specific date, but also choose a specific set of answers where [[WhatTheHellHero even the villain doesn't believe how stupid you are for actually doing that]].]]
* The bad ending of ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia2'' requires you to [[spoiler:defeat the rest of the party in a battle using only Ludger. Anyone who knows how much of a pain fighting just one party member can be from playing the previous ''Tales'' series games will likely be horrified.]]
** This is made even worse than in other ''Tales'' games because [[spoiler:Xillia's token battle mechanic is based on linking your character with one of the other party members to unleash your more powerful artes. So while your opponents (4 at a time, from a pool of 8) are linked up to do extra damage against you, you're stuck flying solo with only basic attacks, no Overlimit, and no Mystic Artes. Even your Chromatus is of little use because the time it takes for it to charge is more than enough to get yourself killed, and it doesn't charge while you're trying to free-run your way to safety.]]
* Getting the "Nobody" title (which is essentially the closest thing the game has to a bad ending) in ''VideoGame/BookOfMagesTheDarkTimes'' requires you to finish the game while never earning any other title along the way. This is harder than it sounds, as titles are awarded for extremely trivial achievements, including ''picking dialogue options'' at some points. It's basically impossible to stumble onto by chance; you basically have to be deliberately trying to earn it. [[labelnote:To earn the title...]]Spend absolutely every month possible in the Mana Cave to avoid any of the titles you get from events (you can learn special skills from your Magic Master, but be careful to not get them all, since doing so gets you a title), intentionally lose the second battle to your clanmate at the start of the game (winning it gets you the Talented title), decide not to backstab your clanmate when the game gives you the option, avoid joining either one of the Robe factions when they ask (joining a faction gives you a title for doing so), and at the end of the game, [[TooDumbToLive charge into the Great Sea War and then intentionally lose to the first person you face]], since avoiding the Great Sea War gets you the Hermit title instead.[[/labelnote]]
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'''s ''Dead Money'' DLC has a well-hidden NonStandardGameOver ending where the Courier helps Elijah take over the Mojave with the Cloud and Holograms. This requires you to be Vilified with the NCR, and to have thoroughly questioned Veronica about Elijah while traveling with her.
** Even without going the OmnicidalManiac route, making the Mojave the worst possible place to live requires some effort: sabotaging rockets to irradiate an area, dump some more radioactive materials somewhere, leave your brain behind in OWB, finish Lonesome Road by nuking everyone, kill everyone in the Zion Valley (including MemeticBadass Joshua Graham), kill everyone in Dead Money (meaning no one will assist you in the end fight), raze a town full of Supermutants to the ground, get a pardon from the Legion, do their questline killing Caesar on the operating board pretending that it's not your fault so that Lanius gets promoted, and generally kill many minor factions. Many of these are legitimately impressive feats.
* ''[[VideoGame/CognitiveDissonance Mother: Cognitive Dissonance]]'':
** There is a joke ending that isn't considered canon (relative to the rest of the series) by its creator. In the original version, the player had to find an out-of-place secret doorway and then fight an extremely hard BonusBoss. In newer versions, this was changed; now the player must either win the HopelessBossFight in Chapter 3 (believed to be impossible) or defeat the FinalBoss with brute strength (which actually is impossible within canon, but is possible, although brutally difficult, in this fangame).
** Another ending can be unlocked by using [[spoiler:the secret Sing command]] during the FinalBoss, which leads to a TrueFinalBoss. Defeating this TrueFinalBoss results in [[spoiler:the Paradox ending, which apparently causes a TimeCrash leaving the fate of the universe and the protagonists ambiguous (every other available ending, including the joke ending, at least says that the world was definitely saved; here you don't even get that)]].
* The Genocide ending in ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' requires the player to not only kill every boss in the game, but also kill random encounters in every area until the game finally runs out of random encounters because [[KillEmAll everyone's dead.]] [[spoiler:After one-shotting a few enemies and bosses, [[WakeUpCallBoss Undyne the Undying]] is fought in Waterfall, and is far more challenging than her normal battle in a Neutral or Pacifist route (or any other boss in said routes, for that matter). This also culminates in a fight with Sans, the single hardest boss in the entire game.]] Going even ''further'' than that are two special bad endings which require you to [[spoiler:complete a Genocide route playthrough and ''then'' do another one or ([[LostForever what would previously be]]) a [[GoldenEnding True Pacifist]] playthrough from the beginning]], respectively. The game's use of this trope serves to deconstruct HundredPercentCompletion: by performing every single possible action, even the most heinous, you make the game world worse [[spoiler:''irreversibly'']].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' already has a pretty depressing ending, but the unlockable "paradox endings" [[spoiler:are even worse, ranging from Noel and Serah dying in an impossible battle against an army of Atlases, to inadvertently causing a TimeCrash even worse than the one Caius was trying to pull off]]. And to top it off? Collecting all 160 fragments (which includes completing all 12 of the paradox endings) unlocks a bonus scene where [[spoiler:Caius Ballad reveals that you've played right into his hands, and that your actions have brought an end to all possible timelines. Oops.]]
* The "Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts" quest of ''[[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition Dragon Age: Inquisition]]'' requires you to find a resolution to the conflict between Orlesian empress Celene, her cousin Gaspard who is warring against her for the throne, and her elven spymaster Briala who is trying to win some power for the oppressed elves of Orlais. Forcing all three to reconcile their differences instead of choosing one side or the other is the most difficult ending to obtain, because it requires you to collect implicating evidence against all three of them ''and'' have sufficient approval with the court. However, the epilogue to the game implies that once you have beaten the BigBad, they just go right back to feuding, so you have solved nothing.
* In ''VideoGame/LegendOfMana'', there are 3 main story arcs you can follow, and completing one opens up the final plotline leading to the ending. There is the Jumi storyline, the Dragon storyline, and the Fairies storyline. The Jumi storyline begins when you enter the very first town. The Dragon storyline begins when you enter a certain level for the first time. The Fairy storyline requires you to beat the initial quest in one level, then go back in and do more stuff, and the same is required for subsequent quests in the line, and a few of them can be lost forever on a run. And in order of how happy the endings are, the Jumi plotline is easily the happiest ending, the Dragon storyline is bittersweet, and the Fairy storyline is mostly bitter, which can even be a KillEmAll ending if you make the right (wrong?) choices.
* Getting the worst ending in ''VideoGame/TrillionGodOfDestruction'' requires the exact same steps as getting the best ending. The hook is that one requirement of getting either ending is getting everyone's RelationshipValues to 100%, but having more than 1.5 billion aggregate Affection Points gets the True Ending, and building RelationshipValues gets you Affection Points, and AP are vital in actually defeating Trillion. Which ending you get the first time (assuming you stumble through the other requirements without a guide in the first place) is more or less a coin flip, getting the worst ending intentionally will probably take more planning and a tougher time with Trillion than getting the True Ending.
* In ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'', getting the worst ending isn't very difficult, but it specifically requires ignoring ''all'' of Asgard's requests - keep all of the treasure that's found when a boss is beaten (when most of it is useless to the player, and most of the useful stuff will be given back if Odin's happy with Lenneth), refuse to send any units to help with Ragnarok (when many units are pretty much useless for anything other than sending off to Asgard), and generally wasting time rather than get ready for the prophecied [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt end of the world]]. Even intending to aim for that ending, it takes about 4 chapters (out of 8) of seriously grinding away at the KarmaMeter for that ending to get it. While the actions to get it are [[GuideDangIt very counter-intuitive]], unlocking the GoldenEnding is much easier.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* In the original ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'', you could get [[NonStandardGameOver kicked off the farm at the one-year mark]] if you haven't developed it to a satisfactory degree. You pretty much have to do absolutely nothing on the farm for (in-game) weeks to let things deteriorate to that degree; basically waking up in the morning and either running around and wasting time or going right back to bed.
** In ''Harvest Moon DS'', marrying the Witch Princess can fall under this (depending on what you call an "ending", given the game's PlayableEpilogue nature), since you pretty much have to have TookALevelInJerkass, InUniverse, to woo her: You have to litter, let animals sicken, let crops wilt, work yourself into a faint -- all multiple times -- to raise her Heart Level. Doing so will pretty much lower the affection levels of every other character in the game outside of the Witch Princess down to zero.
** Also in HMDS, there's dropping a level 100 poison mushroom into the stew at the Harvest Festival. The NonStandardGameOver implies you [[KillEmAll poisoned the entire town]]. Growing a level 100 ANYTHING takes a concentrated effort, combined here with the farm expansions needed to get the mushroom grow set-up.
** The "Divorce" endings from ''A Wonderful Life'' takes the same "effort" as the above examples, with the addition of being mean to your wife. She'll eventually leave and take your child with her. It was initially thought that [[FriendToAllLivingThings Celia]] wouldn't divorce you, but determined players have found out it just takes a doubled effort -- including shipping or buying NOTHING and plying her with gifts she despises.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stealth-Based Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Oddworld}}'' games where saving creatures is part of the gameplay (Mudoken slaves in ''Abe's Oddysee'' and ''Exoddus'', Fuzzles in ''Munch's Oddysee''), there is a 'Black' ending in addition to the regular bad ending, which requires you to kill every creature except those whose survival is necessary to completing a puzzle. ''Oddysee'' actually gives you the ''best'' reward for earning the worst ending: infinite grenades along with a liberal dose of WhatTheHellPlayer
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Strategy Games]]
* Although many of the endings in the ''OgreBattle'' series can hardly be said to be "good" endings, it's safe to say that some bad endings are much harder to find than others. ''Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis'' is particularly infamous, as it takes a speed run to receive the secret ending, [[spoiler:showing you set Golyat ablaze in the opening of the original Tactics Ogre]].
* Creator/NipponIchi games like the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' series ''love'' to reward the player for winning [[HopelessBossFight Hopeless Boss Fights]], though sometimes the reward comes in the form of a bad ending.
** ''[[VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories Disgaea 2]]'' is the most extreme in this regard: to see the worst possible ending, you need to have at least 99 felonies on your main character, he needs to have at least 99 ally kills, and one of them needs to be the main heroine. You also need to defeat a level 2000 boss (the normal final boss is below level 100, by comparison). Unlock at your own risk, Administrivia/YouHaveBeenWarned. [[spoiler:Adell kills Rozalin (as Zenon), gets possessed, then brutally kills and devours Taro and Hanako]].
** In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3}}'', one of the endings involves Mao and Almaz being trapped in their hero and demon roles respectively. They're unhappy and have the sense that something is very wrong, on top of which the real bad guy gets to continue operating behind the scenes. Getting it requires replaying a stage early in the game which spawns a boss monster with levels in the hundreds, making it practically impossible except in NewGamePlus
** The main storyline of ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'' won't throw anything higher than level 100 at you, assuming you head for the Good Ending. There are, however, three bad endings (defeat Salome in the past, resulting in death by paradox; let Salome die in her fight against Alex; and kill 60+ of your allies, resulting in [[spoiler:Pram and Trenia deciding that you don't deserve to regain your true form]]). Either of these necessitate a significantly tougher than normal boss fight and gives you a NewGamePlus. On the upside, the boss joins your army in the new game.
** ''[[VideoGame/ZettaiHeroProject Zettai Hero Project: Unlosing Ranger Vs. DarkDeath EvilMan]]'': After each chapter, the protagonist faces off against [=DarkDeath=] [=EvilMan=] in a one-on-one battle and gets his butt kicked. Beating him before getting the EleventhHourSuperPower (something that can only be done through ridiculous grinding or NewGamePlus abuse) will cause [[spoiler:a character from Disgaea to appear and destroy the Earth themselves in a cutscene. A different one appears for each chapter]].
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha 3'' had a hidden ending that could only be accessed on a NewGamePlus. Said hidden ending... [[spoiler:was KillEmAll from Anime/SpaceRunawayIdeon and involved the BigBad eventually corrupting Messiah.]] It's worth seeing at least once, but you have to go out of your way to get it.
** Before that, ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsFFinal'' had a hidden ending with some very specific requirements, such as failing to recruit any of the ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'' cast, and letting a certain unit be destroyed multiple times before taking a particular route split. If you were successful in messing things up badly enough, you get [[spoiler:to play through episodes 23 and 24 of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. After this, Shinji is trapped in Terminal Dogma, falls into a deep despair, and declares that the world isn't worth saving if everybody considers him to be worthless; and SEELE declares that Instrumentality is about to occur.]]
* ''VideoGame/YggdraUnion'' is an example. The good ending: On the final stage, agree to the angels' request and seal the sword. [[spoiler:The bad ending: fight and kill the angel in a rather difficult battle. The gods were wrong for being lazy and must be punished! (This gives you [[NotSoDifferent the same goal as the mass-man-slaughtering war criminal you just beat]] with [[WhatTheHellHero a somehow even shallower motive]], by the way.)]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* The ''Franchise/SilentHill'' games are famous for this. You have to go through a lot of trouble to get the extra endings, which vary from {{Downer Ending}}s to the [[MindScrew outright bizarre.]]
* ''VideoGame/HauntingGround'' has one bad ending (Fiona is captured and kept in the castle indefinitely by Riccardo). To trigger it, one must have the worst possible relationship level with Hewie (i.e. he utterly hates Fiona and attacks her on sight) immediately before you enter Chaos Forest. However, because Hewie is required for the area's main puzzle (the start of it anyway), you have to finish the puzzle with at least a neutral relationship with him (so he'll actually ''do'' the puzzle for you); then you have to halt your progress and attack or poison Hewie until his relationship hits rock bottom. VideoGameCrueltyPotential indeed.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitchsHouse'' is unusual in that the major events remain the same no matter which ending you get. The difference is that the player becomes more aware of [[TheEndingChangesEverything what is actually going on]] in the harder-to-get ending that reveals the events to be a ''lot'' more depressing than they appeared to be in the normal ending.
** The newest version (1.07) includes a hidden third ending. To get it, you have to avoid entering the titular witch's house and instead wait for a real-life hour on the opening screen until the roses blocking your path disappear. So how can this be considered a 'bad' ending? Because [[spoiler:if you read Ellen's diary after getting the true ending, you'll realize that this particular ending is basically Ellen biding her sweet time until Viola dies inside the house from the severe injuries Ellen inflicted on her swapped body and can no longer prevent Ellen from taking her place forever... although at least she doesn't get shot by her own father in this ending]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Ib}}'' has "Welcome to the World of Guertena" and "A Painting's Demise", the two bad endings added with update 1.04, which are probably the hardest to get. To get either one of them, you have to [[spoiler:raise Garry's doom counter by damaging artworks in the gallery, have a low friendship count with Garry, and fail the doll room event.]] Doing this alone gets you "A Painting's Demise", which features [[spoiler:Mary trying to escape the gallery on her own and getting killed by the other paintings]]. To get "Welcome to the World of Guertena", you have to do all of the previous things and also [[spoiler:have a high friendship count with Mary]]. For all this work, you get [[spoiler:Mary deciding to stay with Ib, the first friend she's ever had, and throwing a party to celebrate Ib and Garry staying with her. Oh yeah, and Ib and Garry both look kind of insane and/or dead.]]
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'' has multiple endings, ranging from the best ending, an OK ending, and a bad ending.
** Getting the bad ending is more tricky than it sounds, since you have to beat the game without any of your partners surviving. It's quite easy to not rescue the other PlayerCharacter (they are captured and are in a jail cell in the laboratory), since you can just ignore them and continue as normal, but your tag-along partner can't be killed by you directly; you have to cause their death indirectly. In Jill's scenario, when she meets Barry in the underground passage, you have to answer Barry's questions in a certain way in order to set up his death later on where he succumbs to his wounds from off-screen injuries. In Chris' scenario, Rebecca can be killed by a Hunter, but you have to go to a specific room in the return trip to the mansion in order to trigger the scene and then let the Hunter kill her. Getting the bad ending shows that only you survived the ordeal and Umbrella's mansion still stands while the Tyrant's shadow is seen on the ground.
** The remake keeps Chris' situation with Rebecca the same, but getting Barry killed in order to set up for the bad ending is easier. When Jill steals Barry's gun and questions his motives, Lisa appears and Barry will demand his gun back. Answer no and you get to watch Lisa smack Barry off the edge and into the abyss below. Barry can still get smacked off the edge during the boss fight, even if you give him the gun back. (The same can happen to Wesker if you're playing as Chris, but he shrugs it off and still shows up in the finale.)
* The normal ending of ''Videogame/SlenderTheArrival'' is abrupt and ambiguous. Finishing the game on hardcore adds an extra scene which seems to make it very clear your character does not survive. The Steam version of the game has an altogether different extended ending, although it's equally as dark.
* ''VideoGame/BevelsPainting'' has "And I'm Gone" and "Dead Inside." In order to have access to those endings, you must [[spoiler:drop the mirror shard]] into the toy box, but you would likely have wasted it by then. After that comes several choices that can make the difference between a bad ending and a ShaggyDogStory. "Revenge" is even harder to get, since it is on the same branch as the good endings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* One of the bad endings of ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' requires you to make a number of deliberate bad choices. {{Lampshaded}} in the Tiger Dojo for that ending, where it's pointed out that you must have been looking for this ending. [[labelnote:If You're Wondering...]]You have to go through the Fate route while keeping Saber's affection at the absolute minimum. Achieving this without getting yourself killed requires specific choices at every junction.[[/labelnote]]
* In the original release of ''VisualNovel/ChaosHead'', for the main route, none of the choices you make in the game, except those at the very end, actually affect the outcome of the game. The exception to this is Route B, the hardest route to achieve. It requires you to make 11 specific choices during the game to reach and isn't even available on your first playthrough, and it is a completely horrible DownerEnding, worse than any of the other endings.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' also has an ending that's less "triggered" and more "the game falls back on it when you evade the triggers for everything else". Even the devs needed a flowchart to find it.
* ''VisualNovel/CorpsePartyZero'' has an unlockable scenario which is called 'the final nightmare'. In order to access it, the player must first see all the other Bad Endings. Once that's done, you discover that this last scenario involves [[spoiler:Shiho teaming up with Kaori and actually fighting the evil spirit responsible for all the horror, followed by a desperate race to escape in time]]. Unusual in that not only does it require far more effort, but [[spoiler:it looks like a GoldenEnding up until the final shot reveals none of it was real]].
* ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'': Emi's Bad End requires at least two wrong choices out of the three plot-relevant ones, and most of the time you'll only see two of these choices. Shizune's bad ending only requires one wrong choice, but it's also the only choice in the entire path and [[YourCheatingHeart the "bad" option is fairly obvious]], so most people only get this ending (or the good ending) intentionally. The Act 1 Bad End is also difficult to trigger by accident, as it requires deliberately destroying your chances with all five girls.
* The Divorce and Walking in Darkness endings from ''VisualNovel/MagicalDiary''. Walking in Darkness requires you to complete almost all of Damien's route and then make two specific choices near the end. Divorce requires you to marry Grabiner (which can be hard enough on its own), make him angry at you, and then get detentions on two specific days.
* To get the "Grim Fate" ending of ''VisualNovel/{{Cinders}}'', you need to make such a huge number of bad choices that you'll most likely only get this ending by screwing up deliberately. [[labelnote:To be precise...]]You need to be defiant to Carmosa, not pursue a romance with Perrault (the most popular choice for it), choose not to follow the shady character (or if you do, fail to interrogate certain information out of him) so you'll miss out on some crucial information, and decide not to search for a will when Cinders' narration ''point-blank tells you'' that a will might be useful. Then, when Cinders is trying to decide between re-taking Carmosa's home or escaping town, choose to try to re-take Carmosa's home even though your previous choices have left you with no leverage or advantage over her whatsoever. With no other options left to Cinders, she tries to poison Carmosa... but since she was defiant to Carmosa earlier, Carmosa doesn't trust the breakfast she serves and she discovers the poison in it, which causes her to have Cinders arrested and thrown into the Royal Dungeon, left there to rot to death and be consumed by guilt and failure.[[/labelnote]]
* ''VisualNovel/DanganRonpa'' has one of these in the fifth trial. Naegi catches on that, [[spoiler:for once, Kirigiri is lying during the trial,]] and has the option to either [[spoiler:call her out on it and prove that she's lying, or keep quiet, in which case Naegi ends up taking the fall for the murder and is sent off to be executed.]] Despite what the obvious choice seems to be, [[spoiler:proving that Kirigiri is lying instead sends the player to the bad ending, where Kirigiri is executed and everyone stays in the Academy forever. Note that Kirigiri ''BLUNTLY TELLS YOU'' that proving she is lying plays into Monokuma's hands. And Monokuma implies it. And it's abundantly clear something is ''WRONG'' with the trial.]]
* ''VisualNovel/SchoolDays'' is so infamous for its bloody, over-the-top Bad Ends that the AnimeOfTheGame based its ending on them. However, you won't see them unless you go out of your way to make the protagonist act like a two-timing jerk to both of his main {{Love Interest}}s.
* ''VisualNovel/DramaticalMurder'' requires you to choose certain wrong answers to get the bad endings. Some of the answers are fairly vague in which ending they'll lead to, but there's a couple that you very obviously have to ''try'' and get wrong. Particularly Ren's[[note]]The ending you get for him is determined by how many true/false questions you answer right during the climactic scene with him, and most of these questions are trivially easy to answer like "Ren loves Aoba" and "Ren is a dog". If you answer enough questions wrong here to get his bad ending, you either deserve it or were intentionally trying to get this ending.[[/note]].
* In ''[[VisualNovel/FantasiaOtomeGameSeries Fantasia: Realm of Thanos]]'', you need to do very careful manipulation of the boys' RelationshipValues to get the worst ending in which the protagonist completely fails to make any boy interested in her. To get into specifics, the game is coded so that you get the worst ending only if exactly three boys have the same number of relationship points (the game prompts you to choose between them if it's just two of them and gives you the harem ending if it's all four of them, no matter how high/low their relationship values actually are), which means that you can keep Leon and Ian's affection for you at the absolute minimum and still fail to get the worst ending because you caused Gil and Oswald's affection to become even ''lower'' than theirs and triggered the "choose between two boys" scenario instead. Hell, you probably won't realize that there even ''is'' a "Worst Ending" unless you cheat and look at the game code.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'', one particular bad joke end where you end up with [[ButtMonkey Sunohara]] can only be achieved by getting to know and then eventually rejecting every one of the main girls, as it ends with Tomoyo angrily claiming that you must be gay to have treated all these beautiful girls like that. This, naturally, takes ''way'' more effort than just not getting to know any of the girls or romancing just one.
* In ''VisualNovel/AoiShiro'', the bad endings aren't particularly difficult to get -- in fact, due to TrialAndErrorGameplay, you're almost certain to get a few before you reach a good end by finishing a route -- but it fits here simply because there are so ''many'' bad endings. In all, there are ''fifty-six'' possible endings, of which only a handful are actually good endings. Combined with the fact that the endings are often rather long and plotty, and that some even contain information you wouldn't learn just from playing the good endings, and it shouldn't be surprising that there are walkthroughs that show how to get certain bad ends.
* If the player follows the Narrator to a T in ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'', he/she receives the best ending--at least, in the Narrator's eyes. The purpose of the game is for the player to screw around with the Narrator's instructions and get alternate endings that are anathema to him but are otherwise amusing, if only to hear his reactions.
[[/folder]]
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