WARNING: Nearly every example is a spoiler. Read at your own risk! Also, many of these cases involve games with Multiple Endings, where a few of them are bad, but others are good.
Planescape: Torment, for pretty much every possible ending. Best case scenario, you revive all your friends, send them to Sigil and then and go to the lower planes to suffer for all eternity for crimes committed by past incarnations. Alternatively, you can kill your mortality, leaving all your friends (save, possibly, one) still thoroughly dead, and you very likely facing oblivion. So oblivion or hell, no matter how nice you've been the entire game.
The Witch's House: As it would turn out, Viola and the Witch actually switched bodies. At the end, Viola's father comes along and, unknowing of this, shoots Viola in the Witch's body, killing her.
Bubble Bobble has a really bad downer ending if you beat the game with just 1 player. The girl that you are going to rescue will vanish, leaving you alone with the caption that reads: "Sad End! This is not a true ending! Try this again with a friend!" No Ending Credits is shown. And, if you do manage to beat the game with a second player, the game gives you another bad ending anyways: It turns out that the only way to get any sort of good ending out of Bubble Bobble is to both go through the Bonus Dungeonand finish the game with two players.
Lee ends up dying as a result of a zombie bite that he got at the end of Episode 4. Amplified due to the fact that this results in little Clementine, whom Lee had dedicated himself to keeping safe throughout the game, trying to survive on her own (at least until the sequel), but dialed to 11 if you opt to prevent Lee turning into a walker...by having Clem shoot him. No shame in reaching for the tissues, boys and girls.
The second season ends this way, and it's even worse. Jane, who has long had doubts about Kenny's sanity, concocts a sociopathic plan that involves faking AJ's death, except Kenny's reaction is far worse than she predicted; he completely snaps and tries to kill her. During the very nightmarish fight between them, Kenny has Jane pinned and is trying to stab her, and Clementine is left with a gun. There are a number of possibilities, and none of them good:
Kenny stabs Jane to death and they find AJ alive and well. Kenny justifies killing Jane and they leave. Later on, they come across a survivor community that will accept Clementine and AJ but not Kenny. Depending on your choice, Clementine leaves with a potentially violent and dangerous man who has a tenuous grasp on his own sanity, or takes up safety but leaves Kenny to fend for himself.
Clementine is forced to shoot Kenny dead. Clementine says a tearful goodbye to Kenny and Jane explains her gambit and begs for forgiveness. Clementine and AJ are left with an unfettered survivalist who will endanger a baby's life just to prove a point. They return to the ruins of Carver's settlement and camp out there, and there's a further choice to let a family in or turn them away.
You can Take a Third Option, but it's arguably the worst one - either let Kenny kill Jane and turn him away, or save Jane's life and then refuse to forgive her. Either way, Clementine sets off with a newborn baby in her arms, alone as the blizzard worsens.
Though it depends on how well the player did, many of the endings in Heavy Rain are hideously depressing. As a rule of thumb, if you failed to save Shaun, your ending is going to suck. Special shout out goes to Norman Jayden, who doesn't have a single happy ending. He either saves Shaun but suffers from illusions the rest of his life, retires from the FBI, overdoses on drugs, or dies. Dying might actually be his happiest ending, since it's implied he at least gets to torture Blake.
In Mass Effect 2, it's left entirely up to the player to decide how depressing the ending is. If you make the wrong decisions and send the wrong people in a fit of bad luck in the suicide mission, you can get every member of your team, up to and including Commander Shepard, Killed Off for Real. Cue end cutscene of a sad Joker. However, this ending is more of a non-canon Non-Standard Game Over, as a save file of this ending cannot be transferred to Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 3's original cut has three major endings, all of which involve the Mass Relays being destroyed, leading to a very uncertain future (if that) for galactic civilization. It was a Base Breaker for a reason, and led to a LOT of backlash which ultimately led to the Extended Cut.
There remains a scale of endings in ME3, especially in the Extended Cut, which fleshed out a lot of the ending cinematics. Roughly speaking, a Shepard who's done enough groundwork towards Bringing Help Back is given three options: Destroy the Reapers, ending the threat for good with no further risks, at the cost of the geth and EDI while possibly living in the process; Control the Reapers, which dissolves Shepard's corporeal form, but makes him/her into the master consciousness of the Reapers, neatly ending the war and giving Shep a giant robot army with which to keep the peace, but with the risk that s/he may become like the Catalyst; or Synthesis, which again kills Shepard but forcefully "rewrites" everyone and everything else, creating new life that is a mixture of organic and synthetic, which convinces the Reapers to end the war (since their supposed long-term goal, to bridge the gap between organic and synthetic, has been accomplished), but keeps them around with only their goodwill to keep them from going crazy again. In addition to that, the husks come back to life, resulting in billions of severely screwed up individuals who will have to be mercy-killed immediately. Taken individually, any of these can be considered bittersweet or even upbeat.
On the other hand, if the player's War Assets aren't high enough, the galaxy, the Normandy, and Earth take increasing amounts of damage from the Crucible's activation. If they're particularly low, there are only two options, depending on the player's choice in Mass Effect 2: Control if the base was saved, Destroy if it was destroyed. The worst Control ending is similar to the above, except that collateral damage is more severe. The worst Destroy ending, on the other hand, is unquestionably the biggest Downer Ending of the bunch: Earth is all but incinerated by the blast, the Mass Relays are destroyed, the Normandy is lost, and the galaxy in general is kicked back centuries if not more. But the Reapers were destroyed.
The DLC adds yet another possible ending: the "Refusal" ending. Shepard can reject the choices offered by the Catalyst and instead make a speech about freedom to choose, or simply shoot it (which only pisses it off). Either way, the Reapers wipe out all of civilization, and all that's left is a message from Liara in an abandoned bunker begging future civilizations to build the Crucible and succeed where they have failed.
Tech Romancer, with its multiple characters and branching storylines, has a couple. One possible path, if you fail to defeat the last enemy in a short enough amount of time, has Junpei (your character) fail to escape the castle and is presumed dead. But the cake has to go to Wise Duck: Arvin reappears at the rusted out remains of the Wise Duck 10 years after the last battle. No one knows why aliens attacked, the rest of the crew is dead, and Arvin pours out a bottle in memory of his team. And that's the happy ending... the sad ending reveals that Arvin was executed for trying to convince the crew not to kill an innocent little girl (and they weren't even going to anyway, they just needed to know they could trust him), and the rest of the story mode was just a Dying Dream. And one of Kei's possible endings where she takes the path of the Messianic Archetype and tries to save humanity from their polluting ways, but decides to leave the Earth so that the humans could fend for themselves.
Velvet Assassin has an incredibly horrific, Tear Jerker ending. Basically, the final level takes place in a village being burned to the ground and the villagers rounded up (and taken to the church) or killed by the Nazis because the village was hiding a British spy — Violette Summers, the player. In the end, the Nazis take all the villagers to the church, lock them inside, and set the church on fire. Violette is too late in getting there, hears the villagers burn alive, and collapses (although she survives and wanders the countryside in the credits). The leader of the Nazis turns out to be the guy Violette was supposed to kill.
The heroine of this game was inspired by the real life WWII spy, Violette Sbazo, who after a couple successful missions, was later captured by the Nazis, and was tortured, starved, raped, and later executed.
XenoSaga Episode 3. All the connections between worlds have been severed, KOS-MOS drifts alone and broken, four other major characters are killed or disappear (not counting all the villains, many of whom are Anti Villains), and humanity still hasn't found Lost Jerusalem. Definitely setting up for a fourth offering, but said offering hasn't happened yet.
... To that extent, it could be counted as a Bolivian Army Ending as well, which is ironically a foreshadowing of the fate of the series...
Betrayal at Krondor: The destruction of the world is prevented once again, but only at the cost of Gorath's life. The murderous leaders Delekhan and Moraeulf are dead as well, but Narab is still at large, and the moredhel are driven back to the Northlands, but after the Great Uprising failed to teach them that warfare isn't the answer, how can one expect them to learn now? Gorath's ultimate goal had been to turn his people into something better than the bloodthirsty savages they had become, but in the end, his cause died with him and his sacrifices have been in vain.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 ended with Eli Vance getting brainsucked by tentacled Advisors while his daughter and a helpless Gordon Freeman watch, horrified. Fade To Black with her weeping over his body.
Half-Life and its expansion, Opposing Force, Gordon is placed into stasis as some sort of mercenary by the G-Man, and Adrian is apparently frozen for eternity, respectively.
Kingdom Hearts:Birth by Sleep didn't end well, to say the least. Ventus' heart is torn from his body and absorbed by Sora, while his body lies in Castle Oblivion. Aqua is trapped in the World of Darkness, and has been for eleven years. Terra has his body taken by Xehanort and his consciousness trapped in his armor, standing in the same position until Sora finds and fights him in Kingdom Hearts 2. It seems like Kingdom Hearts 3 will tie this all together, but the ending to this game is seriously depressing.
XIII, the cel-shaded first person shooter based on the first half of the comic series of the same, ends with a Cliff Hanger after The Reveal of the conspirator, with the protagonist in an impending doom situation. Due to poor sales, the developers declined to adapt the rest of the story in game format.
If you fail to reach lieutenant rank after completing patrol and reserve duty, you will be considered a lost case by their superiors and sent back to Tierra to live a boring life of obscurity, with nothing to show for your military career.
If you report Captain Lefebvre to Major Hunter for sanctioning illegal anti-partisan activity, and fail to convince Hunter of your claims, you will be cashiered for slandering a superior officer and sent home in disgrace.
If the player is disgraced by deserting in the final battle, they are left a pistol by their superiors with the implication that committing suicide is the only escape from their shame; the player can choose to take this option.
Call of Duty4 ends the Prologue Act with the player in the shoes of President Al-Fulani, watching his nation collapse all around him as he's dragged off to be executed. Act I ends with the player-controlled side character's helicopter getting caught in the blast radius of a nuke bomb detonation; the player survives the crash long enough to stand up several times, painfully crawl to the downed helo exit ramp, and THEN die. And in the final mission, every single member of the player's squad (as the main character) except the CO is executed while wounded and unable to retaliate. It's even worse because all of these guys had just saved the world and reinforcements are literally seconds away from saving the day.
Modern Warfare 2 manages to make it worse. In the midst of a war initially generated by Makarov and his men, after countless trials and a bitter struggle to reach Shepherd, the true main antagonist after he betrays Makarov, he finally reveals his motivation — as the commander of all US forces, with the Russians having already invaded the US, and with his status as a war hero secured as, to almost everyone, the man who brought Makarov down, he reveals that he attempted to galvanize the USA into fighting with force — and succeeded. The only thing killing him does is disallow him from seeing the end results of his already complete scheme. That, and Soap and Price are fugitives, and with the USA in a fervor despite its military lacking a commander, it and Russia are going full pelt towards a cataclysmic war the likes of which the world has never seen. Not to mention the two player characters that die while the player can do nothing about it.
Modern Warfare 3. The entire East Coast of the USA has been ravaged by a Russian invasion, with Washington DC having been hit by an EMP. Every single capital and major city in Europe was hit by a poison gas attack, invaded, or gassed then invaded, leaving tens of millions dead there. The Russians have suffered massive casualties. All but three of the series' player characters are dead, with two of them MIA. The world economy is in shambles, as several of the major financial centers are wrecked. The only consolation is that Makarov is dead and peace has broken out, but for how long?
Games in the Grand Theft Auto series have mostly had victorious endings, ranging from "Okay, there's no corrupt cop trying to ruin our lives any more, we're fine" to "I rule all of Vice City now! Mwa ha ha ha haaa!". Grand Theft Auto IV, however, has a darker and more sincere narrative, and ends with Niko's cousin/best friend being accidentally shot dead at his own wedding; Niko gets his revenge, but it doesn't make him feel better. There is an alternate ending, though... in which Niko's girlfriend gets killed instead at the same wedding. Yay!
It also makes it even more of a downer since his fiance was pregnant.
Of course, the alternate ending is a bit happier as at least Niko still has Roman, whereas in the other one, Roman is dead and Kate has left Niko. Still, neither ending is very happy.
The Kate Dies ending at least feels happy, due to Roman's annoyingly optimistic personality. The Roman dies ending? Niko's last line is "Roman didn't hurt anyone." Then Jacob tries to comfort him. The end.
There's still the possibility of Niko and Kate getting back together, though. You get a call from her on Niko's cellphone after the end credits.
The Lost And Damned wasn't much better. Johnny and the rest of the Lost MC break into prison and kill the traitorous Billy. But Johnny's best friend Jim is dead, as is most of the chapter. Plus their clubhouse is a wreck, so the remaining four members decide to burn the place down and go their seperate ways.
In GTA: Advance: You learn that your partner-in-crime Vinnie, who was planning to get out of Liberty City with you, never had such intentions. He apparently croaks early on, but was planning to eliminate you so you don't get caught up to him. You managed to kill him and escape from Liberty, but not without seeing 8-ball get arrested, the first contact aside from 8-ball killed, and Cisco, a Cartel dealer who you were friends with, crossed the heart of the Yakuza lady after apparently sleeping with her. A real bittersweet ending indeed.
And in Chinatown Wars, Huang Lee finds out that his uncle killed his father in cold blood on the orders of the triad boss Hsin, for the promise of being promoted once Hsin steps down. The game ends with Huang killing his uncle, having already killed several of his fellow triads who were framed as being snitches and being betrayed by another friendly contact.
By the end of Vice City Stories, Vic Vance has killed off all main antagonists and may have a very rich empire Vice City, depending on the player's actions, but he, in his own words, "spent all my time running around making morons rich, while my family fell apart, and the woman I wanted died while waiting for me to call." He never even wanted to get into drug dealing in the first place. The game ends with him leaving Vice City with Lance, declaring that he is not interested in the coke Lance wants to sell. Fast forward two years later to the events of Vice City, when Vic returns to Vice City to help Lance sell said coke, and is shot dead in the opening cutscene by Diaz's men.
Grand Theft Auto V is no aversion to this trope either. The two bad endings (Option A and Option B) both end with either Michael or Trevor dead, and the other one refusing to hang out with Franklin. However, Option C is ''the good ending
In one of the endings to Castlevania II Simons Quest, the narration says that killing Dracula a second time wasn't enough to save Simon, and that Simon died from the curse.
In the SNES version of Dracula X, Vampire's Kiss, Richter heads into Dracula's castle to rescue his girlfriend Annet and her sister Maria. Rescuing them requires going into two separate hidden areas. If you fail to rescue them, at the end of the game, Richter will be shown walking away from the castle alone. This is made more poignant by the fact that if you failed to rescue Annet, she was transformed into a monster and you had to kill her...
In Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, if you defeat Maxim in Castle B, but without the JB and MK Bracelets equipped, Maxim and Lydie both die. This is in contrast to the best ending, where Maxim and Lydie both live to tell the story, except Juste's opposed to telling the story to Lydie. The normal ending is somewhere between this and Bitter Sweet Ending; Maxim dies but Lydie lives.
In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, the Bad Ending essentially has Julius coming in to fight Soma, who is now the dark lord. Either Soma dies or the dark lord wins, and neither outcome is pleasant.
The Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow bad end is possibly one of the worst: Despite overcoming his Superpowered Evil Side the first time in Aria, Soma could succumb to his dark side by failing to hold onto a Love Token Mina gives him, making it a very, very cruel and ironic ending considering the circumstances.
In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the worst ending is triggered by simply killing the brainwashed Richter, leaving Maria heartbroken and Alucard filled with self-doubt about what he had to do. Unused voice clips on the disc suggest that an even worse ending was cut, one in which Maria turned into a monster and Alucard had to kill them both, without ever figuring out who was behind it.
In Katawa Shoujo, if Hisao fails to befriend one of the girls enough to seek out their company for the school festival, he'll resign himself to giving his paranoid hallmate Kenji his company. While on his way to meet with Kenji on the roof of the school, he finds himself annoyed by the festivities. Once he meets up with Kenji, the two spend the entire day eating pretzles and drinking whiskey. After spilling his guts to Hisao, Kenji starts invading his personal space. Hisao, heavily inebriated, tries to back away, only to end off slipping and falling off the roof. His last thoughts were of how this was a fitting way to end such a crappy day. Cue red flash, fade to black, roll credits.
Every single route has at least one and possibly two Downer Endings. Emi breaks up with Hisao after their argument, telling him that while she knows he's a good guy, they just cannot last together and he's not the kind of boy that can handle her. Hanako lashes out at Hisao (and by proxy, Lilly) for pitying her and breaks up their buddying relationship. Lilly goes to Scotland permanently, leaving behind her boyfriend Hisao and her best friend Hanako. Rin either has a fall-out with Hisao in her atelier and their bonds are explosively severed, or leaves Hisao and everyone else she's close to behind to study art in Tokyo, even if it means changing herself (which could potentially result in her suicide). Shizune ends up alone, believing that she pushed Hisao and Misha away with her competitive personality, since they drifted apart from her. (And unbeknownst to Shizune, Hisao cheated on her wirh Misha, as a result of Misha having an emotional breakdown over her Unrequited Love for Shizune.)
In Rewrite, some of the actual endings could be seen as one of these; Shizuru's route ends with only fifty people out of the whole of humanity surviving salvation, while Akane's route ends with fifty thousand people being evacuated into the city of stone while the rest of humanity is annihilated.
Fallout has the player character get the Vault its needed water chip, and save the world from The Master, but he'll still get exiled at the end, as Overseer is now terrified of him. The clip of him dejectedly walking back into the wastes afterwards while the Ink Spot's "Maybe" plays in the background is a pretty powerful scene. In an alternative ending (depending on the player character traits chosen at the beginning, or the character's alignment, or the player's ability to press the "initiate combat" button before the Overseer walks away), the player responds to this rejection by killing his boss in a violent fashion. It's almost alright, though; the intelligent Death Claws that moved into the Vault sometime between the first and second games built a little memorial for him.
He does earn his happy ending eventually. Between the events of the Fallout 1 and Fallout 2, it's described that some of the Vault 13 Dwellers leave and set off after him. Together, they all form the Arroyo tribe.
The Death Claws don't make it, though... unless you manage a lightning-quick playthrough in game time.
That is actually the result of a scripting bug that forces the deathclaws to die no matter what after you encounter them. The fanmade restoration patch actually fixes this and enables you to save the deathclaws by enabling a side-quest where you destroy the vertibirds at Navarro Air Force Base before the Enclave can sack the Vault.
Fallout 3 has a similar ending where, in the "good" ending, the Vault Dweller sacrifices his own life to bring clean water to the wasteland of DC. Removed entirely in the Broken Steel expansion due to fan complaints.
Fallout 3 has a gruesome evil ending if the player character decides to assist the Enclave in their genocide plans. In the original game, this ending resulted in the deaths of everyone in the Wasteland and perhaps the entire Earth (including the player) except the Enclave and those living in vaults. This also has consequences for Broken Steel, in which the clinics are overloaded with dying patients and consuming Aqua Pura will kill the player as well.
Fallout 2 has a mostly happy ending (unless you're an evil fuck)... except for one town. No matter what you do, Broken Hills will remain broken. Killing the mutants will destroy its economy. Not doing anything will cause a race riot that'll kill everyone. Actually fostering peace will cause the mines to run dry, ruining the town.
Fallout: New Vegas shows that the Super Mutants move to a ski lodge, (possibly) Jacobstown.
Terranigma ends with the lead character ceasing to exist because he destroyed the evil entity that was the source of his life. He is 'rewarded' for this by The Powers That Be by being allowed one last day in his pre-heroic life along with his old friends - all of whom will cease to exist along with him - before dying. The credits are superimposed over the last dream of the protagonist as he fades away. It's implied that, as the world cycles back and forth, Ark's spirit is the one with the "duty" to perform this role. Every time.
In most Suikoden games, the normal ending (that is, the ending you get if you didn't recruit all 108 stars of destiny) tends to be bittersweet. This is not the case for the normal ending to Suikoden 2, which is soul-crushinglydepressing.
Suikoden V: if you have recruited less than 60 stars of destiny, the main character goes over the Despair Event Horizon and wanders off into the frozen mountains alone, utterly broken by his experiences.
The sequel is bad too. Jennifer is adopted by Helen and goes under therapy, only for Scissorman to attack her again. In three of the endings, she fails to defeat Scissorman and dies, in one she kills him but dies in the process, and in one she kills him and survives. Even in the good ending, Scissorman has still killed some of the people she knew. Helen's endings are no better, as there are four endings in which she dies and Scissorman lives, and only one where he is defeated and she survives.
Clock Tower: The Struggle Within: The game has 13 endings, 12 of which are more or less just Nonstandard Game Overs. In the best ending, Alyssa survives, but Ashley Tate, a close friend of yours? Turned into a monster and was killed by her father, also a close friend of your family, who goes insane and gets killed later on. The mysterious woman Alyssa meets a few times throughout the story? Turns out she is your sister, but unfortunately, she commits suicide in front of your eyes right before the revelation. Your father? Turns out he isn't your real father. Your real father buried you alive because you were possessed, and this guy dug you up to take revenge. Oh, and he dies, of course. Your real father? Turns out he is the main slasher villain of the game. And yes, he dies too. The policeman you befriend throughout the game? He actually survives, but he prefers to stop the zombie apocalypse over your company. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, but there's a Zombie Apocalypse now, and you're still possessed.
In First Fear's "S" Ending, Jennifer and one of her friends get to live this time. However, it is still a bit of a downer, since Lotte is Jennifer's best friend, and she can't survive no matter the circumstances, and that ending isn't canonical anyway.
Conkers Bad Fur Day ends with Conker as king of the land... but he's gone through hell, he's Surrounded by Idiots, and his girlfriend got killed in front of him. The last shot of the game, same as the first, shows him seated on the throne, looking deeply irritated, as somber music plays on the soundtrack. What makes it worse was that earlier, Conker had an opportunity to wish Berri back to life, but forgot to, completely squandering his one and only chance at a happy ending. Which still isn't as bad as the ending that was originally planned, where Conker commits suicide.
Splatterhouse ends with the protagonist, Rick Taylor, giving his back to the burned-down remains of the titular house, after having to kill his Distressed Damsel girlfriend possessed by an ugly grand-guignolesque demon and probably scarred for life. The Mask of Terror, which helps him on his quest only to try to kill him at the end (releasing from a tomb the Final Boss) and which he broke to pieces, just puts itself back together with a nasty cackle. In Splatterhouse 2, we learn that Rick still has the power to bring his girlfriend back to life by returning to the mansion from the first game by literally fighting hell itself to save her.
Splatterhouse 3 has three downer endings, where Rick loses one or both of his wife and son, and one good ending where he saves both and destroys the Mask forever, depending on whether or not the player beat the stage-specific time limits.
The first Silent Hill had two downer endings, one with Harry and Cybil trapped in Hell together, the other being the famous Dying Dream ending. Both Bad Endings have somber credits music (different from the good endings) to go with them, but the worst ending has a vocal ending theme, "Esperandote".
Silent Hill 2 has three downer endings (one of which is a secret ending). Specifically, in one ending the main character, James, commits suicide, in another he leaves the town accompanied by a sinister simulacrum of his dead wife who might be dying of the same disease she suffered, and in the secret ending he is seen rowing his dead wife's corpse to an island on the middle of a lake, with the declared intent of invoking the dark powers of the town in order to bring her back to life. But if you do things just right, he does get out okay, by choosing forgiveness and moving on. Even Laura is implied to have forgiven him.
One of the endings of Silent Hill 3 involves Heather failing to kill the God, instead becoming possessed by it and shooting Douglas.
Three of the endings in Silent Hill 4: Henry moves back into his still-haunted apartment, Eileen dies, or Walter completes his 21 sacraments and both of the protagonists die.
And the movie ending: Alessa merges with Sharon, then she and Rose leave Silent Hill, but are still stuck in the other dimension where no one can see them, which can imply that the Dark Alessa has expanded the "nightmare" beyond just Silent Hill. How's that for a Downer Ending, having a vengeful, bordering-on-demonic spirit expanding her reality-warping, nightmarish anger and hatred over the whole world? There's a reason why people call this game "the scariest game ever", simply because the implications seen throughout the series are very depressing.
The first game's remake, Shattered Memories: all of the endings are a variation on the Dying Dream ending. One ending shows that the entire time, Harry was a weak guy who was abused by his wife, one shows that Harry was a worthless drunk the whole time, and another shows that he was a proud adulterer. Although, in the last two, Cheryl makes up with her mother. Thankfully, it's also possible and likely to get the rather heartwarming Love Lost ending, where Harry and Dahlia peacefully divorce and assure Cheryl that they both still love her, but just can't stay married to each other anymore.
The Three Stooges video game has a downer ending if the Stooges paid less then $5,000. The evil banker (named I. Fleecum) blurts to the Stooges that they did not raise enough money to save Ma's Orphanage, and the Orphanage is shut down for good and I. Fleecum gives out his last evil laughter. No Ending Credits is shown.
All of the endings in Deus Ex: Invisible War are downers to some degree. Either all of humanity link up with the AI Helios and give him a Borg-like Hive Mind, a perfect democracy at the cost of the individual self (Bittersweet Ending), the Illuminati take over the world, the Templars wipe out all biomodification and create an oppressive theocratic world government, or humanity fights itself to extinction, leaving only the Omar cyborg race.
The endings in Deus Ex: Human Revolution are all downer endings by analysis. They all seem like they could lead to a better future for humanity: You could choose Darrow's option of telling the whole truth, thus getting the world to all but stop pursuing science and technology, and instead focus on their humanity and morals. You could choose Sarif's option of blaming the whole thing on Purity First and the anti-aug protesters, thus allowing humans to "steal fire from the gods," and by extension, become gods ourselves. You could choose Taggart's option of not revealing anything to the public, allowing the world to be run carefully and responsibly by trustworthy people unseen. Or you could simply blow up Panchea, killing Sarif, Darrow, Taggart, and yourself in the process, and leaving humanity to make their own choices. These all sound like perfectly good endings. That is, until you remember that Human Revoluton is a prequel to the Crapsack World of Deus Ex. It doesn't actually matter which ending you choose, since the world ends up going to hell anyway.
Some of the endings of Tactics Ogre The Knight of Lodis are quite the downer endings. In one of them, the hero's lover sacrifices herself to kill the Big Bad, the hero's best friend dies thanks in no small part to the hero, and said best friend's father, a duke, sends his army after the hero, forcing him to go into hiding. The game's secret ending (which is also the canonical one) is hardly any better, as all of the above happens and the hero is rewarded by the Pope for killing the Big Bad with a new name, Lans Tartare, which reveals to fans of the series that this game was a prequel, and that the hero is an antagonist in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.
The Sierra adventure game Lighthouse has what could probably be called a Fridge Downer Ending. In what the developers presumably thought was a happy ending, you capture the otherworldly Big Bad and rescue the main NPC, the inventor Krick and his kidnapped daughter, to eventually bid them farewell back in their home by a cosy fire. However, there are a couple of other implications that the developers apparently never thought of, since Krick vows to destroy the machine he created that links to the fantastical other world. Not only is he abandoning the most spectacular scientific development in history, despite the fact that in rescuing him you made said fantastical world perfectly safe to visit and explore, and you must presumably now return to your mundane existence as an author in this world; more seriously, there's another major NPC, a paraplegic girl in a life-support machine unable to travel, whose former companions were all killed in a tragic accident long before and, without the continued companionship of the player character whom she befriends and helps capture the Big Bad, will be doomed to a totally solitary existence, trapped with nothing at all to do for the rest of her life in the empty building that was once a pleasant, lively home.
The game 1213 ends with the eponymous lead character finally escaping... only to discover that what he's escaping to is an Earth seemingly completely devoid of life after the atmosphere turned completely toxic for reasons that are unclear to everyone, and he and his clone siblings — now all irredeemably insane or dead — were created specifically to seek out and contact any survivors that might exist. The game ends simply on a scene of the devastation, before there's any sign of survivors... although, in a small concession to hope, it ends before the possibility is completely eliminated, either. Worse, it is implied that the actions of the player in the first part of the series (in escaping from the quarantined part of the facility he accidentally unleashed zombies on the whole place, not to mention the fact that the villain took out several members of the place's leadership over the course of the game) have ensured it doesn't possibly have the resources to engineer another human capable of surviving out there, and might not even be able to sustain themselves. Worst of all, is that the last human on earth is unstable in such a way that he will not be able to remember anything for more than a week (including his identity, what's going on, and where the game took place) and is doomed to wander forever in a desolate wasteland he won't even be able to remember. And that's ignoring the hallucinations.
Breath Of Fire 2's "bad ending"; the one you get if you can't activate the machinery underneath your city. Which you can't get if you let the old man in the Eye Machine die. The old man just happens to be protagonist Ryu's father. In it, Ryu takes his mother's place as the living seal to the Dragon World. He has to take her place because she literally gave her life to open the gate to let your party go after the BBEG. BoF2 rivals Terranigma as the biggest continuous downer game in Nintendo history.
7 Days a Skeptic, from the Chzo Mythos series of games: the Player Character turns out to be an impostor who killed a man and took his identity to fulfill the dream of being in space. As if that wasn't disturbing enough, he gets arrested for 6 murders, 5 of which (those of his crewmates) he didn't commit.
In the sequel/prequel, 6 Days a Sacrifice, not only is it revealed that the protagonist of 7 Days ended up as, essentially, Destiny's slave, the player character of that game kills the woman he's in love with (who had been possessed by John DeFoe during the sex scene, implying that you had killed John DeFoe), then becomes fused with John DeFoe's ghost to become Chzo's new Prince. On the plus, he was already dead. The fact that Chzo actually won in the end is a shocker in itself, too.
Tomb Raider: Underworld. Hey Lara, guess what? That lifelong quest of yours? And your father's? Every minute of your life you spent on it was totally wasted, your mom's been a zombie the whole time. Seriously, Legend ended on a fucking triumphal march complete with soaring orchestral accompaniment, compared to this.
Outcast: Your skeptic hero is fighting The Dragon in an all-out battle in the palace gardens. After dispatching him and his mooks, the ending cut-scene begins. Your semi-love-interest comes around as the hero is going up the stairs to face the Big Bad. Cue love interest getting shot by a cloaking pack-wearing Big Bad. What follows is the god destroying the palace and dragging the main boss down with it. The game ends with a eulogy and funeral service for your love interest, and a sad hero returning to Earth. Accompanied by one of the saddest pieces of game music ever (Heaven on Adelpha by Lennie Moore).
Final Fantasy Tactics: On one hand, the Lucavi demons are destroyed, and mankind saved. On the other hand, pretty much everyone who fought them died doing it, and no one ever knew how close they were to a demonic end of the world because they were too busy fighting a civil war. The heroes MIGHT have been remembered had the one decent person who survived the entire ordeal and wrote an eyewitness account of such not been burned at the stake for charges of heresy because the revealing of what the heroes have done would reveal the falsehood the Church has been spreading for generations. And, if you're in the camp that sympathizes with Delita, he loses everyone dear to him, because the hero who slayed the demons had been his best friend, the princess he married and became King and Queen with decided that Delita had manipulated everyone and herself as well, and stabbed Delita, who, in turn, lethally stabbed her back. The man who had manipulated everyone else and became King lost his sister, his best friend, and his wife in rapid succession, and was forever alone, unloved, and misunderstood at the top of the kingdom even if he survived. On the bright note, though, decades after the events of the game, it is revealed that the narrator of the story, having already established himself as a credible historian of his time, is, in fact, the descendant of the eyewitness who was burned at the stake, and that he was successful in revealing the truth to the world. Also, Ramza and his party having died is just a fan interpretation. If anything, the ending (particularly the PSP version's) implies they did survive, if obliquely. Ollan isn't sure whether what he sees is really Ramza and Alma, but then, if they were ghosts, why would they be riding Chocobos? And the PSP version's credits show the two of them stopping off for water by a stream, very much implying they're still alive.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin is even worse. The heroes fail to prevent the world (aside from Sumaru) from blowing up, and Maya, who they all idolized, dies. Instead of dealing with the state of this world, Philemon gives them a chance to create a separate universe where things didn't go wrong. Meaning all you did was for nothing. Fun. At least Eternal Punishment is better. It's implied in Innocent Sin that all you did wasn't for nothing, that much level grinding and fighting monsters made your will strong enough to create that new reality as a new middle finger to Nyarlathotep. Of course, aside from the better ending provided above, Eternal Punishment just renders that ending moot and a further downer, because that's Nyarly's plan all along.
Persona 4, if you choose to throw Namatame into the television. Adoptive little sister Nanako STAYS dead. If you don't throw him into the television but also don't convince the rest of the Investigation Team to keep investigating, she comes back but is still in the hospital months later, unable to recover, and Teddie stays disappeared. Golden adds in one more ending...where in one of the endings for Adatchi's Social Link, when you figure out that he's the killer, you cover up for him and bring about The End of the World as We Know Italongside him.
If you choose to heed Yuzu's idea in Devil Survivor, you pretty much doomed the whole world. "And the only angels that could have prevented this... were killed by your own hands"
Yuzu's ending being a Downer Ending is ultimately averted in Overclocked, where her eighth day allows the characters to fix up their mess and earn their happy ending.
The finale of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII sees the protagonist, Zack, gunned down by the whole Shinra army, just outside of Midgar, where he was going to see his girlfriend after being apart for five years, while his friends in the Turks searched vainly for him in order to save his life. If you've ever played (or even heard of) the original, you know it's a foregone conclusion (this game being a prequel and all), but it's still heartbreaking.
Especially when you consider that what Cloud and Zack suffered together sets the stage for Cloud's emotional dysfunction in the original game and provides Sephiroth with the ammo he needs to Mind Rape Cloud.
Fatal Frame: Just about every canonical ending to the series. The remake of Crimson Butterfly on the Wii upped the ante by adding two more Downer Endings (neither of which are canon). The first one, "Frozen Butterfly", has Mayu strangling Mio (in a reversal of the canon "Crimson Butterfly" ending), with it being implied that the girls are stuck in a loop which ends like this forever. The second, "Shadow Festival", has both twins getting killed by the Repentance, though the effect is slightly offset by implying that they end up Together in Death.
The Terran and Protoss campaigns in the original StarCraft certainly qualify: In the Terran campaign, Raynor helps Mengsk defeat the Confederacy, only to see him become a tyrant and war criminal as evil as the Confederates. At the end of the Protoss campaign, the Overmind is dead, but their homeworld is a smoldering crater and still swarming with newly rampaging Zerg.
The expansion pack, Brood War is a classic example by any standards. The game ends with the Zerg triumphant, the Protoss and Terrans scattered (in the final cutscene the Terran commander shoots himself, having penned a farewell note to his wife back on Earth) and most of the characters who could loosely be classified as "good guys", either dead or having abandoned the fight.
Fahrenheit (also known as Indigo Prophecy in the USA) has two negative endings.
In the first, the Purple clan (a race of intelligent machines) wins — the temperature on the planet continues to drop, leaving 3/4 of the world population dead, and even if the rest of humanity manages to thwart the machines' reign, they will still be forced to live underground because of the cold. Very bad ending.
In the second, the Oracle (a Mayan sorcerer) wins — although there is no immediate effect, the protagonist still occasionally sees through the eyes of the Oracle, and knows that bad things are yet to happen.
Then there is Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Not only does he lose his grandpa halfway through the game, after striking down the Big Bad, he finds out that he was just summoned there just to help by his friend in the ring, and was nothing more than a "dream" character, and that he is instantly whisked away back to his "dimension" while pleading to his friend to remain in Phantomile.
For one whopper of a Downer Ending, look no further than Planetarian. This "kinetic novel" (more akin to a piece of illustrated writing than a game) ends with robot girl Yumemi getting gunned down by a big mecha, after the protagonist hauled her out of the planetarium she still felt obliged to work for and where she had been waiting for her co-workers to return for thirty years. The worst part is that she had a fair chance of surviving where she was - if the protagonist wouldn't have blown her power supply by letting her run all that heavy equipment for that one last show. Leave it to Key Visual Arts to make as depressing an ending as possible.
Most endings in the Visual NovelKana: Little Sister can be seen as Downer Endings, since in all but one of them the protagonist's beloved sister dies, often in some of the most tragically depicted death scenes in gaming ever. The fact that the makers tried to give most endings a bittersweet lining doesn't lessen the sad fact that the protagonist fails to save the most important person in his life, even after offering one of his kidneys for transplantation, as happens in some scenarios. The one ending in which she doesn't die results in her leaving him after a while. The guy just can't win.
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey: One of the heroines gets stabbed and disappears without a trace, possibly dead. The male hero finally sees the light and turns to the good side, only to be captured by the bad guys. The evil mind-control plan you sabotaged and thwarted? Only delayed; the final cutscene shows the public going crazy about the product without knowing what it really does. The main character's ex-boyfriend who she still had feelings for? Most likely dead, replaced by a clone without anyone knowing the difference. The guy who the main character fell in love with during the game? Disappeared, presumably dead. The main character herself? In a coma and about to die after being duped by the bad guys. With her father crying by her side as her life fades away. Not to even mention the heartwrenching scene where your plush toy/pet android, if you put his batteries back into him after using them elsewhere, talks with one of the big bads right after you've fallen into a coma about if you're going to wake up ever again. It also counts that about a billion seemingly really important things are left completely unanswered by the time the game ends.
Mother 3 ends with the main protagonist Lucas confronting the Masked Man in a final showdown in order to pull the last needle to awaken a Dragon that will undo the damage done by the big bad. The catch? The Masked Man is Claus, his brother that died early in the game (at the age of nine, incidentally) and was revived as a cyborg by big bad Porky to pull the needles in order to destroy the world, and brainwashed him into commanding his army. Claus slowly regains his senses after his father takes a spell aimed for Lucas, and takes off his helmet to reveal his face. Cue sad music as Claus commits suicide, firing one of his instant kill lightning spells at Lucas (which is reflected by an item that he was wearing) and dies in Lucas' arms, saying that he was glad that he could be with his family before he died. Lucas then pulls the final needle, which ends the earth; the difference in this case being that everyone is implied to survive and that the world will regenerate as it was before Porky's interference. For a game in a series that largely focuses on children fighting absurdist enemies like hippies...
Shadow Man ends with the main character being trapped in the land of the dead, unable to return to the land of the living. Not as much of a downer ending as you'd expect though, since the narration suggests that he's happy about it, and it was immediately undone in the sequel, where the first thing Mike does is recover Luke's teddy bear that lets him return to Liveside after it had been lost following Asylum's destruction.
Kane and Lynch: Dead Men. In the "damned if you do" ending, Kane winds up alone on a small motorboat at sea with a dying Lynch and his dead daughter, despite the game giving you the illusion of there being a way to keep Kane's daughter alive all the way to the ending by making you protect your daughter through the last area. Even if protected flawlessly, she will get gunned down at the docks, and Lynch will take one in the chest while you get your boat started, and be dying. The one member of your crew you did save curses your name, rushes ahead, and grabs a second boat, ditching you. In the "damned if you don't" ending, Kane abandons Lynch in South America, with his crew being burned out of a church, certain to die, with his daughter vowing to hate him forever for abandoning the crew to save her life. For a game that seemed to be about Kane's redemption, that's two epic Downer Endings that some people intensely disliked.
Alone In The Dark 2008 has a "pick your poison" pair of downer endings. Giving the player an option to choose which one is kind of like twisting the knife. Although the Path of Light ending is a possible Sequel Hook, the game's negative reception may have killed the franchise. No plans for a sequel so far.
Activision's Apocalypse for PS1 doesn't even give you a "lesser of two evils" ending. Bruce, after defeating the four horsemen, comes face to face with the Big Bad himself. He says "see you in hell", but before he can fire, the Rev blasts Bruce with a bolt of lightning, turning him into a "demon" himself, complete with glowing Hellish Pupils. Who knows what he will unleash upon the universe. All your hard work is rendered pointless, ie they shot the shaggy dog.
Ikaruga has you go through an intense boss fight ending with a phase that must be timed out (you can't shoot at all), only to see the titular ship explode performing its last attack on the final boss, killing both the pilot and copilot. The pseudo-prequel Radiant Silvergun has the mothership Penta being taken over by the Stone-Like, and everyone is killed except the quirky robot Creator, who resurrects the 2 main characters through cloning.
The 11th Hour also has a "pick your poison" set of endings: if you pick Marie, she turns into Stauf and eats you alive, if you choose Robin, she has actually been turned evil and will murder you, so the only way to survive is to choose Samantha, a Bittersweet Ending, as Robin is destroyed in the burning mansion along with the Big Bad (she had irrevocably turned evil, anyway).
Given that Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is a prequel, and the final confrontation was shown at the start of the previous game, anyone who played the first game will know that Maxim and Selan die in the Fortress of Doom after the battle with the Sinistrals. While this was pretty much inevitable, the writers decided to make the blow even harder by showing that the comrades they fought alongside throughout the game are totally confident that Maxim and Selan found a way out somehow, and are definitely going to return.
The remake Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has pretty much the same ending with a slight change (and better graphics), with Selena (as she was renamed) dying along with Maxim instead of after the original boss fight. Their child, Jeros, still cries when their spirits hover over the city. However... If you play through the game a second time, Erim shows up just before they drive the Dual Blade through the final crystal and you have to fight her. If you win, Maxim and Selena warp away and Erim dies instead. It's her spirit that visits everyone in the second ending. Also, the scene where Jeros cries starts out exactly the same... only Maxim and Selena walk in and Selena holds her baby and comforts him, letting him know mommy's okay. Talk about fanservice.
In the fourth case of Justice For All, if you fail to present the correct evidence to the correct person in the final parts of the case, you get a bad ending in which your client and murderer Matt Engarde goes free, the innocent Adrian Andrews is found guilty, Maya is never seen again, and Phoenix runs away from the courtroom. Unfortunately, the mood of this ending is ruined by a typo: "The miracle never happen."
The fourth case of Trials and Tribulations ends with your client, who you just got off the hook, deciding to kill himself rather than let his girlfriend, who is the real murderer, get convicted. Fortunately, it's mitigated by the knowledge that the guilty party was finally nailed a year later, as played out in the game's first case.
The verdict of the fourth case of Apollo Justice is left entirely up to you. If you choose "Not Guilty," you get the normal, happy (and canonical) ending to the game, but if for whatever reason you choose "Guilty," the verdict is postponed until tomorrow, but in the meantime your client, who is in the hospital from being poisoned, dies, and the verdict is "postponed for eternity."
Warcraft III - the demonic Burning Legion are defeated; however, most of the human kingdoms have been destroyed, their population transformed into undead monsters. And the World tree, which helped maintain Night Elves' immortality, was destroyed in the process, although it started to regrow soon afterwards.
Also in the expansion pack, where Arthas fuses with Ner'zhul, creating one of the most powerful villains in the franchise. Things haven't gotten a whole lot better in the universe since then either. If how many Sealed Evils In A Can have become unsealed, or close to it since then, is any indication, things have gotten a whole lot worse.
There's also the novel trilogy War of the Ancients: the demons are repelled, but the Well of Eternity implodes, tearing the continent in half, the dragons are weakened by treachery, and Illidan secretly smuggled some of the water from the Well and makes a new one. Worst of all, the real villains (known as the Old Gods) even manage to gain something from these events, transforming the drowning Highborne into their servants, the Naga.
Normal Ending: Emil is sealed away with the world tree, Yggdrasill, for 1000 years.
Gregory Horror Show for the PS2: After dealing with the terrifying guests who were out to kill you, finding out their even more disturbing habits, wandering through a dungeon-like maze under the hotel, obtaining all of the souls within the hotel, dealing with Gregory's witch-like mother, who uses the souls to keep herself "beautiful", and fighting to remain sane throughout the whole affair, we come to the ending explaining that the hotel was a dream, a mental formation breeded by the weakness within all human hearts. Now, they could have ended it with the burning down of the hotel due to the sacrifice of NekoZombie, but oooh no! The narrator reveals that the harsh reality of life may force him/her to COME BACK TO THE HOTEL!! To make it worse, a CG clip at the end reveals that the hotel rebuilds itself, Gregory comes back from the dead, and that YOU'VE RETURNED TO THE HOTEL!
Enrica being killed by one of Fisher's own men. He kills the agent and is now on the run from his own agency.
Either Sam loses it and sides with the JBA, becoming a terrorist, Sam retains his sanity but gets caught for terrorism and put into a trial he cannot possibly win, or Sam retains his sanity and utterly destroys the JBA, but also loses all contact with the NSA, forcing him to go underground until such time that he can prove his innocence... which may never happen. None are particularly happy, but some are at least slightly more hopeful than others.
Brave Story: New Traveler kinda has a downer ending too. Sure, you save the girl from a evil, strangely hot-looking, half-naked, super emo, top-half-sticking-out-of-a-giant-toad's-mouth goddess]], but in the end, the whole of the land you just visited was all an illusion, your new friends will soon disappear into nothingness, and you yourself will eventually forget the entire journey.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl: After 20 hours of wandering the Zone, killing mutants, shutting down machines that destroy people's minds and barely surviving, you finally approach the Wish Granter and make a wish, and then either die in a horrible way, or go blind, depending on your actions throughout the game. There is a better ending, too, but many players get too frustrated by the Wish Granter endings to even try and play the game any more. All the Wishgranter endings are downers, as is the bad ending from the true final area. The true ending, though, is pretty much a Happily ever after. Until Call of Pripyat, direct sequel to that true ending, where you see that the Zone got out of control and is pretty much hell.
Star Wars: Republic Commando: The squad successfully completes the mission, but at the last moment Sev is attacked by an overwhelming number of enemies and goes MIA. The Squad was going to go after him, but the higher orders forced them to fall back and leave him. His fate isn't resolved to date.
Knights of the Old Republic II has the main character abandon everyone that cares about him to sail off alone into uncharted space, to wage a futile battle against an ancient, omnipotent evil empire. As did the hero of the first game. And the redeemed Mandalorians? Doomed. Mira dies in a Heroic Sacrifice, Visas' planet is still dead, Czerka's still dicking around, and thanks to cut content, the HK droids still run rampant, causing war and strife across the galaxy. Oh yeah, and they kill the one person who was actively trying to stabilize the Republic. That's the good ending.
Doshin The Giant, surprisingly. The islanders construct the Tower of Babel, which blocks out the sun and causes the island to break apart. Doshin holds the tower up long enough to let the humans run, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere for them to go, and the entire island sinks into the sea while Sodoru contemplates the fact that he is dying. In the end, Doshin falls face-down dead into the water and becomes a new island.
Exmortis gives you a choice of two intensely depressing endings: having found out that you're actually the Hand of Repose, a prophesied living gateway for the Exmortis to return to Earth through, you can either decide to Screw Destiny and run for it, or give in and become the Hand. If you decide to run, you make it as far as the forest before being jumped by an Exmortis demon, whereupon you wake up exactly where you began the game, with no memory. And if you choose to give in, you're stuck watching your new masters obliterate the human race for the rest of your life. Either way, you're screwed.
Exmortis 2 is even worse. At the behest of a shadowy benefactor, you travel across a world ruled by the Exmortis, picking through abandoned houses for clues and getting scared shitless by ghosts, demons, and the bodies they left in their wake: at the end of it all, you get to put the Hand of Repose out of his/her misery and send every last Exmortis tumbling back into the Spirit Realm, freeing the human survivors from their reign of terror. And then you meet the shadow benefactor, who reveals that he's actually Lord Vlaew, the master of the Exmortis; apparently he wanted to avoid being betrayed by his own minions, and now that you've succeeded in removing the only creatures capable of killing him, he'll be able to rule the world as he sees fit. As if it couldn't get any worse, Vlaew congratulates you for your help and gives you a reward: a quick death. In fact, the only thing that stops this from being an outright Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending is the distinct possibility that there may be a sequel. And according to the creator's blog, when this sequel is eventually made... he plans to have the same protagonist from the second game be brought back from the brink with some sort of acquired power, out for revenge. He'll find a way to make it a downer, no doubt, but at least there's the possibility of great badass potential.
Prince of Persia (2008) has Elika dying, and the Prince screwing the world over to bring her back. It gets points for being a Sequel Hook, though, the game's 'proper' ending in the Epilogue DLC doesn't end things on a much better note. Namely, Elika hates the Prince for bringing her back and setting Ahriman free, soon nowhere will be safe from his touch and the Corruption, and after successfully navigating the Temple to the lands beyond that are (currently) untouched by Ahriman, Elika tells the Prince he can do what he likes and then abandons him to go find her missing people.
The indie adventure game the white chamber (sic) has several endings. Four of them result in Sarah dying, but both of them are all too easily avoidable. The other three... Holy fuck. You learn that Sarah, the person you've been playing as, murdered the entire crew just for the sake of getting the artefact's power, and she's been forced into a loop in order to redeem her sins. And that's part of both endings. The bad ending results in Sarah failing to redeem herself and being forced into the loop again, the worse ending ends with her being tormented by zombies, and the good ending? Not that much better. She redeems herself, the station explodes, but she's isolated on an island on the nearest planet. And the artefact is still around. Sure, you get Fanservice, but the music doesn't help either. Then again, there's the rather hilarious bonus ending, so does that even things out?
In the finale of Dead Space, it's revealed that Isaac's girlfriend had been dead (committed suicide to apparently avoid death via necromorph) since before the game began; and he was hallucinating her presence all the time. After finally managing to kill the hive mind and narrowly escape, Isaac replays Nicole's message and turns it off prior to her suicide. He's then attacked by undead Nicole (though again he may have been hallucinating). So the hero's dead or mad on the edge of space, the marker that was keeping the necromorphs at bay is apparently destroyed, and the Ishimura remains drifting in space, full of necromorphs (the kicker is that the Ishimura would've been destroyed, had it not been for Isaac fixing the fucking thing).
Isaac could very well have survived, too, even if it wasn't a hallucination. I mean, come on, he's survived far, far, far worse. Sure, he took his helmet off, but Necromorph-Nicole had apparently not even changed enough to grow blade-arms or the like — in fact, she was the only Necromorph whose original form you could really still identify, she was so little changed.
The real downer (and something most people forget) is the fact that the marker isn't the original marker. The marker in the game is one created by the Earth government from one discovered on Earth. So, even if Isaac had somehow been able to completely destroy the hive mind, all the necromorphs, and the marker itself, there would still be the original and maybe even more copies.
According to the Word of God, Issac was indeed suffering from a hallucination when attacked by the undead Nicole. However, the fate of the Ishimura is unknown, but the Marker is likely gone since the only Marker available was the one Issac faced and the government already finished their experiments with it. However, the necromorphs aren't gone and reappear in Dead Space 2, but on a much larger ship than the Ishimura, along with Isaac.
Dead Space: Extraction similarly ends on an ambiguous Downer Ending. McNeill, Weller, and Murdoch escape from the Ishimura, but at the end one of the characters (it's not shown who) turns into a Necromorph and attacks Murdoch.
Dead Space 2: Severed eventually answered which one turned into a Necromorph with the return of only Weller and Murdoch. But then at the end of Severed, Weller is hit with a grenade and sacrifices himself to open the bay doors to let Murdoch escape.
Dead Space 3: Awakened takes the cake. The main game had the first hopeful ending in the franchise, with Isaac appearing to sacrifice himself to stop the Moon from completing. While Awakened shows that he and Carver survived, the rest of the Brother Moons have awakened, and they fail to stop them or get ahead of them to Earth, and they've already begun to attack the planet, ending with one of the Brethren Moons looming over their ship before the credits roll.
Condemned: Criminal Origins ends with Ethan Thomas managing to defeat the apparent source of the city's madness (a demon-ish entity with lots of metal implanted in its skin); but as he and Malcolm are driving away, Ethan realizes that Malcolm's nephew, Leland aka SKX, is still alive and locked up in the back of Malcolm's car. Ethan can either choose to take his revenge on SKX for ruining his life or have mercy; but SKX does take a bullet on his head, while more of the metallic freaks are seen. Ethan is seen later at a diner, his life still ruined, the one person he trusts admitting to wearing a wire, and apparently transforming into one of the freaks.
The sequel, Bloodshot, ends on a higher note, but still a pretty ominous one. Ethan, a burned-out alcoholic, manages to defeat the Oro, the cult that apparently included the metal-jawed demonish guys from the first game. He and two friends escape, and apparently all is happy. Except it's revealed that the President of the United States is a member of the Oro. And SKX? He survived his gunshot, killed his Uncle, and is accepted into Oro-dom, including all that cool metal dentistry.
It is possible if you have the right amount of hidden stats for you to be merely imprisoned and have a lot of people come to agree with your ideas. And in some of the shaper endings, it's possible for them to have a reform of their code that allows more of an amnesty for Serviles.
Even if you force a stalemate (which is the canon ending), Geneforge 5 reveals that the Unbound stopped keeping the peace and started to wreck the world again anyway. The victory that the PC had been imprisoned for still ended up making everything worse in the end.
The majority of endings in the Geneforge series are downer endings to some degree. There are very few good ones, and they're typically hard to get.
The ending of La-Mulana can be seen as this. Mother is unable to return to the heavens. All that can be given to her is the peace of death, in the form of the player. Not to mention Lemeza finally gets the treasure, and the power to create life, but in the end, his father steals it from him.La-Mulana 2's backstory seals the deal on Lemeza's end via Harsher in Hindsight: yeah, he saved humanity and all, but he also destroyed a World Heritage Site and the public doesn't believe his reasoning, so he's a wanted criminal.
The ending of Robotech Battlecry: The game is narrated by your character. At the end of the next-to-last mission, the Zentradi ship husk that acts as the backdrop for the fight suddenly engages a space-fold, taking the enemy fleet and you... to Saturn. The last mission is in space, where you finally kill the Big Bad. And then you find out that all of your narration is just your character's final minutes, recording how he got there as he runs out of oxygen.
Heaven's Feel "short" Ending has Shiro defeating Saber Alter with his Deadly Upgrade, but his mind is destroyed. And Saber Alter can regenerate. There is also an even earlier ending where Sakura is in danger of becoming psychotic (from magical energy deprivation), forcing Shiro to choose between his ideals (saving the lives of others) and the one he loves (who potentially could go insane and kill many people and, although unknown to Shirou or even her, already has killed many people whilst unconsciously walking around the town looking for magical energy). If the player chooses the ideals, Sakura's death emotionally unsettled Rin; it is implied that the War ends with Shiro, having become another Emiya Kiritsugu, killing all the remaining Masters (including Ilya and Rin) and destroying the Grail, ending up a broken person, with no emotions, and having killed everyone he cares for. Really, most of the longer and more complex Bad Ends can be considered Downer Endings, considering that the story takes place in a Multiverse.
Whilst most of the (actual) endings to the game are bittersweet, the Normal End of the Heaven's Feel route is truly heartbreaking and tragic. Shirou Emiya performs a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the Holy Grail. The presentation alone tugs at the heartstrings, but then the game continues afterwards, switching instead to the perspective of Sakura Matou (Shirou's love interest from this route). We are treated to her desperately looking for Shirou before she breaks down and cries, realizing that he's gone. Years pass as she awaits faithfully for his return, which never comes.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is a downer as it gets. The game ends with your entire squad except Morales and possibly Stokes killed, and Alma is still free and running about. Also, Alma rapes you.
Killzone 3 has a mixed ending wherein Stahl is escaping Sev and the ISA after an orbital battle, so the obvious solution is to drop a nuke on his now in-atmosphere ship which sets off an explosion that sweeps the entire planet. Cut to the protagonists noting that no more comms traffic - military OR civilian - is coming from the planet, and Sev openly wondering how many people were down there. During the credits, a scene is shown of some Helghast soldiers opening some kind of pod claiming 'We've found him'.
The Unreal series had a habit of using these:
Unreal: you're stuck in an escape pod with little hope of rescue.
Unreal II: you're stuck in an escape pod with little hope of rescue and your crew is dead.
Unreal Championship had your character getting locked in one of the tubes on an arena, and then being shot by errant fire.
Unreal Tournament III: Akasha is dead, but so is Reaper's entire squad, except for Reaper himself. The last thing we see is Reaper, surrounded, about to fight his way out or die trying. Cut to black. Even if he succeeds, how the hell is he getting home?
Another World (aka Out Of This World) ends with otherworldlyresearcher Lester Chaykin unconscious, after being injured while escaping from enemy troops. This could also wind up under No Ending or maybe a cliffhanger, since nothing is ever finalized, but Lester's alien buddy shows up to carry him off into the sky to destinations unknown, leading to the sequel. It gets more depressing in the Mega CD sequel, Heart of the Alien. Lester never gets back home and is in fact killed by one of the evil aliens, forcing Buddy to cremate Lester's body at the end.
In the Visual NovelEver17, some of the GOOD endings are Downer Endings!]] The worst being Tsugumi's Good Ending: Tsugumi and the protagonist, Takeshi, are able to get out of Lemu before it implodes upon itself, thanks to a tiny submarine that will propel itself to the surface, where rescuers are waiting. Partway through the journey, it breaks and begins to sink again...breaking underneath fifty feet of water. Takeshi manages to lock Tsugumi into one section of the sub, and disconnects the part that he's in so that the lighter weight will carry her to the surface. Takeshi sinks to the bottom of the ocean and drowns, while Tsugumi floats to safety, pounding on the glass window, screaming and crying to Takeshi that she doesn't want him to die. Sora's ending is just as bad.
For such a relaxing game, Dream Chronicles sure has some sad endings. The first one ends with the heroine being whisked to a magical prison, and the second ends with her getting amnesia and forgetting her husband and child.
In both the Playstation and DS re-releases of Chrono Trigger, an additional cutscene was added post-credits in which, despite saving the entire world, the heroes' home kingdom is burned to the ground and the citizens are killed. The whereabouts of the heroes is left ambiguous. The sequel, Chrono Cross, implies they were also killed, as they are only seen as ghosts. To top it off. some of the characters you can play as are implied to have had a role in the incident.
In Chrono Cross, the Dragon god ending is stunningly bleak; it implies that the dragon god, in alliance with the demi-humans and dwarves, killed all the humans on El Nido, Serge and friends included. The game ends showing Harley walk through Serge's hometown, being looted and occupied by the non-humans, as she stops at the grave his alternate-self had been buried at. She lays flowers at his grave and says farewell, cue credits.
In Operation Flashpoint, the main character, David Armstrong, gets sent to a desolate island in the middle of nowhere, has his all friends massacred by the Soviets (twice), and generally has a pretty awful experience. The game's epilogue, however, states that the entire incident between the US and USSR was passed off by Moscow and Washington as a "misunderstanding", the Everon War being given a small footnote in an obscure military history book. Seems all his friends died for nothing in the end, and were completely forgotten.
In Army Men: Sarge's War, the game ends with pretty much every green soldier except Sarge and a few other minor grunts dead. It doesn't help that most fans consider this to be the last game in the series and all others as In Name Only. "War is hell, and hell is for heroes".
After winning the Revenge of the King game in Kirby Super Star Ultra, instead of showing Kirby's victory, the ending cinematic shows a defeated, depressed King Dedede walking a lonely road. At least his Waddle Dee friends come one by one to walk beside him. Yes, the game actually makes you feel guilty for winning, although seeing a Downer Ending for your opponent might be satisfying.
The end of Kirby's Dreamland sees Dedede flung from his castle and falling to the ground. You're then shown the code for the "hard mode game". Completing that shows Dedede thrown to land on his head. He then runs around the screen crying in pain before collapsing. It's a wonder he ever "plays" with Kirby ever again.
Punch-Out!! for the Wii has one, and it's terribly depressing. If Little Mac loses 3 matches in the mode "Mac's Last Stand", he will keep his word in retiring from boxing for good. The game then shows Doc Louis in a room that shows various photos of Little Mac's victories over the boxers he faced. Doc Louis then rings the bell on the bike that was Little Mac's. If that wasn't enough, Doc Louis looks up at a photo of him and Mac during their training, saying to himself that he is proud of Mac. And just to make sure that the point is driven home, players cannot play the career section in their profile since it is literally "retired."
Makoto's route in Kanon. The only bright spot to Yuuichi feeling terribly heartbroken is that his new friend and he will get better. Eventually. It's bad enough that it almost seems nicer to Makoto if she's just allowed to vanish and presumably die of exposure like in the other routes. Strangely enough, while succeeding in that route leads to a downer ending, failing a route doesn't lead to a It's a Wonderful Failure. No matter how far you get in a girl's scenario except Shiori's and sort of Ayu's, if you fail to trip enough flags, it just sends you to an epilogue where he muses that life is pretty ordinary, and he'll have new memories to compensate for his missing old ones. Fail to reunite Shiori and Kaori and, after Shiori leaves you, he attends the new school year and doesn't see her name on the rosters. Fail to chase after Ayu and he'll comment in the epilogue that he never saw her after that. However, in both cases, it's not completely a downer in that he holds onto the belief that he'll see them again next winter.
Diablo. The first game starts with the noble king being corrupted and his kingdom destroyed. Then you have to kill the undead king, plus demons are killing people, and the prince has been kidnapped. After 16 annoying levels of demon slaying, you finally make it to the boss and beat him... you find out that the kidnapped prince you were tasked to find and rescue was Diablo all this time, and you just killed him. To top it off, you became Diablo and took his place, bringing the world back to the way it was when it started and making your whole quest pointless.
Diablo II: Diablo is dead, yay! And then the last cinematic plays, and it turns out the being Marius was talking to the entire time was not the Archangel Tyrael, but the last Prime Evil, Baal, who just got back his own soulstone and is about to wreak havoc.
The Lord of Destruction expansion: Baal is dead, yay! But the worldstone is unstable and must be destroyed. Tyrael says there's no telling what will happen next. In the next game, we find out that one of the effects was that Mount Arreat has been reduced to a smoldering crater.
Saints Row ends with your character supposedly dying in a boat explosion, shortly after reaching his goal of helping his gang take over the entire city. To make matters worse, in the second game, you learn that one of your best friends organized the whole thing. Also, in Saints Row: The Third, where you get to choose between two endings — one of them involves letting two of the player character's friends die in a conspiracy plot, intended to make the Saints appear as terrorists. However, this is more of a Bittersweet Ending, as the Saints return to their old ways (from the second game), and declare Steelport an independent state.
In the Hunt has a very nasty variation of Multiple Endings: In the first, you fail to escape the enemy HQ and are destroyed along with it, in the second, you become the new leader of the evil organization you were trying to destroy throughout the entire game, and in the third, both players sink to the bottom of the sea endlessly. To get the Golden Ending, you have to reach the final form of the final boss on more than one credit.
Hostile Waters has a pretty hard-hitting ending. In the final mission, after much (and I mean much) effort, your ship, converted into a makeshift nuke, destroys a structure designed to launch genetically engineered alien creatures into space. It Makes Sense in Context. Anyway, in the credits, you and your crew go down with the ship. The ship's nanotech creation engine hits the ocean floor with the alien launch platform, which promptly beings to assimilate it. As if this weren't bad enough, they show that the aliens managed to get into space anyway. Congrats, humanity's last weapon was sacrified for basically nothing except spare time (which the humans won't use because they think they've won), and if those aliens decide they want to come back home, the human race is fucked.
The first chapter of Suika ends with Itsuki realizing she's dead, disappearing and leaving Akira all alone. His personality is completely broken and when he finally meets Sayo again, the girl they both thought was really dead, he refuses to introduce himself and runs away. Both the endings of the third chapter are also disturbing. Yoshikazu either ends up with the extremely clingy, manipulative Touko or gets stabbed to death by Akane, who hooks up with Touko instead after apparently hypnotizing her.
The games of Shadow Hearts series each have a "good ending" and a "bad ending":
In the first game, the bad ending is that Alice dies. This isn't the canon ending.
In the second game, the bad ending has Yuri's memories and being totally destroyed by the Holy Mistletoe, leaving him a shadow of his former self. The "good ending" has him die.
In the bad ending for the third game From the New World, Shania becomes completely corrupted by Malice, and looks more than ready to use it to cause havoc.
In Red Dead Redemption, after struggling across New Austin and Mexico to safeguard his family's future, John Marston sacrifices himself in a futile stand off with the US Army, buying just enough time for his wife and son to escape impending slaughter. In the same climactic battle, Uncle, another member of the Marston family, gives his life, and three years later, Abigail, John's wife, dies. Following his mother's death, (the adult) John "Jack" Marston Jr seeks out, duels, and kills the man who forced his father's execution, Edgar Ross. Satisfying as this revenge might at first sound, it means that Jack has taken up the very lifestyle that his father was trying to protect him from.
In Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, the game world is ravaged by the undead. John risks everything to return a cursed mask to an Aztec burial site to stop the plague. Shortly thereafter, he dies as predicted by the main game, and Seth steals the mask again, restarting the Zombie Apocalypse. And Then John Was a Zombie, but completely unintelligible, with no family, and no way to stop the current apocalypse.
All three endings of the visual novel Saya no Uta can be considered downers. One has Fuminori's brain returned to normal, only for him to be locked up and separated from Saya forever. In the next, Saya "blooms" and begins to transform the entire world into her own nightmarish species. Finally, the last ending kills off all but one major character, who's gone half-insane and will very likely commit suicide one day soon.
Zero's ending in Mega Man X5, which was originally intended as the Grand Finale of the story. Though having finally defeated Sigma for good, Zero himself is mortally wounded in process, and as he dies, he sees the flashback of his evil past (of Dr. Wily), as well as the memory of his deceased girlfriend Iris, whom he could never meet again. Left behind, X, who is miraculously healed after a severe injury like Zero's, gets a Bittersweet Ending where he fights on without Zero - or a No Ending / Bad Ending where X completely loses his memory of Zero and all attempts to restore it (or at least re-input data about Zero) fails. In the post X5 continuity, the above was more or less RetConned, but there is still his eventual fateful sealing in the Elf Wars. One century later, Zero would come back to life in Mega Man Zero. Only to die again in a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Zero 4. Made worse by Ciel running off, then breaking down and weeping as the fragments of Ragnarok (and Zero) appear as shooting stars during the credits.
Two of the three endings to BioShock have the protagonist slaughter the Little Sisters and lead an army of splicers to take over the surface world. Likewise, it applies for two of the four endings to BioShock 2, where the protagonist turns Eleanor Lamb into a bloody, cynical monster who only cares about her own survival at the costs of others' lives.
Singularity. Three Endings to choose from, NONE of which see the "real" timeline restored and ALL of which see the USSR effectively dominate the world using the results of the Katorga experiment, with the only difference being in the exact details of said domination. No Fourth Option. Pick your poison, guv'ner.
In Dreamweb, the PC gets shot to pieces by the cops even if he manages to stop the plot to control the Dreamweb itself. Heroes don't last long in this cyberpunk universe.
Divinity II: Ego Draconis has a major one. You fight the Big Bad...only for him to effortlessly trounce you and seal you in diamond. He then mockingly reveals that your only ally is actually his girlfriend and has been stringing you along for his plot to free himself all along. Literally everything you've done throughout the entire game was all in the villain's benefit. The villain and his girlfriend then leave you stuck in diamond to conquer the world, but not before making it so you can watch them do it. The game ends with the hero being unable to do anything but watch as the villain rules the world with an iron fist, forever, and forced to "live" with the knowledge that it's all their fault. Thankfully rectified to an extent by the expansion, Divinity II: Flames of Vengeance. You escape your prison with the help of a demon, save Aleroth from Damian's forces, kill the demon when he tries to backstab you, and finally, finally enact vengeance/justice on Ygerna, Damien's aforementioned girlfriend who strung you along like a puppet the entirety of Ego Draconis. And to top it all off, you manage to save Lucian the Divine Hero while you're at it, fully restoring the honor of your disgraced order. The only negative aspect of this is that Damien himself is still alive and scheming, none too pleased about his girlfriend's (second!) death.
The other games didn't exactly end well either. The first game seems happy enough in that The Divine kills the villain and saves the young child the villain was going to use for his plans, but as veterans will know, this infant would become Damien, the Big Bad of the entire series. Not only that, but the Divine's victories ultimately come to nothing as he is ultimately betrayed and murdered by the Dragons.
Beyond Divinity ends with the sarcastic Death Knight, your only companion and ally throughout the game, revealing that he is in fact Damien himself. Despite your best efforts, he escapes to plot his scheme for 2, leaving your character to wonder just what the hell they even managed to accomplish. The ending becomes even worse when you consider that — if certain characters in the game are to be believed — you could have saved the entire world just by dying, literally at the beginning of the game! See, at that point, Damien was still soul-linked to you, thus your death would be his as well, thus he would never leave his little personal dungeon, thus, no threat... Arrgh!
The Command & Conquer series is quite actually prone to this. In Tiberian Dawn, even if GDI wins (which is the canonical ending), the world is still devastated from the war, and Tiberium infestation will only grow into the years ahead. The Nod ending could be seen as the intro before the GDI campaign - and no matter what, something in the world is getting levelled by that Ion Cannon.
Red Alert is even worse. Soviets ending - they control all of Europe, only for you to become Premier by assassination from a familiar figure. Allies win, they comb through Moscow, with General Stavros personally crushing Stalin with large debris.
Red Alert 2's Soviet ending is downer in a way. You are Premier of the world, but Yuri still apparently lives. Yuri's Revenge has a crapsack beginning, but not end.
Surprisingly, the canon ending to another installment, Tiberian Twilight, pretty much averts this. While there will be losers in the struggle, the Earth, which seemed on the brink of succumbing to Tiberium, is still a mess, but with the uneasy cooperation between the GDI and Kane (who eventually leaves the Earth on his own terms), Humanity regains control, and Earth now has a fighting chance again.
Every single ending in Psychic Force is really depressing if you like the word 'justice to the world'. Characters suffer/fail in their mission and/or get killed, the world just got worse... (Except probably Wendy in the sequel, which is more or less aBittersweetEnding).
Choose either ending of the Demon Path of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Having the protagonist sealed in the Onyx Blade is the lesser of two evils, mind you.
Resistance 2 plays this extremely straight. The game ends with the main protagonist Nathan Hale finishing his transformation into a Chimera and even repeats the very first line you hear from the game'sBig Bad. You also see a large mysterious Chimeran object or building in the background and many Chimeran air-crafts off in the distance. Joe Capelli then tells Hale "I'm sorry sir. It was an honor." (a complete change from his earlier attitude towards him) and shoots Hale in the head, killing him. The entire scene also implies that the Chimera have defeated the human race, which the setting for Resistance 3 confirms.
Armored Core is full of this, but probably the best example is in for Answer. One of the possible endings has you killing 100 million people, and when the remaining Lynx's come to take you out, you destroy them, thus leaving the biggest monster in history running amok.
The campaign in the original Dawn of War ends with the Blood Ravens Imperial Space Marines and their Eldar allies victorious over Sindri Myr and the Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines, only to have Blood Ravens Captain Gabriel Angelos smash the stone imprisoning the demon lord in the belief that this would destroy the demon forever. Only to learn, of course, that because so much blood had been shed in the war for Tartarus, the demon had actually been set free by smashing the stone. Since this is a Warhammer 40,000 game, this is hardly surprising.
While Dirge of Cerberus itself has a happy ending, its online multiplayer mode certainly does not. The nameless Deepground soldier PC defeats the tyrannical Restricter, but with his last breath, he lashes out at her, fatally wounding her. As she dies, the Tsviets appear and tell her that the entire time they were tricking her into killing the Restricter so they could commence their own plans for world conquest. The game ends with the camera showing the Tsviets laughing at their triumph from the PC's point of view as the screen slowly fades to black as she slowly bleeds out. And her dead little sister, whose death is what spurned her to fight against the Restricter? She never existed. The Tsviets implanted the nameless soldier with Fake Memories so they could more easily control her.
Dragon Age II, which somehow manages to be even Darker and Edgier than the first game, takes this trope and rides it off a cliff. In the last hour or so of the game, the real plot kicks in, in which there's a massive escalation of the game-long tensions between Kirkwall's mages and their templar oppressors. Both sides are hopelessly corrupt and have a batshit crazy leader, despite a handful of good people in the rank and file. No matter what you do, any parties that could help settle the dispute peacefully are systematically elminated, the final straw being Grand Cleric Elthina's assassination by Anders when he blows up the Chantry. Regardless of which side Hawke picks, s/he will be betrayed by Anders, and the game will end in a continent-wide war between the mages and the templars. Hawke goes on the lam, eventually separated from all his/her friends (except the love interest, if any), and has disappeared along with the Warden from Origins. Loose threads insinuate that Ferelden is on the cusp of another war with Orlais after being weakened by the Blight, that the Tevinter Imperium is on its way back to being the power that it was and they're still as brutal and insane as before, the war between the mages and templars appears to be set to spread across the world, and it's not looking good for anyone. Except Flemeth. Which really means the world's screwed.
In Air Force Delta Strike, you have Jamie's ending, which is a Heroic Sacrifice, allowing the rest of the Delta Squadron to launch into space. This comes on the heels of his concerted efforts to learn jet operations just so he could join them in the space combat phase of the game.
The Legend of Spyro trilogy: The second game had a rather surprising one that clearly indicated to the player this series wasn't going to be all about happy endings. Realizing that he can't win, rather than fighting Malefor and his legions, Spyro opts to protect himself and his two present allies, and let the world fall into ruin around him, only emerging from stasis years later, at the start of the next game. A game which averted its own downer ending at the last second. Spyro and Cynder appear to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save the planet, but after the credits it's revealed they're still alive, somewhere. Still possibly a downer though, as Ignitus is dead or at least removed from the world, the Chronicler is dead and gone, the world is still in bad shape, and Sparx, Spyro's brother, partner, and best friend, may never see him again.
Phantasy Star II: The End of the Lost Age. The subtitle isn't there just for kicks: sure, you destroy Mother Brain and save the human population of Motavia. But Mother Brain destroys Palm in the midgame (along with the majority of the Algol system's population), your destruction of Mother Brain also destroys the technological base that Algol's society depends upon, the original problem that set you off on your quest (biomonsters being released on Motavia) is still unsolved (and will still be unsolved a thousand years later), and the ending has you killing the last survivors of Earth, possibly dying in the process. This is not a happy story.
One of the endings of No More Heroes: if Travis Touchdown doesn't get all the beam katana upgrades, he will end the game with an assassin ready to murder him in his own apartment while he's on the toilet, which immediately cuts to the closing credits. The other, canonical ending plays out the same way, except that Henry kills the assassin and you'll end up fighting him. And in the sequel, it is implied that they stick together
Vexx: Unable to get back through the portal after defeating Dark Yabu, Vexx throws the staff through, successfully closing the rift and thus saving Astara, but also trapping himself in the shadow realm. He is last seen roaming the desolate, wraith-infested lands.
You get these if you die in a wave in Portal Defenders. Dying in wave 3 might count as a Bittersweet Ending, though, because even though you die, the enemies all end up killing each other anyways.
Rule of Rose: It is revealed that Jennifer is the sole survivor of an airship crash, and the entire game was her literally reliving her traumatic childhood memories. Everyone else, including her beloved dog Brown, is actually dead.
Most of the endings in Kara no Shoujo are pretty terrible, especially if you count the Bad Ends, which have extensive stories. There are only two endings that really qualify as bittersweet.
In the Flash game Trick-or-Treat Adventure, the protagonist goes great lengths to get his candy...only to die from an undiagnosed case of diabetes.
In the Flash game Super Ryucopter, the heroes save the world from a bunch of monsters, only to die from crashing into the moon.
The ending of Killer7, for the first time in the entire game, presents players with a choice. Depending on their selection, either 1) the United States will nuke Japan off the face of the earth, or 2) Japan will launch an attack on the US, starting World War III. Either way, 100 years later Harman and Kun Lan will begin their battle all over again and it is implied that China becomes the world's next great superpower.
In the web game Heir, based on Shadow of the Colossus, after beating chapter three, a cutscene plays in which the King kills the Pale Man, rather than making him his heir, as promised.
RaymanRaving Rabbids: Rayman escapes, but the many baby Globoxes are still captives of the sinister yet phenomenally stupid rabbits, and then Rayman's attempt to go back and rescue them is brought to an abrupt halt when he gets stuck in the hole.
Haunting Ground's worst possible ending involves the death of Fiona's only companion, Hewie, and Riccardo successfully capturing and impregnating her, which drives her completely insane.
Project Zomboid has no rescue or cure to the zombie plague. The developers repetitively stated that the point of the game is to show how you've died, but no matter what, you will die.
The Darkness ends with Jackie killing his Uncle Paulie for Jenny's death, but by doing so, the titular entity has taken him over completely. There's worse to come in the sequel when Jackie goes to Hell to save Jenny's soul from the Darkness. But in doing so, the Angelus has taken her over and leaves him and the Darkness behind.Way to go, Jackie.
Guns of Icarus ends with the death of the main character and the destruction of the eponymous aircraft.
In The Binding of Isaac, the ending where you defeat Satan in Sheol has your character climbing into a chest and locking himself in.
The ending after defeating Isaac in Cathedral where Isaac reads an ambiguous book that is likely a bible, sees in the mirror that he is actually demonic, and gazes sadly at the chest which brought him home.
A later ending, after defeating ??? in The Chest, wherein a series of photographs within the chest reveal the story of Isaac's lifetime, going through the loss of his sister (or possibly Isaac dressing up, it's not clear if the character in question is Isaac or not), his parents' divorce, and his mother's wrath, before depicting his own corruption.
The Streets of Rage 3 route in Streets of Rage Remake ends badly no matter what you do. If you fail to beat Shiva before the bomb goes off, you and him die, along with a fair portion of the city destroyed as well. If you beat him in time, the bomb still goes off and destroys a portion of the city, with our heroes watching the destruction from afar. Disarming the bomb and beating Shiva results in Mr. X escaping to wreak havoc another day.
Every ending but the true ending in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors ends with everyone dying, killing each other or having one character go Ax Crazy. The Coffin ending is the worst, just a cockblock to the true ending if you forgot to get the Safe ending. Even the true ending can be seen as bittersweet, since June and Santa played a role in the deaths of three people. Granted, Ace killed two of them, but the 9th man was killed by his bomb, which could be connected back to "Zero." Thus, two characters are fugitives and Junpei may never get a chance to spend a happy life with June because she is on the run with her accomplice. Also, per Word of God, it's heavily suggested that Junpei never does find June, and spends the rest of his life pursuing her. Until the events of Virtue's Last Reward when both of them are old. Also, in its sequel Virtue's Last Reward, nearly every ending. The game includes a number of outright bad endings that give you a game over screen. It also includes at least 10 "locks" that have a role similar to the Coffin Ending of the first game... these endings force you to come back after learning something somewhere else. Even the non game-over endings tend to have things like the entire complex exploding, people dying of the Radical-6 virus, bracelets injecting you with chemicals that kill you, escaping out into a blank, featureless desert.... However, the final few endings are even bigger downer endings, as you discover that nearly the entire population of Earth was killed off by the Radical-6 virus and the detonation of the anti-matter reactors. However, Phi's ending includes a Sequel Hook that implies you may be able to fix things in the next game.
The bad ending to the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. You fail to rescue Tails from Robotnik, who gets away scot-free. Some even speculate he killed tails shortly afterwards. The ending shows Sonic running in a darker environment than what is shown in the best ending until the credits end, showing Sonic looking up in the sky, seeing Tails' sillouhette.
Somari's ending is implied to be this, given that Dr. Robotnik has all of the chaos emeralds. As they only appear in the ending and there's no way to collect them in game,Failure is the Only Option.
Mia's route in Duel Savior Destiny has three different endings, technically: A, B and C. C is an early ending that basically means 'way to fail at scoring the other heroines, player' while B is a mandatory ending required before you can see the good ending A. In it, Taiga accidentally kills his sister and commits suicide. Of course, everyone else turns out well enough, but since the main character still failed at his one goal, it still puts us right here.
The finale of the second game in the Arc The Lad series (which is more of a continuation of the first game than a sequel) gives us the death of Arc and Kukuru, and the utter annihilation of the world itself. Elc puts it best.
Elc: It just makes me wonder what we were fighting for. Arc died, and for what? So we could inherit this desolate and hopeless future? We didn't stop the world from ending, we survived it.
RayStorm's Extra Mode seems to be a Bittersweet Endingdue to the enemy forces and their billions of inhabitants being destroyed by having their space colony dropped into the sun, but if you're playing on the 13-Ship Mode, the ending goes From Bad to Worse, as you get this ending text after the end credits:
Earth and Secilia have vanished. Likewise, those that developed the "RAY" technology and all evidence of its existence have been wiped away. No record of R-GRAY craft was found, and no R-GRAY craft has ever returned.
Several of Dai Ou Jou's endings include Shotia's memory is deleted bit by bit until the last memories in her are of her human days and she smiles fondly of them as they go too, and Exy goes crazy and chokes her operator to death while crying blood, then goes and does things leading to Dai Fukkatsu.
Dai Fukkatsu has probably the worst of them all, as not only is your carrier destroyed by Colonel Longhena before the True Final Boss fight, but when you return to the present after defeating Hibachi, you find that while you had tried to prevent the Blissful Death Wars from happening, Next EXY tried to do the same by going back in time by destroying the DonPachi Corps, but she ends up causing it. Then, in the present, Longhena not only leads the war, but he also ends becoming the new leader of DonPachi as General Longhena. Because of this, the entire plot of DFK was absolutely pointless.
In Border Down, the only difference between the 6-D ending and the level 6 Nonstandard Game Over is Frank's brain got fried by the RAIN system and left in a vegetative state. 6-C is a little more hopeful; Frank's at least somewhat back in a properly conscious state, although the immediate terraforming is emphatically not going to work out. Also, it seems Frank's willing to give RAIN another go. Considering that he successfully wiped out the Earth conspirators' own version of Antares, and he has a better grip of what RAIN does... the question is whether the conspirators can still control RAIN's output.
The ending of Assassin's Creed III. Earth may have been saved from the worst of the solar flare damage, but Juno and others like her have been released into the world with the desire to enslave all of humanity. Oh, and Desmond, the hero, is dead, forced to choose between this future and one even worse (a post-apocalyptic nightmare in which he brings the survivors back with the words of peace and warning, only for the words to be twisted into a Religion of Evil by his successors. Additionally, Connor's ending is also at the very least bittersweet. His mentor, Achilles Davenport, is dead. His people have been forced off their land by the new American government, which has utterly forgotten Connor's contribution to the Revolution. In the epilogue, Connor also notes that, while the British may have been driven off, there is still plenty of injustice (e.g. slavery) in these lands. And don't forget the words that keep haunting Connor no matter what he does:
Connor: It is not enough!
Several characters: It never is.
Drawn to Life had a sad ending, but it's taken Up to Eleven and then some in its sequel, to the point where 5th Cell rereleased it with a lighter, happier ending.
The end of Spec Ops: The Line.Everyone in Dubai is doomed to a slow painful death by dehydration, both Lugo and Adams are killed (along with basically every named character in the game), and depending on the ending you pick: Walker has become a shellshocked mess wandering aimlessly in the desert; Walker is shot dead trying to kill a rescue squad; Walker is detained and probably court-martialed/commited to an asylum; or, failing the above, Walker has shot himself in despair. As a bonus, the truth of what happened in Dubai might still get out, causing the entire Middle East to declare war on the US and most likely win.
On the other hand, the loading screens before before the epilogue implies that Dubai is hit by a rainstorm, meaning that the survivors finally catch a bit of a break and get a chance to survive until the help arrives. As for the danger of an Middle East/US War? That scenario was purported to the point of obsession by Agent Riggs, and he was implied to be just as delusional as Walker.
Tenchu 2 ends bad whether you lose or win the final mission if you play as Tatsumaru.
OFF has two endings, and both are these, the only difference being in one, only the shopkeeper Zacharie, the Judge, and MAYBE a drugged-out Sugar survive, and in the other absolutely nothing remains, killed at the heavy end of the Batter's bat, and whatever remained done in when the switch is pulled.
BlazBlue. The character-specific story modes all have Bad Endings which usually result with the character dying or suffering a Fate Worse than Death, or the bad guys achieving their objectives, or the character otherwise being put in a hopeless situation. Fortunately, thanks to the "Groundhog Day" Loop, the bad endings don't stick.
The first game ends with all characters failing to make much of a difference in Rachel and Hazama's Cosmic Chess Game. The only exception to this is Arakune and Bang, but they're not in much place to change much to begin with.
If you press A when The Halloween Hack narrator tells you to kill the monster. Even though Dr. Andonuts was going to die in the "good" ending anyway, the game mocks you for being a puppet. That, and Varik was implied to have died too.
The normal mode ending of Super House of Dead Ninjas.Nintai defeats the One Armed Ninja and Abarghus, only for Abarghus' spirit to possess her when she tries to leave the tower. The game ends with Abarghus mockingly asking Nintai if she truly thought she could just leave his tower as mouths and tentacles erupt from her body.
Averted in the hard mode ending, where Nintai manages to banish Abarghus for good as well as redeem the One Armed Ninja.
The Fallout: New VegasGame ModDeimos. Despite your best efforts, the Deimos project is unsalvageable, and Mitchell and Matthews end up starving to death in the Nevada 9 Bunker. You ultimately accomplish nothing, and to top it all off, you don't even get a reward besides the quest completion XP. Pretty much the only positive aspect of the ending is that Mitchell's wife and son managed to survive the Great War, as the initial quest giver for the mod turns out to be their descendant, having been instructed to give the Deimos access codes to the Courier in order to fulfill the Stable Time Loop.
You do get a reward, though. By going back to the room with the ammunition supplier after completing the mod, the fence gate which was previously [INACCESSIBLE] will be unlocked, giving you access to, amidst some mid to high-level weaponry, the Deimos Cannon Prototype, a strengthened version of the vanilla's game Tesla Cannon.
Disgaea 2actually makes you WORK for your bad ending. By default, the good ending will play wherein Rozalin, remembering her life as Zenon, will try to intimidate Adell with a lightning bolt, but Adell refuses to dodge it and takes it head on, before climbing the stairs and giving her a hug, and finally a kiss to show he trusts her. In the Worst ending, she decides to fight Adell, which leads to a True Final Boss fight with level 2000 Rozalin (compared to Fake Zenon who was level 90 about 5 minutes before this fight), and Adell kills her. This causes Adell to feel unbearably guilty, but Rozalin possesses Adell immediatelly, causing him to brutally murder his siblings (and probably Etna and Yukimaru). Credits roll with a daunting picture of a monstrous Adell in the back, while sad music plays. In order to even unlock this ending, you must a) collect 99 felonies on Adell, b), kill 100 teammates with friendly fire, c) kill Rozalin 10 times, and then d), beat the final boss. This requires an extra several tens of hours of gameplay. In contrast, to get the good ending, just beat the game normally without going out of your way to do all of that.
In chapter zero, you free the Forgotten to possess you and terrorize the countryside.
In chapter one, you beat the Forgotten's minions, only to get possessed by her.
Final Fantasy Adventure, unusually for a Game Boy Game (And a 1990s game at tat!) has this. Most people assumed that the hero would get the girl as usual, but as it turns out he doesn't... since she has to become the Mana tree, after Julius had drained all of it. The Girl becomes the mana tree, and the Boy is the last guardian of the Mana tree. Since both are the last of their kind, all they did was just buy the world some more time. This accompanies with some of the saddest music possible on the game boy.
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is equal parts Downer Ending and Wham. After Strike Team Lightning successfully kills the Ravager Queen and activates the bomb, they are informed by Ops that they are acceptable losses on the mission. Their Ops contact refuses to give up on them, and gives them coordinates towards a possible escape route, leading to the mother of all Boss Rushes, forcing the squad to take on all the game's previous bosses more or less simultaneously, with new bosses (including 2 Hector IIs) appearing to fill in as other ones are wiped out, all while an alien mothership strafes the area with laser fire. All that seems for nothing, as the escape route is blocked, but then a dropship pilot from earlier missions arrives to ferry the team out. At the very last second, however, the ship takes a hit, can't escape the bomb in time, and the whole squad is killed when the bomb goes off. The last lines in the game are your Ops contact yelling for you over the radio. Mission over, game over.
Kraven Manor. You manage to defeat William Kraven by destroying the orbs binding his soul and the souls of his victims to the mannequins and seemingly condemn Kraven to hell, but just before you can flee the burning manor you're struck by a piece of debris and knocked out. When you awaken, you find yourself in Kraven's secret lab and discover that you yourself have become a mannequin, and when you look back up you see Kraven and two of his mannequin minions staring at you. Cue cut to black as your character screams in pure terror.