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Multiple Endings
aka: Bad Ending

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And there's sixteen more where these came from.

"That's how it could've happened... But how about this?"
Clue
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("Good Ending" redirects here. If you were looking for the manga series commonly known by that name, you'll find it under GE - Good Ending.)

Multiple Endings are the most commonly seen form of Story Branching in video games, used primarily to increase their Replay Value, especially visual novels, role playing games, Survival Horror, dating sims, and fighting games. Different strategies or levels of skill in play will result in different endings, rather than all leading to a single predetermined conclusion. Generally, multiple playthroughs are necessary to see all the content, and possibly to unravel certain mysteries. What determines the ending usually involves the path one takes through the game (which can be as simple as choices the game gives in the prompt or as complex as entire alternate levels), whether one completes the 100% Completion, how well one plays the game (generally, scoring high is good and using continues is bad), other characters' Relationship Values towards you (including the Alliance Meter), and/or how high the player got the Karma Meter. Sometimes there are dual-optimal endings depending on which side the player chose to be on. (These can include the Forces of Evil!) The most diverse examples are found in Visual Novels and Dating Sims, including but not limited to:

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  • The Standard End, which usually involves the least effort by the player. This is usually very short or unfulfilling, such as a blank staff roll, if the game is trying to push 100% Completion on you. Alternatively, it ends the story on a decently happy note, but leaves some massive plot threads hanging with minimal resolution.
  • The Good End, one or more character-specific endings on a positive note. Sometimes referred to as the Golden Ending (especially if the lesser options simply aren't that good). In dating sims, this is usually the one where the player character gets laid.
  • The True End, the primary plot ending of a game that has multiple endings. In many Dating Sims, this ending may not be achievable if other endings are not achieved yet. It basically forces the player to finish the game with the "Good End" in order to unlock the path of the true story. When it is still locked, trying to get the "True End" usually results in the "Standard End" or "Bad End" below. The "True End" usually reveals most if not everything that happened in the other storylines, while some events remain mysterious even when the "Good End" is achieved. The "True End" often overlaps with the Golden Ending, but not always. Also, don't be surprised if there's a True Final Boss at the end of this road.
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  • The Good+/Best End, where all the available content is opened up or shown. As the name implies, this is the best out of several possible "Good Ends", and almost always overlaps with the Golden Ending.
  • The variably-used Poor End, when the player makes a decision that prevents the story from progressing any further for obvious reasons, making this ending effectively a Non Standard Game Over.
  • The longer and genuinely Bad End, where the more devoted but failed gamer is rewarded with a more prolonged, but depressing and/or outright disturbing ending. See It's a Wonderful Failure. The phrase BAD END itself is an Iris Out-type meme, well-recognized in modern parody. Bad Ends are, paradoxically, sought out in certain dodgier video games.
  • The Joke End, perhaps the rarest of all: some games contain joke endings which are usually the most difficult to obtain, generally requiring the player to use some MacGuffin or play in a totally nonstandard way.

Some designers include truly "neutral" multiple ends, letting the player decide whether they're good or bad.

The major problem with Multiple Endings is that the sequel, should the developers decide to make one, obviously has to pick only one ending from which to continue the storyprobably one of the good ones. This invariably occurs in adaptations to other media, such as novels, comics, and television. Video games have the technical means to solve said problem with an Old Save Bonus, wherein the previous game's conclusion becomes the player's personal canon in the sequel. The other problem is that thanks to YouTube uploads, being able to view multiple endings no longer requires you to replay an entire game (perhaps in response to this, many games now have in-game rewards for getting different endings). Sometimes multiple endings require the player to do different actions or align themselves to different sides in order to see each ending, even if it means going against the main character's nature and goals to achieve it. This can make the story and characters look disjointed and confuse the player when they see the main character suddenly switching sides because of a few actions they did in a previous scene. When done poorly, having multiple endings can cause the player to have more questions than feel like the story is really resolved.

Occasionally, the Multiple Endings are also couched with a non-linear plot — in which case, it can become frustrating-verging-on-impossible to find any of the multiple endings, especially if there are multiple "threads" in the plot.

Multiple Endings are an effective way to avert Unstable Equilibrium. Instead of rewarding highly-skilled players with more power, reward them with less power, but give them a better ending if they can succeed. The opposite of Multiple Game Openings.

Contrast with Morton's Fork. Compare and contrast Multiple-Choice Future and Multiple-Choice Past.

As with all Ending Tropes, beware of spoilers.


Subtropes:


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The last few minutes of 5 Centimeters per Second present a number of images that can represent several different aspects of an ending. The "true" (i.e. final) one appears to be a Tear Jerker Esoteric Happy Ending, but it also presents a Downer Ending, a Happily Ever After, and a few shots of symbolic birds.
  • Kimi no Iru Machi: Alternative chapters 200 were published with anime volumes. They also serve as alternative endings with other heroines.
  • Fuuka Special Edition volume contains alternative endings for other heroines, much like Kimi no Iru Machi bonus chapters.
  • Several TV anime adaptations of the NeoRomance Dating Sim series achieved this by deliberately leaving the heroine's choice at the end ambiguous, and then packing the DVD release (usually only Limited Edition) with omake segments showing the possible outcomes, allowing the viewer to choose one of the pretty guys themselves instead of forcing a particular ending on them:
  • Possibly in a jab at Kirino's obsession with visual novels (and possibly to entice people to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray since only one aired), the first season of Oreimo has two endings. One where Kyousuke convinces Kirino to stay in Japan and the other where Kirino goes to the US to train in track and Kyousuke convinces her to come back.
  • Paradox Blue employs the trappings of video games to tell its story, including multiple endings, usually framed like a Non Standard Game Over. The first chapter of a story sets up a "paradox", a puzzle posed to the main characters by an angel, which they must solve for a boon or else they're likely to be killed. At the end of the chapter, the story then tells the reader to skip to various pages depending on whether they choose to solve the paradox themselves, let the characters do it, or give up. Giving up always leads to an apocalyptic bad ending where one of the characters is the only person left alive on Earth, while solving the paradox or letting the characters solve it (in the next chapter) allows the story to carry on toward the true ending.
  • Sgt. Frog: The "segmented endings" variant. They aren't alternate takes, just more and more complete versions of the series. The show's 7th season aired in different timeslots, with different running times in different timeslots. In order to satisfy people who couldn't watch the longer version of the show, the last 3 episodes of the series all ended up being different types of ending stories.
  • A surprise revelation in chapter 150 of We Never Learn is that each of the 5 heroines will get her own route, like in a dating game. As the author says, all 5 of them are "main" heroines, so they deserve this treatment.

    Comic Books 
  • The final issue of the Countdown to Mystery mini-series provided four different endings for the Doctor Fate storyline. This was due to the fact that the writer to the story, Steve Gerber, had passed away before writing the finale. Instead of creating an ending stepping on his toes, they had four different endings written and suggested the reader figure out what was the actual one.
  • Right before the end of the Two-Face-themed issue of Joker's Asylum, Joker breaks the fourth wall, demanding that the reader get a coin and flip it to determine a character's fate: Heads: The character happily reunites with his wife. Tails: He ends up killing himself. Panels are presented for both endings, though, as the Joker explains, only the coin flip determines what "really" happened.

    Fan Works 
  • There is a fan-made ending for Death Note in which Light wins and lives to be an old man. He instructs Ryuk to go ahead and kill him, which he does. The rest of the chapter includes all of the deaths Light had written being inflicted on him. In the sense, he is becoming a Shinigami himself and is enduring the deaths of all his victims.
  • The first Ed Abuse originally had two endings. In the second ending, Ed did not forgive Sarah before dying, and she is eventually Driven to Suicide. This ending was removed by the author for being too dark.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness has two of these, in keeping with the source material:
    • The main story has the heroes surviving Suika's wrath with help from Marisa, having a victory meal at the Scarlet Devil Mansion, then heading home. No strings attached.
    • The Alternate Ending, which depicts what would happen if Megas had been able to counterattack Suika instead of dodging her final strike, ends with the Mansion's library in ruins and Patchouli stuck in Jersey City until it can be rebuilt.
  • The Hetalia: Axis Powers doujinshi From the New World, With Love has a cautiously optimistic ending that would best be described as bittersweet, but there are two sequels for it, one giving the characters a Happy Ending and the other giving them a Downer Ending instead. The good ending has one character coming back wrong and ultimately dying, and the other character destroying himself to prevent the Enemy Within him from surfacing, and both of them being reincarnated as normal humans. If that's considered the good ending, you don't want to know what the bad ending is like.
  • The Heart of a Dragon branches midway through, with an older Spike pursuing a relationship with either Rarity or Celestia.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Shipping fic In the Rain has two: basically, "They Do" and "They Don't".
  • Similarly, there's the Saw fanfic Pattycakes. Both are a Downer Ending, but it's a Troll Fic. You're not supposed to be happy.
  • In Relationships Series, there is an Alternate Universe story called "Pain", which details what would have happened if Yuuno had been sent into combat. He gets injured and overtaxes his linker core, sending him into critical condition. In Ending A, he dies, leaving Nanoha and Fate devastated, and the fic ends with his funeral. In Ending B, he lives, but the main characters still have to protect him from some unethical scientists who want to get their hands on his damaged linker core. The authors indicated that this was already a hypothetical situation, so they should explore both outcomes.
  • Though ultimately scrapped, the author of Rainbow Factory wrote three different endings, though they're all still Downer Endings in their own right:
  • The last chapter of Seven Stories provides an alternate ending to the show's first season; the White Violin's power goes off, the heroes prepare to fight her, but Allison - having never been mutilated in this reality - manages to persuade Luthor to try diplomacy first.
    The story didn't always go like that, of course. Maybe sometimes she couldn't speak; maybe sometimes she didn't go alone; maybe sometimes any number of things could come to be. But let's talk about this time. Let's talk about now.
  • Another My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic, Silent Ponyville, features multiple endings, much like the series of games it's based on.
  • The author of Sonic X: Dark Chaos wrote several alternate endings for the rewrite.
  • The To Love-Ru fanfic To-Love-Death features an alternate ending in the extras page where the whole story was imagined by Mikan, who is now suffering from autism and goes off into her own world whilst shaking a snow globe. However, this ending is most likely a joke as it's an almost word-for-word parody of the infamous ending to St. Elsewhere. Although, rather than a hospital being displayed in the snow globe, it's actually a missile blowing up a helicopter full of children.
  • The Ed, Edd n Eddy fanfic What The Ed? by Dyl Man has 3 endings. The Sad Ending, the Happy Ending, and Silly Ending. The Sad Ending has Tuluta Bottoms a.k.a. The Red Guy calling the dog pound and having Ed and Nazz end up working in a glue factory. The Happy Ending has Eddy realizing that he loves Nazz, not Tuluta, and sics SuperCow on Tuluta. The Silly Ending has Tuluta butt-walk on Nazz, Nazz retaliating, Ed butt-walking on both girls, and Edd and Eddy butt-walking on Ed.

    Films - Animation 
  • The DVD of Peter Pan features an alternative ending where Peter comes back and Wendy is grown up, but she has a daughter named Jane, who flies off with Peter. This would later inspire a live-action spinoff sequel staring Robin Williams as an older Peter Pan in Hook.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse has two slightly different cuts of the final scene, one of which indicates that the female romantic lead Marion dies from the gunshot wound she received towards the end of the plot, and one which indicates that she will survive. In national stereotyping terms, it will not surprise anyone that the USA was one of the markets that got the happy ending, and France one of the ones that got the sad one.
  • In After The Dark, a philosophy teacher challenges his class to (theoretically) survive an atomic apocalypse. No matter what they do, they all end up dying, because none of the students want to make the moral sacrifices their teacher insists would be necessary to "win". They eventually succeed, but doing so requires them to change their definition of what success is.
  • As Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive Choose Your Own Adventure film based on the making of a Choose Your Own Adventure game, this is to be expected. There are several different endings, which change depending on the choices you make throughout the film. Endings include Stefan releasing a terrible game, a mediocre one, a fantastic one, or not releasing one at all; have Stefan die or go insane and become a murderer; or enter surreal Meta Fiction territory with Stefan becoming aware of the viewer themselves controlling his actions through Netflix.
  • Chase has two endings: In the first the protagonist chooses Suicide by Cop, but it turns out to be just his imagination. In the proper ending, he escapes with the help of his hostage.
  • The movie Clue has three different endings; during its theatrical run, different endings would be shown in different theaters. On the home videotape release, all three endings were shown, with title cards between explaining that any of them could have happened, but only the third actually did happen. In the DVD version, the viewer may choose to see one particular ending, see all three (as in the VHS release), or even have the DVD player choose an ending at random.

    There was also a fourth ending that was ditched from the film because it didn't fit with the comedic tone of the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, the fourth ending has never been released to the general public.
  • The DVD version of Final Destination 3, "The Thrill Ride Edition", has four different endings (including the theatrical ending), thanks to the "Choose Their Fate" feature.
  • The movie Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai has two endings, one where the Showa Riders win and one where the Heisei Riders win. Which version ended up shown in the theaters (the Heisei ending, as it turned out), was decided by an online poll, with the Showa ending relegated to the home releases.
  • Holocaust 2000: There is an alternate ending that continues after Robert has fled with Sara and his newborn child to escape his diabolical son Angel where Robert shows up at an airport several months later. It's implied that he returned to plant a bomb at Angel's corporate meeting in Geneva to stop him from destroying the world. The original was a straight-up The Bad Guy Wins ending.
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla does actually not have multiple endings, as claimed by some people, where King Kong wins and Godzilla wins. Word of God says the winner was always intended to be King Kong.
  • The Little Shop of Horrors Director's Cut Blu-Ray allows viewers to choose whether Audrey II eats Audrey and Seymour, then takes over the world (as seen in test screenings), or Audrey and Seymour survive, then Seymour blows Audrey II up (as seen during the original theatrical release).
  • Love, a 1927 American adaptation of Anna Karenina, has two endings—Tolstoy's original, Downer Ending, and a new happy ending in which Anna and Vronsky are reunited. Tolstoy's ending was shown internationally, while American exhibitors were given a choice of endings, with some picking happy and some picking Tolstoy.
  • Man on Fire: In the original ending Creasy ends up dying from previously-sustained wounds while being driven to the main villain "The Ghost" after agreeing to trade himself in for Pita, with a coda showing that the Mexican detective who was following his progress ended up shooting the Ghost during the arrest. An alternate ending were shot where Creasy, though still mortally wounded, lives long enough to meet the Ghost face to face and exchange a few words before Creasy uses a bomb to kill them both.
  • William Castle's Mr. Sardonicus allegedly had two endings, shown depending upon whether the audience gave a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". However, Castle only ever filmed the "thumbs down" version.
  • Paranormal Activity has three, each one a Downer Ending. It's a horror flick, what did you expect?
    • The theatrical ending has possessed!Katie tossing Micah's dead body into the bedroom before leaping at the camera.
    • The second ending has Katie (no longer possessed) walk into the bedroom with the knife used to kill Micah. She sits on the bed, knees drawn up to her, for what is presumably hours. The next morning the police arrive and Katie walks downstairs. She is shot for being considered a threat, as she still has the knife and isn't listening to the police's orders.
    • The third (and most horrific) has possessed!Katie calmly enter the bedroom with the knife. She locks the door and looks at the camera, a smile on her face. She then slits her throat and falls down dead.
  • The first 3D feature film, The Power of Love (1922), used its 3D anaglyph system to achieve this. Depending on whether the viewer watched the ending through the green or the red lens of the 3D glasses, they'd see a happy or a sad ending (it probably helped that it was a silent movie, so it didn't have spoken dialogue that wouldn't fit both versions).
  • The Korean movie Resurrection of the Little Matchstick Girl features two endings. One "bad" where the game ends and the main character returns to his normal life and one "good" where he manages to save the eponymous matchstick girl.
  • Run Lola Run is either this or a "Groundhog Day" Loop. It's not clear.
  • Unfriended: Dark Web is notable for being the first wide-release movie since Clue to have multiple endings in theaters.
  • Spoofed by the ending(s) of Wayne's World, which are, in order, the Sad Ending, the Scooby Doo Ending, and the Super Mega Happy Ending. Wayne's World 2 has the sad ending, the Thelma & Louise ending, and the happy ending. Only the two happy endings are "canon"; Wayne and Garth simply rejected the others.

    Gamebooks 
  • This is prevalent in the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. There were other books of this ilk published at the time, but this was by far the best known and longest-running. Most of the "endings" to the books result in your death, but there are typically a few endings where you win, although there are some which are bittersweet (in Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? you can get an ending where you never solve the mystery and others where other characters solve it instead of you; in The House On Chimney Rock one ending has you survive, but your cousin vanishes and is never seen again).
  • The Fighting Fantasy gamebooks usually only had one true ending but a lot of "bad endings" that were more like Non-Standard Game Overs. Books that had you gather Plot Coupons usually had a Non Standard Game Over amounting to "Since you failed to gather the relevant things, you cannot defeat the Big Bad/open the last door/return with honor".
  • Murder at Colefax Manor has many, many potential endings.

    Literature 
  • The Little Prince has an in-universe example where the author realizes that he has made the sheep's muzzle impossible to wear and therefore there are two possible outcomes for the little prince's rose; either the sheep eats the rose or it does not. The author notes that the world appears to change depending on what he thinks has happened.
  • Some of the fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm are given in multiple versions with the same basic framework, which shouldn't be surprising, given that they were compiled from memory and oral tradition across several regions. The most straightforward example is The Marriage of Mrs. Fox: Mr. Fox decides to pretend to be dead to test his wife's fidelity. She rejects multiple suitors who soon come calling, but when she finds someone exactly like her late husband, she agrees to marry him. Which ending you prefer — the one in which Mr. Fox reveals himself at the wedding and chases his wife, the maid, and all the guests away (leaving him with nobody), or the one in which they promptly toss him out — presumably depends on where your sympathies lie.
  • Marcus Pfister's children picture book Milo and the Magical Stones and its sequel Milo and the Mysterious Island both branch into two endings halfway through the story where the pages become segmented into two parts, with the top part showing a "Happy Ending" and the bottom part a "Sad Ending" based on the aesop of that book.
  • The Jeffrey Archer short story One Man's Meat begins with a man meeting the woman of his dreams, and then has four separate endings. There's a reasonably Happy Ending where they hit it off and agree to meet up again, but before that there are three more unfortunate endings: either the guy finds out she's a lesbian, or he finds out that she's married (but not before she has a one night stand with him), or he finds out she's married right away and his evening just gets worse from there.
  • Preserve and Protect, the fourth novel in Allen Drury's Advise and Consent series, was followed by two alternate endings in Come Nineveh, Come Tyre and The Promise of Joy.
  • The Web Original Fiction The Story Of My New House has two endings, a "good" one and a bad one. In the bad ending the father of the main character is possessed by a demonic force and he murders his son and wife. In the good ending, he is able to resist his Demonic Possession and saves his son and wife, before dying. The story concludes with the main character expressing how much he misses his father.
  • Three Worlds Collide has a Normal End (the humans destroy the place where the story happened, destroying their ship in the process) and a True End (the Superhappies re-engineer the other two species to be happy and not eat as many babies). Incidentally, the author is very much a Nasu fan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The short-lived series Jack & Bobby may have done this in an episode where the boys' mother is working for Hillary Clinton's nomination at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The show was filmed months before the actual convention, but in the final scene, Bobby mentions that Clinton lost the nomination (which really happened). It seems likely that the same scene was also shot with Bobby saying Clinton had won.
  • Jepardy (CBBC) had three different endings that viewers selected via phone-in.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki has the ending to the TV series, the film EPISODE FINAL and 13 Riders, a televised special which was an alternate retelling of the whole series, which had viewers vote on the ending. Subverted, since all the endings save for the TV series presumably end with a timeloop back to square one.
    • Many of the "Hyper Battle Video" special DVDs allow the viewer to choose the ending. For example, Kamen Rider Fourze's HBV allows the viewer to choose whether Fourze or Amazon delivers the final blow to the enemy.
  • Medical Center produced the 1971 episode "Countdown" with three different endings, as part of a controversial social experiment conducted by psychologist Stanley Milgram. The experiment would attempt to determine whether or not a person would be more likely to commit a crime after viewing it on television. The episode centers around an aggressive hospital orderly who, beset with serious financial troubles, is tempted to steal money from charity boxes placed throughout the city. The ending would be one of three scenarios: he steals money and gets punished, he steals money and does not get punished, or he does not steal money at all, and also drops some change into the box. Audience members would come across a similar "charity box" directly after the episode's showing, and would be monitored as to if the ending they saw would inspire them to imitate the character's actions. The results were inconclusive. The full details of Milgram's experiment are published in the book Television and Antisocial Behavior: Field Experiments.

    Different endings were shown depending on your television market (though Warner Bros. states that most markets viewed the "punished" ending in its original run). Warner Archive Collection's DVD release of Medical Center: the Complete Second Season includes all three endings of "Countdown".
  • Depending on which version of Mission: Impossible's "The Bank" you're watching, the bad guy's attempt to escape results in either a Disney Villain Death or the discovery that his escape route has been sealed off, thus meaning he's captured. The version on the DVD is the latter.
  • One episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus ended with the customer choosing between several endings.
  • The Red Dwarf episode "Only the Good" had an unfinished alternate ending where Rimmer successfully returns with the formula memorized (after several tries, too, and the group's still there) and they save the Dwarf. The evac ships are left to fend for themselves. And Rimmer still ends up shot with a can by the vending machine. All in all it matches up to "Back to Earth" better than the ending that was used, as it explains why they're alone on the ship again and why Rimmer is a hologram.
  • The ITV drama Rock Rivals, about the backstage shenanigans on a Pop Idol-style talent show, had two endings filmed, and viewers were asked to vote for which fictional act should win the show. The DVD recreates this as an interactive feature: just before the winner is announced, it asks you to choose who should win. Oddly, if you just let the menu time out without making a choice, it defaults to the opposite ending to the one shown on TV.
  • The Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Inna-Gadda-Sabrina", in which Salem swallows Sabrina's Time Ball and sends everyone to The '60s, has two endings. In both versions of the episode, Salem flees Sabrina and the aunts before the last commercial break, leaving them without the Time Ball. When ABC first televised this installment, the end credits showed Salem hitching a hippie bus to Philadelphia, setting up a crossover with Boy Meets World. The end credits sequence for reruns and the DVD shows Sabrina and the aunts back in The '90s, talking about how fortunate it was that Salem returned, and also revealed that they locked him in his litterbox until he could return the Time Ball.
  • The Sesame Street film insert about a rolling ball kinetic sculpture on the number 3 has two endings. One has a kid cranking a sand-machine, the other has three cherries on sundae (Jim Henson's daughter played the girl who tasted the cherry on her sundae ice cream).
  • In The Thundermans episode "Phoebe vs. Max: The Sequel", the family's recent child, Chloe, has three possible choices to what will be her permanent superpower: super strength, teleportation, or sonic screaming. The crew filmed three different endings to the episode pertaining to which power Chloe ends up with. The teleportation ending is what made the final cut.

    Music 
  • There's a term in music called a Deceptive Cadence. Basically, it's that sequence of notes where you feel like the song should end, but something seems off.
  • And what about those songs that fade out and then come back?
  • "Almost Here", a duet between Delta Goodrem and Brian McFadden, features a video showing Brian going to meet Delta at an airport. The two of them have difficulty finding each other, until Delta leaves in a taxi. In the "sad" ending, shown on music TV shows, she is driven away alone. The CD single has the video on it as CD-ROM content, and this version has the "happy" ending where he catches up with the taxi and they're reunited.
  • The Cardigans:
    • "My Favourite Game" has four endings: After causing sheer mayhem on the road by putting a rock on her gas pedal, the driver crashes her car onto an oncoming van. She either:
      • ...gets flung off the car but not much worse for wear afterwards.
      • ...gets flung off the car, apparently being unscathed before the rock lands on her head.
      • ...gets flung off the car and ends up dead on the road.
      • ...gets decapitated in the crash.
    • "Erase/Rewind" also has two endings: The band is stuck in a room with walls that close in on them, and they either manage to save themselves, or get squashed.
  • Vocaloid artist Cos Mo featured this in one his series. "Demise of Hatsune Miku" is the worst end, "Disappearance of Hatsune Miku" the bad end, "∞" the true end, and "Intense Singing of Hatsune Miku" is the "Happy End".
  • "Empty Cans", the final song off The Streets' Concept Album "A Grand Don't Come For Free", has this. In the first ending, our protagonist blames everyone else for his problems, tells his friend Scott to fuck off, ends up fighting the TV repairman who comes to fix his set, and decides humanity is generally against his existence. A tape rewinds, and we are brought to the second ending. Mike decides to let Scott come over anyway, who finds the aforementioned "grand" when repairing Mike's TV. Mike realizes everyone's got their own problems and responsibilities to take care of, and looks at life with a new perspective. The music changes to fit the mood: Both endings start with an identical drum loop, but the "bad ending" accompanies it with tense-sounding bass and synth-strings, while the "good" one accompanies it with hopeful-sounding piano chords.
  • Kagerou Project: "Summertime Record" is the series' True Ending, where the Blindfold Gang go their separate ways, but promise they'll all meet again, while "Outer Science" is the... not so good ending.
  • Russian urban romance song "Kirpichiki" ("Little Bricks") comes with two sets of lyrics. In one, the heroine's significant other perishes in the trenches of World War I. In the other, they both survive, find happiness, and rebuild the titular brick factory.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic has the song "The Night Santa Went Crazy", which has two endings depending on the version. In the original song Santa is captured and sent to prison, while in the Extra Gory Version Santa is killed and some of the other details are changed or left out.
  • "Ocean Avenue" by Yellowcard. Three possible endings to the video's plot are shown.

    Radio Drama 
  • Each volume of the audio drama Yandere Heaven has the listener in the role as a silent protagonist trapped between two Yandere male interests. The last two tracks on each volume are alternative endings with each boy. For example, track 7 on volume 1 is being locked in the house by your Not Blood Siblings brother, and track 8 is being locked in the house by your Stalker with a Crush/boy from school. The spin-off Yandere Heaven BLack has three endings in the first volume for Yumiyoshi: one with Kei, one with Nabari, and one with both of them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Body Horror role-playing game Abnormal, there are three end game scenarios dependent on the number and position of shards (tokens) in play:
    • Utterly Consumed: If there are seven or more shards on the four Stage cards, the Witness is consumed by the horrors that haunt them; it might involve turning into a horrible monster, Demonic Possession, or simply being driven irreversibly mad.
    • Permanently Intertwined: If there are two or more shards on the Normalize stage, the Witness avoids being overcome by the Horror, but is unable to completely remove it. Reluctantly or otherwise, they must somehow learn to live with the Horror, whether trying to disguise a Partial Transformation or find a harmless way to appease a lingering Horror Hunger.
    • Life Reclaimed: If the Witness manages to remove and reclaim four or more shards from the Stage cards, they successfully drive off the Horror and get their life back... for now.
  • The original Dragonlance adventures had six different possible win conditions; the Dungeon Master chooses one in secret before running the final module. One of them was used as the canon ending in the novelization (the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy), but woe could come to Metagamers who play the adventures after reading the books, as in one of the other endings, performing the action that seals the gate in the novels actually makes the game unwinnable.
  • The Ravenloft boxed set adventure "Bleak House" provided for four different possible endings, as determined by players' choices throughout the last portion of the campaign arc. While many RPG adventures provide two or more concluding text-blocks to read, depending on whether the heroes win or lose, "Bleak House" went much farther, arranging for a prolonged buildup to whichever climax was selected to occur.
  • As one of the few Chronicles Of Darkness works to feature a definite Roleplaying Endgame, Promethean: The Created has a continuity of different endings depending on how many Refinements the character has mastered. If the Promethean has mastered only four Refinements (the miniumum required to approach the New Dawn), then after the New Dawn he will awaken with near-total amnesia, but with his human life encoded into the world, complete with all appropriate documentation and his existenc ret-conned into the memories of those with whom he should have been interacting. As he masters more Refinements, he can choose either to retain memories of his Promethean existence, or to gain false memories of the human life he created for himself, until at nine Refinements he has full recall of whichever life he chose. With all ten Refinements mastered, he gains a single opportunity to rethink that choice: when he first hits a breaking point after the New Dawn he will briefly recall both lives, and can choose again which he wishes to keep.

    Theater 
  • The musical Drood, based on the uncompleted Charles Dickens story The Mystery of Edwin Drood, has an audience vote decide who the murderer is.
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore has two alternate closing lines depending on whether the cat playing Wee Thomas eats food offered to it or not. Required since it's pretty impossible to train a real cat to do the same thing every night.
  • Donald Marguiles's play The Loman Family Picnic features four endings performed in quick succession, each dramatic in a different way, until the final "real" ending.
  • Ayn Rand's play Night of January 16th features an unusual form of Audience Participation: a jury is selected from the audience, and at the end of the play, they determine whether the defendant is guilty or not.
  • The stage play Shear Madness works identically to Drood, mentioned above, but with No Fourth Wall; the characters are aware of and interact with the audience throughout the play, and suggest audience members' theories to the group.
  • Ferdinand von Schirach's Terror Ihr Urteil takes an approach similar to Night of January 16th, providing two alternate endings, depending on whether or not the audience, who act as lay judges, find the defendant (an air force pilot who shot down a hijacked passenger airliner against his superiors' orders) guilty of murder.

    Theme Parks 
  • Horizons, a long defunct (and much missed) ride at Walt Disney World's Epcot contained one of the earliest examples of this trope in a theme park attraction. Its finale allowed riders to choose from one of three POV fly-through films depicting their journey back to the future point from one of three out of the four futuristic communities it featured (Brava Centauri, Mesa Verde and Sea Castle, dubbed "Space", "Desert" and "Undersea" respectively on the choice tree).
  • In Men in Black: Alien Attack at Universal Studios Florida, how the ride turns out all depends on how high the average score the vehicles end up with. The endings are as follows:
    • Bug Bait: If you do absolutely abysmally, J will mock your performance before neuralizing you.
    • Cosmically Average: The most common ending for guests. You are told by J that you're good, but not good enough before getting neuralized.
    • Galaxy Defender: J highly praises your performance and it's said that your suits will be ready "next Wendesday". However, you still end up getting neuralized anyway.
  • All of the sequences in Star Tours at the Disney Theme Parks are completely randomized, including the endings. The ending scenarios include journeying to Naboo and the Gungan City, going to Coruscant and partaking in a battle in the sky, and accidentally ending up at the site of the Death Star along with being confronted by Boba Fett before speeding back to the Rebel base.

    Web Animation 
  • Bowser's Kingdom episode 666 has two endings. One has Geno breaking free from Zombie Steve's grasp and taking out the rest of the zombies. The other has Hal and Jeff turning into zombies and talking about the positive side about being zombies while feasting on Luigi's corpse. Jeff complains about how bad they smell.
  • Homestar Runner: The 2005 Halloween Episode "Halloween Potion-ma-jig" has the viewer guide Homestar through a quest to find ingredients for Marzipan's Halloween potion, which Homestar had carelessly doodled on. Depending on the choices made, the final potion has one of five effects on Homestar, turning him into either a cyclops, Tofu Homestar from the earlier short "The Luau", a suave Frenchman, a clone of Marzipan, or the Goblin.
  • EmperorLemon's YouTube Poop "Lightning McQueer and the Quest for Tires" has three different endings depending on which of the three cars' annotations you select:
    • If Lightning is selected, he loses the race to Captain Falcon, and flies around the world really fast Superman-style just so he can win. Then a text slide appears stating that since Lightning won this time, there's no reason for him to have reversed time in the first place, meaning he will never win.
    • If The King (a.k.a Ric Flair) is selected, Chick Hicks launches him into the air, causing him to land on top of Lightning when he crosses the finish line.
    • If Chick Hicks is selected, he summons Death Stare Luigi, who knocks out The King and distracts Lightning from crossing the finish line, allowing Chick to win the race.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Digital Series has a series of episodes where viewers can choose one of three endings. Several of them involve a story arc about Canterlot High putting on a School Play:
    • "Best Trends Forever!" has Rarity doing a fashion report for the school news channel, and having to choose between Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, or Pinkie Pie as inspiration for a new fashion trend.
    • "Driving Miss Shimmer" has Sunset Shimmer struggling to pass her driver's test, and seeking help from either Applejack, Fluttershy, or Rarity.
    • "Text Support" has Twilight Sparkle getting a strange text message from her crush Timber Spruce, and seeking advice on how to respond from either Fluttershy, Sunset Shimmer, or Rarity.
    • "Fluttershy's Butterflies" has Fluttershy seeking help from either Applejack, Rainbow Dash, or DJ Pon-3 in overcoming her stage fright so she can audition for the school play.
    • "Stressed in Show" has Twilight stressing out over her efforts to help with the school play, and trying to relax with the help of either Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, or Pinkie Pie.
    • In "Rarity Investigates: The Case of the Bedazzled Boot", Rarity tries to find a prop for the school play that's gone missing, and interrogates either Pinkie Pie, Trixie Lulamoon, or Applejack about the boot.
    • In "All the Worlds Off Stage", Sunset asks either Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, or Micro Chips for help handling the sets during the school play.
    • In "Constructive Criticism", Applejack injures herself working on sets for the school play, and seeks help finishing from either Pinkie Pie, Photo Finish, or Rainbow Dash.
    • In "Opening Night", when the final scene of the big school play goes awry and leaves Fluttershy in an awkward position, either Sunset Shimmer, Applejack, or Twilight Sparkle needs to help her.
    • In "Happily Ever After Party", the Cutie Mark Crusaders seek help from either Applejack, Rainbow Dash, or Rarity in convincing Mr. Cranky to let them borrow an overhead projector for their after-party presentation.
  • Red vs. Blue: The 100th episode. The link to the video is actually three different links to videos whose only difference were the endings. The first is probably the "bad ending" with everyone killing each other, the second would be a "weird ending", with the entire canyon destroyed and the series being shown to be a Halo multiplayer match, and last is the relatively good ending, with the two teams returning to their endless stalemate. The DVD Commentary and future series confirms the good ending is official (which is no surprise) and also has four more endings: one in which aliens suddenly show up, kill everyone, and reenact the first episode; a remake of the "fight ending" with Where Are They Now text added in (false Where Are They Now text when later seasons are considered, it should be noted); an All Just a Dream ending where the entire season was hallucinated by Church after being shot by the tank; and one where Andy doesn't detonate, with Tex instead just turning the ship around and blowing everyone up.

    Web Original 
  • One Bytejacker episode has the host run all over town looking for a UV filter for the cameraman. After searching for maps in trees and fighting strangers via rock-paper-scissors, he ends up getting a bad ending for taking too long.
  • Joueur du Grenier:
    • The video "Jeux de baston 2ème édition" has several endings.
    • The Mass Effect episode of Papy Grenier has three different endings: DESTRUCTION, CONTRÔLE and SYNTHÈSE.
  • The infamous interactive Quicktime movie Play With Me features multiple endings. Subversion: They're ALL the bad ending.
  • Positively Dreadful's look at Infamous 2 is split into two videos, essentially forming two separate reviews for the Good and Evil paths.
  • In Today I Die, the protagonist can free herself from a metaphorical depression on her own, or with the help of a young man. Although they're both happy endings, people tend to find one more appealing than the other.
  • Writing.Com features Interactive Stories where stories can have multiple endings, depending on the reader's choices.

    Western Animation 
  • Carmen Sandiego: the special episode "To Steal or not to Steal" is a Choose Your Own Adventure style episode, where the choices the viewer makes for Carmen lead to various endings. Worst case; Carmen and/or her friends are brainwashed by VILE to become VILE operatives. Best case; Carmen rescues her friends and maybe even recovers the items VILE forced her to steal.
  • El Tigre did this for its Grand Finale. After spending the whole series unable to decide if he wanted to be a superhero like his dad or a supervillain like his grandpa, Manny was forced to make a final choice. Viewers were asked to vote online to decide if Manny would pick good or evil. The winner was good, with Manny defeating Big Bad Sartana of the Dead and becoming hero of the city. The "evil" ending, which was shown on Nickelodeon's website, has Manny join Sartana instead, help her conquer the city, and then betray her and rule the city himself.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The episode "Shanghaied" allowed the viewing audience to pick the ending. In the episode, SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward get captured and enslaved by the Flying Dutchman. Eventually, the Dutchman promises them Three Wishes. After wasting the first two, they begin fighting over who gets to make the third one. The viewers were then asked to call in and vote on who they wanted to get the third wish. The winner was SpongeBob. Before the winning ending was played, the audience was shown what the two alternate endings would have been. Subsequent airings played like a normal episode, with only the winning ending shown.
  • Total Drama and Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: Each season has two canonical endings, with fans in each country voting for which of the Final Two will win. Word of God says that neither is considered more canon than the other (and the show itself generally avoids mentioning who won previous installments), though fans generally consider the "real" winner to be whomever wins in Canada, the franchise's home country.

    Real Life 
  • There are six ways for the universe to end: The Big Crunch, where gravity ultimately stops the universe's expansion, causing it to collapse back on itself and implode; the Big Bounce, where a new universe is created from a Big Crunch; the Big Rip, where dark energy literally tears the entire universe apart, the Big Chill, also known as the Heat Deathnote , where dark energy accelerates the expansion of the universe until everything fades away, the Big Halt, where gravity slows down the universe's expansion but cannot stop it and things would end as in the Big Chill, and finally the Big Slurp where the Universe transitions to a more stable state ceasing to exist as we know it. Or, if you're religious, the universe ends, and your religion's post-death experience happens to many individuals at oncenote , and in some cases, a god creates a new universe.
  • Most situations in real life (depending on the context of course) will undoubtedly have different endings, as well as branching paths. Do you ask that Sexy Secretary out to coffee? Or do you just shoot the occasional glance and go to your meeting? Where does it go from there? Do they say yes? How do you do in the meeting?

 
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Alternative Title(s): Bad End, Bad Ending, Good Ending

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Sell Out Ending

If the player sells out Joker's friends to Sae, they get the first bad ending, where Akechi actually succeeds in murdering Joker.

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