2020 was a tough year for video games and a great year for secret endings. The biggest games of the year didn’t just wow us with elaborate stories — they challenged us to discover hidden ending that totally reframe the rest of the campaign. Even massive blockbusters like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War featured hidden conclusions for players to discover.
Extra endings and video games fit together perfectly. Maybe it’s that sense of exploration and mystery that leaves us wanting more — and wily game developers take advantage of our wandering minds. Endings are linked directly to player agency, and we all want to see how our choices might effect the story; either by following the rules, or breaking everything down to find an alternate path. Some of the best endings of 2020 were ingeniously hidden — and some are just plain cruel to unlock.
Now let’s talk about some of the best. Here’s our top 10 best secret endings of 2020.
[WARNING: There are HUGE SPOILERS ahead for games from 2020! We’ll keep the spoilers in the title to a minimum so you can skip if you’re still looking to play some of the best games of the year.]
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Betray Your Comrades At The Last Second [Black Ops Cold War]
Black Ops Cold War is the first Call of Duty game in a long time to reintroduce player choice to the normally linear campaign formula. It wasn’t since Black Ops 2 that you could earn a different ending depending on your decisions — and this ending is a doozy.
At the climax of the game, the player character realizes that they’re a brainwashed soldier from the Soviet Union, forced to fight alongside the US — and in a stunning twist, you can choose to betray everyone by lying about the location of the signal station that will set off a series of nuclear bombs across Europe.
Not only can you lie about the location, you can also call-in an ambush secretly. Right after lying, if you’ve unlocked a secret door in your safehouse by putting together clues in earlier missions, you can rush to the radio and contact your Soviet allies. This completely changes the ending — instead of fighting alongside characters from the previous games, you have to gun them down.
Doing Nothing Together [Mortal Shell]
While running around the dirty, wrecked environments of Dark Souls (or any of the games like it) don’t you just sometimes ask yourself… what’s the point? Why am I fighting against fate when nothing good is going to happen anyway? Am I really that curious to see what will happen?
The answer is always “yes” — I am that curious, and I’ll spend 20-40 hours fighting through tough bosses if I must. But Mortal Shell gives us another option. Instead of trying to stop the upcoming end of the world, why not just hang out and eat snacks? By bringing the right items to a bandit named Bagman in the starting area, you’ll be able to rest and play the lute until the end of time.
Considering how hard the rest of the game is, it really isn’t that bad an ending. Even when the undead are overwhelming the forest and bringing ruin in their toxic wake.
Plumb the depths of 2020 to discover more secret endings on the next page.