The world is saved, the boy and girl fall in love, the story is won. Or, the world rots, it doesnt work out for the lovers, the story is lost.
It seems the majority of movies and video game plots have a similar theme going on. The beginning usually reflects a birth or awakening of something, while the end usually reflects a death or putting to rest of something. I know there are reasons for this. It certainly helps present a new experience in a way that the majority can latch onto and hang with, and to end that same experience with some closure.
But rarely do movies or games dare to end (or begin) in the middle of something (If they have, you can bet your college fund there's a sequel or it's on the way), which would reflect more on what we experience all the time. In my life there are so many question marks about the future. Then when I think about my past, the further back I go the fuzzier it seems to get. I guess that means there is no clear beginning either. The only force that can possibly put an end to it all is far more powerful than what the ending of a movie, book or video game can string together.
Ive been thinking about this subject today because I heard someone mention a theory that the main character of The Last of Us dies at the end. They also followed this by mentioning that in the sequel you would play as the girl. For me there are a few reasons that come to mind why killing off the main character at the end of the game is an idea that should have been stomped out the second it was mentioned.
First: For what I was going on about at the start of this post. The death of a character at the end of a plot is so incredibly cliché and convenient from a creators standpoint that as a viewer/gamer its almost impossible to take the moment seriously. Therefore, taking any emotional investment accrued during the course of the game and flushing it down the urinal.
Second: For what I was going on about in my last blog post. You've probably (definetly) already died. So if the game finally does decide to officially whack you, it would just seem comical. Its like, "Ya, thanks, I did that like a thousand times already."
It also seems to go against the logic of playing a video game in the first place. Why go throw the effort to survive, if the game is going to suddenly toss you an unavoidable death?
This is all speculation. Heck, who knows what the game is going to be like. If the ending is far from what I just mentioned then this whole blog post will also be seen as wasted effort (A skill which I've come to master in my 26 years on this planet).
So how could The Last of Us end in a way that both is what I call "In the middle of something" and not be forced into a corner where Naughty Dog must release a sequel?
First of all, sequels are always options, no matter what sort of cliffhanger is left. But with the whole Zombie/Apocolypse setting, it really aint hard to end in the middle of something. We can all presume the world in The Last of Us is long past the point of fixing. Both characters just want to survive. Honestly, the developers can just call it whenever they feel like it. For instance, call it when the characters realize the situation in front of them is just too overpowering, leaving the gamers to speculate on what happens to them.
And Im not totally against the whole idea of the father figure dying. Actually, him dying at some random point might work out. It still would go against my second and third points, but it would leapfrog the first one. Then, of course, you would have to play the following parts of the game as the girl. Which is maybe a reason why shes on the forefront of the cover.
***The title of my post came from Ernest Hemingway's short story with the same name: The End of Something