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Author Topic: Anyone else really unhappy with the extended ending? (spoilers of course)  (Read 10514 times)
Aristobulus
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« on: October 17, 2010, 11:17:48 PM »

The scenes in the extended ending are really my only complaint about the entirety of Aquaria - I'd just like to lay that down to start off with so no one thinks I'm ungrateful or don't appreciate Aquaria itself - it was overall an amazing game and if all I can complain about is a part of the ending that's something impressive...still, that said, let me begin with my complaints.

Mostly, my complaints are that the entire series of events seem clearly like they were written just to open the game up for a sequel, and so they are rather forced and not as well written, especially in comparison to the masterwork that was the rest of the writing in the game. This is a problem even mainstream, professional companies fall victim to - god knows Bioware forces their writing all the time in Mass Effect 2, because they want certain events to happen, they will make characters do things even if it's not entirely natural, so it's understandable that the same could happen to Aquaria, but all the same it's a flaw. Not to mention, the entire extra ending serves just to be a downer ending so that there is motivation for conflict in a sequel - but since it is very unlikely there is going to be a sequel, it really feels rather pointless. The ending was pretty much nice and self contained before the extended scenes which just kindof ruined the tone and emotion for something extremely depressing, all in the name of a game that will never be...

So, that's all a general idea, what do I specifically mean, when I say things are forced? Well, it's just...general inconsistencies and problems. For one thing, where is Li in the entirety of the ending? Naija gets kidnapped by her mother and he doesn't do anything about it? He's just gone? After all they've been through and done, stopping an entire god, a crystal is what stops Naija?

Which is, really, another problem that's forced. Naija needed to be incapacitated for a sequel so as to provide conflict and motivation for the player to care, and also to give reason for there to be another protagonist, so she just became unavailable, even if it doesn't make that much sense that she would be. So why do I find the way events turn out so unreasonable? Well...it was a rather obvious trap, I think, and it's a little immersion breaking that Naija, who has been through so much, can be dumb enough to fall victim to it without even resisting.

It wasn't even a surprise attack, which is part of the problem. She goes through a very dreary looking passageway that wasn't there before, full of dead things, and meets her mother. If her mother had just instantly taken this moment of shock to incapacitate Naija it'd be one thing, but she didn't. She went on a monologue detailing just how evil she was and how little she cared for Naija, even specifically stating how she'd harmed Naija in the past.

So the problem? None of this puts Naija on her guard. She doesn't resist her mother more than slightly verbally - she should've been expecting something from the moment her mother said she wiped her memories in the first place. She tells her mother to let her go, but she doesn't resist at all, she just lets her mother do with her as she wishes. This is what I mean by forced - Naija has, throughout the entire game, been a rather strong, independent character who would fight for want she wants, and here she is entirely passive. It's inconsistent!

At the very least, there should've been an unwinnable boss fight that shows Naija simply being overcome - that would be more consistent. Naija fights, like she always has, but for a change simply is overcome. Considering she was able to take down a god, not being able to take down Mia is somewhat hard to believe, but then again she had Li with her against the Creator and she wouldn't have any emotions holding her back, really, like could be present against Mia - and before anyone says it, I don't think any of these emotions should've been strong enough in acting against her to explain why she is so entirely passive in the confrontation with Mia. She was strong enough to overcome emotions to do what needed to be done before, now all of a sudden she isn't? That's why I don't think that fits as an argument to explain her being passive.

Anyway, that's really my issue. I am, of course, just bitter than an overall really well self contained game had to be forced into an incredibly depressing downer ending that will never get resolved, but I do think I have some valid complaints against the extended ending, as it was, anyway. But I do think I would've honestly preferred if the game had just ended without the extended scenes - I really kindof regret getting all the memories.

Edit - To anyone who may have agreed with me, Alphasoldier has a great theory that solves many of these conflicts on page 2. Read it!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 10:10:31 PM by Aristobulus » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2010, 12:22:47 AM »

There's a ton of possibilities that could've made it so as it went.
- It could've been a dream made by Mia or Naija thought it was a dream.
- She could've been so surprised that she finally met her mother and all the info that she was pretty much paralyzed.
- She by long hasn't fought anymore so perhaps she didn't know how to battle anymore, she is/was a mother after all.
- Mia could've manipulated her from the start, we don't know her powers. I mean she DID transport Naija somehow... Also showed her that energy battle vision.

So many reasons that could be, I'm not sure if it's the ending that makes you complain or the lack of a sequel.
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 10:02:16 PM »

Registered just to comment on this:

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I really kindof regret getting all the memories.

I felt exactly the same way.  This game made a huge impression on me in terms of gameplay, artwork, and story (I'd like to add an additional appreciation for Jenna Sharpe with regard to her excellent contribution of  talent.)

The extended ending slightly marred the experience once I'd learned there weren't any concrete plans for a sequel.


To be fair, I understand the reasons for not creating a proper sequel; I'd rather not see an "Aquaria 2" if it failed to live up to the first for whatever reasons.
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Alec
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 12:53:53 AM »

I don't think we ever really intended to make a sequel, even though I thought ahead to what the next game would be about and how it would all conclude. Derek and I also talked about what the gameplay would be about, but we never really talked seriously about starting an Aquaria 2.

At one point we talked about doing a DS game that would have been almost like Aquaria 1.5, the backstory of one of the characters who appears briefly in the real ending.

Personally, I was interested in making the statement that there are no happy endings, and that Naija's story carries on - regardless of whether or not we're making sequels. (one concrete example of this is how the fan-made mods expand on the story)

I had versions of the ending that didn't say "to be continued", but they didn't feel right to me.

Overall, I don't think the real ending is supposed to make anyone feel "happy" per se.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 12:58:04 AM by Alec » Logged

Aristobulus
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 01:53:37 AM »

I didn't intend to imply that you NEEDED to make a sequel - certainly I feel that a good self contained game can be stronger than one strung out to needless sequels.

My issue is - what's the point of the extended ending, other than to be a sudden random downer? Further, why the "to be continued" if you don't plan on continuing it? Shouldn't you let the story be self contained and close all plot threads if you don't intend to continue it?

My complaints are that, without the extended ending, you basically have just that - an ending that wraps up all plot threads and is final. As a bonus, you even managed to achieve that effect you wanted of "making the statement that there are no happy endings" because it ends with Naija not being sure that she's happy with family life and being nostalgic for the sense of adventure. But it's still a very strong ending to the entire tale, there's nothing really missing, it's just a somewhat sad ending because Naija isn't entirely content.

I also certainly don't feel that an ending HAS to be happy - many great stories have downer endings - my criticism is that it's a forced downer ending. By that I mean mostly what I said in my original post - it's a downer ending that doesn't feel like it makes sense to be happening, and in happening it opens up many more loose threads than it closes, and a good self contained ending should close plot threads, not open them, unless it's trying to lead the way to a sequel.

If it had felt more natural, like what was happening was just the way events would logically play out, I wouldn't complain. Again, I'm not upset it was a sad ending, and I'm not demanding that the ending should've been happy - just natural. This one, as I laid out, was filled with characters making moves unfitting of them just so the ending could be sad. This is just as bad as forced movements so an ending can be happy - certainly deux ex machinas that save characters lives so there can be a happily ever after are just as worthy of criticism. I don't mean to be inconsistent here, so if you feel I'm wrong on a point, please inform me.

Really though, I just don't see why the extended ending was necessary, especially if you didn't actually intend on making a sequel. Why the To Be Continued? Why everything I complained about? I should point that the normal ending also achieves showing that there's still possible adventure because Naija raises a family and who knows what her offspring could get off to - especially since we saw the Krotites get revived and we know they are a violent race that will very likely continue to be violent even after getting revived because it's their nature. We still had issues of Li's society to think about as well, and the leftovers from the Sunken City - there was plenty there to achieve the effect of showing there was more out there.

I really just don't see why the extended ending was at all needed. Am I being clear enough? I don't mean that in an obnoxious way - I'm honestly asking if I need to clarify any of my points, for the sake of the discussion. My goal here is to have the most thorough discussion possible, not to insult anyone or your work as a whole - certainly if I felt Aquaria was bad I wouldn't bother discussing it at all - it is a mark of a true quality work that discussion CAN be had about it, after all. Poor work doesn't invite discussion...but good stuff...that does.
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 06:24:23 AM »

I just explained most of the things you ranted about.

I fucking hate it when people say things are "unnecessary".

Nothing is ever necessary. It was never "necessary" for us to make a game in the first place. Human existence in general, is "unnecessary". So what?

Clearly we thought it was meaningful to include this in the game. If you didn't, then that's too bad.

We make the stuff we're interested in exploring emotionally. That's why we make stuff. Duh?
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 06:28:21 AM »

As someone who takes the opposite view -- that the game doesn't feel complete without the extended ending, downer though it is -- I feel compelled to point out one thing: If Naija's reflections on her adventures are the "end" of the story, then what of Mia? Why would she mysteriously appear at critical points of the story, yet never reveal herself? What is her motive for leading Naija to defeat the Creator? All the Creator ever says is "she was too perfect... she left me and she made you", which is hardly enough information to divine anything about Mia herself. And while I'm undoubtedly biased by having actually seen the ending, I can't easily think of an alternate conclusion that better fits Mia's actions (few as they are) in the main story.

And while I agree the story could have been written so everything (including Naija and Mia) did wind up with a happy ending, it's really Alec's decision which way he wants to take it, now isn't it? (:
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Aristobulus
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 06:39:49 AM »

Well of course things, on a large scale, are unnecessary, but I didn't mean it in that sense and I'm sure you know that. I'm talking about to the story itself - I don't doubt you felt it was necessary, that's why you included it. I'm asking why you felt the story needed those events - perhaps you can change my mind and convince me it did.

I don't agree with you coloring of my posts as "ranting" either - that implies an intention that is not true - it implies that I want to shout and yell and just generally make a lot of noise just to hear myself talk - which isn't true. I WANT people to discuss this with me - tell me why they agree or disagree. If someone thinks I'm wrong, I'd like to hear why! Like I said, discussing parts of a game after I've beaten it is how I get more enjoyment out of something I liked even though I've completed the game - I still visit the Mass Effect thread on SA because I felt that was a strong game with a strong story and characters that leaves a lot to talk about because it's just so solid. I feel the same for Aquaria - the greatest insult I could give to the game would be to NOT talk about it - bad games I just stop playing and forget about, good ones I try to draw out all I can and discuss various elements of the story and characters with whoever is willing.

I've asked this as well, because I don't feel you did explain why the story needed it - you said why you created it personally, and I never doubted that for a second. I never felt that you included anything in the game you didn't feel was worth it - but I am unable to grasp WHY you feel the way you do. This is what I want a discussion on - what do you feel the extended ending adds to the story that the normal ending does not? What am I missing about it? I'm not out to be an antagonist here, I'm fully willing to listen - I'll concede and possibly change my mind and say it's a very strong and well written scene that lives up to the majesty of the rest of the game, perhaps!

It's just, from what you've told me so far, it seems like everything you wanted was included in the normal ending, so I still am unable to grasp the point of the extended ending. I very much want to be wrong, I should clarify, because it would mean I could change my mind about what I currently view as a bad scene in an otherwise amazing game - I would LOVE to be able to have to strain myself to find faults in the game.

Edit - Oh, a new post while I was typing.

As someone who takes the opposite view -- that the game doesn't feel complete without the extended ending, downer though it is -- I feel compelled to point out one thing: If Naija's reflections on her adventures are the "end" of the story, then what of Mia? Why would she mysteriously appear at critical points of the story, yet never reveal herself? What is her motive for leading Naija to defeat the Creator? All the Creator ever says is "she was too perfect... she left me and she made you", which is hardly enough information to divine anything about Mia herself. And while I'm undoubtedly biased by having actually seen the ending, I can't easily think of an alternate conclusion that better fits Mia's actions (few as they are) in the main story.

And while I agree the story could have been written so everything (including Naija and Mia) did wind up with a happy ending, it's really Alec's decision which way he wants to take it, now isn't it? (:

This is certainly true...I have to give you credit for that. The extended ending does tell us why Naija had amnesia in the first place and it explains more of Mia...but that doesn't absolve it of the other flaws I criticized it for. As for what fits Mia? Anything would've fit - we didn't know enough about her. It could just as easily have been that she wanted to get back at the Creator but was scared of his power and so was working from the shadows, and once that was done, she wanted peace. The power hungry corrupt Mia isn't unfitting - no, I'm not saying that, but neither would pretty much any other attitude you could think would be unfitting.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 06:45:37 AM by Aristobulus » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 07:03:19 AM »

Well of course things, on a large scale, are unnecessary, but I didn't mean it in that sense and I'm sure you know that. I'm talking about to the story itself - I don't doubt you felt it was necessary, that's why you included it. I'm asking why you felt the story needed those events - perhaps you can change my mind and convince me it did.

Frankly, I don't care at all about debating subjective things in a make-believe objective way. If you didn't like something that I find really important and meaningful about the game, that's too bad. Very few people are going to love everything about this game. I can live with that.

You can either decide to respect that I have a different, legitimate view than you, or not. I don't really care which it is, because I know that the feelings and experiences that I put into this game are real and meaningful to me. There was nothing we put into the game where we were like "OMG this will make no sense and piss people off, LOL". Everything was thought about extensively and measured against internal standards of "what to me feels the most meaningful". And that's why we made it.

If I was really worried more about how random opinions would differ from my own, I wouldn't be making games from intense personal experiences.
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 07:14:21 AM »

I really think you're misunderstanding my intentions, here. I already said I don't doubt that you felt it was important and meaningful - and about respecting your opinion? That's exactly why I want to hear it! Because I DO respect your opinion - if I didn't respect it, I wouldn't want to hear it, I would just claim my view was the one and only correct view and all others were wrong - I am not making this claim. It is very possible I am wrong.

And not just your opinion - I want to hear anyone's opinion who disagrees with me. That's what's necessary for a real discussion or debate, after all - other people with completely legitimate viewpoints and arguments to back it up.

I have never implied, nor meant to imply, that you put something into the game thinking it was worthless and with only intentions to troll people, and I apologize if anything I posted came off in that manner, it was truly not my intention. It is just a conflict I see with the game, and one I can hopefully resolve for myself by talking it through with someone else who disagrees with me.

I can't convince myself that I am wrong, but someone who disagrees with me from the start...now THEY could have reasons and a viewpoint I simply never considered, or missed, and in understanding why they like the extended ending, I can come to appreciate it myself, as I do the rest of the game. This is what I want - this is what I am after. Simply a larger understanding of the story itself, and various viewpoints for it. It's an interesting and solid story, so I am sure that it invokes more than just MY thoughts on matters. It's not such a simple game that there can be only one way to understand and comprehend the game and the events.

You keep telling me personal reasons for why you included the scenes - are you not interested in discussing it from a lore-wise, storyline perspective? That's my issue with it - nothing more -  I think you're taking my arguments too personally, as an attack on you as an individual - I truly do not mean them in this manner. I really, honestly do just want to discuss the storyline and hopefully learn more about it and change my own opinion.
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 07:24:38 AM »

The extended ending does tell us why Naija had amnesia in the first place and it explains more of Mia...but that doesn't absolve it of the other flaws I criticized it for.

Well, let's see:

- Where is Li? Probably home tending Lucien. Even in the real world, wives will take ladies' nights out and what have you while their husbands watch the kids.
- Why doesn't Li go after Naija? Presumably he did, but not within the short time span of the ending.
- The dreary passageway? Probably a trick of Mia's to get Naija off balance and further confuse her when they meet. If anything, Mia probably wanted Naija to be on her guard, so Naija would drop her defenses when Mia reveals herself.
- And how does Mia overcome Naija? We can argue back and forth about things like Mia drawing her power directly from the Creator while Naija is a generation removed, or whatever, but Naija just found her mother, for crying out loud! The dialogue between them may feel long because you're only watching, but I'm sure Naija's mind is still reeling even as she tries to push away. If you think you could do any better in the same situation, then perhaps you haven't had the life experiences necessary to understand why Naija couldn't, but it's absolutely believable to me.
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 07:35:39 AM »

Well, let's see:

- Where is Li? Probably home tending Lucien. Even in the real world, wives will take ladies' nights out and what have you while their husbands watch the kids.
- Why doesn't Li go after Naija? Presumably he did, but not within the short time span of the ending.
Alright, I can concede on these two points. I suppose Mia would have also wanted to time it for when Naija was alone, too, and Li too preoccupied to be able to become aware in time to help.
Quote
- The dreary passageway? Probably a trick of Mia's to get Naija off balance and further confuse her when they meet. If anything, Mia probably wanted Naija to be on her guard, so Naija would drop her defenses when Mia reveals herself.
This I'm not sure I understand. Why would the dreary and ominous environment put Naija more off her guard, than she would've been if Mia just appeared in an otherwise peaceful setting?
Quote
- And how does Mia overcome Naija? We can argue back and forth about things like Mia drawing her power directly from the Creator while Naija is a generation removed, or whatever, but Naija just found her mother, for crying out loud! The dialogue between them may feel long because you're only watching, but I'm sure Naija's mind is still reeling even as she tries to push away. If you think you could do any better in the same situation, then perhaps you haven't had the life experiences necessary to understand why Naija couldn't, but it's absolutely believable to me.
This is, unfortunately, a point I'm not sure I'll be able to concede on, or that we can come to a compromise about. From my perspective, Naija should've had her guard down at first - dropping it upon seeing her mother, that makes perfect sense. But Mia's evil speech about wanting to claim the surface should've put Naija on edge. When Mia outright told her that she was the one who wiped Naija's memories in the first place, that REALLY should've had Naija putting her guard back up - that's Mia outright telling her she is an enemy of hers. Especially combined with all the corruption talk.

I simply can not understand why the shock of seeing her mother again would persist through the edge the speech Mia gave her, should've given her. I just can't comprehend Naija falling for that trap again simply because she was in a daze from seeing her mother. By that point, anyway, she had already had experience in putting her emotions to the side for a moment, to deal with a threat or to have her guard up, so her own natural combat instincts should've kicked in as well.
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 08:01:14 AM »

Quote
- The dreary passageway? Probably a trick of Mia's to get Naija off balance and further confuse her when they meet. If anything, Mia probably wanted Naija to be on her guard, so Naija would drop her defenses when Mia reveals herself.
This I'm not sure I understand. Why would the dreary and ominous environment put Naija more off her guard, than she would've been if Mia just appeared in an otherwise peaceful setting?

Did you misread? I said "off balance" and "on guard". The desired effect is that Naija, being on guard against a possible enemy, will then drop her defenses on meeting her mother -- leaving her more vulnerable than she might have been otherwise. (I don't have the psychological background to argue this properly, so if you don't agree, I suppose we'll have to leave it at that.)

Quote
- And how does Mia overcome Naija?
This is, unfortunately, a point I'm not sure I'll be able to concede on, or that we can come to a compromise about. From my perspective, Naija should've had her guard down at first - dropping it upon seeing her mother, that makes perfect sense. But Mia's evil speech about wanting to claim the surface should've put Naija on edge. When Mia outright told her that she was the one who wiped Naija's memories in the first place, that REALLY should've had Naija putting her guard back up - that's Mia outright telling her she is an enemy of hers. Especially combined with all the corruption talk.

Thing is, emotions don't follow logic. (: Naija's spent years dreaming about meeting her mother; a mere 84 seconds (time it!) of sadistic comments aren't going to instantly flip those feelings on their head. Even the "I wiped your memories" comment could just as easily be a prequel to "you were tortured by the Creator, so I had to suppress that" sort of thing, with Naija's best interests at heart. I'd argue there's not enough there, either reason or time, for Naija to decide that her mother is in fact Evil -- and certainly not enough for her to be willing to kill her only living blood relative mother (edit: I guess Lucien also counts as a blood relative, but the point stands). If you can't accept that, then again, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 08:05:21 AM by achurch » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 08:11:33 AM »

Quote from: achurch
Did you misread? I said "off balance" and "on guard". The desired effect is that Naija, being on guard against a possible enemy, will then drop her defenses on meeting her mother -- leaving her more vulnerable than she might have been otherwise. (I don't have the psychological background to argue this properly, so if you don't agree, I suppose we'll have to leave it at that.)

Right, I get that. I understand that she drops her guard on seeing Mia. What I don't get is how the process of going through creepy ominous corridors and then seeing Mia has Naija with her guard down, more than she would've had her guard down had Mia simply appeared in a more peaceful in the first place. Like, if she'd simply appeared in the verse cave Naija was in.

Quote
Thing is, emotions don't follow logic. (: Naija's spent years dreaming about meeting her mother; a mere 84 seconds (time it!) of sadistic comments aren't going to instantly flip those feelings on their head. Even the "I wiped your memories" comment could just as easily be a prequel to "you were tortured by the Creator, so I had to suppress that" sort of thing, with Naija's best interests at heart. I'd argue there's not enough there, either reason or time, for Naija to decide that her mother is in fact Evil -- and certainly not enough for her to be willing to kill her only living blood relative. If you can't accept that, then again, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

I don't mean that Naija should have been so ready to kill Mia, but she should've atleast had her guard up to be able to simply try to resist Mia mind wiping her again. She should've been on guard - if not to fight, then to flee and survive.

Though I have to admit I hadn't considered that there were other ways to interpret that mind wiping comment - however, doesn't she only tell Naija she did that after she's tried to talk Naija into becoming corrupt and power hungry and attempting to control the surface? If she did, then it's harder to say that she could've meant that mind wiping in a nice manner, because of the way the "Join me and conquer the surface" colors the conversation towards an evil tone.
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 08:46:58 AM »

Though I have to admit I hadn't considered that there were other ways to interpret that mind wiping comment - however, doesn't she only tell Naija she did that after she's tried to talk Naija into becoming corrupt and power hungry and attempting to control the surface?

Nope! Listen again (or cheat and look at scripts/vox/mia-and-naija.txt). The only hint of her evilness before then is the "little boys are trouble" line, which could be interpreted plenty of different ways.
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