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I finished the game last night in one sitting. It was a very moving game. I was shocked to find this thread just now detailing how radically different the game can play out. I was aware of a certain freedom in the choices that could be made but I didn't really see how the game could be completed without the ladder or the box for example.

My ending (resulting from more or less natural decisions on my part) was the one that results in Alice's suicide. In point-and-click games I tend to soak in everything I can—exploring every area, every dialogue choice, and picking up every item even if it's like Monkey Island where many of the items are clearly useless junk.

From the get-go and for most of the game I felt Alice was more or less supposed to be the game's most vital character. You really only control Richard in one area of the game, and his past and motivations are really only explored as asides to Alice's story. In point of fact, the characters' actions seemed to have little direct impact on one another until they met in prison, which at a glance diminishes Richard's role in the story. Thinking back however (and since beginning a new file) it has occurred to me that perhaps Richard really is the "player character" so to speak. He is the one you control in the present, and ultimately he is the one who is judged in the end, as the outcome seems effectively dictated by Alice.

Then again, it would seem that the outcome is dependent on some things that happen outside Richard's control. I'm interested in the notion that Alice can actually travel to Polar Bear territory in the end. I assume that the player has some say over this in the way Alice chooses to regard the gang in passing. I believe I generally guided her and Barney away from any threatening figures by disdaining the "bad men" or simply avoiding the subject. Furthermore, due to my nature, Alice picked up every last note left by anyone at all, so it could be said that my Alice had a larger scope of events and was privy to more "horrors" than the average player's game. Perhaps this affects her outlook and her opinion of Richard.

Certain items I see listed in the topic, to me, seem relatively unimportant to the outcome. I had Richard say "No" to having killed (not to be plainly dishonest but because I didn't think there was a "canon" answer), and though she calls him on the lie his excuse seems plausible. Similarly, I chose to push Alice about her illustrator dream (call it insatiable curiosity) and while this initially displeases Alice it seems to actually bode well when she ends up smiling about it and recounts her dream. Regardless of my reasoning, I can't help but feel Alice picks up on general traits that could be seen as unsavory (the former being a tendency to stretch the truth, the latter antisocial behavior in a sense) which could have affected my game's outcome. After all, Alice chose to doom Richard by putting him more or less in the same circumstances in which she found herself. Perhaps it was her way of punishing Richard, or perhaps it was a more neutral action born from Alice's arguably defeatist attitude. She was suffering from some manner of depression (to state the obvious) and thus it could have little to do with Richard in the end.

All in all, a very curious and engrossing story.
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OvaltineJenkins: I just finished the game and came to see other people's thoughts. My ending consisted of:
-After escaping prison, Richard and Alice go to Barney's grave and say goodbye.
-Alice gets gun, but no confrontation happens with Richard. Richard said something like he was surprised it was still there and there is one bullet left.
-They go to the church where they discuss the Polar Bears.
-Then, Alice says that she will go with Richard for now, but someday Alice will leave Richard with supplies and no trouble.
-She also says something like when she saw Richard's photo in the beginning, she knew who he was, and she wanted to kill him, but now she is glad to have him as a friend.
-At the end, they say they are going to meet York at the storage vault, and Alice comments on how sometimes she thinks the world hasn't really changed at all.

Also, I got the mystery box with the ladder, but I thought it was weird that Alice would be afraid of going on the ice. With the constant freezing temperatures, I wouldn't think falling through the ice would be an issue, but I guess it was needed for the puzzle.
I just finished my first playthrough, and this is the exact ending I got. So I guess you could call this a "happy" ending? At least slightly more hopeful than the others posted on here.
^ I had the same thing, I got that ending on my first try.
I thought I was going to go one here to see what people were saying about "the ending"; imagine my surprise when I see people discussing remarkably different endings (had to scroll through most of the thread to avoid too many spoilers).
Looks like I'll have to play this through again sometime, although it sounds like most of the other endings are a lot bleaker.
Post edited June 22, 2013 by LaithArkham
My endind was very curious... Alice locking Richard in the tool shed!!! And she's nowhere to be find...

Why? O.O
Man, my ending was Alice committed suicide. Why does it have to end that way? The same thing happened when I finished off Silent Hill 2...suicide.

Jeez
Hmmm interesting! So there are different endings to the game - was actually coming over to find out more about what actually happened - figured there was some Eureka! moment where everything unravelled for the protagonists and kind of got the impression from the start that Richard was someone Alice or Barney knew through two degrees of separation.

Would've liked to get the ending where they became friends but I kind of liked the way it still played out in the ending I got (Alice locking Richard in the shed) - it's the ending where Alice is most defiant (besides the one where she actually kills RIchard) - probably not the SMARTEST ending for those involved but there you have it.
I just do a second playthrough.

The ending for my first play through was Alice's suicide (in the hope The Polar Bears hear the shot and hunt Richard).

The ending for my second play through was Alice shooting Richard.

- Stupid Richard! - >:(

I think more you know about Richard's business there are better chances of him ending bad. I also think notes are very important in this regard. Given @lowyhong post, maybe you don't need them all.

I'm not sure if mystery box affect the ending. When I didn't get the extra bullet from the mystery box, I get it automatically for the corpse in the church's basement.
I just finished this for the first time (really loved it!) and got OvaltineJenkins's exact ending. I do wonder what the different conditions are...I didn't realize there were so many ways it could end.
It seems as though a big piece of the puzzle is based on this question: does Alice shoot someone *or* is it mentioned that the gun is loaded? These endings can happen if and only if Alice gets the box from the middle of the lake.

Therefore:
1) Alice commits suicide (Alice gets the box.)
2) Alice shoots Richard (Alice gets the box.)
3) Alice and Richard go to live with the Polars (Alice does not get the box.)
4) Alice locks Richard in toolshed (Status of box unknown. Can anyone comment?)
5) Richard and Alice will work together (Alice gets the box, per OvaltineJenkins: "Alice gets gun, but no confrontation happens with Richard. Richard said something like he was surprised it was still there and **there is one bullet left.**")
Post edited June 22, 2014 by infinityeight