So, I'm almost done with the rough outline of the story, and the gameplay elements for my main project, and I'm toying with this idea for the ending, but I want some feedback, because I've got a feeling it might put a lot of people off(at least those who prefer happy endings). Essentially, before the last showdown between the protagonist and the antagonist, I plan to have each of the other party members fight by themselves in distinct battles against other foes to allow the protagonist to reach the villain. Now, each of these fights can be lost(without game over), which results in the death of that particular character. I.E, you can complete the game with all characters except the hero having died before the ending. Using switches and variables the ending will vary based on this(won't be that much work, since it's just the ending. I'll just make a scene for each party member that is either included or excluded at the end based on whether they died or not, among other things). To make sure that no member will be significantly underleveled compared to the main character, I have a swap member in battle script going, and fairly good rates of shared experience even for characters that don't participate in fights. What I am worried about though, are the emotional reactions of players. Do you think this is a clever way to create an emotional ending, or would it just piss you off? I'm counting on that most people will lose at least a few characters on the first playthrough, because I wish to send the message that in war, people die(not just insignificant people we dont know, but those close to us too, and that sometimes sacrifices must be made to save the day). In other words I'm going for a bitter sweet ending. So again, how do you guys feel about that?