As you may or may not have been aware, a group of highly motivated fans displeased with the ending to Christine Love’s AI love/hate story, Hate Plus, decided to… well, make their own ending. With a mod. Now, you can probably guess which ending I’m talking about, but to make it clear: this was basically a project done in order to let the player prevent Mute’s suicide near the end of the game. Although I’ve yet to try the mod myself, as far as I know it changes her route, adds new dialogue and even includes brand new ending artwork. It is currently available at the project’s homepage, over here:
And now for my own take on this. I had mixed feelings about the project when it was announced. I felt it was a commendable effort, a testament to what the fan community can achieve if they put their heads together. At the same time, I was wondering if it wasn’t going a bit too far, willfully ignoring the ending that the developer herself intended. As I was saying in my review of the VN, I was very much pleased with the tragic tone of Mute’s ending, and felt it was a fitting, albeit bittersweet close to the story of the Mugunghwa. One has to wonder whether or not including an impossible Steam achievement suggesting Mute’s survival was designed in order to give players that extra push: to motivate them to *want to* save her. Whether this was mere trolling to garner attention or all part of the plan, I’m not too sure, but it had results.
At the end of the day, though, this mod is not mandatory, nor does it take away the original ending from you. It is an alternate path to an already branching story, and as I previously noted in my piece about the unique aspects of the visual novel, one of the charms of the medium is allowing the player to experience a great variety of outcomes. I don’t think Hate Plus has a “one true ending”, it wasn’t designed that way, and this humble, yet highly ambitious mod merely adds to the already existing repertoire. But only if you want it to.