The Forest Ending Explained

The Forest is, above all, a game about love and parenting. It's understandable if players don't appreciate this at first. Their foremost concern is survival. But as The Forest progresses, a more profound and disturbing storyline becomes apparent. 


(Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Forest.)

The Forest is an open-world, survival-horror, base-building, and exploration game from indie developer Endnight Games initially released in 2014. The game provides up to eight-person cooperative multiplayer, so players don't have to go it alone. The story of The Forest begins with a father and son on a plane when it suddenly crashes on an isolated peninsula. The main character, Eric, apparently a wilderness expert, wakes up from the crash to realize that he is the only survivor and that Timmy has been kidnapped by a mysterious man covered in red

As fans of the game already, know, The Forest turns into a harrowing tale about surviving the horrors of a cannibal-infested wilderness by any means necessary, but also about rescuing Timmy. When the player finally finds him, they might be saddened to learn that he's dead


The player character is then given two options. Neither are good, and both relate to the game's themes in interesting ways.

A sacrifice must be made

The most obvious answer for most people, and arguably the more interesting ending to Endnight's The Forest, is to bring Timmy back to life. After exploring the wilderness and asserting dominance over the cannibals, the player will discover the hidden Sahara Therapeutics laboratory that's hidden away on the peninsula. According to in-game clues and documents, the medical research company conducted medical research with the help of the ancient artifacts found on the peninsula in order to bring the dead back to life.


The player eventually discovers Timmy inside one of these artifacts, deceased. After removing his body, he attaches Timmy to Sahara Therapeutics' high-tech medical platform that can bring him back to life. The attempt fails and it becomes clear that Eric will need a "live sample" for the "interchange." 

The player soon meets Megan, a mutant girl, who was the subject of a resurrection herself. It was Megan's father who kidnapped Timmy in the beginning of the game, planning to sacrifice him in exchange for her resurrection.

The Forest repeats a vicious cycle

Megan crashes a toy airplane and then points to the player. The meaning of this act is unclear at first, but then bigger problems arise. Megan convulses and transforms into a violent mutant creature, which is apparently one of the side effects of being resurrected. After defeating her, the player then attempts to use her body to bring Timmy back, but it won't work because she's already dead.


After further exploration through the Saharan Therapeutics labs and into another cave system, the player will find an elevator that takes them to a command center overlooking the entirety of the peninsula. Housed above, in the command center's ceiling, is an obelisk that can be used to bring down airplanes. One of them contains a few children, or "matches," to make the sacrifice. Megan's demonstration with the toy airplane has suddenly become clear.

Activating the obelisk will bring down this new airplane, presumably allowing the player to sacrifice one of the new children to resurrect Timmy. It's pretty brutal stuff, completing the protagonist's transformation into the very thing he's been fighting against. The Forest ends and it's assumed that Eric and Timmy manage to escape the peninsula.


Timmy never really left Sahara Therapeutics

One year later, during a TV interview with Timmy by Eric's side, it's clear that the resurrection came with some consequences. In the middle of the interview, Timmy convulses the same way Megan did before her mutation (although Timmy's mutation is kept at bay, for now at least). The experience on the island has quite literally changed this family's lives forever, haunting them in ways they are only beginning to discover.


Years after that, The Forest fast forwards to Timmy as a young man, now apparently on the verge of a mutation and consumed by memories of the peninsula. Throughout his room, there are spent bottles of medicine and dozens of notes tacked to the wall. One of them shows a drawing of the artifact he was trapped in. Notably, another shows map of a different island, designated "site 2."

It's not immediately clear what all of this means, but this ending sets Timmy and the player up for the sequel, Sons of the Forest.

Endnight Games gives you a hard choice to make

Alternatively, the player can opt to not activate another plane crash. This ending is far less dramatic, however, and instead of seeing a corrupted Timmy live an obviously troubled life, the player simply leaves the cave empty-handed. To do this, the player has to use a second computer in the command center housing the second artifact (located to the right) that allows them to activate an emergency shutdown. 


Upon departing Sahara Therapeutics and the cave system, the player sees the would-be victim's airplane floating through the air unscathed. They then take out a photo of Timmy, light it on fire and release it into the wind, showing that Eric has finally chosen to break the cycle of violence.

Neither option at the end of The Forest will leave the player feeling warm and fuzzy. Endnight Games' The Forest is just one of those games with a messed up ending. In the end, it's a decision of lesser evils. Do you accept the results of your child's death and end the cycle of violence, or do you perpetuate it by selfishly targeting another family? The choice is yours.