The Madison game ending is one of the more cryptic finales you’ll encounter to a game recently, with specifics left unclear about what happened to Luca, the spirit of Madison herself, and just what the dark events shown in the finale of the game mean for the main character as a whole. Obviously major spoilers to follow, but we’ve dived in and considered every element to bring you the most likely truths about Madison – the game and the person – and explained the ending to the story below.
Content warning: the following article contains references to suicide and other extreme subject matters.
Madison’s ending explained
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The ending of Madison focuses on the ultimate fate of Luca, who spends the final act of the game setting up a ritual of body transferal, though it’s unclear how much of this behaviour is actually Luca himself, and how much of it is Madison Hale’s growing influence over him, as she is constantly trying to possess Luca and is gaining more of a foothold in his soul.
Having set up the ritual and worked out the Madison lock code, Luca finds the ashes of his grandmother, Elizabeth, sets up the camera to face the ritual, then commits suicide by hanging himself with a noose that’s been present in the ritual room the whole time. His breathing stops, the body swivels to face the camera he placed, and it snaps a photo of him, only for it to emerge as a square of darkness. Luca’s body then suddenly inhales, breathing again – and credits roll.
Unfortunately for those who want a clear answer, the final act is intentionally cryptic, with many elements left unclear and open to interpretation. One of the main themes of the game is the idea that Luca’s sanity is wearing out under Madison’s psychic assault, and much of the reality around him is up for debate, as well as his own behaviour. We’ll cover the various explanations for what happened below in rough order of probability.
Luca tried to escape possession by Madison and failed
The most likely outcome, the fact that Luca seems to die, only to reanimate after the cursed camera takes a photo of him suggests that Madison Hale has been successful and taken over his body in a now-total possession: Luca is gone and Madison has won. The camera image presenting him as ominous darkness implies that he has been taken over, and that her soul transferred to him as part of the ritual, moving from the camera itself. Luca is dead, and Madison lives again. Whether his suicide was a genuine attempt to avoid possession or Madison forcing him into dying for the ritual is unclear, but it hardly matters considering the endpoint is the same.
Luca tried to escape possession by Madison and succeeded
A slightly more optimistic (and unlikely) interpretation of the ending is that Luca himself survived by effectively tricking Madison, setting up the body possession ritual to work, only to die in the noose as Madison and therefore be able to come back to his body now she’s been killed. It’s not especially likely considering the tone of the game and that Luca is told to hang himself by the scribbled demonic drawings he’s been doing, but depending on your view, Luca might have found a way to end the nightmare at last.
Luca isn’t dying, but waking up
Much of Madison’s reality is up for debate, but listening to the recorded tapes from the priest early on drops a noteworthy tidbit – that demons sometimes engulf their victims in false realities. The Father admits that he doesn’t fully understand the process, but while it’s clear that this power accounts for Luca having to deal with the Madison Church maze and candle puzzle and the Morgue both in the distant past, it’s possible that the entire game has been one trek through this constructed hell, and Luca is basically escaping through this dark act – hence the sudden return to life at the end, as well as the game ending suddenly. Now that he’s free, there’s no game left to experience.
None of it was real
Probably the least likely and most disappointing option, the fact that the game pointedly and repeatedly questions Luca’s sanity (even in the title “Mad(i)son“) means that Luca may have simply been hallucinating the entire thing, or at least enough of it that demonic Madison Hale, the whole Madison Blue Knees thing and Hans the Nazi Ghost weren’t ever real (imagine!). It’s not especially satisfying if true, but it’s not impossible as an option and can’t be ruled out, especially when logic is as elastic as running around working what to do with all the Madison clock faces. More likely that while certain aspects of the game might be due to Luca’s crumbling sense of reality, at least some of it is probably outside demonic influences.
Are there secret endings or alternate endings to Madison?
No, as far as we know there are no secret or alternate endings in Madison – the one explained above is the only one available, assuming you don’t include getting mauled by demons and game-overed halfway through the plot as an ending. This is the only one available, though the game may have replay value to some who wish to go back and find the game’s many collectibles.