Oftentimes our Top 7 lists tread ground that no one else has covered. After all, how many other articles can you find about inanimate objects and sexy horses? But every so often we come down from our esoteric high and write about something universal, like say long-ass videogame endings.
Above: We’ve come a long way since Rampage’s one screen “ending”
On the surface, this appears to be a self-explanatory list – just find the seven longest endings ever, right? After hours of searching we can’t find any real documentation or previous attempts to figure out what exactly are the “longest ever.” So, seeing as we could be the first, here’s our ground rules for what constitutes “ending:”
1 – Credits do not count. Games with extensive credits that don’t add anything to the story are left out. If the credits continue the story, then it’s fair game.
2 – “Ending” means gameplay is over. You’re watching the story run its course, not playing.
3 – For variety’s sake, we’re only using one game per franchise, that way it’s not all Xenosaga and Metal Gear.
4 – Finally, so it’s an entertaining list to scroll through, we’re omitting the glut of 20-minute JRPG endings that smother most of the PS1, PS2 and modern-day scene. Lost Odyssey, Star Ocean, Blue Dragon and many, many more all feature intrepid do-gooders fighting enigmatic final bosses in abstract battlegrounds, so if you’ve seen one ending, you’ve seen ‘em all. Oh, we’ve still got JRPGs on the list, but not every single one.
Above: Which JRPG is this? Can you even tell?
Total running time: 22 minutes
Super condensed version: Heroes save the day, villain’s patchwork castle begins to crumble as the group hurriedly scrambles to their airship. A broken world starts to rebuild itself.
Near as we can tell, this is the first “holy crap this is long” ending. And even if it’s not, it’s bound to be the first truly epic, totally encompassing finale to an RPG. When Locke, Terra, Celes and the rest of the cast finally dispose of the villainous Kefka (who at this point has literally destroyed the world, no fakin’), it’s all they can do to escape with their lives as his magically powered throne falls to the ground.
When it’s all over, we know how everyone feels about the game’s entire journey, how their relationships and own personalities have grown, and what their ultimate fate will be in a world that’s barely able to sustain life. The credits, which account for only a small portion of the ending, roll while we watch the team soar through their newly saved world, all while a stunning score by Nobuo Uematsu perfectly narrates each and every second. Even if you don’t want to watch the whole clip, at least listen to the exceptional ending song – which is, naturally, 22 minutes long.