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The Top 7... longest videogame endings

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? 


7 – Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

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.

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41 comments

  • Illumini - January 25, 2010 10:49 a.m.

    First! Almost all these games seem to be JRPG's...
  • OmNomRomRearghNergh - January 25, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    Very nice article. I wish i had heard of more of the games featured though, and why does every ending need a twist? They are nearly always so predictable.
  • IGiveUFunkButt - January 25, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    Bayonetta had a pretty long ending. There were two lots of credits, then add in the "epilogue" and the dance number. Just saying, it was long.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - January 25, 2010 1:05 p.m.

    I think the joke here is that instead of all of the entries being JRPG's, only 6 of the 7 are.
  • Xplosive59 - January 25, 2010 3:16 p.m.

    the fact that all of these games are japenese is worrying but all of them seem to be in he right place on this list, there was no doubt that mgs4 was going to be number 1 just because my mate got bored of me watching a cutseen than rather getting on with the game
  • CapnCrotchPunch - January 25, 2010 3:18 p.m.

    1st image is Lost Odyssey, SO BAM!
  • crumbdunky - January 25, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    While predictable it's still nice to see MGS4's ending getting the richly deserved love that it does here. Somewhat controversially among MGS fans I actually think that MGS4 is the most impressive game of the series rather than the oft beloved(and truly great) MGS3. That Kojima manages to tie up the most convoluted tale in the history of, not just games, but tales themselves is incredibly commendable and to manage it in some cinematic style(and, imo, with less of his usual over ripe dialogue)is beyond the call of even this mans anal attention to duty. Instead of ending it like you ight a film he continues with the same sense of pace that pervades, not just this game, but the series and that's the main reason this ending sits so well despite being way longer than most outsiders consider possible for gamers attention spans to manage. Known for ambling diatribes on the pointlessness of war and the futility of the search for power it's a wonder that it's so concise, imo! Because however long and wordy it may be Kojima still has so much to tie up that he COULD have gone on forever and that makes this ending possibly the most to the point on this list as well as being the longest. Jesus, I love this game!The fact that non believers(and a few jealous fanboys who never played a Kojima game in their lives)called it an interactive movie is made all the more amusing to me by the fact that none of the cutscenes in MGS4 are paced like films at all but tailored to fit exactly where they do in the much longer context of a MGS game and with Hideo being such a film fan to think he managed to take his influences over to another medium and still create such a masterful whole from the disparate ends of the three previous console MGS is all the more stunning for me.And he was(SPOILERS)right not to have Snake shoot himself.
  • jackthemenace - January 25, 2010 3:52 p.m.

    for a list NOT including JRPGs, at least FOUR of them were JRPGs. which is kinda... yeah. but srsly, 20+ for an ENDING?
  • JustTheBoBreaker - January 25, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    The only game I've played on this entire list was Metal Gear. Still an entertaining article Brett, although I still have to disagree with your thoughts on Bioshock's ending when you talked about it on the podcast.
  • Gahmah - January 25, 2010 4:42 p.m.

    That gex one seems like something out of saw or some other creepy serial killer drama "You're the greatest!" slow scroll against static with off tune music, "You deserve a medal" "YOU ARE A GOD" You can hear the knives being sharpened now to adorn your entrails on roof of an astrovan with the windows knocked out and taped over with trashbags
  • The_Tingler - January 25, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    And that, gentlemen and ladies, is why I refuse to even consider playing Metal Gear Solid 4. I love game stories, but they should be told with an absolute minimum of cutscenes. No matter how good some people think it is, if you're just watching everything it is NOT a game. The writing guideline is usually "show, don't tell", but for games this should be amended to "play, don't show".
  • Kordocwaffle - January 25, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    Huge MGS fan lovely to see it is mentioned here, it may being the longest ending but it was the best. The MGS 3 ending was better in my opinion.
  • noobeater - January 25, 2010 6:11 p.m.

    justthebobreaker, i disagree actually, most of the best games i have ever played are often because of the story and you can never experience a great story if you playing all of the time, MGS 3 comes to mind, i just finished Dragon age and i would play it again even without fighting just coz the story and characters are so interesting.
  • noobeater - January 25, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    oops wrong name meant to say The-Tingler
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - January 25, 2010 6:28 p.m.

    Clarification - I wasn't eliminating all JRPGs, just the massive glut that end with nearly identical 20-minute endings. Eternal Sonata, Xenosaga and DQVIII are all 40+ minutes long, so they're notable instead of "another JRPG ending." /copout
  • Peenerveinia - January 25, 2010 6:47 p.m.

    Motherfucking Rampage made me more angry than any other game ever. All they had to do was make the slightest god damned effort to anything at all and it would have been ok. "Congratulations". All those god damned hours spent, leaving my NES on overnight, having to make it look like it wasn't on so my parents wouldn't hit the power button to "save energy" or some bullshit... "Congratulation"... It's a wonder I even continued gaming after that. Fuck you, Rampage. Fist yourself until you impregnate yourself with a knuckle baby. John Wayne Gacey's clown act was more entertaining than Rampage's ending...
  • DriveShaft - January 25, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    I think Okami has the longest intro that I've played, it's like half an hour <_<
  • Amnesiac - January 25, 2010 7:29 p.m.

    Totally wasn't expecting MGS4! /sarcasm I love MGS and it's convoluted-as-all-hell story, but damn Kojima, there's a limit.
  • Yeager1122 - January 25, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    These endings were so boring i dont know how anyone could see through them and they were all the same thing besides mgs4.
  • nighthawk205 - January 25, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    That image on the first page is Lost Odyssey! Fantastic game although I don't remember the ending being 20 minutes long... Interesting article though. Now I know which games I can play and shut off at the beginning of the ending because super condensed versions are clearly easier and quicker.

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