The 11 Longest Video Game Stories of All Time
Ever-improving technological capabilities have led to ever-expanding possibilities in game development, and over the past two decades especially, studios have harnessed those technologies to make their games look better, play smoother, and for the most part, run longer.
Game length has become a critical selling point given consumers’ limited time and money, and their seemingly unlimited options for entertainment. So, with the help of IGN sister site HowLongtoBeat, we set out to discover the longest video game campaigns ever made.
The list is based on the average time it takes to ‘mainline’ a game’s campaign (i.e., to play straight through the story without exploring much or any side content). We decided to highlight story length rather than overall length as the overall list is dominated by idle games and neverending simulations. HowLongtoBeat estimates are based on user-reported playtimes.
11. My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia, a cozy town simulator from 2019, squeezes onto our list with a 70.5-hour campaign — half an hour longer than Crusader Kings 3.
My Time at Portia offers nearly as much content outside of the main story, as completionists can expect to spend around 135 hours with the sim.
10. Persona 4
This list is dominated by two franchises: Monster Hunter and Persona. The latter’s first entry on this list is the PS2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, which rolls credits around 72.5 hours.
Persona 4 Golden, now available on modern platforms, is described as an “expanded” version of P4, though according to HLTB, it has a shorter average completion time of 68 hours. However, Golden has a longer estimated time for completionists at 139 hours.
9. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
The first of four Monster Hunter games on this list, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate clocks in at 75 hours. Ultimate is an expanded version of the Wii-exclusive Monster Hunter 3.
While credits roll after roughly 75 hours, completionists can expect to spend 553 hours with MH3U.
8. Pathfinder: Kingmaker
Pathfinder: Kingmaker, a video game adaptation of the popular tabletop RPG, earned a spot on this list with a 77.5-hour campaign.
Completionists can expect to spend 198 hours with the isometric RPG.
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7. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is another sprawling action-RPG from Capcom. Its 77.5-hour runtime is tied with Pathfinder: Kingmaker’s, though MH4U gets the edge given its greater length for completionists: 387 hours to Pathfinder’s 198.
6. Dragon Quest 7: Fragments of the Forgotten Past
Dragon Quest 7, the longest entry in Square Enix’s 37-year-old JRPG series, clocks in at 78 hours. The seventh Dragon Quest game came West in 2001 as Dragon Warrior 7 before a 2013 3DS remake adopted its original Japanese title.
Completionists can expect to spend 159 hours with the JRPG.
5. Gran Turismo 4
Sony’s PS2 racer Gran Turismo 4 featured a 78.5-hour career mode — 30 hours longer than any other entry in the series, according to HLTB. For reference, the recent Gran Turismo 7 campaign mode, GT Café, takes roughly 24 hours to complete. Gran Turismo 4 is the only first-party game on this list from Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo.
Completionists can expect to spend 279 hours with Gran Turismo 4.
4. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
Capcom one-upped itself again with Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, a massive action-RPG with a 79-hour runtime. First released in Japan as Monster Hunter XX, Ultimate is a beefed-up Switch version of Monster Hunter Generations for 3DS. For comparison, the original release had an average completion time of 54 hours.
Completionists can expect to spend 689 hours with Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate — more time than any other game on this list.
3. Persona 3
Persona 3’s main story wraps after 82 hours, good for third place on the list of all-time longest video game campaigns. An extended version of P3, Persona 3 FES, was released a year later, though according to HLTB, that can be completed in two fewer hours.
However, Persona 3 FES does feature more overall content than the base version: Completionists can expect to spend 140 hours with the JRPG.
2. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
At 98 hours long, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is the longest Capcom campaign and the second-longest game on our list. First released in Japan as Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, Unite is an extended version of Monster Hunter Freedom 2.
While credits roll around the 98-hour mark, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has roughly 459 hours of content for completionists.
1. Persona 5 Royal
The longest single-player story in gaming can be found within Atlus’s preeminent JRPG Persona 5 Royal. HLTB lists the average completion time for its story at 101 hours. Royal, like many games on this list, is an extended version of a previously released game.
In addition to having the longest story, Persona 5 Royal has one of gaming’s best: It earned a review score of 10 from IGN and a spot on our list of the best modern RPGs.
Considering the statistics for both Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal, completionists can expect to spend 143–173 hours with the JRPG.
Jordan covers games, shows, and movies as a freelance writer for IGN.
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