Now that you’ve killed the dragon and vanquished the villain, the credits are about to start. Even in situations like this, the music has a significant impact on whether the conclusion leaves you with a lasting memory. You wouldn’t anticipate that God of War would end with the newest Grand Theft Auto or a hip-hop song at a cool event. Some games have taken full use of the fact that the final few minutes you spend listening to that final piece of musical exposition have a significant impact to build a mood or express a final thought from the perspective of a character. Here are some of the best video game closing tunes that stood out when the credits rolled, listed from least to most beloved.
Shukk -departure- from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair by Megumi Ogata
Even if the 2012 whodunnit mystery had a happy ending, dejection was not far behind. Megumi Ogata, who also provided the original Japanese voices for series protagonist Makoto Naegi and occasionally antagonist Nagito Komaeda, performs an original song during the Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair end credits. The lyrics, which have been appropriately translated, describe the protagonists’ journey through despair before finding hope in their darkest moments. The final stanza pays homage to Nagito Komaeda by making allusions to the events of Danganronpa 2 and his intentions for what he did to spur the main character, Hajime Hinata, to seek out another ray of hope as he sinks into the deepest abysses of despair. It’s difficult to imagine the song in any other way given how well the lively groove fits with Danganronpa’s anime aesthetic.
Setting Sail, Coming Home, a Bastion song by Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett
One of the top independent games of the 2010s, Bastion debuted in 2011 and is renowned for having some of the best soundtracks a game can provide. “Build That Wall” and “Mama, I’m Home,” written by Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett, respectively, are two songs from earlier in the game that are used in this duet. The song’s circular lyrics and back-and-forth verses give you the impression that a series of circumstances came together to influence your decision to restore the world to its previous state. any was This theme has a good sense of closure because it makes you feel like you’ve reached the end, even though it’s not a very happy one.
Bear McCreary’s “Ashes” from God of War
2018 saw a remarkable resurgence for Kratos in the media. The accompanying score by composer Bear McCreary gives his character more nuance and reveals a vulnerable side of one of video games’ grimmest anti-heroes. It also creates an epic soundstage for the journey that culminated at the summit of Jotunheim, where Kratos’ wife and Atreus’ mother, Faye, were killed. The Faroese song “Ashes,” performed by vocalist Eivr Pálsdóttir, nicely sums up this journey through the Nine Realms. As the song progresses from waiting for a resolution to closing in on a long unfulfilled desire for a steady sonic journey back to where it all began, Bear McCreary hits different moods using a combination of the soft vocals and the swelling three-note melody found throughout the God of War soundtrack.
“Our Light” from Persona 5 Royal by Shoji Meguro
The final tune from Persona 5’s original game, “With the stars and us,” had a far more uplifting message, but the game’s enhanced edition dramatically intensifies the feelings. The song focuses on the fact that there is no such thing as a happy ending and that life is a struggle. Although the song’s tone gives you a feeling of optimism and goes through the concepts of Persona 5’s cast and characters, the lyrics make you feel as though there are challenges. The key message here is that even in our darkest moments, a little of our own light can shine to illuminate the path ahead. This song, performed by renowned jazz vocalist Lyn, combines a strong ballad structure with fast-paced piano driving lyrics to create one of Meguro’s greatest works.
Ashtar Command’s “Deadman’s Gun” from Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption, a love letter from Rockstar to the spaghetti western film genre, has a fairly bleak conclusion to a trip filled with moral quandaries and the question of whether the game’s protagonist John Marston ever found the redemption he sought. It’s appropriate that the creators selected a song with the title “Deadman’s Gun,” which acts as John Marston’s musical autobiography. The melancholy ballad by the indie rock band Ashtar Command offers a lyrical analysis of both John Marston and his son, Jack, and how they are propelled toward violence with a consequence close behind them. The song’s tone conveys a profound melancholy about the subject’s warlike behaviour and how it has finally caught up to its prey. Was all the battling worthwhile, though, is still an open question.
“Weight of the World” from NieR: Automata by Keiichi Okabe
NieR: Automata was a game that preyed on player emotions and expectations, and nowhere is that more evident than when “Weight of the World” plays after the credits roll of “Ending E.” The link between the two main characters, 2B and 9S, is expressed not only in the song’s lyrics but also in the mechanics of the credit sequence, which also conveys a certain responsibility. In order to save other players from having to play the somewhat difficult bullet hell minigame alone during the game’s final scene, the game really provides you the option to surrender your save data. The names of important staff members spew out screen-covering bullet patterns as the song continues to grow, acting as though they are the boss you are trying to overthrow. Themes are used extremely cleverly throughout the entire activity, which appears like an insurmountable challenge at first, but you know you don’t want to give up now.
Florence + The Machine’s “Stand By Me” is included in Final Fantasy XV.
Why not a timeless rendition of the popular song “Stand By Me” incorporated into the Final Fantasy theme to make the conclusion of that journey even harder? After all, the ultimate road trip with brothers in arms begs for one hell of a send-off. Not only does this music complement the game’s themes, but it also appears repeatedly in the opening and closing sequences, as the action loops back on itself. We hear some conversation between Noctis, Ignis, Gladio, and Prompto as the credits begin to roll and show a selection of the best player images taken from Prompto’s perspective. Given the significance of what this story stood for, in a happy and totally tragic collision of emotions, it’s difficult to hold back the tears during this one. Rarely does camaraderie strike this hard.
“Simple and Clean” from Kingdom Hearts by Hikaru Utada
One of the best video game ending tracks ever is Hikaru Utada’s pop smash “Simple and Clean,” which is frequently utilised as the main theme in the Kingdom Hearts series. The emotional effect of this song, which is first heard towards the conclusion of the first game when Sora is forced to leave Kairi in the Destiny Islands, is yet another excellent illustration of the contrast between a joyful ending and a tragic one. It’s a bittersweet ending because the lovers pass away without finding closure, even if the person Sora spent the entire game attempting to save is safe. Just the choice of this song and how it all comes to a climax made it feel like a “To be continued…” conclusion even in 2005.
Jonathan Coulton’s song “Still Alive” for Portal
The musical middle finger known as “Still Alive” has lingered in gamers’ heads longer than any other meme that came from one of the best first-person games where you don’t fire a single bullet in the late 2000s. You may have won the battle, but not the war, says this popular tune by comic singer Jonathan Coulton, with lyrics penned by Ellen McLain, who plays GlaDOS. It also acts as the background music to the entire game of tests gone wrong. Because of the proper deadpan delivery and the upbeat lyrics, such as “…for the good of us all, except those who are dead,” it still seems like something GlaDOS might have sung if we weren’t watching. For good measure, it also tossed in a brief dig at Half-Life, Valve’s other seminal first-person game, which drove fans into a frenzy and left many wondering if it was canon or if it was a classic breach of the fourth wall that later became a crucial component of Portal’s own narrative in the follow-up.
Only You (and You Only) from Batman: Arkham City using Mark Hamill
What was supposed to be Mark Hamill’s final performance as the Joker, Batman’s greatest foe, ended up being his best. One final tape recording of the Joker singing the 1950s hit song “Only You (And You Alone),” originally performed by The Platters, in an off-key, incredibly moving rendition welcomes us. This was a haunting send-off to the Clown Prince of Crime that was absolutely on the nose thanks to Joker’s scratchy voice, lack of melody, and even sauntering into some spoken word. According to the Joker, Batman and Joker are mutually dependent on one another. Batman was driven to the brink by the obsession of the Joker, and even in his final moments, this was the real last joke. It happens very infrequently for a villain to leave her opponent with such a memorable epitaph, but this was one for the ages.