What one game do you know you have to finish before you die?

Not to get too morbid on you at the end of the week, but almost everyone's got a white whale, right? A game you looked at, realized how much of a commitment it was, then backed away while thinking, "Some other time. Not today, not tomorrow, but eventually and possibly for the rest of my brief life from that moment on."

It could be an RPG with a complex story, a strategy game of long-term world domination, or a farm-life sim that demands a perfectionist commitment to scheduling harvests for maximum yield. Whatever it is: What one game do you know you have to finish before you die? Here are some of our team's answers, let us know yours in the comments below. 

James Davenport: Baldur's Gate 2

I don't know much about it, honestly. What I do know is that it ages well, and it ages well because it's several novels worth of great fantasy writing that accounts for player choice, party composition, and role-playing ingenuity in ways so many games have since tried to replicate. I can handle the archaic UI and a dearth of QOL updates for a reliable storytelling engine. I just haven't yet because it's my job to keep up with computer games as they occur, and boy-o, are they occurring. I can't keep up. Maybe there's a post-PCG career where I can carve out the time for a massive RPG. Maybe not. All I know is that I need to make time for as many good stories as possible and BG2 is, for many, still the benchmark. (Unless Larian one-ups Bioware!)

Samuel Roberts: Skyrim

I've finished three Fallout games but none of the Elder Scrolls entries yet. For some reason, I've never quite been grabbed by the main quest, despite putting tens of hours into the game overall—I've seen everywhere in the world, but the end credits feel like they're many hours away. It's such a key part of recent games history, though, that I'll finish it on my deathbed if I have to (although I was planning to spend most of my retirement playing XCOM 2 campaigns). 

Tom Senior: Torment: Tides of Numenera

There's a precarious subsection of long, lore-heavy games that become impossible to finish if you take a break. Even in games with comprehensive journals it can be difficult to pick up the thread. Tides of Numenera is very wordy and dense. I enjoyed the world and the characters, but after months away playing other games I think this run is doomed. I'd have to read a book's worth of dialogue and descriptions to get back to where I was. The thing is I know I'd enjoy it, but the task seems so great it feels like work, and Destiny 2 is just sitting there on my hard drive inviting me to shoot space wizards right away. 

Malindy Hetfeld: Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2

To clarify, I have finished Divinity: Original Sin 2. But as anyone who has ever played it knows, all the decisions you have made, all the party members you didn't invite into your party, all the paths and secrets you could've overlooked and decisions you could've handled differently can add up to a game well over 130 hours. That's  peanuts to some, but this game can get pretty tricky, and I can get pretty tired, to the point I can't tell you when in the last few years I've invested the time to replay an entire game of that length. 

Jody Macgregor: Just one damn Mortal Empires campaign in Total War: Warhammer 2 

The Vortex campaign is a neat story that drags you through a game of Total War: Warhammer 2 with an endgoal and a timeline. Even if you look at the mechanics beneath it and realize you don't actually need to race everyone to the finale, the fact you can means I absolutely do. Compared to that, the sprawling Mortal Empires campaign of pure world conquest is a bit aimless. It's easy to end up in vendettas that drag on—my dark elves didn't even finish conquering their homeland before an alliance of lizardmen and those viking dickheads started attacking from the south. Some day I'll go back and finish them off before taking on the rest of the Old World, but even using a mod to speed up the turns it's a commitment of another 100 hours in a series I've already spent hundreds in.  

Andy Chalk: The Witcher 3

There it is, my dirty secret is out: I have never played The Witcher 3. I played and loved the original (I was a Witcher fan before The Witcher was cool, you know) and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. And I had every intention of diving into The Witcher 3 on launch day, and then... I didn't. It spiralled from there: I decided to wait for patches to come out to ensure the best possible experience, and then the expansions started to roll and I figured I might as well wait and play it all at once, and then I realized how goddamn huge the whole thing is and where am I going to find time for that? I've been trapped in a self-inflicted holding pattern ever since, so eager to play this game—the king of my backlog jungle—and so fearful of what might happen if I start. I got a job, you know. I got bills to pay.

But someday—someday—it will happen. It may be the last game I ever play, but I will play it. Just... not right now. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.