I would like to challenge the Guinness World Records, please

guinness1So it was brought to my attention that Final Fantasy XIV is the recipient of three recent Guinness World Records: most prolific game series (fair enough, there are a lot of FF titles to date to be sure), longest end credits (an hour and a half? did they thank the entire population of Japan?), and “most original pieces of music in a videogame (including expansions)” at 384 tracks.

Now I have no idea what goes into the selection process of picking a Guinness World Record, but often I get the impression that it’s more a thing where people and companies call up Guinness to submit an entry rather than  Guinness going out and doing the homework. Especially when it comes to video games, it seems as though the records took the first applicant who made a claim and could back it up without checking all of the competition to see if there were any others that actually deserved the record more.

Final Fantasy XIV has a terrific and diverse soundtrack, and obviously at 384 tracks, it is no slouch. But it’s also most definitely not the world record holder for most original pieces of music in an MMO, never mind video games at large. I’m not an expert, but I have dabbled in video game music (and MMO soundtracks in particular) over the past few years, and off the top of my head some challengers come to mind.

RuneScape, for instance, boasts a staggering 1,151 original soundtrack pieces, with more coming every month. My World of Warcraft music folder has 772 files, and even if some are variations or duplicates, I’m pretty sure that easily tops 384. Both of these titles have the advantage of having been out a lot longer than FFXIV too, so it’s not to diminish FFXIV’s musical accomplishment to date that I post this, but just that it would bug me if it went unsaid.

Any other challengers? I don’t have a definitive count on EverQuest II tracks, but I know that game’s been adding them since launch and there are quite a few. WildStar is about 280 tracks, and I have about as many for SWTOR, so they’re up there but not quite. Lineage II or Aion? Maybe but I’m not sure how much are in those games that haven’t been officially released. I have about 245 tracks for LOTRO, but I know that there are a lot of more ambient pieces I haven’t gotten yet. A weird challenger might be City of Heroes, which had around 370 mostly short pieces of original music (20-30 seconds apiece for the most part).

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4 thoughts on “I would like to challenge the Guinness World Records, please

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus February 22, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    GWRs seem to be awarded to people who also propose the categories and ask to be recognized. Why else would we care about the longest end credits, unless you are not able to exit the game until they have finished?

  2. Bhagpuss February 22, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    Guiness World Records have been a joke for a very, very long time. If your target market is 9 year old boys I guess you act accordingly.

  3. Dobablo February 23, 2017 / 7:18 am

    I would have thought the most prolific game series would be Pokemon or Madden.

  4. Athie February 23, 2017 / 11:17 am

    Yeah, your point is pretty clearly right — the records in Guinness are obviously not exhaustively researched. I guess a book about solving barstool arguments isn’t up to academic rigor?

    On this particular record, I want to be picky and point out that there’s fundamental measurement ambiguity on this. What counts as an “original piece of music”? Do tracks that reprise a longstanding theme, but are orchestrated differently and feature variations, count as original or not? If not, then the set of original pieces for a game will often be a small fraction of the total set of tracks recorded for the game.

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