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Magnum Opus

Charlotte: Plaything? I should say not. It is my egg sac, my magnum opus.
Wilbur: I don't know what a magnum opus is.
Charlotte: That's Latin. It means "great work." This egg sac is my great work — the finest thing I have ever made.

Welcome to the top of the mountain, and to the pearly gates beyond which only the best are permitted. This trope represents the pinnacle to which anyone who produces a work of art dreams of reaching. The term "Magnum Opus" is bestowed on any work generally accepted to be a masterpiece, as well as the greatest work of its creator, forever cementing them as someone of exceptional talent.

Any given writer, artist, musician, etc. may produce many works in his/her life time, and many of these works may be great; but the greatest, and most important, well known, and influential of these works is their Magnum Opus. For the purposes of this trope page, it is probably best to consult The Other Wiki's definition of "Masterpiece": "a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship." This trope is meant to recognize both the work and its creator, so any work of enough quality and critical acclaim is welcome. If you've ever heard a work referred to as a "classic" or especially a "masterpiece," chances are it belongs here.

Of course, defining what is or isn't someone's true masterpiece is far from easy in some cases. For some creators, there is little controversy, because they've only ever created or are only known for one particular work, which happens to be a masterpiece. Others have such a large body of work that there is bound to be more than one candidate for the title. There may be heavy debate regarding multiple works as to which is their true Magnum Opus. As usual there may be Critical Dissonance at play. The general public likes one work, while critics or fellow creative artists in the field prefer another. Even the creator himself may not always be the best judge of his own work. He/She may prefer his later work, because he/she grew the beard as an artist, perfected his/her skills and had more independence, away from Executive Meddling, while his fans may feel that his/her earlier work is way better (First Installment Wins). A common problem that happens to every artist is that, in their eyes, their best work is the one they spent the most time and effort on. As history has proven time and time again, this isn't always the case. For more examples on that subject we refer to the Magnum Opus Dissonance page.

A few simple reminders to avoid endless personal and subjective debates or other problems:

1) Please note that although there may be some overlap, this is not to be confused with One-Hit Wonder, which is when a creator is only known for one work, and that page mostly has music examples. This isn't One-Book Author, either. Most of these also aren't Tough Acts To Follow, which is when any other work of a creator's is compared disfavorably to their opus; but again, they can be.

2) Also note that there may or may not be overlap with the creator's Breakthrough Hit. While a few creators' breakthroughs are often cited to be their greatest work, most creators will create their breakthrough first, then eventually go on to produce their Magnum Opus.

3) Some of the works considered a Magnum Opus are often epic and ambitious in scale, length, stature or in content. Though this isn't always the case.

4) Merely listing a work as a magnum opus, because you happen to like it, despite everyone else disliking it or not rating it that high is a totally different discussion and should not be held here. Even if your own personal circle of friends or a group of Internet forum contributors like it: This still doesn't prove its status as a magnum opus. Consult encyclopedias, art critics, professional reviews, documentaries or check the popularity of a certain work among the general public, despite it already being decades or even centuries old.

5) Before commenting on works that are already cited on this page as a creator's Magnum Opus that you don't agree with, please remember that the main page should be kept as objective as possible, with a minimal number of Justifying Edits. If there is a work cited here that you don't agree with or a work you feel has been neglected, please mention it first on the Discussion Page. Finally, The best way to decide whether or not a work is a Magnum Opus is by asking the question: "Is this work generally defined as a masterpiece, and as the greatest achievement of its creator's career?"

Also not to be confused with a certain penguin. Contrast Parvum Opus, Dethroning Moment of Suck and Fallen Creator.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Actors 

    Anime & Manga 

    Artists (Painters, sculptors, graphic artists) 
  • Also more contemporary, prepare for some Squick in reading about Vito Acconci's performance masterpiece Seedbed.
  • Francis Bacon: Screaming Popes
  • Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle series of films.
  • Hieronymus Bosch. The Garden of Earthly Delights.
  • Sandro Botticelli: La Primavera (best known for The Birth of Venus centerpiece).
  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Peasant Wedding is generally considered his masterpiece, because of its iconic stature. Other often cited works are Peasant Dance, The Blind Leading the Blind.
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti. His David statue and the Sistine Chapel ceiling painting are generally considered his magnum opus and a high point in human art. Another candidate is his Pietà statue.
  • John Constable: The Hay Wain.
  • Salvador Dali: The Persistence of Memory.
  • Jacques-Louis David: The Death of Marat.
  • Marcel Duchamp: His magnum opus was a piece simply known as "Fountain," a porcelain urinal he put on a pedestal in a gallery and signed with a marker as "R. Mutt". The piece was concept heavy, meant to challenge the value of art and the importance of the gallery system. The big idea behind the piece being, "If something is in an art gallery, does that make it art?"
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
  • The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia of Barcelona is often considered the masterpiece of the renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. The intricacy and scale of the cathedral was so immense that not only was it incomplete at the time of Gaudi's death (despite being started some forty years before he died, and devoting the last fifteen years of his life to it entirely), but remains incomplete to this day. By the time it is expected to be finished, it will have been built over the course of about 140 years.
  • Francisco De Goya: The Third of May, 1808.
  • Theodore Géricault: The Raft of the "Medusa''.
  • El Greco: The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.
  • Edward Hopper: Nighthawks.
  • Hokusai: The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
  • Roy Lichtenstein: Whaam.
  • Edouard Manet: Le Déjeuner Sur L' Herbe.
  • Masaccio's frescoes for the Barancacci Chapel, his greatest works and considered by some the principal classroom of the Florentine School.
  • Claude Monet: Impression, soleil levant and his Water Lelies series.
  • Edvard Munch: The Scream.
  • Pablo Picasso: Guernica
  • Raphael's "School of Athens".
  • Pierre-August Renoir: Bal au Moulin de la Galette.
  • Auguste Rodin: The Thinker and The Kiss.
  • Peter Paul Rubens: The Elevation of the Cross and The Descent From The Cross.
  • Georges Seurat: He died unfortunately young, but he (the inventor of pointillism) shook up the art world with his stylistically inventive and politically controversial Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
  • Johannes Vermeer: Girl With A Pearl Earring and The Milk Maid.
  • Vincent van Gogh: His artistic impact only occured after death. In terms of sales and fame The Sun Flowers is often cited as his masterpiece. Another strong contender is Starry Night, which remains one of the most influential and recognizable paintings in the world.
  • Rembrandt Van Rijn: The Nightwatch. Among the general public and art fans The Jewish Bride and The Oath Of Julius Civilis have also gained in reputation.
  • Diego Velazquez: Las Meninas.
  • The Venus of Milo is seen as one of the greatest statues in the world and one of the most famous idealizations of beauty.
  • Andy Warhol: His Campbell Soup painting.
  • James Mcneill Whistler: Portrait of the Artists' Mother.

    Comic Strip Artists 

    Composers (Classical & Jazz) 

    Fan Fic 

    Fashion 

    Film - Animated 
  • Amblimation: Balto for Steven Spielberg's short-lived animationstudio.
  • Ralph Bakshi: Though Fritz the Cat may be his most famous work overall, both Heavy Traffic and Coonskin are generally considered to be his best animated features. Bakshi himself favors Coonskin.
  • Brad Bird has never EVER made a bad film, but the biggest contenders for his Opus are The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is another strong contender.
  • Don Bluth: Fans and critics alike see The Secret of NIMH as his magnum opus. All his later work tends to be more hit-and-miss and falls into eternal cult classic debates.
  • Disney: Just like many other animation companies Disney's best work was done during The Golden Age of Animation (1930s until the end of the 1950s).
    • Silly Symphonies: Disney's best regarded animated short from his black-and-white era is The Skeleton Dance, which started of his Silly Symphonies' series. It has remained popular and iconic throughout the centuries, while most of Disney's other black-and-white shorts, apart from Steamboat Willie have been forgotten and surpassed in popularity by his color shorts. The best animated Disney short in terms of popularity and among people in the animation business is The Band Concert. In terms of technical and dramatic achievement The Old Mill is also held in high regard.
    • Of Disney animated feature films the earliest five ("Snow White", "Pinocchio", "Fantasia", "Dumbo" and "Bambi") are considered to be his finest works, never surpassed in terms of dazzling technical achievements, dramatic and emotional power and hand-crafted charm. Which one is Disney's truest masterpiece, however, is still debated heavily. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains the most popular with the general audience and film critics alike, also because it broke new ground in animation and showed off everything the Disney studios had learned and achieved while working on animated shorts. Pinocchio is less popular with the general public, but many film critics and animators consider it superior to Snow White in terms of character development, story, visual detail and exciting adventure. Fantasia is even less popular with the general public and was a flop on its general release. Some people find it either too pretentious or too kitschy, but it has been Vindicated by History over the years as the unquestionable highlight of the company's technical skills and admired for being the most controversial, experimental and epic of all of Disney's projects. Dumbo, though not a technically or artistically groundbreaking film, has remained a public and critics' personal favorite ever since its release. Bambi, Walt's own personal favorite, is generally considered to be a classic, but more a favorite with the general public than the critics.
  • After Disney's death it took a long time before critics and public agreed on an animated feature that seemed on par with the work released during Walt's lifetime. Beauty and the Beast was a triumphant return to the old Disney charm, matching a strong story arc, stunning artwork, catchy songs and interesting main characters throughout the entire film. Many critics give it excellent reviews and it was the first Disney picture in five decades to win several Academy Awards. It was even the first animated feature to be nominated for the title Best Film!
  • Pixar is one of the most critically and publicly acclaimed film studios ever. Nearly every film they've created is a classic but the debate for their best film is usually between WALL•E, Up, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, one or all of the Toy Story movies, and Finding Nemo.
  • Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, or Frozen (the first being considered the beginning of the return to Disney's famous quality, the second being praised for its refreshing creativity and genuine heart, and the latter being favourably compared to Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King) have gotten this.
  • DreamWorks Animation: How to Train Your Dragon is often considered to be their greatest animated film. The first two Shrek films are also candidates, though the following installments haven't fared as well in comparison. The Prince of Egypt is their opus in 2D animation.
  • Ray Harryhausen: Fans and critics agree that Jason and the Argonauts is both his best film in content, as well as the one which showcases his claymation talents the best.
  • The Lego Movie or 21 Jump Street for Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
  • Hayao Miyazaki: Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke for Hayao Miyazaki stand out from his always exemplary work. The Wind Rises is another candidate.
  • Willis O Brien: The special effects in the original King Kong (1933) are considered his masterpiece.
  • Chris Sanders has either Lilo & Stitch, or How to Train Your Dragon.
  • Henry Selick: The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is often mistaken for a Tim Burton movie (Burton only wrote it), is most likely Selick's best work.
  • Jan Švankmajer: Alice, among critics and fans of animation. His own fans also see it as his best work.
  • Acclaimed animator Richard Williams has literally referred to The Thief and the Cobbler (or at least his original vision for it, before it was butchered by Executive Meddling) as his magnum opus; others believe Who Framed Roger Rabbit was his masterpiece.

    Live-Action Filmmakers 

    Franchises 
Usually the first installment in most cases, though there have been exceptions.

    Novelists & Poets 

    Theatre (playwrights) 

    Authors of Non-fiction 
  • Julia Child is best known for her first TV show The French Chef and her collaboration on Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but her far less famous The Way to Cook book/video combination constitutes possibly the greatest project of her life.
  • Isaac Newton: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Science) is not only Issac Newton's most important book but considered one of the most important in the history of science.
  • Similarly, Albert Einstein 's General Theory of Relativity and Euclid's Elements.
  • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Not just a book on tactics, but a way of life for some and a poetic writing as well. A true great in every way.
  • ''About the War" by Carl von Clausewitz.
  • The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx.
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

    Live Action TV 

    Pop Musicians (crooners, pop, soul, hiphop, reggae and rock) 

    Music Videos 
  • After all those years the only music video to have risen to become an audience and critics' favorite is Thriller by Michael Jackson, directed by John Landis. It revolutionized the art form and surprised every viewer in a way that will probably never occur again with the same universal impact. Even Jackson tried to surpass it with more and more epic music videos, like Bad, Smooth Criminal and Black or White, but none ever got the same global acclaim from all audiences, both public as well as critics.

    Pinball 

    Sports 
  • Hakeem Olajuwon's 1993-94 season, winning the MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
  • Tim Duncan's 2002-03 season, especially the finals series against the New Jersey Nets.
  • Shaquille O'Neal's 1999-2000 season, in which he captured the MVP, All-star Game MVP and Finals MVP.
  • Georges St. Pierre's TKO victory against Matt Hughes.
    • How can you mention Matt Hughes without citing his victory over Frank Trigg at UFC 52? Matt survived an accidental low blow, a pummeling, a near submission, then got up, PICKED UP TRIGG AND RAN ACROSS THE OCTAGON WITH HIM, threw him down, returned the pummeling, and got a submission of his own.
      • Because his comeback victory over BJ Penn (a man who beat Hughes once before) is more impressive. Hughes was behind on the scorecards, getting pummeled standing up and Penn's brazilian jiu-jitsu was giving Hughes problems on the ground. And yet, Hughes finished Penn late in the fight through sheer determination.
  • Chuck Liddell's first victory over Randy Couture.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers 1971-1972 season, winning 33 in a row and grabbing the title.
  • Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1995-96 season, becoming the first team in NBA history to win 70 regular season games (they won 72 and only lost 10) and cruising to Jordan's 4th title.
  • Le Bron James' 2011-12 season, winning the MVP and finals MVP.
  • World champion chess player (and world-champion-caliber Jerkass) Bobby Fischer produced the win dubbed by commentators "The Game of The Century" when he was 13 years old.
  • Michael Phelps at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, setting the record for most golds in one Olympics (8), taking gold in every event he was in.
  • In Association Football, many players, coaches and managers are considered to have been so influential on their teams that they are deemed the equivalent of cinema's "auteurs". The crowning achievements of their teams can be considered to be their magnum opus:
    • For Sir Alex Ferguson, a well-remembered British manager in history, it is the 1999 league/cup/European Cup treble with Manchester United.
    • For Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi's Barcelona, it is the 5-0 ("la manita") demolition of Real Madrid in 2010. This mirrored the achievement of Johan Cruyff, Barcelona's most influential player and manager, whose 5-0 defeat of Madrid in 1974 set the seeds for Barcelona's future success.
    • The 1967-68 season is seen as this for George Best of Northern Ireland. Widely regarded as the greatest player to never play at a world cup and one of the greatest period, he rose to the forefront at Manchester United during that season, leading the team to the European Cup, becoming the fist english team to do so, and winning the equivalent of the european player of the year. Sadly he would waste his talent on booze and gambling in the years after.
    • The Brazilian team that won the 1970 World Cup is often considered the best squad ever assembled.
  • In 2007, Peyton Manning finally shook off the cobwebs and led his Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl victory after years of playoff mishaps.
  • Super Bowl XLII. On one side, the undefeated Patriots, who'd soundly thrashed every team before them. On the other, the New York Giants, who came out of nowhere with an unexpected postseason run. The Giants proceeded to win the game in what's generally considered one of the defining moments of American Football.
  • Muhammad Ali's brilliant tactic to beat seemly invincible "Big" George Foreman in Zaire (Congo), 1974.
  • Sugar Ray Leonard making the feared Roberto Duran quit in the middle of their rematch, after losing to him in their first boxing match.
  • The first lap of the 1993 European Grand Prix for Ayrton Senna.
  • Eddy Merckx' entire cycling career is a magnum opus, never surpassed in the dazzling amount of victories by any other cyclist!

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Studios
    • For park fans, to date nothing has been able to top Kongfrontation in terms of originality, production value and realism. Especially when it first opened.
    • Spider-Man and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (both in the Islands of Adventure park at Universal Flordia) are alternatively considered this by many other fans due to, like Kongfrontation before them, both rides pioneering new, unproven ideas an technologies.
  • For the Disney Theme Parks, the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride is considered Imagineering's finest achievement in ride design.
  • Six Flags's crowning achievement would be X (now X2), not only for being the first multidimensional coaster ever made, but also one of the very few of its kind.
  • Cedar Point: Millennium Force, still the park's most iconic coaster. Gatekeeper may yet surpass it, but it's still too early to tell. In a park generally known as a roller-coaster Mecca, that's quite an achievement.

    Video Games 

Games

  • Either the Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda series for Shigeru Miyamoto. As for individual games, there are numerous candidates from either series.
    • For Mario, while many fans will be quick to point to Super Mario Bros. 3, Shigeru Miyamoto himself has said that Super Mario World is his favorite Mario game.
    • Though all of the 3D Mario games have been largely acclaimed, Super Mario Galaxy and it's sequel are notable for being two of the highest-rated videogames ever-they respectively rank as first and third on GameRankings' "All-Time Best" list of videogames that have received the highest of critical praise from critics.
    • Most critics look to Ocarina of Time as the Magnum Opus of the Zelda series (despite that annoying fairy and owl), and the title holds top honors on a vast number of professional "Best Games of All Time" lists. The pinnacle of the series is extremely debated among fans. A Link to the Past is considered a tough contender, and Majora's Mask has had a sudden outbreak in popularity. Either way, Eiji Aonuma considers Ocarina of Time itself his favorite game, to the point that he expressed desire to surpass it with a new game someday.
  • Hironobu Sakaguchi's Final Fantasy series. Out of all the games, he considers Final Fantasy IX to be his favorite.note  Given the fans, this is hotly debated, with Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy VII being other contenders. Some cases also exist for Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII. VI and IX have the highest ratings (as seen in the Other Wiki's Final Fantasy article). With Final Fantasy IX having the highest Metacritic score and Final Fantasy VI having the highest GameRankings Score, while VII is considered the biggest game changer in terns of graphics(as it was the first to shift to 3D) combat, as well as presentation(cinematic cutscenes blending with normal gameplay).
  • Kingdom Hearts (and within that series probably either Kingdom Hearts II or Birth By Sleep) or The World Ends with You for Tetsuya Nomura. Final Fantasy XV was an attempt at one, but it spent so long as Vaporware that Nomura was ultimately given the boot as Director.
  • Dragon Quest V for Yuji Horii. Or, if you're willing to count team-ups, Chrono Trigger.
  • Alexey Pajitnov had the original falling-block odyssey, Tetris.
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape and Rayman Origins are this for the Rayman franchise, the aforementioned games and Beyond Good & Evil are this for Michael Ancel's works, and all of those combined with Assassin's Creed are this for Ubisoft as a whole.
  • Richard Garriott had Ultima. And from that series, Ultima IV, lauded by game developers today as a standard which has yet to be matched. This is a game from 1985. Ultima VII may not match it in influence, but these days it commands even more respect as a whole. Both of the games are considering some of the best PC WRPGs ever made.
  • It might be easy to say Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is Koji Igarashi's magnum opus, but that honor is better stated to go to Toru Hagihara, as he served as director and producer. Hagihara was designer and/or producer of almost every Castlevania game to that point, and so Symphony is more logically the endpoint of everything he worked towards, while this was only the second game Igarashi worked on. For fans, it's Castlevania: Rondo of Blood instead.
  • Regarding Igarashi, another candidate is Tokimeki Memorial 1. Its success in Japan was wild, and thanks to this, Igarashi was rewarded with the ability to work on the Castlevania series.
  • Metal Gear Solid for Hideo Kojima. The fandom as a whole is largely divided between which of the series' is the better one, the debate being mainly centered around Solid, 2, 3, or 4, for vastly different reasons. Regardless of Kojima's official stand, the controversy over this tends to get out of hand. Worth mentioning is the portion of Kojima's fanbase that defends Zone of the Enders as his Magnum Opus even though he only produced it, he didn't write the story, direct it, or anything, just gave money towards it.
  • Sonic Team's best work will usually be cited as either the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise or NiGHTS Into Dreams.
    • Despite the Sonic franchise's years of ups and downs and it's notorious broken fanbase, the original games on the Sega Genesis are generally agreed to be the best games of the series by most fans, and by extension are recognized by the general public and critics as such. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is by large the most adored game by critics, fans, and the general public; Sonic3&Knuckles is considered by the fanbase as the best game overall in the series, and Sonic the Hedgehog CD has garnered special acclaim from critics and fans for it's use of time-travel elements and overall presentation despite being a commercial failure on it's original release.
    • While the best 2D Sonic game are almost unanimously considered one of the above-mentioned Genesis games, the best 3D Sonic game is more contested by fans for obvious reasons. That said, Sonic Adventure, it's sequel, and Sonic Generations are the most frequently-cited candidates for the title.
  • Either the Kirby franchise or the Super Smash Bros.. games for Masahiro Sakurai, depending on whom you ask. Even picking out individual games for those franchises gets iffy, although Kirby Super Star and Super Smash Bros. Melee stand out. Kid Icarus: Uprising are also among his contenders.
  • By the judgment of many fans, sales numbers and Word of God, Keiji Inafune's greatest work will always be Mega Man 2.
    • Mega Man 3 would be a very close second then, followed maybe by Mega Man X1 or X4 (even though Inafune said 3 was his least favorite Mega Man game).
    • Meanwhile, Mega Man V is this for the Game Boy sub-series and the team from Minakuchi Engineering, the company behind most of its installments.
    • This is also applied in universe as Mega Man himself is considered Dr. Light's Magnum Opus.
  • Any gamer that has ever played a game on the go will agree that the late Gunpei Yokoi's magnum opus is the original Game Boy. And as far as software goes, his magnum opus is considered to be the Metroid series.
  • Super Metroid is frequently considered to be Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto's best work, and the best game in the Metroid series. His attempt to surpass with Metroid: Other M was met with mixed results.
  • For Retro Studios, the Metroid Prime trilogy was thought as this for many years until Donkey Kong Country Returns, which is said to contend heavily for that title, and in turn Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was put even higher by fans.
  • Either Portal, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, or the Half-Life series for Valve Software. Another candidate is Steam, not only their potential Magnum Opus as a company, but for online game distribution as a whole.
  • Critics have hailed Rock Band 3 as this for studio Harmonix: the culmination of their 15 years of making music games as well as the best music game ever.
  • For the late Neversoft, their Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games will be considered their best work, with the first three games considered not only the best games of that franchise, but some of the best skating videogames ever made-the second game is Metacritic's second highest-rated game on their all-time list, while the third game is tied with Grand Theft Auto III as the site's highest rated PS2 game, making them two of the most critically-praised games of their time of release.
  • Cave Story for Studio Pixel (Daisuke Amaya).
  • Garou: Mark of the Wolves for SNK, one of the last games the company released before its unfortunate bankruptcy in 2000. Considering that SNK has amassed a surprisingly large Hate Dumb by fans of the fighting genre, the fact that SNK fans and non-supporters alike consider this to be the last great SNK game should be telling within itself.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes for the Marvel vs. Capcom series if not for all the Capcom vs. Whatever games.
  • Either Ōkami or Viewtiful Joe for Clover Studios (before going bankrupt, disbanding from Capcom, and forming Platinum Games).
  • The MOTHER series for Shigesato Itoi.
  • id Software has been, especially in the 90's, a standard-setter in video games. Perhaps the best candidate for their Magnum Opus (and lead programmer John Carmack's) is Doom, their most universally acclaimed game, often considered a milestone. Quake is close behind due to its technological innovations.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit and One Must Fall for Epic Games.
  • Another World for Eric Chahi. A timeless classic which made quite an impact at its time and was a pioneer of artistic games.
  • Deus Ex for Ion Storm, which more than made up for their infamous failed FPS.
  • Either the Baldur's Gate series or the Mass Effect trilogy for BioWare. Specifically for the latter, Mass Effect 2, by far Bioware's best reviewed and highest grossing game.
  • Halo for Bungie. "Halo 2" is generally the best regarded individually.
  • Plants vs. Zombies for PopCap Games, being their fastest-selling game and having won many awards.
  • The Last of Us for Creator/Naughty Dog; it has gotten near universal acclaim from critics and gamers alike. Previously, this was considered to be the Uncharted series.
  • American McGee has American McGee's Alice, cult classic and great game of its time, probably even more like a Magnum Opus than its sequel Madness Returns.
  • Telltale Games can say without a doubt that The Walking Dead is this for them.
  • Knight Lore for Ultimate Play the Game. Set in a three-dimensional world and drawn using Isometric Projection (all of it on a ZX Spectrum), it was a revolutionary game at its time.
  • For Ultimate's successor, Rare, Donkey Kong Country (in particular Diddy's Kong Quest) or Banjo-Kazooie
  • For Irrational Games it's either System Shock 2 or BioShock, for Bioshock it's a tie between BioShock 1 and BioShock Infinite. However the Bioshock series as a whole definitely wins in the visual department with BioShock Infinite being the most impressive to look at.
  • Either the Dot Hack franchise or Asura's Wrath probably qualify for this for CyberConnect2.
  • As for Pokémon, Pokemon Gold And Silver was for a very long time the only possible contender for the title of Magnum Opus - especially when Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver were released. Then along came Pokemon Black And White, and it suddenly became a two-way battle for supremacy. Still, you can't deny the impact of Pokemon Red And Blue.
    • Pokémon X and Y are receiving a great deal of praise as well lately, being hailed as a fusion of past and present for the franchise.
    • Pulseman is another contender for one that is made by Game Freak Inc. (the creator of the pokemon series). Especially since it is getting Vindicated by Cable and a few fans of the pokemon series know that plenty of music tracks of the series were remixes from the tracks in that game.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for Infinity Ward. It's confusing because Infinity Ward (used to) develop only Call of Duty, but they rotate with Treyarch in making the individual games. Either way, the first Modern Warfare wins.
    • For Treyarch, Call of Duty: Black Ops is this for them. Because the game finally got them out of Infinity Ward's shadow with its superior campaign mode and the introduction of the surprisingly popular Zombie mode. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is another strong contender, thanks to its campaign, which some consider the best of the entire series, and the advancements it made for both the multiplayer and Zombies mode.
  • Gunstar Heroes for Treasure. Mischief Makers is also another candidate for this.
  • Chrono Cross is this for Masato Kato.
  • Averted with Xenoblade. While Tetsuya Takahasi acknowledged that many fans consider it so, he has said that it was not his Magnum Opus. The reason? He felt like it set the standard for their games and he'd continue to improve upon it.
  • Either Killer7, No More Heroes, or No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle for Suda 51. Lollipop Chainsaw is also very loved too, but not as much as the others.
  • League of Legends can reasonably be considered this for Riot Games, getting great reviews at its launch in spite of lacking several features that were considered standard fare for games of its type at the time (most have been added since), holding several awards and world records in the field of e-sports and being the most played video game in the world.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Either Persona 4 or Persona 3 for the Persona series, and possibly even for the Shin Megami Tensei franchise as a whole (which one depends on who you ask; Persona 4 is frequently considered the better one in the States, while in Japan 3 is more popular).
    • As far as the mainline games go, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is often heralded by fans of the series as the best one.
  • World of Warcraft is clearly this for the Blizzard part of Blizzard-Activision. That, or Starcraft II.
  • Pac-Man for Namco. Tekken, the Soul series and Ridge Racer are close seconds.
  • Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was this for the entire Mortal Kombat series of games, especially as it was one of the last games produced before it hit the Polygon Ceiling. Now, it's Mortal Kombat 9, which shows an astounding level of detail and work put into it, and was the only Kombat game since Ultimate to be deemed tournament worthy by the fighting game community.
  • NieR is generally agreed to be this for the now-defunct cavia.inc and its director Taro Yoko.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series is generally considered this for Rockstar Games. Within the series, the opus to end all opuses is generally considered to be Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but with the release of Grand Theft Auto V, it and San Andreas compete for the magnum opus status. There's a good reason it's the fastest-selling video game of all time. Other Rockstar contenders for this title include Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire.
  • WWF Smackdown! for THQ.
  • Armalyte for the developers Robin Levy and Dan Philips.
  • Mayhem In Monsterland for Steven Thomas Rowlands and John Rowlands.

Game Soundtracks

Game Consoles

  • For Nintendo, it seems no one can agree on which is their best system: SNES, N64, or Gamecube. And as far as Nintendo handhelds go, it's either GBA, DS, or 3DS.
  • For Sony, it's the PlayStation 2.
  • Sega-wise, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Sega Dreamcast.
  • SNK had the Neo Geo. Both the AES and MVS version could be a contender.
  • For Atari, it is probably the Atari2600, their Pong Systems are however still getting defended and the Atari Jaguar still maintains a fandom.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fans of Ryukishi 07 can't really decide which one of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Umineko no Naku Koro ni is his masterpiece (though a slight majority seams to be leaning towards Umineko). Even Ryukishi 07 himself can't decide on which one he prefers.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

YouTube Poops

    Western Animation