Features & News

Team Talk: Favourite Original Game Soundtrack

October 15, 2013, Author: Andy Buick

This month’s Team Talk is all about the tunes. Which soundtracks stir the souls of the team, send shivers down our spines, or perhaps send us behind the sofa in fear? Read on, and have a listen to some incredible music while you’re at it!

Matt Parker (News Editor)
For me, it’s got to be Thomas Was Alone. The audio has a lonely and simple quality to it, which fits into the game extremely well. Later on, the soundtrack starts sounding more hopeful and full of life just as Thomas starts to get to know his new friends. Now, that may be me reading too much into the music, but that’s what it sounded like to me!

A quick shout out to POP: Methodology Experiment One. That music’s pretty great too!

Ariana Hester (Social Media)
I’m sure you’re well aware of the many accolades Journey’s OST has received: A tremendous number of awards, reaching no.1 on iTunes in over 20 countries during its first week, and let’s not forget the amazing fact that it was the first video-game soundtrack to be nominated for a Grammy.

In all honesty though, while I’m am very happy for Austin Wintory to receive the recognition he deserves for opening the way for future video-games to receive attention from the “outside world”, that is not why it’s my favorite.

Not only does it fit its medium perfectly, it elevates the experience of the game. Journey is the first soundtrack I have ever purchased. Not just once, not twice, but three times. I tried to get this into the hand of every friend and relative I could. Even after a year, it is constantly on around the house; whether I want to relax, need some ambient music, or I just need to hear it again.

This is the soundtrack everyone needs to have in their library.

Honorable mentions: LittleBigPlanet and Castle Crashers.

Trent Pyro (Staff Writer)
Batman: Arkham City

The Dark Knight has been treated to fantastic movies, blockbuster cartoons and an entire library of brilliant comics and graphic novels in his near-100 year grip on popular culture. He is without a doubt one of the most iconic superheroes in history and commands immense respect, love and passion across the globe.

It’s a big thing, then, when people manage to put his brooding, terrifying and dominating persona into music. Danny Elfman gave us the popcorn theme tune, breaking away from the comical theme of the TV series. Hans Zimmer brought us an epic, two-note ode to the Dark Knight, making the heart race and the senses tingle. So it’s astounding that Nick Arundel and Ron Fish of Rocksteady Games managed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those Hollywood greats in crafting the sublime soundtrack to the Arkham games.

While Arkham Asylum’s creepy, morose music is top-notch, it’s Arkham City’s epic, majestic main theme that stands out as a masterwork of audio storytelling. By mixing the best of Batman music staples (deep horns, leaping strings) with the perfect melody, the duo created a theme just as iconic and timeless as Elfman’s or Zimmers and, for a couple of guys working on a video game, that is fucking astounding.

Andy Corrigan (Editor)
I very much wanted to give you an answer that was sorrowful or meaningful. I ummed and ahhed over picking between soundtracks from Zelda or Elder Scrolls, or even something edgier like Hotline Miami’s adrenaline-infused selection. Instead I’m simply going to pick the track-list that never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention, and that is the OST from Street Fighter II.

It is ‘just a fighting game’, I guess, but I’ve written about my feelings on Capcom’s flagship fighter a number of times before, and I consider its emergence to be the true beginning of not only my passion for fighting games, but gaming full stop.

The scene that surrounded it was social; it made me feel like I was a part of a special movement, and the music from Street Fighter is such a huge part of keeping those fond memories alive. The opening song is the first thing that creeps into my head when I think about the game; I’m literally doing it as I write this. When I actually hear it, it brings back the special fights; the ones won with a sly hit, the times I should have won but threw it away by being cocky. I think about the tactics that people brought, and how I would learn how to best them.

More than that, Street Fighter taught me that getting better at anything takes hard work, practice and persistence. That’s a message that comes flooding back whenever I revisit the game and long before I even get into a fight, simply because of that iconic music.

Neil Hughes (Site Manager)
Any gamer of a certain age will even now be able to sing every word of the popular theme to Cannon Fodder, “War Has Never Been So Much Fun!”, and “Goal Scoring Superstar Hero” that featured in the massive game Sensible World of Soccer on the Amiga. If we are going to be more serious about this topic, though, then there can only one, as Christopher Lambert might say.

Back in the days of the PSOne, I was introduced to the brilliance of Resident Evil and the Survival Horror genre, and have very fond memories of late night gaming sessions in the dark. Nothing, however, prepared me for Akira Yamaoka’s score for the Silent Hill series. The intense and almost suffocating atmosphere regularly got under my skin and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up like no other game I have ever played. If the main theme doesn’t stir any emotion in you then “Theme of Laura” certainly will.

Even if I just hear the intro to the Silent Hill theme here in 2013, I am instantly transported back to an uncomfortable world with low fog and darkness. I think the soundtrack added to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the game and got under my skin more than anything ever has.

Andy Buick (Podcast Co-Host)
After sitting down and thinking about this, I’m having a really hard time singling any one game out. I love the work done by Gustavo Santaolalla on The Last Of Us. I’m a massive fan of the timeless music of Nobuo Uematsu in Final Fantas. Although later Metal Gear games were very effectively scored by Harry Gregson-Williams, my favourite music from that series was the beautifully evocative “The Best is Yet to Come” by Rika Muranaka from the end of Metal Gear Solid as Snake and Meryl ride away.

However, as tempted as I was to go with any of those, there’s one piece of music that stirs my blood every time I hear it, and builds such a sense of adventure that I had to go with it. That’s the theme music for the Uncharted series by Greg Edmondson.

The drumbeat slowly builds, then the brass section kicks in and then as the strings sweep in it evolves into a breathtakingly cinematic piece of music that could grace any adventure film. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in saying that it’s comparable to the genius that is John Williams’ theme music for Indiana Jones. There have been times when I’ve put an Uncharted game on to play and have ended up just sitting there listening to the music. It doesn’t end there; once you’re in the game, it’s the music that sweeps you along and elevates the whole experience into an even more exciting, rip-roaring adventure.