As games get more and more exciting, their music gets more and more...the same. Why are developers afraid to take risks with their soundtracks?
I think the important thing to take away from this is that more games should be inspired by, or have soundtracks comprised entirely of, Styx.
It is true...we get some of the most exciting scores during trailers. Maybe marketing people know how to make a more thrilling soundtrack than developers do.
Assassin's Creed trailers have the best music, but I couldn't tell you a single thing about the in-game music.
It's all about whether a particular track or score fits into the atmosphere of the game. A track that may be interesting and actually build great mood in a trailer, the Mad World track from Gears of War for example, may not fit into the game itself. That is not to say certain surprises aren't welcome, but having a song in place thats unexpectedly different but still good in it's own right, runs the risk of disjointing the soundtrack and atmosphere of the game entirely. I'm talking of mostly games with scores here rather than ones made up of various tracks, for which it wouldn't really be as much of a problem. Personally, I think a great soundtrack doesn't take centre stage, but makes enough impact so as well as building a great mood, it's memorable even if you didn't necessarily notice it on first listen. My favourite soundtrack of recent times has to be Mass Effect though, every different sound or track, although very diverse, fits perfectly into the game. I also own it as an album and it's great to listen to on it's own. Crysis 2 this year has been a good one as well, especially the tension building part on the island lighthouse level, got to love a bit of Hans Zimmer.
Though this has to do more with Na and European developers and not Japanese ones, I think Nier took a huge risk with their soundtrack. The whole process of Emi Evans making the lyrics and working with the composers must have been complicated and hard, but it came out beautifully. Which reminds me that another arrange album just came out!
I really liked Mass Effect soundtracks. Also the God of War series. But there are always games that come out where people expect amazing soundtracks - Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda, all of them have really good soundtracks. Silent Hill, even sans Akira still is pretty moving. Sometimes though it's all a part of the package. It takes just the right kind of music to complete a scene and make it perfect.
I'm trying to think of a recent game that had an awesome and memorable soundtrack. Hmm...how much time do I have?
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