Video game soundtracks are my jam so excuse me while I go down a rabbit hole...
For me, of course the Witcher 3 soundtrack was absolutely excellent. But also in a very old game, I found the soundtrack of Rome: Total War really really good and totally fit into the game.
I second both of these. The music of Witcher 3 is so fitting because of the care that Marcin Przybyłowicz, Mikołaj Stroiński, and Percival took in creating a sound that would evoke Sapkowski's world. They used a variety of authentic medieval instruments like the Rebec, Suka, and Gadulka and took inspiration from Polish folk music. It resulted in a unique sound and it's no wonder that Belousova took inspiration from it when scoring the Netflix show.
Wow you're really taking me back with the Rome: Total War soundtrack. I spend hours
listening to that. Lost Souls
still stabs right to my heart in memory of all the fine soldiers I lost.
The Elder Scrolls theme is another - and Bethesda knows it
Jeremy Soule's work on the Elder Scrolls series has made a big impact. Morrowind's title song Nerevar Rising
became the theme for the series, being re-imagined as the Reign of the Septims
for Oblivion and Dragonborn
for Skyrim. Though I can talk for ages about why it's a great theme, my favorite music in Elder Scrolls series comes from the quieter and more atmospheric moments. King and Country
perfectly captures the feeling of stepping out into a vast new world. The Peace of Akatosh
are achingly beautiful and pensive accompaniments to those moments of stillness under the stars of Cyrodiil or Skyrim. These soundtracks are special.
The one that comes immediately to my mind is FTL. it suits the aesthetic so well, and I'm a sucker for that kind of bleepy electronic music anyway. Stellaris also has excellent ambient music that fits the atmosphere perfectly.
Andreas Waldetoft and Bert Meyer did a great job on Stellaris's grand, space opera soundtrack. It's funny you mention it in the same post as FTL (also a great soundtrack btw), because the track titled Faster than Light
is one of the stand-out tracks of the Stellaris soundtrack to me. That mix of full orchestra, synths, and church organ creates an awesome sci-fi vibe that takes clear inspiration from Zimmer's work on Interstellar.
I've seen 2 soundtrack topics already here, 1 about recommendations and one about custom soundtracks, but none about which soundtrack did fit into a game perfectly.
I've been trying to think about the topic of this thread. It's an interesting question. There's lots of video game music that I like, but if we're evaluating how well music fits into a given game then we have to consider how well it serves the game's setting, tone, story, and action. Some of my submissions would be:
The Halo soundtracks by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, naturally. These are iconic and as a big fan of the games I'm sure bias is creeping in here, but I think they fit the games perfectly. The main Halo theme is one of the best action themes in a video game. One Final Effort
from Halo 3 is just so darn epic, from the clarity of those recognizable opening chords and E dorian piano arpeggios, to the driving drums and baseline with super bold octave leaps, to the motion and rhythm in the strings. Go back to Halo 2's Mjolnir Mix
, cut Steve Vai loose, and tell me this theme isn't the embodiment of action. There's the more reflective and emotional side too, though. Take the Rain theme
from Halo 3: ODST's Deference for Darkness, or Halo 3's Tribute
, or Halo Reach's New Alexandria
. The Halo soundtracks serve all of the moments in the games really, really well.
While I'm on the sci-fi train, how about Jack Wall and Sam Hulick's Mass Effect soundtracks? Those synth sounds
defined the atmosphere of the games. Can you even imagine exploring the galaxy and scanning distant planets without Uncharted Worlds
playing in the background?
I'll mention just one more because this post is getting super long. Bo En's Snipper Clips soundtrack! If we're talking about music that fits seamlessly into a game, this is a great example. It's reactive and weaves the same playful themes
through a variety of styles and instrumentations based on the level you are playing.