Video games are art. They are manifold and can be way more complex than, for example, films, to which separate representatives of the modern gaming industry are compared more and more frequently. Hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people are involved in a creative process in both of them: artists and programmers, directors and game designers, writers and composers. Each of them has its role but we will talk about those who can make even the most mediocre game a remarkable one – about composers, people whose work is often worth a separate mention.
This person doesn’t need a special introduction – his name should be familiar even to those who are far from games but have at least a bit of knowledge about the film industry. Zimmer composes music mostly for action and military movies and he didn’t change his traditions in the case of soundtracks for video games.
There are only two games, which were honored with the composer’s attention – the first-person shooters: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Crysis 2. However, Zimmer was writing soundtracks not alone in both cases. He was working on music for Call of Duty with Lorne Balfe and Crysis with Borislav Slavov, Tilman Sillescu and still the same Balfe.
Ironically, music in these games fully complies with events and a setting: epic compositions, written with a symphonic orchestra and addition of electronics, perfectly fit histories about the horrors of war and brave soldiers. Everything is strictly according to the canons of action movies – pathetic, serious and in a big way.
«A silence is a sound too»
Akira Yamaoka is a live-legend of gaming music, the creator of «the fear music», a genius creator and a composer-psychologist. Any person who has played a Silent Hill series (refers to number parts of the game, developed by Team Silent) will tell you that the soundtrack written by Yamaoka is one of the iconic things in the video game industry. Even those who don’t like this legendary franchise notice the quality of music and sound score. And there are a lot of reasons for it.
First of all, Silent Hill OST differs from everything we have got used to hearing not only in games in general but in horrors themselves. Akira Yamaoka is a master of dark ambient and noise who artfully mixes peaceful melodies with unusual infernal sounds, which can shock unprepared people a bit. Just remember that he was using the sound of a dental drill while writing the soundtrack for the first Silent Hill.
Secondly, Yamaoka’s music is not just a soundtrack. This is an instrument of manipulation of players’ perception of a game, which works smoothly. When it is necessary to describe or complete calm gameplay moments or create an intense and almost insufferable atmosphere, his music is doing its best.
Yamaoka plays on strings of the human soul skillfully and, the most important thing, on the human feeling of fear. That’s why calm and melancholic compositions like «Laura Plays The Piano» from the second part or «Never Forgive Me, Never Forget Me» from the third one may cause small anxiety. And despite this, many of his compositions sound well separately from games (for example, iconic «Promise» and «Theme Of Laura (Reprise)»)
If you had known the times of the release of the first three Harry Potter games by Electronic Arts, Star Wars: KotOR, Neverwinter Nights or if you had been traveling in Morrowind, exploring the worlds of Oblivion a bit later and then even reaching the top of Skyrim, the name Jeremy Soule, a composer who was responsible for the soundtracks of these games will definitely mean something for you.
Soule is famous for his symphonic compositions, which can add magic, some kind of comfort and metronomy to any game. At least, that’s how his creativity is remembered by players. Music creates the main part of the miracle in Harry Potter and it is one of the features of the series in The Elder Scrolls. Ask TES fans about without what they don’t imagine their favorite series of games – Jeremy Soule’s soundtracks will be one of the listed things.
After all, TES V: Skyrim is one of the most popular games, on which Soule was working, so we will talk about it. This is a very atmospheric and immersive game and these two options are partly the result of the soundtrack. Remember how often you returned to Skyrim and you were simply walking over the world in search of random adventures and enjoying music. This thing works not only due to the victorious set of gaming mechanics, which was made by the developers from Bethesda but also due to music, which perfectly fits the cold and serious setting.
Musicians who write music for games sometimes do a titanic work, which is richly rewarded with the players’ love. It is good when a gaming soundtrack leaves a spot in our memory, wakes our emotions and provides a new gaming experience. Love music, friends, and appreciate composers who work for us, players!