The results of the third annual Game Audio Industry Survey — conducted by the GameSoundCon organizers with the help of the Game Audio Network Guild — have been tabulated and analyzed for 2016. Between May and June 587 individual respondents working in games audio reported on compensation, work environment, contract terms, use of live musicians and education to shed new light on the industry landscape. I wanted to pull out some of the more fascinating findings but the full report, available here, offers much more technical insight for those working in the industry or trying to break in. Let’s take a look.
Yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of the American release of Square’s beloved time-traveling JRPG, Chrono Trigger. Now that Chrono Trigger is legal to drink here in the states, the good folks at Overclocked Remix decided to throw it a party; in the form of a jazz tribute album! Chronology: A Jazz Tribute to Chrono Trigger features eight tracks from the Overclocked Jazz Collective; a group featuring artists such as Nostalvania, DrumUltima and the project’s own director, Dylan “Wiesty” Wiest.
Through some fluke, I was able to assemble my own “dream team” of musicians and arrangers on OC ReMix who all shared a passion for jazz and video game music. I felt Chrono Trigger would be an ideal candidate for our first release given the game’s quickly approaching 20th anniversary and the fact that Mitsuda’s music lends itself so well to jazz and improvisation. The musicians and artists on this album have put in countless hours of practice and recording to produce an album which I think sounds authentic and natural. Jazz is a social music best captured in the moment… and while the production process of this album was anything but “in the moment,” I think the album’s sound and cohesiveness will speak for itself. – Dylan Wiest, Chronology Project Director
This marks the second album Overclocked Remix has produced in tribute to Chrono Trigger; the first being Chrono Symphonic in 2006.
You can download the entire Chronology album for free on several mirrors hosted on their OCRemix website. Between this and the Chronicles of Time mega album from earlier this year, Chrono Trigger and it’s gorgeous soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda is definitely getting the love it rightfully deserves.
Iam8bit is taking the vinyl arms race to a whole new level for the release of Rez Infinite — the HD remake of the original Rez for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR — this October. Along with releasing a physical copy of the game on disc (and plenty of swag), iam8bit is offering two vinyl packages that commemorate the cultural touchstone of the original Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 title.
Both versions feature two 180-gram, full sized LPs of the original game’s soundtrack, remastered for vinyl, and a bonus 7-inch record of Rez Infinite’s new “Area X” level. Inside is a 48 page art book with huge imagery from the game and retrospective interviews from the original team. Written by Nick Hurwitch, the book includes new discussions with Rez producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, art director Katsumi Yokota, programmer Osamu Kodera, artist Jake Kazdal, and Takashi Ishihara, the artist behind the new “Area X”.
The only difference between the $75 and $85 editions are the “Player Form” images stamped into both sides of the three records, and the limited quantity of 1,000 copies for the fancier set.
Pre-orders for the soundtrack collection and the physical copy of the game begin August 19th at 9am PDT exclusively at iam8bit.com. Shipping is expected in October for the $75 version of the soundtrack and December for the fancy printed edition.
On August 4, 2016, Video Games Live released their fifth album Video Games Live: Level 5 to its Kickstarter backers. The album is the result of another successful Kickstarter campaign where stretch goals resulted in a 10 track album becoming 12, adding backer voted tracks from Okami, and Xenoblade Chronicles.
Tommy Tallarico was kind enough to provide me with a digital copy to review which came in two formats MP3, and a 24bit 96KHz .wav version and I took the time for repeated listens in both versions. I attended Video Games Live during their 2015 Canadian Tour, and reviewed their previous album release Video Games Live: Level 4. Read on to hear my thoughts on the new album.
Seattle, WA (August 15, 2016) – What does it take to write music for games? Hear from six of the industry’s leading composers as they share their experiences and discuss the craft of scoring music for video games.
The 2016 PAX West composer panel “Maestros of Video Games” will feature the following music star lineup:
Sarah Schachner Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (additional music).
Inon Zur Fallout 3 & 4, Syberia 2 & 3, Dragon Age 1 & 2, Prince of Persia, Eagle Flight.
Jack Wall Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 & 3, Mass Effect 1 & 2, Lost Planet 3, Into The Stars.
Sascha Dikiciyan (aka Sonic Mayhem) Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Mass Effect 3, Tron Evolution, Borderlands.
Limited Run Games is a boutique publisher that delivers Sony-certified physical copies of digital PlayStation 4 and Vita titles. As the name implies, their releases come in very limited quantities and they’re kind of blowing the minds of modern day collectors. Only a few thousand copies of games like Octodad, Oddworld: New & Tasty and Xeodrifter have ever been produced and won’t be reprinted again. Even more exclusive are the select soundtrack CDs pressed in even smaller batches of a few hundred.
Previous soundtrack releases include Breach & Clear: Deadline by Jason Graves, Futuridium Deluxe, Saturday Morning RPG by Vince DiCola and Soldner-X 2 by Rafael Dyll. Don’t bother clicking frantically over to Limited Run’s site, they’ve been sold out for ages. While I can’t help you get those older releases I can tell you about the next one: Shadow Complex.
The Xbox Live Arcade classic was cleaned up and re-released as a console download earlier this year but on Friday, August 19th you can purchase it and the soundtrack CD exclusively from Limited Run’s site. Sales start at 10am EDT with a second batch made available at 6pm EDT. The game itself will run for $24.99 while the 17-track album from Josh Aker and Isreal Curtis will go for $14.99. While this is Limited Run’s biggest release to date there are only 6,900 copies of the game to go around and far, far fewer soundtrack CDs: a mere 800.
Are you a fan of Shadow Complex or its music and planning to pick up a rare physical copy? What other modern digital games would you love to see released alongside its soundtrack? Let us known in the comments.
Spotify has offered a selection of video game soundtracks practically since it launched in 2008. At times I’d see a Halo OST float by or the Grand Theft Auto albums pop up with their tracklists of licensed pop songs. I always appreciated that they were offering anything at all but it was never the place I ran to for game music. Over the last few years, though, the streaming service has begun catering more and more to the gaming crowd.
Just last Spring Sony replaced their Music Unlimited service on PlayStation 4 with an exclusive Spotify app that hooks into the console beautifully. Now Spotify has launched a dedicated place for gamers and game music fans with Spotify Gaming. Of course, the focus remains on curated playlists of pop, rock, rap and electronic music but several of them come from today’s tech and game bloggers. Writers from GamesBeat, Mashable, Polygon, GamesRadar and Engadget have submitted some of their top tracks for the new category. Other featured playlists aim to set the mood with absurd titles like “Epic Gaming”, “Mellowed Out Gaming” and “Ultimate Pop Gaming”… whatever those even mean.
I like that they pulled in games journalists to make playlists but let’s be honest: what we’re really here for are the original soundtracks. Over the years Spotify’s catalog has grown to offer around 100 albums but most importantly, they’re all in one place. The Gaming category is available on all platforms (mobile, desktop and console) so you can finally stop rooting through the World or Soundtrack sections hunting for game music.
The selection isn’t all encompassing by any means but it’s a respectable mix of modern, mobile and indie titles. The latest offerings include 65daysofstatic’s soundtrack to No Man’s Sky (which Ryan just reviewed) and Tomoki Miyoshi’s score to I am Setsuna. There are mobile hits like Sword & Sworcery and Monument Valley and indie titles including Bastion, Fez, The Banner Saga and more. There’s even a random Mega Man album but, oh, it’s only Volume 2 of the gargantuan 10-disc 25th Anniversary collection. At least it’s a start.
Do you stream music from Spotify (game music or not) and what do you think of this new dedicated category? Is it enough to entice you to subscribe? Let us know in the comments.
It may look the part of a pixelart adventure game but Beat Cop from Pixel Crow bucks the gameplay of the genre. The game combines the time management aspects of titles like Cart Life and Papers, Please with the gritty stylings of an 80’s cop show. You play as hard boiled detective, Jack Kelly, who’s been framed for murder and busted down to a beat cop. As you balance writing parking tickets with off-the-books investigations time is running out to clear your name.
There isn’t a ton of music in the game itself — the bustling sounds of the city provide the ambiance instead — but developer Pixel Crow has done a fantastic job matching the sounds of the decade in the game’s trailers. The original announcement trailer from April was accompanied by the dark synthwave sounds of Piotr Musial whose video game work includes This War of Mine, the Anomaly series and the Blood and Wine DLC for The Witcher 3.
In a totally different yet completely fitting change of pace, Beat Cop’s latest trailer features a perfect parody of the Beastie Boys’ style with the song “It’s gonna change the game”. It is pretty amazing to hear and is included with the 5-track soundtrack available now to those who pre-order the Special Edition of the game ahead of its Q4 release window. Musial’s “Beat Cop Theme”, along with other contributions, is also included on the soundtrack.
The music to No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe has been something I’ve been excited for since it made my Top 10 Most Anticipated Soundtracks Post E3 2015. 65daysofstatic has been teasing us leading up to the release of their album by sharing tracks “Supermoon” and “Red Parallax” fairly early on.
They have also provided insight into how they created the soundtrack in an article on Kill Screen “The Making of the No Man’s Sky Soundtrack” where they talked about using a variety of techniques including isolation, fancy microphones, a grand piano, and lots of wine. The result in my opinion is an exceptional video game soundtrack that can be enjoyed in your own universe outside of the video game. Read on to hear my thoughts on the album, and my suggestions on how to listen to it. (more…)
For all you Overwatch fans, the good people over at Gamechops have released a new remix of music from the game. The single “The World Could Always Use More Heroes“, created by Curly, mastered by Steven “bLiNd” Silo and master by DJ Cutman, also comes with a special extra music video with animations from PlayOverwatch.
As always you can find more remixes (including future Overwatch arrangements) over on the Gamechops Youtube page.
GERMANY, August 3rd 2016 (Black Screen Records) — Black Screen Records is releasing the official soundtrack to the celebrated and much praised video game Downwell on audiophile 180 gram vinyl. The pressing will be available limited edition, audiophile 180g red vinyl. The music was composed by Eirik Suhrke who also contributed his impressive work to the soundtracks of games like Spelunky, Ridiculous Fishing, Hotline Miami and Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom. The soundtrack also includes two additional tracks by Ilkae (Aaron Munson). The Downwell soundtrack comes with a free bandcamp code that enables the customer to download the complete soundtrack as mp3s for free and will feature a brand new artwork by Mushbuh known for his work on Burrito Galaxy 65. The ﬁrst pressing will also include an exclusive 12“ screen-printed artwork designed by nemk which will only be available with the pre-order.
“For the Downwell soundtrack I set out to create somewhat sparse, exotic, dark little chiptune-centric jazz pieces. Inspired by the likes of Erik Satie, Ryoji Yoshitomi, Minako Hamano, Alex Mauer, Ilkae and Jun Ishikawa. Parts of the soundtrack were written on- and recorded oﬀ a Game Boy, other parts were written with the sample-based Impulse tracker. Myself, Joonas and Ojiro all worked closely to make sure music, sound design and gameplay all worked in tandem, with each element inﬂuencing each other throughout development. It’s also my personal favorite soundtrack I’ve written to date.“ – Eirik Suhrke
A “curious man” with guns for boots, who started out on mobile platforms and PC and due to overwhelming response made it to PS4 & PS Vita in May 2016. Downwell is a game that works as short pastime or for hours of madness, excitement and addiction. While developing and unlocking new features the player will ﬁnd himself rapidly spurred by the minimalistic and yet haunting music that contributes to this games joyful and unique style and makes it a experience you ﬁnd yourself returning to over and over again.
Japan Expo 2016 was held in Paris from July 7 to 10, 2016, and one of the highlights of the event was that Saori Kobayashi performed music from AZEL:Panzer Dragoon RPG (Panzer Dragoon Saga), Panzer Dragoon Orta, and Crimson Dragon.
She also performed music from her most recent album Terra Magica. Although the full performances are not available online, I was able to track down one video from the main performance of “Mother” from Terra Magica with the Japan Game Music Orchestra (JAGMO), and vocalist Eri Ito. The sound quality isn’t the best but it does offer a glimpse of what you would have seen if you had been in attendance.
I also noticed that Saori Kobayashi performed at the Paris Special Showcase (also part of Japan Expo 2016) on piano accompanied by solo soprano saxophonist, Jordi Asensio. In the above three videos you can listen to lovely renditions of “Sona mi areru ec sancitu” from Panzer Dragoon Saga, “Anu Orta Veniya” from Panzer Dragoon Orta, and the “Crimson Dragon Waltz” from Crimson Dragon.
As a Saori Kobayashi fan who couldn’t attend Japan Expo 2016 in Paris, I’m happy that these videos are available for the world to enjoy. Take some time to listen to these wonderful Dragoon tunes. Terra Magica, Saori Kobayashi’s latest album, is available now digitally for $13 and on CD for $16 plus shipping from Brave Wave Productions.
Did you attend Japan Expo 2016 and see Saori Kobayashi live? Let us know what you thought of the event!
On August 4, 2016, Video Games Live released their fifth album Video Games Live: Level 5 to its Kickstarter backers. The album is the result of another successful Kickstarter campaign where stretch goals resulted in a ...
The music to No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe has been something I’ve been excited for since it made my Top 10 Most Anticipated Soundtracks Post E3 2015. 65daysofstatic has been teasing us ...
During last year’s PAX East I got to preview an action rhythm game from indie studio Drool called Thumper. Since then the game has made the rounds at many other expos, conventions, and festivals. Along ...