Kai Rosenkranz, composer of the Gothic series, once explained to me how a score can be too melodic. A great piece of music can be distracting to the player if it isn’t written with the experience at hand in mind. Often times, a beautiful piece of music does not match the action. That’s why we decided to have this category: to acknowledge the musical efforts of scores that enhance the drama perfectly within the context of the game, but that maybe don’t work quite as well as standalone works.
Here’s our nominees:
Daniel Licht had one hell of a year and it’s thanks – in no small part – to his ambient and memorable Dishonored score. Often times, the games that utilize their soundtracks best in the context of the game are those that allow the action to tell the story, but still enhance everything that’s happening. Licht found the right temperament mixing voices, strings, percussion, and – every once in a while – throwing in a staggeringly beautiful theme just because he could.
The Darkness II was a wonderful surprise in 2012. The game’s story was equal to anything found in the Top Cow comic book series and Timothy Wynn’s score featured a few recurring themes that gave the game a sweeping, narrative feel. The game’s acting and soundtrack were what allowed such a wild, fantastical story to be a moving yarn not soon forgotten. Wynn has showed his ability to create moving stories with his sweeping scores before, but this game’s tight focus mixed with the character of the music brought the storytelling to an even higher level.
A game with no words or names relied largely on its music to tell the story. Even the characters’ interactions are musical notes. Journey is as much a musical journey as it is a narrative one. It is one of the rare scores that lunges through the television forcing you to inhabit the world it has created. It was the score that created a sense of drama even the most robust voice-acted games could. Austin Wintory’s score has been nominated for a Grammy Award – an amazing achievement, especially for a game score – and it deserves its place among the best scores for any form of media.
See all of our OSTOSTOTY 2012 winners here: