I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Special Edition released in North America. The soundtrack CD that comes in the package is a gorgeous Digipak case which make me very happy after the release of the simple cardboard sleeve that North Americans received for the Twilight Princess Sound Selection CD.
The Breath of the Wild CD offers 23 tracks from the game, and a 24th track with a live recording. Read of for my review of the album, and if you didn’t get the Special Edition I have some tips on where you can grab your own copy of this CD, and details on its various releases.
Last week at Game Developers Conference, the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) hosted their annual awards show. Each year, composers from all over the video game industry get recognized for their achievements is making music the integral part of the video game process.
This year saw many categories and finalists from all over the industry. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and ABZU brought home several nominations and awards, along with Overwatch and INSIDE. ABZU and Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory (whose awards can be seen above) seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the praise.
A full track listing and album credits can be found on VGMdb. Currently there isn’t a release date for retail copies of the game’s soundtrack, though Playstation’s blog states the release is ” a week before it’s available anywhere else.”. You can listen to the full Horizon Zero Dawn soundtrack album here, and we will report on future media releases as they become available.
The self-proclaimed “Purveyors of quality game soundtracks on glorious vinyl” (and for good reason), Data Discs, have announced their 10th video game soundtrack to high quality vinyl; a double-OST release in the form of the Sega OSTs to Galaxy Force II and Thunder Blade.
Composed by Koichi Namiki, Katsuhiro Hayashi and Tohru Nakabayashi, both soundtracks adopted an ambitious funk and fusion style, simulating an impressive range of real world instrumentation (think synthesizers, drums, slap bass and cowbells), which for its time and hardware limitations, is nothing short of astonishing. And yes, there’s even a coded slap bass solo.
Both soundtracks were short, so the plan to press them both into one release made sense. They include some unused Thunder Blade tracks, as well as a bonus arranged Galaxy Force II track produced by Hiroshi “Hiro” Kawaguchi (composer of OutRun, Space Harrier). The audio for both games was sourced from the original arcade machines and features the original Galaxy Force II artwork. The release comes in a black and translucent yellow LPs, as well as a frost clear with translucent yellow splatter special edition.
The album goes on sale March 4th at 7:00pm UK time for general public, and earlier for mailing list subscribers. You can read more on the release page on the Data Disc website.
Just as we did for last month’s PAX South, we’re giving you the rundown of what you can expect to see from a game music and audio standpoint at PAX East 2017 next week in Boston. Some new and some returning musical performances shall be gracing the main stage concerts, as well as other tidbits you can check out through the event.
A little over a week ago OSV reported on the launch of Resonator Game’s Kickstarter campaign for Anew: The Distant Light. Gamasutra recently posted a video interview with composer Wilbert Roget II on his work, you can find their original post here.
The interview is conducted by Jeff Spoonhower who is the Art Director for Anew: The Distant Light. Jeff and Will discuss how they came together on the project, their working relationship, where they find creative inspiration, and much more. My favorite segment was “Using themes to convey emotion” and the composer’s non-traditional thoughts on how to approach the alien theme. You can find the full index of the video interview below:
0:17 – Introductions
0:45 – Initial contact, starting up on the project
6:00 – Musical inspirations, influences on the game
14:08 – Giving yourself enough time to create something unique
19:10 – Using themes to convey emotion, and to tell a story
24:45 – The working relationship between developer and composer
29:50 – Art inspiring music, music inspiring art
37:40 – What we like to listen to
41:15 – Reaper composition workflow demo
The Kickstarter campaign is still ongoing and there’s still time to support what sounds like an incredible soundtrack to a compelling game. You can find the whole details of the campaign here which at time of writing is just about two thirds funded.
What did you think of the interview with composer Wilbert Roget II?
Not too long ago, I touched upon the music of charming indie game Burly Men at Sea; a game about brothers stretching their legs on a journey of discovery of both the world and themselves. In my opinion, you can never have too many games that have that general kind of theme of subtle adventure and exploration.
Enter Soul Searching, a similar game by the Turkish duo of Tarık and Talha Kaya that focuses on survival, story and deeper connections between the narrative and gameplay.
Inspired by Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series and movies like Life of Pi, Soul Searching is about growing up, leaving your homeland, standing on your own feet. It deals with themes like isolation, searching for meaning and direction, leading to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Talha Kaya acts as the composer of the game’s music, which is a combination of several different genres. Much like Burly Men at Sea, the music of Soul Searching is a mix of acoustic guitar and progressive rock with dashes of psychedelic tones to keep the tone interesting and captivating.
The 25-track soundtrack conveys a lot of emotions that go hand-in-hand with the game’s story and what the theme is trying to impress upon the player, from those of adventure and exploring new and strange territories, to themes of isolation and the loneliness of sailing away from your homeland in search of something you’re not quite sure of. The complex emotions that can be brought to the surface with this combination of music and visual gameplay appears to be the main goal of Soul Searching, and does so in a subtle way that doesn’t browbeat the player and can be invoked without even playing the game; a key component of a good soundtrack.
The Soul Searching OST is currently available for purchase on Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify. The game is current available on Steam for purchase.
The Video Game Orchestra (or simply “The VGO” to the hip kids who follow their work) have taken their show on the road before … but never like this. Fans of the Boston-based orchestra, led by Shota Nakama, can start their drooling now: on March 25th, The VGO will be putting on a concert in Tokyo. The show is being promoted by Pony Canyon — which, if you didn’t know, is “big deal” territory, they are Japan’s equivalent of “Live Nation,” save that Pony Canyon has existed as publisher and promoter of entertainment products for far longer.
The 3/25 show will have music from almost all the major game publishers, including Konami, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Sega, and more. We don’t know the full list of games yet, but here’s what we have so far:
CASTLEVANIA (series) CYTUS
D4: DARK DREAMS DON’T DIE
FINAL FANTASY XV
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST
METAL GEAR SOLID (series) SILENT HILL 2
SONIC (series) TALES OF ZESTIRIA
On a personal/editorial note, I must urge the reader to consider the long-term value of this concert. To have a project with this many Japanese publishers sign on for a third-party entity (The VGO) to perform their work, in Japan, is a big deal. I have always advocated for collaboration among the game music artists and those who represent them, and whenever it happens, I can’t help but celebrate. This concert represents a big reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can celebrate … not in person. I won’t be able to attend the Tokyo show. But hey, maybe you can! The details for the show are found here: vgo.jp — and, if you want to purchase tickets, the website to do so offers information and instructions for ticket purchase in Japanese, English and Chinese! You’ll find that here!
And if anyone among our reader-base makes plans to attend the show, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your thoughts after the event.
As a fan of late-90’s techno and drum & bass music I made a lot of crummy recordings from games that never stood a chance of getting an official soundtrack release. Nearly 20 years later I assumed it would only be me who made the next highest quality recordings so I was surprised to see that Throwback Entertainment beat me to it. The Canadian studio made headlines in 2006 after they bought up nearly 200 of Acclaim’s properties when the publisher went bankrupt. It’s been a long time coming but Throwback is finally bringing some of those old games back to market.
The first with a focus on the music is TrickStylewhich was originally released on Dreamcast and PC in 1999. The futuristic hoverboard racer from Criterion Games was quite a sight at the time but the music by Richard Beddow stuck with me much longer. The version that Throwback released to Steam on February 21st includes the 11-track soundtrack as free DLC in OGG and MP3 formats. For those wondering, both the Dreamcast and PC versions had the same soundtrack.
Things are a little more complicated for Throwback’s April release of Extreme-G 2. Probe’s 1998 combat racer was released on both Nintendo 64 and PC where its soundtrack from Simon Robertson and Steve Root exist in similar but unique forms. On PC there are vocals, samples and more layers to the trancey music, not to mention a few extra tracks. The Nintendo 64 version is much simpler but it’s still one of the most impressive soundtracks to come out of the console and the version that I personally know by heart.
When I asked about Extreme-G 2’s upcoming Steam release on their Facebook page, Throwback teased that “we are planning a little surprise . . . with the soundtracks”. Hopefully that results in a complete package with both PC and N64 versions represented but we’ll have to wait a little while longer to find out.
I am always looking for the chance to post about new music from Mitch Murder. The Swedish musician helped to popularize the synthwave genre but most of his work is only tangentially tied to video games by its reverence for the trappings of the 80’s. He’s created a few imaginary OSTs to non-existent Genesis and Sega CD games (the last of which I didpost about) as well as the soundtrack to the 80’s homage short film, Kung Fury.
Finally, after his soundtrack to the indie game Megamagic early in 2016, Mitch Murder is returning to for-real video games with Impact Winter. Coming to Steam and PC on April 12th from Namco Bandai Europe, Impact Winter is an indie survival game set in a new ice age. Hunt, scavenge, craft and upgrade by managing a huddle of survivors and hold out for 30 long winter days until rescue arrives.
Setting the sounds of this winter wasteland is a much more somber score by Mitch Murder but one that’s still thick with his familiar style. Ominous synths twinkle behind a sad piano theme in the title track while the latest YouTube trailer features snippets of both hopeful and foreboding melodies. You can grab the theme for free right now and if you pre-order the game on Steam you’ll receive the full soundtrack upon the game’s release. For those on consoles, Bandai Namco has also announced that Impact Winter will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later in 2017.
Ahead of it’s April 11th release date, the original game soundtrack for Yooka-Laylee is now available for pre-order. The spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, composed by Grant Kirkhope and David Wise, has been an anticipated release since it’s Kickstarter wrapped up funding in 2015, with it’s colorful cast and fun gameplay reminiscent of it’s Rare predecessor.
With the game’s release right around the corner, Laced Records has thrown up the game’s soundtrack for pre-order in multiple formats, including digital, CD and double LP releases.
The soundtrack to Konami’s Bucky O’Hare for the NES is one of my personal favorites. It’s also one of the few soundtrack composed by Tomoko Sumiyama that I wrote about in detail for Game Soundtracks For Your Soul: Level 15. Searching bandcamp last week I ran a search for “Bucky O’Hare” and came across RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION: A Bucky O’Hare Tribute Album.
The cover album was released on June 26, 2016, as a thank you to Luis Guevara, who has helped promote many bands and artists in the VGM community, and who also thinks the original game’s score is one of the best ever created.
The album took 10 months to complete and features several prominent artists in the VGM and Chiptune scenes such as Ailsean, DJ Rockman, Dya, 1-Up, and individual members of bands such as Gimmick, The Returners, Droidekka, and Descendants of Erdrick.
Although it’s been out for a while, the nine track album is a fitting tribute to Tomoko Sumiyama’s work, and is available as a free download on bandcamp.
Are you a fan of the original Bucky O’Hare soundtrack on the NES?
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