Ok, time to get your game-face on. We’re delving back into the awesome world of video game soundtracks, for a second part of our series. And there’s a good reason for that – recently, radio station Classic FM (Guess what music they play) unveiled the results of their poll for their annual Hall of Fame vote.
Sure, the usual suspects were all there in all their glorious glory. Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Elgar, and Williams all present and accounted for. But, perhaps unsurprisingly given their increasing popularity, video game composers also made the list.
Fans of the medium voted in their droves, so now we have 12 pieces from video game soundtracks, hob-knobbing alongside Moonlight Sonata and The Lark Ascending. So let’s take a look at a few brilliant modern-day composers who were not only voted into, but also deserved to be on, that Hall of Fame list.
Final Fantasy – Nobuo Uematsu
The highest entry on the list probably won’t shock anyone who’s heard his work. Nobuo Uematsu’s score for the Final Fantasy series captures everything classical music should capture – the soaring highs, the dreaded lows; his music covers the full spectrum of human emotion. Frankly, the entire soundtrack for all the Uematsu-scored Final Fantasy games is beautiful. Little wonder he’s now sitting at number 9 in the Hall of Fame, snug between Beethoven and Mozart.
The Elder Scolls – Jeremy Soule
Jeremy Soule is a dab hand at creating incredible fantasy soundtracks. He’s worked on tons of Tolkien-esque video games, like Icewind and Neverwinter Nights. But it’s his work on the epic, open-world The Elder Scrolls series that earned him his place at number 12. It’s a testament to both the game’s enjoyability and Soule’s brilliance – the last Elder Scrolls game, the Nordic-inspired Skyrim, was released in 2011.
Kingdom Hearts – Yoko Shimomura
In at number 30 is Yoko Shimomura’s wonderfully weaved Kingdom Hearts soundtrack. The game is essentially a mash-up of classic Disney characters and stars from Final Fantasy – and the score perfectly reflects that, with nods to Disney’s brilliant songs, as well as Uematsu’s own work. That’s no easy task, considering how well-loved and well-recognised both of those are, and the heritage they bring. But Shimomura handles the blend well, and even stamps her own mark on the soundtrack.
Halo series – Marty O’Donnell
The Halo score is everything that’s right about symphonic game soundtracks. Even if you didn’t know what Halo was (Hello, you there, living under that rock), you’d immediately understand what the game was about. An epic – and we mean epic – space opera shooter that deals with classic literary themes such as love and betrayal. O’Donnell also worked on the Destiny soundtrack, another space-based gun-slinging adventure, and easily deserved to chart higher than number 244.
The Last of Us – Gustavo Santaolalla
The most recent video game on the list is 2014’s PlayStation exclusive, The Last of US. The game itself was widely heralded as a new high in story-telling in games; the soundtrack was similarly well-received, bringing the tale of Ellie and her guardian, Joel to life. Sure, it might not be as catchy as Mario’s ‘Ground Theme’, but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in utter poignancy, emotional resonance and absolute craftsmanship.
Polls like Classic FM’s Hall of Fame don’t just show the increasing trend for video games to go mainstream; they also shine a spotlight on the often unsung superstars of the symphonic world. And we couldn’t be happier about that. Video games without music would be like films without pictures – they’re utterly integral to the entire experience on offer. If you fancy getting involved in the composition biz, you’ve come to the right place. We have a mixing studio in London that’s perfect for laying down your tracks. Want to know more? Then simply contact us on 020 7193 4467 and our pro team will be delighted to help.