Sunday, July 27, 2014

Orchestral Music

It was never really my intention to disappear as long as I have. School during the spring was something of a nightmare, I ended up working on it 7 days a week for nearly 20 hours a day by the time it was over, and it was pretty mentally exhausting even before that. After it ended, I started taking summer classes, which were a considerably lighter load. For the next month, I don't even have that much. My goal is to start writing here more often, even as I move into the next semester. Even at times I don't have time to write a long thing, I'd like to at least make a post about something...so expect that to happen more regularly.

For this week, I'm going to post some of my favourite orchestral/instrumental music from video games.

Jack Wall - Jade Empire Theme
This theme remains one of my favourites due to its excellent use of instrumentation. The game takes place in a fictional version of China, and the song uses Eastern instruments extremely well. There was a time when I would load up the game just to have it play through this song over and over again.

Jack Wall & Sam Hulick - Mass Effect - Vigil
I actually had a fairly hard time choosing just 1 song from the Mass Effect series. The theme songs are always a great choice, Uncharted Worlds is amazing, and there's hardly a song that isn't absolutely inspired. Ultimately I had to choose the one that appears when the game is loaded up. It's a calm number that inspires a sense of wonder, and the perfect number for the title screen, and is used to great effect later on when it appears in game.

Greg Edmonson - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Drake's Theme 2.0 
This music invokes the best of the series. The sense of adventure and heroism. It sounds like it's a modern day take on an Indiana Jones theme. It fits the game perfectly. Seeing it performed at Video Games Live earlier this year was the highlight of the show for me.

Gustavo Santaolalla - The Last of Us Main Theme
This is probably the most powerful theme on the list. It gives a rather profound sense of longing and despair. However, I think it fits its game worst. The song has a noticeable Latin style to it, while the game takes place pretty squarely in the US. It leaves me a bit torn on it...but ultimately, it's a great song for a great game.

Jesper Kyd - Darksiders 2 - The Curruption
This will stick out from the rest. However, it's my go-to title as a reference for great ambient music. It doesn't overpower what's going on in the game, but assists with the atmosphere. I wish I had access to music like this during my own game development, because it would make choosing a song so much better. It's also a great song to listen to on its own.

So that's it for now. I'll probably do something similar to this during the school year, when I don't have time to write a full post. However, it will probably be scaled back in that case.