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The Last of Us – One Night Live

There’s no denying that post-apocalyptic survival horror game The Last Of Us was one of 2013’s greatest gaming triumphs, both critically and commercially. Its experimental approach made giant leaps forward in the use of gaming as a medium for storytelling. […]

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Evolve – Game Audio

Evolve is the latest release from Turtle Rock Studios, yet another co-op shooter from the developers who made a name for themselves with the Left 4 Dead franchise. Evolve follows a similar structure to its zombified predecessors in terms of […]

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Broken Age audio content close to flawless

From its humble beginnings as a crowd-funded project on Kickstarter, Broken Age has soared far beyond the heights of what anyone could have predicted or even imagined. Take, for example, this neat little fact: initially, the funding goal for the […]

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Hotline Miami – Soundtrack

Hotline Miami is a game that has seen glorious and lasting popularity because of a number of refreshingly original qualities. It emerged straight from the bowels of Europe as the first and most admired work by Swedish indie game developer […]

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

In an open-world game where exploration is a major aspect of gameplay, the importance of the game’s various audio elements cannot be overstated. In such a game, the music needs to be carefully and consciously crafted to enhance the environment […]

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Terraria

Terraria is a side-scrolling, action-adventure, sandbox indie game created by Re-Logic, and with a soundtrack composed by Scott Lloyd Shelly. Terraria is sometimes described as a 2D version of Minecraft but there are enough unique aspects for the two games […]

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Dear Esther’s spellbinding sound

Dear Esther is a unique game in many ways and the audio experience of the game is no exception. From music to the voice to environmental sound, Dear Esther is close to perfect. The game takes place on an unnamed […]

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Far Cry 4 – soundtrack

Ubisoft understands the importance of a good soundtrack, and have made an example of this for part 4 of the Far Cry series.  Farcry 4 owes much of its audio prominence to composer and former Red Hot Chili Peppers member Cliff […]

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Assassin’s Creed: Unity – Why British accents?

You might be wondering why the French characters in Assassin’s Creed: Unity are speaking with British accents?  I have the answer but I don’t agree with it. Accents add an important layer of immersion and that’s a big part of why people […]

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Velocity 2x – Soundtrack

Velocity 2x is a fast-paced scrolling shoot ‘em up by FuturLab with an equally fast-paced soundtrack.  According to the composers, Joris de Man and James Marsden, the idea for the  music is based on a tune they created prior to […]

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CounterSpy – Soundtrack

David Nottingham, the creative director behind the side-scrolling stealth game CounterSpy, said that the music of Lalo Schifrin was a major influence.  Lalo Schifrin is an Argentine pianist and composer, best known for, ‘Theme from Mission: Impossible‘.  David shared this […]

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Hohokum – Soundtrack

The soundtrack for Hohokum is a collection of tracks from musicians and producers who all belong to the Ghostly International indie record label. The contemporary electronic sounds set the scene for a whimsical adventure through a mishmash of psychedelic 2D […]

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Divinity: Original Sin

This is a dense fantasy role playing game by Larian Studios with a stunning ambient sound design that makes the world feel alive.  The soundtrack composer is Kirill Pokrovsky who is best known as a former member of the first […]

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rePlay – Symphony of Heroes

How many of you would love to go and see a live symphony orchestra that features game music exclusively? rePlay is a symphony that performs music from a huge range of games including BioShock, God of War, Portal, Journey, The […]

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Cytus – Game soundtrack

Cytus is a rhythm game with an impressive soundtrack developed by Rayark Games available on Android, iOS, and PS Vita.  Players tap the screen with their fingers and try to keep up with the rhythm of the music.  The style […]

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Fract – A musical exploration game

Fract is a musical exploration game developed by Phosfiend Systems, with music by Mogi Grumbles.  The game is set in a world based around synthesised techno music that evolves as players unlock new sounds by exploring and solving puzzles.  Mogi […]

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Terraria

terrariaTerraria is a side-scrolling, action-adventure, sandbox indie game created by Re-Logic, and with a soundtrack composed by Scott Lloyd Shelly.

Terraria is sometimes described as a 2D version of Minecraft but there are enough unique aspects for the two games to stand apart.  Behind the pixel-style art is a surprisingly deep RPG.    The gameplay involves exploring, mining, crafting, building and boss fights.  The procedurally generated world is full of loot, monsters and bosses such as the Eye of Cthulhu and Eater of worlds.  Dig down to find precious items that can be used to take on tougher enemies.

Terraria has over 30 tracks, each designed specifically to suit certain levels.  Airy ambient sounds drift along as you explore the magical surface land then the pulse increases as the action heats up and you take on hordes of creatures that spew forth from the dark depths.  In an interview with cheerfulghost.com, Shelly explains that, “A) this is a 2D game, with a retro-ish 80’s style pixelated look – and b) potentially huge (and magical) worlds are getting created, so maybe some big orchestral sounds can be created as well. I was pretty much trying to create a hybrid of those two elements that would hopefully become unique to the game.”

Shelly’s audio concept comes to fruition in Terraria’s soundtrack.  Anyone who was a part of the gaming world during the 80’s and 90’s will be sure to feel a great wave of nostalgia while playing Terraria, and anyone who is prone to states of emotional reminiscence of their younger days are warned to proceed with caution.  Nothing beats a game that can marry a soundtrack with its gameplay and Scott Lloyd Shelly really hits the nail on the head with Terraria.

Shelly created his own audio company, Resonance Array, in 2003.

 

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Dear Esther’s spellbinding sound

dear_estherDear Esther is a unique game in many ways and the audio experience of the game is no exception. From music to the voice to environmental sound, Dear Esther is close to perfect.

The game takes place on an unnamed deserted Hebridean island. The island itself is just the beginning of the mystery, which is at the heart of the game. The player traverses the landscape and gradually triggers various voiceovers of an unnamed male protagonist (voiced flawlessly by Nigel Carrington). The particular voiceover triggered at each point is selected from a relevant subset at random by the game during each playthrough. This adds yet more complexity to the density of meaning and myriad of possible conclusions the player might come to regarding the events transpiring before and during the game.

Composer Jessica Curry’s sublime orchestrations are truly a defining feature in Dear Esther. Indeed, since some music was composed at the very beginning of game development it is no stretch to say that the environment and the music are literally made for one another. The soundtrack is a mesmerising mix of heady orchestral elements that makes occasional use of the human voice as an instrument, too. The result is an atmosphere that toes the ever blurrier line between heavenly and uncanny as the game progresses.

The natural environment of the island is extremely windy and this is commonly a noticeable attribute in the game’s audio. However, rather than detracting from the experience, the sound of the aggressive wind only emphasises the emotional content of the game. Similarly, the echoes of the waterfalls and rivers found in the caves further on in the game emphasise the desolate quality of not only of the landscape, but of the very soul of our unnamed protagonist as the voiceovers become increasingly affected by his emotional, mental, and physical deterioration.

While the game’s landscape is undeniably visually stunning in its decay, it is truly the sound elements that make the experience of Dear Esther one to remember. It is these elements that portray so profoundly the strongest point of the game: its emotional impact.

 

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Far Cry 4 – soundtrack

Far-Cry-4x3Ubisoft understands the importance of a good soundtrack, and have made an example of this for part 4 of the Far Cry series.  Farcry 4 owes much of its audio prominence to composer and former Red Hot Chili Peppers member Cliff Martinez who had an integral role in the composition of the OST.

The characteristic tribal feel of the Farcry series returns in Far Cry 4 with the addition of traditional Asian instrumentation including the Himalayan tabla, Tibetan singing bowls, bells and flutes. Anyone who has played Naughty Dog’s, Uncharted 3 will hear distinct similarities between the two soundtracks coupled with a near identical Himalayan setting. As it is not his first involvement with game audio composition, Martinez appears to be making great impressions in the gaming world and may have more to offer as of yet.

 

 

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