So ‘The Game Awards’ were announced yesterday, with a collection of industry judges and portion of fans voting on nominated video games from the last year in different categories.
The Best Score/Soundtrack was awarded to Metal Gear Solid V. I haven’t had a chance to become immersed in the game itself and so can’t appreciate how it interacts with everything else that is happening on screen. However, listening to the full soundtrack on YouTube, I was immediately struck by how polished the score is. It has a hard scifi/action aesthetic with deep burbling synths (such as in track 7 – parasites), shifting dissonant pad chords, a variety of percussion (from the standard heavy-duty drums to more subtle metallic noises) and extended techniques (particularly in the string writing). There is a good mix of slow, subtle pieces (see track 10 – Beautiful Marage) and high tempo, action tracks. Though these can sometimes feel a bit melancholy piano/blockbuster movie sound design, it is the complete package here that is exceptional. All the music combines to create a dark, living world that is connected with similar material, sounds and ideas – a combination that is not afraid to be harsh, loud and dissonant or soft, melodic and poignant. Having a track like ‘Quiet’s Theme’ in the mix is immensely refreshing for an AAA video game title, as it is an unashamed ballade yet it still has a hint of dark, mysterious thriller.
The composer of another one of the nominees, Ori and the Blind Forest, just recently did an interview with GameTrailers about composing for the game and for video games in general. It is well worth a watch for a more personal insight.