Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stealing from Video Games - The Soundtrack

I've always loved the idea of using multimedia in my tabletop games. Call it a prop, but the right handout, piece of art, or music can set the perfect tone and really immerse players in the game. I've had my ps3 since November, and I figure it being E3 week (seriously, who planned E3 and Free RPG day for the same week? nerd overload alert!) it would be a good opportunity to talk about one thing I'm really itching to incorporate into my games - some video game music. Keep reading for examples!

I'm shocked how much video game music has taken such an epic, cinematic leap forward this generation. One of the most memorable pieces for me is Nate's Theme from the game Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (pictured above). It's got a very Indiana Jone-vibe going for it while being both modern and its entirely it's own thing. I'd love to use this during a trying time for the characters in a pulp game.

Next up is the music of Red Dead Redemption. I usually hate sandbox video games and have only made my way through the DS version of Grand Theft Auto. Usually modern day games like that seem very limiting and the story is incredibly generic. Not so with RDR. Everything you do feels important, whether it's stopping a horse thief or helping the Mexican revolution, it's all heroic. The music does a great job of immersing you in the world and makes certain moments feel like John Marston is the biggest Western movie star of all time. I'll probably end up buying the soundtrack since it's incredibly versatile, but I'll show you some of my favorite pieces here.

So you can see that there's a nice mix between instumental and sung music in the game. The tempo's are also interesting. I could see this being both fight music or low key "suiting up" kind of scense as well for the most part, especially Triggernometry (I love this name).

This last one's a bit of a cheat as the song wasn't made for the game, but at least the game's an RPG! I love Borderlands. It's a First-Person Shooter set on an alien trailer park of a planet with classes and guns... lots of guns. Your character levels up, and it ends up feeling a lot like a FPS sci-fi version of Diablo. The game itself is addicting, but the music really just shines. The opening theme is incredibly badass. It's called "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" by Cage The Elephant. I'll let it speak for itself.

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