Jukebox Heroes: Six soundtracks from MMOs that never launched


As an MMO fan, there are few things as sad as a promising game being killed in development without seeing the light of a full release. Those nagging “what if?” scenarios can drive a fan mad and keep one up through the wee hours of the night.

And while I don’t have the power to resurrect these MMOs through my sheer force of will and present them to you wrapped in a bow, I can perhaps deliver a consolation gift by pointing you in the direction of some of these games’ soundtracks.

Many MMOs that were nearing completion or in development for a long time already had work done on their in-game music. And some of that music has escaped the long, cold fingers of cancellation thanks to composers and fans who wanted to preserve the score. So while it may be bittersweet to listen to the following six games’ scores, it’s also a small triumph that we can do so at all.

1. Project Copernicus

At this point I don’t have to introduce Project Copernicus; we all know the backstory of this doomed MMO and the subsequent legal fallout of its studio’s demise. However, what you might not know is that Composer Gene Rozenberg smuggled out 31 music tracks from the game and posted them to his own SoundCloud account.

Unfortunately, the SoundCloud user can decide to disable embeds, so you’ll have to do the heavy lifting of clicking this link to go hear this fairly pretty fantasy soundtrack.

2. Jumpgate Evolution

Long thought to be vaporware until it became just that, the sequel to Jumpgate has a small musical footprint if you’re looking for sci-fi space scores.

3. Ultima X Odyssey

This majestic fantasy score was released by Composer Chris Field and can be downloaded for free from a few sites. Additionally, there are a few YouTube videos featuring the soundtrack, although no consolidated playlist that I found.

Interestingly enough, some of the music was prepurposed for Lord of Ultima years later. While it’s nice that it got used, I truly wish we had heard it with the released game.

4. Embers of Caerus

This fantasy sandbox died with a very odd whimper back in 2014, but not before almost a dozen tracks had been produced by different composers and shared on SoundCloud.

5. Stargate Worlds

So this was my joyous find of the past week: an absolutely massive collection of tracks from the almost-but-not-quite released Stargate Worlds. Composer Nick LaMartina published 57 pieces on his SoundCloud account.

“Presented just as it was, complete with songs that weren’t quite finished,” he wrote. “Spanning cultures, planets, and genres, this soundtrack a joy to create, with countless influences from the movie, the shows, and all the talented designers, writers, and directors that sat with me in my office while I listened to them tell me about all their planets and people.”

6. Middle-earth Online

We’re going to end with a strange entry. You might know that Lord of the Rings Online originally began as a more sandbox title called Middle-earth Online back in the late ’90s. Development on MEO meandered along for years and underwent studio, name, and focus shifts. However, when the project transitioned into LOTRO, some of the music that was already created for MEO was brought over.

So this playlist might sound familiar, but it’s interesting to explore, as tracks have odd names (as they were going to be used in completely different areas) and older variations on what would become the standard tunes.

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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