We’ve decided to pull back our MMO music awards this year and make the decision a little less formal, partly because of how hard it is to really grapple with the amount of MMO music being produced every single year. I mean, Justin and his Battle Bards crew have tried it, and it’s hard. (By the way, you should really be listening to them if gaming music is your thing!)
So this year, we’re going to roundtable the music debate right here in Massively Overthinking. I’ve asked our writers to pluck out their favorite musical score, track, or composer of 2021 – and maybe even drop a little sample for everyone!
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): It almost feels like cheating, here, because Amazon had the deep pockets to be able to hire Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell, both of whom are world-renowned for their work on Game of Thrones and Westworld. I sometimes thought I could hear strains of Westworld’s tracks when I was playing New World, even. It’s hard to see anything beating this soundtrack out.
That said, I’m a really big fan of the Guild Wars franchise music and listen to it a lot. So I’m expecting big things from End of Dragons!
Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Think what you will of Genshin Impact, but the score of that game is truly astonishing, and the song Symphony of Boreal Wind is a standout for me. Composer Yu-Peng Chen went all in on creating tunes for a gacha mobile RPG, which is not often a genre one equates to quality anything, let alone music. Much like the music in Tekken, his compositions are levels of quality that far exceed the game they’re used in.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Not just because it’s the game of the hour, but I’ll prop up New World here for a generally excellent soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones, Iron Man) and Brandon Campbell (Warcraft, The Eternals) that’s emotional and nuanced. You can tell Amazon poured some good money into its score, and I adored listening through it.
Mia DeSanzo (@neschria): I feel like I am going to out myself as a heretic here, but I play virtually all games without sound. Can I suggest my own contemporary folk and indie rap playlists? No? Well… I have to say that music in MMOs and games in general has really improved over the years. Sometimes I even forget to turn it off immediately these days.
Sam Kash (@thesamkash): In general I’ve always been impressed with the music within Guild Wars 2, but honestly I rarely pay it much attention. Unless I’m playing through a story chapter where I’m trying to hear dialog I usually keep the audio down low and instead turn on some other music.
Tyler Edwards (blog): The late, lamented Magic: Legends’ soundtrack didn’t get nearly the love it deserved. That log in screen music was spectacular.