We all know that soundtracks are the key to creating an atmosphere in movies but the same can also be said for video games. The best video games now create real emotion between the player and their character, which elevates these games to the next level.
The game Life is Strange is probably the best example of how music enhances gameplay further. In this video game the player is guided through a story and music lights the way. The main character in this game, Max, is an outsider who learns that she can subvert the course of time. In the beginning this means confusion, which is portrayed through a muddled soundtrack with varying tempos.
The setting of the game is the typical suburban town. The kind of town where there’s nothing to do but browse bingosweets.com all day and try to find the best bingo site to spend your entire day on. The atmosphere of this perfect American lifestyle is portrayed by calming music and Mogwai instrumentals. The Co-Director of the game, Michel Koch, stated that the music tied in with the theme of nostalgia that the writers wanted to get across to players. The small town venue and high school setting was the main way in which the designers wanted to transport player back, but this was heavily supported by music.
The soundtrack plays an integral part of the story when the two main characters are locked in emotional scene. Although they may not speak in some scenes the music tends to do the talking for them and it’s all music that teenagers of today would be listening to. Artists like Amanda Palmer and Foals come together to create a believable soundtrack full of emotion, but this is no coincidence.
The designers of the game started out with more than 200 songs, collated from staff suggestions. Each of these were listened to multiple times by the audio designer, who eventually pared the selection down to the 14 that best echo the tone of the story.
In earlier games the soundtrack has simply been a distraction for players but Life is Strange used songs to create a more immersive atmosphere. Designers for the game described these soundtracks as jumbled jukeboxes and stated that they wanted their soundtrack to be much more than that.
Because of the song selection this game is even more similar to a movie, as the soundtrack directly relates to the onscreen action. These types of games skirt the edges of the divide between visual novels and role playing games to create a new genre. In many ways these games are more inclusive than movies, as players establish more of a connection with the character they play. This is in part due to the nature of the game and in part due to the soundtrack that ties it all together.
By Contributing Author