Music for Roleplaying: Game Soundtracks

Trouble in the Tree Hut by Ben Wootten

I chatted about roleplaying music last week, and listed a few movie soundtracks that I particularly like to use in my Pathfinder games. Today I’d like to have a look at a few game soundtracks that I really like.

As with movie soundtracks, if your players are big gamers, you may need to exclude some recognisable tracks from your playlist.

Game Soundtracks

  • Mass Effect 3 (Various Artists): Fantastic dramatic soundtrack. Some tracks may be a bit too ‘sci fi’ for fantasy roleplaying, but I’ve found most tracks work well. There’s no ‘Mass Effect Theme’ on this album, but some of the music from the more memorable moments of the game may stick out to fans of the trilogy.
    • Mass Effect 1 & 2: Also good soundtracks, largely in the same vein as each other. I’ve not used them because they were too similar to the ME3 soundtrack.
  • Uncharted 2 (Greg Edmonson): Excellent soundtrack, lots of action tracks. Just make sure to remove ‘Nate’s Theme’, as it’s probably one of the more recognisable game themes of the last few years.
    • Uncharted 1 & 3: Also good choices, quite similar to each other though. 3’s soundtrack has a desert-y sound to it (that’s where the game takes place), which may or may not suit your game.
  • Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Various Artists): Some great music here, very dramatic stuff. I have some big Blizzard fans in my group, however, so I’ve opted to leave this off my playlist entirely.
    • Other Blizzard games: The Diablo II soundtrack is also a good one, but may not suit your group if they are big fans like my players.
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Brian Tyler): A good soundtrack for pirate adventures without the instant recognisability of something like the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.
    • Other Assassin’s Creed games: Some potentially good options here, depending on the theme of the game and your game.
  • Tomb Raider (Jason Graves): The rebooted Tomb Raider game has really great music.
  • TERA Rising: If your players aren’t MMO fans, it’s possible they’ll never have even have heard of Tera, making this a great option. There are some fantastic dramatic tracks, plus some cute ones which may be useful in certain instances. The soundtrack is a bit hard to get a hold of, but you can take a listen on YouTube:

Other Game Soundtracks

Here are a few more soundtracks to look out for that have either been recommended to me or need more careful listening to select tracks that are suitable to your group and not immediately recognisable:

  • Ori and the Blind Forest (Gareth Coker): A beautiful game with an equally beautiful score, though not necessarily suitable to all types of games.
  • Bastion (Darren Korb): Great score, though some tracks have speaking in them.
  • Frozen Synapse (nervous_testpilot): An interesting score.
  • Echoes of Newerth (Thomas-Adam Habuda): There are two of these, with some interesting tracks.
  • Jeremy Soule: He’s done tons of game soundtracks, a few of which I’ve mentioned below:
    • Elder Scrolls scores: Excellent music on these, and easily available through iTunes. Just make sure to remove the famous ‘Dragonborn’ track.
    • Guild Wars 2: An excellent score, especially if your players haven’t played the game. Unfortunately, it’s another one that’s really hard to find, though you can listen to some of the newer music on Soundcloud through the link above.
    • Knights of the Old Republic: Another one that’s pretty hard to find, but there is some great music here. If you do find it, make sure to remove the tracks with obvious Star Wars music in them.
  • Journey (Austin Wintory): Really nice soundtrack, but may not suit all games.
  • Final Fantasy series: Lots of music here to choose from. Selections will depend on your group, and there can be some jarring tracks, so it pays to listen carefully before adding these to your playlist.

Have I left out any of your favourite game soundtracks? Let me know in the comments below!

Featured image by Ben Wootten.

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