With the end of 2015 fast approaching, it’s time to delve into the weird and wonderful world of Game of the Year awards. Yet it feels cruel to limit this to just one game winning a single accolade or one list which tries (and invariably fails) to put games into a particular ranking and order.
It’s for this reason that we’ve tried to add a few new categories for us to deliberate over, as you’ll see in the coming days and weeks, as we first whittled our choices down to five and then held a final vote. However, we’ll start where we have done for the last few years, with our award for Best Soundtrack.
Though videogame music has always been popular, it’s really in the last decade or so that it has come to gain some of the recognition for quality that it deserves. It’s no longer restricted to the idle humming of the undeniably catchy Super Mario Bros. theme, but extends to world renowned orchestras performing concerts from the original soundtrack to celebrated JRPGs, to inductions into Classic FM’s Hall of Fame, and beyond.
It’s without a doubt in my mind that this year’s winner deserves just as much recognition and more.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is, in many ways, more of an auditory experience than anything else. Your exploration of the eerily and mysteriously empty Shropshire village of Yaughton is visually beautiful, capturing the aesthetic of a sleepy summer’s day perfectly, but its story is told through the echoes of the men and women of the village, as they struggle with the unknown and what may well be the end of the world. While the voice acting that brought this story to life was excellent across the board, the original soundtrack is with few peers.
At times it brings to mind the pastoral and the sacred, with singing from the London Voices Choir, elsewhere it underscores a character’s yearning sadness, but even when viewing the world through the lens of the apocalypse, its sweeping strings can be joyous and uplifting. It never fails to put a lump in my throat and bring a tear to my eye.
Jessica Curry acted as both studio head and composer throughout the development of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, leading to perhaps one of the most intrinsically linked combinations of game and music. Yet her soundtrack can and should be considered to stand on its own merits as a fantastic musical work.
Runners up in alphabetical order:
- Fallout 4
- Star Wars Battlefront
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Until Dawn