Paraphrasing the age-old and how accurate adage: only on screenshots would your kin look nice. Especially in the last years, when developers have started to heavily exploit family tropes. Games about fatherhood or delving into family member relationships are many, and it seems like a good moment to take a look at the most interesting and best video game soundtracks from such titles. Let this also be the antidote to the worst video game soundtracks article.
There was no way to include each and every single soundtrack worth mentioning.
Because we have a plethora of „family” games and so there is a lot of worthy music as well, I decided to split the juxtaposition into two smaller ones. Even after that, there was no way to include each and every single soundtrack worth mentioning; the list would go on and on like Sicilian cheeses. The first one sums up titles in which the motif is treated literally. The second one works out any secrets hidden within the very meaning-rich word „family”.
The list opener is one of 2018’s soundtrack of the year nominee which definitely could not be omitted. This is also one of two pieces here with a Norse mythology fundament, although it differs from The Banner Saga in terms of impetus and a little more approachable sound. Not to mention the voice of the Faroese singer Eivør Pálsdóttir, which is truly unmistakeable.
Ezio’s Family is known by probably any video game music lover out there. The second installment in the famous franchise, in which we avenge the family a Florence-based punk to this day remains one of the greatest displays of Jesper Kyd’s talent. Besides the mentioned track, the album is worth picking up also because of Home In Florence, Leonardo’s Inventions (Monteriggioni theme!), Approaching Target or The Plague. After listening – how about Assassin’s Creed Symphony?
For many of us the amazing soundtrack from Joel and Ellie’s way of the cross was a window to other amazing Gustavo Santaolalla’s albums: it’s worth to mention Babel (Oscar), Brokeback Mountain (Oscar) and The Motorcycle Diaries. Who likes some melancholic bondage, lutes (guitars, charango) and minimalism, can not be recommended a better album.
The year 2012 was in the video game industry the year of Austin Wintory – we’ve had two his great soundtracks come out in that time: Journey and The Banner Saga. Here, we are interested in the latter: both intimate and epic, virtuoso and approachable to a point where one could mistake it for a „very best classical music” mixtape. If your thirst is not quenched by the first Banner Saga, then there is always the second and third one (all great).
The Nords have soundtracks running in their bloodstreams, because there are so many great composers there: Jesper Kyd, Ola Strandh (Tom Clancy’s The Division 1 & 2), Mikko Tarmia (Amnesia, SOMA) or Douglas Holmquist (PinOut). Let’s welcome the new artists: Henrik Oja and Frida Johannsson are the duet behind Unravel. After listening to the album, one can only hope that their careers fly as high as a wool ball after being hit by a cat paw. Where is family in all this? Well, let me not spoil the fun for you.
A cult is also a family, but… a little more devoted. Full of character and energetic like a haunted preacher’s gestures, the soundtrack raises the BPM better than a double espresso. When we add country music, gospel and immaculate post-production to it, we’ll get one heck of an album.
There are already many games in this list that have the plot revolve around family members so let’s now reach for a title that families could revolve around. What better makes connections between family members than couch co-op? It’s also the only soundtrack here that has synthesizers as its foundation.
A family is a family – who cares if it’s a school of fish? Why am I mentioning fish all of a sudden? During the two hours of Abzû gameplay it’s hard not to realize that our little scuba-diver has created a bond with the underwater world, and the whole experience is enhanced greatly by Austin Wintory’s music. If you’ve ever wanted to play a Finding Nemo game and listen to a magical score while doing so, this is it.
The list wouldn’t be complete if there wasn’t an Addams (or perhaps Baker) family in it. The Resident Evil series is not one to neglect the audio aspect of the game (looking at the great RE 4), and the very solid gameplay of VII really benefits from its claustrophobic, paranoia-inducing tracks. Based mostly on electronic music and strings, this soundtrack is definitely one of the more interesting horror scores of the recent years.
Sul sul! One could spend not less than two hours creating a Sim, and perhaps thirty or more so while drowning your loved ones. Thanks to the very likeable, jazzy soundscape, we will leave game relaxed (well, maybe a little worried about our Sim), rather than with blood-shot eyes. Don’t you worry, though! The next day, we’ll put him in the swimming pool and delete the ladder. Nothing to worry about then.
There are so many commutes to be made, and they all need a proper soundtrack.
There it is. The whole family in one picture. Don’t they look magnificent? All I can do now is hope that after reading this, you will reach for one of the soundtracks (or games). There are so many commutes to be made, and they all need a proper soundtrack. After you do listen, make sure to let us know about your opinion and what titles could have also been included in this list.