Finally our predictions regarding the game music albums published in 2020 confirmed and our staff will remember 2020 as the year with no big surprises. This is why, when we face the hard choice, during the selection of the album of the year we always ask ourselves the basic question – what is our benchmark when we tip the winner? There can be only one answer. If during the game you gain satisfaction from hearing pieces, and still you come back and listen it later, after the game, it means that music fulfils it’s fundamental role – it makes you feel good wherever you listen it. We couldn’t play some games because of many reasons, this is why we were forced to check some videos from those games, which shown us plan for the cooperation between developers and composers.

Our staff will remember 2020 as the year with no big surprises.

Before we reveal you the album of the year 2020 we will present our nominations of soundtracks which according to our staff were closest to gain this title in the first place. Each of us in few words presented his/her arguments why he/she choose this particular soundtrack.

Games from Supergiant Games studio positively surprise us every single time. Specially soundtracks made by Darren Korb. There is no difference in case of the music from Hardes. What is more, the composer went a step further and he gave us juicy, rock music which came straight from the gates of hale. This is a real lucky strike not only for the guitar riff lovers, but also for fans of more subtle melodies which calm listener’s nerves.

It was during the Game Music Festival two years ago when I have heard the music from Ori and the Will of the Wisps for the first time. I knew that the emotional rollercoaster was ahead of us and that experience would be filled with the magic sounds. Gareth Coker during writing the music for the second part of Ori intentionally choose a similar aesthetics of music to the one which was already heard in Ori and the Blind Forest. The atmosphere is magical, moody, sometimes even dark. All of that was done to arise unforgettable emotions and memories among players.

26 years had to pass and we once again could play as characters from Streets of Rage- the „beat ‘em up” classic series of games, which is known even today for the timeless gameplay and electronic, club music. Despite of the fact that Yuzo Koshiro took small part in the project each one piece is at a premium. Lizardcube, the French developer studio, together with other producers not only met gamers’ expectation one more time, but also met expectations of music lovers who will save Streets of Rage 4 soundtrack on their Spotify lists for a long time. Especially the video game music fans.

All Saints living la vida loca in Heaven. Meanwhile in hell they are listening the music created by Darren Korb. The twelve Olympians had to be very musical, if they let to compose such varied music in terms of music styles and instruments which were used. As an effect we received the soundtrack which is on the one hand melancholic, and on the other hand sharp like a razor. Even if you didn’t play in Hades you will recognize Korb’s style immediately. This is a big piece of work.

It’s been ages since I sit down and play a real fighting game. The same amount of time passed since the last time I jam out while listening the music from the beat’em up. Streets of Rage came back after twenty years in a big way. It delivered the soundtrack inspired by sounds from my childhood. According to Spotify the art of work made by Kawashima, Shimomura, Fujit, Yamagishi and Derivier accompanied me in 2020. It is hardly surprising.

Yes, I remember what I wrote about this music in the review- that it was overused. However if we overlook it for a moment, we would see that the team headed by Masashi Hamauzu did a great job delivering satisfying soundtrack, which will satisfy both regular fans of the original and the freshers. Nobuo Uematsu’s pieces were faithfully reproduced with some novelties.

2020 turns out to be maybe not the worst year, but the most boring one for sure. As if anything happened in the field. Not only many games were released, but also many good soundtracks. However how many novelties? … Null. At least I haven’t had the opportunity to play one. Of course most probably I would bet on the Hades soundtrack composed by Darren Korb, but I didn’t have a chance to play the game. This is why I will remember 2020 as the year without any musical surprises.

Mick Gordon tried very hard beat his achievement which was the Doom 2016’s soundtrack. But despite of the very best efforts, ambitions and many talented artists engaged in the project…they gilt the lily. There are moments where mix doesn’t sound good, and moments when the music implementation is audibly basic. Additionally the soundtrack itself seems to be exaggeratedly enrich. “Too many notes” said cashier to Mozart once, however I think that in this case it is either a result of rush, or bad time management. It looks like Mick had much more time for refining Doom, and with Eternal something stopped him.

Gareth Coker didn’t fail. A new Ori includes new, rich content, which at the same time perfectly match with the previous part. The score and scoring make references to it, but without crudeness. This is one of the bests soundtracks in the history, and yet still a continuation. There were a lot of surprises, but I didn’t come back, as in the case of the Blind Forest. Ahh Ubi…if you didn’t have Internet Explorer’s reflex you would have the soundtrack of the decade. If Assassin in Nordic climate, with the music composed by Jesper Kyd, Sara Schachner and Wardrun had appeared in the years 2013-2016 I would rhapsodize over the beauty of its soundtrack till today. At this moment the subject is so superimposed, that it is hard for me to force myself and enter the assassins’ world one more time.

I am not a big fan of this composer, however the soundtrack for The Pathless knocked me into a cocked hat. Beautiful, folklore stories were composed with the use of traditional musical instruments and performance techniques. For me this is the most prominent soundtrack composed by Austin Wintory.

Jason Graves proved one more time that horror is his specialty. Little Hope OST is even more interesting and frightening than the previous part of the The Dark Pictures anthology. This soundtrack captures perfectly the stifling and disturbing mood of witch hunts and victims’ marches against this barbaric practices which took place in the medieval ages and later.

At the very end I would like to put your attention on two independent games from Indie studios. They both have worrisome, ambient – abstract soundtracks. Amnesia, the newest one, is the result of Mikko Tarmii’s work on previous games produced by the Frictional Games enriched by the original sounds of desert. In comparison to Amnesia, Visage is pure dissonance and tension, which beautifully refers to the classic horrors.

Definitely it is my hot ticket to the soundtrack of the year award. Beauty, enchanting depth of music, and the way in which they affect a listener compose perfectly with the view which we can see on the screen. Another piece of badass riffs and electronica which crush skulls. The music plays here as a second character without whom Doom, tremendous in it’s gameplay, wouldn’t be so saucy and tasty. Admittedly the game had premiere at the end of 2020, however the way in which the soundtrack was written earned my recognition. Listening to it was very pleasant. There were moments when I was associating it with Doom mentioned above, but in my opinion this is the compliment.

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Editor In Chief

Mariusz Borkowski

For many years he’s been continuously sharing with others his passion for melodies from video games.