The developers at 11 bit studios have thus far been recognized mainly for their rather light and entertaining games. This image might change due to their newest release entitled This War of Mine, which presents war from the perspective of its victims, that is civilians trapped in a besieged city. Depicting military action this way is a huge step forward for the gaming industry, since none of the titles I know of have hitherto approached this subject from the other side. As players, we have witnessed the cruelty of war from the first-person perspective, taking on the role of a warrior, soldier, partisan, or spy.
Music has been composed similarly, in most cases being heroic and giving us a boost of adrenaline and courage. In This War of Mine it is the exact opposite. It’s supposed to make one reflect (Some Place We Called Home) and sometimes to lift our spirits, when we need it most. Piotr Musiał, the composer for Deadfall Adventures, Anomaly: Warzone Earth, Sleepwalker’s Journey, and several other projects, was given quite a challenge. He was tasked with depicting the post-war destruction and the drama of the people who were faced with moral choices in order to survive in extreme circumstances.
When listening to Piotr Musiał’s work, even through I have not played the game yet.
The music in the game is metallic, hypnotic (When The Night Comes), and cold, directing attention towards itself in specific moments of the game. Delicate guitar sounds (These Cold Days) create a nostalgic picture of the war, while at times serving as encouragement (No Good Choice) to fight for one’s life. When listening to Piotr Musiał’s work, even through I have not played the game yet, I can visualize the smoldering remains of an occupied city with civilians fighting for their lives. When this sound is combined with the visuals, one can fully appreciate the work of its creators, as well as the composer’s. While listening to the soundtrack, it is hard to avoid drawing parallels to The Last of Us. Nevertheless, Piotr Musiał has composed a distincly different work, in contrast to the game’s visuals. Everything fits together perfectly, making the game’s atmosphere more real for players.
Although the album is short, this does not in any way hamper the reception of the music. Quite the contrary: it encourages us to revisit it time and again to discover something new every time. I am not sure whether this can be considered a drawback, but I felt a lack of a ballad track which would sum up not only the game’s plot, but the soundtrack as well. Nevertheless, we have a reason to be proud, since Piotr Musiał has done a splendid job. His music for This War of Mine is not only poignant, but pleasant to listen to as well. And because of that I recommend keeping abreast with the composer’s work, since he is not only among the generation of young, talented composers, but also shows great promise for the future. Apparently, such people as him need so ambitious projects as This War of Mine.