Top 5 Upcoming Animated Video Game Adaptations

Top 5 Upcoming Animated Video Game Adaptations

On the first episode of CD Projekt Red’s Night City Wire series, it was unexpectedly announced that  Netflix and Studio Trigger would partner together  to produce Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

This project was green-lit due to the success of Netflix’s Castlevania adaptation. The show achieved widespread critical praise for its animation and faithful adaptation of the games. This success hasn’t gone unnoticed by other publishers who are hoping to follow Konami’s lead. So here are the Top 5 Animated Video Game Adaptations currently in the works.

 

1.The Cuphead Show!

Cuphead received widespread praise for its animation, which paid homage to early Fleischer studios cartoons, like Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor. The studios meticulous attention to top quality animation led to universal praise upon release. The animation was so prominent, Netflix decided to produce and distribute a TV series at StudioMDHR. 

While there are no confirmed story details, the recent Inside Peek trailer has shown familiar characters; Cuphead, Mugman, King Dice and The Devil will all be featured. Expect to see the brothers get into some classic 1930’s hijinks, with The Devil himself trying to take their souls. 

The series is being worked on by a small, relatively inexperienced team. After seeing their beautiful animation in the hands of players, I’m eager to see what they are capable of when creating a show. The Cuphead Show is slated to hit the small screen on January 1st, 2021. 

 

2.Devil May Cry

 

With the well received release of Devil May Cry 5, the franchise has been back in good standings. Easily one of Capcom’s most beloved originals, Devil May Cry’s flourish filled, combo-based fighting system is tailor-made for an anime adaptation. 

Devil May Cry: The Animated Series released in 2007, serving as an in-between for the events of Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2. It received mostly positive reviews, but has started to show its age when compared to modern action anime. The new series will be developed by Adi Shankar (this name’s going to come up a lot), the showrunner for Castlevania, who was able to create stunningly violent scenes with only an NES game for reference.

There is no release date set, but an easter egg in Castlevania season 3 implies that an announcement is sooner than later.

 

3.Hyper Light Drifter

 

 

Hyper Light Drifter is one of the rare cases where a Kickstarter project manages to exceed backers’ expectations. The game has a striking art style, with a 16-bit, SNES graphical design. The style works remarkably well in a cinematic fashion; a detail the game flaunts in it’s opening cutscene. These scenes inspired Adi Shankar (I told you), to begin working with Alex Preston, Lead Developer from Heart Machine studios, on an animated mini-series adaptation of the game. It will be interesting to see how they handle the lack of voiced dialogue as hiring voice actors may take away from the SNES atmosphere the game had originally built. 

 

4.Assassin’s Creed

 

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has struggled to find success in film and television adaptations. The film was an absolute disaster both critically and financially but I’m still excited to see this project come to fruition. 

The film didn’t rekindle my love for the franchise, but I respect that the series takes advantage of its premise to tell stories with new protagonists in every entry. The film is considered canon, despite its poor reception. The Netflix produced TV series is likely to tell an original story in an unexplored time period. World War II or feudal Japan, anyone? 

Under the direction of Adi Shankar (It’s the last time… I swear), we hopefully get to see a story set in the AC universe that isn’t plagued with the tedious down time that so many of the games have suffered from.

 

5.Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Vibe

 

Far Cry: Blood Dragon is one of the best Far Cry games ever made, featuring an over the top, 80’s action movie aesthetic. It took everything that made Far Cry 3 fun to play and stripped away the more serious story elements, replacing them with a world that feels like Robocop meets Escape From New York

The ridiculous setting, katana wielding zombies, and giant laser-breathing Komodo dragons work perfectly for a hyper-violent, animated Netflix show. Who better to lead the project, than Adi Shankar? (I lied). 

An animated series in this world could be special if it takes advantage of the precious 80s nostalgia, and embraces the violence that movies of the time were not able to do convincingly. 

There is no tentative release date, but considering the many other projects Adi Shankar has on the go (and the growing controversies surrounding Ubisoft), it’s probably going to be a few years before it hits Netflix. 

 

Most of these shows are going to be quite a way off but they each have so much potential and I can’t wait to see how they turn out. How about you? Which show are you most excited for? What other games would you like to see get an animated TV series? Let us know in the comments below.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League – First Impressions

Zack Snyder’s Justice League – First Impressions

The DC Cinematic Universe has been a mixed bag since the release of Man of Steel, with one of its most controversial entries being 2017’s Justice League. The film was met with a startling amount of indifference, considering this was the first live action outing of DC’s most popular team of heroes. It received mostly negative reviews and under performed at the box office, making only $657 million, compared to Batman v Superman’s $873 million. With such an underwhelming performance, monetarily and critically, general discussion around the film faded as DC began to pivot towards smaller scale, character focused films like Joker and Shazam!. On June 19th 2020, the HBO Max YouTube channel released a 34 second teaser trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, featuring never before seen footage and voice over. This reveal has left fans of the original film wondering if this project is worth caring about, hopeful it will be something to keep their eyes on.

 

A Complicated History

 

2017’s Justice League underwent a tumultuous development with several rewrites, reshoots and directorial change. This led to a film that strayed far from Zack Snyder’s original vision. The script was re-written multiple times, which is not particularly uncommon, and mostly attributed to Batman v Superman’s negative reception. Snyder and Chris Terrio’s original script contained horror elements, but Batman V Superman received such negative reviews for its dark tone, Snyder and Warner Bros. decided to lighten things up. This is the version of the script that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be based on.

The original version was nearing the end of production when Snyder had to leave due to a family tragedy. Warner Bros. was not willing to delay the film until he was ready to return, hiring Joss Whedon to finish in his place. This induced significant re-writes and expensive re-shoots, including the infamous mustache-gate. Whedon’s take had a significantly lighter tone, adding comedy and a color grade change from Snyder’s signature greys and blacks, to a red and orange hue. This change can be seen in the first official trailer, which used footage from Snyder’s version, compared to its final trailer from Whedon’s completed film.

After release, an internet campaign began with the hashtag #releasethesnydercut. The campaign was initially spearheaded by hopeful, passionate fans and felt like a pipedream. Bigger names began to speak out in support, including Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and, the hashtags most vocal supporter, Jason Mamoa. They rallied with fans to get the Snyder cut to see the light of day. The campaign came to a head on the 20th May 2020, when Zack Snyder held a Man of Steel watch party. Snyder invited several fans into a zoom call with Henry Cavill, revealing a poster for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, set for 2021.

 

What is the Difference?

 

Snyder has spent the last two years sharing concept art and story details that imply the film he wanted to make would have been very different to the one we saw.

Justice League was widely criticized for its villain, Steppenwolf. He was the epitome of the ‘bland, hulking, grey, CGI villain’ trope that has plagued DCEU films since Batman v Superman’s Doomsday.

Through Zack Snyder’s twitter, it was revealed that Steppenwolf was not intended to be the only villain to make an appearance. Darkseid, one of the DC Universe’s most powerful villains, was supposed to play a part in the film. Not long after this, Ray Porter revealed himself as the actor playing the ruler of Apokolips.

Considering the amount of focus placed on him in the recent teaser, it’s fair to say that there will be more than a simple cameo. Snyder has confirmed the existence of other characters that were completely removed from the theatrical release.

These include Martian Manhunter, the Atom as Ryan Choi, and even the appearance of a more well-known Green Lantern.  Nobody can say how big a role these characters would have played, but their involvement was surely intended to set up future DCEU appearances that are now back on the table.

 

Other details that are rumored to appear in the Snyder cut:  Superman in his black suit design, Lex Luthor in more than just a post-credit scene, and extended introductions for The Flash and Aquaman. Nobody can say how important these scenes will be to the overall story, but viewers will get more insight and context behind the films main characters.

 

What Form Will the Snyder Cut Take?

 

The general assumption has been that this will be an extended movie released on HBO Max. The only concrete information that has been announced is Snyder’s team receiving somewhere in the range of $20 – $30 million to finish up VFX, with no new scenes being filmed. They have been given permission to record new dialogue, which has led to speculation. One suggestion is that the project could take on the form of a TV series, in the same vein as the extended cut of Quinten Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. This would leave room for animated segments to be included for sections that were incomplete.

While they could be spliced into a film, a complete change in style would be less jarring if spread out in episodic fashion.  It is important to note that nobody can say for sure how much the Snyder cut will differ from the theatrical release, but based on everything we’ve heard, this is going to be something more than your average Director’s cut.

Zack Snyder has created masterpieces and dumpster fires. Even though I don’t trust Zack Snyder to make a 10/10 film, I do expect that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be worth seeing as the singular vision of a director, rather than the Frankenstein-esque production that was the theatrical cut.

Behind the Curtain – The End of Modern Cinema

Behind the Curtain – The End of Modern Cinema

How the mighty have fallen. What was once a night of silver screen magic and awe, has turned into $20 bags of popcorn and general disinterest. Mixed with Hollywood’s abandonment of American crowds for the foreign market, even if it makes them hypocrites, the traditional theater release model’s days are numbered.

The rise of the internet has left a wave of mutilation in its wake since the mid-2000s. It’s the nature of the beast, and it was only a short time before that included film and TV. Around 22% of Americans have a subscription to Netflix. That’s not even counting the other 4 sharing the account.

Your local rental store went extinct during the advent of the streaming revolution, as late fees and debauchery reigned down upon customers. They had their shot as the middle man, and as soon as a replacement stepped in, customers were more than happy to dispose of them. While a lone rental chain exists in America, Family Video, they keep themselves afloat through real estate rather than rentals. The last Blockbuster still stands in Bend, Oregon. It’s used as little more than a photo-op for those who remember the good times we had together.

Movie theaters have found themselves as the new quasi-middleman, the broker between Hollywood and the masses.

Well… they did. The times are changing

 

 Death of the Movie Theater


A sign showing comic relief during the covid-19 pandemic at the last blockbuster store in the united states.

You could make the argument that the recent CoVID-19 Pandemic is to blame. If anything, it was surely the final catalyst. The industry has been in decline in recent years, and CoVID was the last nail in the coffin. The majority of growth for the entertainment industry in the past 3 years has been from digital services (electronic sell-through, VOD, subscription streaming for movies and TV), with theatrical making a slow burn, and DVD/Blu-Ray sales dropping off the map. Trolls World Tour made nearly $100 million from digital sales alone in the past month.

Hollywood has been having an apathetic effort as of late. Remake after remake, treated as if it were a superior take over the original. Shameless lowest common denominator garbage patented, packaged and sold as if it were remarkable and worth your time, and not a fast, sleazy way to get you in the seats. Prominent studios come off as used car salesmen, incorporating clever trailer making and big names to convince you they tried. The sleight of hand doesn’t hit you ‘til the credits roll.

Now, not all of Hollywood. Plenty of diamonds in the rough are being made. It’s just that no one is going to see them, or even aware of their existence until they release on streaming platforms. Intelligent films that take risks don’t pay the bills in 2020. If they did, we wouldn’t be stuck in this giant loop where dollar signs trump creativity. American audiences don’t even go to see the Best Picture award winners, with the last film reaching blockbuster levels domestically being Return of the King in 2003.

Hollywood has treated moviegoers as cash cows, instead of a diverse group of well…. humans. Netflix has been ridiculed in recent years for churning out turd after turd, with the only pitch you need for them to make your film/series is to show up with a pulse. The proof is in the pudding, however; 50 movies to choose from at home for $12 a month beats 10 movies for $50 plus each. 50 options that have a story for every type out there. Better to have 50 terrible options cheap than an expensive individual 10.

 

 

The elephant in the room is the viability of the theater experience. As we’ve seen in recent months, a major studio film can still turn a profit through release via streaming. Not to mention, the popcorn costs 50 cents a bag, and you can enjoy it from your couch in your underwear. I’m no business expert, but the studios have to be saving money in distribution costs from this model. We know cash is the only thing in mind from their actions, so why go back?

The future of movie theaters will be that of broadway plays and musicals. Upscale theaters that offer a robust refreshment and seating style, with films old and new as the main event. The future of film may be streaming, but for theaters it’s experience. Not to say that seeing the next Marvel film in IMAX isn’t an experience, but I’m arguing First Class vs. Economy. It’s like Spotify and vinyl. They just hit differently.

I miss the days of being pumped for upcoming films. I’ve endured the release of three Star Wars movies that make Jar-Jar Binks seem tolerable. I’ve seen remake after remake with creative bankruptcy, followed by lazy excuses to explain why a film failed (mostly, blame the audience.) Every new film I’ve watched and enjoyed has been stumbled upon, with no recollection of it getting a theatrical release. Quality is few and far between in our data-driven, appeal-to-all era.

Maybe it’s not that theaters and studios don’t care anymore.
I just don’t care anymore.

Captain Marvel Review | Captain Meh-vel

Captain Marvel Review | Captain Meh-vel

Come to think of it, Captain Marvel shares a lot in common with the controversy surrounding it. It’s pitifully generic, serves little purpose to the MCU, and ends up feeling pointless at the end of the day. You’ll have the internet warriors on both sides either defending/praising or attacking this film as if their lives depend on it, but when the dust settles, audiences get a largely uninspiring and uninteresting piece of fiction. Am I disappointed? I suppose so, but I’m not surprised. I saw this coming a mile away.

Before I enter a rant, let’s cover the film itself. The story opens up with a flashback of some debris the audience can’t quite discern. As the dust settles, Captain Marvel/Veer/Carol Danvers, portrayed by Brie Larson, tries to kill a figure of an unknown man. The scene ends and we see Veer wake up from her sleep and look out the window of her home planet Hala. My first gripe appears with the design of the city. It’s colorless and looks like a bunch of random geometric shapes plastered together to seem futuristic. It’s the exact opposite of the vistas in Guardians of the Galaxy, which are usually brimming with character and genuinely feels like floating cities. They’re solid and they feel substantial.

Image result for captain marvel hala

I bring up my issues with Hala because it so perfectly describes Captain Marvel herself. Her entire personality is muddled and changes every scene. Sometimes she’s a stoic hyper-masculine hero, or a cocky know-it-all, or an awkward goofball. She never quite molds into a certain shape and she stays there. As a result, she comes across as annoying, and thus the audience finds no reason to care about her. She was incessantly bullied from a child to an adult, but the film brushes past it like it was nothing. It only serves as a plot device to “progress” her character. Consequently, I didn’t care about her history nor do I want to learn more about her.

Are the side characters any better? Nick Fury is a classic character, but he was toned down to comic relief. Maria Rambeau is a more intriguing equivalent to Carol Danvers, but that’s not saying much. She was still subjected to a secondary role to the second half of the film and acts more of a plot device. The script certainly gave Lashawna Lynch better lines to work with than Brie Larson, who I’ll discuss in a moment. The villain? Dull as dishwater. This is Thor: The Dark World-tier boring. The worst part about him is that he’s a “liar revealed” trope, which has been done to death in plenty of animated movies before 2010. Yes, Ego is a similar villain, but he was a warm and welcoming character audiences knew for most of the movie, so that twist is actually impactful. Captain Marvel, on the other hand, has very little impact.

How are the performances? Considering the script seems half-baked with five writers and two directors working on one film, you could imagine some characters have worse lines than others. As a result, the actors try their hardest to act naturally to best fit their characters. For some reason, Brie Larson received the worst treatment, either because of direction or the script itself. Since the first trailer was revealed, some fans noticed Larson looked rather bored. In the final product, she seems more than that. Her performance gives the audience the impression that she doesn’t want to be in the film at all. It’s as if a producer dragged their notoriously disrespectful 14-year-old niece to perform the lead role.

Image result for captain marvel
This isn’t me saying she needs to “smile more” or some nonsense. Once the credits started rolling, I definitely do not see myself excitedly waiting for a sequel. Sure, she could become more likeable in an ensemble like Doctor Strange did, but even Doctor Strange evolved from an arrogant asshole to a bold leader of the mystic arts. Carol Danvers didn’t evolve whatsoever. The film clearly wanted the audience to root for her since the beginning, but the audience doesn’t know Danvers. The hastily collaged background information on Danvers was rushed through to an insulting degree, especially considering the missed potential of providing meaningful social commentary. Wasn’t this supposed to be Marvel’s “feminist” film?

The small moments of where Larson experiences harassment from men doesn’t create a feminist message. It’s addressing an issue and doing pretty much nothing with it. Does it need impactful social commentary? Of course not, but since Marvel and film critics tried to market it as such, the movie certainly failed in that regard. I will say, though, the fact it addressed the sexist attitudes women faced in the Air Force was valuable to see in cinema. I suppose it would have balanced out with the humor, but I didn’t find myself laughing that much. It certainly tried to make the audience laugh with Larson’s persistent snarkiness and the frequent tongue-in-cheek “do you remember that?” ‘90s references.

Image result for captain marvel action scene

All in all, there isn’t much to work with here. The action was adequate, but nothing remarkable by any stretch of the imagination. The CGI effects were nothing to write home about, but it’s not reprehensibly bad. The film itself isn’t generally a regressive viewing experience. However, I left the theatre with an enduring disappointment. Even the mid-credits scene, which was supposed to hype audiences up for Endgame in April, didn’t leave much of an impression on me. As a Marvel fan, I expected better, but I’m not surprised at the result. I saw a film like this coming a mile away.

If this was among the first batch of MCU films before the first Avengers, you wouldn’t see me complain at all. In fact, I would’ve praised it for being revolutionary. Instead, this is the twenty first Marvel movie, and I’m getting tired. The Marvel formula is starting to show its limitations and it needs to evolve. While this pushed the MCU past the $18 billion cumulative profit threshold, the quality is starting to concern me. I don’t doubt Avengers: Endgame is going to be a blast, but films beyond that grand finale will have to do more to satiate my appetite. It appears DC is figuring out how to entertain audiences in a variety of ways. From the epic adventures of Wonder Woman and Aquaman to the heartfelt journeys of Shazam! to the twisted crime plots of Joker, DC appears to be flaunting their creative diversity.

Image result for shazam

As for MCU, there’s not a lot of change happening. Sometimes they release a movie that’s more lighthearted like Ant-Man and the Wasp, but that’s becoming rarer as the time goes on. The foes need to get bigger, the powers need to be more spectacular, the stories need to be more complex, the movies need to be longer. I’m all for grand, amazing narratives, but when are we going to realize not every movie needs it? How big do the budgets need to be? Where’s the boundary? Mainstream audiences might not mind as much, of course, but people that are so anal about quality like me get frustrated at the developing homogeneity of these movies. At this point, I’m patiently waiting for a competent competitor to challenge Marvel and hopefully Warner Bros does just that.

As a Marvel movie, I suppose its numerous shortcomings are cushioned by the fact it’s a comic book film. As a movie, I would definitely pass on an opportunity to see it again. It’s not bad enough for me to awe at its stupidity or incompetence, nor is it good enough to revisit certain scenes again. It’s just mediocrity. Audiences seem to have agreed, considering the film suffered a bigger box office drop than Batman v. Superman, a legitimately terrible film. Would I recommend it? If you want to learn about every detail of Marvel’s characters and lore, this is a harmless enough watch. If you want a quality film, I’d wait until Avengers Endgame or even Shazam if that’s any good.

Eulogy for an Icon: Stan Lee – 1922-2018

Eulogy for an Icon: Stan Lee – 1922-2018

Yesterday, we lost one of the most influential men in the modern world of art and entertainment. Stan Lee was a creative mind with a legacy like few others. But he wasn’t just an artist, he was a truly beautiful human being. Here’s what he meant to me.

Stan Lee

Long before I knew who Stan Lee was, I had spent years as a fan of Spider-Man. Growing up, the web-slinger was one of my favorite characters across any fictional world. I watched the animated TV series, read the original comics, bought action figures, trading cards, and lost my mind when the first movie was announced. I couldn’t get enough of Spider-Man and the universe that Stan had built through writing the comics.

I think what resonated so deeply with me was how human and relatable Spider-Man was, especially through Peter Parker. Sure, as a kid, I thought Spider-Man was “cool” and “awesome” and all that. But when I look much deeper, it was the relatability of Stan’s characters and how genuine they were (like Spider-Man) that won me over and kept me interested as I grew up. Spider-Man was funny and heroic, but also insecure. He was strong, but also flawed and even broken at times.

Stan’s characters weren’t perfect, but they still tried to do the right thing. They didn’t always succeed but they tried to make the world a better place. They struggled with identity, love, loss, relationships, work, discrimination, hate, issues of morality, and more, just like real people. Iron Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, and all the others were, at their very core, human. They had superpowers and could do amazing things but that wasn’t really the point, not for me. In a world with so much darkness, these superheroes were a light in my world.

Stan Lee is one of the few people I look up to as a writer. I don’t like the idea of idolizing other people or giving them more praise than they’re due, but I think Stan deserves my praise; without him, I don’t know where I’d be. I owe so much of my passions and writing style to Stan. His stories helped me get through some of the hardest moments in my life.

Stan Lee

Stan’s influence across all types of media can’t be ignored. His characters dominate the box office every year and actors’ careers have been made because of them. I may not have gotten into video games and writing about them in the same way if it wasn’t for his work.

One of my top three video games is even based on the Spider-Man comics: Marvel’s Spider-Man for PlayStation 4, which came out in 2018. We got to play the most fully realized version of his beloved character this year, the year Stan passed away. Avengers: Infinity War and the third season of Daredevil on Netflix also came out this year. Even if you didn’t know about him, he’s responsible for some of the most popular entertainment of the past few years.

He lived a long, productive life and although I knew it was coming soon, it still hurts to lose one of my biggest heroes. He spoke to so many people, people he never even met in person. I had the honor to see him at a panel at San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago and I was shocked at how much energy and positivity he brought to the room. He brought so much happiness to so many lives.

I will always be indebted to Stan Lee for his impact on my life. I wish his family the best and will always be inspired by his creations. Goodbye, dear friend.

The Importance of a Game’s Musical Score

The Importance of a Game’s Musical Score

While writing my English paper, I felt a strong desire to play Killzone 3. Even though I don’t even own Killzone 3, I felt an urge to buy it. This sudden mood occurred while the musical score of Killzone 3 streamed in a separate YouTube tab on my browser. The music promised me a gripping story, intense gameplay, and an entertaining adventure. I wanted to experience that. Music influenced purchases before, like Pac-Man World 2 on the Gamecube. Nowadays I rarely have the time or will to play it, but I have keen memories of playing Pac-Man World 2 on my uncle’s PlayStation 2 whenever I visited my grandparents house in upstate New York, but I also admired the music enough to search for it online. My brother went back into playing Super Mario Galaxy after hearing the end credits symphony. Without question, music is one of the deciding factors in playing or purchasing our games.

Occasionally, we laud musical scores when they are composed by a famous composer in the industry. Take any Koji Kondo soundtrack, for instance. From the classic original Super Mario Bros. theme, to the bombastic orchestras of Super Mario Galaxy, his musical scores are often adored by millions of people, even by many who don’t play video games, and for good reason! His work is timeless and deserves to be shared across generations. It’s no simple task for any music composer. However, outside the superstars of video game music like Martin O’Donnell, Yoko Shimomura, Nobuo Uematsu, Grant Kirkhope, even newer artists like Toby Fox, there hasn’t been much activity. Sure, ARK Survival’s score has been recently adapted by London Philharmonic Orchestra, and we do see other compositions gain recognition from the music industry. Unfortunately, it’s not enough.


Any music junkie can analyze the mechanics used in orchestras or synthetic pieces, but as gamers, we just like how they sound, so I won’t get too technical. The first game that has a strong soundtrack in my mind would be Shadow of the Colossus, composed by Kow Otani (he also worked on several Godzilla movies, what a coincidence). The opening piece creates a sense of mystery, a very strong theme in the game. The story is very vague and brings up so many questions without answering them. To fit the narrative, the emotions of the music are very conflicted. At times, it sounds hopeful, but at the end it becomes sorrowful. Of course, battling Colossi beckons a massive, pronounced theme which gives exhilaration to the player. You have to kill this monster no matter what, and it will be awesome! Once you defeat a Colossus, the victory theme doesn’t sound victorious. Given how the game ends (not spoiling it, don’t worry) and what you actually did to the creature, the music brings you back to reality and you question your own morality. Should I have done that? Should I even be here? Excellent soundtrack that deserves a listen.


Music in games can also reflect how the game is itself. Katamari Damacy, as well as the entire franchise, contains a funky jazz soundtrack that sounds quirky and unique, just like the game. If you played any Katamari game, you’d agree that it’s quite…erm…Japanese. It’s a specific kind of weird that would only come from that region. Another game that comes to mind is the Uncharted trilogy (including Golden Abyss since Clint Bajakian worked on the trilogy and it has a solid score, too) by Greg Edmonson. If you heard it, you could swear it was ripped from a 1990’s Hollywood action movie.

Modern action movies follow a more Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End sound, which makes sense considering Henry Jackman worked on many massive movies. Unfortunately, some fans say the modern take of the music waters down the feel of the adventure and I don’t disagree. Games that have compelling scores grips players that haven’t tried the game yet. Music composition tells so much about a game without showing any imagery. Even less-than-stellar titles can pack great scores, like The Order: 1886 (Jason Graves), Sonic ‘06 (various), Pre-update No Man’s Sky (66 Days of Static), Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sarah Schachner), and even The Tomorrow Children (if you don’t recall that game, I don’t blame you. It was a failed PlayStation exclusive a while back.) has a good score by Joel Corelitz.


Poor music poses a great risk to games, though. When they sound repetitive or dull, then the games will also seem that way. Furthermore, a lackluster music score adds very little to the experience and can cause some players to lack determination to push forward in the game. Take Jak and Daxter and try to remember a song in your head. That’s pretty tough, right? Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (Josh Mancell) has some decent songs, but nothing for you to hum or want to listen to while doing homework or on a car ride. Jak II and Jak 3 (both Mancell among other artists)…did they even have music? If you like those soundtracks, fine. Go ahead and like them and maybe throw in a “You’re an uncultured swine!” in the comments as well. It’s a shame that the music isn’t enjoyable enough to entertain you in any of the Jak games since the games are quite good. Modnation Racers (Marc Baril) is another title that comes to mind. It makes you want to mute the damn music! How could players want to jump back into a game if the music almost abuses your ears? Again, the game’s very enjoyable and underrated like the Jak games, but if they ever do a sequel (as they should), hire a new composer.


Even upcoming titles offer pretty excellent pieces of music. One game that comes to mind is the new God of War game. The theme oozes masculinity and it is awesome! It also helps the manliness of the piece when the composer’s first name is Bear (full name Bear McCreary). Frickin’ Bear! The bass choral chant prepares you for battle and makes you eager to kill a troll as seen in the first gameplay reveal. Later on in the song, the music becomes dramatic, as if it’s capturing the toils of fatherhood. When alto and soprano voices join in the choir in addition to violins with the orchestra, the music reaches the emotional climax that symbolizes the struggles of raising your child in a hostile Nordic environment, and even maintaining yourself throughout this perilous journey. Just describing what the theme song could mean really pumps me up for the game’s release. Don’t disappoint me, Sony!

Music in games are often taken for granted by many gamers. Many see it as background noise. As for distinguished players like me (adjusts smoking pipe and monocles), we understand the gravity and power the music holds in our preferred entertainment medium. I’m just kidding, but it is important for music to be influential in the gaming experience. It keeps us going or even encourages us to buy games we don’t have in our library. Sometimes musical scores are partially responsible for an ever-growing backlog of games. Regardless, music that accompanies the player throughout a game is the best kind of music; and it won’t hurt to want more of that kind.