Video Game Music Releases: January / February / March 2023

May 12, 2023 Back to Blog

Here is the G4F Records selection of video game music releases for January, February and March 2023. Enjoy!

This is a non-exhaustive list without any classification hierarchy. This is all the more true since this edition brings together the first three months of the year and therefore represents only a tiny part of the musical releases during this period.

Of course, we invite you to discover other new soundtracks that will brighten up your day! 🙂

Additional message: This article was exceptionally written by several members of the G4F team, who kindly lent themselves to the task, allowing us to finish this article.

Season: A Letter to the Future, Musical Experimentation

Season: A Letter to the Future - Sorties musiques de jeux vidéo : janvier/février/mars 2023 par G4F Records
Ready for a bike ride?

Composer: Spencer Doran

Season: A Letter to the Future is a very narrative adventure and exploration game, developed by Scavengers Studio. The game asks you to travel across vast regions in order to collect the memories of your world in your notebook, hoping to pass them on to future generations. The game’s soundtrack was composed by Spencer Doran, composer and sound designer. We will get into more details later, but his work on Season goes far beyond musical composition.

Spencer Doran is not used to composing for video games. His previous projects include several musical research projects on Japanese music and soundscapes, but also his electronic music duo “Visible Cloaks” with Ryan Carlile. The band’s Bandcamp page is full of musical curiosities, in the vein of what can be heard in Season. An astonishing profile compared to the composers of other productions. Don’t hesitate to visit his website where he lists several of his interviews, giving you the opportunity to learn a little more about his work.

But what about the music of Season: A Letter to the Future? It’s incomparable, without a doubt.

Season: A Letter to the Future
Here we go!

It’s a complete immersion thanks to the musical implementation.

The music in the game is mostly ambient. This results in a soundscape made up of a myriad of instruments (piano, plucked strings, celesta, music box, flutes, etc.), synths, all associated with the game’s sound design. This soundscape offers an extremely immersive mix, between intradiegetic and extradiegetic music, between traditional instruments and sound design.

The studio’s sound team used Wwise (an audio engine dedicated to integrating sounds and music into video games) to manage all the music. This creates a dynamic musical environment that superimposes different musical and sound layers, depending on the situation. Together, it turns into a rather unique musical experiment, difficult to describe, but extremely captivating once in play.

Although the game has been available on PlayStation and PC (Steam and Epic Games Store) since January 31, 2023, the soundtrack is out on Bandcamp and most likely on all streaming platforms as well such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube… Also note the launch of pre-orders for vinyl and CD editions, scheduled for fall 2023.

Octopath Traveler II, The Old School JRPG

Octopath Traveler II - Sorties musiques de jeux vidéo : janvier/février/mars 2023 par G4F Records
Nothing like fireside stories!

Composer: Yasunori Nishiki

Did you like Octopath Traveler? Then you’ll love Octopath Traveler II! SQUARE ENIX and Acquire return 5 years after the success of the first opus, with a similar formula. Some novelties in gameplay and 8 new characters on a new map complete the strengths of Octopath Traveler. They’re bringing you HD-2D graphics (2D pixel art in 3D environments, with very marked shaders), continued solid writing, and of course the magnificent soundtrack composed by Yasunori Nishiki (Final Fantasy VII Remake, Octopath Traveler,..)

Sometimes catchy, often emotionally charged, and always epic, Octopath Traveler II‘s soundtrack is faithful to the rich heritage of JRPG music. We find influences from Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy saga, Super Smash Bros. Brawl…), Yoko Shinomura (Kingdom Hearts, Mario+Rabbids Sparks of Hope…), Keiichi Okabe (NieR saga), among others… In an interview for Games Radar, Yasunori Nishiki explains that the game’s concept is to create a “good old RPG with modern technologies”.

Classic, effective, captivating, the soundtrack of Octopath Traveler II takes no risks, without falling into the expected. Each location and each character has its own musical theme, which keeps the experience fresh, and allows you to understand in detail what’s happening on the screen. The repeated use of leitmotivs gives a precise identity to each element of the game.

Octopath Traveler II
Follow the light!

131 tracks, so there’s a right to have slight differences in style!

Just like in the 2018 opus, the boss phases are preceded by a transition phase. This creates the effect of raising the tension during a cutscene, at the end of which a musical phrase takes us from the theme of the controlled character to one of the 3 possible boss fight musics. A fine example of a well-conducted music implementation!

As you would expect for a game of over 60 hours, some of the 131 tracks from the soundtrack allow themselves a slight deviation in style, such as A Sensational City (Night), whose jazz atmosphere could just as well take you to the best bar in a Yakuza game.

We really liked Osvald’s theme, which begins with a heavy and dark piano, then easily carries us away with bright and hopeful violins with a melancholy tinge. Gorgeous!

The 6 discs making up the soundtrack are currently unavailable in Europe in the Square Enix store, if you’re looking for the physical version, but they’re still available digitally on Amazon Music and iTunes Store. While waiting for the return of CDs/Vinyls in physical form, you can read the composer’s analysis on Note (in English, or in Japanese for the more adventurous), or console yourself by listening to the soundtrack of the first opus, which remains excellent.

Tchia, New Caledonia in the Spotlight

Tchia - Sorties musiques de jeux vidéo : janvier/février/mars 2023 par G4F Records

Composer: John Robert Matz

Tchia is a charming adventure and exploration game developed by Acaweb, which allows us to discover New Caledonia’s culture alongside Tchia, a young girl with amazing powers. Certain gameplay phases echo Zelda: Breath of the Wild, such as being able to climb just about every wall in the environment. Tchia is very relaxing and the interactivity that the game brings with its environment is poetic to say the least. Transferring one’s soul into a bird, crab, dolphin, or even a Vespa (yes, yes) grants the player some freedom of movement and exploration.

The game’s music was composed by John Robert Matz and the sound design was produced by the Canadian studio A Shell In The Pit (we spoke about this studio in August 2022 and April 2022 for I was a Teenage Exocolonist and Rogue Legacy 2).

Cocotte, la petite perruche verte….”

Music Honoring the Local Culture

In addition to this ingenious soul transfer mechanism, the game also offers a ukulele as a complete virtual instrument: plucked strings, strummed, single strings or chords (ups or downs!), piano or forte, you’ll see! A Shell In The Pit pulled out all the stops. On Twitter, Em Halberstadt, creative director of the studio, highlights the work of Mauricio Ruiz, Gordon McGladdery and John Robert Matz: there are 1410 audio files that make up this instrument: recorded, cleaned and implemented especially for this project!

In order to be as faithful as possible to the rich cultural heritage of New Caledonia and its inhabitants, the composer John Robert Matz used virtual instruments created for the occasion: the ukulele of course, but also local percussion such as the struck bamboo, a bamboo trunk pierced and struck against the ground, or the bwanjep, a tonal percussion instrument made from fig tree bark and filled with herbs and bark. Tchia‘s music also incorporates songs, whose lyrics written by Marilou Lopez-Aguilera are sung by local musicians from the island.

The soundtrack is available on most platforms including Bandcamp or Spotify. Have fun!

Atomic Heart, from Acid to Opera?

Atomic Heart - Sorties musiques de jeux vidéo : janvier/février/mars 2023 par G4F Records

Composers: Various Artists

Atomic Heart, released on February 21, 2023, is the first game from the Mundfish studio founded in 2017 in Moscow and now based in Cyprus. The game has been much anticipated due to its many mysterious trailers that have been flooding the internet since 2017, but also thanks to Mick Gordon‘s promise of the music. Gordon, amongst other things, is the mastermind behind the soundtracks of Doom (2016) and Doom: Eternal (2020), which shook the industry when they were released.

Atomic Heart
Destroying robots to music, how fun!

A Variety of Musical Genres

For starters, if you’re a fan of Mick Gordon’s work in the previous two Doom games, you’ll actually have several tunes to sink your teeth into. One example is the song, “PT-1X12”, which accompanies the first massive boss fight of the game. But also the songs, “Arlekino” or “Ya ne Casanova”, which are Russian songs, the first one dating back to the 70’s and interpreted by Alla Pugacheva. The second song comes from the 90’s and was composed by Vladimir Kouzmin. These songs have been remixed on 8-string guitars and double pedals to stick to the action scenes of the game. However, you’ll be surprised to learn that these tracks were NOT composed by Mick Gordon but by Geoffrey Day, aka GeoffPlaysGuitar.

This artist composer was asked to compose several pieces of the same genre. He has thus remixed certain Russian classics so that they stick to the ultraviolent and crazy universe of Atomic Heart. We can also count on the presence of Alex Terrible, the singer of Slaughter to Prevail who interprets the guttural version of “Arlekino”.

But it doesn’t stop there! The plurality of musical genres is a characteristic of Atomic Heart. So we find DVRST, for the remixes of “Komarovo”, originally performed by Igor Skylar. The artist proposed two Phonk versions and a Drum’n’Bass version! Mujuice also comes in to decorate the playlist with their acid remix of “Kosil Jas’ Konjushinu” from the group Pesniary, as well as other remixes in different genres, always related to electronic music. All of this is available in the game’s Soundtrack Vol.1, along with other equally awesome artists.

When can we get Vol. 2?

Vol.2 (which at the time of writing these lines is not yet available) should contain the rest of the soundtrack. We will find other artists that participated in the creation of certain sequences, such as the immense Boris Brejcha, DJ producer of a genre that he himself created. There are also operas such as “The Magic Flute” or “Carmen”, which punctuate some action scenes. Also, we must not forget the compositions of Mick Gordon, who remains the game’s official composer. He’s behind all the music that can be heard during the cutscenes, action scenes, as well as the confrontations against bosses and exploration phases.

In conclusion, the soundtrack offers us a very wide range of sounds and we find something for everyone. Metal, drum’n’bass, acid, classical music, opera and even phonk, almost everything is there. It’s sometimes difficult to want to finish a fight for fear that the current song will stop playing and we almost regret finishing a boss after 5 minutes of intense combat with the volume turned up (based on a true story). The sound design is not to be outdone, it goes very well with the music, the robot destruction sounds are enjoyable, and countless sound details are very satisfying.

[BONUS] Deep Rock Galactic, Rock and Stone!

Deep Rock Galactic - Sorties musiques de jeux vidéo : janvier/février/mars 2023 par G4F Records
Sharpen your pickaxes!

Composers: Troels Jørgensen / Sophus Alf Agerbæk-Larsen

Deep Rock Galactic is a team-based first-person shooter developed by Ghost Ship Games, a Danish studio founded in 2016. Players take on the role of a team of dwarves sent by a corporation to mine the riches of the depths of Hoxxes IV, a planet abundant in precious minerals but which is also home to extremely hostile fauna.

Armed with devastating weaponry, the dwarves will have to help each other survive against hordes of enraged insectoids, meet their company-mandated quota of minerals, before being allowed to leave the planet and celebrate their victory over a foamy beer.

The game’s original soundtrack and sound design were produced by the talented Troels Jørgensen, with composing assistance from Sophus Alf Agerbæk. Inspired by the achievements of John Carpenter and The Thing in particular, Jørgensen brings the daunting caverns of Hoxxes IV to life with an electronic “dark synth” style that perfectly matches the game’s sci-fi horror setting. There’s a variety that promotes immersion no matter the situation, as the game features a selection of tracks that will play according to the events and the progress of the mission.

Deep Rock Galactic

Rock and Stone!

During the exploration phases, we will listen to a calm and sinister piece, in order to help us soak up the bewitching beauty of the extra-terrestrial depths.

For the moments of combat, we are treated to intense action music preceded by a thrilling build-up, when the control center signals to us that a horde of aliens is heading towards our position.

Finally, when the time has come to complete the mission, triumphant music will accompany us on the way to the drop pod.

Jørgensen further pushes immersion through excellent sound design; voices of dwarves and aliens echo and reverberate through the caves, enemies make intimidating and identifiable sounds, allowing you to recognize the threat before you see it, weapons are satisfying to listen to and sound different to alert that they are on or about to be empty or overheated.

Deep Rock Galactic, although available in early access since 2018, with version 1.0 released May 13, 2020, continues to receive regular free updates, which add content. We can only hope to hear new music from Jørgensen in the next versions of the game. The first two volumes of the soundtrack are available on many platforms (Spotify, Steam…).