With the arrival of Fallout 4 in late 2015, I figured it was high time I get myself a piece of all that post-apocalyptic action that had been capturing everyone’s attention. And things started out well enough. I created my character, experienced the horror of nuclear annihilation (fun!), and started my new life on the other side, in wasteland called the “The Commonwealth.” Unfortunately, my relationship with the game petered off for no discernible reason. I became interested in other games, and that was that. I made a couple half-witted attempts at getting back into Fallout 4 at various points over the course of 2016, but they hardly resulted in any significant progression.
We all know how important music is in video games. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack is a character in and of itself, bringing life to a game in ways that a character can’t. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack plays a supporting role by imbuing scenes with emotion, being a presence without overwhelming the action. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack can be nearly nonexistent, popping up only when absolutely necessary in order to make the players react. And, no doubt, there are games without soundtracks. When done right, the lack of music plays a key role in forcing the player to focus on the game itself. When done wrong, lack of music in a game can make it feel hollow and incomplete.
So a game and its soundtrack often go hand in hand. We play great games and are rewarded by great soundtracks. But could it ever be that the soundtrack itself is the reward?