This year has been a year of ah-freaking-mazing video games. As far as plot, characterization, atmosphere, and music goes, in my book, it’s been one of the best. Citing games such as The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, The Cat Lady, and The Wolf Among Us as examples, I was convinced that I was going to keep being introduced to some new and awesome soundtrack music when I heard that the creators of Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream) were developing a new game. My favorite youtube let’s player, HarshlyCritical, began playing the game a few days ago. Folks, I’m beyond floored.
Not only is the game beautiful, the music has me wrapped in a state of awe. Could this be because of the genius composing from not only Assassin’s Creed composer, Lorne Balfe, but also the incredible Hans Zimmer, responsible for some of my favorite soundtracks (Angels and Demons, The Thin Red Line, and Pirates of the Caribbean)? Let’s also throw in there that this was the last project of Normand Corbeil, who composed the soundtrack of Quantic Dream’s earlier game, Heavy Rain. Corbeil, unfortunately, died earlier this year, so he wasn’t able to complete his work on Beyond. Thankfully, two talented and wonderful composers stepped up to do so and produced a score that is emotive, edgy, and brilliant in all senses of the word. Today, I’m going to share a handful of songs with you from the soundtrack and paint you a picture of what I see when I listen to them.
Dawkins’ Suite: He picked up the picture frame from the desk and stared into it, trying to get past his own reflection in the glass. No more. They were no more. How could he have been so blind? Torn away by work, not able to go home and be there for them when he needed them. And though he desperately thought there might still be some way to reconnect, some kind of communication, he knew he was only fooling himself. It was too late. He’d lost his chance. He straightened and resisted the urge to slam the photo down face first. He placed it back in its little corner, straightened it a little, and slumped into his office chair. This was punishment. This was what he’d desired; work, endless work without the interruption of a home life. Now, he had it. It had been an unconscious desire, but he still recognized it now with gut-wrenching clarity. What was he going to do? How was he going to move on from this?
Beyond: She sat in the chair and stared at his body beneath the many layers of blankets. He was asleep, far away from the dark world they now found themselves in. She wished just for a second that she had that oblivion, that she wouldn’t have to know what awaited them outside. Sadly, she couldn’t. She stood and walked to the window, glaring out at the rain and the woods quivering beyond. She’d have to go herself. She’d have to take care of his problems for him. She swung around the chair and started for the front door. Before her friend came back and told her that what she was about to do was crazy, she’d need to go. She couldn’t let things go on as they were. She had a chance to stop this. And despite the ache in her bones and the tire dragging her down, she knew that there was no better time than the present. She snapped up her jacket from the hook by the door and pushed out into the rain. His daughter needed him and he couldn’t do anything, not as sick as he was. It was up to her. It all rested on her shoulders now.
The Experiment: She ran to the other side of a tree and pushed herself up against it, her jacket scraping against the bark. Somewhere behind her, the foliage rustled. A sound like a low whistle carried on the air like an unwelcome taunt. Then the snarl rising up from beneath. She held her breath. Stay absolutely still, she told herself. Curiosity got the better of her. She turned and peeked out from behind the tree, hoping to see something in the fog-filled night. Nothing. All she could hear was the sounds getting closer, the goosebumps rising on her arms the longer she stayed frozen in the cold. She’d have to move, she knew that. But whenever she tried, she found she couldn’t. Fear stilled her. If I move, if I run and that thing sees me… It would be the end and she knew it. The sudden growl caught her unexpectedly. Closer. Too close. It came from the other side of the tree.
My Imaginary Friend: The room was just as she’d remembered leaving it, as if time had formed a bubble around it and it had been left alone while everything else progressed. The mobile with the pink and blue owls floating gently above the crib. The walls like pale pink cotton candy. She tasted the sugar in her mouth and it sent a chill through her. A stuffed rabbit with fur as soft as any she’d ever felt stared at the empty crib around it with two empty black eyes. She crossed to it and picked it up, rubbing one of the ears between her fingers. She knew if she stayed in here any longer, she was going to break down. She might never see this place again though. She’d fought so hard to get back here, only to leave it again? She went to her bed with the bunny and sat, hugging it close to her. She knew that she was in danger every second she stayed there. In moments, one of those things could barrel through the door and kill her in that very spot. Still, she sat. If she were to go, she couldn’t think of any place better than this.
All of the segments are from my current work-in-progress “Cold Walls”.
As far as I know, the soundtrack isn’t available to purchase yet. Once it is, I will update this post and provide you with a link. It is an extraordinary score and definitely one that has inspired me to write. I highly suggest it if you are working on any dark, horror, apocalyptic, or sci-fi fiction, especially the song “My Imaginary Friend,” which is my favorite.
Coming up next time: I’ll be sharing a few songs from another wonderful game released this year called “The Last of Us” composed by the great Gustavo Santaolalla. Stay tuned!