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Best Original Music Score of 2021

Best Original Music Score of 2021 - Article

by Taneli Palola , posted on 16 January 2022 / 1,846 Views

While the role of music in video games can often be overlooked, it has the potential to make any game and any moment within it something truly special when used correctly. Great music can make an otherwise average game enjoyable, and elevate an already excellent game to the level of genuine masterpiece. Whether it was the haunting soundscape of NieR Replicant, the unique stylings of The Artful Escape, or the epic score of Halo Infinite, the following games' scores resonated with people the most in 2021.

  

The Shortlist:

  

The Artful Escape

(Composers: Johnny Galvatron and Josh Abrahams)

  

Halo Infinite

(Composers: Gareth Coker, Joel Corelitz, Curtis Schweitzer, and Alex Bhore)

  

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139

(Composers: Keiichi Okabe, Kakeru Ishihama, Keiho Hoashi, and Takafumi Nishimura)

  

Metroid Dread

(Composers: Soshi Abe and Sayako Doi)

  

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

(Composers: Yasumasa Kitagawa, Yoshiya Terayama, and Hiromitsu Maeba)

  

  

  

  

The Winner:

Halo Infinite

Runner-up: Metroid Dread

Regardless of your opinion on Halo in general, the one aspect of the series that people can almost universally agree upon is that the music is usually excellent, and Halo Infinite is no exception. Although the series' original composers - Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori - have long since left the franchise behind, it's quite clear that the task of creating music for each new entry is still very much in capable hands.


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22 Comments
smroadkill15 (on 16 January 2022)

Halo Infinite's soundtrack is phenomenal. By far the best from 343 and It rivals the best from the Bungie Halo games.

  • +7
Alistair smroadkill15 (on 17 January 2022)

Apparently the Ori people helped.

  • +1
Libara (on 16 January 2022)

Artful Escape for me was the stand out for music score this year.

  • +5
Machina Libara (on 16 January 2022)

Agreed. A really pleasant surprise.

Would've been great if it had won, but I don't think enough people played it for that to happen. Glad it made the shortlist though.

  • +1
Trentonater (on 16 January 2022)

Cmon now Metroid Dread shouldn't even be nominated. The game's biggest fans agree that it's soundtrack is its weakest point expecially compared to previous games. Every metroid community is filled with posts saying the music is not very memorable. Can anyone even remember an original melody from the game? THat's the kind of bias that reminds me of Deathloop getting nominated for everything by the game awards even in areas where it was objectively terrible like audio design.

  • +2
Kakadu18 Trentonater (on 16 January 2022)

While not very memorable and not something you'd listen to on Youtube that much, the soundtrack does what it was intended to do very well: help creating the atmosphere and tension.

  • 0
2zosteven Trentonater (on 17 January 2022)

i love the metroid sound effects and music, but you are correct, it has no business here.

  • +5
Alistair Trentonater (on 17 January 2022)

my main disappointment of the game, all atmospheric that does the job, but no MUSIC at all really in Dread

  • 0
Alistair (on 17 January 2022)

Halo Infinite had great music and it actually plays frequently unlike older Halo games which had long stretches with no music. That was such a relief after all the recent games I've played with what felt like no music at all like God of War and Metroid Dread.

I'm playing Octopath Traveler right now, NOW THAT IS GREAT MUSIC! I don't think Halo can touch Octopath, but it wasn't a great year for music in games.

Ori also had some of the best music in a game ever. I wasn't surprised to hear that apparently they helped with Halo's music.

  • 0
Kakadu18 Alistair (on 17 January 2022)

Metroid Dread actually has music throughout most of the game.

  • 0
Alistair Kakadu18 (on 18 January 2022)

"felt like no music" because there was not a single memorable piece up to previous standards that I can recall

  • 0
Jaicee (on 16 January 2022)

I almost voted for The Artful Escape in this category because it definitely had the most genuinely moving, powerful soundtrack of 2021 game that I've played so far (and I might add that it's only part of a truly special overall aesthetic package), but for whatever reason, ScourgeBringer was included in this year's nominees even though it was originally released in 2020, and while it was a tough choice...I'm sorry, but ScourgeBringer has rocketed into my top 20 favorite video games of all time and half the reason is because of it's fucking AWESOME metal-electronic fusion soundtrack by Joonas Turner and I had to give it its props. The music isn't deep, but God is it ever fun!! It's seriously in like my top five favorite game soundtracks ever.

(I know very few people played ScourgeBringer, so it had no chance of winning anything, but voting for it gives me an excuse to hype it here, ya know? It's sort of like Celeste (complete with controls just as precise and animation just as buttery smooth) except as a gory roguelike, essentially.)

For a sample, here's the very first track. It's called Fury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aIz_fUpzdA

  • 0
Vodacixi (on 16 January 2022)

And it's criminal you guys didn't even nominate NEO: The World Ends With You. I could buy it on the artistic cateogory... but best score? That game has one of the best soundtracks in a videogame OF ALL TIME. Not this year, not this generation. It's up there with the original TWEWY, and that's considered one of the best ever.

  • 0
ireadtabloids Vodacixi (on 16 January 2022)

Thank you for the heads up about the NEO: TWEWY soundtrack being quality.

  • +1
Machina Vodacixi (on 17 January 2022)

NEO definitely was nominated - I voted for it myself. It just didn't get enough votes to make the shortlist.

  • +3
Vodacixi (on 16 January 2022)

Metroid Dread soundtrack should not be nominated. It's a complete disappointment. Whoever thought it was a good idea to give the job to two rookies with barely any experience was out of his mind. Metroid Dread needed Yamamoto as the main composer, not supervisor.

  • 0
Leynos (on 16 January 2022)

Nier was robbed.

  • -4
Loneken Leynos (on 16 January 2022)

is Nier a original soundtrack or arrange from the xbox 360 original?

  • 0
Leynos Loneken (on 16 January 2022)

360 isn't the original game. That is Gestalt. This is Replicant. PS3 is the original. Gestalt was only done of the western release. Nier's music is so good it deserves to win every year it's released.

  • -5
coolbeans Loneken (on 16 January 2022)

So, Nier Replicant is one of those interesting test cases. This is what I got from the staff on qualifying it:

-4 brand-new tracks
-A great amount of older tracks received symphonic tweaks, maybe subtly including new instruments to a melody or something else.

To the majority of staff (if not all), we considered that "transformative" enough to count. Given that it made the shortlist, I think that was a good decision.

  • +4
coolbeans Leynos (on 16 January 2022)

To be your bearer of good news: at least it made the shortlist. :)

  • 0
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