Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Jukebox Heroes: Fallen Earth's soundtrack


How would you score the apocalypse? What would the end of the world sound like if you put it to music? Perhaps it would be wrapped in a Western twang with notes of regret, longing, uncertainty, and struggle playing throughout. Whatever the end result, it wouldn't be your typical sword-and-sorcery anthem.

This was the task given to the Fallen Earth team of Lead Composer Enrique Varela and Audio Director Michael Franke: to put the apocalypse to music. In addition to faction themes, the team wanted to create music to compliment the emotions that players would most likely experience while traveling the wasteland. "My intentions were to have a range of moods, playing with dichotomies," Varela said. "You have negative or dark moods such as fear, sadness, suspense, danger, and then you have positive or light moods like triumph, tranquility, security."

Franke put it best, not just for Fallen Earth but for all MMO music, when he said, "I really wanted the audio to melt into the game's setting, and become another believable part of the world. For me, the highest compliment is when a player can leave that little check-box for sound alone."

It's a Western apocalypse, and it's all ours to listen to in this week's Jukebox Heroes!

1. Last Call

Massively's Jef, a fellow fan of this soundtrack, threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't include Last Call on this list. He need not have flared his neck sac and splayed his aggression feathers at me, as I was already going to include it. But now I have the added bonus of not being mauled by my co-worker!

There's a wonderful homey sound that comes out of these guitars that I just love. It sounds a lot -- I mean a lot -- like the score to Firefly, and that's not a bad thing. I guess space westerns and post-apocalyptic westerns have a common musical ground. It's a relaxing piece with a name that evokes the end of a day -- or an era.

2. Renewal

Renewal has more of a traditional western movie vibe to it, especially if you think of it as a ride to a showdown. It's darker in tone and even melancholy in parts, but lovely even so. I like the drums and flutes, as it introduces a Native American motif. All in all, it's a terrific piece that had me in awe the first couple of times that I heard it in the game.

3. Escape from Hoover Dam

There's nothing laid-back about this track. It's a tense, action-packed entry that eschews a western guitar for a traditional epic action score. That's not to say that I don't think it fits; sometimes Fallen Earth is very much sci-fi and sometimes it's very much western. This track feels more futuristic to me and it lasts just long enough to be interesting but not so long that it wears out its welcome.

4. Risen Moon

This track definitely skews to the ambient side, painting an emotional landscape of space, solitude, and even loneliness. There's very little (read: no) melody present, but even so, it's a welcome addition to this list for its relaxing nature and ability to pull out a feeling or two from my cranky soul.

5. Some Assembly Required

Further showing off the diversity of this soundtrack, Some Assembly Required is more of an electric guitar-meets-industrial-grunge tune that juxtaposes the tinkling of the xylophone with the slow growls of the guitar. If this was in a TV show, it would probably be used in the final five minutes of a drama when everyone's doing something significant and you just know it's going to end with a cliffhanger. In the context of the game, it suggests danger with a small, very small ray of hope. Great stuff.

6. Thwarting Alec Masters

We're going to conclude with another action track, although this one is even more intense than Escape from Hoover Dam. The pressure from the percussion keeps the listener on the edge the entire time, just waiting for the musical cue that will signal victory. Will it come? Oh will it?

That's it for today's look into Fallen Earth! It's a top-notch score overall, and I'm left hoping that one day the team will release Volume 2 to add on to it.

MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr