Quick Guide: What Kind of Music Should My Game Have?


What Kind of Music Should My Game Have?

Vital to any successful video game is having an amazing soundtrack. When we think about the games that we love to play, how often do we think about the incredible music and melodies that define those experiences?

Finding the perfect music for your game can be a challenge. You may not know where to start, so this quick guide is here to help you answer that all important question of: “what kind of music should my game have?”

5 questions to help you get started:

1. What kind (genre) of game am I making?

The music for a fantasy roguelike will be very different that a top-down racing game or endless runner, or perhaps your game is set in space with horror elements? Knowing what genre will get you started.

2. What kind of art-style is my game?

Is this cutting edge modern graphics, in a retro pixel art style, or perhaps something in-between? The music genre should reflect the style of the art.
Retro computer-sounding music (8-bit - Chiptune, or 16 bit - SNES/GBA style) might be perfect for a pixel art game. While a sci-fi shooter with modern graphics might want an industrial driven hybrid orchestral score with lots of ambient layers and synth textures.

3. In each area or scene or section of my game, what do I want the players to be feeling emotionally?

This is a very important question, which should greatly inform the mood of the music. Is it a somber, emotional backstory to start the game that should make the players feel sad? Is it an epic grand start to an adventure, making the players feel heroic and ready for action? Perhaps it begins with a peaceful overworld, before delving deeper into darker dungeons? Regardless, what is the emotional mood or vibe for each section?

4. Are there any game soundtracks that already exist in the right genre, matching the art style and emotional mood as my game?

If so, send those to the composer you are commissioning to write your soundtrack. Or find a game music asset pack that has a similar quality. While you can’t not use another soundtrack in your game due to copyright issues, this is a great way to get the right sound for your game quickly or to find the right genre to continue your search.

From my experience, working with developers from all over the world, talking about music can be difficult; however, showing a musician actual music that has the right vibe can ensure your game soundtrack reaches new heights in terms of quality and emotional impact.

5. What do I love about the music from the games I play?

Listen carefully to your favorite soundtrack, or better yet, one that matches the game you are developing.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you like the melody (the part you can sing)? 
  • Do you like the instruments used in the piece? 
  • Do you like the mood or emotional vibe? 
  • Do you like the energy level or beat? 
    Knowing what part of the music is important to you can help you better find music that you will love for your game.

    Final Thoughts

    I hope that you found the questions to be helpful in your quest to find the perfect music to complement your game.

    Feel free to reach out to me directly should you need any specific advice or have further music questions.

    You can reach me by email: charleswolfcomposer@gmail.com

    Or on Twitter: @CWolfMusic - DM always open!


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