Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, with fans across the globe and in every age range. From your friends, to your parents, chances are they have played or are still jumping onto their console after they finish a long day of work. While there may be countless people loving all games have to offer, from the graphics to the mechanics, few think about the audio and music that goes into the games we love.
While this is often the least covered area of gaming, there are a few publications that view music as one of the most exciting areas of game development. Comics Gaming Magazine (CGMagazine) is a magazine that launched all the way back in 2010, bringing the love of gaming to many people daily with their site, and many more with their print magazine. With 2020 approaching, we got the chance to talk to EIC Brendan Frye about their objective to include more coverage of music and gaming going forward, and how they have managed this in the past.
What Made CGMagazine want to dive more into the music side of gaming?
CGMagazine has always looked at all aspects of gaming, and have tried to touch on music and audio since we first started. We have talked to many composers, artists since we first launched the magazine. Personally, I love music, and it is often one of the most exciting parts of a game. Hearing how the music changes when you are about ready to jump into a boss battle, or how a single track can change the tension of a scene is amazing. With all the new audio tech now on offer with the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5, audio has never been more exciting, and I hope with this move, we can show the wider gaming community how much audio and music play in all the games they love.
Are there any games you always turn to as an example of music making the game?
Personally, I have always loved Silent Hill for its use of audio and music. It is hard to think of that game series without also thinking of Akira Yamaoka and his iconic scores that shape that game world. Hell, I would argue that many horror games owe that series and that composer in setting that tone and feeling that we all now look at for horror titles, and that includes a score that washes over you as you play.
Even if you look at 2020’s Death Stranding, the soundtrack by Low Roar helped shape the feeling of isolation and melancholy as you walk around the empty countryside. Hideo Kojima knows how to set the mood for a game, this is true for all his titles, and that always includes a soundtrack that sets the tone and sucks the player into the world.
You say CGMagazine has always looked at music in games, what sort of coverage have you done before?
Well we have done a few interviews in the past, including interviews with Tommy Tallarico of Video Games Live, Harmonix for their work on Rock Band and music games, and looked at the Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses and how to bring the music from the games to a live audience is such a unique experience. Music is such a major part of gaming, it is something we have included in many of our reviews, and we try to make that a regular part of our editorial process.
Photo Credit: Ken Lund / Wikipedia
Beyond that, we have also looked outside the box for interviews and coverage, and have made a series of interviewing people not known for gaming, often in the music industry and talking about how gaming has shaped their lives even if it is not obvious. We have talked to singer Lights for example, and even just learning she met her current husband while playing WoW shows how much these two media cross more often than you may think.
CGMagazine has done a fair amount of this sort of thing already. What more do you plan to do?
We at CGMagazine have tried to make it a part of the editorial process, but we will be making it a much more formal aspect going into next year. We want to have our writers look at music and audio, the same way they look at graphics, gameplay and even how the game works. Of course, it can’t be done equally to every game, but we want to try and have this as a mandate for every game that makes sense.
We also plan to arrange more interviews with the people that make up audio in games, from the composers to the singers and musical talent that makes the games we love so exciting to play. We are still early on this front, but are already looking for talented people to talk to and bring their stories to the page for the full gaming audience to read. We also plan to continue our series and seek out new talent in the music and acting scenes to see what brings them to games, and why this is a medium that is so full of possibilities.
What else is new for the magazine, and is this the only thing planned for the coming year?
I can’t talk about everything we are planning for 2022, but it is looking like a big year for the magazine. CGMagazine now calls the Niagara region of Canada home, so we are looking to give exposure to local talent along with a look at indie studios and developers that may not be covered at other publications.
We are also planning to expand our podcast to bring some of these interviews to it to make it something they can listen to as well as read. We have talked to many talented creators, including David Hayter, David Jaffe, and Ashly Burch just to name a few, so bringing these discussions to an audio form will just add to the experience.
I know we have a lot planned on the video side of things, from streaming, to editorial videos, although much of that is still in the works, so can’t share everything on that front just yet.
If you could see any musical artist work on a game, who and what game?
That is a hard one, I would love to see someone like Ed Sheeran lend his talents to a fantasy game. I loved his work on The Hobbit films, and can only imagine what sort of creativity he could bring to a game given the chance. I mean, I know Warner Bros. still have plenty of Lord of the Rings games in the pipeline, he would be a great addition to those projects.
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Beyond that, it’s hard to say, although I am sure as the industry keeps growing, we will only see more talent jump in and lend their sound to more games.