The Grammys Finally Give Video Game Music the Recognition It Deserves
For the first time ever, video game composers are given their own category, and their long overdue moment in the spotlight
This Sunday, the 65th annual Grammy Awards finally recognized a key component of the video game experience that has been overlooked for way too long.
As video games have continued to evolve by leaps and bounds as a creative storytelling medium, they’ve needed the kind of epic, soul-stirring scores that have powered movies for decades. And with the brand new category “Best Soundtrack Score for Video Games and Other Interactive Media,” the Grammys finally gave composers like Call of Duty: Vanguard’s Bear McCreary (who was nominated alongside Austin Wintory for Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Stephanie Economou for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok, Richard Jacques for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Christopher Tin for Old World – with Economou bringing home the award) the recognition they deserve.
This new category puts video games scores on a level playing field with film and television, which is not new territory for artists like McCreary. Not only was his approach to the Call of Duty: Vanguard score suitably grand and cinematic, it was even recorded in one of the most iconic music studios in the world.
“What’s neat about Vanguard,” McCreary explained in a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the game’s music, “is that we have all of these intimate, raw, scratchy, personal moments, but when we want to be more heroic, when we want to be more emotional…we have this huge orchestra recorded at Abbey Road in London like a gigantic Hollywood movie.”
“I think the score, and what we did, really elevates music in our game in a really powerful and interesting way,” says Call of Duty: Vanguard Creative Director David Swenson.
“I’m hoping it just becomes part of Call of Duty,” says McCreary. “I want [the player] to have this emotional experience and just go ‘Oh, that’s what Call of Duty sounds like.’”
Video game music is now the music you listen to on Spotify when you’re working. It integrates easily into your playlists. You hum it in the elevator. It just took the Grammys a while to catch up.
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🍭 Fun Fact: The new music for the 10th Anniversary of Candy Crush was also recorded at Abbey Road Studios