Writers block. Again.
So over the past few days I’ve been playing LotR: War in the North for some unknown reason–to max out Andriel’s level I suppose?
I was in the town of Bree, listening to the tavern music, and something about it sounded so darn familiar…
Then it hit me. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before.
“HOLYYY CRAAAP!!! THIS SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THE MUSIC FROM THE HALO 3 ‘WE ARE ODST’ TRAILER!!!”
Exactly. The same. friggin. melody.
War in the North has always had a bad case of a lack of distinctive music–just compare the dwarven Nordinbad theme to Dragon Age’s dwarven Orzammar theme, for example. I use to think Dragon Age’s music felt fairly generic, but it took War in the North for me to realize that while that may be true, Dragon Age is vastly more distinct, and I would recognize it anywhere. I could not, for the life of me, conjure the Nordinbad theme in my mind; I had to listen to it several times over the course of several months as opposed to the Orzammar theme where I only listened to it once and it stuck in my head (Nordinbad is still a little murky for me, by the way). To clarify, every time I heard the WitN dwarf theme all I could think of was Orzammar’s. I would actively try to hum the tune and the DA one came out in its place.
War in the North has no distinct themes of its own. At all. I don’t think it even has a main theme. And there is nothing about it that remotely resembles Howard Shore’s music. It’s almost a kiss of death.
That’s not to say the music is horrible. It fulfills its purpose as background noise while playing, but there is no substance to it.
But I think this is the first time I have ever heard a song directly copy another. I’m not saying it was intentional, but that’s pretty astounding. It’s not really a point in the game’s favor. The ODST trailer was actually good.
I close this now with a short lecture on music in games from the Extra Credits team.
If you want your game to stand out, one of the things you need is a memorable tune–a strong melody–your game can call its own.