Zenimax Online Studios released a new “Creating ESO” today, this time about the music in The Elder Scrolls Online. And for the first time we now know the soundtrack will be made available for purchase on iTunes.
As important as any other piece of the game, Elder Scrolls soundtracks have become beloved by gamers around the world. Beginning with The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Jeremy Soule has been composing music for the series since 2002, and he has indeed returned for The Elder Scrolls Online. His role is slightly different than it has been for the three previous Elder Scrolls games, as ZOS said he primarily worked on the title theme and music for cinematics. The in-game scored was composed by Brad Derrick and Rik Schaffer. Both have experience with MMOs and games that require the music to change depending on any number of in-game variables.
Additionally, internet sensation Malukah was also revealed to be part of the soundtrack, having composed and performed several pieces for the game. Be sure to read our full interview with her and our very own News Director Joseph Bradford.
There are a number of other vocalists and performers in the game, including an orchestra, a choir, soloists, and more.
The post also revealed for the first time that the soundtrack will be available for purchase on iTunes, and more will be announced about this as we get closer to launch.
There are many ways to define “gamer”. I’m of the mindset that people game for different reasons. Sure, you can combine some people into groups where preferences overlap, but no single gamer plays games for the same reasons as the next. My belief is simple: a gamer is one who enjoys games and gaming.
This interpretation may seem rather broad, and indeed is meant to be general. What it effectively means is that anyone can be a gamer. If you enjoy games and gaming, you can be considered a gamer, regardless of your gaming preferences, habits, platform choices, etc. A gamer is a gamer is a gamer. Therefore, I think it’s rather foolish and, dare I say, arrogant to claim that one isn’t a “true gamer” if he games for X reason instead of Y reason. For example, if you game primarily because you prioritize music unlike someone else who may prioritize the story, you are neither in the right nor the wrong. It is your preference. Yes, it is that simple.
Witcher 3 is pre-alpha & looks this gorgeous. Full DX11. Made to take full advantage of the PC.
Me? Well, it should be rather obvious what my primary reason for gaming is. Graphics. From my article last week, I detail why I bought a PC in the first place. Modding Skyrim for me has become a labor of love to drive the absolute best graphics I can from my machine. That’s not to say, however, that graphics are the only thing that matter to me – they’re just the most important.
I will not enjoy a game if it doesn’t look visually striking. It may have the greatest story and gameplay on Earth, but if the visuals are sub-par, then forget it (more on this below). I have repetitively said, if I was given the most realistic looking game ever created, but was confined to game-space of 10 sq meters where all I could do was walk around a room, I’d play it. And it is here where I will undoubtedly lose 99% of readers who will furiously disagree with me. That’s just my preference. I won’t apologize for it.
So for the 1% of you still reading, the question then becomes: why do I prioritize graphics over other elements? My answer is two-fold. Remember, I am NOT saying that graphics are the only thing that matter. Rather, I’m saying that they are most important to me.
If I can be brutally honest here, developing games for 8 year old hardware will severely limit how far you can push your game graphically. Thankfully, we have new consoles releasing this year that are essentially mid-ranged gaming PCs – which is a good thing. Ports to the objectively more powerful platform will be easier than ever and at the end of the day, benefits all gamers, regardless of your platform of choice.
That being said, if we look at the most powerful gaming hardware now, it’s pretty damn impressive. For sake of argument, let’s take cost out of the equation and purely focus on hardware. The Titan is the most powerful GPU on the market today. At $1000, this card beasts through pretty much every single game at 1080p60 (1920×1080 resolution at 60 fps). On the software side, DirectX 11 is a few years old now, so developers are pretty competent with this API. Add all this up, and what does it mean?
It means this:
These are the type of visuals that the wizards at Crytek can achieve when prioritizing graphics – and I thank them for it. CryEngine 3 is arguably the most powerful engine ever created and doesn’t shy away from flexing its muscles in Crysis 3. The list of engine features in this single (real-time) screenshot alone are numerous so I won’t bore you with the details, but believe me when I say that this engine does things no other engine can.
What’s my point in all this? It’s 2013. Developers have the tools at hand to create visually stunning games today. Their capabilities far exceed what was available even a few years ago. Why not push the hardware and software as far as they can go? There is nothing more frustrating and disappointing than having your powerful machine barely break a sweat because a game doesn’t push its graphical limits. Where is the innovation in that? Where is the progress?
The technology is there. Use every last percent of it to push ultra-realistic visuals. Do not compromise. Do not hold back.
A picture is worth a thousand words. How many times have we heard that before? I believe this statement is more relevant to games than anything else. After all, why wouldn’t it be? If you knew nothing about a game, but were shown 10 minutes of footage, the first thing you’d notice would be the visuals. Some of your opinion then would be based on the graphics. For me, the majority of my opinion of games comes from graphics. Again, I’m betting 99% of you don’t agree with me on this.
I believe stunning visuals go a long, long way in immersing you into the world. Sure, a brilliant story, beautiful music and sound design all help – but those alone are simply not enough for me to enjoy a game.
A perfect example of this is Halo: Reach. I loved the story of Bungie’s last hurrah before they moved on to Destiny. The gun-play was superb, and the fantastic musical score was nothing short of magical. Yet, despite all this, I did not enjoy the game and came away feeling incredibly disappointed and frustrated. I felt that the visuals totally let down the incredible world Bungie strove so hard to create. Textures looked flat and muddy. Lighting was streaky. Motion blur was pretty much non-existent. If this is your last Halo game, shouldn’t it be the absolute best looking game on the Xbox?
(Note: if you think I’m saying this because Halo: Reach is a console game, I encourage you to see what I have to say about The Last of Us below – starting at 27:00)
Conversely, we have a game like Crysis 3. Yes, I’m using this game again, but I do so deliberately. If you ask me about the story for this game, I may be able to give you a high level overview…maybe. As for the music, admittedly, I only remember the main menu theme. The gun-play (err, bow-play) is about par for the course. And yet, I absolutely love this game.
Why? The visuals in this game are something we won’t see replicated for another two years. Yes, they are that good. I was completely convinced that I was in this New York City urban rainforest, hunting down Ceph as the sun streamed beautifully through the trees, the individual blades of grass physically reacted to actual wind. I watched beads of sweat roll down Psycho’s face as they reacted to each and every pore, watched the rain fall and react to the bark on trees that was actual displaced bark and not some simple texture.
The world I was in was totally and utterly real, all because of the unrivaled beauty and unparalleled power of CryEngine 3.
. . .
Like I mentioned above, the majority of you will furiously disagree with me throughout this entire article. Even after all I’ve said above, I don’t expect you to understand nor even remotely agree with me – and that’s ok. You are neither right nor wrong, just like I am neither right nor wrong. There is no “correct definition” as to what a “true gamer” is. There is no “correct” reason as to why we game. We all game for different reasons, and because of that, we all enjoy gaming for different reasons.
For me though, don’t bother throwing a game at me with sub-par visuals. I simply won’t enjoy it.