The worlds of video games and popular music come into contact much more frequently than most people realize. A strong and powerful lead song is slowly becoming more integral to a game, in the same vein as a Bond or a Fast and Furious film, thanks to stars like Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons, Skrillex, Paul McCartney, and others.
Being that this is still a relatively new phenomenon, pop stars can be a little befuddled when it comes to giving press or interview appearances on the subject. Watching them talk about their collaboration can make for some of the funniest and most awkward interviews you’ve ever witnessed. That is, of course, if they choose to acknowledge the fact that their work was ever featured in a game in the first place.
Here are nine instances in which well-known musicians composed music for video games. Some of them may even take you by surprise!
WARRIORS (League of Legends)
The League of Legends community has what is arguably the largest fanbase of any game on the market. Imagine Dragons created the track Warriors to commemorate the 2014 Season World Championship, a heavy sounding beast of a hype song that was made to be screamed out!
Riot created the official music video for the song, which was intended to be an ode to the fans and players of the game. The video depicts balls of light flying through the air and fighting each other, which turn out to be players of the game.
At the 2014 World Championship Tournament in South Korea, the song was performed live in front of an audience on the Grand Final stage. When the song was first released, it was referred to as “a creative collaboration between Imagine Dragons and Riot Games,” as it was written specifically for Riot and the official League of Legends YouTube channel.
You’d think Imagine Dragons would have a strong sense of loyalty toward the company, wouldn’t you? After that, the song was used as the official theme for the WWE Survivor Series, in a trailer for Colony, the final trailer for Wonder Woman, as the official song of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, and finally as the theme song for Divergent’s first soundtrack. Would you ‘imagine’ something like that?
Special mention: Glitch Mob – RISE (LoL Worlds 2018)
DEATH STRANDING (Death Stranding)
Video games are increasingly becoming part of the mainstream media, and Death Stranding by Hideo Kojima is a prime example of this trend. Kojima Studios has already announced that the game will star big-name actor Norman Reedus, and with each new trailer of the game, the studio has included more new character announcements that show off their in-game character names, as well as the actors’ names. All in all, Death Stranding is becoming more and more like a movie.
For the Death Stranding: Timefall soundtrack, a tracklisting has already been released for the album in question. That date is November 7, one day before the game’s official release date of November 8. Interestingly, the only Chvrches song on this album is Death Stranding, which is a pleasant surprise. Originally released on October 1st, the song will play at the conclusion of the game….
A press release from Chrvches stated that Koijama is a “visionary in the gaming world” and that they were “honored to have been a part of it.” With lyrics such as “what will become of us all at the end of love” and “keep us together as the lights go dark,” the song conveys a sense of loss and damnation. If all of the other songs are original tracks created specifically for the game, we can expect a bleak, dark album that is both low and high in its intensity.
On a more positive note, there is currently a Death Stranding playlist on Spotify that contains songs that were inspired by and used in the game’s trailers.
BRING ME THE HORIZON:
LUDENS (Death Stranding)
‘Ludens’ is yet another bold departure for Bring Me The Horizon. Which is taken from the soundtrack Timefall for the video game Death Stranding also.
“It doesn’t sound like anything from ‘amo,’ but it doesn’t sound like anything from any of our previous records either,” frontman Oli Sykes told NME. “It strikes a different chord. We had five days to write it. We’ve been discussing this with Sony and Kojima for some time. I was ecstatic because I adored Metal Gear Solid and Kojima is my all-time favorite developer; he’s a living legend. All of the legal nonsense was occurring to the point where we were thinking, ‘This is not going to happen.’
“Then the manager called and said, ‘Yeah, it’s happening, but we need it within a week.’ ‘We haven’t written anything yet! Can we have an extension or can we send them a demo as a placeholder?’ and they said, ‘If you do not deliver the song by Saturday at 1pm, it will not be used.’
Sykes continued, “At the time, we were touring Eastern Europe; Lee wasn’t there due to the birth of his child, so it was just me, Jordan, and his laptop.” I was like, ‘We can either attempt and fail or we can abandon it,’ because I was so desperate to do it. We were like, ‘Oh screw it, let’s give it a shot.’ Every day, we set up a studio in hotel rooms and churned out this song. To be honest, it was insane. I had no idea where to begin. I was thinking, ‘What am I going to sing about?’
“I wanted it to have some connection to the video game, but I didn’t want to sing about it directly. I looked at Kojima’s entire ethos, visited his website, and as it loaded, this message appeared: ‘We are not homosapiens, we are homoludens.’ It’s Latin for ‘player,’ and it’s all about how he views creativity as humanity’s greatest asset and greatest hope. It stated that even if all the flowers died and the world came to an end, there would still be hope if humans remained on the planet because we adapt.
“We invent, we create, and despite the fact that we commit all of these heinous acts, we also commit all of these incredible acts.”
MY HANDS (Final Fantasy XIII)
The Final Fantasy series is a trailblazer when it comes to collaborating with A-list artists, and it all began with Final Fantasy XIII.
When Square Enix collaborated with a pop star for the first time was in 2009, when they used the song My Hands by Leona Lewis from her album Echo. The song is featured at the conclusion of the game, during the end credits scene, as well as in an extended trailer for the game.
Leona was then seen in another trailer, this time playing the game, in which she “loved running around the land” and expressed her excitement at the prospect of seeing Lightning “do her thing.” This was obviously a forced performance that was so cringeworthy that it hurt.
In all seriousness, Echo is a fantastic album, and I couldn’t stop myself from listening to it again after thinking about it.
SKRILLEX & UTADA HIKARU:
FACE MY FEARS (Kingdom Hearts)
Kingdom Hearts 3 includes a track produced by Skrillex. Skrillex has previously experimented with writing songs for a variety of different platforms, as evidenced by his appearance and involvement in the film Wreck-it Ralph.
Kingdom Hearts 3 has always been known for its lead songs Sanctuary and Passion, and the company has remained committed to working with fan favorite Utada throughout the development process. However, this time, in addition to Utada, Square Enix collaborated with Skrillex to create Face My Fears, which was released in November. Like the other songs in the franchise, it was a melancholy ballad with cheesy subtext, similar to the other songs in the franchise.
The dance break, on the other hand, provided a welcome change of pace and a more light-hearted feel to the song, making it stand out from the rest. It successfully captures the magic of Disney and works well with the fast-paced action that Square Enix has incorporated into the game.
Face my Fears and Don’t Think Twice are the two themes that run through the game. Both English and Japanese versions are available. Utada stated that she would like to work on a remix of Chikai (the English version of Don’t Think Twice), which is currently in development. However, because Skrillex was such a fan of the series, he wanted to collaborate with them on a brand new song, which he later revealed was written in the same key as Passion.
The DJ continues to perform a version of Face my Fears at his concerts that is more appropriate for the atmosphere of a Skrillex show, with cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts 3 playing in the background. Fans of Skrillex may be perplexed, while fans of Kingdom Hearts may be ecstatic, but everyone should be jumping!
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE (Destiny)
Please allow me to explain how the legendary Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, collaborated on Bungie’s Destiny in the meantime! Micheal Salvatori and Martin O’Donnell, who previously collaborated with Bungie on the Halo franchise’s music, are among those who are contributing to the game’s sound design. In addition to the collaboration of all of these legends on the soundtrack, parts of the score were recorded by an orchestra at Abbey Road Studios.
In addition, McCartney composed an original song for the game’s closing credits, which was featured in a music video that featured in-game footage of Destiny with a ghost projecting an image of McCartney working on it on the camera. …or at least to the extent that you can work it to a song like this…
McCartney, on the other hand, had some difficulties with the composition of the song. In his own words, “This is not just a game song; this will be played outside of the game, so it needs to be a stand-alone song as well. ” You can’t make any allusions to extraterrestrials because people will wonder, “What is he talking about?” because they were known for their down-to-earth, meaningful lyrics such as “we all live in a yellow submarine” and “we all love each other”
ARIANA GRANDE & KATY PERRY:
TOUCH IT | IMMORTAL FLAME (Final Fantasy Brave Exvius)
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is a turn-based role-playing game that can be played on iPhone, Android, and Amazon Fire mobile devices. It collaborates on a regular basis with games published by its own company, which includes characters such as Lara Croft, Sora, and Cloud. What was unexpected was the fact that Katy Perry and Ariana Grande made their video game debuts, not only by including their own songs in the game but also by appearing as playable characters in the game.
Touch It by Ariana Grande was the first song to be included in the game. It was, however, an orchestrated version of a song from her album, Dangerous Woman, that was performed. The remix was created in order to better suit the world of Brave Exvius, and it was performed by a 52-piece orchestra under the direction of Sebastian Cano-Besquet. Dangerous Ariana is the name of her in-game sprite, which is based on her iconic bunny appearance.
P!NK & EMINEM:
WONT BACK DOWN (Call of Duty: Black Ops)
Whenever I hear this song, all of my fond memories of fast-paced zombie-killing action flood back to me like floodwater. Playing the Black Ops zombie mode with three of my friends brought back fond memories of us attempting to get this song to play, but failing miserably almost every time. Most likely due to the fact that I would unintentionally sabotage us. Possibly, and occasionally, on purpose.
If you haven’t already guessed, Eminem and P!nk collaborated on the song Won’t Back Down for the Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombie Mode. It was a hidden Easter egg in the 6th zombie map, which was ironically named Five, to be precise. Five was a Cold War-era shooter set in the Pentagon, where you and three friends would battle hordes of zombies dressed as Presidents John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, and Fidel Castro, among others.
For those who think all of this is bizarre enough, Won’t Back Down would begin playing once you discovered three red telephones in various locations around the map and activated them. The song was also featured in the game’s promotional trailer.
Although you might not have recognized the song from the game, it was also featured in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Hitman: Agent 47, so you shouldn’t be concerned. As a rule of thumb, sell your song to as many different outlets as possible when in doubt.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE:
STAND BY ME (Final Fantasy XV)
This game’s soundtrack, composed by Florence + The Machine, is a perfect fit for the game, and it was done in a way that didn’t feel forced, but rather natural and appropriate.
In her speech, Florence Welch did not pretend to be an expert on the game, but rather spoke about the work she has done and how it fits into the world of Final Fantasy XV.
In the episode, which was appropriately titled Songs from Final Fantasy XV, Florence worked on three tracks that were performed by a full orchestra. When the game was first released in Japan, it was accompanied by a cover of Stand By Me by Ben E. King, which was used as the game’s theme song throughout the rest of the world. I Will Be and Too Much is Never Enough are the other two songs on the album.
House and Techno concept that aims to nurture its members through music.