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Video Games In A World Of Its Own At The Grammys For The 1st Time

Shania Twain will be presenting at the Grammy (Photo credit @RecordingAcad/Twitter)
Trevor Noah performing at Off The Record Tour in Atlanta (Photo credit @TrevornoahTwitter)
Trevor Noah performing at Off The Record Tour in Atlanta (Photo credit @Trevornoah/Twitter)

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards is scheduled to hold on Sunday 5 February 2023 at the Arena in Los Angeles. Unlike other editions, the 65th Grammy Award has carved a niche for video games. The move was lauded by insiders and video game lovers with some saying it was long overdue.

Music has always played a central role in the immersion of video games dating back to the years of Super Mario Bros on the 16-bit family computer and Sega console. Back then, video games have not advanced to the point where characters spoke.

Therefore, developers used songs to dictate the tempo and transition. From mere piano keys, video games have advanced to the point where professional artists are hired to create scores for games. The inclusion of the “Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media” overtly acknowledges how much impact video games are making in our lives.

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In the past, some video games had featured under the “Score Soundtrack for Visual Media” category which also had scores for movies and television shows. However, this was an unfair comparison considering that movies and games are in different worlds.

Trevor Noah will return as the host of the 65th Grammy Awards after hosting the last two editions. This will be his third consecutive appearance as the host of the elite music show. The games nominated for the inaugural edition are as follows;

Aliens: Fireteam Elite,” Austin Wintory, composer
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok,” Stephanie Economou, composer
Call Of Duty®: Vanguard,” Bear McCreary, composer
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy,” Richard Jacques, composer
Old World,” Christopher Tin, composer

How this will likely impact the video game industry

Certainly, not all developers put hard work into scores for their games. However, with the Grammy recognition, that is about to change. Some gamers are predicting a boom in the video game music industry.

According to a projection from the Global Games Market Report in 2022, the gaming industry may surpass $200 billion. It has become the top choice for entertainment among Gen Z.

One-third of respondents in a recent survey carried out across Japan, Brazil, Germany, the UK, and the United States said they searched for game music online afterward. Another 29% said they often discovered new music while playing games.

“Gamers listen [to music],” said Stephanie Economou who was nominated for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok during an interaction with AFP. “A lot of them cannot separate the music from the game—and that’s an inspiring opportunity for any composer. [The new category] is an important step for people to recognize that video games have been in the zeitgeist for so long.”

Economou spent many years in movies and television before making the transition to video games. She said it involved a “steep learning curve” considering the no-liner nature of video games which is parallel to the fixed window of movies and series.

“Video game is a kind of living thing,” Economou said. “It is continually evolving and the music has to be loopable, with multilayers on top of other layers that can be triggered at any moment.”

Some composers feel the recognition of video games is a sort of full circle since many composers are gamers too. For example, Jon Batiste who took home five awards in 2019 told the Washington Post that game has been his source of inspiration since his youth.

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“[Games] subconsciously taught me about theme and development, how to create catchy themes that you want to hear over and over again,” Batiste said. “Stories come flooding into people’s minds when they hear these songs.”

A peek at the games nominated for the Grammys

The 65th Grammy will recognize the best compositions and recordings released between 1 October 2021 and 30 September 2022. Likewise, all the game scores nominated in the inaugural category were released within this period. So, this explains why “God of War: Ragnarok” was missing from the list.

The Kratos and Atreus-centered game was released on 9 November 2022. Below is a peek at the games that made it to the 65th Grammy Awards.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite

The co-op third-person survival shooter game was set in an alien universe. An elite team of hardened marines is sent in to contain the threat from the evolving Xenomorph. The team desperately fights its way through four unique campaigns and a rollercoaster story. You can check the game out on PS 5 and Xbox.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarok is one of the video games nominated for grammys (Photo credit Ubisoft)
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarok (Photo credit Ubisoft)

This is an expansion of the Assassin’s Creed franchise where Eivor must embrace his destiny as Odin, the Norse god of Battle and Wisdom. He will be able to unleash new powers as he embarks on a dangerous quest through the twisted world. Get the digital code for the game here.

Call Of Duty®: Vanguard

Call of Duty Vanguard is a war-themed video game (Photo credit Call of Duty)
Call of Duty Vanguard (Photo credit Call of Duty)

Call of Duty: Vanguard allows players to relive events from World War II as they battle for victory across the Eastern and Western Fronts of Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa. COD is notorious for having one of the largest arsenal collections of any game. There are different playing modes for Call Of Duty: Vanguard. You can get the game on PlayStation 5 or Xbox here.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a great action video game (Photo credit IMDb)
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Photo credit IMDb)

You play as Star-Lord and the leader of the newly formed band of misfits. Your duty is to save the universe but somehow you set off a domino of catastrophic events that takes you through spectacular worlds. There is a large arsenal of weapons and melee within your disposal, from tag-team beat-downs to Element Blasters. The game is available on PS 5 and Xbox Series.

Old World

This is a revolutionary historical strategy game. You are expected to lead a dynasty to rebel against the rule of rival kings and queens. You will manage your court, wage massive wars, and build a dynasty. One bad move and your empire will be reduced to dust. It’s up to you to decide the legacy you want to leave behind. This is one of the video games that revolutionized strategy games.