Video game music at the BBC Proms: ‘It was only a matter of time’

The industry is celebrating another cultural milestone after video game scores were added to the library of culturally significant music played at the BBC Proms.

The annual event has been going one way or another since 1895, first featuring classical music, before branching out into other genres such as jazz and eventually film and television scores.

But 2022 marks the first time video game soundtracks have been included in the lineup, with a special “From 8-Bit To Infinity” concert held last week.

“It’s a truly welcome initiative to hear video game music come to life at one of the most prestigious classical festivals in the world, showcasing this powerful industry’s extraordinary and multifaceted output and exceptional talent,” said BAFTA Head of Games Luke. Hebblethwaite tells GamesIndustry.biz.

Luke Hebblethwaite, BAFTA

“It’s great to see game composers joining the BBC Proms lineup for the first time, cementing their deserved place alongside those working in film, classical music and wider established art forms.”

The game’s ballroom music – which you can watch here – was performed by an electronically expanded Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. It featured tunes from titles such as 1987’s shooter Chronos, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Journey, Dear Esther and Battlefield 2042 – the latter marking his European concert debut.

Richard Jacques, composer of last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy game, thinks this event was inevitable, especially after BBC Radio 3’s Sounds of Gaming series, and hopes for more in the years to come.

“It was only a matter of time before the BBC recognized the cultural importance of not only the gaming industry, but also some of the incredible music that is so integral to the gaming experience,” we he said.

“As an industry, we’ve proven that we’re no longer Hollywood’s poor cousin, nor inexperienced in the classic genre. Indeed, an event like this is often the first time a fan of the genre attends. to a live orchestral performance, which often paves the way for them to discover other symphonic works, from Stravinsky to Scriabin to Schubert and beyond.Video game soundtracks can be enjoyed by gamers and by non-gamers, because music is for everyone, music is universal. The BBC Prom has clearly demonstrated that and long may it continue.”

David Wise, composer

David Wise, composer of Donkey Kong Country and Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, adds: “The cultural significance of video game music is a worldwide phenomenon. Players have been listening to these themes since childhood, and nothing evokes nostalgia. more than listening to a full orchestra and choir playing your favorite score that formed the backdrop to so many childhoods.

“Pokémon, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Chronos of so many other great video games, with the Journey soundtrack, composed by the amazing Austin Wintory, being the highlight of this year’s event for me.

“With so many internationally acclaimed video game composers hailing from the UK, I look forward to this event highlighting the incredible talent we have closer to home for future shows. Story in the making for the Proms , with a tiny slice of video game music history to set the stage for so many more epic video game proms.”

Gina Jackson, from the NextGen Skills Academy, during a GamesIndustry.biz talk to Develop:Brighton.

“Imagine being in a society where politicians were happy to discuss the games they played, were happy to be with a game developer or an esports star the same way they are happy to meet a star of cinema or television,” she said. “Imagine if the BAFTAs for games were televised, game review shows were back on TV. Imagine if the CEO of BAFTAs came from the gaming industry. Imagine telling someone you just met what you’re doing and he’s not apologizing for doing it.Imagine if the BBC decided to put games under the theme of entertainment and art, rather than technology.

“We focus a lot on what we deliver as an industry, but I think we need to look outward and talk about more than just the money we make. Everyone knows we make more than money than television and cinema, but do we have a greater cultural impact than them?