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NeoGAF’s Official Game Soundtracks of the Year 2016: Results and Archive

manzoman96

Member
Jul 2, 2013
4,357
1
515
FFXV well deserved at number 1. Yoko Shimomura delivered big time in her FF debut.

Really enjoyed The Last Guardian's soundtrack as well.
 

orthodoxy1095

Banned
Dec 15, 2013
25,270
0
0
twitter.com
We've had this discussion year-in, year-out. On one hand, the whole point of video game music is to support the medium, that being video games, hence it really should be judged in context of how it works in the game. On the other, it's also completely possible to judge music on its own merits, whether it comes to composition, production values, how it works standalone, etc. And it really isn't possible to expect any one person to have played every single piece of entertainment released in a year.

I don't think GAF votes have had any clear guideline saying you have to have played a game to vote on its soundtrack, but it also is generally what most people gravitate towards when voting, hence it does turn into a popularity poll of sorts, with more niche games getting 'overlooked' just by sheer fact you can't make up that number of warm bodies.

I mean, yeah, bemoaning the fact Cold Steel 2 isn't represented is fine and all, but it is what it is. What does amuse me though is when people bring up niche titles being overlooked, when they pretty much fall into that same issue of essentially being out-of-sight, out-of-mind, just with different titles.

There's a lot of good music out there to be discovered. Always has been, always will be.
Merits of voting for an OST without playing the game aside, there's a few aspects to the example of P5. In my case I've listened to most of the P5 OST, but like I said without voting for it, I don't feel comfortable voting for it. I doubt that it'll fall through in execution within the game, but I'd like to make absolutely sure for myself. Which gets to the other point, which is that I'm going to be playing the game this year, barring any unforeseen catastrophe. So it made more sense for me to wait anyways when I'm guaranteed to be playing it in 2017. And I'm pretty sure many other people feel the same way, and might have avoided listening to the OST to avoid potentially spoiling even the smallest aspect of the game for themselves.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
People wondering where their favourite soundtrack is should probably check the vote thread that was stickied for a month. As for Japanese-only soundtracks, generally speaking, people tend to vote for those in droves when the soundtrack is localized in their territory. I didn't think it was going to be likely we'd see Persona 5 getting many votes.

Few things before I pass out:

Wow, no one voted for Let It Die? That surprises me. I probably should have lol.
It was on my honourable mentions list but: 25 points, 5 honourable mentions

I didn't vote for OST this year since I knew it'd be tricky, but poor, poor Virginia.
I didn't vote because I completely forgot about it, but where the fuck is Virginia.
Just missed the Top 15 with 25 points, 4 honourable mentions.

i don't have to make some kind of proxy acceptance speech do i
No but if you'd like to pass the results on to her that would be lovely.

I think XIV is the latest SQEX OST that I've genuinely enjoyed since XIII.
I feel similarly in terms of FF, though I love 13-2's quite a bit. Definitely looking forward to Stormblood stuff during the EU fanfest.

I'm surprised Civilization VI didn't make it at all since I loved the soundtrack. I'm bookmarking the thread to check out other stuff though. Thanks for running this!
13 points, 8 honourable mentions

This forum is too console leaning unfortunately. Stuff like Stellaris and Planet Coaster were good too but not enough people here played and voted for them.
Stellaris: 17 points, 3 honourable mentions
Planet Coaster: 2 honourable mentions
 

Falk

that puzzling face
Aug 26, 2013
20,818
0
0
www.vgo-online.com
Merits of voting for an OST without playing the game aside, there's a few aspects to the example of P5. In my case I've listened to most of the P5 OST, but like I said without voting for it, I don't feel comfortable voting for it. I doubt that it'll fall through in execution within the game, but I'd like to make absolutely sure for myself. Which gets to the other point, which is that I'm going to be playing the game this year, barring any unforeseen catastrophe. So it made more sense for me to wait anyways when I'm guaranteed to be playing it in 2017. And I'm pretty sure many other people feel the same way, and might have avoided listening to the OST to avoid potentially spoiling even the smallest aspect of the game for themselves.

Ah right, I think I slightly misunderstood you. The whole localization year vs import makes for some interesting edge cases as well where you're going to be playing the game in future.
 

Griss

Member
Sep 26, 2013
11,685
13
515
Dublin, Ireland
Super job again with this thread. I agree with most of the list, too.

Can't wait to bookmark this thread and listen to these tracks when I get some free time.
 

NEO0MJ

Member
Aug 8, 2010
26,421
0
0
Boo Kirby didn't make it <(>.<)>

Sad to see that you're going to stop doing these threads Schala. Hope that doesn't mean you're disappearing from Gaf.
 

Famassu

Member
Sep 11, 2010
16,035
1
0
I wasn't wowed by XV's OST, so this isn't really going to move me. I think XIV is the latest SQEX OST that I've genuinely enjoyed since XIII.
I wasn't talking just about just FFXV's OST. I was responding to you saying that small JRPGs have superior OSTs vs. bigger JRPGs as if that's some general state of the JRPG VG music industry, when that's just unarguably not true.

I don't really see what a game like Cold Steel II is supposedly doing so much better than "bigger JRPGs" (note: again, not just talking about FFXV) in a way that could be elaborated by arguments & examples that supports that kind of general statement. Of course what we like ultimately comes down to preference/taste, but I personally think that we can, to some degree, evaluate music somewhat objectively based on a variety of factors and from that POV it's not like big JRPGs' OSTs are some generic throwaway pop songs of the week vs.small JRPGs' OSTs being the revered masters of their genres.

Like... the world has its Nickelbacks that do the most unimaginative, basic, generic rock there is and its Tools that have far more variety, complexity & not-bog-standard melodies/rhythm within a single song than Nickelback has in their whole discography... Nothing wrong with liking Nickelback's music, but I'd say that objectively Tool's compositions are far better than Nickelbacks stuff. I don't think similar divide can be drawn clearly between bigger JRPGs and smaller JRPGs, that big JRPGs are the Nickelbacks of VG OSTs while small JRPGs are where the true possibilities of music creation is realized.
 

NotDreamcast

Member
Jun 3, 2012
1,239
0
0
Oh man, I didn't think my Pokemon puns would make it into the OP, lol.

I'm glad to see that VA-11 Hall-A got some love.

Great work Dark Schala and co.
 

orthodoxy1095

Banned
Dec 15, 2013
25,270
0
0
twitter.com
I wasn't talking just about just FFXV's OST. I was responding to someone saying that small JRPGs have superior OSTs vs. bigger JRPGs as if that's some general state of the JRPG VG music industry, when that's just unarguably not true.

I don't really see what a game like Cold Steel II is supposedly doing so much better than "bigger JRPGs" (note: again, not just talking about FFXV) in a way that could be elaborated by arguments & examples that supports that kind of general statement. Of course what we like ultimately comes down to preference/taste, but I personally think that we can, to some degree, evaluate music somewhat objectively based on a variety of factors and from that POV it's not like big JRPGs' OSTs are some generic throwaway pop songs of the week vs.small JRPGs' OSTs being the revered masters of their genres.

Like... the world has its Nickelbacks that do the most unimaginative, basic, generic rock there is and its Tools that have far more variety, complexity & not-bog-standard melodies/rhythm within a single song than Nickelback has in their whole discography... Nothing wrong with liking Nickelback's music, but I'd say that objectively Tool's compositions are far better than Nickelbacks stuff. I don't think similar divide can be drawn clearly between bigger JRPGs and smaller JRPGs, that big JRPGs are the Nickelbacks of VG OSTs while small JRPGs are where the true possibilities of music creation is realized.
I'm frankly too tired right now to go crawling the web for pieces of music to make this point since this is a matter of opinion anyways. But, I do think there's something about the flexibility that smaller games have that does allow for some more interesting music, and I feel like I often end up with that feeling in bother Western and Eastern titles. And to that point Western AAA games often get shit on for their samey OSTs, but I don't necessarily find that huge of a difference in terms of there feeling like a more staid quality among larger games in the JRPG scene either. And that stuff doesn't interest me as much as smaller studios doing more unique or experimental or just plain different music.
 

Moonkid

Member
Feb 2, 2014
3,484
3
0
Didn't vote this year because I didn't play enough games released this year, hopefully gonna change that with Nier: Automata and other great games on the horizon. Also, is that really what Carpenter Brut looks like??
 

Earthpainting

Member
May 7, 2006
5,407
0
0
I thought TLG's score was more affecting than FFXV but I'm guessing more people played XV and Doom. Either way they are all incredible works and deserve to be on that list

Great job!
You're right that some games will just attract more votes by virtue of being more known, regardless of their soundtrack quality. I've been counting the votes this year, and saw some pretty interesting movement in the rankings as the time went on. Games like Uncharted and The Last Guardian were faring much better early on in the voting process. Presumably because they were still in their Game Of The Year frame of mind. A solid week in the new year however, they not only would be mentioned far less frequently, but if lists were altered, it was usually to get rid of these such games as well. The upside is that they almost always got replaced by infinitely more obscure indie titles. This makes me believe people do scope out what's out there, and give things a moderately fair chance.

While I'm sharing, here's some other stuff that might be interesting:

Code:
[B]Single Issue Voters (Top games according to people who only voted for a single game):[/B]	
1	DOOM
2	Final Fantasy XV
3	The Last Guardian
4	Dark Souls III
5	Furi

Code:
[B]Passion votes (Only the games of which the majority of its votes were 3pt votes):[/B]	
1	Final Fantasy XV
2	Fire Emblem Fates
3	Virginia
4	Let It Die
5	Paper Mario: Color Splash
6	The House in Fata Morgana
7	Kirby: Planet Robobot
8	Samorost 3
9	Brigador
10	Mafia III

Code:
[B]Nobody's favourite (Top games without [I]any [/I]3pt votes):[/B]	
1	Steins;Gate 0
2	Persona 5
3	King of Fighters XIV
4	Quantum Break
5	Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma
6	Bravely Second: End Layer
7	Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
8	Tyranny
9	Unravel
10	7th Dragon III Code: VFD

Code:
[B]Early birds (Early results after the first 50 votes):[/B]	
1	The Last Guardian
2	Final Fantasy XV
3	DOOM
4	Furi
5	Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
6	World of Final Fantasy
7	Dark Souls III
8	Fire Emblem Fates
9	VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
10	The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II

Code:
[B]Most Mentions, regardless of placement:[/B]	
1	Final Fantasy XV
2	DOOM
3	The Last Guardian
4	Furi
5	Dark Souls III
6	Pokémon Sun/Moon
7	Fire Emblem Fates
8	Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
9	VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
10	Hyper Light Drifter

 

wmlk

Member
Aug 7, 2013
12,280
1
0
Merits of voting for an OST without playing the game aside, there's a few aspects to the example of P5. In my case I've listened to most of the P5 OST, but like I said without voting for it, I don't feel comfortable voting for it. I doubt that it'll fall through in execution within the game, but I'd like to make absolutely sure for myself. Which gets to the other point, which is that I'm going to be playing the game this year, barring any unforeseen catastrophe. So it made more sense for me to wait anyways when I'm guaranteed to be playing it in 2017. And I'm pretty sure many other people feel the same way, and might have avoided listening to the OST to avoid potentially spoiling even the smallest aspect of the game for themselves.

I'm the same way. I didn't post because I've only played four games or so released this year and haven't completed any of them. The two that have stand out tracks are Pokémon Sun/Moon and FFXV. I've listened to the entirety of both OSTs and if I was voting just on that alone I would have given it to XV. But I know the tracks early on are repetitive and boring, and the really good stuff is underutilized. The way the actual game uses it affects how I feel about the track anyway.

Regarding the results, I'm pretty surprised FFXV won. Stuff like Hellfire probably elevated it to that status. That track is gonna be mentioned for a long time.
 

Fraxin

Member
May 24, 2013
771
0
390
I wasn't wowed by XV's OST, so this isn't really going to move me. I think XIV is the latest SQEX OST that I've genuinely enjoyed since XIII.

So you didn't check out Nier I guess. Cause its the best OST from SQEX since Chrono Cross.
 

Melchiah

Member
Sep 21, 2006
26,743
29
1,385
45
Helsinki, Finland
www.youtube.com

zashga

Member
Jul 28, 2011
1,976
0
0
Cool. Thanks for organizing the voting and compiling the results.

It's a shame that the Color Splash OST didn't get more attention, but understandable given peoples' feelings toward that game as a whole.
 

Nocturnowl

Member
Jan 1, 2011
27,451
2
0
My slapdash Furi quote in the OP alongside the actual schala analysis, I don't know how to feel about this...

I swear people weren't mentioning it much at the time of my original post! (Apparently the early bird stats say I'm a big fat liar)

Also, this is probably my final soundtrack thread on this forum.
My slapdash Furi quote alongside the FINAL schala analysis, I'm honoured!
I'm also shook.
 

MistaBowaa

Member
Aug 21, 2013
439
0
0
Orlando, FL
Thanks, Dark Schala, for all your work on this.

Didn't expect to be quoted, let alone twice, one of which was for the winning soundtrack.

Lots of great music in 2016. I can't wait to explore the ones I missed.
 

Rutger

Banned
Aug 18, 2014
1,894
0
0
Also, this is probably my final soundtrack thread on this forum. I've asked someone else privately if they would like to take over and it's up to them to accept or decline. If not, I'll open the floor up to volunteers but I am still waiting on an answer.

Thank you for all the hard work over the years. I always look forward to these threads, and I hope we will still get to see your votes in future threads.


I can't say I'm too surprised at the results, but nothing wrong with that. I didn't get to play through as many games as I would have liked last year, and if it's something I plan on playing then I want to hear the soundtrack in game. I don't think my vote would have changed too much if I did though, maybe something could have taken third place from FFXV from me, but Pokemon's and Guilty Gear's soundtracks mean too much for me so it would be hard for something to replace them.

On the subject of Persona 5. I brought it up a little in the voting thread, I did import it but haven't been able to play too much of it. What I have heard so far is outstanding, but like I said earlier, I want to hear the soundtrack in game. I decided that instead of voting on it with a handful of the early game songs, it would be more worthwhile to save my vote and support it next year when much more of Gaf will be voting for it.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to next year's thread, Persona 5 and Zelda are going to have an interesting fight. There's also a new Mario game and Nier. Maybe we can also get an Etrian Odyssey V localization?
And of course, there will be Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2! Will I be able to justify voting for a game that will only have a few new songs!?
 

krossj

Member
Jul 19, 2013
489
0
0
www.krossj.tumblr.com
I'm happy FFXV won, the tracks that hit for me were so good. I really have to try and play some more of the games on there especially Hyper Light Drifter and Furi.

Thanks Schala and everyone else who was involved in the organising!
 

Mr. RHC

Member
Apr 16, 2012
5,564
2
450
Final Fantasy XV's Hellfire is a spectacular track for sure. I haven't played XV yet and didn't get to listen to the entire official soundtrack yet but I'm glad it was well received.

Well done everyone!
 

jett

D-Member
Jun 6, 2004
98,875
10
1,765
Nice, thanks Schala.

FFXV is deserving enough, I had it on my list originally but I replaced it. :p
 

Ferr986

Member
Oct 6, 2012
13,086
0
0
More people needed to play Abzu. OST was on the same level of Journey, if not better (can't complain much because I forgot to vote).

Still, solid list. FFXV, DS3 (and Abzu) would have been my 3 picks.
 

Riposte

Member
Sep 21, 2010
27,718
0
640
videogames?
twitter.com
I don't understand the love for JRPG music, and at this point, I'm too afraid to ask why people love it.

This is such a meaningless statement lol.

"I don't understand the love for FPS music."
"I don't understand the love for RTS music."
"I don't understand the love for open-world music."

JRPGs can consist of entirely different settings, composed by people with very different styles, and are made at very different scales of development.

What exactly is the same about the music of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and that of Final Fantasy XV (which we'll count as a JRPG because it's a FF)? Neither of these games are even set in the typical anime-meets-DnD or magical Renaissance most Japanese "RPGs" are set in, and their music reflects that. Even pop music heavy Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is very different from Apoc and that's pretty much the same series! Pokemon, the next JRPG listed after FFXV, also takes an approach different than the games I've mentioned so far.

Between all JRPGs your best bet to finding consistency is considering a structure of distinct musical themes for story scenes, exploration, and battles, but this also describes most music in games to begin with, so it shouldn't be that hard to understand.

Your contrarian streak gets way too silly sometimes.

It was on my honourable mentions list but: 25 points, 5 honourable mentions

I see now. It was surprisingly ambitious in how it pulled in so many bands to do something with the game's title and it features some interesting ambient themes from the much-praised Yamaoka. Would have been weird there was no votes for it.

Anyway, thanks for putting in the work.
 
Dec 1, 2004
26,791
1
0
South Carolina
www.neogaf.com
Interesting list. Alot of my HMs placed high.

Good to see the last Schala Soundtrack Spectacular was such a winner. Thanks for all the effort put forth here and in earlier works, Schala.

This is such a meaningless statement lol.

"I don't understand the love for FPS music."
"I don't understand the love for RTS music."
"I don't understand the love for open-world music."

JRPGs can consist of entirely different settings, composed by people with very different styles, and are made at very different scales of development.

What exactly is the same about the music of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and that of Final Fantasy XV (which we'll count as a JRPG because it's a FF)? Neither of these games are even set in the typical anime-meets-DnD or magical Renaissance most Japanese "RPGs" are set in, and their music reflects that. Even pop music heavy Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is very different from Apoc and that's pretty much the same series! Pokemon, the next JRPG listed after FFXV, also takes an approach different than the games I've mentioned so far.

Between all JRPGs your best bet to finding consistency is considering a structure of distinct musical themes for story scenes, exploration, and battles, but this also describes most music in games to begin with, so it shouldn't be that hard to understand.

Your contrarian streak gets way too silly sometimes. Lol

Anyway, thanks for putting in the work.

Its especially bad considering how much work some ballots were, especially how learned some were in objective technical ways.
 

djtiesto

is beloved, despite what anyone might say
Jul 26, 2004
28,050
7
0
Long Island, NY
Kind of a weak year for game music IMO... XV had some standouts but I spent the majority of the game driving around and listening to the old soundtracks in the car. The problem with XV was most of the music you heard tended to be the twangy country-esque song in the rest stops, or the Lestallum song which sounded like the "Samba" preset on a Casio, or silence as you wander the countryside.
 

orthodoxy1095

Banned
Dec 15, 2013
25,270
0
0
twitter.com
So you didn't check out Nier I guess. Cause its the best OST from SQEX since Chrono Cross.
It's a nice OST, but it's not one that I really feel compelled to listen to again and again. XIII is actually something I return to again and again, and the same goes for XIV's stuff. It doesn't really mean much, but to my disregard of XV, as I've said before it didn't wow me enough to stop me from listening to XI, XIII, and XIV's OST over it.
Kind of a weak year for game music IMO... XV had some standouts but I spent the majority of the game driving around and listening to the old soundtracks in the car. The problem with XV was most of the music you heard tended to be the twangy country-esque song in the rest stops, or the Lestallum song which sounded like the "Samba" preset on a Casio, or silence as you wander the countryside.
Dis was me!
 

jb1234

Member
Aug 10, 2009
17,219
1
0
Seattle, WA
It's a nice OST, but it's not one that I really feel compelled to listen to again and again. XIII is actually something I return to again and again, and the same goes for XIV's stuff. It doesn't really mean much, but to my disregard of XV, as I've said before it didn't wow me enough to stop me from listening to XI, XIII, and XIV's OST over it.

I ended up going through XV's OST and I found about a third of the tracks that I'd want to listen to again. For an FF soundtrack, that's not a great batting average but it's still about 30 pieces that I really liked.

(I did mostly listen to XIII in the car, myself.)
 

ghibli99

Member
Jul 23, 2005
13,586
2
1,365
I have 4-9, but have yet to play any of them. Looks like I have a good musical experience ahead, as well as WoFF not quite making the top 10.
 
Dec 5, 2012
1,677
0
415
I was just raving to my friends about how much I loved the soundtrack in FFXV, so I'm glad to see it get the recognition it deserves. I remember walking into a local game store and hearing Apocalypsis Noctis and that really put a bounce in my step.
 

eliza0224

Member
May 28, 2013
700
0
0
Panamá
FFXV soundtrack is so good. I listen to a few songs of it everyday.

TLG is amazing too, can't listen to Epilogue without destroying my soul.
 

Makareu

Member
Jul 17, 2014
881
0
0
Glad to see Furi OST reaching the top 5. Probably as high as it could get due to the game's low profile.
I hope it will encourage some people to look up the OST on Spotify, it really is worth your time.
 

Auctopus

Member
Apr 6, 2014
13,924
2
385
Listened through all the winners.

I still think Uncharted should've been higher but I knew that was underrated amongst GAF all year so it's unsurprising. What I will say is that Bartender soundtrack is completely unremarkable, Hyper Light should've definitely been higher.

Oh well.
 

PshycoNinja

Member
Jul 10, 2012
6,661
0
0
Los Angeles Area
I didn't expect FFXV to claim the top spot. Awesome. It's my favorite FF OST in a while.

Congrats to all the winners. I actually think it was a great year for video game OSTs.