About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

Diecast #97: Hotline Miami 2, Nintendo NX, Game Music, Battlefield Hard-On

By Shamus
on Monday Mar 23, 2015
Filed under:


If you’re going to play Hotline Miami 2 and you want to avoid spoilers, then skip the segment between 44 minutes and 53 minutes.

Direct link to this episode.

Direct download (MP3)
Direct download (ogg Vorbis)
Podcast RSS feed.

Hosts: Shamus, Josh, Chris, Rutskarn, Mumbles.

Show notes:

2:00 Nintendo is doing stuff.

Nintendo is teaming up to make smartphone games.

Nintendo’s next console is [code?]named Nintendo NX.

16:00 Boom! Mailbag in the middle of the show!

Hey guys, love the show. This question might work best with Mumbles around, but I suspect you all have options on the matter. So….

Who’s your fav game composer? What game has your favorite music? And do you ever listen to game soundtracks outside of the game they’re in?

(My answers are 1) Jeremy Soule (his video game credits http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Soule#Video_games ), 2) Lotro or Oblivion, depending on mood, and 3) yup. Drove down to FL listening to Halo, Oblivion, Morrowind, and a bunch of others.


NOTE: Mumbles said that Rayman Legends had Cotton-Eye Joe, but it actually has Black Betty. This is important to her and she specifically asked me to put this correction in the show notes.

30:00 Rutskarn and Chris debate the merits of Hotline Miami 2.

This section is spoiler free.

Here’s the SBH episode I referred to:

Link (YouTube)

44:00 SPOILERS about Hotline Miami 2. And maybe some for the first game. I kind of lost track.

53:00 Twin Peaks? What? Where did it all go wrong?

I have no idea what’s going on in this podcast. I’m just hanging on for dear life.

57:00 Battlefield Hard-On!

Whenever Chris describes the game, this is how I picture it:

Link (YouTube)

I should probably avoid it so I can go on picturing it that way.

Comments (125)

  1. Mumbles says:


  2. Phrozenflame500 says:

    Alright, let’s see who has the objectively correct opinion that Hotline Miami 2 was a good game on par with the first and not the objectively incorrect opinion that it’s the vile spawn of Satan. Obviously there is absolutely no middle ground here.

    EDIT: Dammit Chris!

    EDIT 2.0: Wait, who’s “Zack”? I know they’re talking about Corey, but is there a character named Zack they’re mistaking her for?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Dammit Chris indeed.I mean,yes there are a bunch of masks in 1,but you had to unlock them.In 2,you have a limited number of masks,but most levels offer you choices that are different from other levels.So you get 4 masks in some levels,or 4 guns in others.Which is nice.

      EDIT:Because the answer “It was just a couple of nerds from the sewer tricking you into killing a bunch of people for the lulz” made so much more sense.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I wonder if they’re going for something like the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie where they mock the presumption that the Teens are going to get a backstory by crafting an obtuse, overcomplicated backstory using a bunch of compulsive liars and lunatics.

      Which leads to one of my all time favorite endings when at the very end of the film, their mother comes forward for the first time in the entire movie says her one line of dialog “Yes Frylock, I am your mother. I am also a seven layer burrito” and Meatwad is the only one who cares at all followed immediately by credits.

      Its like “really, nerds? Do you really need to know where THESE guys came from? Do you think we even knew when we created them? Does this enrich your experience with THIS show? You do realize the backstory is going to be as pointless as everything else that happens to them right?”

    • Chris says:

      I went with “Zach” because Ruts went with “Zach.” I didn’t bother to learn the names The Fans – they’re a collective group more than a set of individual characters. Except for Tony, because Tony is A) A jerk even for a serial murderer, and B) Also the name of the mask from the first game.

      I’m gonna blame the fact that she has a zebra mask, and both Zebra and Zach start with Z.

  3. Alex says:

    Speaking of soundtracks, I’m trying to make a piece for a basic videogame right now, that I can have running in the background. The coding was easy enough, art assets took a while but weren’t difficult, but music? I don’t even know which instruments to use, let alone how.

    So I’ve got some idea how Shamus feels about his own foray into music design.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Swipe a single row every 20 minutes would be ea strategy,not nintendo.

  5. Bropocalypse says:

    I’ve always been partial to Jesper Kyd, and Doyle W. Donehoo does some great work.

    • Looking through my favorite game soundtracks in my music library, the composers are: Austin Wintory (Journey), Howard Mostrom (Planetary Annihilation), Jesper Kyd (Assassin’s Creed), Paul Schuegraf (Sins of a Solar Empire), Jeremy Soule (Total Annihilation), DJ Velocity (Hacker: Evolution) ,and Darren Korb (Bastion).

      • Grudgeal says:

        Mine would be Grant Kirkhope (Rareware in-house composer), Koji Kondo (Nintendo in-house composer), Tenpei Sato (Nippon Ichi in-house composer), Shoji Meguro (ATLUS in-house composer), and the collective madmen and -women behind the soundtracks to Katamari Damacy and Hotline Miami.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      Yes, Jesper Kyd! But I’m more partial of his chiptune days: the Red Zone and Sub-Terrania soundtracks in particular. :)

      Likewise: Thomas Detert, Glenn Gallefoss, Rob Hubbard, Jeroen Tel, Martin Galway and lots of others.

      My favourite, though, might be Mark Morgan, of Planescape: Torment fame. Followed by Peter McConnell (Full Throttle, Grim Fandango). And fellow LucasArts composers Michael Land and George Sanger.

    • Tektotherriggen says:

      I nominate DVA (Botanicula) and the other people who do music for Amanita Design games; Kyle Gabler (World of Goo); all the artists who were used on the Braid soundtrack; Christopher Tin (Civ 4 – he started with Baba Yetu, and couldn’t stop until he’d finished an entire song cycle, Calling Al Dawns).

      Darren Korb seconded – I really need to look up if he’s done anything non-Supergiant.

    • Cinebeast says:

      Another Jesper Kyd fan over here. Also Grant Kirkhope, Soule, Koji Kondo. Masters of the craft.

    • Groboclown says:

      The two soundtracks that I’m always returning to are Dune (Stéphane Picq) and the Little Big Adventure series (Philippe Vachey). The RPG / strategy game Dune, not Dune 2.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    No one gives a shit about wiiu anymore

    Somone gave a shit about it earlier?

    • Phrozenflame500 says:

      You guys laugh, but the Wii U has the only next-gen AAA exclusives that are actually worth a damn.

      Which makes it more valuable then the PS4/xBone solely on the virtue of it having actual playable video games.

      • Retsam says:

        Oh boy, Nintendo fanboyism inbound. Normally, I’d consider it slightly unfair to immediately lob an accusation of fanboyism when someone argues about how one console is clearly better, but when your argument is literally “the only exclusives that are worth anything are Nintendo exclusives”, well… the accusation really writes itself.

        Arguing that the WiiU is the best because it has the most games that don’t come out on any platform is silly because WiiU has a hilarious lack of 3rd party support so most games that come out on PS4 and XboxOne don’t come out on WiiU.

        If I had to guess the breakdown, it’s something like:

        10% of games come out on all consoles
        10% of games are PS4 exclusive,
        10% of games are Xbox exclusive,
        20% of games are WiiU exclusive,
        50% of games are PS4/Xbox

        Sure the “WiiU exclusive” category is bigger than the “PS4 exclusive” or the “Xbox exclusive” category… but it seems really silly to say that the system that plays 30% of games is better than the systems that play 70% of games.

        If the only games you care about are Mario Kart, SSB, and Zelda… well, sure, get a WiiU. But arguing that it’s the best console just because it carries those games and others don’t? Ehh….

        • Retsam says:

          BTW, I’m really not looking to get into an argument over the exact numbers above. I’m sure those numbers aren’t accurate*, but my point was to show how “WiiU has the most exclusives” can technically be true, but but still be the console with the least games on it.

          *I’m guessing, for one, that the actual numbers are skewed by shovelware that does come out on all platforms; I was mostly discussing AA/AAA releases, which is what most people care about anyways.

          • Phrozenflame500 says:

            Sorry, I was tired and somewhat lazy when I wrote that comment.

            To clarify: I'm a PC gamer mainly and that's where I play easily the majority of my games. Pretty much all of the multiplats now come out on PC as well, so to me the only valuable measure of a console's worth is it's exclusives.

            Because of that, to me at least, the Wii U is a very valuable purchase as it has more exclusives that (I'd argue) are better quality. While the other 8th gen consoles are mostly multiplat machines that I have no need of.

            I'd also argue that 3rd party support for the PS4/X1 hasn't been fantastic either, but that's looking to change this year making it a bit of a moot point.

            • IFS says:

              As someone who owns both a PS4 and a WiiU I have to agree that the WiiU is kind of the better console at this point (content wise at least). At the very least the games it has out for it are more interesting than most of what’s on PS4 (though that might change tomorrow with the launch of Bloodborne). Bayonetta 2, Smash Bros, Captain Toad, and Wonderful 101 are all a blast and Wind Waker HD is pretty fantastic as well. Sure most of those I mentioned are some of Nintendo’s core franchises, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good games in their own right.

              In comparison I only own 3 games for the PS4, Dragon Age, Towerfall, and Destiny, all of which are fun, but there’s relatively little else that I’m interested in (Wolfenstien and Shadows of Mordor I suppose). There is a lot of games I’m looking forward to for the PS4, and I do think its a good console just lacking in a great library (though PS+ does address that somewhat) but for now I mostly use it for netflix.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              I agree. Fellow PC gamer. In my mind, PC is where its at if you want truly interesting games right now but the biggest gain you can make in that regard buying a console is the Wii U. Or maybe the 3DS. Or both together. I kind of view them as companions for each other.

              BTW, the new face-tracking stable 3D is amazing. I hope its here to stay (unless they just replace it with VR. I’d be fine with that.) Granted this still seems to be the only use case for it but its a solid one at this point that adds to the aesthetic appeal of the gameplay (and Nintendo is all about that).

              I still have high hopes for the Kinect though.

            • Retsam says:

              I guess your argument makes more sense if you come into it with the assumption that you’re already a PC gamer, but:

              1) The assumption that you’re a PC gamer already is sort of really odd way to compare consoles. “WiiU is the best console, because obviously you have a computer” is just an odd argument, even if most of us on this site do have PCs, most likely.

              2) I really don’t want to list as a positive for the console what I really see as probably its biggest negative. I don’t see it as “WiiU has a ton of games that I can’t already play on my PC, yay, go Nintendo!” as much as I see it as a negative that Nintendo is still being exclusionary and unwilling to let anyone play their games who doesn’t buy their console first. I get why they do it, obviously, it makes business sense, and I’m sure other companies would do it if they could get away with it… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start considering it a virtue of their console.

              And, sure it’s got some good games right now… but then the standard trajectory of a Nintendo console release seems to be that they spit out the next installments of their big name series at or near the console’s launch… and then the games library mostly stagnates, while PS and Xbox console libraries tend to pick up steam as the generation goes one, after an initial slow period while everyone learns the new technology.

              In a practical sense, there’s probably little-to-no use trying to compare the WiiU to other consoles. (If there’s ever any practical sense to comparing consoles) Either you love Nintendo games and it’s essential and you were going to buy one no matter what the alternative were, or you don’t and it’s virtually worthless.

              • Wide And Nerdy says:

                Thing is, pretty much anybody with a PC can be a PC gamer. Sure you won’t run the latest triple A stuff but there’s tons of indie and older games you can enjoy and thats where its at.

        • Darren says:

          I’ve got a PS4, Wii U, and a pretty decent PC. Right now, the Wii U has far more interesting games than the PS4. Looking over my PS4 collection*, I have seven games. Of those, only one is not available on another platform: Infamous: Second Son. My Wii U library consists of 12 games, 10 of which are not available on another platform (and the other two are only cross-platform with the 3DS).

          Tomorrow we get Bloodborne, which I’m thrilled about, but frankly the PS4 right now primarily exists as a way for me to play controller-favoring games that I’d rather play on the couch than in front of the monitor than an interesting console in its own right. In fact, in one case–Alien: Isolation–I actually passed over the PS4 version because the PC version was said to have a noticeably better performance!

          I don’t know if the joke is on Sony for getting everyone to invest in a console with such few unique games–but plenty of HD ports!–on Nintendo for offering a bunch of unique experiences that nobody’s playing, or me for investing poorly.

          *I also have PS+, which is a pretty great deal, but I can’t think of any games I’ve gotten through it that are PS4 exclusive.

          • Nidokoenig says:

            I remember reading that Bayonetta 2 sold pretty well compared to the first game, and Hyrule Warriors apparently sold better over the first few months than most other musou games in the West, though that may be because they generally sell in the long tail and Zelda games are more front loaded. These games are made relatively cheaply, Platinum Games are really pushing the boat out if they have a budget above ten million dollars, and Koei-Tecmo seem to make their games in a cave with a box of scraps. Whether Nintendo is as big as the competition isn’t the issue, whether they and the companies that put games on their system end up with more money than they started with is, and the savings they make by being on a weaker system with lower capabilities and expectations are huge.

          • Retsam says:

            > I don't know if the joke is on Sony for getting everyone to invest in a console with such few unique games”“but plenty of HD ports!”“on Nintendo for offering a bunch of unique experiences that nobody's playing, or me for investing poorly.

            I mention this in my second reply to Phrozenflame above… but I find this to be a really backwards mindset: that games being available multi-platform is bad and games being exclusive to one platform is good. I think the the opposite is quite plainly true. Wouldn’t we be better off if you could play all games, regardless of what platform you chose?

            Everyone, other than Nintendo, has been moving that direction; probably more by economic reality than choice or any altruistic desire to improve the industry, granted; but still, it’s why the AAA Xbox/PS4/PC libraries are largely converging, and it’s a good thing, by and large. Nintendo’s holding us back here, and I don’t blame them, they’re doing what the other companies would do if they could… but and I do wish gamers would stop applauding them for it.

            • Majere says:

              Except the thing isn’t that everyone has an equal number of major exclusive IPs and Nintendo’s just hoarding more of theirs it’s that Nintendo has produced more (or convinced more third party developers to be exclusive to them) and thus has more IPs to hold as exclusive. The reason Sony and Microsoft don’t have a bunch of exclusives isn’t because they’ve been sharing all of their great IPs with their competitors it’s because they don’t really have any to speak of and they’re largely relying on independent (at least of them) developers who aren’t interested in being exclusive. They aren’t any better than Nintendo when it comes to sharing their IPs (thus no Halo on the PS4 or Uncharted on the XBone) they’re just much less prolific when it comes to coming up with them. Nintendo should absolutely be lauded for producing more unique franchises than its competitors have and for creating strong relationships with its third party partners.

              • Retsam says:

                Sure, I wasn’t arguing that Sony or Microsoft were acting morally superior to Nintendo in their handling of IP; (I said as much “other companies would do it if they could”) I’m only arguing that how Nintendo handles its IP is bad for consumers, and it’d be great if everyone would stop thanking them for doing it. The comparative motives of Sony and Microsoft have nothing to do with it.

                Sure, I can acknowledge that Zelda/Mario/SSB/etc are good IP, obviously, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy when Nintendo uses the quality of those games in ways that are detrimental to consumers, like they are.

                (And I’m not sure what you’re talking about with “strong relationships with third party partners” given that Nintendo’s 3rd party support and multi-platform support is virtually non-existent.)

                To be clear, I have (virtually) no expectations that companies behave in ways that benefit consumers when it’s not in their own interests; my complaint here isn’t “Nintendo is an evil capitalist corporation yadda yadda”. Nintendo is a business doing what businesses do, like any other. My complaint is how many people turn around and thank them for it: how many people who react with nothing but cynicism and skepticism every time EA or Microsoft announce something, but take every Nintendo Press release at face value.

      • From what I understand, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. are the reasons to own a Wii U.

        That said, what I think is plaguing Nintendo is this search for a gimmick. The Wiimote, the Wii U controller/screen/whatever, etc. They’re all completely unnecessary for their best games, and I think they sometimes make what are otherwise great games annoying. I liked Super Mario Galaxy, but having to occasionally twirl the Wiimote? Not so much. And you can tell when a title is shoehorning the motion-control into their mechanics for no other reason than “because it’s there and it’s expected of us.”

        I think Nintendo would’ve been better off to keep making games that are more fun/casual with a next-gen version of the Gamecube, returning to standard button-and-stick controls.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hotline miami 2 does the best trolling Ive seen in a while:Since the controversy about “rape” in the game and being banned in australia,hm2 has added an option to remove sexually suggestive violence.BUT,heres the trolling part:so far(12 missions in),Ive seen exactly one scene that can be classified as sexually suggestive violence,and its the one everyone has seen in the beginning of the game.However,that level starts before you get access to the options,and before you can turn that thing off.Once Ive realized that,Ive laughed so much.

    • fd says:

      Huh? The game asks whether you want to see the sexual assault first thing before it starts. I answered no, and didn’t see the rape scene (and yes, it’s only the one scene in the prologue). There’s no trolling here.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Huh,after moving the saves and trying it again,you are correct,it does ask.Still,its just a single scene in the whole game,so I count it as a troll on australia,mostly because of scenes like this.Or the even worse scene where that totally stoned guy from the picture is slowly and brutally beaten to death while he pleads for you to let him go home to his wife(yes it is as brutal as it sounds).But thank god that you can turn off the single rape scene that isnt even a rape scene.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ive actually managed to use the combat roll successfully a couple of times in the first level where you get it.Then I completely forgot about it and never used it again.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You think that was lame?Well check out these nerd fights.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I cant imagine Chris being angry.I mean he has expressed thoughts of anger,but he has always done it either in his monotone voice,or with his signature santa chuckle.Is Chris even capable of raising his voice in anger?

    • Shamus says:

      Only when someone brings up Guy Fieri.

    • Chris says:

      Hopefully Josh will never record me barking strings of expletives while we play Destiny. In real life I’m way more likely to sulk than to shout and I’m not super competitive by nature… but in a game where I’m trying to cap point C because we need it I’m definitely prone to- OH GODDAMN IT THEY’RE CAPPING A AGAIN. FOR FUCK’S SAKE WHY AM I ON TEAM STUPID?! DO THEY *WANT* TO LOSE?!

        • Chris says:

          This comment is a lot funnier after tonight’s play session.

          • Gruhunchously says:

            Will we ever learn the story?

            • If you mean the lore for the Destiny game? Probably not.

            • Chris says:

              Blind Watch is, by Josh’s and my estimation, the most unbalanced map in Destiny for capture mode. Points C and B are right next to each other and assuming you can keep people away from C your team tends to spawn right between the two points giving you easy access for capture/defense of both. Point A is way on the other side of the map and spawns in a crappy position that’s next to A and… that’s it. This means you really want to run a C-B hold to win the map. This wouldn’t be so bad if everyone knew how imbalanced the map was and played for those points… but people act like all points are equally good, so when we hold C and B is under assault they’ll go cap an undefended A to “help” and then we start spawning over there, lose C, etc. Which makes playing the thing infuriating when you lose because some moron thinks he’s “helping” by capping Point A because, hey, it’s another point for our team, right!?

              TLDR; Blind Watch is a broken map.

              Last night we got that map (in a game with random map rotation at least 8 maps to choose from and no voting!) five times in a row. It was basically our whole evening. Lost every single game.

              • IFS says:

                This, very much this. It used to be even worse before Bungie tried to balance it and moved some cover around (as well as re-positioning point B and moving one of the heavy ammo spawns) but it’s still easily the least balanced map in the game. Asylum (I think that’s the name) on Venus is a little shaky as well, since its really easy to position a sniper who is keeping watch on C (which has no cover) and is close enough to help at B, but at least there there are a ton of different approaches to point B which makes it much better.

                Someone running off to grab A, so long as they’re by themselves, can work out as it creates a distraction for the other team to deal with, but that’s sort of a fringe case and only really helps when you already have solid control over the other two. I’d say that it wouldn’t be worth it because of how others might spawn on you but I’ve spawned over by A at times even when all of my team is over at C and B so the whole spawning mechanic seems like it might be in need of repair as well sometimes.

                • Ivan says:

                  I’m not much for FPS’s these days but I used to play a bunch, and not having fixed spawns on a capture mission sounds like a bizarre design decision (but I guess Destiny is full of these anyway). It makes some sense to try to keep the teams together but most players are smart enough to realize when they’re alone and to wait up for a teammate so it’s usually unnecessary to move spawns unless you’re doing a team deathmatch.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Moving spawns makes sense on maps where there is a push going,like the train in team fortress.But maps with just capturing the points,yeah there should be fixed spawning points.

                • Chris says:

                  What’s interesting is that Blind Watch is the only map that’s so bad Josh and I agree it’s awful. The other maps are maps we hate because we tend to lose on them. Like, I hate Twilight Gap because I never seem to win on it. Josh hates Firebase Delphi for the same reason. I don’t think either map is badly designed, I think we both just get a mental relationship with losing associated with those maps.

                  Also, here is a reddit thread about Blind Watch that has a topdown picture of how hilariously bad it is.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I'm not super competitive by nature…

        Arent you the one that holds the highscores in most of the games you guys are playing?And the one that was the mvp in every stream youve played together?Thats a bit suspicious.

  11. Phantos says:

    Nobuo Uematsu has done more for video game music than anyone else I can think of. I do not think the Final Fantasy series, or video game soundtracks in general would have come anywhere near as far as they have(for better or worse) if it weren’t for his music. I can say with complete sincerity that he has not only never made a BAD soundtrack, he’s never made a soundtrack or album that wasn’t incredible to me.

    And he just kept getting better. He kept trying out new genres of music in each new project despite little to no experience with them. From the haunting chiptunes of his earlier years, to the full-blown operatic stuff, all the way to the alt-rock stuff of today with his band.

    For a long time the eagerness of waiting to play a new Final Fantasy, or even just a new game he composed was just so I could hear what awesome new boss track would be in store if I just played a little longer. There’s almost never a wrong note or a bad choice of instrument. I don’t know how he does it.

  12. Phantos says:

    Truth be told, I REALLY want to buy a Wii-U. It looks like a lot of fun, and there are a lot of cool-looking games for it I’m eager to try and willing to pay for.

    But I’m still a little peeved at their youtube policies right now to give them my business, and even if I weren’t, Bloodborne is only available on the PS4.

  13. MikhailBorg says:

    Been wanting to post this since a couple of Hitman videos ago:

    Gangnam Eye Joe“, a YouTube video.

    No, no need to thank me, citizen.

  14. Grudgeal says:

    Fun fact: Most of the Unreal soundtracks and Deus Ex’s main theme were both done by the same composer, Alexander Brandon.

    He also worked on Jazz Jackrabbit and Tyrian for those who remember those from back in the DOS shareware era.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      If anyone is interested,here is a remix of Deus Ex’s Hong Kong theme by Alexander Brandon and Jimmy Hinson (who, among other things, contributed to the Mass Effect 2 soundtracks)

      And here is a remix of the Paris theme.

  15. Neko says:


    Did they really call it that?

    Battlefield Hard-on?

  16. Grin Of Madness says:

    With all the talk about Twin Peaks, does this mean that we’ll get a few special SW episodes of Josh trying to play Deadly Premonitions?

  17. Joe Informatico says:

    Rewatching Twin Peaks recently, I got the sense the reason Sheriff Truman and the deputies aren’t put-off by Cooper’s idiosyncrasies is because it turns out most of them are members of a secret society (The Bookhouse Boys) that’s well aware of Twin Peaks’ unusual nature.

    Also, if she had done nothing but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I’d still hold up Michiru Yamane as one of the greatest game composers ever.

    • Phantos says:

      Also, if she had done nothing but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I'd still hold up Michiru Yamane as one of the greatest game composers ever.

      Word to that. She’s been such a staple of the Castlevania games, it’s hard to imagine them without her music(even though a lot of the tunes from those games that people remember were before her time).

      I wish Konami would actually make a new Castlevania game that isn’t just an awful God of War clone.

  18. DeadlyDark says:

    So. Favorite composers. I have some. It will be rather long list, but I don’t want to miss anyone. And it is one of my favorite topics.
    In no particular order, just how my memory rolls.

    David Arkenstone from Emperor: Battle for Dune. Because Victory is inevitable is awesome as any music could only dream.

    Stuart Shatwood from PoP:SoT. I like fusion between guitars and fairytale motives.

    Michael Richard Plowman. Because I love music from very first Splinter Cell very much. Thank you.

    Kirill Pokrovskiy. Divine Divinity as a whole, some great tracks from other Larian games.

    Frank Klepacki. C&C as a whole. And I love his track with Jarred Mendelson Dusk Hour.

    Mark Morgan. Heavy artillery here, yes. From Planescape Torment to Wasteland 2.

    Some unknown guy (I’m sorry, I really am) who wrote music for one of my favorites 7.62. I recommend checking Aurora track.

    Jasper Kyd. Hitmans and Assassins, yes. Not everywhere, but majority of the time I enjoy his music. He is the opposite of Jeremy Soul in a way, that he exposed as well, but still his music much more memorable and enjoyable than Soul’s. I am a bit philosophical here, yeah.

    Josh Whelchel for Gun Girl 2 soundtrack. It is very dynamic.

    Darren Korb. Nuff said. Except, I didn’t find Transistor music good, but now I am finding myself regularly listening Stained Glass and Gateless. So, Transistor music is great too. Requires some time to get used too, unlike Bastion.

    Leon Willet’s music in Dreamfall. Main menu, Sadir and many others. I rarely praise orchestral music, but this is that good. Actually, I don’t know composer, but music in Outcast is great too.

    Kärtsy Hatakka & Kimmo Kajasto of the first Max Payne. Especially Byzantine Power Play. And that 30 second intro.

    Jack Wall, because Jade Empire and first Mass Effect. Though in latter case it’s more on the Sam Hulick side, cause ME2 music wasn’t that great (except couples of themes).

    Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan (Sonic Mayhem). ME3, and Quake2 music.

    Robert Holmes for Gray Matter score. Misleading Signs especially.

    Alexander Brandon. Deus Ex, you know. And McCann too should mentioned (not only for Human Revolution, but for Double Agent and XCOM too).

    Martin O’Donnell & Michael Salvatori. I never played Halo, but I don’t need too. No action is worth such grand music. Except NOLF, but it didn’t have necessary tone for the game,

    There are few more names, but I think it’s enough.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Kelly Bailey, composer for the Half Lifes and Portal 1, is a favorite of mine in addition to many of the above.

    • lethal_guitar says:

      Ohh yeah, the Max Payne OST was awesome.

      I also love the Unreal and UT Soundtracks. Very much. Some other favorites of mine are: Serious Sam, Painkiller, Half-Life 2, Quake 2+3..

      And I love Bobby Prince – he did a lot of DOS-era Shareware soundtracks, among my favorites are the Duke Nukem 2 and Doom music.

  19. DIN aDN says:

    So the mechanic where you arrest someone by waving a police badge at them could work really well in a goofier setting where it’s got some sort of swirling hypno-spiral super well concealed under the insignia, and gives off theremin noises and some sort of visual effect when it’s active.

  20. Ledel says:

    One of my favorite composers is Nobuo Uematsu. He’s made many songs that resonate with me even today.

    Final Fantasy 3 (6), and Chrono Trigger both were some of the first games to introduce having full orchestras for video game music. I still love the opera scene from FF3.

    The other game was Final Fantasy X; the music in the cutscenes resonated so well with the tone they were trying to set and “To Zanarkand” is still one of my favorite instrumental pieces I’ve ever heard.

  21. Honestly, it strikes me as massively unfair to harsh on a videogame for tone deafness because it didn’t make what amounts to a massive and costly shift in design focus in order to accommodate for events it could not possibly have predicted.

    • Except it’s not like police brutality wasn’t a thing before they started their game. Even apart from that, it sounds like an exceptionally childish view of police and law enforcement without any tongue-in-cheek winking & nodding to lampshade it. I mean, if everyone’s a criminal, having your Captain tell you something like, “If they weren’t guilty of something, they wouldn’t be suspects, now would they?” would have at least sent the signal that the violence and ham-fisted treatment of cops vs. everyone was farcical on some level.

      • Thomas says:

        Also, supposing you were stupid enough to not realise that the over-militarisation of the police was a thing 3 years ago. They still didn’t understand what was going on in interviews in 2015. Sure you can’t change the game, but you could at least know what the interviewers are talking about when they ask “isn’t this a bit of sensitive subject?”

        Everyone’s amazed that a game like this can exist, but in some ways I think Battlefield Hardline is just another symptom of the problem. It’s the exact same thinking of “Wouldn’t it be cool if the police had a tank?” which led to the development of this game, and led to some no-name Sheriff in a town with a handful of people _actually buying a tank_

        • The small towns owning tanks phenomenon also came from an odd program set up after Homeland Security got going, where they’d sell old military equipment to local police forces. On the one hand, it had the down side of militarizing the cops. On the other hand, it had the down side of giving high-maintenance vehicles and equipment nobody was trained to use to local law enforcement which is often having budgetary issues without the care and feeding of an MRAP. I also heard interviews with Sheriffs who discovered they could be booted out of office in the next election if they turned down a military vehicle, but the next county over got one. The argument is, naturally, that if you turn down a tank, you’re “soft on crime.”

          It really is a boondoggle.

          • guy says:

            Actually, they pretty much gave away the tanks, so sheriffs said “oh hey, free tank!” and got one.

            • They were heavily discounted, yes. What wasn’t discounted was the fact that they need upkeep, spare parts, more fuel, places to be stored that might not be the same size as the ones used for regular police vehicles, more training (which seems to be optional), etc.

              It’s often like being given the metaphorical White Elephant.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I find it really hard to think how someone can be so ignorant of events that even I have heard about on the radio,despite listening to it 20 minutes a day at most,and living across the globe from the usa.

        • “Also, supposing you were stupid enough to not realise that the over-militarisation of the police was a thing 3 years ago.”

          See, THIS is the bullshit I’m talking about. You don’t keep up with politics, therefore you’re stupid. Ugh…


          This is why we can’t have nice things…

          • Thomas says:

            When you’re making a game about the police force, I do think it’s stupid to not know anything about the state of the police force.

            Also considering that we’re not the ones who are affected by the police force being overly brutal, yes saying “I don’t care enough to know” is a bad thing. It should be our business to know if people are being exploited and we should be motivated enough to at least complain about it to others.

            If you were the one being rough-housed by the police and you were the one who was raised on the idea that you might get shot if things got wrong, you’d probably wouldn’t have the same attitude right?

            • Shamus says:

              Before this gets out of hand:

              I can certainly appreciate when Neil is saying: Let’s not write these developers off as stupid, evil people. There are a lot of important causes in the world: Poverty, hunger, animal rights, free speech, airline safety, computer security, privacy, energy, education, disease, vehicle safety, pollution, medical research, public and private debt, the justice system, etc etc etc. We literally can’t be informed about all the important things in the world. So we usually pick a couple and focus on them. Which leads to different well-meaning people being outraged at each other: “How can you not know about X?!?!”

              While I can accept that a couple of developers are just not the sort of people to keep up with the news, the interview makes it FEEL like the entire company – from the bigwigs at EA down to the lowly QA testers – is completely ignorant of current events. Saying, “Our game takes place in a fictional universe and is not a commentary on current law enforcement news.” would have been a fine answer. I’d still personally be uncomfortable “shooting drug dealers” in a world played to completely straight, but that’s just me. I follow this stuff, so of course it’s a little touchy for me. I certainly wouldn’t look down on someone who shrugged and said it was just mindless escapism for them.

              But for the developer to not even have a simple dismissive answer ready is just mind-boggling. Even if they don’t follow the news, didn’t anyone bring this up during development? Didn’t EA notice and prepare a couple of talking points? I can believe a couple of young guys don’t know what’s up, but how can a whole company be this unprepared and tone-deaf?

              I mean, ASIDE from the fact that the company is EA.

              tl;dr: The people who made the game [probably] aren’t bad people, but several people clearly weren’t doing their job when it came to tone, marketing, design, and PR.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Well,at least they didnt promote kkk wednesdays*.I think its safe to say that big companies suck big time when it comes to public awareness.

                *For bonus laughs,check the other days on that poster.

              • That reminds me. Is there a link to the interview? Google didn’t give me much to go on.

              • Ledel says:

                I don’t know if I’d even say that their response was a bad PR move. If the developers admitted to this game being in “bad taste” the media would jump all over it with headlines of “EA head confesses it was a bad move to make game.” If they went the other route of trying to defend the game, the headlines change to “EA supports heavy-handed police brutality.” The best option they really had was to try to sidestep the issue entirely. After investing lord knows how many man-hours and millions of dollars into this game, they had to push forward with what seemed to be their best option.

                I do agree with you though. This kind of game almost needs to be prefaced by a statement that it has no relation to real world events, or, even better, played with a satirical tone to the universe.

  22. Thomas says:

    The best way to tell that Battlefield: Hardline was a lazy game is this:

    There’s a mode where the criminals have to try and hotwire a car and then runaway with it. The cops objective is to _hotwire the car and runaway for longer_

  23. Isaac says:

    On Battlefield Hardline:

    I just want to say that SWAT 4 is the best cop game of all time.

  24. ooli says:

    I’m sad, Josh (at least) should have mentioned The Banner Saga soundtrack.

    Transistor, is just another (good) pop-music sound. The banner saga, is … sadly epic. Very unique, and fit its game feel.


  25. FuzzyWasHe? says:

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned Jim Guthrie. I personally love the entire soundtrack of Sword and Sworcery.

  26. RCN says:

    Yay! Late to the party!

    I was sick last week and didn’t get around to hearing the diecast, but that won’t stop me from giving my 2 cents. They’re mine.

    As always, my favorite composers are Jeremy Soule (for Supreme Commander and Total Annihilation more than Elder Scrolls, though I’ll make a concession for Morrowind) and Paul Anthony Romero (for Heroes of Might & Magic from I through VII and a couple of Might & Magic titles here and there).

    I bought the soundtrack of Supreme Commander and have it on all my personal playlists. As for Heroes of Might & Magic they’re my “getting into the zone while working on something music”.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>