GOTY 2016: Best Music

This year we've brought back our category awards to recognize achievements in specific areas of game development. There are ten awards in all, with two new ones being awarded every day this week. Keep checking back for more winners!

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Best Music: No Man’s Sky

HelloGames | August 9, 2016 | PlayStation 4, Windows

Runners-up: VA-11 HALL-A, DOOM

We can avoid beating around the bush to start: No Man’s Sky failed to deliver in most regards. I don’t regret buying it; updates have steadily improved it, and though it is not a multiplayer game it is one hell of a single-player exploration engine. But its release was botched, marred with poor performance and unfulfilled promises. There was, however, one way that No Man’s Sky managed to deliver: its soundtrack is, far and away, the best this year. 

Post-rock outfit 65daysofstatic was a favorite of mine well before the game’s announcement, and their contribution to No Man’s Sky captures every bit of the essence of what we hoped it would be. Music for an Infinite Universe is a flowing, glorious set of tracks that fit perfectly with the feeling of of exploring alone in the void.

In practice, the pre-recorded tracks are interspersed with the array of modular musical pieces that 65dos created for the game. The engine excels at combining these bits of instrumental and percussion appropriately with moments in the game; as awestruck as your first atmospheric entry may leave you, the musical accompaniment will fit perfectly, unintrusively, no matter where else you wander.  — Spencer Tordoff