The 65th Annual Grammy Awards were held last night, and a new category aimed at recognising music composed for video games was introduced. The Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media competition pitted five incredible scores against each other in a historic night for the industry that should only help elevate the music that gamers have long adored.
Despite the growing presence of video game concerts and even classical radio stations devoted to video game music, a unique category at the Grammy Awards is arguably the most mainstream expression of appreciation for video game music seen in years. Previous Grammy nominees Christopher Tin and Austin Wintory, who composed Old World and Aliens: Fireteam Elite, were both nominated for this new award. Call of Duty: Vanguard, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy were also nominated, resulting in a crowded field.
Stephanie Economou was named the first ever winner of the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games.
Economou’s speech was nowhere near as long as Christopher Judge’s famous Game Awards acceptance speech, but she managed to thank everyone, from the Ubisoft team to her family. She concluded by recognising those who worked tirelessly to establish the category and thanking The Recording Academy for both the honour and for validating “the power of game music.”
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was not universally well received by critics or fans, but it has seen an incredible amount of additional content and grown to become one of Ubisoft’s most successful titles. Although it was released in 2020, Dawn of Ragnarok – a DLC larger than most games – arrived last year. While some fans were disappointed by the story, Dawn of Ragnarok’s soundtrack delivered, continuing a positive trend for Assassin’s Creed titles. Austin Wintory, another nominee, previously worked on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the franchise’s final entry before a significant change in direction.
Some have wondered why Bear McCreary was nominated for Call of Duty: Vanguard rather than God of War Ragnarok, Sony’s most recent PlayStation exclusive that has received universal acclaim for everything from its combat to its story. The OSTs for Kratos and Atreus had to be released between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022, so McCreary’s stellar soundtrack for Kratos and Atreus fell outside the timeframe for the 2023 Grammys.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is out now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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