What is the best use of licensed music in a Switch game?

Image: Kate Gray/Nintendo Life

You know that feeling you get when driving down a highway at sunset, and the perfect is the song playing on the radio? All of a sudden, it feels like you’re in a music video, or the start of a 90s teen movie, where everything is sparkling and perfect. The music becomes a soundtrack and your life becomes a story.

There are also some shining moments like this in the media – the ones that roll out the right song at the right time for the perfect synergy of feelings. Think of how Edgar Wright uses licensed music in his films to emphasize tense, catchy moments and add comedy, or the use of Don’t You (Forget About Me) at the end of The breakfast clubor The OC’s Season 2 finale, written by Imogen Heap, which became so iconic it got its own SNL skit.

Much like movies and television, video games have slowly but surely learned to marry music and mechanics to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Granted, it’s not such a widespread practice – the cost of licensing music in perpetuity is prohibitive, even for the wealthiest studios – but when they get it right, they get it. right.

So here is our list of some of the best uses of licensed music in video games. Imagine the satisfaction ka-piece a Walkman play button at the start, and be sure to fast forward to the bottom of page two to have your say in our polls…

BioShock: The Collection (Switch)

BioShock: The Collection (Switch)

Editor: 2K / Developer: 2K

Release date: May 29, 2020 (UNITED STATES) / May 29, 2020 (UK/EU)

If we can’t have Fallout on this list, we can at least have Bioshock, a series that was happy to incorporate both period-appropriate and entirely anachronistic music into its scenes. While it could be argued that “Beyond the Sea” is a bit lyrical when it comes to Bioshock’s themes and setting, it doesn’t really matter in this case, as the combination of the loungey vibe 50s and the strangely melancholy tone of this song is enough to make it come out too much. It’s just perfect.

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Bayonet (switch)

Bayonet (switch)

Editor: nintendo / Developer: PlatinumGames

Release date: February 16, 2018 (UNITED STATES) / February 16, 2018 (UK/EU)

This super poppy remix of Fly Me To The Moon sounds as it should in a dance dance revolution game, but no! It’s the soundtrack to Bayonetta kicking ass like an angel, and it serves as a beautifully upbeat and goofy cover that makes you want to put Metatron in his stupid face with your ridiculously long legs. The moon theme was continued in Bayonetta 2 with Moon River and Moonlight Serenade in Bayo 3, but let’s be honest: it was the best.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition (Switch)

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition (Switch)

Editor: rock star / Developer: rock star games

Release date: November 11, 2021 (UNITED STATES) / November 11, 2021 (UK/EU)

GTA Radio is not like many other games on this list. Instead of rolling out a perfect song at the perfect time, the radio soundtrack records all the terrible decisions you make as you drive through the trilogy’s many locations. That means every player’s experience is different – maybe your most memorable moment was set at Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids in America’, or maybe you have fond memories of crashing. pedestrians on Heart’s “Barracuda”. Either way, plenty of bops are found here.

This one also reminds us of Breaking Bad
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version (Switch eShop)

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version (Switch eShop)

Editor: Square Enix Europe / Developer: Eidos Montreal

Release date: October 26, 2021 (UNITED STATES) / October 26, 2021 (UK/EU)

by Peter Quill the totality is his walkman. Well, that and his cool-guy refusal to follow the rules. So it only makes sense that the Guardians of the Galaxy game would take that theme and run with it. Composer Richard Jacques replaced the 70s songs on Quill’s mixtape with 80s bangers, and carefully and sparingly rolled them out at exactly the right times to make you feel like a powerful superhero who chooses his own soundtrack. We’ve chosen the Huddle moment here, which forces players to perform a perfect pep talk if they want the music to hit. just right.

Fusing unit (switch)

Fusing unit (switch)

Editor: Harmonix / Developer: Harmonix

Release date: November 10, 2020 (UNITED STATES) / November 10, 2020 (UK/EU)

Is it cheating to have a music game here? No. We make the rules. But the reason Fuser is here, and not just any other rhythm game, is because it lets the player dictate how the music sounds. A rhythm game usually asks you to play a song exactly right; Fuser puts the control in the hands of the DJ, providing you with just a catalog of songs to add to the mix and asking you to hit the beats. You are the ones that make it good, and like in the example above, you can do that really good. Fuser packs a lot of power with its tools, then leaves the execution to you.

Burnout Paradise Remastered (Switch)

Burnout Paradise Remastered (Switch)

Editor: electronic arts / Developer: Criteria sets

Release date: June 19, 2020 (UNITED STATES) / June 19, 2020 (UK/EU)

Don’t you just tingle when you hear the first notes strummed by Slash from Paradise City? What a song to introduce the sun-scorched world of Burnout Paradise of the same name (don’t tell anyone, but it’s just a fictional hodgepodge of California towns). Alongside Guns ‘N’ Roses, Burnout Paradise also drew inspiration from the soundtrack styles of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, once again putting names like Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction on playlists.

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