In a recent interview about his work on Aliens: Fireteam Elite, composer Austin Wintory has responded to the Grammy Awards finally adding a video game music category. The composer has worked on many titles over the years, like the criticially-acclaimed game Journey. However, despite the praise his soundtracks – as well as many other deserving video game scores – have received over the years, the Grammy Awards have never held a dedicated video game category until now.
Wintory is an incredibly experienced composer, working in both film and video games for decades, but has only been nominated for his work on a game at the Grammys once for Journey, in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category. He’s helmed titles like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Abzû, and Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine. Wintory’s most recent work can be seen in the third-person shooter title Aliens: Fireteam Elite, where he brought the ambience of the films to the game through a brilliantly creepy soundtrack. Wintory’s future projects include a collaboration with Dragon Age creator David Gaider on the unique musical story game Stray Gods.
In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Austin Wintory offered his thoughts on a category for video games finally coming to the Grammy Awards. In the interview, Wintory discussed his time working on Aliens: Fireteam Elite, his creative process behind its eerie sounds, and the fact the game got in just before the deadline to be considered for a Grammy Award. When asked to comment on the new category, and if he was excited for the event this year, Wintory responded:
Hilariously enough, the release window in which any album has to have come out to be eligible for the forthcoming Grammys, including that first ever game music category, is today. Today is the cutoff for release for that current window. So, through no actual deliberate effort, and there was nothing choreographed about this… like I said, the game came out a year ago. Ironically, if the soundtrack had come out when the game first came out, it wouldn’t have been eligible for that first game music Grammy. But because it came out today, on the last day of eligibility, it technically is in the pool. Obviously, that’s just one of these kind of funny timings, and God only knows if it’ll actually get nominated.
But I can tell you that since the voting opens in a couple of weeks, inevitably [there is] kind of a free-for-all of musicians sharing their latest musicians to be kept in mind when the ballots show up. I start getting thousands of emails of “Oh, by the way, in case you’re voting in the, like, Best Tropical Latin Album category, here’s my entry.” People I don’t even know just somehow found out I’m in the Recording Academy. It’s a thing that happens every year, and to be honest, I actually think it’s quite beautiful because it’s a bunch of people who are super passionate about the hard work that they’ve done, and honestly, there are a lot of great records out there that I kind of wouldn’t have found out about otherwise. So I don’t mention the kind of self-promotion of these various musicians with any dash of cynicism. I’m glad that they do it.
That said, the thing that I’m most looking forward to is just seeing the list of friends and colleagues who I’ll have the opportunity to vote for in this way. And knowing, unlike in past years, where I have cast votes for game scores in the Visual Media category and I was apparently one of the view voting for these scores by my colleagues and friends who I admire – now I can say with pretty utmost confidence that I’m quite certain that at least some of the people I vote for will end up getting nominated. I’m really quite excited about that. God knows that this weird distinction of Journey being the only one to have ever been nominated is not right. There needs to be others, because it’s such a vibrant and amazing art form, and I’m surrounded by so many colleagues whose work I love to death, and who deserve it arguably far more than I. So, that’ll be fun.
The New Grammy Category Is Long Overdue For Artists Like Austin Wintory
Since video games first began, their soundtracks have been an integral part of the overall experience. Whether it’s helping horror games create a terrifying ambiance for the player or an interactive soundscape like in The Pathless making for an immersive playthrough, games simply wouldn’t be the same without their music. This undeniable fact makes it surprising that it’s taken this long for the Grammy Awards to add a category for the medium, considering how long video games have been a part of the cultural zeitgeist. With this new addition, a whole new pool of artists are finally eligible to have their hard and impactful work recognized.
Austin Wintory’s work in particular has helped to create memorable experiences for millions of players through his decades in the industry. While he is an obvious choice for a nomination, there are many other talented artists who will finally be eligible as well, as Wintory himself pointed out. While there have long been dedicated events like The Game Awards recognizing soundtracks, the medium is often not addressed outside the gaming industry. Whether Wintory wins for Aliens: Fireteam Elite or another talented artist takes home the Grammy, the new categorical addition is a net positive for composers everywhere.
Next: Aliens: Fireteam Elite’s New DLC Is Great If You Loved Prometheus
Source: Screen Rant