We at RPGFan have always been proud of our Music section. Over the years, it's been led by a few people, each one as passionate as the last. Longtime readers will remember the dedication that past leads such as Patrick and Lucy had for the section once called simply "Soundtracks." A few years ago, with the music landscape ever-expanding like the RPG genre itself, we rebranded as RPGFan Music. The name change was to signify the importance of acknowledging the RPG-centric music out there beyond simply "soundtracks." The amount of additional music available these days is sometimes hard to believe. Game developers and publishers often release several albums per game: New arrangements, extra tracks, and so on, on top of their original releases. Then you have the sheer amount of music to be discovered from the indie scene, from full-fledged dev teams to one-man projects like Undertale. Finally, the fan arrangement community continues to grow more impressive, and ranges in scope from single remixed tracks to massive 90-track album projects.
RPGFan Music has grown in recent years as well, now boasting a full staff of music-crazed, er, music-loving individuals, who have continued to make invaluable contributions to the site since arriving in 2014.
It's because of the exhaustive amount of music out there worth hearing, and the hard work of these people that we're able to continue running Music of the Year. This year, for our fourth annual feature, and thanks to the contributions of over a dozen people, we have some of our most exciting features yet. 2015 featured an outstanding and eclectic array of music: You likely know much of it, such as Final Fantasy XIV, Undertale, and other high profile releases, but we can almost guarantee that you'll find music in here that you haven't heard yet. Nine RPGFan editors wrote up their favorite musical moments of the year, and some of them dug really deep, highlighting games and musicians that were even new to one another. You'll find all of this in our Editors' Favorites pages.
The other pillar of Music of the Year is our music podcast, Rhythm Encounter. While we usually attempt to release a show monthly during the year, we pull out the stops for MOTY, and once again have three full episodes. In addition to the music each of our nine guests brought in to share, there's a bevy of additional music to be heard across all three episodes. And don't worry, we have full tracklists for not only the "official" music tracks, but these bonus inclusions as well.
Building Music of the Year is a considerable amount of work, and it wouldn't be possible without the solid contributions of many people. Since it isn't always stated in our features themselves, I want everyone reading to join me in thanking all involved. First, RPGFan editors Stephen Meyerink, Caitlin Argyros, Marcos Gaspar and Michael Sollosi for helping to build out this year's feature. Peter Triezenberg, Brigid Choi, and longtime RPGFan stalwarts Neal Chandran and Patrick Gann once again contributed to the podcast and Editors' Favorites. RPGFan reader and fervent music fan Reta always spends what must be an incredible amount of time to send us massive lists of incredible music, some of which you'll hear dotted throughout the podcasts.
Finally, Music of the Year podcasts wouldn't be the same without great "outside" guests. We were once again grateful to have RPGamer Editor-in-Chief Michael "Mac" Cunningham, VGMOnline's Japanese Coverage Leader Don Kotowski, and head of Scarlet Moon Productions, Jayson Napolitano. More than simple guests, these three are longtime "Friends of the Show," and we're always glad they drop by every year.
It really is somewhat of a coincidence that we launched this year's feature on Valentine's Day, but it was a happy one. We all love what we do, we love both listening to and talking about music, and there's just no better time to share this passion with our readers and listeners, so we whole-heartedly hope you enjoy our hearty and pun-filled Music of the Year 2015.
(What, you were hoping for roses?)
by Mike Salbato