If you're a fan of Final Fantasy music, there are probably a few names you know very well: Nobuo Uematsu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masashi Hamauzu. But since 2013, some of the best music in the series has come from a man who deserves to be on that list of greats just as much as the others. His name is Masayoshi Soken, and even after over six years of composing amazing music for Final Fantasy XIV, he somehow managed to outdo himself with Shadowbringers. There's a somber and haunting quality to the titular main theme, which Soken weaves throughout the soundtrack to cover all sorts of different situations. Area themes are catchy and quirky, battle themes are epic and head-bop worthy, and cutscene themes tug on the heartstrings. Shadowbringers' soundtrack is simply some of the best RPG music you can feast your ears on, and knowing Soken, we will have even more great music to look forward to in the coming months.
Saying The Legend of Zelda has one of the most recognizable themes in video game history isn't exactly a controversial statement. However, it's far from the only brilliant piece of music to come out of the series' 33-year history. In Cadence of Hyrule, chiptune composer Danny Baranowsky pulls from the best of the series' soundtracks to create stunning musical mashups that power the game's rhythm-based gameplay. If the heart-pulsing music of the original Crypt of the NecroDancer had you dancing in your chair, get ready for the nostalgic beats of remixed versions of Hyrule Field, Tal Tal Heights, and The Great Sea! You've never heard The Legend of Zelda like this before!
It was a great year for music in RPGs, and this being the tightest race reflects that. While Trails of Cold Steel III finished only a few votes ahead of Fire Emblem, the incredible Shadowbringer's and Cadence of Hyrule's soundtracks finished tied for third, both only a single vote behind Fire Emblem.