The Significant Influence of Music in Video Games

By The Gigstarter Team

Music in video games does much more than simply provide a background sound, it transforms and elevates the gaming experience. This article dives into the critical role that music holds in video games, exploring how it elevates the emotional depth, enriches storytelling, and becomes an integral part of player experience. We'll discuss how composers, artists and developers collaborate to create immersive, memorable gaming moments that resonate with players long after they've shut down their gaming device.

two players playing fifa on a playstation

Exploring the Emotional and Narrative Power of Music in Gaming

Music profoundly affects emotions. In games, it can be used to bring out specific feelings such as suspense, joy, sadness, or excitement, or even fear, helping to deepen the emotional connection to the story and characters of the game. Music can be used to build suspense and tension or even provide relief for the player. Creeping strings might increase anxiety in a stealth sequence, while a sudden silence or shift in music can signal safety or a resolution, providing emotional relief. It can set the emotional tone of a scene, preparing the player for what they will experience in the next seconds or even minutes. By matching the music with the game's setting and style, composers can make the game world feel more real. It gives the player the opportunity to feel immersed in the environment of the game. This helps players feel more connected to the game, enhancing their overall engagement and enjoyment.

Music also enhances the narrative impact. For example, a tender and impactful moment may be accompanied by gentle, melancholic music, intensifying the emotional resonance and making the scene more memorable and impactful. It also has a great influence on the behaviour of the player. A faster tempo might encourage quicker reactions and decisions. Soothing melodies might be used in puzzle games to help players think more clearly and create a calm environment. Music also helps in reducing the perception of time spent playing, which can make gaming sessions feel more enjoyable and less dull. Additionally, in various game genres, musical cues can alert players to imminent dangers, like approaching enemies in "The Last Of Us," or a signal when specific actions are necessary in "The Legend of Zelda" series.

Gustavo Santaolalla, the mastermind behind the music of The Last Of Us

Music can make a game memorable and help establish its identity. Theme songs like those from "Super Mario Bros", "The Legend of Zelda" or "Final Fantasy" have become almost as famous as the games themselves, recognizable to gamers and non-gamers. This kind of musical branding helps to create a lasting legacy for a game. Sometimes it's not about the song linked to the game but the way the game uses music to enhance the experience.

An Innovative Approach To Music In Gaming

In the following paragraphs we will highlight some exceptional examples of innovative usage of music in video games. These examples demonstrate the variety of ways games and platforms are using technology to merge music with digital and virtual experiences, creating new forms of entertainment and community engagement.

Fortnite (Battle Royale)

Fortnite is a a third-person shooter game where up to 100 players compete to be the last person or team standing. The game uses music in various ways to support the online game mode, what makes them stand out are their "live events".

Fortnite features several in-game radio stations that play a variety of music genres. This is not the first time a game has implemented radio stations, Grand Theft Auto is one of the the most well-known games where you can switch between tons of various radio channels while driving in a car around the city map looking for tasks or activities. This provides a more immersive and enjoyable gaming experience due to the player being able to customize the atmosphere with music. Besides these stations, Fortnite also offers a huge libraby of emotes with licensed music. Emotes are short actions which are performed by the player character. Emotes involve the player character acting out one of several actions, such as a dance, an emotion, a greeting and many other movements. Emotes offer no in-game advantage. This use of licensed music allows players to connect more personally with the game, celebrating victories and moments of fun with dances that haven often became viral trends. An impressive list of emotes made it viral on platforms outside of the game such as TikTok and YouTube, where people copied the dance for fun or as a meme. A meme is typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations.

Fortnite has hosted several virtual live concerts within the game, which have been groundbreaking in terms of scale and popularity. Notable artists like Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande have performed in these virtual concerts. These events are highly interactive, allowing millions of players to join in real-time, often with special in-game visuals and mechanics that synchronize with the music. They are allowed to roam freely in the map, no matter how far they are from the stage the music can still be heard all over the map during these events. The video below shows a compilation of the Astronomical Concert by Travis Scott. In the video you can see the artist as a massive Fortnite character performing and moving around the map while players can interact with each other with special emotes such as the flaming microphone stand, which is an exclusive emote from the Travis Scott series.

Travis Scott collaborating with Fortnite for an in-game concert

The game often hosts special events that are themed around music. For example, the Rift Tour with Ariana Grande was not just a concert, but a fully developed musical journey through various themed environments. These collaborations often include limited-time game modes, challenges, and specially themed in-game items such as skins or accessoires. Skins are a type of item within the game that modify the visuals, to clarify these skins are digital products that are specific to the game being played. They can be used to change the visual experience for the player to a certain extent. In this case to look like Ariana Grande. Apart from licensed music, Fortnite has a dynamic and stylistically diverse original soundtrack that adapts to the gameplay, enhancing the emotional and tactical aspects of the game.


Moving on to Roblox, which is an online game platform and game creation system developed by Roblox Corporation that supports a high degree of interactivity, allowing users to program and play games created by themselves or other users. The platform has hosted various virtual concerts that rival those in Fortnite. Remarkable events include the Lil Nas X' concert, which featured a fully animated, motion-captured performance by the artist. Zara Larsson also made an appearance with her launch party, which also included interactive elements and exclusive merchandise. The platform enables players to explore different worlds and experiences related to the concert.

A compilation of Zara Larsson's launch party and concert in Roblox

Aside from this, players can share music with each other, host virtual dance parties, or even create music together in certain games designed around musical creativity. Roblox provides tools for developers to incorporate custom music into their games, allowing for a distinctive audio landscape that complements their creative visions. Some games on Roblox use music for educational purposes, teaching music theory, playing an instrument, or even music production.

League of Legends

Last but not least, League of Legends (LoL). A team-based strategy game where two teams of five mighty champions face off to destroy the other's base. While primarily known as a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game, Riot Games, the developer of LoL, has taken an innovative approach to music. They've created virtual bands like K/DA, Pentakill and HEARTSTEEL, whose music videos and virtual concerts have gathered millions of views, adding a unique musical dimension to its universe. Various famous artists have contributed to the discography of League of Legends, such as rising Korean girl group New Jeans with the track 'Gods', Bea Miller with 'Playground', Imagine Dragons with both 'Enemy' and 'Warriors', and Marshmello with 'Flash Funk'. Riot produces anthems each year for the World Championship, which capture the spirit and intensity of the competition.

One of the various K/DA formations performing the first release

Each character in LoL, or champion as they call it in the game, often has a unique theme song that captures their personality, origin, and story. They create thematic music for various in-game events, seasonal activities, and promotional campaigns. This helps to deepen the lore associated with the champions, making them more memorable and distinctive. This music often ties into the broader narratives and lore of the game’s universe, enriching the player's experience and engagement with the story. Interested in the music of this game? Check out their spotify or use the widget below!

Musical innovations in platforms like Fortnite, Roblox, and League of Legends showcase its transformative power, offering immersive experiences that redefine the boundaries of entertainment. As the industry continues to innovate, the fusion of music and gaming promises to bring new layers of interaction and engagement, proving that the power of music is truly game-changing.

Related articles on Gigstarter:

Are you interested in the music industry, tips for artists and Gigstarter? Please read our blog.

Gigstarter makes live music accessible to everyone. On you will find live music for your party easily. This service is free of charge for both artists as bookers. Take a look at the site and follow us on Facebook to stay updated about Gigstarter events and new talent.

No hassle. Just music.

Tags: music, gaming, game, video game, music in games, audio