Whenever games writers sit down to cobble together a list of the medium’s biggest moments, a section is inevitably set aside for the industry’s best soundtracks. It isn’t hard to remember some of the classics, like early Halo orchestra pieces or the incredible works of Final Fantasy music maestro Nobuo Uematsu – there’s something about truly inspiring or chilling tracks that resonate with players long after they’ve finished playing through the games they’re found in.
Far Cry 5 might be the most ambitious iteration of the series in recent memory as far as innovation, but some things simply don’t need changing. That’s why audio director Tony Gronick returns in the role he filled for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry 4, and that’s why, despite a change in scenery and a shift in the way the series will approach its villains, Far Cry 5 will continue to have a meticulously crafted soundtrack. In an interview with Game Rant, Gronick confirmed that Far Cry 5 would have somewhere close to six hours of music recorded for it, which represents the biggest Far Cry audio soundtrack to date. Gronick would also elaborate on why that scale was necessary for the game:
“I really didn’t want the music to be repetitive, and I wanted variety all the way through the game, as people play the game all the way through.”
Far Cry 5‘s cult has made headlines already, and for better or for worse, much of the game’s success will likely stem from just how believable and compelling the Project at Eden’s Gate group is. To Gronick, that challenge drove some of the most important soundtrack work in series history, including a number of hymns that were created and recorded just for Far Cry 5. What started as something that was meant to drive players to hate the cult quickly became something different once the sheer talent of the people working on it became obvious, however:
“I truly believed these hymns would [make] the player want to kill all cult members just to stop it from playing…then we got the performances, and now it’s like, okay, let’s get rid of that [idea] because this music is quite beautiful.”
According to Gronick, music in Far Cry 5 will also be a possible edge for players who want to immerse themselves in the game to the fullest. Players who listen to careful audio cues in Far Cry 5, whether that be the volume of a cult hymn in the distance or the type of hymn it is, can get a better idea of what’s waiting for them. Instead of the smoke in the distance that created dread in players who knew they’d have to march toward it, however, it’s now music that is, at its core, supposed to be uplifting – only it is the same kind of ominous, frightening sensation of impending doom that will be familiar to former Far Cry players.
If Far Cry 5 aims to capture the spirit of an American nightmare that could – and does, in fact, on a smaller scale – actually happen, then it really could be the game’s audio that ties all the loose ends together and creates a whole, realistic yet bombastic journey through a rural religious uprising. The rest of the audio team and Gronick have, at least, attempted to make the audio do just that, and Far Cry 5‘s audio director thinks players will come to associate its music with what we hope is equally compelling gameplay:
“You can actually tell what’s over the hill by how the music’s playing…you know what you’re going to see when you climb that hill. That’s what I’m setting up for.”
Far Cry 5 releases for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 27, 2018.