The Influence of Music on Videogame Setting: A Case Study of The Elder Scrolls
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Music significantly impacts the experience gamers have when playing videogames, as it does the experience of most audio-visual media. However, many aspects of videogame music are still under-represented in academic research. Analysing more concrete case studies in depth will create a strong basis for the academic field of videogame music to build on. The aim of this thesis is to help lay the foundations for future research by examining the importance of musical attributes on the experience of videogame settings, through the analysis of a well-known and influential videogame series. I compare three games from the Elder Scrolls series to establish the significance of musical details within an overarching style. To achieve this, I first explore the commonalities of the music throughout the game series to determine the central style, which is essential for understanding the effect of unique musical features. After this, I demonstrate how these musical features influence not only the conception of atmosphere, but also of temporal and spatial locales, by analysing the soundtracks from the games in depth. Finally, I relate the videogame scores to the visual settings and the plots, as these elements interweave into a cohesive experience when playing videogames. Hence, understanding each of these components and the relations between them is imperative. Music has a unique role in this system that is still lacking in literature on videogame music, which will get more attention in this thesis.