Moving Video Game Music: The Fate of the Earth (XCOM: Enemy Unknown)

So as NaNoWriMo and college consume my heart and soul, I still want to post content to this blog. So here I am, with a new ‘series’ of posts. As the name implies, this will focus on ‘moving’ video game music. The kind of music that tugs at the soul within. Maybe it makes you cry, maybe it just fills you with an odd sense of nostalgic melancholy you can’t describe for worlds you’ve never known.

Unlike my Spooky Video Game Music posts, I’ll post a set of five tracks whenever I feel like. Could be monthly. Could be every two months. Who knows?

The track I begin this series with is… an odd one, perhaps. One that might be unsettling to some, but I find it quite beautiful, so I put it in here instead of saving it for next Halloween.

This track plays when navigating the Geoscape, a holographic globe of the Earth itself. It’s a track you’ll hear often as you search for and respond to alien activity, but likely won’t hear for long each time (and I actually don’t recall if the full version of the track even plays in-game).

It’s a hauntingly beautiful ambient piece, with a lot of odd sounds to add both serenity and a creeping menace to it, but again I find it leans more towards the beauty of things. The choir, especially, is as beautiful and dreamlike as it is sorrowful and empty. It’s a lonely and uneasy peace that is often shattered when the aliens do show up to terrorize various parts of the globe… and then it returns.

A cycle of fear and that uneasy peace.

Divorced from its context, it’s a track that speaks to something inside me. I close my eyes and listen to it, seeing the Earth resting in the cradle of distant stars, in a vast universe filled with wonder and uncertainty. A dream, fleeting as it is, of reaching past the domain of our sun and seeing what lies beyond.

I suppose, in a way, that’s a dream XCOM probably wishes they could cling to. The universe beyond Earth is, unfortunately, not a safe or welcoming one in this series.

Nonetheless…

I am watchful. I am necessary.

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