​The Destiny Soundtrack Is So Good It's Distracting

Sometimes a video game's music is so good that you stop playing and just sit there, enjoying it. That's definitely happened to me a few times while playing the Destiny beta.


When you're cruising in your ship, killing time before setting off on another quest, the game's orchestral score will start to play in the background. It is lovely.

I like this track in particular, an anthem that gets so epic it almost makes me laugh—it's like The West Wing meets John Williams. It's somehow even better with the low rumble of my ship idling in the background.

I went ahead and cut together the cutscenes from the Beta, if you're curious and want to watch them. (They contain some spoilers, I suppose, though it's not clear how close the beginning of the Beta is to the beginning of the actual game.) The music that plays during the cinematic sequences is uniformly terrific, sometimes to a distracting degree.

The piece of music from the first video plays during the cutscene at 8:32, and I can't deny it's doing some serious emotional heavy lifting. The dialogue itself is awfully ponderous, this guy with no face talking about The Darkness and The Ghosts. But the music…it's so good, it elevates the whole thing to a degree of grandeur that the writing couldn't hope to achieve alone.

Given the fact that Bungie unceremoniously fired their longtime resident composer Martin O'Donnell just a couple of months ago and have a number of other composers working on Destiny, it might never be entirely clear who composed which tracks for the game. (Though we can hope for an original soundtrack release that comes with proper crediting.) That said, these orchestral tracks have O'Donnell's fingerprints all over them, and I'd be surprised if they weren't his work.

It's brilliant, grand stuff, and displays a level of poise and melodic confidence that we rarely get to hear in video games. Yet another reminder never to underestimate the power of a good video game soundtrack.



Sadly, it's the only thing about the game (at least the Beta) that's any good at all. Which may be why it's distracting. It's the only element worth noticing. This really, really feels like an MMO to me. And I'm sure anyone who buys it will be paying for it like it's an MMO (plus the $60 launch price and mandatory PSN or Live). Already the first two expansions are bundled for a "discounted" $35. Of course level caps (which start at 20) will also cost $$$ to raise. The game also looks worse than much of last-gen and runs at sub-30 FPS on the PS4. But yes, the soundtrack is excellent. Probably why Bungie fired the guy behind it.