RPG Desert Themes – More Personal Favorites

Music is an integral part of any game. While pieces that truly complement their environment are often capable of stirring emotions and conveying a story without words, dull, uninspiring themes can go completely under the radar (or worse, marr the experience altogether). Today, we’re going to take a look at some more of my personal favorite desert themes in RPGs. As I’ve done in previous lists, I’ll be limiting myself to one entry per franchise, as the Final Fantasy series (among others) could easily dominate a list on its own.

Romancing SaGa 3 – Insufferable Desert

There’s something oddly satisfying about the faux wind sound effect utilized in many of the later Super Nintendo RPGs. Romancing SaGa 3, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy VI all made use of it in certain tracks, yet all were used to portray different locales. In Romancing SaGa 3, Kenji Ito helped turn a harsh landscape into reality by pairing an unrelenting sandstorm with an otherwise light melody and rhythm.

Secret of Mana – Secret of the Arid Sands

Before everyone jumped on the wind effect bandwagon, there was…the xylophone? Jokes aside, Secret of Mana’s soundtrack is one of the best that the Super Nintendo has to offer. Not only is it thematically diverse, but it also does some interesting things with rather unorthodox instrument collections. For example, the aforementioned winds of Romancing SaGa 3 are instead portrayed via a xylophone-esque instrument here rather than simply being, well, a wind noise. Though it may seem odd out of context, it certainly delivers in execution. Accompanied by a simple, but strong drum beat, various orchestral instruments, and even some hand claps, Secret of the Arid Sands comes together in ways you might not have expected.

Tanaris – World of Warcraft

The World of Warcraft team has long been praised for their art and sound direction, even into more recent years where the MMO juggernaut has surrounded itself in controversy more than just about anything else. While this track plays in many of the game’s classic zones, the player is most likely to hear it first within Tanaris – an arid wasteland full of no-gooders and long-forgotten relics of the past. To me, it exudes that sense of unease associated with wandering a mirage-infested desert, sun beating down, quite well.

To The Sun – Final Fantasy XIV

While this may be the second tune from an MMO on this list, the two tracks couldn’t be more different from one another. The previous warns of straying too far, but this track encourages it. Fitting, considering this theme is associated with many early level zones in Final Fantasy XIV and it simply compels the player to adventure into the wild unknown, without a care.

That’s it for this list! What did you think about my picks, and what would you have chosen for your own list? Let me know!

About the Author

  • Ben T.

    IT professional by day, RPG enthusiast by night. Owner, webmaster, and content creator for this site. Dog dad and fan of dark beers.

Ben T.


IT professional by day, RPG enthusiast by night. Owner, webmaster, and content creator for this site. Dog dad and fan of dark beers.

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