RPG Forest Town Themes – 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. Today, we’re going to take a look once again at some of my favorite forest town themes in RPGs. As I’ve done in previous lists, I’ll be limiting myself to one entry per franchise.
Note: We do not claim to own any rights to this music. All rights go to their respective artists.
What Should Be – Star Ocean: First Departure R
Coule is a village frozen in time after a mysterious infection spreads that turns everyone to stone. And I feel that is accurately conveyed through this track by blending unsettling vibes with hints of nostalgia. On a completely separate note, I still feel like Star Ocean: First Departure R is the gold standard for pixel art in any instance where the now iconic HD-2D is not used, especially when it comes to titles with fixed camera angles / prerendered-style backgrounds.
Pascal – NieR:Automata
The most important takeaway from my recent playthrough of NieR:Automata is that war isn’t black and white, and this track (for reasons that will not be spoiled) exemplifies that. It’s a reminder that between seemingly endless conflict, there are those that long to avoid the crossfire. While I’m not a fan of vocals in most game music, there’s just something captivating about NieR’s proprietary “Chaos” language that certainly makes the soundtrack as a whole much more appealing to me.
Kazham – Final Fantasy XI
No list would be complete without some sort of nod to the Final Fantasy franchise, and I’m giving that honor this time to Naoshi Mizuta and Final Fantasy XI. While not as well known or highly regarded as the legendary Nobuo Uematsu, I feel that Mizuta did some amazing work within Square Enix’s first Final Fantasy MMORPG. Although Kazham may not be the flagship track in his repertoire, it fits the requirements for this particular list quite well.
Kazham is a tropical village surrounded by dangerous jungles and even a volcano. It is a far cry from the industrial districts of Bastok, the regal halls of San d’Oria, and the easy-going walls of Windurst, and that is made abundantly clear through the tone and feel the track provides. For this region, it is a last bastion before diving into the wild unknown.
Frontier Village – Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
The Nopon-infested Frontier Village lies within the Heart of Makna Forest. In stark contrast to the seemingly untamed wilderness that surrounds it, this village gives off an infectious, welcoming vibe that’s just what an adventurer needs after a hard day’s work.
But once you realize that Frontier Village is home to a soul-crushing amount of side quests that are sure to deter even the most determined players for a time, the aforementioned guise of warmth can erode rather quickly! Dang Nopons and their never-ending needs!
Octopath Traveler – My Quiet Forest Home
While many take issue with design choices in Octopath Traveler, the soundtrack typically isn’t among them, and is often touted as one of the best on the Switch to this day. This track plays in H’aanit’s village of S’warkii, and the haunting, heartfelt melody that shuffles between the piano and stringed instruments is so moving despite its simplicity.
That’s it for this list! What did you think about my picks, and what would you have chosen differently? Let me know!