Music is an integral part of any game. While pieces that truly compliment their environment are often capable of stirring emotions and conveying a story without the use of words, dull, uninspiring themes can go completely under the radar.
The list below is a compilation of some of my own personal favorite “starting village” themes in RPGs – though I’ll be using the term loosely here. I have attempted to provide an eclectic mix of tracks from all sorts of RPGs throughout the years, but I’m sure that I have missed many amazing pieces as a result. But that’s where you come in – be sure to leave your own personal favorites down in the comments below.
Provincial City of Rolent – The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
The city of Rolent has everything one could ask for, all without sacrificing its “countryside village” vibe. It is a city bustling with activity, but not enough to overwhelm a fledgling adventurer. Best of all, the ambiance provided through this track is quite calming and tranquil – easing the anxiety that one might experience at the beginning of any journey.
Calm Time – Star Ocean: First Departure R
Though this one isn’t played in the very first town in Star Ocean: First Departure R, it IS used in the first village after traveling through time – in reality, the true beginning of the adventure. I don’t know about you, but if I ever find myself traveling through time, I can only hope that I come across an equally serene atmosphere like this.
City of Forest – Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
Mystic Quest gets a lot of heat, most of it for legitimate reasons. However, pushing past the potential controversy will reveal a soundtrack with genuine heart – something which cannot be said for every RPG. While at times, it might lean too far into the 80/90s rock scene for some player’s tastes, many tracks tout a lasting allure that remains even decades later.
Burg – Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD)
For a game that has received three remakes since its original release, I always find myself going back to where Lunar: The Silver Star began – the Sega CD. Burg is the hometown of a bunch of kids that will eventually save the world, and this track compliments the beginnings of such a romp quite exceptionally.
Country Living – Breath of Fire III
A lot happens before you reach your “starter village” in Breath of Fire III, and I won’t spoil the details here. But for base context, it is a farming community that works their hands to the bone day in, day out. Honest, hard workers many may be, the village isn’t without some secrets, and brief moments of petty thievery – in fact, the player might even get caught up in that themselves! Either way, it brings an air of uniqueness to the table that my other offerings on this list simply cannot.
Vale – Golden Sun
If the aforementioned Star Ocean piece was not enough, here is more Motoi Sakuraba for you – and right on the heels of my Star Ocean: First Departure R Bard Banter discussion! I actually had no clue that Golden Sun and Star Ocean shared composers, but I can easily draw parallels now that I know. I’ve always loved this Golden Sun piece, as it is one of the most “chill” village themes in existence.
That’s it for this list. What did you think about my selection? Stay tuned for more musical spotlights in the future!