Town themes are an integral part of any RPG’s soundtrack. They often are capable of conveying a story without the use of words, and while dull, uninspired themes can go completely unnoticed, thought-provoking, scene-appropriate tracks can leave a lasting impression. The list below is a sample of some of my own personal favorite town themes. As usual, I have attempted to provide an eclectic mix of tracks from all sorts of RPGs throughout the years, so don’t be afraid to share some of your own favorites (or ones I have omitted) in the comments below.
From That Day On – Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy soundtracks are no strangers to praise, but the sixth installment in the series really created something special. After the world “ends” at the hands of Kefka, this theme plays in a lot of towns across the world, and perfectly combines painful reality with just a sliver of hope, which should accompany any world-ending event worth its salt.
Island – Breath of Fire III
Breath of Fire III has a few locations that are notorious for, let’s say, suggestive things. Genmel is home to an arena that hosts the Contest of Champions, an annual event that is run by abusive criminals. The other destination, appropriately named Syn City, is home to a major crime syndicate where all sorts of illegal activities take place. This track is responsible for portraying that musically, and I think it does a great job of doing so.
A Settlement in the Red Bluffs – Octopath Traveler
To say that Octopath Traveler’s OST is a masterpiece would be an understatement. Although this is not my favorite track in the OST, it is so catchy that even those with two left feet (like myself) will want to get up and try their hand at their best jig anyways.
Whispering Seedlings – Earthlock
This theme has been on a few of my other lists, and for good reason. Earthlock has a pretty solid soundtrack overall, but I always find myself going back to this one especially. It provides ambiance in an enchanted “safezone” of sorts, and I think it portrays that “enchanting” theme through its instrumentation quite well. Not necessarily a town per se, but close enough!
Corridors of Time – Chrono Trigger
Arguably one of the greatest RPG themes to have ever been composed, it would be a shame to omit Corridors of Time from the list. The enthralling eastern groove that it has going on is a perfect match to a magical floating city from a bygone era.
Snowman (Snow Wood Boarding School) – Earthbound
People either love or hate Earthbound, but there’s no denying that it has amassed a sizable cult following since its inception in the early 90s. My brother bought it brand new when it first released, complete with the oversized box and scratch and sniff player’s guide. It is something I wish we had never gotten rid of, but I’ll continue to listen to this soundtrack until they bring the game over to Switch. While you’re at it, go ahead and bring over the entire Mother franchise and be done with it. This track might be cheating on the whole town thing just a bit, as it is used as the background for a boarding school. But since the kids live on campus and the track itself is phenomenal, I figured that was enough for it to deserve to be on the list.
Meribia – Lunar: The Silver Star
Best known for its appearance on the PS1 under the guise of Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete, the Lunar I remember most fondly was back on the good ol’ Sega CD. While it would be a few years after the expansion’s release before I picked up a Sega CD for myself, a buddy had one along with Lunar and I was simply amazed by the production quality of the game. Every version of this game has seen changes to its OST, but I’ve always appreciated the original composition the most. Meribia is the first large city that you come across in your adventure, and is a massive departure from the initial sleepy village known as Burg.