A few weeks ago, we all witnessed the annual gaming spectacle that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Each year at E3, hundreds of games are on display, with many of them being brand-new reveals shown at developers’ press conferences. This year, I decided to bring something new to the site — something I have done for the past couple E3’s on my own personal blog. In this list I’m going to introduce you to 10 songs we heard during E3 2017, whether they were used in trailers, gameplay, or just in the background of the many press conferences. Hopefully you’ll find some new tunes to listen to, as I have while writing this list. Consider this list the beginning of a new music initiative we’re bringing to Ground Punch, alongside Rezonance, a new series in the works about video game music, created by our own James Wood. Now, without further ado, let’s jump into the music of E3!
“Energy” by Avelino – FIFA 18 Gameplay Trailer: The World’s Game
The first song of E3 that I instantly fell in love with was “Energy” by Avelino. While the EA press conference didn’t show off many games, they were sure to include their annual sports franchises, and they “got the ball rolling” (pun intended) with this FIFA gameplay trailer, detailing all the new updates and improvements for this year’s installment. This background track instantly gripped me, with its pounding beats and digital sound beneath a soft-spoken, fast-paced rap. I have never felt so captivated by a trailer for a soccer game, but FIFA 18 sold me with this song. I have always loved FIFA’s soundtracks since I first heard “On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons in FIFA 13, long before it was even on the radio. FIFA games have always been a great place to discover some awesome lesser-known singles, like Bastille’s “Hangin’” which was featured in FIFA 14 and was never actually on one of their studio albums. I doubt that FIFA 18 will disappoint with its soundtrack upon release, especially if “Energy” is any indication of what’s to come.
“Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes – Fallout 4 VR: Official E3 Trailer
“Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes is a 1954 classic that just screams Fallout, with its grainy sound and the “barbershop quartet” feel to it. Fallout 4, in particular, has already provided us with some amazing forgotten tunes, like “Atom Bomb Baby” by Five Stars from the original reveal trailer. Something about these songs gives the Fallout series its rustic feel, considering the games take place in post-apocalyptic 50’s-era landscapes. While you explore such environments, you’re encouraged to take in the views, destroyed by nuclear warfare, all while listening to these classic tunes on your radio. Furthermore, with this trailer showing off the virtual reality features coming to Fallout 4, “Mr. Sandman” certainly got me in the mood to hop back into the game, even after a couple years of dormancy.
“Blood” by Algiers – Assassin’s Creed Origins Trailer
As you may know by now, I’m a MASSIVE Assassin’s Creed fan. Every year, a new game would come out, and I’d instantly fall in love with the song featured in the reveal trailer. From Revelations‘s “Iron” by Woodkid, to Unity‘s “Pistols at Dawn” by Seinabo Sey (my personal favorite), I’ve discovered a lot of great music over the years. Unfortunately, Ubisoft skipped a year, meaning we didn’t receive a new Assassin’s Creed title in 2016. However, this E3 we saw the reveal of Assassin’s Creed Origins, and in the background of all that Egyptian chaos was “Blood” by Algiers. While not as captivating as previous years’ trailer tunes, I felt the booming drums of this track gave Origins a sense of scope and wonder as the protagonist barrels across sand dunes, scales pyramids, and fights off crocodiles. I can’t wait for this game to come out on October 27, but for now, I’ll just go watch the trailer some more.
“No Good” by Kaleo – The Crew 2: Cinematic Announcement Trailer
The Crew 2 was an interesting case this year. We knew it was coming, as its presence had already been revealed on Twitter. Its showcase at the Ubisoft press conference was brief, combining multiple trailers with bits of gameplay sprinkled in between. One such trailer had an amazing song in the background, “No Good” by Kaleo, which I quickly added to my list. A song you’ve probably heard before in commercials and other promotional materials, “No Good” has a fast-paced party vibe to it that best suits the visuals of The Crew 2, whether we’re zipping around racetracks or flying alongside the newly-added planes. This song created a frantic atmosphere that I felt went along with this reveal trailer perfectly. A close runner-up song was “Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde, which was also heard in a brief clip of The Crew 2. While I’m a massive Lorde fan, this song has never really been my cup of tea, and it wasn’t featured in an official trailer, so “No Good” took its place as the better song.
“Take a Walk” by Passion Pit – Skyrim Switch: Official E3 Trailer
The next song on the list is another modern classic that you’ve probably heard before in commercials. “Take a Walk” by Passion Pit was instantly recognized in our liveblog by a few editors (shout out to Kelson and Sam) when Skyrim was shown off on the Nintendo Switch. It seemed like an odd choice of song to me, as Skyrim has such a memorable orchestral soundtrack, and adding a fun pop tune to its gameplay was … interesting. I had also heard the song from commercials, however, and loved that it found its way into an E3 press conference. As it played in the background of Bethesda’s showcase, introducing us to the inclusions of Zelda skins and the Master Sword in the world of The Elder Scrolls, I had a huge smile on my face. I’ve never been more excited to “take a walk” through the world of Skyrim once more. Thanks, Passion Pit.
“Ordinary World” by Hit House – The Evil Within 2: Official E3 Announce Trailer
The Evil Within 2 came mostly as a surprise to the public, and while most were excited to see the series return, many people had mixed emotions over the reveal trailer. Some thought the trailer ran far too long, while others thought it didn’t explain very much about its premise. I, for one, thought it was fantastic, mainly due to the song in the background: a haunting cover of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World”. Sung by Scott Miller, William Hunt & Chad Hughes (Hit House), this rendition supplied The Evil Within 2 with the eerie vibes it intended to deliver. From the child singing the opening chorus, to the grungy take on the main verse, to the moment where the drums kick in and the vocals completely change key on the final chorus; I was on the edge of my seat, and I have to give Bethesda credit for once again choosing an incredible background song, and once again making our list.
“Crazy” by Malia J – Skull & Bones: Reveal Trailer
We now move on to yet another cover, this time from Ubisoft’s press conference. The haunting take on Seal’s “Crazy”, sung by Malia J, was played in the background of the reveal trailer for Skull & Bones, Ubisoft’s new multiplayer pirate-ship-battler. While the game itself looks incredible, with breathtaking visuals, large-scale ship battles, and massive amounts of destruction, the song used in the trailer really set the tone for a much darker look into the world of piracy. Sweeping shots of sunken ships and buried treasure opened up to an enormous battle on the sea between bands of warring pirates. This game was a complete surprise to anyone watching, and hearing that cover of “Crazy” in the background just made it even more enjoyable. I haven’t felt this…”WOW!” since Assassin’s Creed Unity’s trailer was set to Lorde’s rendition of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” That low rumbling sound; that “calm before the storm” prior to the drums kicking in and blowing you away; that’s what makes this trailer so awesome, and it makes me so excited to play this game.
“Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton – Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: E3 2017 Full Reveal Trailer
Moving away from cover tunes, and shifting back to Bethesda yet again, we need to talk about the trailer for Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. First things first, I am not a fan of Wolfenstein: The New Order, by any means. I found it’s gunplay to be a little bit enjoyable, but its repetitive gameplay, disjointed storyline, bland characters, and boring set pieces made for a pretty dreadful experience. Yes, I know I’m in the minority, but we’re not here for games; we’re here for music. With that being said, I had no interest in Wolfenstein’s sequel, The New Colossus, until I saw the reveal trailer, complete with Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen”. This classic song, of course, sung by one of Las Vegas’s most cherished performers as a young man, instills a feeling of carefree jauntiness with Newton’s tenor vocals and that swingin’ drum line. Combine all this with the goofy nature of Wolfenstein‘s gameplay, as B.J. Blazkowicz delivers witty repartee and bloody headshots to his enemies, and you’ve got yourself one of the best trailers of E3. I just felt like this was a perfect song to lighten the mood of a typically darker game, and set the tone for what kind of humor we may encounter in this highly-anticipated sequel. Though I can’t put my finger on why we’ve anticipated it so much . . .
“Automaton” by Jamiroquai – Just Dance 2018
Every year I make this list, I find myself putting Just Dance on it. While it started as a joke one year with “What Does the Fox Say?”, I’ve come to realize Just Dance features some awesome songs with each new installment. It looks like this year’s addition will not disappoint, with the inclusion of Jamiroquai’s “Automaton” blessing the stage. This song was showed off at the Ubisoft press conference, in what seemed to be the most rushed and awkward presentation of a Just Dance game (and yes, that includes the year Jason Derulo came out and…sang? Can you even call that singing?). Anyway, the dances shown off were the aforementioned “Automaton,” “Bubble Pop!” by Hyuna, and a new song by Bebe Rexha, which she came out and performed. Then she shouted “Just Dance 2018 comes out on October 24!” or something, and they all cleared the stage. Despite the awkward show, I was still pretty entranced in that dance during Jamiroquai’s song, making it one of my favorite songs of E3 2017. The popping and locking of the dudes in robot suits was pretty badass, and I hope those dances are actually in the game when it comes out later this year.
“Boom Boom” by Big Head Todd & The Monsters – Far Cry 5: Official Gameplay
The final song on this list was a toss-up for me. I had considered going back to Bethesda one last time and talking about “Wicked Ones” by DOROTHY, which is an excellent rock anthem that was set to the opening sizzle reel to their conference. While it is a spectacular song, I figured I’d rather shine the light on a lesser-known song, which I felt brought some fun to the Far Cry 5 gameplay reveal trailer: “Boom Boom” by Big Head Todd & The Monsters. The song doesn’t kick in for awhile, until every character is in their place and ready to take down some baddies. This trailer set the scene in Montana for a crime bust of sorts, and introduces us to each new character in the game. The character we play starts the song off with four gunshots to one such criminal, and from there, chaos ensues. Grace Armstrong shoots from atop a nearby building as the sniper of the group. Then Boomer, your canine companion and trusty four-legged weapon, charges into the fray to help you take out some evildoers. Finally Nick Rye rains death from above in a biplane, introducing the new addition to Far Cry 5, pilot-able air vehicles. All the while, “Boom Boom” echoes in the background, with its down-home country rock vibes and its vocals that reflect the shootout going on in the trailer. It perfectly fits the sequence we’re seeing, and I just found it to be the best choice for Far Cry 5‘s reveal trailer. I look forward to more crazy action like this when the game releases on February 27 next year.
Well that’s our list! Hopefully we’ve introduced you to some great new music and some awesome games on the horizon. Stay tuned to Ground Punch for news, reviews, and impressions of these E3 2017 games, and come back next year for the music of E3 2018! See you then.