It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, but I can assure you, it’s because I was playing the literal Helheim out of God of War: Ragnarok.
It’s such an amazing game that for the second straight blog, I’m referencing it before I actually get into what I’m writing about. But before I proceed, I will say this: I plan on either writing a blog or making a YouTube video about God of War: Ragnarok and a theory I have about Norse Mythology as it pertains to another beloved video game franchise of mine.
So, why was today the day I was drawn out of the blog dry spell I was in? This is why:
The highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy video game from Portkey Games and Warner Bros. Avalanche today released this music video titled “Overture to the Unwritten.”
This game releases on Feb. 10, 2023, and to my dismay, it can not come any sooner.
I’m a GIGANTIC Harry Potter fan. I would not like all of the nerdy things I do, video games included, if it weren’t for the Harry Potter series.
The book series literally helped me learn how to read. I grew up with the books, films, and video games all releasing as I was aging my way through school, wishing I was at Hogwarts.
The very first game I got with my very first console, the PlayStation 2, all the way back in 2001, was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone PS1 video game. My older brother and I played the hell out of this game. The magical duo of the Ps2 and the game itself transported us within the castle walls.
You can even ask my parents about the Broomstick training level in this game; they still have nightmares about it. They stayed up “past midnight, easy” trying to fly through all the rings on my 4-year-old behalf.
What followed were countless magical journeys ranging from the GameBoy Color to the PlayStation 3 and spanned the course of 12 years. While the gameplay always slightly varied from game to game in the series, the one thing that remained a constant was the AMAZING score that backdropped these adapted adventures.
You want to talk about immersion? You want to make gamers feel like they’re actually in a magical castle? BOOM. You hire Jeremy Soule or James Hannigan. (Check out this website to hear all the music in one place.)
While the Potter films are epically scored by John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat, this blog is specifically about the video games and the video game music.
To begin with Jeremy Soule, I’d say he is probably more well-known for his work on other epic video game soundtracks including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. But I know him for the first four Harry Potter video games as well as the PS2’s Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.
The greatest bit of music from any of the early Harry Potter games is one I listen to at least once a week while I’m writing something. This track called “Happy Hogwarts” is just the perfect soundtrack for wandering around with Harry, Ron, and Hermione within the castle. Listen below:
The only way to describe this track is magical.
Not to mention, this amazingly soothing track for Diagon Alley from the Chamber of Secrets video game:
Soule also captured my imagination while running through the Hogwarts grounds in the Prisoner of Azkaban game with this track playing:
After Soule, Hannigan picked up from the Order of the Phoenix game through the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 video games.
With a wide range of composition credits, including the Harry Potter audiobook soundtracks, the series’ conclusion was in safe hands with Hannigan.
Whether it’s the “Exploring Hogwarts” track from the Order of the Phoenix game:
Or the “Friendship Theme” from the Half-Blood Prince game:
And even the EPIC “Wandering Part 3 – Mystery” from the Deathly Hallows Part 2 game:
Hannigan took what Soule started and did an absolutely amazing job at putting you within the walls of Hogwarts as you completed tasks with characters you loved from the books and films.
Huge props to both Soule and Hannigan for making the music they did, because if you swapped their tracks into the films, the transition would be seamless.
But where does it all lead? Well, into Hogwarts Legacy, of course!
Judging by the “Overture to the Unwritten” music video today, I’m prepared to say that Hogwarts Legacy seems distinctly prepared to take what Soule and Hannigan built and add to the epic history of Harry Potter video game music.
This masterful piece performed by the Seven Springs Orchestra and Choir and composed by Chuck E. Myers “Sea”, J. Scott Rakozy, and Peter Murray, seems to capture what its predecessors once did.
The key difference I’m most excited about when I dive into Hogwarts Legacy in February is this: this game’s score will finally be the score that backdrops my journey at Hogwarts.
This game will begin with character customization and focuses on a new journey in the Harry Potter world that was once “unwritten.” You’d bet your ass that I’m going to make a character that looks like me and I can’t wait to discover what Hogwarts has in store for me!
Since all the previous video games in the Wizarding World followed the adventures of Harry directly from the books and films, I’m beyond excited to have my own journey in Hogwarts with its own unique musical score.
The official Hogwarts Legacy channel has also released a few peaceful ASMR videos that show off the environment of the game, including this one:
I can already picture a score like the “Overture to the Unwritten” being paired perfectly with the incredible diegetic sounds that the game developers put into these breathtaking environments.
However, if Portkey Games and WB Avalanche are reading this and want to make me shed even more tears on release day, I wouldn’t be upset if “Happy Hogwarts” chimed in as I make my way down the Grand Staircase and head toward my first ever Defence Against the Dark Arts class.
As you anticipate Hogwarts Legacy, please go listen to the Harry Potter video game soundtracks when you study, write, read, or work. You will not regret it!
EDIT from 12/6/22
Oh My Goodness, we’re back again today!
The Hogwarts Legacy Twitter account posted this video this morning all about the music to the game:
In this video, one of the composers (Chuck E. Myers “Sea”) confirms they’ve been working on the project for over 4 YEARS! He compliments John Williams for making “Hedwig’s Theme” and that it was an incredible base to begin from.
Another one of the composers (J. Scott Rakozy) also confirmed that they were going for the nostalgic element but with something new! They didn’t specifically mention the scores of the original Potter games, but they absolutely meant those, alongside the scores of the films.
What’s further apparent is that there’s so much attention to detail and care put into the soundtrack of the game. And if half as much care goes into the overall game, us Potter fans are in for one hell of an experience come February!