River Boy (Narayana Johnson) wins first WSA Game Music Award at the concert PRESS PLAY: Music in Games
WSA Game Music Award
Game music has become a genre in its own right in anno 2023, playing a crucial role in immersing players in virtual worlds and accompanying the story. Film Fest Gent, the home of the World Soundtrack Awards, therefore felt it was important from now on to also recognise the talent behind video game music. Talent that often no longer draws the line between composing for the big screen or for games. The festival launched a brand new WSAward that rewards the best score for a video game and/or other interactive media: the WSA Game Music Award. The winner is chosen by the public.
At the PRESS PLAY: Music in Games concert on Thursday 19 October, the first-ever winner of the WSA Game Music Award was announced. The honour went to Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist River Boy (Narayana Johnson) for his playful, sinister score for Cult of the Lamb (developed by Massive Monster and published by Devolver Digital). In the game, players take on the role of a possessed lamb saved from destruction by a mysterious stranger. Johnson's insidiously cute, intense and unpredictable music enhances the chaos the gamer must endure.
Nominees WSA Game Music Award
- Cult of the Lamb - River Boy (Narayana Johnson) (winner)
- Firmament - Maclaine Diemer
- Immortality - Nainita Desai
- Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope - Gareth Coker, Grant Kirkhope, Yoko Shimomura
- Potionomics - Gregory Nicolett
River Boy (Narayana Johnson)
Narayana Johnson is Audio Director at Massive Monster. Besides writing and producing the award-winning music of Cult of the Lamb, he also collaborated on the voice-overs and sound effects. He is one half of the electronic duo Willow Beats whose songs collected millions of streams. Johnson's music draws heavily on his memories from his childhood and teenage years wandering through the forests and mountains in Northern Rivers, NSW.
PRESS PLAY: Music in Games
In its epic concert PRESS PLAY: Music in Games, Film Fest Gent brought music composed for video games to life at Capitole on Thursday 19 October. The symphonic concert was presented by composer Austin Wintory, known for his scores for the unique and award-winning games Journey and Abzû. The diverse line-up treated fans to music by Michael Giacchino (Medal of Honor), Bear McCreary (God of War Ragnarök) and Stephanie Economou (Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök), among others. The latter even made a music video to accompany her music for the occasion. By the way, all the scores were performed by Brussels Philharmonic & Flemish Radio Choir conducted by Dirk Brossé.
Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla, together with Brussels Philharmonic, performed his music for The Last of Us live on the ronroco. Not only scores from the biggest games passed in review, but also from celebrated indie hits, resulting in a true world premiere. Lena Raine's brilliant, evocative score for the platform game Celeste was orchestrated exclusively for the concert and received a live performance for the first time.
23rd World Soundtrack Awards
On 21 October, the international film music world gathers in Ghent for the 23rd edition of the World Soundtrack Awards, the culmination of the WSA Film Music and the closing event of Film Fest Gent's 50th anniversary edition. Composers Nicola Piovani, Laurence Rosenthal and Eiko Ishibashi will be guests. A selection of their works will be performed live by Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Dirk Brossé. During the WSA ceremony, all other winners of the World Soundtrack Awards will be announced.