Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-arse sounds they make. Today, we return to one of the most influential games of the last decade on the eve of its PlayStation 5 remake.
From Software’s Demon’s Souls (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) became the template for many games to follow, including From’s own Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. It was atmospheric, moody, and hard as balls, qualities that defined the subsequent decade of From games and their imitators. And while I’m not a huge fan of the soundtrack compared to the rest of the loosely-related Souls-like genre, the minimalistic approach taken by Demon’s Souls’ music really shines in the haunting theme of its hub area.
From Software / IvanIMG (YouTube)
“Maiden in Black,” composed by frequent Pop’n Music collaborator Shunsuke Kida, is a soft, chilling arrangement led by a plucked string melody and backing chords. It’s simplistic but sets the stage beautifully. In Demon’s Souls lore, the Nexus is a place that traps the souls of the dead, recruiting them in the mission of ridding the land of Boletaria of its demonic invaders.
The music itself is wonderful, but my favourite part is when it stops. “Maiden in Black” includes several moments when the instruments cut out entirely. At some points, it feels like the melody won’t return at all, leaving you to ponder the necessity of the Nexus and the woes of its inhabitants. But just as the main character returns time and time again, their soul locked in a never-ending cycle of death and rebirth, so too does the track’s core melody fight back the silence.
I’m happy to be back for another Morning Music, and I hope everyone is managing the tumultuous times we live in. I’m writing this before the election, so who knows how you’re all feeling as you read this. Let’s chat about Demon’s Souls or whatever in the comments and see if we can’t form a little community in these times of separation and anxiety.