Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works and select commentaries from some of the score’s most important tracks.
When Outer Wilds was released in 2019, it felt like a casual revolution of not just adventure games as a genre but video game music as a whole. The game is a sprawling yet intimate time-loop adventure in which you play an archaeologist/astronaut in a distant system, solving the mystery of why your sun keeps exploding twenty-some minutes after you wake up. And through its elegant, cozy presentation and the banjo-forward music of BAFTA-nominated composer Andrew Prahlow, it also explored ideas of our own significance in the grand scheme of the universe.
The success of both game and soundtrack led Prahlow back to Outer Wilds for its expansion, Echoes of the Eye, giving him a chance to go back to the camping-out-in-space feel of the original while exploring new, alien territory to match the new ring world your character encounters in the DLC. What’s more, he followed up the expansion’s soundtrack with “The Lost Reels,” which add six extended musical suites that help express some of the complex, post-rock ideas explored in the score — from the orchestral expansiveness of “Older Than the Universe” to the playful string-quartet drive of “The Spirit of Water.”
On today’s podcast, I sat down with Prahlow to discuss the big, heady ideas Outer Wilds expresses in both game and music form, his response to the score’s breakaway success, and how it feels to be in consideration for the GRAMMY’s first award for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media. (He also takes us through a few tracks from The Lost Reels with some exclusive commentaries.)
You can find Andrew Prahlow at his official website here.
Outer Wilds is currently available on Xbox, Steam, and PlayStation. You can also listen to The Lost Reels on your preferred music streaming service.