Annual Game Music Awards 2011 Winners

We are proud to present the winners of the Annual Game Music Awards 2011. These panel-voted officially recognised awards provide a thorough and wide-reaching recognition of achievement in game music over the last year. Congratulations to all winners, runners-up, and nominees.

Best Score — Japan :: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword continued series’ tradition with its large, adaptive, and highly thematic score. Yet the music often exceeded its predecessors with its rich stylings and immersive orchestrations — thanks to the creativity and experience of leads Hajime Wakai and Mahito Yokota.

Runners-Up

Final Fantasy Type-0
Dark Souls

Other Nominations

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten
Earth Seeker
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Maelstrom
Nora and the Engraving Studio
Rewrite
The Last Story

Best Score — Western :: inFamous 2

inFamous 2‘s music team, led by Jonathan Mayer and Jim Dooley, concocted an intoxicating mixture of timbres, colours, and styles that was truly genre-defying and mesmerising. The title managed to hold it all together through its edgy, gritty nature and an outstanding recording and mixing effort.

Runners-Up

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Dead Space 2

Other Nominations

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Crysis 2
Might & Magic Heroes VI
Mortal Kombat
Shogun II: Total War
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Best Score — Contemporary / Alternative :: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Michael McCann extensively explored the concept of ‘transhumanism’ with his score for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Headlined by an incredible main theme, the score portrayed the game’s future-noir world in a deep and subtle manner with hybrids of electronic, acoustic, and vocal elements.

Runners-Up

Portal 2
Child of Eden

Other Nominations

Black Rock Shooter: The Game
Dangan Ronpa
L.A. Noire
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact
Patapon 3
Shadows of the Damned
Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Best Score — Retro / Remixed :: Hard Corps: Uprising

Having a wide-spanning involvement in Hard Corps: Uprising, Daisuke Ishiwatari created music that complemented the title’s action-packed gameplay and his own illustrations. What’s more, while still denied an album release, the music greatly entertained gamers with its hard rock arrangements and originals.

Runners-Up

Sonic Generations
Super Mario 3D Land

Other Nominations

Bejeweled 3
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2
de Blob 2
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
Rayman Origins
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Best Score — Independent :: Bloodrayne: Betrayal

By combining exuberant gothic stylings with powerful melodies, WayForward Technology’s Jake Kaufman dazzled listeners with Bloodrayne: Betrayal‘s exuberantly produced orchestral score. In fact, he even went a step further by offering an authentic chiptune version reminiscent of Castlevania.

Runners-Up

To the Moon
Cthulhu Saves the World

Other Nominations

Alpha Squad
Eschatos
Fusion: Genesis
Irotoridori no Sekai
PixelJunk Shooter 2
Spacechem
Sword & Sworcery

Outstanding Achievement – Main Theme :: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon – Rebirth

Keiki Kobayashi proved himself once again with this incredible opening theme. With heroic militaristic melodies from the Northwest Sinfonia and brooding Arabian performances from the Yuval Ron Ensemble, the clash of styles culminated with a mammoth build-up at the climax of the theme.

Runners-Up

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Ballad of the Goddess
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Icarus
Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection – Opening Theme

Other Nominations

Batman: Arkham City – Arkham City Main Theme
Darkspore – Darkspore Theme
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Maelstrom – Theme of El Shaddai
Killzone 3 – And Ever We Fight On
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs – Theme from SOCOM 4
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Main Theme

Outstanding Achievement – Vocal Theme :: Disgaea 4 – Golden Memories

While Tenpei Sato has a long-standing reputation for creating vocal themes, Disgaea 4’s “Golden Memories” is one of his very best. The vast vocal melody — gorgeously performed by Sarah Àlainn — brought so much to this lushly orchestrated ballad.

Runners-Up

inFamous 2 – Fade Away
Atelier Meruru – Cadena
Portal 2 – Want You Gone

Other Nominations

Bastion – Setting Sail, Coming Home
Chaos Rings Omega – Chaos Rings Omega
Devil Survivor 2 – World of Illusions
Homefront – Stand Your Ground
Senritsu no Stratus – Eternal Blue
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – Skylanders Main Theme

Outstanding Achievement – Licensed Music :: LittleBigPlanet 2

LittleBigPlanet 2’s weird and wonderful levels were enhanced with an eclectic selection of original and licensed music. On the licensed side, it was amazing how selections from artists as diverse as Shostakovich, Nightwish, and Squarepusher all found a memorable place in the game.

Runners-Up

Driver: San Francisco
Rocksmith

Other Nominations

Dance Central 2
Deepak Chopra’s Leela: body.mind.spirit.play
FIFA 12
Gran Turismo 5
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Michael Jackson: The Experience
Saints Row: The Third

Outstanding Achievement – Sound Design :: Battlefield 3

The Battlefield series has always placed more emphasis on sound design than music, and Battlefield 3 was no exception. Stefan Strandberg’s team blended futuristic yet gritty ambient soundscapes with the sheer force of bullets and engines to incredible effect.

Runners-Up

Dead Space 2
Dark Souls

Other Nominations

Dead Island
Forza Motorsport 4
From Dust
Resistance 3
Shadows of the Damned
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Outstanding Achievement – Voice Dialogue :: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception got everything right in the audio department this year and the voice dialogue was no exception. Charmingly scripted, convincingly performed, and excellently integrated, the dialogue immersed gamers into Drake’s latest adventure.

Runners-Up

Catherine
Portal 2

Other Nominations

Bastion
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy
Dragon Age II
L.A. Noire
RAGE

Best Album – Arrangement :: Muramasa -The Demon Blade- Music Collection

Basiscape’s unexpected decision to revisit their score for Muramasa: The Demon Blade yielded particularly creative arrangements this year. At the core of the album were menacing yet beautiful performances of traditional Japanese instruments, supported by rich orchestrations and contemporary fusions.

Muramasa -The Demon Blade- Music Collection

Runners-Up

Valkyria Chronicles Piano Pieces
Distant Worlds – Music from Final Fantasy Returning Home
Castlevania Tribute Vol. 2

Other Nominations

Hideki Sakamoto Orchestral Works
Monster Hunter Orchestra Concert -Hunting Festival 2011-
Rockman Zero Collection Soundtrack -résonnant vie-
The Legend of Heroes -Zero no Kiseki- Super Arrange Version
The Greatest Video Game Music
Xenogears Myth

Best Album – Remix :: Persona 4 Reincarnation -Never More-

Persona 4 Reincarnation -Never More- stood out as this year’s most stylish remix album. Shoji Meguro and Atsushi Kitajoh greatly developed on the ideas of the the original Persona 4 with their sassy vocal tracks, moody contemporary experiments, and classical interludes.

Persona 4 Reincarnation -Never More-

Runners-Up

Nier Tribute Album -echo-
Café SQ
Rewrite – Soil

Other Nominations

Armored Core Reprises
Chaos Theory Remixed
Immortal 4
L.A. Noire Remixed
Monster Hunter Arrange a la carte -I’ll Love You-
We Are Rockmen

Best Album – Fan-Arranged :: Armored Core Tribute Album -The Answer- (Anosou)

Anosou’s decision to commemorate the contemporary scores for the Armored Core series was refreshing in an age filled with tributes to Touhou titles and 8-bit classics. And by blending beats, riffs, and vocals in a bizarre yet compelling way, The Answer stood out for more than just its choice of source material.

Armored Core Tribute Album -The Answer-

Runners-Up

Black Materia: Final Fantasy VII (Random)
Heroes vs. Villains (OverClocked ReMix)

Other Nominations

Harmony of a Hunter (Shinesparkers)
OverDriver (Dangerous Mezashi Cat)
PPPPPPowerup (SoulEye)
Over The Limits! (Tribullets)
Touhou Gensou Shiten 6 -Grimoire- (Sound Sepher)
Touhou Zerokyo Kesshi -Scarlet Bloodbath- (Zero Symphonic Battalion)
Unavenged (Random Encounter)

Best Album – Chiptune :: Hit and Run (Chipocrite)

Chipocrite’s Hit and Run provides a clear and enjoyable example of what a talented composer can do with a 22-year-old piece of hardware: the entire album was written with a particularly unconventional synthesizer, the original Game Boy!

Hit and Run

Runners-Up

Soundshock: FM Funk Madness (Various Artists)
SQ Chips (Various Artists)

Other Nominations

Biscuit (xyce)
Cheap Dinosaurs (Cheap Dinosaurs)
Impostor Nostalgia (Jimmy Hinson)
O.S.T. (Daniel Capo)
The Octagon (Jonathan Baken)
Waveform 2 (Joshua Morse)
zeta force (zabutom)

Best Album – Original :: Cryptidalia (Rom Di Prisco)

Rom Di Prisco’s Cryptidalia may have been his first original album, but it showed his years of experience scoring games. With ten contrasting electronic tracks, from the soothing anthem “Trophosphere”, to the percussive experiment “Caverns of Suursonnabu”, Cryptidalia is a rich, imaginative, and polished work.

Cryptidalia

Runners-Up

Blue Orb (onoken)
GE-ON-DAN Super Rare Trax: Land of the Rising Sun (Various Artists)

Other Nominations

6E 61 32 (Tim Wright as CoLD SToRAGE)
After all… (Motoi Sakuraba)
A New Story (Kanon)
Goodbye World (Naoyuki Sato)
Nerdcore Now Volume 1 (Various Artists)
Octave Theory (Earthbound Papas)
Play For Japan: The Album (Various Artists)

Best Album – Compilation :: Seiken Densetsu Music Complete Book

The Seiken Densetsu Music Complete Book compiled all the original scores and arranged albums for the Mana series to celebrate its 20th anniversary. In addition to its extensive musical content, the compilation stood out for its casing in a lavishly presented book.

Seiken Densetsu Music Complete Book

Runners-Up

Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 Soundtrack
Gradius Ultimate Collection

Other Nominations

Monster Hunter Hunting Music Collection Special Pack
pop’n music Super Best Box
Silent Hill Sounds Box
Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest Scene-Separated I – IX
The King of Soundtracks ’94 – XIII
Toaplan Shooting Chronicle
Yakuza The Best Original Soundtrack

Outstanding Production – Game Studio :: Nintendo

After several years lagging behind, Nintendo took a leading role in the audio sector this year with creative and polished scores for the Zelda, Mario, Star Fox, and Pilotwings series. In doing so, they have showcased the superior specifications of their next-generation handheld, the 3DS.

Runners-Up

Sony Computer Entertainment
Namco Bandai Games

Other Nominations

Atlus
Electronic Arts
Konami
Microsoft Game Studios
Taito
THQ
Ubisoft

Outstanding Production – Music Studio :: Basiscape

Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Basiscape showcased their individuality and versatility throughout 2011 with a range of releases, including Valkyria Chronicles III, Black Rock Shooter, and even a Pokémon spinoff. They also appealed to collectors by internally publishing various soundtrack releases and arranged albums.

Runners-Up

noisycroak
Pyramind Studios

Other Nominations

Design Wave
Dynamedion
Elements Garden
Procyon Studio
Remote Control Productions
T’s Music
Unique Note

Outstanding Achievement – Record Label :: Sweep Record

Shinji Hosoe’s Sweep Record have made so many album releases possible this year: cutting-edge new releases, retrospective soundtrack chronicles, surprising remix albums, and electronic mini-albums. They have also given Basiscape, noisycroak, Sound Sepher, and others a means to distribute their releases.

Runners-Up

Square Enix
Konami Digital Entertainment

Other Nominations

5pb. Records
Dog Ear Records
E.A.R.S.
Sumthing Else Music Works
Team Entertainment
Wavemaster
Zuntata Records

Outstanding Production – Concert :: Symphonic Odysseys

Symphonic Odysseys – Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu was the fourth in a legendary series of symphonic game music concerts that occurred in Cologne. Produced by Thomas Boecker, this concert combined daring arrangements of Final Fantasy and Mistwalker favourites with dramatic and polished performances.

Runners-Up

LEGENDS
Video Game Heroes

Other Nominations

4star Orchestra
Back to the Future
Fantasy Rock Fes 2011
Guilty Gear X BlazBlue Music Live 2011
Keys of Game Vol. 1
Press Start 2011: Symphony of Games
Video Game Music Live Extend

Outstanding Production – Tour :: The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony

One way Nintendo celebrated the anniversary of The Legend of Zelda was through orchestral concerts in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London. Featuring numerous popular themes, memorable video projections, and special guests, producer Jason Michael Paul adapted a successful formula for a treasured series.

Runners-Up

Distant Worlds – Music from Final Fantasy
Dragon Quest in Concert

Other Nominations

PLAY! A Video Game Symphony
Video Games Live

Outstanding Contribution – Eastern Composer :: Motoi Sakuraba

Motoi Sakuraba innovated with several major new game scores this year, notably a dark symphonic accompaniment to Dark Souls and a rare solo Tales score. He successfully balanced such projects with solo albums and live appearances that focused on his core progressive rock style.

Motoi Sakuraba

Runners-Up

Akira Yamaoka
Mahito Yokota

Other Nominations

Takeshi Abo
Rio Hamamoto
Takeharu Ishimoto
Kenji Ito
Hiroki Kikuta
Hirokazu Koshio
Nobuo Uematsu

Outstanding Contribution – Western Composer :: Jason Graves

Jason Graves demonstrated his creativity with five high-powered sequels and two charity albums this year. He especially shone with Dead Space 2, where he took gamers on a frightening but touching musical journey that exceeded even the esteemed original.

Jason Graves

Runners-Up

Jeremy Soule
Pawel Blasczcak

Other Nominations

Rod Abernethy
Lorne Balfe
Christophe Héral
Laura Karpman
Tilman Sillescu
Cris Velasco
Inon Zur

Outstanding Contribution – Independent Composer :: Jake Kaufman

Jake Kaufman’s transition from freelance composer to WayForward audio lead has given him more opportunities than ever. With projects ranging from the gothic Bloodrayne: Betrayal to the retro Mighty Milky Way, from cinema adaptations to Japanese shmup tributes, the artist has yet to let us down.

Jake Kaufman

Runners-Up

Josh Whelchel
Keishi Yonao

Other Nominations

Hijiri Anze
Sean Beeson
Danny Baranowsky
Norihiro Furukawa
Chris Geehan
Brian Allen Holmes
Tomomi Teratani

Outstanding Contribution – Newcomer :: Brian Tyler

Veteran movie and television composer Brian Tyler made his mark on the games industry this year with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Need For Speed: The Run. The former especially brought the might of Hollywood with him with its action-packed focus and momentous production values.

Brian Tyler

Runners-Up

Gordon McNeil
Tsutomu Narita

Other Nominations

Kan R. Gao
Taku Inoue
Asuka Ito
Justin Lassen
Akiyoshi Manabe
Yasuyuki Nagata
Brian Reitzell

Outstanding Contribution – Soloist :: Kanon

Classical-crossover artist Kanon won the hearts of listeners this year with her soprano vocals on The Last Story‘s “Toberu mono”. Her clear and expressive bilingual performance conveyed both the humanity and spirituality of Nobuo Uematsu’s creation.

Kanon

Runners-Up

Emi Evans
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn

Other Nominations

Aubrey Ashburn
Kaori Asou
Grant Henry
Lang Lang
MASA
Ellen McLain
Laura Shigihara

Outstanding Contribution – Ensemble :: Quartet San Francisco

With their performance of Dead Space 2‘s “Lacrimosa”, the Quartet San Francisco demonstrated how small ensembles can bring much big budget productions. In this case, the performers communicated Isaac’s fear and loneliness while carefully interpreting the complex source material.

Quartet San Francisco

Runners-Up

Yuval Ron Ensemble
Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus

Other Nominations

Chantliceer
Eminence Symphonic Choir
kidneythieves
Philharmonia Orchestra
Skywalker Symphony Orchestra
Slovak National Symphony
The Black Heart Procession

Posted on December 31, 2011 by Chris Greening. Last modified on April 5, 2014.

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About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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