My own fascination with female composers started at high school when I was exposed to the choral music of Mia Makaroff. Upon playing Dear Esther (2012), I was delighted to discover that a female composer wrote the soundtrack for the game: a British woman named Jessica Curry. I followed Curry's output closely, with her following oeuvres including Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs (2013) and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (2015). Curry's music evoked my interest in the usage of religious (particularly Christian) music in video game soundtracks. In correspondence with Curry, I enquired after her religious affiliations. I quote her response with permission:
In this article, I am going to "unpick" the extraordinary music of Jessica Curry: Christian music for video games by an atheist composer. My study will focus on her entire soundtrack output for video games, with emphasis on the vocal music for Everybody's Gone to the Rapture.
Religious music could be grouped into three categories: inspired music, sacred music, and concert music. Inspired music could contain religious texts or musical references, but the music has a non-spiritual purpose . Sacred music is used within a religious context, whilst concert music is composed for public performance on the stage .
2. Christian lyrics in video games
Curry is not the first composer to use religious texts as inspiration for her video game compositions. Religious (specifically Christian) music is heard in video game music. An early mention is Civilization II (1996) which quoted a setting of the Credo by the Italian composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Christopher Tin used a Swahili setting of the Pater Noster as the main theme of Civilization IV (2005); this composition of Tin is known as Baba Yetu. Troels Folmann used various Latin texts (from the Catholic Mass) in Tomb Raider: Legend (2006) and Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007). Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's setting of the Lacrimosa (from his Requiem Mass in D minor) was used in a trailer for Tomb Raider: Underworld. (Smal 2013: 33 - 35.) The 2013 game BioShock: Infinite also incorporated an arrangement of the hymn Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
Christian music in video games could be used for various purposes. The music that used Latin religious lyrics in Tomb Raider: Legend and Underworld are inspired music, whilst Will the Circle Be Unbroken was originally composed for religious purposes. Being of a choral nature, Baba Yetu could be sung as concert music. Although this preliminary review is not complete, further research could establish how Christian- and religious music is used in video game music.
3. Jessica Curry as a Christian composer
Before analysing the music of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, it is essential that I present a background to the composer. Since I only know Jessica Curry via limited correspondence I can distance myself from the subject, objectively interpreting Curry and her music.
The most troubling question that came to my mind was "Why would an atheist composer write Christian music?" Since Curry is a British citizen, it should be of no surprise that she has a Christian worldview. The Church of England  retains connections with the British government (notably the Royal family and the House of Lords), establishing a Christian worldview in the Brittish population (even if individual citizens are not of a religious conviction) (The Church of England: 2016). I do not know the history of Curry's churchgoing experience, if at all. But I know that Curry would have been exposed to Christian music through the Church of England.
Curry wrote a sombre soundtrack for the 2008 game Dear Esther. Although this game did not contain any religious music, it was her first collaboration with The Chinese Room (the company that created Everybody's Gone to the Rapture). During this time, Curry also wrote the soundtrack for The Second Death of Caspar Helendale, for which she composed a setting of the Kyrie (from the Latin Catholic tradition). This composition is both inspired- and concert music, being performed at The Royal Opera House in 2009 (Griffiths 2009).
Video 1: Kyrie from The Second Death of Caspar Helendale
In Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs (2013), Curry moved away from Latin Catholic lyrics and moved towards the Greek Orthodox tradition. "Kyrie Eleison Christi" can be heard in three tracks: Christ Have Mercy (track 34) (video 2), A Machine for Pigs (track 46), and This Little Piggy (track 50) (Amnesia Wiki: 2015). The vocal compositions in the Amnesia soundtrack are inspired works that cannot be separated from the game. Curry's most devout video game soundtrack was her next collaboration with The Chinese Room.
Video 2: Christ Have Mercy from Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
4. Christian music in the soundtrack for Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Released in 2015, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is Jessica Curry's most pious endeavour. Although fifteen tracks in the soundtrack are sung, I will only discuss four tracks that contain religious text. All the Earth (track 1) immediately quotes Christian holy scriptures in Curry's vernacular language: the King James Bible. All the Earth is sung by the Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas in the style of a plainsong  without accompaniment, making this composition Curry's first sacred song.
Video 3: All the Earth
Finding the Pattern (track 2) features orchestral scoring that accompanies the singing throughout the piece. A SATB choir first sings an extract from Psalm 13:1 (below) before the plainsong from All the Earth (now accompanied) is quoted (02:22 - 03:08).
Video 4: Finding the Pattern
A longer quotation of Psalm 13 is sung by Thomas in The Sleep of Death (track 4). A violin joins in a duo (00:33) with choral accompaniment joining for verse 3 (01:08).
Video 5: The Sleep of Death
Curry recycled the text of Psalm 13:1-3 for track 5, For Ever. This composition features a new setting sung by SATB choir.
Video 6: For Ever
Jessica Curry wrote religious music for video games in all three categories described in the introduction: concert music (The Second Death of Caspar Helendale), inspired music (Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs) and sacred music (Everybody's Gone to the Rapture). A spiritual progression can be traced in her music, moving from concert- and inspired music to sacred music usable within devotional services. Curry's selections for lyrics also encompasses a broad overview of the Christian faith, including Latin texts (Catholic), Greek texts (Orthodox), and English texts (the King James Bible associated with the Protestant tradition). Avoiding "Halleluja", or "Gloria in excelsis Deo", Curry chose grave texts for her music like "Kyrie eleison" (Lord have mercy) and the Psalm 13 text "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord". A superficial reading could describe Curry as "depressed", although a blogpost for The Chinese Room describes her personal turmoil:
Although the exact details of Curry's degenerative disease is not known, it is public knowledge that she is not in good health. Curry's choice of religious texts represents her acknowledgement of mortality: the struggle with her own physical wellbeing. In a single sentence, Curry connected Everybody's Gone to the Rapture with the memento mori motif: "I wanted to create something timeless" (Stuart 2015). The closing choral song for Everybody's Gone to the Rapture encapsulates Curry's peace with her degenerative disease. Dan Pinchbeck wrote the lyrics for The Light We Cast (track 28), which follows:
Video 7: The Light We Cast
The theme of death, birds, butterflies, and flying appears in other songs in the soundtrack of Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. The words that Curry chose is reminiscent of Butterfly, a choral composition by Mia Makaroff. Although it is not known if The Light We Cast was inspired by Butterfly, the subject matter and usage of the choir as artistic medium is strikingly similar.
Video 8: Butterfly (Makaroff)
Despite Curry's health concerns and physical trails, she gives outstanding advice - not just to people struggling with degenerative diseases, but to all of us:
Curry won a BAFTA award for her soundtrack to Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (8 April 2016).
1. An example of inspired music is ambiance- and world music, often containing elements of Buddhist religious music (such as Buddhist monks chanting). Despite the religious quotation, the music has a commercial purpose (such as "background music" for meditation), instead of sacred ceremony.
2. An example of religious concert music is Felix Mendelssohn's Hör' mein Bitten (Hear my Prayer).
3. The Church of England is known as the Episcopal Church in the Unites States of America, collectively known as the Anglican Church throughout the world.
4. The plainsong is a monophonic (unison) chant, traditionally sung in church without musical accompaniment with text usually based on Psalms (Episcopal Church: 2015).
Amnesia Wiki. 2015. A Machine For Pigs: Soundtrack. [Online] Available at: http://amnesia.wikia.com/wiki/A_Machine_For_Pigs:_Soundtrack [Accessed 30 March 2016].
Curry, J. 2015. Why I’m (sort of) leaving The Chinese Room [Online] Available at: http://www.thechineseroom.co.uk/blog/blog/why-im-sort-of-leaving-the-chinese-room [Accessed 31 March 2016].
Episcopal Church. 2015. Plainsong. [Online] Available at: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/plainsong-0 [Accessed 30 march 2016].
Griffiths, D.N. 2009. Review: The Second Death of Caspar Helendale. [Online] Available at: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2009-11/30/review-the-second-death-of-caspar-helendale [Accessed 30 March 2016].
Smal, P. 2013. Unifying elements in the Tomb Raider Trilogy game soundtracks. B.Mus. mini-dissertation. University of Pretoria: Pretoria.
Stuart, K. 2015. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture: writing a score for the end of the world. [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/30/everybodys-gone-to-the-rapture-video-game-sound-music [Accessed 31 March 2016].
The Church of England. 2016. Structure. [Online] Available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure.aspx [Accessed 29 March 2016].