Menus are the very first encounter between a player and a game. They may not reveal anything related to gameplay or story, but once you boot a game and reach the menu, you're already in the mood for the journey that lies ahead. Some developers spend extra time polishing menu features and this is the case in these 3 games we'll discuss here. Resident Evil, Mario Kart and Rayman are very different, but they share an interesting approach to music implementation in the menu screen.
Game: Resident Evil: Revelations
Released: 2012 (3DS), 2013 (Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC)
Composer: Kota Suzuki
Game: Mario Kart 7
Composers: Kenta Nagata, Satomi Terui
Game: Rayman Origins
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Vita, PC, and 3DS
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Composers: Christophe Héral, Billy Martin
Resident Evil and Mario Kart 7 use the same technique: the addition of layers of instruments to create a fuller version of the arrangement. Rayman Origins has a different approach. In the profile menu, the melody is triggered only when the user is selecting the options.
Check the videos below to see the dynamic transition in action.
The choice to put extra effort into music implementation in menus is debatable. In our competitive and risky industry, we need to be focused to survive, and menus are definitely not the most important part of a game. But if you have the resources to do some fancy stuff, no audio geek will ever complain about it. Menus with dynamic music may not dramatically change the gameplay experience, but they prove that the developers created their game with love. The least we can do is love them back.
Special thanks: Gilliard Lopes, Rafael Kuhnen, Fernando Secco, and Sandro Tomasetti.