While soundtracks have been becoming increasingly important to video games, as evidenced by the fact that they are becoming available separately on CD, the upcoming Def Jam game from Electronic Arts is taking the music to a new level.
The original Def Jam game was a bit of a surprise hit with video game players. A head-to-head fighting game, the game was set apart by its cast of characters: rappers. The game featured Def Jam recording artists as street fighters and, understandably, the fighting was accompanied by music from the same label.
Video game sequels are a difficult animal, much like movies, which is why so many sequels fail: they have to capture the essence of the original while still keeping things fresh and different. In an effort to do exactly that and build upon the success of it’s predecessors, the new game will respond to the beat of the soundtrack. In an era of increasing personalization it should come as no surprise that this function works with your music as well as the built in soundtrack.
Both the fighters and the areas will respond to the music as it pulses throughout the game. The fighting arenas include dangers, such as fire, that go off according to the rhythm and volume of the beat. This feature will obviously favor the experience player, as the neophyte will get surprised by the environmental attack.
The other music related aspect concerns the actual abilities of the fighters themselves: each fighter responds better, and thus fights better, to certain types of music. This isn’t to say that you can’t win if “your” type of music isn’t playing, but you’ll just have a bit of handicap.
Incorporating the energy and personality of the music is simply one of the many tactics the creators are taking in an attempt to infuse the new Def Jam game with an authentic hip hop feeling. The first two games were basically very good fighting games with rappers serving as the characters and hip hop pumping in the background. However, feeling that there hasn’t actually been an authentically hip hop oriented video game yet, the new production team vowed to change that with the upcoming release.
For anyone who hasn’t already played either of the previous two games, they are definitely worth checking out. Just know that the new volume is going to introduce an entirely new audio component to the game.