FTL: Faster Than Light's music dissected and explained by its composer
Ben Prunty, the composer of the soundtrack for FTL: Faster Than Light, has published a “guided tour” of the motifs and themes that show up throughout the game’s 29 tracks. FTL is a remarkable game for a lot of reasons, including what is hands down one of the best recent musical scores around.
“[T]he FTL soundtrack is very self-referential,” Prunty writes. “Lots of sounds, melodies and chords show up multiple times throughout.” Pulling up Prunty’s bandcamp page lets you follow along with his references, even if you haven’t purchased a copy.
“I actually wrote this melody a few years before,” Prunty writes about “The MilkyWay Melody,” a fast, twinkling theme that shows up in several places in the game. “I was challenging myself to write and produce a new piece of music every week for three months... [W]hen I wrote the melody I was actually envisioning some kind of old DOS space game. When the opportunity came up to write for FTL, it made perfect sense to fit it in.”
The thing I love about analysis like this is that it makes perfect sense when someone points it out to you, but it never occurred to me while playing the game. There’s a reason that Mantis space always creeps me out, and it wasn’t until now that I realized it was Prunty’s devilish minor chords.
FTL was one of the earliest big Kickstarter success stories, was of our short-form game of the year winner in 2012, and helped launch the resurgence of indie roguelikes that seem to be everywhere these days.