It’s a busy and varied field this year: exquisitely picked soundtracks tussle for our affection with gorgeous bespoke scores, covering every genre from bustling chiptune beats to orchestral epics. Dishonored's sparse but potent use of the sea-shanty was fittingly iconic, while Jesper Kyd’s Darksiders 2 score swept from Celtic pipes to Mongolian throat singing, and Spec Ops: The Line’s astutely selected records patched both Deep Purple and Verdi into its eclectic, psychedelic ambience.
"Grief, loss, guilt, faith, illness... But it's also about love and hope and redemption" That's how Dear Esther's designer describes his game.
Imagine a Source Engine title without any guns or physics puzzles. Dear Esther emerged from a research question proposed by Dr Dan Pinchbeck in Portsmouth University: "What would happen if a game was to focus purely on storytelling, to the exclusion of more traditional interactive elements? The project has gone from humble mod to commercial release on Steam, redesigned by one of the team behind the stark environments of Mirror's Edge. It's got potential to change how you think about games forever.
Issue 224 of PC Gamer UK has an in-depth feature on innovative title, but we like you so much that we're giving away our interviews with the designer, developer and sound designer for free. Click more to get the scoop.