In the never-ending quest for more eyeballs on its stuff, Bethesda Softworks has enlisted the talents of award-winning pop-rock group Imagine Dragons to create a song for Starfield called Children of the Sky. It's not the worst collaboration between a game publisher and mainstream musician I've ever heard, but that's at least in part because I'm old enough to have a clear recollection of something called Hope For the Future.
Hope For the Future is a 2014 Paul McCartney song written for Destiny, and to be blunt, it is not good—and made worse by a promotional video featuring a holographic former Beatle belting it out to a small audience of random Guardians while the Traveler looms in the background. It has its defenders—PC Gamer UK editor-in-chief Phil Savage told us all to "step the hell off Hope For the Future" when the topic came up earlier today—but let's be honest, this is a song that makes Wonderful Christmastime seem like inspired work by comparison.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand: Children of the Sky is a very Imagine Dragons song, to the extent that if I didn't know it was written for Starfield I would simply think, hey, it's a new Imagine Dragons song: Bombastic, inoffensive, and goofy in equal measure.
We're Children of the Sky,
Flying up so high
Let me be that one
To find the brightest sun
Children of the Sky
Guided by the light
Let me reach new heights
Stars amongst the night
Children of the Skyyyyyyyy
It's clearly meant to be soul-stirring, and more power to you if that's how it lands, but for my money it's sure no Late Goodbye, the song that defined Max Payne 2. Then again, it's miles better than The Ladder, an execrable prog rock catastrophe inflicted upon us by Yes for the Homeworld soundtrack, the one unforgivable blemish on an otherwise stellar videogame experience. But I digress.
Children of the Sky is fine, I guess, if you're into Imagine Dragons, but I have to wonder why Bethesda bothered in the first place. Did it really need to sign up a big-name band to get the Starfield name out there? Was Pete Hines somehow worried that, hey, maybe we're a little underexposed here? Baldur's Gate 3 was successful beyond anyone's imagination, easily the biggest game of 2023 so far, and Starfield has a legitimate shot at dominating it for the rest of the year, so what's the need for a cheesed-up pop tune tie-in? Because surely Imagine Dragons doesn't come cheap.
It does seem to be the go-to big-time band for unnecessary videogame crossover songs, though: In 2021 it released a track called Enemy for the League of Legends animated series Arcane. It is also extremely Imagine Dragons.
(It has been brought to my attention that Enemy is actually Imagine Dragons' second song for League of Legends: Prior to that, it did Warriors for the 2014 Worlds. They really do seem to be the ones to call when you want a high-priced band to jazz up your game.)
Starfield launches on September 1 for owners of the Premium and Constellation editions, and September 6 for everyone else.