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Watch Inon Zur play the Fallout 4 theme on his piano

Fallout 4
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Inon Zur has scored a lot of videogames over the years, including Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and—I didn't expect this one—Fallout Tactics. No great surprise then that he's doing the soundtrack for Fallout 4, which he said on Bethesda.net will be different from his previous Fallout scores because this game "is a very personal story."

The piano will feature prominently this time around, although in a somewhat modified form. "I have a very nice grand piano at home, and I recorded myself playing the main theme," Zur said. Game Director Todd Howard thought the sound was "too bright, bordering on harsh," so Zur came up with a combination of a real piano and an electric piano, a sound he said "is really round and not bright at all but very lush."

"So following that lead on, there are multiple times that I use this," he said. "You also hear it first in the main theme. This is not a mistake or just a random choice. The piano will stay with us throughout the whole score."

The Fallout 4 "soundscape" will consist of three major elements—classical instruments, electronic instruments, and non-musical/primitive instruments—which Zur hopes will combine to give gamers a sense of location when they play. "For example, in some parts of the game we decided that the right feel would be more orchestral, but the lead instrument is low accordion," he said. "Other areas, I sampled myself playing this unusual improvised ocarina, which gives all this airiness and shrillness."

The Fallout 4 theme on the piano sounds great; a second track, The Last Mariner, is far more ambient but still a gorgeous piece. The Inkspots may get the attention, but for my money this is the kind of music that really brings game worlds to life.

Fallout 4 comes out on November 10.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.