Sanctuary areas in games tend to have unique, relaxing compositions that emphasize safety and tranquility. However, I seem to like more melancholy themes, given my three favorites are more morose in tone. Regardless, here’s five of my favorite town themes from my Top 100 list:
Lower Valua, Skies of Arcadia, Yutaka Minobe and Takayuki Maeda, Sega/Overworks, 2000
Skies of Arcadia has an amazing (and underrated) soundtrack, and my personal favorite is the theme for the destitute section of Valua City. It encapsulates the despair the poor inhabitants so beautifully, making their plight real and substantial. It certainly inspired me to join Vyse and the gang in their endeavors to stop the Valuan Empire!
Mechanical Kingdom, Radiant Historia, Yoko Shimomura, Atlus, 2010
Another song that captures the spirit of a village in disquieting times, this time one in the state of fatigue from war. It has a rather haunting quality that serves the game well.
Machi no Neiro (Lazulus City), The Last Story, Nobuo Uematsu, Nintendo/Mistwalker, 2012
Of the three town themes that fall under the more woeful choices I have, this one is the most lugubrious in my opinion. Lazulus is a city that is effectively locked into the state of gloom, and this song is perfect for highlighting that.
Carbo, Grandia II, Noriyuki Iwadare, GameARTs/UBI Soft, 2000
Okay, okay, that’s enough sad themes. Carbo is my favorite peppy town tune, one that has a great build to its surging primary melody. I actually went all the way back to Carbo a few times back in the pre-iTunes and Youtube days to relisten to this song!
Gran Soren, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, Tadayoshi Makino, Rei Kondoh, Inon Zur, Masayoshi Ishi, Capcom, 2013
This is the newest addition to my Top 100 — I thought this was a delightful (if a bit short) intro every time I returned to the capital city of Gran Soren. It made it truly feel like a protective place.