In case you missed it, Returnal cleaned up at the recent BAFTA Games Awards. Selene might be trapped in an ever-repeating hell, but at least her struggle has earned developer Housemarque a total of four golden masks. The awards include Best Performance in a Leading Role (thanks to Jane Perry), Best Game, Audio Achievement, and Best Music. If you've yet to play the game and are curious to know why it's earned so many accolades, the above video has you covered — well, for the latter two, anyway.
With Returnal's Ascension update came the endless Tower of Sisyphus mode, giving players an escalating challenge to master. Of course, with this new content comes new music, and Glen Andrew Brown from PlayStation Studios' Creative Arts Music team explains how the score reacts to the player and ratchets up the tension.
Simply put, the new music tracks will layer in more instruments and increase in intensity depending on how much danger you're in. If a lot of enemies are on your tail, or you're low on health, the music will respond, growing more aggressive-sounding to match the threat level. Additionally, every time you go up a floor in the Tower, the music's key goes up by one semitone. All the music is composed and arranged in all 12 keys, so that as you climb higher, so too does the soundtrack. How cool is that?
It's this sort of care and attention to detail that helped Returnal edge out the competition to claim those BAFTAs. Give the video a watch if you're at all interested in the game or music/audio design — it's always great to get a little peek at this type of thing.
Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC Disclosure for more information.