Best Writing Music From Video Games

I’m the kind of writer who can only write to lyric-less music. From orchestral pieces to movie scores, I’m a big fan of powerful, beautiful music that helps inspire the mood or tone of each scene I’m trying to write. Out of all music genres, though, video game music might just be my absolute favorite. Video game music is easy to categorize by tone, as repetitive pieces are written to line up with specific locations, situations, or encounters. Video game music can be more freeing than movie soundtracks, too, as movie scores are composed for specific scenes and thus gets bound to a particular image or scene in our minds. Video game music, by contrast, is less restricted to specific storybeats and less likely to be associated with a specific moment. There’s more room for interpretation with video game music, and that’s part of what makes it so inspiring for me.

Music from video games is an ideal source of background noise for writers, whether you’re in need of a moving track for a sorrowful moment or a fast-paced melody for an epic battle. The following games have my favorite soundtracks and the ones I rely on over and over again when I sit down to write.

The Legend of Zelda

It’s no surprise that The Legend of Zelda makes this list. Composed primarily by Koji Kondo, the music of The Legend of Zelda is an absolute classic, with many variations of themes appearing across the series library. As each kingdom or character usually has its own unique theme to it, Zelda music covers a wide range of tones perfect for inspiring world-building and imagining incredible places and landscapes. While Ocarina of Time’s soundtrack arguably has the best songs, as several reoccurring Zelda tracks originate with that game, I’m pretty partial to Breath of the Wild’s simpler melodies and their epic variations in the spin-off Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Overall, The Legend of Zelda’s epic, magical tone is perfect for a fantasy writer such as myself.  

Final Fantasy XV

Yoko Shimomura is a fantastic composer and the primary one behind Final Fantasy XV. While I’m a big fan of Final Fantasy music in general, despite never playing a single game in the series, Final Fantasy XV’s soundtrack is especially exceptional. It’s also very long, so you’re not likely to run out of music if you decide to rely on it for your writing soundtrack. I especially like the tense battle music and peaceful, somber interludes.

Sonic the Hedgehog

While my other favorite game soundtracks tend to have a fantasy feel to them, Sonic the Hedgehog is unique in its edginess and J-Pop style. Sonic music is a somewhat recent obsession for me, as I discovered a whole lot of it on Spotify, and while I can’t necessarily listen to it every writing session, it is a fun change of pace—and a fast change of pace. Whenever I’m feeling unmotivated to write, Sonic the Hedgehog music does wonders in getting me pumped up for my writing session.

Xenoblade Chronicles

I’m sad that I can’t find Xenoblade Chronicles music on Spotify, or else I would probably listen to it all the time. Xenoblade Chronicles is also new-ish for me, but unlike Sonic, it’s because I recently picked up the series. I’ve only played the first one (and it’s excellent), but the music across the whole series is fantastic. It’s moving, it’s epic, it’s emotional in the best ways. It has some of the saddest, most moving songs. Lately, it seems to be my go-to selection, so thank goodness for YouTube compilations.

Kingdom Hearts

I saved the best for last. Without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts music is my absolute favorite soundtrack to write to. I’ll admit, part of that is nostalgic—Kingdom Hearts music has been a part of my writing playlists for the last decade or so, and the games themselves bring back memories of spending time with my brother. As I said earlier, Yoko Shimomura is an incredible composer, and in Kingdom Hearts, she draws out beautiful, distinct, and heartbreaking themes for each character, as well as epic background music for the various worlds and moments in the game. Beyond the original soundtracks to the game, I tend to like various covers I come across, chief among them Project Destati’s orchestral versions that give the sometimes repetitive tracks a satisfying musical arc. Kingdom Hearts music is great for softer moments in my stories as well as the epic battles I need to write; it covers both extremes very well. Not only is Kingdom Hearts music my favorite video game pick, but it’s also among my favorite music of all time, period.


This short list is by no means exhaustive – there are several other games that have at least one or more tracks I like as well. Plus, indie games often have incredible soundtracks, but I confess I tend to stick to what I know. It’s hard for me to get hooked on new music. Every once in a while, though, I do enjoy searching up new video game soundtracks on YouTube or on Spotify.

As a parting gift, here’s a soundtrack of some of my favorite video game tracks for writing. Note that some game companies limit their soundtrack release, so sadly there’s no Xenoblade Chronicles on this playlist. Hope you enjoy and find just as much writing inspiration from the music as I do!