In its ongoing pursuit of captivating attention, game publisher Bethesda Softworks has ventured into the realm of musical collaboration by enlisting the renowned pop-rock group Imagine Dragons. The outcome of this partnership is a song titled “Children of the Sky,” specially crafted for the highly anticipated game, Starfield.
While this union is far from the most questionable collaboration between game studios and mainstream artists, it does beckon memories of past gaming tunes like “Hope For the Future,” which didn’t exactly receive universal acclaim.
In 2014, Paul McCartney’s song “Hope For the Future” was composed for the game Destiny. However, it was met with mixed reviews, and its reputation wasn’t helped by a peculiar music video featuring a holographic McCartney singing to a group of Guardians while the in-game entity called the Traveler loomed in the backdrop.
Although it does have its admirers, the consensus leans toward it being less-than-stellar, a perception exacerbated when compared to McCartney’s other works.
Focus on the Present: Imagine Dragons’ “Children of the Sky”
Returning to the present, “Children of the Sky” bears all the hallmarks of an Imagine Dragons track. It’s loud, unobjectionable, and a tad playful in equal doses. The song endeavors to evoke emotions and inspire with its lyrics that soar:
“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”
While it’s designed to be moving, whether it strikes that chord depends on individual taste. While it’s no “Late Goodbye” (the iconic song from Max Payne 2), it fares better than some ill-fated attempts like Yes’ “The Ladder” for Homeworld’s soundtrack. That said, “Children of the Sky” will resonate well with fans of Imagine Dragons, characterized by its distinct sound that’s familiar from previous tracks.
A Question of Intent: Why the Collaboration?
This brings us to the big question: Why did Bethesda feel the need to partner with a prominent band like Imagine Dragons? Was it an effort to amplify the Starfield brand’s visibility, despite its anticipation and potential for success?
Baldur’s Gate 3 already experienced remarkable triumphs this year, and Starfield is poised to shine throughout the year, potentially rendering the need for a mainstream pop song tie-in redundant.
Strangely enough, Imagine Dragons seems to have become a staple for videogame crossovers. In 2021, the band released “Enemy” for the League of Legends animated series Arcane, continuing their collaboration with the gaming world.
As the release date of Starfield approaches—September 1 for Premium and Constellation editions, and September 6 for all—the marriage of music and gaming serves as a reminder of the diverse ways in which these worlds can intersect, sometimes with surprising results.