Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Exclusive: A journey through Journey's soundtrack

4:00 PM on 04.05.2012 // Jayson Napolitano

Waiting for Journey's soundtrack release on April 10, 2012 is like waiting for the game itself all over again. I am incredibly excited and can't wait! I not only had a great time playing through Journey, no doubt thanks to my steadfast companion who stuck with me through the entire experience, but I loved the dynamic range of the soundtrack and how it swelled to highlight several key moments in the game.

We reached out to Austin Wintory as soon as we knew he was working on the title, and we thought it would be a good time with the soundtrack release on the horizon to have him explain in his own words how he went about creating the score and how the individual pieces take you through the journey that unfolds on the screen. We also have samples from the score for your enjoyment as you read his commentary on four of the pieces from the game. Note that the full-length version of "THRESHOLD" is exclusive to Destructoid's Soundcloud and you can hear even more samples beyond the four presented here on Austin Wintory's Soundcloud.

Check it out, watch for the soundtrack release next week, and let us know about your own favorite musical moments in Journey!


This is, probably obviously, the theme to Journey. The notes of this piece form the basis of literally every single note in the entire game, though ironically this exact version doesn't appear anywhere in-game. I wrote it on the day I was hired, about three years before Journey came out. The final version features a live orchestra though if you listen carefully to the version in the trailer, you'll hear it was done with samples back then (orchestra only; the cello and bass flute were recorded that first day and these are those same recordings).

The cello, as with everywhere in the game, is played by Tina Guo ( who is a very special talent and dear friend. Her performances really are the backbone of everything the game is musically. And likewise the bass flute, played by Amy Tatum, is of great importance and recurs later.


This track encompasses most all of the music you encounter in the open desert after first stumbling on to the desert creatures. The flute (again Amy Tatum) leads the way, and now joined by viola solos by Rodney Wirtz. It's a dance of sorts (with accompanying flurries on harp, played by Charissa Barger and of course Tina on cello). I always felt the arrival of these little fish-like cloth creatures was very charming and wanted the music to feel sort of refreshing. A surprise, like maybe you are caught off guard by the playfulness found in the otherwise bleak world.

As the track moves on you hear more recurrences of the bass flute and a lot of the electronic textures from earlier in the score. There are some liberties taken with the album here that allow me to feature performances that otherwise in-game you can't ever hear (such as the reprise of the harp/flute duet that happens at 2:37).

Also noteworthy is that the orchestra makes it first, very subtle, appearance in this track at 4:12 (in-game when you see the meteor in the sky above you)


These cues accompany your sand surfing after leaving the open desert. For someone who really loves writing in order to feature great performers, these cues represent pure heaven. Tina, Amy, Charissa and Rodney play the living hell out of these cues, especially Tina around whose virtuosic cello solos this entire section was built. The orchestra makes a more pronounced appearance during the beautiful sunset tunnel right around 3:00. Recording this was also a delight. The orchestra in Macedonia (conducted by Oleg Kontradenko) played with a lot of emotion and lyricism that couldn't have fit Journey any better!


This track accompanies the finale of the game, which I'll avoid discussing in concrete details so as to avoid spoilers. But needless to say it's the culminating moment of everything.

The large scale trajectory of the score is one of electronics that evolve into orchestra, and this is basically the final destination of that journey (har har). The music is pretty highly contrapuntal and it was pure magic to record with the Macedonia Radio Symphony Orchestra. We really spent a long time nailing the performance and they seemed to have a blast with it. It really was a composer's dream.

It probably comes as no surprise that I re-wrote this cue seemingly a thousand times. The precise tone of the game's end was something we were tinkering with through to the very end, but especially musically I found myself very hard to satisfy. At first all my drafts were too slow, aspiring toward a certain feel of transcendence and serenity. Then I amped up the energy but it felt like a chase or some sort of scherzo. Way way too fast and frenetic. I started to get pretty fed up and frustrated and eventually just set it down and worked on other areas. Then spontaneously one Sunday just sat down and started writing and this piece came out. I wasn't convinced that it was right but I sent it to thatgamecompany and was met with pretty immediate positive feedback. So I tinkered with it a bit more and finally felt like I had it.

Jayson Napolitano, Music Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure jayson_n Tips
Jayson Napolitano was Destructoid's Music Editor, specializing in coverage of game music, chiptunes, and more. He now owns and operates , a game audio PR and record label company, continuing to s... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

  Jul 25

Sony spills gamescom lineup, Journey for PS4, then deletes listing

Oops we didn't announce it at the right time, let's act like nobody noticed

  Feb 24

Journey was composed on a $50 crappy Casio keyboard

You'd think Austin Wintory would have better tools

  Nov 03

Journey, Unfinished Swan might be coming to PS4 (Update)

Sony Santa Monica creative director teases potential releases

  Jul 01

New thatgamecompany title will relate to a wider audience

'It's a natural evolution of everything we are doing'

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

So I Got a 3DS

Negotiations are over. Rainbow Six Siege is a no buy from me as of now.

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 72: Sexy Dog

Meesa Back! (or, here, or something.) Dev Log #1

Cblogs of 11/23/2015 + Sexuality in Videogames

Better with Age: Classic Games Just Look Better... For Now


 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
"Am I a kid, or a squid?" I ponder as I stare off into the horizon. A wise man once told me "Son, you can be whatever you want to be. You are only limited by your lack of ambition " And I want to be a squid. A squid now.
Parismio avatarParismio
Captain America: Civil War trailer dropped!: [youtube][/youtube]
lewness avatarlewness
Gah, wanna go Alexander farming but The Old Hunters ;_;
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Holy shit, Splatoon is addictive.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Duck Hunt was a trickier unlock than I expected. Jigglypuff, you are next on my list! [img][/img]
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Yay, this arrived today. Nekro is quite happy, as he's been looking forward to playing this game for a while. [IMG][/IMG]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Dtoid mobile has apparently broken again. This is it. This how the dtoid ends. *black hole opens, dtoid disappears*
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Gave Ronin one more chance before I chucked it in the "never to be finished" pile, glad I did. It could have been so much better but as a frustrating time waster it's not bad.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I'm sitting on the Fapcast's most recent recording. I just feel like I need a day for myself after, you know, freaking out about rent.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Why is every Quickpost now spaced out like poems with random amounts of stanzas that never ever rhyme?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Was anybody else here extremely disappointed by the ending of Assassin's Creed 2?
Parismio avatarParismio
Just tried Fallout 4 on my PC Via my Cousins steam account and nope, it does not run for me very well. Buying the PS4 version it is!
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
You know who never took any shit from anybody? Dr. Blight.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Am I the only one who has to pull up their sleeves to play competantly at videogames? When my hoodie's sleeves are down I play like a piece of shit but when i pull them up, I have more flexibility.
Shinta avatarShinta
PSA: Just picked up Falco amiibo at Best Buy. They had about 20 Tom Nook, 10 singles of Splatoon Boy/Girl, the Splatoon triple pack, about 30 Marths with a big sign saying "Look Who's Back!," Dark Pit, and probably about 15 others. Not too shabby.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
I long for the day that people get over their weird circle jerk hatred for FFXIII related things and just ignore things they don't care about.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I'm upgrading my PC on the cheap and I'm going with AMD, out of these two CPUs, wich one is better?, A8-7650K or FX-6300?
Logeon avatarLogeon
Huh, I think we broke LightningFarron19, you guys.
Archelon avatarArchelon
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Being a video game-focused website, it's not often I get to gush about Godzilla. So have a link to one of my favorite tracks in the entire series:
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -