Sound design in games is rarely given the same level of attention as graphics, but games these days really do have extraordinarily detailed and interesting soundscapes. Microsoft thinks so, anyway, and is bringing two auditory environments from Halo Infinite and Sea of Thieves to the meditation app Calm.
It’s small news and in a way just a promo for the games and Calm, but it’s also a nice thing to see happening. I vividly remember game themes from my whole life; I wake up every day to the NES Kid Icarus title theme, and the soundtracks to games like Stardew Valley, Fez and more recently Elden Ring and Genshin Impact are in regular rotation.
If playing games is a time when you feel happy, calm and focused, perhaps the sounds of their environments could help you achieve that state at other times. (Somehow, although I raged like hell at every boss in Elden Ring, the themes of Limgrave and Altus put me at ease.)
So although Halo is a game about a futuristic super-soldier blasting aliens to hell and Sea of Thieves has you dodging cannonballs and sea beasts, these popular games have evocative environments that may very well help someone get into a mental zone conducive to meditation or just mindfulness and focus. The two games will be available to paying Calm users soon.
The crossover is just one part of a larger post on mental health over at Xbox Wire, with people talking about how games have helped them through dark times, and providing resources for people who may be going through them right now.