In games like ssx the soundtracks influence the game and song selection is key as you want every song to be memorable, catchy and should withstand a lot of replay time. In ssx deadliest catch you have certain music styles for different race events fast paced music for race events, more upbeat tracks for the trick events and more dangerous and mysterious for the survival mode. The music also reacts to what you’re doing in the game so if you grind along a tree the music will stutter, if you carve from left to right the music will pan from left to right speakers and if you bail the music will scratch and distort. All of this creates a pleasant and interactive experience in which the player will be happy.
Martin O'Donnell is one of my heroes in the sound department and has been at the front Of Bungie’s hit series Halo. From the very first second I put Halo: Combat evolved into my Xbox the Georgian monk chants started up and instantly you feel excited almost to the point of chills, it pumps you up to play the game. Martin uses an orchestra to create his music with amazing instruments and very talented players. Martin designed and produced the music a certain way. He made it so it could be dissembled and remixed in a way that meant he could have multiple interchangeable loops which would keep the track appealing and of variable length. Martin O’Donnell also worked on the halo titles up to and including halo reach, each soundtrack for the games has been outstanding.
Here is a video of the sound developers from 343 studios who are making the new Halo 4 game. They talk about how they had to stay true to the original soundtracks but also stamp their own identity on the pieces. The story of Halo 4 is much more focused on Master Chief so they wanted the music to help portray his emotions.
Hans Zimmer is a heavy hitter when it comes to music in films he has worked on such films as black hawk down, gladiator and inception. He decided to work on call of duty modern warfare 2 and subsequently has worked on Crysis 2.
Sound is used heavily in storytelling and navigational clues in games. In Gears of War 3 when you complete a section of the gameplay you might hear a gong this tells the player that the intense action is stopping and to get ready for some storytelling. In multiplayer shooters sounds are very key as well you need to hear if the grenade lands near your feet so you can run away. Hearing the other players footsteps is another crucial aspect in shooters as you need to know whether players are close to you or not.