Ultima VIII: Pagan Soundtrack, Nenad Vugrinec, 1994
In case the cover art – with its flame-engulfed pentagram – didn’t make it clear enough, Ultima VIII: Pagan was a far darker game than any of its predecessors. From Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar onward, series creator Richard Garriott had turned the Ultima games into explorations of morality. These pioneering titles didn’t reward gamers for the usual monster killing and treasure hunting that governs RPGs. Instead, Garriott asked players to act virtuously while pondering ethical dilemmas that had no easy answer. Pagan followed the same design philosophy but added a grim twist. The game’s antagonist – the Guardian – transports the Avatar to his own realm Pagan – a blasted wasteland beyond redemption and hope.