While most games cynically indulge their fans’ penchant for explosions and death, Heavy Rain challenges you with a dense narrative thick with atmosphere and character development. A series of tender moments comprise the game’s emotional center, and Normand Corbeil’s haunting score underlines a deeply moving experience. One scene in particular — which tasks you with rocking a baby to sleep — highlights Heavy Rain’s sublime soundtrack and the game’s poignant core.
The scene is set. The grizzled private eye, Scott Shelby, arrives at the house to find a crying infant and conspicuous silence. He knocks on the door. Nothing. Something doesn’t seem right. He enters the back door to find a note on the ground. Uh-oh.
Shelby finds the baby’s mother, Susan Bowles, in the bathroom with her wrists slashed. He takes care to dress her wounds before turning his attention to the fussy infant, Emily. After feeding her, Shelby tenderly rocks her to sleep. Normand Corbeil’s original score — via the track "Lauren Winter’s Theme" — sings Emily a gentle lullaby.
Whenever I dissect a film score, I find it instructive to compare the tracks in-context (within the movie as underscore) and on album. I’ve done the same, here. Watch/listen to both.
"Chapter 2: Suicide Baby" includes the scene in question at 0:20. On the OST, "Lauren Winter’s Theme" encapsulates the passage at 0:59.
Heavy Rain builds on repetitive, seemingly ordinary tasks, like consoling a restless infant, to personalize the endeavor. Fighting off rogue Russian nationalists or defending the Earth from marauding Chimera is literally an alien experience to us. But we can all relate to a father’s love for his son or a mother’s righteous anger.
The above scene, buoyed by Normand Corbeil’s fantastic underscore, bolsters the game’s commitment to intimate storytelling, and the music reinforces one of the most tranquil moments in gaming. Each time I listen, the soundtrack imparts a lovely feeling of serenity.
And yet, the scene spans only about a minute of “Lauren Winter’s Theme.” The track pulls double duty as both the primary leitmotif for the plucky Lauren Winter, Shelby’s titular partner, and as tender underscore for Emily Bowles.
With its serene, deliberate pacing, “Lauren Winter’s Theme” personifies the beating heart of Heavy Rain. In a game teeming with emotional highlights, the track represents a stirring climax.