The soundtrack to your adventures…


Jaws_27On the beach of a resort town, children scream and splash around with glee. Their legs and arms thrash in the water under Roy Scheider’s watchful eyes. Are you able to recall this scene without John Williams’ blood-chilling score that is so recognizable even today, 39-years after Jaws‘ first release?

Music “gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind and flight to the imagination.” Music brightens our days, darkens our nights, and it adds color to our landscapes and depth to our fantasies. As a former music industry professional, I have witnessed first-hand the talent that musicians possess, and the blood, sweat and tears that these “audio artists” put into their art. Music has conquered all borders and transcended culture, language, and politics.

Music plays a pivotal role in any film, and it would be inconceivable for a director to ignore the score.  In the same way, music is a vital part of any video game, regardless of its audience. Whether you are wielding a two-handed sword, an assault rifle, the steering wheel of a racing car, or the controls of a 100-foot tall Mech, that score is yours. That heroic classical hymn, that hip-hop beat, that dubstep bass line, or that creepy soundtrack shapes your experience as much as any high-end graphic card, storyline hook, or in-game mechanics.

Behind each score lies an artistic mastermind with the vision to encompass in their work the “soul” of the moment. As a fully-fledged artistic form, the video game industry now boasts its own musical visionaries. Jeremy Soule (Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind), Russel Brower (Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2) and Simon Viklund (Payday 2, Payday: The Heist) are our Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, and Howard Shore.

But to this list, we would like to add a series of newcomers, independent artists whose dream it would be to break into the video game industry’s often closeted musical inner sanctum. These talented individuals ask for nothing more than the opportunity to infuse the score of new landscapes and adventures with a breath of fresh air, and to open the windows upon ambitious innovation.

This is a feat that Berlin-based artist Ben Lukas Boysen, a.k.a. “Hecq”, demonstrated to perfection in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Gamescom 2011 trailer. Along with Brian Williams of Lustmord (Planescape: Torment, Evolve) and a handful of others, they certainly weren’t the first and let us hope they won’t be the last. Other talented and highly experienced sound architects who have sharpened their teeth upon other battlefields (visual arts, theatre, arthouse cinema, advertising, etc) are waiting to be discovered.

“Empusae” – Nicolas Van Meirhaeghe

Nicolas Van Meirhaeghe (Empusae), Gwen Tremorin (Flint Glass) and Ben Frost are but the tip of the tip of an iceberg poised to color the creations of a future generation of game developers and give you, fellow gamers, brand new hymns to which your sword will sing.

Would you wish to imagine a world without innovative music?

Stephanie Kontag