It quickly became apparent that the musical diversity we were going for was going to require more minutes of music. Thankfully, the Fallout series has a rich history of amazing music. I had been listening to Mark Morgan's soundtracks from the first two Fallout games quite a bit while working on the project and I decided that some of the tracks would fit perfectly into the world of New Vegas. After all, the series shares a lot of factions, characters and themes from the first two games.
I contacted Bethesda and Mark Morgan about including a selection of remastered Fallout 1 and 2 pieces in New Vegas, and all parties were fully on board. I also felt that some of the Fallout 3 tracks should make a return to help forge a synergy between all of the games in the series. It was amazing how well it worked out. The tracks that were chosen fit perfectly together and added the depth and scope that I felt was necessary.
The music from the previous games acts as an homage to the lineage of the series. For example, most of Mark Morgan's music can be heard in the Vaults scattered around the wasteland, and the Fallout 3 tracks are mostly used in areas where there are references to military technology and the Brotherhood of Steel.
However, the vast majority of the music in the game was composed for New Vegas and it takes the series in a new direction.
Fallout has always been known for the amazing, licensed period pieces of music in the games. For this game, we wanted there to be a few distinct styles of music that you would find throughout the world. The three most common radio stations are Radio New Vegas and Mojave Music Radio.
Radio New Vegas tends to play more of the rat pack era of music, Mojave Music Radio plays rural and country music, and Black Mountain Radio has a style all of its own. On the new Vegas strip, each of the casinos also has their unique musical signature, some classy, some sultry. The radio music can be heard all over the wasteland and it adds an authentic dimension to each of the areas that the player explores.
Once the system was finished, the locations were set up, the radios were placed, and the music was composed, the total picture began to become audible. At this point there were only a few final details to wrap up. The most important of which was to record and finalize the music.
From the beginning, the idea of using a string quartet seemed to fit the series. There is a certain intimacy to a small string section. The gritty detail of a bow scraping across the strings was something I wanted to get across.
At times this meant playing the instruments in unconventional ways and making sure the microphones picked up these details and carried it across to the final recordings.
And it certainly helped that Inon made sure to bring in some of the best string players in the world with the Denali quartet, consisting of Joel Pargman, Carrie Kennedy, Luke Maurer and Timothy Loo. His mixing engineer Asaf Rinde captured their performances brilliantly and brought across all of the detail and clarity to the final mixes.
Once the mixes were delivered, the final piece of the puzzle was present. I only had to drop them into place and care for them throughout the final game mix. The picture was complete.
Now that all is said and done, I am very happy with the results. I have a fascination with how Audio affects the subconscious, and this music system is good example of that.
As mentioned earlier, it’s my hope that no one actually notices these systems at work. It should just sound natural and right. Players should get tense or scared without ever really knowing why. They should feel as if someone is composing the game just for them -- because really, in the end, someone is.