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Composers and devs discuss how video game music plays into larger experiences

Composers and devs discuss how video game music plays into larger experiences

January 5, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

January 5, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon
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More: Indie, Audio

"[Musical scores are] the one part of the game where one vision can come to fruition without too many other things breaking it."

- Night School co-founder Sean Krankel shares how Oxenfree's music played into its development. 

Speaking to PC Gamer, a number of composers and developers shared their thoughts on the relationship between music and games as well as insight into how their own past projects came together. 

While each project is different, the full story offers developers an interesting look at how other games have created emotive soundtracks and how those in charge of that aspect of development view their own contributions to the overall feel of a finished game.

Many of those interviewed agree that, while soundtracks are often developed long before other critical aspects of games come together, the musical scores make up a significant chunk of the overall experience and atmosphere. 

In the case of Firewatch, Chris Remo handled both design and musical composition for the game. Remo tells PC Gamer that Firewatch is as much as 70 to 90 percent atmosphere, and his unique position within the project allowed him to better marry the music with the rest of the game experience.

“So much of my effort on the game was on the design side and making sure that all of the elements meshed between the story, the game design, the atmosphere, that’s really the point of Firewatch – the marriage of those things," explains Remo.

"So I saw music as more of a tool to achieve that goal rather than a standalone suite of music unto itself. It was important to me that the music never distracted you. This is where being a designer on the game was intrinsic to how the soundtrack worked.” 

Be sure to check out the full story on PC Gamer for comments from the minds behind Oxenfree and Life is Strange as well. 

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