How do composers generate ideas for their musical themes? When and where does inspiration strike? What does the relationship between composer and developer really look like? How can the development team and composer inspire each other to create better art and music - and gameplay experiences with more emotional impact?
While working in the games industry for the past 15 years, I've noticed that these questions rarely come up around the water cooler. I approached Wilbert Roget, II, the award-winning composer for our indie game, Anew: The Distant Light, to tackle some of these topics in an informal video chat format.
The DICE and GANG nominated scores Will wrote for Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris were stylistically varied, emotionally moving works. They helped to make the fantasy worlds of their games seem real, and grounded. As art director on Anew, I've worked closely with Will over the past two years in the creation of our own environment - a mysterious alien moon 20 light years from Earth. Will's music has been paramount in the establishment of mood in our strange alien landscape, and the hauntingly beautiful score he is writing has had a profound impact on the development of the art and story in our game. We work to motivate and inspire each other to create awesome art and music.
In this in-depth behind-the-scenes video, Will and I discuss how we came together on the project, our working relationship, where we find creative inspiration, and much more. Will was even gracious enough to crack open Reaper and show how he writes music for Anew.
To help give you some context for our discussion and to offer a taste of the music Will is writing for Anew: The Distant Light, please check out our gameplay trailer which is currently featured on our Kickstarter campaign page:
Here is the isolated music track used in the trailer, which Will composed and performed:
And now for the feature presentation!
0:17 - Introductions
0:45 - Initial contact, starting up on the project
6:00 - Musical inspirations, influences on the game
14:08 - Giving yourself enough time to create something unique
19:10 - Using themes to convey emotion, and to tell a story
24:45 - The working relationship between developer and composer
29:50 - Art inspiring music, music inspiring art
37:40 - What we like to listen to
41:15 - Reaper composition workflow demo
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about how the music is being created in our game. Will and I hope this leads to a greater awareness of and appreciation for video game composers.
Anew: The Distant Light is a pre-alpha indie game being created by veteran AAA developers Steve Copeland and Jeff Spoonhower. Steve and Jeff (collectively, Resonator) have worked on games in the Bioshock, Borderlands, Star Wars, Uncharted, Lord of the Rings, Command & Conquer, and Saints Row series.