Getting goosey with Debussy: Creating an adaptive score for Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game composer Dan Golding explains how Debussy's Preludes were broken down and reworked to create a charming adaptive score.

There's a lot to love about Untitled Goose Game, but we're particularly enamored with it for giving us the chance to honk fear into the hearts of unwitting villagers while listening to the marvelous compositions of Debussy. 

Yep, for those of you who weren't aware, those flavorsome piano jingles that react to your every waddle, honk, and flap in Untitled Goose Game have been adapted from Debussy's Preludes. By turning some of the classic solo piano pieces into an adaptive soundtrack, developer House House manages to elevate the entire experience by gifting players their very own musical narrator. 

How though, did the studio manage to deconstruct and re-shape the Preludes into such a wonderfully responsive score? In a recent interview with The Verge, Goose Game composer Dan Golding explained the process involved creating two versions of each Prelude used (six in total) to create a 'low energy' version and a normal version. 

Those two tracks were then divided into sections or 'stems' and given a healthy dose of reverb to allow them to be blended together more easily. "I exported each of these stems so that the reverb rings out as much as it can," commented Golding, explaining how different stems were tweaked. "Each of these stems, they’re not the same length, even though they’re the same musical length. You can play them over the top of each other, and it just sounds like the piano is holding down the sustain pedal."

Golding then matched each stem to different in-game states: a silent state, which occurs when the Goose is just mulling about; a low-energy state, performed when our feathered friend is planning sweet hijinks; and finally an active state, which comes into play when the rambunctious gosling is being chased. 

As shown in the tweet below, it's a technique that allows the soundtrack to switch-up in an instant, bringing personality and humor to each encounter. According to Golding, it's also a practice that means every single player will hear their own slightly unique version of Goose Game's soundtrack. 

To learn more about the process, be sure to check out the full article over on The Verge.

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