Saturday, 14 March 2009

Game Technology - Sound for Games

Sound in video games is more than just the bleeps and bloops of old, it is now as integral to a game as the characters, story and environments. It has sets the tone of the scene and influences the emotion of the player and the impact of what is taking part in front of them and to me personally I think it can make a game more than it could have been without it. Some game music has such an impact it can make you happy, it can make you cry and even in some case proud. I remember the first time I went to Video Games Live how it certified to me them emotional attachment I have with games and how big a part the music plays in that, the first time I heard the metal gear theme performed I felt so proud to be a gamer because it produced something so impactful and poignant. The same happened later in the evening when they played a medley from the original tomb raider games and actually started crying because it was just beautiful and it those games played such a big part of my life when they came out. The use of big named composer to produce movie like soundtracks is become a larger going trend in video games these days, people such as Harry Gregson-Williams has composed and conducted the music for Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and 4 as well as the “Twin Snakes” remake of the first game for the Nintendo GameCube which was originally produced by Konami’s in-house audio team.

The impact of the amazing soundtrack that these games had is the major driving force for other games to adopt a similar path with their titles. The best example most recent is the truly terrifying ‘Bioshock’, composed by Garry Schyman, which when played with the soundtrack creates such a intense and scary environment that even the hardened gamer finds themselves jumping in fright.

The biggest composers working in the games industry at present (aside from the two previously mentioned) are Jack Wall (Myst III:Exile , Mass Effect), Jason Hayes (World of Warcraft , StarCraft), Jeremy Soule (Elderscrolls IV : OBLIBION, StarWars: Knights of the Old Republic), Koji Kondo (Mario and Zelda) and Nobuo Uernatsu (Final Fantasy , Lost Odyssey).

All of these men have produced pieces of music for games that have not only become attached to the game but defined them and some of the music has become as well known as the games they were created for, an example of this is if you ask any final fantasy to name a tune from the games almost all of them will say ‘One winged Angel’ from Final Fantasy VII.

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