We live in a glorious time. Never in the history of humanity have we been blessed with such an outrageous amount of entertainment choices. At this age, we have virtually limitless options for things to do in our spare time. From movies, TV shows, sporting events, books, music, videos, and the list keeps going on. One of my favorite entertainment media growing up and even to this day would be video games. It’s become one of the most complex and profitable forms of entertainment. I’m not sure if the video game industry has surpassed the film industry, but I’m sure it’s up there.
Video games are unusual in that; usually, it's a story that you immerse yourself in and can participate in and create an outcome based on your actions. Many of the big-name titles create the sense that you're in a book or a film, but you're able to navigate the world with greater flexibility. It takes a great deal of effort to create a successful video game. It goes further than a book or a movie in that it also takes animation, programming, and a higher level of storyboarding to produce the right experience for the participant.
One thing that movies, TV shows, some videos, and especially video games have in common is that they use music to help propel the experience. A good music score for a video game would rival a film (movie) score, thanks to the advancements in technology. The low bit rate bloops and bleeps have been replaced this lush orchestral pieces used to evoke emotion and create an atmosphere. However, unlike film, video games have their own challenges. Since it's not entirely linear in that the scenes are automatically playing, the participant or player takes longer working through the different parts of the game. So aside from the cutscenes, everything else needs good music that can loop without being distracting. A lousy music score can kill the experience of the game.
I thought it would be interesting for my next project to create a made-up music score for a sci-fi game that doesn't exist. I'm curious as to how challenging it is to create the main themes and background music. I'll need to pretend the game exists and put myself in the player's perspective while trying to communicate the storyline and overall feeling of the game that the developers want to achieve. I'm choosing a sci-fi game since they use more futuristic sounds created on synthesizers but also incorporate orchestral elements. I'm probably going to pull inspirations from classic sci-fi films such as Bladerunner, Terminator, and Aliens rather than previous video games. I feel that the movie in the '80s and '90s had special effects that are not even close to what filmmakers can achieve today, but the soundtracks played a massive role in creating that environment that still holds strong today. Plus I don't want to simply copy what today's gaming soundtracks are doing.
My goal is to create roughly twenty tracks that combine one-offs, loops, and main themes. I'm going to use everything at my disposal, including real instruments, loops, and virtual instruments. Let us see how it goes.
Brian Lundgren is a marketing professional, musician, and family man living in the Southeast region of Massachusetts.