Wired has a great mini-documentary on the score for the videogame Infamous. It’s chock full of sound design ear candy, not only served by the chops of composer Amon Tobin but the team at Sony Music and Sony’s entertainment division, as well. Curiously, Jonathan Mayer, Music Manager at SCEA, says explicitly that he doesn’t want composers writing interactive music. He’d prefer to have them write a conventional score and then adapt it to the interactive engine. Now, of course, around these parts we like the idea of composers finding ways to write genuinely generative and interactive scores. But in this case, Mayer is acting as a kind of remix artist for the game realm, sampling Tobin’s compositions and reconceiving them in the game world. That kind of collaboration could be powerful.
Chuck Doug, SCEA music director, overstates things a bit by claiming this game has a unique aesthetic. The visuals are a burnt-out, post apocalyptic city – yeah, been there quite a few times. The music involves lots of ethnic percussion-y instruments and bowed metal and deep booming sounds. (Let me get this straight: we’ll hear a plucky stringy thing, then a bowedy metally thing, then there will be a big boom!) So, generally, not some radical new departure from game and motion soundtracks. But regardless of its novelty, I’d be an utter killjoy to complain: it sounds utterly gorgeous.
I got to listen in on a lot of gems regarding sound design from composer Troels Folmann. He doesn’t just bow metal instruments – he boils them.
And on the subject of getting composers to write interactively, Matt Ganucheau has been teaching that way: