Michael here with the latest Elite: Dangerous update and I
have some exciting news for you all. Quite a few of you have been asking what
our plans are regarding the music for the game, we’ve been busy with the
selection process for the composer (and their team) so haven’t been able to
reveal anything. That process has now been completed so we are pleased to
reveal that Erasmus Talbot has been chosen to compose the music for Elite:
The process to select the composer has been a lengthy one,
the music is a major component in the audio for the game and we wanted to
ensure that whoever we picked was the perfect candidate. To aid the process we
created a short capital ship video for the composers to score so we could
compare like for like.
Here is that video along with Erasmus’s score for the scene:
Jim Croft, our Head
of Audio describes the selection process:
The pitching process for Elite Dangerous has been quite
extensive. After announcing our initial search for a composer we were inundated
with interest from high calibre applicants. We then invited 20 or so
composers/teams to score our ‘Damocles’ video.
Key criteria were: the ability to write and arrange for an
orchestra and, specifically with the space theme in mind; a strong thematic and
melodic sense; ability to express dynamism, energy and strong choral work. Finding
someone with previous implementation / interactive music experience would also be
a huge plus.
The work we received was nothing less than awe inspiring. We
then had the almost impossible task of narrowing the candidates down to a
shortlist of six, who were then set the more technical challenge of creating
interactive music stems based on their Damocles video assets. We were looking
for a composer who also had a strong understanding of interactive music, and
the effect this can have on the writing process.
Erasmus was a favourite from quite early on. His music was
extremely sympathetic to the changing action in the trailer and expressed what
we thought were very strong thematic ideas. There was also an excellent sense
of dynamism to his score; he seemed to know when to go full on and when to pull
back and let the visuals do the talking. He let his score breathe. Crucially
also, his score ‘mock-ups’ were very impressive sounding - particularly his
choirs, and as a music team, we felt that Andreas Kinger and Johan Nilson augmented
Erasmus’ experience and skillset beautifully.
We also liked his youthful energy and enthusiasm for the
project, and felt that he could offer something unique and new to the genre.
Though the trailer score may have had quite a
traditional treatment, we were keen to find someone who was also
comfortable with cutting edge electronic techniques and a more modern palette.
We want the flexibility to not be bound by any particular stylistic genre and
to forge our own sound for Elite: Dangerous.
Erasmus delivered a really extensive interactive music
system proposal, and supported it with strong documentation so, in the end, the
choice was quite simple.
Talbot Talks about his inspiration and the challenges in composing the score
a composer there could be nothing more exciting and fun than writing sweeping
themes, vast exploration music and energetic battle cues for an epic sci-fi
game. And while it will be fun to study and reference my favourite scores, I
feel that drive that is simply part of Elite’s legacy to defy convention, push
the boundaries and try something new.
this first trailer, I stayed close to the musical language typically associated
with the genre, drawing from scores of recent sci-fi blockbuster such as Star
Trek, Oblivion, Star Wars I-III etc. while trying to find my own voice in the
themes and use of synth. As with game play and art style, the musical style is
very much in development and my ambitions to find a unique, yet fitting musical
identity for Elite: Dangerous are extremely high.
Elite:Dangerous will take players through a vast
universe, range of gameplay scenarios and game modes. For music to enhance
these experiences without becoming repetitive is a challenge that I am
relishing. The right balance between musical styles and moods will have to be
found, coupled with a suitable interactive playback system. How do we reflect a
procedurally created and potentially infinite universe? How does music develop
over the course of an epic 1 hour battle? These are just some of the questions
we have to answer.
on the practical side, it is already clear that the soundtrack will be highly
orchestral. This means confronting ourselves extensively with orchestration,
score creation, live recording and wherever we apply sample libraries, highly
detailed midi programming for convincing, musical results.
stepping out of the shadows of Holst, Williams and co. will take quite some
confidence and experimentation but it’s essential to reflect musically the
unique character of Elite:Dangerous’ gameplay.”
The video didn’t just help us choose our composer, it also
helped develop other aspects of the game, in David’s next Dev Diary (due in a
couple of weeks) he’ll talk more about this. We’ll also follow up David’s video
with an art specific breakdown of what we did in the video and the road
Thanks as always for reading and if you haven’t joined in
the fun yet you can still pledge via our website http://elite.frontier.co.uk