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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

Update #14: The Music of Project Eternity

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)

We hit our stretch goal of $2.2 million which adds a new faction, a new companion, and French, German, and Spanish translations!

We’ve gotten many requests for more details about the game's music, so in this update we'll discuss our current plans for that. There's also a surprise buried deep within the update for all you music lovers out there, so read on to find out what it is!

Music with Soul

Souls, the supernatural, a fantasy setting, mature themes... These are just a few of the big ideas behind Project Eternity's story and world. As with any great CRPG story, music plays an important role in communicating those ideas. This was true for the Infinity Engine games as well. Looking back they all had one thing in common with regards to music: all are known for having strong and memorable soundtracks that drew you in as a listener and set fire to your imagination. That's exactly what we're aiming for with the music for Project Eternity.

So what will the music sound like? Great question! Describing music with words alone can be a tricky thing to do because so much of that is subjective and wide open for interpretation. Even still it's important to have some sort of plan in place before writing a single note. You need an idea that will guide you towards creating an effective score. To help paint that picture more clearly, here are three words that we believe best describe what the score will ultimately sound like:




Now you might be wondering, out of all the possible descriptive words, why these three? The answer to that goes right back to those big ideas mentioned above.

We chose mystical because of the importance of souls and the supernatural in Project Eternity's world. Ancient because we want the music to be grounded and appropriate to the setting. Emotive because the role of music in any game is first and foremost to provide dramatic and emotional context for the player. At the end of the day, that's what we want out of Project Eternity's score. We want you to be swept away by the music and the imagery it evokes. By keeping these three descriptive pillars in mind while developing the score, we’ll be able to support and enhance the narrative goals of our game.

Of course these three words are not all the music will ultimately be. It'll also be adventurous, ethereal, and wondrous when appropriate. Ominous, dark, and mysterious when called for. Scary and horrifying at just the right moments. And yes, driving, bold, and colossal when absolutely necessary.

Along with defining what we do want the score to sound like, there are also some things we know we don't want it to sound like. It won't be overly heavy or oppressive, nor will it be bombastic and grandiose from beginning to end. We want the score to be as dynamic and nuanced as the story it serves, and the last thing we want to do is weigh that story down with leaden music.

As you can see Project Eternity's music will be many things when all is said and done. But perhaps most importantly, its music will have a unique and original voice that we hope will leave a lasting impression, the same way the music of those awesome Infinity Engine games did in the past.

The Road to Eternity

Making the Project Eternity campaign video was the result of an inspiring collaborative effort here at Obsidian. Adam Brennecke, Dimitri Berman, and I worked on it day and night for nearly a month; doing what we could to make the strongest first impression possible. To help accomplish that, I knew I wanted the music to make a powerful statement right out of the gate. I wanted it to grab your attention and keep you mesmerized until the final seconds of the video.

Suffice it to say that when I wrote this music, I never could have imagined the overwhelmingly positive reception it has since received. The support you all have shown Project Eternity and Obsidian has been a stunning, and deeply humbling experience.

Music in the Clouds

And now for the surprise. Since we launched our campaign we've gotten many requests to make the trailer music publicly available. As a huge "thank you" to all of our amazing fans and supporters, we're happy to announce today that the music from the trailer is now available on Sound Cloud for your downloading and listening pleasure. Prelude and Dirge are directly from the video, and Road is an outtake that is partly used in the video. We hope you enjoy it…

Look for an update about class design from Josh Sawyer tomorrow, and we are about 1,800 backers away from adding another level to The Endless Paths dungeon!

Update by Justin Bell

FORUMS: Join in the discussion for Update #14!

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    1. Missing avatar

      Justin Bell on

      @ Maxxim Kochegarov My pleasure! And if anyone else cares to join the music conversation, please do! There's an awesome community of on our forums talking about all sorts of interesting stuff...

    2. Maxxim Kochegarov on

      Thanks to inviting me over to your forum and providing the links, Justin!

      I've already registered and now I'm studying the topics. (There's sure a lot to read!)

      See you there!

    3. Maxxim Kochegarov on

      @Justin Bell, To a layman like me it does indeed seem like a given that when used alongside a narrative, a description, music, the most expressive of all the arts on the Expressive/Descriptive scale, can serve no other purpose than supporting the narrative by evoking emotions, with exceptions being glaringly obvious or even comical, like Casey Kasem's infamous (and hilarious) rant about him wanting "a goddamn concerted effort to come out of a record that isn’t a f*cking up-tempo record every time I do a goddamn death dedication!".

      But rather than arguing about what may look like petty technicalities, I'd really like to emphasize the point of "Fresh". Planescape: Torment made a point of avoiding hackneyed RPG tropes, while InXile's The Bard's Tale mocked them outright. Project Eternity's founding fathers, certainly no strangers to both, do not seem to be fond of using cookie cutters as means of artistic expression either. Therefore, a certain departure from the "tried and true" instruments, styles and arrangements is very likely to be beneficial and even synergetic (think Mark Morgan's distinctive music + Fallout's unique ambience) to the overall atmosphere of the auteur game.

    4. Missing avatar

      Justin Bell on

      @Maxxim Kochegarov Thanks for your comment, and thanks for providing me with an opportunity to clarify this point. Emotive because we want the score to reach our audience and support the narrative in a cathartic way. It may seem like a given, but not all game scores are designed in this way. That's why it's important enough to be a pillar of our plan.

    5. Maxxim Kochegarov on

      140+ opinions on the music and barely a comment on the general concept discussed in the update. Am I the only one who actually _read_ the whole thing instead of just scanning it for the surprise? :)

      @Justin Bell, I found it ironic that you listed "Emotive" as one of the three descriptive words for your PE music. It's like saying "the distinctive feature of this textbook is that it's designed to be educational". :)

      May I suggest "Fresh" instead? (As in, "not banal, trite, shopworn, stereotyped".) This should dovetail nicely with Project Eternity's (and its older siblings') design goal of avoiding (or mocking) RPG clichés.

      Also, please don't let the abundance of "WOW!" comments deceive you. Beware of self-selection bias.

    6. Nioub on

      Excellent soundtrack!
      PLEASE! I'd like to have this OST as an addon, there isn't one at the time (see update #4). FYI I'm an early backer ($20).

    7. ChJees on

      Reminds me of Neverwinter Nights and older RPGs :o. I like it!

    8. Missing avatar

      Brian C. Crouch on

      These are a good indication that Obsidian is doing its level best to hit--wait for it--all the right notes with P:E. :p Lassies & scoundrels, I raise my mead horn in your honor.

    9. suppafoxe on

      the 2nd and 3rd samples are very beautiful!

    10. Missing avatar

      Lywald on

      I got goosebumps from the first and third sample... Beautiful. I love you guise.

    11. Missing avatar

      Raúl on

      After listening the samples i have to say i´m gratefully impressed with the character, tone and quality of the compositions

    12. Missing avatar

      John on

      I have complete faith in your guys composer. All of the music has been amazing...

    13. Jhonrock on

      OE, don't change absolutely nothing, you are in the right path. Those demos are perfect.

    14. Missing avatar

      Domitianus on

      I think it's going in the right direction. My feedback would be that it's a little heavy on the choirs and generally that "less is more". Simple good melodies presented in a good way would be the most appropriate way of achieving something "Mystical - Ancient - Emotive". Once in a while you can use choirs to really take it to the next level, but if it appears every other minute you grow a bit numb.

    15. Heath on

      I generally agree with Pierre Debar in that, though I very much like these tracks, they don't sound "ancient". For what its worth, I'd try to keep inspiration in European music to early Renaissance (1400's) and earlier and avoid anything with classical-style orchestration. Also pulling in influences from traditional middle eastern and Indian sources will help as it will be bringing in sounds and patterns that are unfamiliar to most modern listener's ears.

    16. Mark Clarke on

      Music sounds awesome! Definitetly makes me think of fantasy games. Baldur's gate menu music and Skyrim soundtrack, you guys have done an excellent job, keep it coming fast and strong guys!

    17. Missing avatar

      enlivo22 on

      I really liked your comment video, Pierre Debar, good finding

    18. Pierre, Endless Paths guide of the ∞ on

      To better explain, what ancient might be, check this…
      I suppose, you could contact James Kline without too much trouble.

    19. Pierre, Endless Paths guide of the ∞ on

      I like very much those music, thanks for sharing. But I do not find that they fit the "ancient" keyword. Mystical and emotive, yes. But i find them modern. I woud say the emotion is conveyed using techniques that have been proven very efficient in movies of the last decade and the mix of instruments sounds modern to me.

    20. Павел Галякевiч on

      If you really wanna do it right - call Mark Morgan. He knows what's what ;)

    21. Jazz on

      Sounds great! Really looking forward to this.

    22. Shadowthewanderer, OO's Diplomat/killer on

      Really nice work. Music will certainly a strong side in that game.

    23. Missing avatar

      Rafat Shah on

      The first track isn't too special but the second and third tracks were instant-downloads for me. Nice work Obsidian!

    24. Lissi on

      While the music is great, I still think it could be better and have more depth to it. Perhaps add a milestone that will ask for one of the "greats" to collaborate with you? Perhaps Howard Shore, Nobuo Uematsu, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, etc.?

    25. Some Guy on

      Nice work! Nailing the music down sooo important to the mood of the game.

    26. Tovarah - Weresheeptiger of Sin [DOoD] on

      The music shown is brilliant, and as this is just a sample... I realle want to see the end product. Dirge of Eir Glanfath brought a tear to the eye. Keep up the good work.

    27. MasterZinja on

      Just brilliant. It's been a long time since a video game had a score powerful enough to give me cold chills but the Dirge of Eir Glanfath really gripped me. Hear this really fleshes out my anticipation for the game!

    28. Missing avatar

      Sakhar on

      I wish that music would be performed by "living" orchestra - is that possible?

    29. Kenny Chik on

      The Music is damn awesome!!!!

    30. Flint Sky on

      Thanks. Music is realy great!

    31. Matt on

      Very nice music, thank you for sharing it with us!

    32. Vince Vazquez

      The music here sounds lovely btw. I'm probably alone in this here, but I generally don't care much for Western RPG tunes. I appreciate how well arranged and professional everything is, but I prefer the strong melodies of JRPGs pretty much 100% of the time. The stuff that makes that music so catchy. Everything shown here is already super well produced and very evocative and atmospheric, for sure, but I'd like to hear at least a few tunes in the final game that are "hummable" and melodic like the great themes from stuff like Chrono Cross. I'm just old-skool like that; I think everything should be able to work as a chiptune, in MIDI, before it gets arranged with real instruments ;)

      I do love that you're dropping some music so early for us backers though! I could eat up all the art and music you're putting up here forever. Great stuff.

    33. Vince Vazquez

      Will the soundtrack be made available separately after launch? I'm sorry guys, but I decided to move around some of my fundage this month, which meant knocking down my pledge for your project (I don't feel so bad - call me crazy, but I think you'll make it!). So I can't afford extras now, but definitely would nab stuff like the OST later on.

    34. DURTSCHER Julien on

      Vraiment de l'excellent travail, je suis déjà impatient pour la suite !

    35. theAnton on

      I don't know what to say, I'm lost for words. That music is amazing!

      Can't wait to hear the main theme, I know it will blow me away to a distant land where elves and dragons roam. :)

    36. Missing avatar

      Viktor Stärn on

      Flippin' brilliant!!

    37. StormCast on

      If you dont have bought the $35 or higher before, you should now! That sountrack realy will be worth it!

    38. Joseph Cunningham on

      Just discovered this, glad to be on board.

    39. Shane Cunningham on

      Thank you so much for making the trailer music available! An inspiring work that fires the imagination!

    40. Viktor Skarlatov on

      A tear goes down my cheek as the first piece finishes. Bravo!

    41. Lars Westergren

      @Peter Ebbesen

      I don't think it is a case of maliciously withholding information, I think it is rather a case of trying to figure out what good, achievable stretch goals are moment by moment. People are just pledging too fast. :P

    42. Emil on

      Nice work! You developed a nice theme there.

    43. Marneus on

      Any guests planned for a stretch goal there? Era? Epica?

    44. Peter Ebbesen on

      Okay, minute feeding of stretch goals is such a shame, trying at any given time to only appeal to a portion of the customer base by being only one or two goals ahead of what has been achieved.

      If you are going to run the stretch-goal game to make people up their pledges, surely being 3-4 stretch goals ahead of the curve at any given time would be preferable?

    45. Missing avatar

      Jeremy Reaban on

      Meh. Sounded incredibly generic to me.

    46. Joey D. on

      Beautiful work.

    47. S.D. on

      One of my favorite memories of playing Neverwinter Nights with my dear friends was experiencing moments in the plot, set to the magnificent scoring composed for that project. I feel that what I've heard can return me to those worlds of fantasy... full of wonder and discovery, as well as sorrow and tragedy. I'm eager to hear the finished score, and let it move me the way I remember that it can. Bravo, Obsidian!