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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Wolfenstein Composer Discusses Creating Music For Games & TV
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Game Hunters recently published an interview with composer Bill Brown. His work has been featured in games such as Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and Quake III, as well as in the television series CSI: New York. The Q&A includes discussion of Brown's musical history, the differences between scoring music for television and games, and his current work on the upcoming Wolfenstein.

Q: Describe the difference in scoring a video game and a TV series like 'CSI: NY'.
A: The main difference is that the action in a film or TV series is linear after the picture is locked - it's always the same. With games, the action in non-linear - always changing. The challenge remains the same for both - to create music that is interesting, fresh, soulful, thematic and brings an added dimension to the scene or level that wouldn't be there without the music. Where scoring to picture is a relatively simple process, the technique that goes into creating music that reacts to the player of a game can range from a simple ambient loop for a game level, to multi-layered (multiple audio tracks with reactive / interactive automation), scripted, beat-accurate, looping underscore that constantly shifts with decisions and actions the player makes. It's deep, and pretty amazing stuff.

Q: Is there a personality or flavor that you have brought from 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein' to the new 'Wolfenstein'?
A: There is a dark, sci-fi edge to Return to Castle Wolfenstein that definitely exists in the new score for Wolfenstein, but I think that is mainly because they did such a great job of staying true to the dark, supernatural atmosphere and haunting World War II context in both games.. With Wolfenstein, of course the technology has evolved, and so has the score.. and they really took the game play to the next level, so it truly feels like a sequel, and it feels fresh at the same time. Where the music for Return to Castle Wolfenstein was more atmospheric, you'll hear more themes and a big 1940's 'modern' orchestral influence in the score for Wolfenstein. I was originally listening to scores like Raiders of the Lost Ark for inspiration, but I found that Wolfenstein just naturally fell into more of a Bernard Herrmann-esque, 20th century, dark angular-orchestral vocabulary.. which is great for me as that is naturally where I tend to go (organically) myself writing for orchestra.
Head over to the page below to read the full interview.

Game Hunters: Wolfenstein Composer Q&A

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