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Tomb Raider 1-3 Composer Discusses Music & Games
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Daryl Baxter of Platform Magazine recently emailed us about his recent interview with game composer Nathan McCree. Perhaps best known for his work developing the musical sound of the first three Tomb Raider titles, McCree discussed a variety of topics including the demands of creating music for games and the changes which have occurred in the industry over the years.

I’m sure there were many versions of the music before we came across it in the final version, but as the levels were being designed, did you see them from an early state to give you a good enough idea of what music could fit well or be refined with for each of them? Are there any levels you remember being vastly different from what we eventually saw?

In fact you’re quite wrong here… there was no time to interate on the tunes.
Every tune was written once, and that version went in the game. I wrote the entire score for TR1 in 4 weeks. And no, I didn’t really see the levels in an ‘early state’. If I was lucky I got to see the area where we needed some music, or some screen shot or something, but most of the time I was working from minimal word descriptions like, “Under water”, “T-Rex”, “Caves” etc.

That’s interesting, a lot of people assume that you’re given a lot of insight as to how the soundtrack should be. Did the schedule of the other two sequels in only two short years only ramp up the score needed for those?

Yeah well we are talking about game development over 15 years ago. Things were very different then.
For the next 2 games, the situation changed a little, but not much. I was still getting very limited descriptions for what musical elements we needed. You should also be aware that I was working on many other games each year and so my available time to work on TR was limited.
However I did immerse myself in TR2 much more and managed to spend 3 months on the project. So in fact it was me who ramped up the content of the music. TR1 was extremely thin on the ground with music and I was determined to make a better job of it for TR2.
TR3 was a different story again. I had left Core Design after TR2 to go freelance and I was contracted in to do the music for TR3. The pay was better and now I could decide how much time to devote to the project. I think it was 4 months in the end for TR3. And once again, it was my decision how much and where to place the music.

Check out the full interview at the page linked below.

Nathan McCree Interview


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