Monday, October 17, 2011

New Tomb Raider composer teased in Crystal Habit podcast

Crystal Dynamics Community Manager, Meagan Marie, graces us with her presence in the Crystal Habit Podcast for a fourth time, talking to Tomb Raider (2012)'s entire audio department about "sound design, VO, and working with the yet-to-be-announced composer".

The podcast includes discussion with Alex Wilmer, in-house sound designer, audio engineer and series mainstay throughout Crystal's continuation. Also joining the show is Karl Gallagher, senior audio engineer, who has worked on Crystal Dynamics' titles alongside Wilmer since Tomb Raider Legend (2006). The duo contributed new music to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light in 2010 and Tomb Raider: Underworld's Xbox 360 expansions Beneath the Ashes & Lara's Shadow (2009). Jack Grillo, musical director and lead sound designer, joins the team as well to talk with Wilmer, both offering insight to their collaboration(s) with the unknown composer.

Included as usual are transitional pieces throughout the broadcast, consisting of snippets from the soundtrack to "Turning Point". Global brand director Karl Stewart intends to announce the composer for Tomb Raider later in the year. Listen to the podcast below, and read a transcribed excerpt after the jump:

"We've yet to announce the composer for the game. I'm really excited about when we get to talk about him or her, obviously. In what capacity are you guys working with that individual right now to get music dynamically worked into the game? Is it still in the early stages? Are you working with that person very regularly?" - Meagan Marie

"I think both Alex and I will talk this in a different way. The last several months have been spent with lots of feedback and lots of back-and-forth work towards really estabilishing our themes and the overall music. We're doing this overture for the entire game, where we're taking an outline of the narrative structure and having our composer create different themes and textures that would span the entire game. Going back and forth on that gets us to making early decisions on instrumentation, themes and how we would actually treat some of these areas, even before the levels are built. We're at the closing up stage of that and moving towards the stage of actually building the in-game music. That process of creating the overture music has been a couple of months in the works and has required of me (and of Alex as well) several hours a week of back and forth phone conversations, testing things out and trying a whole lot of different experimental ideas with the music. It's really an invigorating experience working that closely with the composer. Alex right now is working more on the in-game stuff..." - Jack Grillo

"Yeah, right now we're working on his combat music and trying to figure out, not so much a system for it, but how we're going to approach that in the game in general. One of the things for me personally in video games is that I've always been frustrated how music works - you can almost hear the gears churning in the music system. There also seems to have been a lot of influence from the composer in terms of the musical structure and how the music adapts to what's happening. In other words, the music will be delayed; let's say you go from combat to an idle state, the music will be delayed because it doesn't make musical sense to change at that moment. The direction we wanted to take is really to just score the game emotionally so that it reacts instantly to what happens in the game, so you never hear that delay or the music working or..." - Alex Wilmer

" can't see the systems, or the man behind the curtain? It just feels organic?" - Meagan Marie

"Yeah, and Jack and I both have backgrounds in music. So we really know how to compose and I think that gives us an advantage in working with the composer. We can direct him in a way that's like 'give us all these elements so we can build the score ourselves within the game'..." - Alex Wilmer

"Great! That's very interesting. I know we have a lot of fans; we actually have one blog that is dedicated to just the Music of Tomb Raider and I know everybody is excited to finally find out who the composer is." - Meagan Marie

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