Quartal Chords and Chromatics (The Game Music of Jurassic World Primal Ops: GDC 2023)

Composer Winifred Phillips wrote the musical score for the video game Jurassic World Primal Ops. In this photo, Winifred Phillips is pictured working in her music production studio.

By Winifred Phillips | Contact | Follow

Glad you’re here! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and this is the second article in my series based on my Game Developers Conference 2023 presentation, “Chaos Theory: The Music of Jurassic World Primal Ops.” In the lecture I gave last March at GDC, I shared my creative process composing music for a project in the famous Jurassic Park / Jurassic World franchise. During this article series, I’ll be sharing the substance of that GDC 2023 presentation, supplemented by the audio and video examples I used, along with some of the best illustrations I included during my conference lecture.

In the first article of this series, we took a look at the Jurassic World Primal Ops video game, in which players capture and train awesome dinosaurs to fight alongside them against evil poachers and mercenaries.  Jurassic World Primal Ops was released in concert with the theatrical run of Jurassic World Dominion, the latest movie in the popular Jurassic franchise.  As a top-down action game featuring an assortment of history’s most famous and dangerous dinosaur predators, Jurassic World Primal Ops needed a musical score that would emphasize the power and danger of these enormous prehistoric lizards.

An illustration depicting some of the dinosaurs players encountered during the video game Jurassic World Primal Ops. This image is included in the article written by award-winning game music composer Winifred Phillips.

Turning to an examination of music theory as it relates to such an intense and chaotic musical score, we discussed how traditional cadences could be subverted into unpredictable progressions that we dubbed Tonic Pivot. You’ll find all these ideas discussed in detail in part one of this article series.

Continuing our discussion of harmonic devices, let’s move to the second chaotic technique on our list.

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