Information in trailers, cutscenes and cinematics (for the game music composer)

Winifred Phillips is a BAFTA-nominated video game composer, and the author of the book A Composer's Guide to Game Music. This photo depicts Phillips at work in her music production studio.

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Hey, everyone!  I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and I’d like to welcome you back to our four-part discussion of traditional “scoring-to-picture” techniques within a video game project, and how these play into our work as game composers.  We’ve been looking at examples of cinematics, cutscenes and trailers to see how this kind of linear composition style accomplishes specific goals.  That list of goals includes:

  1. Characterization
  2. Information
  3. Identity
  4. Narrative

In our previous article, we took a look at how music can best emphasize and support characters during cutscenes and cinematics. By using linear music for the purposes of characterization, we can accentuate the distinct traits of important characters, or provide insight into their state of mind.

Now, let’s consider when our music composition goals are less emotional, and more utilitarian.  In this article, we’ll be moving on from characterization to take a look at how information is conveyed in linear cinematics and cutscenes.  When the primary goal of a cinematic is to provide players with important details, we can assist by composing music to support the way information is disseminated.  This can help players to better absorb all the facts presented.

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From Total War to Assassin’s Creed: Music from my GDC Talk

From Total War to Assassin's Creed: Music from my GDC Talk (article by Winifred Phillips, video game composer)Last week, it was my honor and pleasure to give a presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. My talk was entitled “From Total War to Assassin’s Creed: Music for Mobile Games.” The talk focused on the best and most effective methods for composition and implementation of music in portable gaming.  The talk was structured for the benefit of video game composers and game audio pros, and as a part of the presentation, I played short excerpts of music that I composed for several of my top mobile and handheld video game projects. Now that GDC is over, I thought I’d provide streaming links to some of the complete music tracks that I featured during my presentation, in case attendees were curious about the complete pieces of music. So, without further ado, here are tracks from my GDC 2016 talk!

Assassin’s Creed Liberation

The Assassin’s Creed Liberation game was released by Ubisoft for the PlayStation Vita, and delivered an immersive experience from the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise. The game was designed specifically for a portable system, and as such, all aspects of the design were adjusted to cater specifically to a portable gaming experience, including the music.

Game composer Winifred Phillips speaking about the music of Assassin's Creed Liberation at GDC 2016

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From Total War to Assassin’s Creed: Music for Mobile Games (GDC 2016)


Winifred Phillips speaking about interactive music systems at GDC 2015

I’m so pleased to announce that I’ve been selected as a speaker for the Game Developers Conference 2016, which will take place from March 14th to the 18th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  Very happy to be speaking again at GDC!  Last year I gave the #3 top-rated talk in the audio track, which is the collection of presentations focused on audio during the conference.  Last year’s slate of audio talks was thoroughly awesome, so I was really excited to be voted the #3 talk that year, and it’s a tremendous honor to have been invited back to give another game audio presentation. This time my talk at GDC will focus on composing effective music for mobile games!

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Call of Champions

Winifred Phillips, composer of the music for the Call of Champions game

Winifred Phillips, composer for the Call of Champions game

I’m very proud and excited to announce that I composed the music for the Call of Champions video game, developed by Spacetime Studios!

Call of Champions is an awesome action game in the popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (or MOBA) genre. The game pits players against each other in exciting timed matches within a futuristic fantasy-inspired setting. The game was created by the team at Spacetime Studios, an accomplished group of top industry veterans (including developers responsible for the famous Wing Commander series and Star Wars Galaxies.)

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