Hey everyone! I’m video game composer Winifred Phillips, and I’m excited to share that I’ll be giving a talk at the upcoming Game Developers Conference! My talk is entitled, “Composing for Lineage M: Modular Construction in Game Music,” and it’s taking place on Wednesday March 23rd at 10:30 am PT (1:30pm ET). In my presentation, I’ll be focusing on my experience composing music for a game in one of the most successful video game franchises of all time – the Lineage MMORPG franchise from NCSoft. During my talk, I’ll be sharing details of the music composition process for this awesome project, including how thematic content was incorporated into the matrix of musical components that formed the structure of the Lineage M musical score.
I won’t be getting into much detail about the substance of my upcoming GDC presentation in this article. However, it occurred to me that musical themes are a popular discussion topic that has come up in many of my past GDC presentations. With that in mind, I thought I’d offer a short review of the subject, including some content from a few of my previous GDC talks. I’ve confined this discussion to my GDC sessions that are now available to view for free in their entirety via the videos list in the Game Developers Conference Official YouTube channel. You’ll see that I’ve embedded the full-length YouTube videos of those talks below, in case you’d like to see the lectures in their entirety. For each of these presentation videos, I’ve also included a few short lecture extracts that touch upon the relevant subject matter. So let’s get started!
In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the importance of repeating musical themes, using the variation technique and fragmentation to support different gameplay types. So now, let’s explore what happens when musical themes are employed within more complex interactive music systems.
In the last article, we discussed the concept of the “hook” as it relates to thematic composition, and we explored how an awesome hook can function best from within a main theme track. In our discussion, we used both a famous example from the Star Wars franchise, as well as the main theme from one of my own recently-released game projects – The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes. Both examples included a fairly dynamic foreground melody, which made it a great example for our discussion of the role of the hook in thematic construction. So let’s now consider what happens when we eschew such an attention-drawing melodic element and instead take a more subtle approach.
Glad you’re here! I’m video game music composer Winifred Phillips. Today I’d like to share some news about one of my latest projects as a video game composer: the newest installment in an internationally-acclaimed fantasy RPG franchise known as The Dark Eye. During our discussion, we’ll break down the structure of one of the most important pieces of music I composed for that game.
The latest entry in the award-winning Dark Eye video game franchise will be released this coming Spring 2020 under the title The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes. Before we begin discussing this project and one of the pieces of music I composed for it, let’s take a look at the announcement trailer that was recently released by the publisher Ulisses Games. The trailer prominently features a sizable portion of the main theme I composed for the game:
As you can see from the gameplay captured in the trailer, The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes is an isometric real-time roleplaying game. The developers have compared the gameplay of Book of Heroes to top RPG games from the classic era like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. The game offers both solo missions and cooperative adventures designed for up to four players. Most importantly, the developers stress in an interview that their game will be faithful to the awesome fantasy world of the renowned RPG franchise – it will be “the most Dark Eye game ever.” Composing a main theme is a heavy responsibility, since main theme tracks tend to be regarded as especially important in a composer’s body of work. Just this week (Nov. 9th) I was interviewed on the Sound Of Gaming radio show on BBC Radio 3, and the main theme for The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes premiered on this broadcast, spotlighting my work as a game composer. The entire show is available to listen at this link from now until Dec. 8th. A main theme is not only a prominent showcase of a composer’s abilities, but also serves a crucial function within the main score of the game. So let’s explore that idea further.