Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sound Ramble

Now I did a blog all about the rules of how to make an interesting environment which I stand by but I did forget one thing…sound. Sound in media is really important it is the thing that can portray the emotion of a particular scene. It can affect your mood and create tension. It’s a very powerful tool and the best way for me to communicate this is through taking about some of my favourite things, Julie Andrews eat your heart out. Do you know I was researching music and then got distracted buying DVDs and watching trailers for at least 3 hours…not impressed.

Silent Hill
          I’ve probably mentioned the Silent Hill franchise like a million times now and most often it’s about the sound. It has one of the best soundtracks a game can offer because of one guy. Akira Yamaoka has an amazing understanding of sound and his ambient tracks create an awesome atmosphere. I play silent hill for two things, the creature creations and the sound. If they get this down, which they usually do, then you’ve got a good Silent Hill game in my opinion. Although too much of a good thing…but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

 I purposely choice an older silent hill game and a newer one for the contrast but also the consistency Akira has. Why do piano music work so well in horror games? One of these days i want to see a trombone solo for a change.

Shadow of the Colossus
         Oh SotC, I do love it so much, I was so looking forward to the remake of this game before I found out it was a remaster. I don’t know why games are doing this to me, I wish they would remake the whole game, don’t they understand how much revenue they would get? They have done the same with FFX my favourite game but it’s just a remaster. I want to see Zbrush aeons and the temples in all their glorious detail. But anyway I’m getting off track. Composed by Koh Otani it has perfect music to fight the colossi that matches the powerful giants and their scale. The soundtrack is very much suited to the game. This is an old game now and I just read an article on the music being influential in gaming history and the producer stated that in the goal for the future is to have transitional music so it all feels like one but it changes with the situations you are given. It sounds pretty cool but sound is powerful but also it’s like a tillable, our brains are programmed to notice repetition and so players I think would become bored listening to the same thing.

I tried to stay away from the more well known music titles of SoTC and introduce you to others you make have not heard. Even the music has a sense of epic scale to complement that of the games.

       Bastion excels in a couple of areas, its art direction and its soundtrack. Jen Zee one of my favourite inspirational artists worked as art director on this game and it looks stunning. The music was down by Darren Korb and for me it took a weird twist from the world it was in. This country western ethic theme and has a soul quality to it. This is the only way I can to describe it and yet it works. Apparently after reading a short interview with Darren he said he didn’t want it to be like any other game and so developed a new genre called “Acoustic frontier trip-hop”. This game is stunning the only flaw I have is that I find it hard to work PC controls and the main character is a bit to “bulky” for me.

I do love the singing tracks within bastion but its ambient tracks are amazing, i do love quirkie-ness-ness...yeh.

Heavy Rain
         Probally one of the most awesome soundtracks in a game, because it’s very much like a cinematic experience I think it can get away with more from a sound aspect as it is scripted. In other games you don’t know what the player is going to do and so usually a generic ambient music is played. Heavy Rain differs as it goes through the experience in a very linear path but it’s one of these games that people hate or love. I personally love it but I know a lot of people feel it’s not a game. 

Its becoming more and more evident i am partial to a bit of piano. I think has the versatility to have very power strong music but also very soft cry with a box of tissues as well.

Assassin’s Creed, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, Batman…etc (Just Hans Zimmer in general)
            Assassin’s creed has one of those really nice melodic soundtracks that is just nice to listen to but one of my favourite songs from the franchise is actually from the latest where Mr Hans Zimmer got involved and opened up a competition to the public to chant a song. Whoever won would go down and work with the man himself and record it for the game. This is an awesome thing where the games companies are reaching out to its audience to get them involved and I think more games should do it. Now I love Hans Zimmer’s works but I have one problem they are all starting to be very similar like I can tell he can done the music. Now that’s not necessary a bad thing because you have a distinct style but it seems for games and films he goes for this orchestral airy feel, he also likes to build up to a climax. But with the research I just did into him I do appreciate him more as he does change style for animated films and what not but I do think his older work is more versatile than his latest yet I like his latest stuff more…I’m never happy it seems. But so Hans Zimmer doesn’t get all the credit he also works occasionally with Lorne Balfe and worked on inception, Sherlock Holmes, Dark Knight, Crysis 2, Call of Duty…etc.  

I thought it would be interesting to put up the video for the girl who won the competition, its really awesome, just a normal girl and its just nice to see that instead of big stars like Leona Lewis *cough*FinalFantasy*cough*

             I know what you’re thinking but you would be surprised at how awesome some anime soundtracks are. Naruto is huge in the world of anime and manga and so has attracted its fair share of crazy fans. But it also attracted something else. It’s art style has changed dramatically over the years, the music has gotten exponentially more recognisable and new tracks are being added all the time, the story has increased 10 fold since it’s debut. What this shows is a transition of animes into something more. I'll only put one track as i'll know it's pushing you to even watch that, p.s. i hate cheezy vids so close your eyes lol

So based on some of the games and films I just mentioned what can accompany do to make an awesome soundtrack. To me it has to be odd, if it doesn’t stand out you’ll get a soundtrack like L.A. Noire, it’s all very nice but it’s not memorable and so it fades into the background.

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