It wasn't that long ago (well, about a year) when I first saw Shank at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, where the game didn't even have a publisher or a release date. Now that the game is coming out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 next week, CEO Jamie Cheng and creative director Jeffrey Agala from Klei Entertainment are extremely excited to ship a game "without compromise." According to the creators, this stylish 2D hack-and-slash game was inspired by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino movies like Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn. It's a story about revenge, and with its recently announced cooperative mode, you can chainsaw and shank your way through hordes of enemies with finesse. Watch the trailer of the game below to get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Shank is not only visually appealing, but it also has an equally appealing soundtrack to complement the game's action and emotion. Agala, speaking on the subject of the game's soundtrack, said, "Overall we wanted something to complement the mood of the game. There's a lot of action…we wanted the music to carry the emotion of the game."
Agala and Cheng talked about how the music in Shank is dynamic and changes as you progress through the level. Stylistically, it's heavy rock with a Spanish influence. The heavy rock guitar is primarily used to drive the action, whereas the acoustic Spanish guitar represents the emotional side of the story.
Cheng mentioned that they had gone through several musicians to try to get the right feel and that Vince de Vera was a natural fit, even though he had never scored for a video game before. "From an artistic standpoint, it was perfect," Cheng said.
A couple of weeks ago, to get the fans involved, Cheng wanted people to show their love by joining Shank's Facebook group. If he could get 1,500 people to sign up, he'd release the entire soundtrack for free. The group reached that number in three hours, so free soundtrack for everyone! However, the team wanted to remaster the tracks before releasing them, so for now you can download the first six tracks. There will be 13 tracks in all, and they'll be available on the game's official blog around the time the game is released.
Shank will be available on the PlayStation 3 on August 24 and on the Xbox 360 on August 25 for $15. Be sure to share your thoughts on the music in the comments below!
Look for next Friday's update of Sound Byte, which will feature Dragon Age: Origins and Fallout 3 composer Inon Zur!
Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog (updated on Fridays), which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers and discussions of new and classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below.