Sound Byte: Meet the Composer Behind Call of Duty: Black Ops

Learn more about Sean Murray, the composer behind one of the best-selling games of all time.

For those of you who spend hours upon hours shooting dudes in the face, how often do you stop to listen to what's going on with the music? Are you more focused on the bullets and the sound of grenades ringing in your ears? Composer Sean Murray's dark symphonic score is what helps drive the action forward, accompanying you as you dodge enemy fire and fight to stay alive. Sean got his start in video game music with True Crime: Streets of LA by Activision. He must have made an impression because he was recruited to tackle Call of Duty: World at War and, of course, the recent Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Sean's talents also extend beyond video game music composition, as he has an extensive background in scoring for films and television shows, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While there are no physical soundtracks to the game, you can still find music from Black Ops on iTunes. If you happen to live in the Los Angeles area, you can also hear Sean's music (and others, including Christopher Tin) performed live at the "Video Game Soundtracks" presented by Golden State Pops Orchestra and Southern California Master Chorale this Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m. at the Warner Grand Theatre. Sean will be in attendance! Sound Byte is giving away two free tickets for the event. For more information, follow gs_soundbyte for details. To purchase tickets, you can visit here.

Now, meet the man himself in the interview below!

Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers, as well as discussions of new and classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here.

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Discussion

64 comments
julianozuca
julianozuca

One could tell he really loves to write for cello as he said since the emotional lines inside his work seems to come preferably from it.

BadMrSnake
BadMrSnake

The only cool sounds in Black ops sound is Ice Cubes voice! The gunfire & explosions bytes need allot of work!

legoguitarman
legoguitarman

The Pokemon sound track was pretty intense....

CCGR_Pheonix
CCGR_Pheonix

So, why does everyone forget Metroid when game soundtracks come around. Those were amazing.

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

CoD has music? couldnt hear it over the explosions and gunfire, why dont u put some music in the multiplayer? some metal in the background or something intense? give me a reason to play same game year after year...

MrMorozov
MrMorozov

Given how awesome he made the Black Ops soundtrack sound, I'm more than happy to listen to what he has to say.

yoyochn
yoyochn

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hyttenhoof
hyttenhoof

Gotta say, CoD really doesn't have no memorable OST, and if it does, it's only because they have very few tracks and you're bound to hear the same one over and over. there's some effort into it, but it's extremely generic.

Renoo27
Renoo27

Fantastic. What an awesome guy.

Johny_47
Johny_47

I think the only decent thing about call of duty games these days is the music(world at war's anyways). Sean Murray only does the music in Treyarch's call of duty games by the way not modern warfare. And to SPBoss, BioShock and Final fantasy have nice music(BioShock especially, very emersive) but I think Freedom Fighters and Hitman games have the best soundtracks, Jesper Kyd is just incredible.

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

@sul6an-g Red Dead Redemption has decent music. Pretty cool at times. Haven't finished it yet. I heard the music during end game credits was epic?

TheIfym20
TheIfym20

We want call of duty: civil war!!!!!!

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

@scorpion_great I don't remember any music from the WW2 CoD's. They were really non-existant.

sul6an-g
sul6an-g

nothing like red dead sounds ! xD

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

@focus0894 HALO's soundtrack is pathetic next to MW2, AND THIS IS COMING FROM SOMEONE WHO LOVES HALO.

sonicsidewinder
sonicsidewinder

Jeromy Soule, Inon Zur and Micheal Giacchino are the best western composers going.

SPBoss
SPBoss

I would say Final Fantasy and Bioshock have the best music.. especially the old final fantasy's with those amazing harps

addicted2050
addicted2050

@josh7845. Agreed. Even the music in Bioshock 2 in the scene where they introduce us to the Big Daddy and Little Sister really reinforces the emotion in the scene. Those violins are just beautiful..

josh7845
josh7845

My favourite video game soundtrack of all time has to be the Bioshock soundtrack by Gary Schyman. It just added to the tragedy of the rapture story and the all-important atmosphere.

MAKRYS07
MAKRYS07

@focus0894 Wrong. Have to disagree. Mass Effect 2's Soundtrack was the best video game soundtrack I have ever heard. Now granted, I do love the Halo OSTs; they are phenomenal. However, Mass Effect's OST was simply revolutionary for a video game soundtrack. If any of you haven't listened to it, I urge you to. It's amazing. Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTsD2FjmLsw (yes, its just one song, but a little taste of how awesome the whole OST is!)

MAKRYS07
MAKRYS07

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

patrickphan2
patrickphan2

Needs more Hans Zimmer but Sean Murray did a good job.

Sophia
Sophia

@killer_rabbit20 - you can if you're in the LA area this weekend! We're giving away tickets to a game music concert in San Pedro so if anyone's in the area, read the note above about how to win.

Basserker
Basserker

I enjoy all these different articles on composers. It really gives you a sense that people are creating these instead of thinking it was made by just some computer. It brings me closer to the game and feel more personal to the music as well as appreciate the music more.

SolidSizzle
SolidSizzle

He may not be one of the heavy hitters at the moment, but that was some great info and advice! Cool guy :)

SuperMessy
SuperMessy

I liked the music in Black Ops, the main menu theme for mp was my favorite.

killer_rabbit20
killer_rabbit20

Coming from someone who plays classical guitar, learning with a prodigy of Andre Segovia and getting to meet him would be amazing.

Drakillion
Drakillion

The music for CoD: Black Ops was good, if a bit forgettable.

kotorfan100
kotorfan100

why the hell are people arguing over which game soundtrack is the best?? All of the COD soundtracks were awesome. now go take a shower.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

BO has a great soundtrack. Oddly enough, one of my favorite tunes is just the main menu music.

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

I liked the music, my personally favorites are Boat Deck and the one when you play on Rebirth. But I do think that Hans did much better, but we all know he is a god when it comes to music.

ODST_Eagle_Eye
ODST_Eagle_Eye

This had a surprisingly good OST. Loved the MP mix

SierraScorpion
SierraScorpion

@waterdragon222 I just like Hans more than Sean. Much better tune than the guy. Even if Hans' music sounds the same, I don't get tired of it. I hadn't even heard Skyrim yet, except for the few trailers they have for it.

waterdragon222
waterdragon222

@SierraScorpion I have to disagree with you on Hanz... He is a good composer but if you listen, most of his works are almost exact copies, just with a few different tweaks. Disclaimer: He's still good... Honestly, Syrim has the best soundtrack if you ask me...

waterdragon222
waterdragon222

Sorry, but I have to say I was very disappointed with CoD's music and thinks it had nothing to do with the fact that it sold a lot..

scorpion_great
scorpion_great

uhhh the last time CoD had a good soundtrack was CoD 2, after that it got really generic and wasn't anything special.

focus0894
focus0894

Am I the only one who doesn't remember any of the COD soundtracks? I don't understand how people are saying MW2 had the best soundtrack of all time.... Have any of you played Halo? Even critics praise it to be the best video game soundtrack of all time... Seriously, and I agree with them, Halo's soundtrack cannot and will not be beat for years to come, AND THIS IS COMING FROM SOMEONE WHO HATES HALO.

Dunbon
Dunbon

Anxiously waiting the day this series dies.

aboghannam
aboghannam

His work on Cod: WaW was absolutely amazing!

XCameleonX
XCameleonX

Assasin Creed got the best of all ;)

Saperon
Saperon

A game feels empty with out music. Music also has a great effect on the athmosphere and can make a storyline feel dramatic in everyway. In my opinion, with all respect to hans zimmer, the music of modern warfare 1 was better, but they all sound the same, the music in MW2 varied more in comparison of each other. Waiting on MW3 hope the campaign will be better than ever

Rhino53
Rhino53

I've always liked the music in WaW and Black Ops. Hearing metal music creeping in during an orchestral piece is awesome

SierraScorpion
SierraScorpion

Guy ain't no Hans Zimmer. MW2 was the best game soundtrack I've ever heard. Seriously. I hope to God they keep Zimmer for MW3.

Crash_WL
Crash_WL

Lords of Shadow had greatly composed tracks... I also love Homefront's music. :D

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

@marioSNAKEeyes I love music from Devil May Cry 3, HALF-LIFE 2: Episode Two, Need for Speed - Most Wanted, TEKKEN 5, TEKKEN 6, MW2, Unreal Tournament 2004, MASS EFFECT 2, Split/Second and LOST PLANET 2. I have yet to check out COD BO and I wanted to try Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Good to know that great music is waiting: :D

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

I for one turn off the music (where possible) on every game I play, I don't want to listen to music when the sweet song of my M-60 is all my ears need to hear.

VintAge68
VintAge68

Thanks for the info: Imho that when there is a video game music really outstanding from the large mass of insignificant ones it is crucial to value the composer behind it and with this, the category as such.