Trent Reznor writing Black Ops II theme

Academy Award-winning Nine Inch Nails frontman designed theme song for latest Call of Duty, rest of music from Mass Effect 2 composer.

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has chosen Call of Duty: Black Ops II as the venue for his latest musical creation. Speaking to USA Today, Reznor revealed that he has written the theme song for Black Ops II, an "aggressively sounding" composition of guitar, bass, and drums-based rock.

Reznor is bringing his industrial rock sound to Black Ops II.

Regarding his aim for the Black Ops II theme song, Reznor explained that the selection was deliberately designed to fit the form of the game's narrative.

"There is a lot of reservation and angst and sense of loss and regret and anger bubbling under the surface," he said. "So it didn't make sense to have a gung ho patriotic feeling kind of theme song. It has to feel weighty."

Reznor is a longtime gamer and is a fan of Activision's Call of Duty series.

"I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age," he said.

While Reznor composed the theme song for Black Ops II, the rest of the game's music comes courtesy of Mass Effect 2 composer Jack Wall. For more on Reznor's involvement with Black Ops II, his gaming habits, and new Nine Inch Nails music, check out the full interview.

Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross won an Academy Award for the soundtrack to 2010 Facebook origin story The Social Network. Most recently, Reznor and Ross teamed up again for the soundtrack to the American film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's crime novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is due out on November 13 and is a sequel to 2010's original Black Ops, which is the best-selling series entry to date, moving more than 25 million copies as of August 2011. For more on the upcoming game, check out GameSpot's latest preview.

Discussion

114 comments
Vodoo
Vodoo

I went to see Nine Inch Nails at Madison Square Garden 3 times right after "Downward Spiral" released. The guy is just a lyrical genius. "Broken," "Pretty Hate Machine" and "Downward Spiral" are were his best pieces.  

ck10304
ck10304

""aggressively sounding" composition of guitar, bass and drums-based rock." Really breaking down barriers here guys

TheTHCGamer
TheTHCGamer

Wow seriously how much has Reznor fallen?  The downward spiral truly was Trents last great endeavor.  Actually perfect drug was still a pretty damn good song and i can understand him doing sound for other games like quake that were ground breaking.  COD kids wont even know who Trent Reznor is. 

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

Great. So at least the OST will be worth buying.Shame they didn't decide to let him in on the world/story concept (Year Zero had an interesting story backdrop) and delay the game for 2 years to make a decent CoD game again. 

DrKill09
DrKill09

Who cares?  He sold out long ago.

 

I like real Trent Reznor; the one who actually played industrial.

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

Cool. Mass Effect 2 music was pretty good. I miss Hans Zimmer, though. Modern Warfare 2 music was amazing and still the best so far in my opinion.

not_to_bad
not_to_bad

I wont play the game but knowing Trent Reznor is onboard I will at least listen to the soundtrack

gargungulunk
gargungulunk

That's not Reznors best photo taken...just saying.

I like that the ME2 composer is also on board...good atmosphere guaranteed.

 

I probably wont play the game still, yet this sounds like a good project.

Destrond
Destrond

As much as I hate COD...BlOps 2 has more of my attention then when they said "future" in the same sentence as "shooter"

 

Honestly, shooters belong in the future. This modern setting is crap. I don't want 20 different assault rifles that all do borderline the same thing and all are practically crappy compared to one in the category that everyone uses with a side of noob-tube. I like games with original guns where it takes a little bit more intelligence then aim and shoot in order to kill your foes.

Duke_51
Duke_51

Man I love Nine Inch Nails but not crazy over CoD... might be the only redeeming factor of this game.Trent Reznor's a genius, listen to the Social Network OST, or anything from the album Ghosts.

shantd
shantd

Oh for chrissakes get over yourselves. Trent's a gamer, he happens to like the COD series (sue the man, why don't you), and when they asked him to write the theme he said 'Sure, why not?'. Instead of whining about the game, be happy one of the few geniuses in the music industry is writing music for video games. I'll take anything the man has to give. **shaking my head**

HailHellfire
HailHellfire

LOL!!!!!!

 

go back to writing music for Quake or telling the makers of Quake to make the game darker, like it use to be

Owner34
Owner34

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlyj52kgEtQ

Stuff like this makes you think that a new COD is going to in some way be amazing and different. Its misleading though because they all end up being the same. I love Trent and I'm a huge NIN fan but a theme song as good as this one deserves a game that will be just as good.

NTM23
NTM23

Yeah, I just saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night, and the soundtrack is quite original sounding, just as most of his music is, and while I'm not a huge fan of it, I do like it quite a bit and I'll be looking forward to this one.

xdude85
xdude85

Trent... you're one of my favorite artists, and have written and composed some of the greatest music I've ever heard, but you know for a fact that your talent and visions can be put to a better use.  

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

ripping off my NIN tatoo now, and throwing away my 200+ piece $5,000 nine inch nails collection.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

At least we know the theme to Black Ops II will be amazing.....

Trent did the entire sound code for the original Quake, he used sounds fro m the game in the music so it was very atmospheric.....You'd hear the sound of an Ogre dropping a grenade and turn around but nothing would be there....

his score for The Social Network was very good as well......I'll definitely pirate the song lol

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

lol since when do they need composers to make music for shovel ware games?

hadlee73
hadlee73

Theme music usually = hear during the trailer, then briefly at the beginning, and then finally again during the ending credits. Hopefully this track gets the exposure it deserves, instead of falling in with the traditional format of theme music :)

Cobretti1818
Cobretti1818

Not a fan of COD, but Reznor is the best musician on the planet.

Can't wait to hear it.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

Of course it isn't cutting corners. It isn't TAKING corners. It moves in straight line from sequel to sequel never altering course, never deviating, never innovating, never doing anything new. What corners ARE there to cut when all you do is copy + paste the same game over and over?

with_teeth26
with_teeth26

"full-on not cutting any corners"

if you say so trent

Hey_Jay
Hey_Jay

Oh, Trent. No, no, no... You've been absolutely brilliant. Don't waste your talents on COD... should have skipped this one, man.

Superzone
Superzone

Reznor's and Atticus Ross' score for The Social Network was effing brilliant.

SolidTy
SolidTy

NIN Awesome.

 

COD though is going downhill as very repetitious. Treyarch isn't my fave developer, they were "The other guys" every other year.

 

Still, Trent is no stranger to this sort of thing, doing music for games before it was cool. He did the music for 1996's Quake for instance.

garsalli
garsalli

we don't want a future games we want the present that's better

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

Well, at least the theme song for the game will be good.

omenjamlord
omenjamlord

All my love and respect for Trent is out the window. 

Ringx55
Ringx55

I'm more impressed with Jack Wall tbh.

RaIn285
RaIn285

It`s weird how Trent hates big companies and still enjoys CoD.

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

At least the music should be good for the game.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Or was it NIN's drummer that did the soundtrack for Doom 3?

rarson
rarson

 @DrKill09 

 

Trent Reznor never really made "industrial" music. Even he himself would tell you that back then.

obsequies
obsequies

 @DrKill09 you probably only heard of him when he was "selling" music anyways..hes an artist not a revolutionary 

obsequies
obsequies

 @DrKill09 he releases his music for free now..how is that selling out?  selling out is such an immature term

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

 @Destrond It's a shame they're taking everything wrong with the 'modern' setting and putting it into scifi then." I like games with original guns where it takes a little bit more intelligence then aim and shoot in order to kill your foes."

 

Sounds like you're hankering for a game along the lines of Tribes Ascend then ;) 

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

@theduckofdeath Not Doom 2 but Quake. And I don't even remember it as it was hardly outstanding compared to his other work.

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

@Duke_51 NIN has been making awesomeness since 1989 when they released the single for "Down in It" shortly before they released their first album "Pretty Hate Machine". I highly reccomend the entire discography. Ghosts was great but not the highpoint.

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

 @Owner34 Not really... it only makes me think that the OST will be fantastic. But unfortunately the gameplay is what makes the game, so the only $$$'s Activision will be seeing from me will be their % of the cut for the soundtrack when they release it. (They'd be REALLY stupid not to, with a name like Trent's on it)and if they make the soundtrack a pre-order exclusive... are they creating an incentive for me to purchase the game? no. They're creating an incentive to piratesteve!d#mn activision 

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

 @with_teeth26 Apparently if you have an unlimited budget it just takes all the fun out of updating a game engine to where they just stop doing it. Who knew?

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @SolidTy I beg to differ. W@W and Black Ops were, in my opinion, better games than any of the Modern Warfares.

 

I didn't particularly like MW3 (the multiplayer is so #$%*^& stupid) but I'm willing to give Blops 2 a chance.

never-named
never-named

 @Tsuchikage Yeah, the music was eventually handled by 'former' NIN drummer Chris Vrenna. I remember listening to the opening theme for Doom 3 and flipping over how much it sounded like the band Tool's music who were my obsession back then...

Destrond
Destrond

 @2x4b96123 

Ya bout made me cry sir. I want to play that game so bad -kicks computer- my comp is as good as it will get due to a crappy vid card port, so I can't play it currently.

 

Stupid economy not letting me have a job.

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

 @Poodlejumper  @theduckofdeath His work on Quake was mainly ambient. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't going to grab your attention like his performance pieces did. That wasn't its purpose, it was a soundtrack. I'd compare it to some of what he did in Ghosts personally, just more electronic and a bit less noisy.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @Spartan_418  @W GS is GLITCHY. This new comment system is terrible. Anyways, my third attempt to fix the glitches....

 

I have been playing COD since COD1, so I burned out long ago of COD. I  was playing MOH before that (ACTI got the idea for COD from EA's MOH, and hired them from EA to create COD) so I was an IW fan. However, I'm not a nub guy that just started at COD4 : MW1. So, running around on square maps got old after this many games (if you played as long as I have).

 

As far as Treyarch, I hated COD3 and COD5 : W@W. I thought Black Ops was their best COD, but I didn't like COD7 : BO though. I thought the story was lame, the idea was lame, the MP was lame. It was my last Treyarch COD game, I'm sick of it. I liked Treyarch's non COD efforts, but they are forced to do what they need to with ACTI closing down studios left and right.

 

I will admit that COD7:BO was Treyarch's best COD game (They had a LOT of help, as IW was jacked), but it was subpar to me. It still failed to achieve AAA at metacritic, something Treyarch's tried time and time again. 

 

I didn't even bother with COD8 : MW3, as that was developed by a different team (3 Devs, including what tiny was left of IW). I only liked the series for IW's contributions (save for COD6 : MW2 which was lame)

 

So, I"m sure the pumped out annual MW3 didn't deliver to you and many (diff devs, also failed AAA at meta), but I just skippedMW3 entirely  as I'm done with COD as the formula has been wearing thin for ages now. I thought it was old after COD3,, but I gave COD4 : MW1 a chance because of IW.

 

With IW gone, I'm gone. I'm sure COD9 : BO2 will deliver more of what COD fans want...until you get as burned out as I am on the repeating franchise. If not, there's always COD10 : MW4 to pull you in. I'm just sick of it, maybe COD11 : BO3 will be Treyarch's bestest, but I won't be playing it.