Bear McCreary is an amazing composer. His BSG and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles OST's were brilliant!
We talk with Dark Void and Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary about his work in Capcom's upcoming sci-fi shooter.
While Dark Void might not have the name recognition of other games in the Capcom library, it's generated a fair amount of buzz thanks to an intriguing combination of gameplay types. Developed by Airtight Games, Dark Void looks to offer a mix of cover-based combat, perspective-altering platforming, and ample flying. The man with the challenging task of scoring all those gameplay elements is Bear McCreary, better known as the composer of the new Battlestar Galactica TV series. We recently spoke with Bear about his role crafting music for the game.
GameSpot: You're best known for your work in Battlestar Galactica. How has the transition been from Battlestar to Dark Void?
Bear McReary: Well, it's been very exciting because not only is the medium different--I'm going from television to games--but the style of the music is actually quite different as well. So I've really gotten to explore new sounds that I haven't been able to use on Battlestar, so it's really exciting.
GS: From a creative perspective, is there anything you learned or tried out in the later seasons of Battlestar that you've carried over to Dark Void, or are you starting with a blank slate?
BM: I think that in the later seasons of Battlestar I learned things that I'm going to carry with me for the rest of my life, and certainly into Dark Void. The interesting thing about my score for Dark Void is not how it connects to my recent work, but for me it's how it's connected to older film scores. Dark Void gave me an opportunity to experiment with the orchestral language that I haven't been able to use on Battlestar, the kind of film scores that I used to love when I was growing up. So in many ways there's an element of this that feels very contemporary, and I think people who know my work from Battlestar will very easily be able to identify Dark Void as being my work. But there's also a grander orchestral presence. I really was a lot more inspired by Elmer Bernstein, and Jerry Goldsmith, and Bernard Herrmann, and even John Williams--these composers that traditionally worked in a more orchestral setting than I do on Battlestar.
GS: What sorts of elements in particular do you think people might recognize instantly as your own personal work versus elements that might take them by surprise?
BM: I'm not actually the best person to judge what defines my personal style, because I obviously can't listen to my music objectively. But the percussion riding is very intense. The score has a very tribal, energetic, aggressive sound. The drums are just mean and nasty. A lot of the same soloists that I work with on Battlestar and Terminator [The Sarah Connor Chronicles]--and all my projects, really--are also working on Dark Void. So you'll hear sounds that are musicians that I like to work with on everything I do. They're certainly part of the Dark Void sound. But there's also a lot of aspects of the Dark Void score that are, for me, totally unique.
GS: Going into this project, did you know much about the game itself, or were you more looking at Capcom's track record as one of the more successful and well-known publishers out there?
BM: I've been aware of Capcom as a company my entire life. I grew up playing Mega Man, Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, and Mega Man 4, so just the idea of working with Capcom was really exciting. But aside from that, when I had my first meeting, I saw some of the early footage of the game. I saw some early production drawings, and that basically sold me. I can't say that I was entirely sold on doing any game. I've been waiting for the right game to score, and Dark Void was absolutely the right game. When I saw the design and found out the story, I knew this was something I could put music to. I knew that this was a universe that needed a really iconic, signature sound. Honestly, I knew that it would be fun, but I really didn't anticipate how much fun I would have writing this music. I really got to explore and let my creativity go crazy because I'm used to working against picture. Now, to be able to look at these drawings, and look at the characters, and listen to the ideas for the story, and just write music on my own without time constraints, this was very liberating for me.
GS: As you've seen the game in its varying states of completion, from original concept art on through the more completed state that it's in today, has that affected the sound that you've gone for? Has the sound evolved as the game has?
BM: I can't say that it has. And part of the reason that it hasn't really changed is that I did the bulk of my writing at a very early stage. There really wasn't much of the game for me to look at. I had gone up there, I had gone up to Airtight where it's being developed, and I got to play a little bit of it and see where it was going. I basically wrote the music imagining what I thought the game would look like. It was very incomplete. I had lots of production drawings. And I would say the production drawings were my biggest inspiration. After the score was finished, I started seeing more complete footage of gameplay, and I remembered thinking the footage is looking as good as the music sounds. In many ways, I wouldn't have written the music any other way. I feel like the music fits perfectly. I was scoring for very incomplete footage, which was fun.
GS: Was that much of a challenge compared to scoring for a TV show that's still going through the editing process?
BM: Initially, it was. I've got to admit, the first couple of days, I kind of sat in my studio and didn't know what to do. But once I made that leap and let myself go for it, it was not a challenge at all. If anything, it was liberating--that's the word I keep coming back to. It was liberating to write music without time constraints.
my god dude this is awesome it looks so great and different.... amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am kinda dissapointed that the game will have a classical music touch, as scifi genre fan i was expecting it would have electronic music soundtrack like Mass Effect or Half-Life 2 or Portal, those soundtracks are just amazing, the electronic music in Sci-Fi just pulls to the next level whole game...
lol the main character reminds me of Issac from dead space except with a jet pack and gears of war's number one rule take cover or die :p it great!
The game is brilliantly awsome and unique for jetpack character it reminds me of Boba-Fit in startwar series xD this game well be epic, if im not wrong during those gameplays some of environment aren't finished yet other wise all grey well be sux
This is a great interview. Music in games is all too often forgotten as a major part of the game. Usually judged by gamers are graphics and gameplay, and while that is all well and good I think the more you listen you find that if your favourite games didn't have the good composers behind them that they really wouldn't be that great. I request of you that the next game you play give a bit of thought to what the music is doing!! good on ya gamespot for focusing on the music :)
This game looks to be yet another Japanese shooter hit in the makeing! First capcom blows us away with lost Planet and proves that the Japanese can make good shooters. Now Kanomi is going to do it agian! WOW! Proof that the Japanese love shooters just as much as the rest of us do. They just like a good and deep plot line, and fun added into the mix as well.
That we understand the meaning of the spirit of the game controlled well And give us a wonderful sense of imagination in the graphic
Macreary's music in BSG is some of the finest I've heard in a long time. Hopefully nothing has been lost in the transition to the game genre and I look forward to hearing his score. This game also looks pretty awesome at the moment to. Good interview also.
great article the importance of music and sounds in games and movies is often over looked it adds so much to the experience and after seeing this I have another game to look forward to
Shadow of the Colossus had one of the best scores i've ever heard, i hope Bear can create a similar effect with his music here. It sounded good so far.
Bear McCreary is a key figure in what made Battlestar Galactica stand out from the rest because his music struck at the core emotion portrayed in each scene. This partnership between McCreary and Capcom is phenomenal, considering that the latter produces the finest games most of the time. I anticipate Dark Void to be a great success.
Albeit the game does look pretty damn good, but I still can't believe they are going with Dark Void as the title for the game. That has got to be the most generic sounding title in the history of games. Even Baseball for NES was better suited and more original than this. What's next Capcom, Night Shadow?
Sounds like he is really into games, so hopefully his passion for gaming pays off in his music...game looks so kick ass btw, can't wait to play it!!
I forgot about this game, saw it ages ago. Looks great, and I mean the gameplay as well not just looks and I like devs that understand music in a game can increase the thrill of playing it. I am keeping my eye on this game.
@arkadiyk" Seriousdly, the list of games you just popped out almost makes me pass out. Life is good.
- Release Date: Jan 19, 2010 (US)
- ESRB: TTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.