Find out what it takes to create a bone-chilling soundtrack for a horror game.
Most of you probably wouldn't have guessed it, but award-winning composer Jason Graves began his musical career as a jazz drummer. As a classically trained percussionist--who is also proficient with the guitar and piano--Jason found his calling when he worked on the video game, King Arthur. Previously known for his work with live orchestras extensively in film and television, Jason says that since then, he has never looked back because he prefers the creative freedom found working in games.
Horror games rely heavily on atmosphere, sound design, and music to create a spine-tingling experience for the player. Dead Space did just that, and while some game soundtracks might not do much for your ears outside of their original purpose, the soundtrack to Dead Space and Dead Space 2 is worth listening to on its own. While the harsh dissonant sounds may not be the most ear pleasing for someone looking to relax, the second album has some thematic elements that draw you into the music. Dead Space 2 takes a more emotional character-driven approach, with the tender sounds of the string quartet's melody woven carefully into the tracks. And if you're like me (who is too chicken to sit through a horror game), there are moments as the tension builds when even I begin to feel anxious--and I have no visual reference.
Find out, in our interview below, how Jason pieced together the music for Dead Space 2. And here's a fun fact for those who are interested: Jason has a thing for anagrams. Track 4 - Canonical Aside is an anagram for Isaac and Nicole. Enjoy!
Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, 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. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here.
you can tell he's a trained percussionist by the great unpredictable rythm changes in the first game's ost (I don't know about the new one). and Jason's also a nice guy, we chatted once on myspace.
I thought it was interesting that Graves mentioned how much creative freedom he had on Dead Space 2. I always pictured publishers like EA being very strict with their game content. Though it could just mean that music gets less scrutiny than other aspects of their games.
Nice interview. He made some very good points regarding diversity in playing/composing. I would really have loved to hear examples of the different layers he was talking about, just like it's done in the film about Martin Stig Andersen - the composer to Limbo: http://www.dr.dk/DR1/Troldspejlet/Spil/2010/0712114615 (it's in danish by the way)
@sinn_gamer - Already did. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6280370.html for Akira and http://www.gamespot.com/news/6282849.html for Marty. @X-tract - it's called an interview and that usually involves people talking. If you want to listen to his music, you can buy it when the soundtrack comes out or check out his music on his site that is listed above.
I am sooo glad that GS started this blog! Just what I wanted. Now all they need to do is get Akira Yamaoka and Marty O'Donnell on it.
does that guy ever shut up? I came here hoping to listen to music, not some guy ramble on about his past stopped after about 4 minutes >.>
In a game like Dead Space, more even than the monsters and environments, I find the sound and music are the things that are make or break for atmosphere. Dead Space's music was nice and suspenseful and creepy, and no doubt the second will be the same - I'm looking forward to it!
@Sophia - ok. sorry, maybe i was being a bit too judgemental without knowing the backgrounds. and what a bad luck :D the review went up just 5 minutes after my pm :P... anyway, thank you so much, Sophia and all GS staff members for all of your great works....
@redder1111 - it's called an embargo and we have to honor it. The review went up on time at midnight. And even if it doesn't, it has nothing to do with being lazy when we don't have the game early enough to finish it. Lazy is when you get the code, write an incomplete review because you didn't bother playing through all of it.
Yeah man the music in the first Dead Space was awesome. It really improved the scary environment to give a really good experience. Im hoping that he does the same thing for DP2 so I can get scaried $h!t less again... And I'll try playing with the light off this time. haha.
Never realised the first dead space was a horror game before i completed it and afterwards read the review claiming it to be such. the soundtrack wasn't great, and the game is definitely NOT scary. even F.E.A.R is more scary, hell, Half-Life was scarrier. The game is pretty fun though, and the composer has my deepest respect, for the soundtrack in King Arthur was pretty good.
Already pre-ordered Dead Space 2 two days ago! Digital Download so I'm playing that baby wants it goes live!
The track "Twinkle Twinkle (Little Star)" from the original "DEad Space" still sends shivers down the spine, so I expect good things with Graves' next work.
i like how king arthur is his first game and going to Dead Space strange shift hopefully the orchestra will add to the atmosphere This guy is creative and interesting the score seems amazing
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