Get Even Composer Talks About The Game's "Melancholic, Oppressed, Happy" Music
Q&A: We speak with Olivier Derviere about the music he wrote for the intriguing-looking FPS game.
Ahead of the new shooter Get Even's release next month, you can now listen to some of the game's music tracks composed by Olivier Deriviere. You may not know him by name, but you're likely familiar with his work, as he composed the music for Assassin's Creed IV: Freedom Cry and Remember Me.
Developer The Farm 51 and Bandai Namco are promising something new for Get Even's soundtrack, as the music will combine "real-time MIDI," performances by live musicians," and "other audio tricks." The music itself blends electronic and live orchestra, as performed by the Brussels Philharmonic.
You can listen to all five of the preview tracks through the Soundcloud embed below. Additionally, the mini-documentary above sheds more light on how Deriviere and The Farm 51 went about creating the game's music and their ambitions for it, stylistically and tonally.
There will be 19 tracks in all on the Get Even soundtrack, spanning 60 minutes. A premium version of the soundtrack will come with a music sheet and extra songs.
GameSpot spoke with Deriviere about the soundtrack for Get Even. He told us about how he became attached to the project and revealed that he turned down offers from AAA franchises to work on the game because Get Even is a "very personal game, unlike any other."
Another interesting element to the music is that it's all connected to the story...somehow.
"Everything in the music makes sense and has a purpose that connects to the story of the game," Deriviere said. "If you hear a solo violin, if you hear a clock, if you hear breathing…etc…it is all connected."
He also discussed the "musical journey" players will get to experience with Get Even, touching on all manner of tones and feelings, including "melancholic, oppressed, [and] happy."
Our full interview follows below.
GameSpot: How did you come to be attached to Get Even?
Deriviere: I think, as for any game, that I landed the title due to a number of factors including an element of luck as well as hard work and friendship. This game was such an amazing challenge that I even turned down some other exciting offers, including some AAA franchises, because I hoped we would achieve our ambition to create a very personal game, unlike any other.
When you say you're "challenging industry conventions" with the music for Get Even, I presume this is the real-time MIDI system. Can you talk more about how that works and what it required from you, the performers, and the game?
Get Even is not a VR game but its setting takes place in VR so I had to approach it as a VR game. Therefore, I wondered how music would work in a world where everything looks, hears and feels so physical. How can an abstract music cue play when there is no ground for it? So the first rule we created was that every composition should start with an actual source from the world. Let’s take the first level. You progress in a building with many different rooms. In the real world rooms emit a random tone called "room tone." We designed them to be all in the key of C as well as for the lights buzzing around you. So we have a low pitch C and a high buzzing pitch C that will morph seamlessly to a drone texture. As you progress through the level. But that's not all! On top of that we have a very slow clock mechanical sound triggered in MIDI that will accelerate the more you approach your objective. At the end of the level we hear a live recording in sync with the clock and the drone that creates a very emotional and intense moment in the game. This could not be achieved in a traditional way.
What kind of preparation did you do for this project?
This was very challenging work and preparation was key. I had to do a lot of research on both an artistic and technical level to make sure it would meet what the game needed. To merge real time generated music with pre-recorded music was really fun because we had so much more flexibility. But what really mattered to me, and for any game I score, is to be meaningful with what I am doing. Writing music just for the sake of adding a musical layer to a game has never been enough to me and Get Even is so mesmerizing that I had to make sure everything you would hear is connected to the story. Everything in the music makes sense and has a purpose that connects to the story of the game. If you hear a solo violin, if you hear a clock, if you hear breathing…etc…it is all connected.
What were some of the themes and tones you wanted to accentuate with your music and how did you go about delivering on those? I heard regret and guilt are two themes of the game.
Nobody can anticipate what this game is about but yes, the main themes are regret and guilt. Time also has a big part to play. When you look at some screenshots of the game or the trailer you might think it is a horror genre game. There is some of that but it's maybe less than 10 percent of the experience. As well as the shooting part. Get Even is a very narrative-driven game that will play with your mind and, hopefully, talk to your heart and soul. That's what my music is definitely for. It is a very intimate story; there is no world to be saved, no zombie killing, etc… It's about making mistakes and the utter feeling of being powerless against them.
What kind of access did you have to the development team at The Farm 51 during the production of your score? And was it a very collaborative effort?
My relationship with a studio I work with is like the ones you can have in the movies such as Spiellberg/Williams, Burton/Elfman, Nolan/Zimmer... It is an intense collaboration to provide the best experience we can to players. I think this is the only approach for me to really capture the vision and enhance it with music.
"Get Even is a very narrative-driven game that will play with your mind and, hopefully, talk to your heart and soul." -- Deriviere
You've worked on some very high-profile projects in the past such as Alone in the Dark. How did this experience compare?
Well, working on high-profile games is no different in my opinion. You give the best you can. Of course it is very gratifying when you have worked on big franchises like Alone in the Dark or Assassin’s Creed but Get Even is very special to me. This game is not about the big picture but much more about us. Also the team was much smaller, we are talking about 60 people, so it feels more personal. I really had a great time talking with the team and I must say the lead level designer Gosia really provided me with all the material I needed for the music, I can't thank her enough!
What should people know about the musical score for Get Even?
I think people will be very surprised listening to the whole soundtrack, it is such a musical journey that they will feel sometimes melancholic, oppressed, happy but in the end, at the very end, they will listen to it and, if I did my job, deep down, they will know it is about them as well.
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