Comic Con 2012 – Fan Projects Go Interactive

This was something of a different panel with a number of video game music composers. Present was Gordy Haaab, David Ari Leon, Kyle Newmaster, Jeremy Soule and Gerard Marino. They are known for a number of games, and in some cases for their work television as well. They all have amazing games to their names, like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Kinect Star Wars, God of War, Elder Scrolls, The Amazing Spider-Man and many more.

The first question was directed toward David Ari Leon: how it felt to be working in video games again after his stint into TV scoring. David told us that he loved the creativity that video games allowed as there was not so much dialogue getting in the way of the music itself. It was great, in his mind, to have the music shift to more to the front and center of the viewer's/player's focus.

The second question was directed over to Jeremy Soule about the Elder Scrolls game. He never really thought about the success of the series. He simply wanted to do the best that he could with the music that he could. To him, it was more incidental that the series grew to the level that it did.

The next question was directed to Gordy Haab. He had a different background than the others having started his scoring work more in films. He admitted that he got his real start with an internet short that he worked on together with Kyle Newmaster. He did say though that games are an ever-changing field to be working in. The time lines are also less set then they are in a movie. With movies you need to have a piece of music that last from one point to another. In a video game you need a score that can loop back onto itself, which is harder to do with some styles of music. Still, he enjoys the challenge of music. Gordy also talked about how he does things a bit differently than most people as he will write out all of his scores by hand, get them approved then move onto copying them. He feels it is a good bit of process but it helps a lot to get the concept right. He finished talking about how it was an honor to have worked with the London Symphonic Orchestra on Star Wars: The Old Republic. He wanted to make sure there were minimal changes in the set up compared to John Williams. He wanted the only difference to be him.

The following question was directed to everyone on the panel: What game made you realize that you could make a living doing video game music? For Gordy it was Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.  For Jeremy it was Final Fantasy, Kyle it was Shadows of the Empire, Geread was Quake 1 and David it was the work of Inon Izur.

Gerard was talked to next after the broad question about the Kratos concert. He wanted to be in the same outfit as Kratos (Sony gave him some models of the Chaos Blades to wear) and he felt flabby in the outfit. It was a Halloween concert to so Geread was insistent on dressing up for it. To do make the deadline for the concert and look good in a Kratos outfit, he starting into a serious health regimen. He was determined to get as close to Kratos as he could for the concert. He managed to pull it but fell back into his old habits just after the concert.

Jeremy and Gordy were next to talk, having been asked about what it was like to do work based on another earlier composers work. Jeremy said it was important to do the work close to the source but to use your own voice. Gordy said it was important to imitate but to bring your own sound. Through that similar sound it is possible for them to establish  the connection.

Gerard followed, having been asked if he got to hear any of the music in the game, “The Amazing Spider-Man” before its release. He said that the game was finished well before the movie but he did not get to hear any of the works in the game until its release. He was happy with the work and how it turned out inside the game as well.

That brought the panel to an end as time had run out. It had been great to hear this composers talk about their work and hear something of their process in creating music. It was a pleasure to learn more about the music inside video games.