Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Musical Frontier?

Alex Pham over at The Seattle Times recently did a profile piece on Garry Schyman and video game composition in general.

If you haven't gathered by now, we here at Charge Shot!!! enjoy music in video games. So I thought it only fitting to share this article. Not every composer can be Nobuo Uematsu, but people like Schyman and our friend Daniel Pemberton are starting to get recognition.

Schyman won an award in the 90s for a Philips CD-i game I didn't know existed (Voyeur was apparently a lot like Night Trap.) More recently, he helped Ken Levine blow your mind in the 2k epic Bioshock. He enjoys working in the game industry, saying, "Film music can be very soft and ambient...But game developers want strong musical statements. So from a creative standpoint, games are a great place to be right now." Strong statements indeed, he's hired a nine-piece brass ensemble in order to channel some Mahler for the next Resistance installment.

Aside from the facts on Schyman's career, Pham provides an illuminating look into a process I'm sure many of us take for granted. Schyman has to fragment his compositions, recording snippets at a time, in case some developer wants a horn pop everytime you head shot some guy.

I'm glad more composers are getting attention for their work in games. Hopefully if we start giving these guys enough credit, developers won't hire two-bit composers and I won't have to listen to crap like this ever again.