Composers in games are always the bloody bridesmaids. While Kojima, Clifford Bleszinski the Third and Shigeru Miyamoto lap up all the credits, complimentary hookers and free mini muffin baskets, the men and women behind their games' epic music go unnoticed.
Steven Spielberg famously said that composer John Williams' score in Jaws was responsible for 50% of the movie's success. And when you consider the iconic tunes from Super Mario Bros. or Shadow of the Colossus' sweeping score, it's hard to underestimate the impact a well composed soundtrack can have on a title. But while the music itself is often celebrated, the talented folk behind it rarely are. That's why we're giving some of gaming's finest composers the long overdue recognition they deserve. Oh, and don't worry peeps, the mini muffins are in the post.
Harry Gregson Williams
Notable scores:Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Before a certain suave owner of the sexiest in specs in gaming approached him about scoring a mildly anticipated game, Williams was a big time Hollywood composer. His works include Enemy of the State and Team America: World Police (F*CK YEAH!). Ahem.
Anyway, during the development of Metal Gear Solid 2, Hideo Kojima sent Harry a sample tape with loads of the composer’s music on it, some of which he hadn’t even been credited for. Williams was so impressed by the effort Kojima had gone to, he immediately agreed to start work on Snake’s megaton adventure, even though he’d never scored a game before. And as your eardrums will attest, the results were nothing short of epic.
Notable scores:Men of Valour, Fallout 3, Prince of Persia (2008)
Probably the composer with the most ‘interesting’ CV on the list. And when we say ‘interesting’ we mean a bit shit. Well, at least until he started scoring games. Before his award-winning work on Dragon Age: Origins, Zur worked on a direct to video spin-off of the Casper film and even scored Power Rangers in Space.
After assumedly realising there was only so much emotion he could squeeze out of the men-in-cheap-plastic-suits genre, Zur made the wise move of switching to game composing. While we love the melancholy tunes of Fallout 3, his theme for Vietnam shooter Men of Valour is pretty inspiring.
If video game composing was the mafia, then Mr. Wall would be… well, not Don Corleone, but at the very least the guy that beats the bolognese out of his sister's abusive husband. Not only did he help found the Game Audio Network Guild in 2005 (control yourself, girls), he was also responsible for organising the Video Games Live concert series. You know, those gigs where the classically trained musicians played themes from Zelda and Metal Gear Solid.
Despite these kick-ass accomplishments, and his award-winning work on Myst IV, Jackie boy will always have a special place in our ears for the Mass Effect menu music. Known as Vigil, we spend hours just listening to the ethereal melody that so beautifully encapsulated the mythic wonder of exploring space. God, just thinking about it makes us want to treat our earlobes to a damn good stroking.
Notable scores: Freedom Fighters, Hitman series, Assassin's Creed II
If there’s any man you want scoring the moment you blow up a woman with a barbecue while dressed as a clown, it’s Jesper Kyd. His work on Agent 47’s grizzly games are his best known work, and rightly so. He’s given each game a chilling atmosphere, with a subtle foreboding score underlying each instalment.
While we love what’s he’s done in the murder folk for moolah genre, our favourite score of his comes from 2003’s criminally overlooked Freedom Fighters. A pulsating, rousing composition, it made the already frantic squad shooter even more intense. The Battle For Freedom, which we’ve included below, is pretty incredible. And we can say with confidence, there’s no other piece of music we rather shoot Russians in the face to.
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