Austin Wintory shares the story behind The Pathless musical score

The Pathless
(Image credit: Giant Squid)

Composer Austin Wintory has shared how he and Giant Squid crafted the musical score for The Pathless.

In a new PlayStation blog post, Wintory, who has previously composed music for titles such as Journey and Abzu, has touched on the development of The Pathless and discussed how The Pathless is the one game that pushed him harder than any score he’s composed in his career.

“I was lucky to be involved from the very beginnings of the project, and compose alongside Giant Squid’s development for over three years. In that time the conception of the score evolved a lot, both in terms of how it would be technically implemented into the game, but also more philosophically.” 

Wintory says that The Pathless’ open-world design demanded a different relationship between the player and the music compared to Abzu’s linear storytelling. He said, “We had to constantly make fine-tuned adjustments about when we felt our job was to gently accompany the unguided wanderings of a player, versus when we should more aggressively inject into the game unapologetic emotion.” 

The score, which is built around what Wintory calls “a global jam band”, fuses musical traditions of Tuva, Scandinavia, China, Eastern Europe, Mongolia, Appalachia, Western Africa, and hints of the Middle East, all mixed with an orchestral flavour. 

“The goal was to create something which feels like a ‘playable mythology’, as if the player is experiencing firsthand the story that underlines the tale behind a constellation or a cave painting. It’s something deeply human, exploring some of our most enduring ideas, across every culture on the planet.” 

Working with Steve Green, Giant Squid’s sound designer, Wintory says they’ve crafted a large-scale interactive score that dances with the player’s choices throughout their journey. 

The Pathless is an upcoming action-adventure developed by Giant Squid and is set to release November 12 as PS5 launch title as well as on PS4, PC and Apple Arcade.  

Head on over to read our preview of The Pathless

Freelance Writer

Demi is a freelance video games journalist with a particular love for Final Fantasy. She's written for GamesRadar, NME, TheGamer, and Gamespot in recent years.