Videogame composers need to ‘balance musicality with game interactivity’

gamemusicconnectComposers need to ‘balance musicality’ with the interactive demands of videogames when composing scores for the format, a games expert has said.

James Hannigan, a videogame composer and co-founder of Game Music Connect, told delegates at the event that the way in which music is used in a game should determine how it sounds.

‘You really have to know how music is going to be applied before you decide how you realise it, how you produce it, how you present the final results – there are so many aspects that feed into the process. It goes back to this issue of having music as part of an integral part of the game’s design from the outset,’ he explained.

James added that composers often write a conventional linear piece, which could be unsuitable if it has a built-in narrative, and risks deviating from what is happening in the game

‘There’s a fine line between maintaining musicality and reducing it to something that complies with an interactive system and has little emotional impact,’ he continued.

‘The industry often looks for technological solutions to musical problems, but ultimately if we’re going to have games composers, they need to do both – write great music and understand how its broken down.’

James was speaking as part of the Score to Studio panel at the conference.

Check out our previous news item from the event on why the importance of music in videogames.