開發者談《地平線:零之黎明》的遊戲音樂幕後

本文原作者:Sean Cleaver 譯者ciel chen

我們此次採訪了作曲家Joris de Man、音樂作曲和製作二人組The Flight以及Guerrilla的音樂監製Lucas van Tol。

《地平線:零之黎明》是2017年、甚至可以說近是幾年來最有趣的遊戲之一。在這個Aloy和Nora族人居住的世界裏,每一個可以想到的細節蘊含了大量來自團隊無微不至的心血與投入。

遊戲中的音樂模塊也是音樂製作團隊的嘔心瀝血之作。於是我們對這個遊戲開發背後的音樂創作人(音樂作曲/製作二人組The Flight、Ivor Norvello獎得主作曲家Joris de Man以及Guerrilla的音樂監製Lucas van Tol)請教了一些問題。

你接下來將要讀到的內容將不僅限於探索遊戲團隊工作室是如何寫作和如何決策的,而且會深入研究The Flight是如何用Youtube視頻向美術設計師展示他們是如何在遊戲中演奏樂器從而演繹出Aloy主題曲背後的故事的。要提醒的是,接下來有輕微劇透。

Horizon Zero Dawn(from gamasutra.com)

Horizon Zero Dawn(from gamasutra.com)

你們是如何體現《地平線:零之黎明》中的三大支柱元素——機械生物,人類部落,自然景觀各自特色的?

The Flight:對我們來說,要體現這三大支柱元素在音樂上的不同特色並沒有那麼難;因爲在我們開始工作的第一天Guerilla公司方面就已經把這些特點告訴我們了。我們和Joris的職責就是把這些主題含義通過遊戲音樂傳達給玩家。我們首先關注的是如何呈遞遊戲的自然景觀——在這個絢麗多彩、廣袤無垠的世界裏,我們用多種給人以探索之感的音樂來表現出這樣的美景。

機械生物是比較深沉的那部分內容,他們最常出現在打鬥中,所以我們需要一種高科技金屬類音樂來表現這一特色。接着人類部落一部分主要是由人類組成,而這些人類有些十分原始而幼稚,有些卻比較先進。我們試圖通過不同音樂表現來體現他們不同的文明程度,但同時又希望在不同的音樂中保持共有的自然原始感。

在這個蒼翠繁茂的世界裏,高科技的機械生物和原始人類部落這部分內容讓玩家對遊戲充滿了期待。

Joris de Man:這是編曲團隊所面對的挑戰之一,我們爲解決這些,在處理音樂和音速上花了相當大一部分時間。

體現機械生物的世界是最簡單的部分了:冷調的機械感音樂是通過鐵和金屬類的碰撞產生的脈衝製成的電子合成音來延展體現那種金屬音色的。

對於人類部落這一部分音樂,我們首先想到的是部落人是如何演奏音樂的——似乎他們首次對音樂有所接觸是通過敲擊、吹氣或者用自己的聲音,所以這部分音樂創意需要我們自己探索。但是對於這些在人類開啓全新的文明時期裏無根源可追溯的部落,傳統樂器是不適用的。

Guerrilla明確指出,不要讓任何音樂類型或音樂風格讓背景音樂把部落歸類於某一種族,於是我們就試圖用不同的方式演奏樂器——用琴撥彈大提琴、用琴弓背彈吉他和鋼琴的 琴絃以及其他等等新的彈奏方式。

Soundwise的Lucas van Tol(音樂總監)也建議我們去找尋一種更小更由親密感的聲音,這種聲音要不加修飾,跟某些遊戲所尋求的宏大氣勢的音樂類型恰恰相反,這種聲音更注重樂器的獨奏和“挖掘不同的音效”,跟那些大型的音樂集合體完全不同。

最後一個要點——我知道Guerrilla工作室對笛樂不太感冒的,尤其是高音類的(在最開始的那部分我總要在demoz中的Killzones哪裏放上一些長笛樂和短笛樂!),所以我就儘可能用最低的笛聲,我找到了一種“最低音長笛”。儘管它是這一種金屬樂器,但它的聲音聽起來很有部落感,它有着奇特的低沉和嘶啞聲,在過度用力吹奏時會發出一種非常有趣的破音聲。所以就是以上這些內容撐起了人類部落這一支柱元素的。

自然景觀這部分其實也可以說是最簡單的——通過遠程音效素材(distant pads)和實驗室聲效所營造的悠揚和絃聲,其音效效果似乎挺好的。我還創作了一種通過我自己輕吹泰國竹笛發出聲音的採樣製成的音效素材,所以這個音效基本沒有調,不過有好多氣音。由於我們把採樣音效載到了Kontakt和Omnisphere中,所以我們還可以拿來用作後期音效素材,通過將其解構從而產生更多的音效組合。

Lucas van Tol:在Joris和The Fight組合加入我們之前很久的時候,曾經有一份短文檔,上面有Mathijs de Jonge(我們的遊戲總監)和音效團隊列出的想要關注的內容列表。列表內容中包含了三個支柱元素。我們直接將其譯爲:機器人->電子樂、部落->用簡單樂器和自然音效做的粗糙無修飾的聲音效果->有機、鬱鬱蔥蔥的聲音元素。列表上列出的這些實際上正就是我們所希望作曲人能夠通過音樂測試找到的音樂內容。而Joris和The Fight組合想出的方法正契合了這些要求的內容。

在你找到靈感的時候,你是如何知道在不同配樂不同場景下應使用的樂器的?

The Fight:我們和Lucas在Guerrilla的時候就已經對細節進行了很多討論,Lucas在樂器法和感觸方面已經有很深的理解和看法了。我們討論了Aloy(遊戲女主),她生存的世界以及圍繞着她發生的故事線路。由於這個世界被各個種族劃分成了不同的地域,我們爲每個部落考慮屬於他們各自的樂器音效以爲他們每個部落烙以不同的音效印記。

我們嘗試用不同的方式來演奏現有的樂器,我們大部分時候都在考慮當人們重新發現這些樂器的時他們會如何演奏這些樂器。我們其中一個關鍵的音效素材就是通過用琴弓拉諧振器吉他加上不同大小的口風琴音樂做出來的——我們稱之爲“地平線交響樂”!

Joris de Man:我製作音樂的素材就是由模擬合成器音效、大提琴音、倍低音長笛音、現成音效以及Circle Percussion的音效(劇情聲作曲人Niels van der Leest介紹給我們的人)組成的。Julie Elven則是整個音樂團隊所欠缺的最後一塊拼圖,在電子遊戲展覽會上的預告片音樂展出後反響了得,Julie Elven通過歌唱的聲音,以音樂呈現艾洛伊的情緒經歷。

所以當場景動畫暗藏了Aloy的情感變化時,那麼Julie Elven的聲音和Aloy所經歷主題的變換(正如在主菜單聽到的那樣)似乎正剛好相互契合了。

一切基於角色行動的背景音樂都來自於Circle Percussion,因爲它能即刻給玩家以一種侵略性和部落感的音效;而當故事的發展以機械世界或者“舊”科技(先前的文明)爲主時,我們則使用加工電子樂器或者模擬合成器的音效。

Lucas van Tol:在《地平線》早期開發期間,我曾讓Niels van der Leest(他是一名專業的敲擊樂樂手兼遊戲作曲人,我在幾個月前見過他)整理一份有關部落樂器的文件。我們清楚的知道自己大概的遊戲定位,並掌握了大量遊戲部落的信息。通過將這些信息的整合,可以知道各部落會使用哪些材料作爲樂器,並且能夠知道他們是如何彈奏這些樂器的。

比如說,Nora族對音樂的瞭解非常少,所以他們的音樂就相對簡單;而Carja人對音樂非常敏感,所以我們在做他們的音樂上可以放上整個唱詩班(就打個比方而已)。通過Circle Percussion(一個荷蘭史詩鼓劇團),我們可以將所有的鼓聲結合在我們的劇情音樂和原聲音樂集中——並且所有的作曲人都會“使用”Niels(因爲Niels曾經也參加過Circle Percussion內容的製作)來記錄現場打擊樂曲。

遊戲中的配樂有時能讓人感受到遊戲世界中的往昔歷史與某種程度的悲慼感,而有時又能保持一種較猛烈,富含行動力的節奏感。你們是怎麼平衡這兩方面的?

Joris de Man:這兩方面的平衡,部分我們是在擁有更多主題深化空間的過場動畫中解決的。這裏的歷史往昔、《地平線:零之黎明》的意義之所在以及Aloy的前世今生都是故事情節中的關鍵部分,所以這裏有我們在音樂上的大量探索機會,而且我對於爲此撰寫主題意義材料非常累在其中,這裏的主旨我可以重複用在不同的場景中。

但是這種緊湊行動和憂鬱配樂之間的平衡很大程度上是受各個不同地區和不同類型的事件影響的。

Lucas在配曲這方面的平衡中做得非常出色,他爲我們描繪了了各種不同的地區、居住在這些地區的不同部落還有他們之間的差異。有一些部落還沒有進入金屬鍛造時期,所以其音樂表現形式主要通過皮革和木材,而其他更先進的部落則用其他不同的音樂表現形式來體現。

Lucas van Tol: 真正有效的平衡方式是我們跟我們的配樂創作人進行了大量的交流。我們儘可能地將信心傳達給它們,包括整個部落大綱、通關攻略、美工等等。我在遊戲開發的辦公大樓裏是有一桌之位的,我是親眼看着這款遊戲一步步走到今天的。

不幸的是,這是一名駐外作曲人無法得到的信息。所以作爲監製這個角色很大部分時候是要去確保大家能儘可能多地接受到信息,纔有一種作爲團隊一份子的歸屬感。作曲人越理解這個遊戲與其承載的故事,他們就越能演奏出這些故事需要的表達的情感並找到其中的細微差別。而從我的角度看來,我知道我想要的配樂編曲方式與位置,並且我也知道它們該如何進行轉換。所以總之,作曲人不需要擔心他們的曲子何去何從或者音樂技巧方面的作業,這些我都可以清楚地幫他們整理概括出來,所以他們只需要集中注意力在創作實實在在的音樂就好了。

隨着Aloy經歷的越多,承擔起了更多的使命變得更加繁忙,她承載了一種苦樂參半的主題基調。你們要如何從作曲中反應她的性格?

Joris de Man: 我很幸運,能遇到John Gonazalez(故事主要撰稿人)創作的這樣一個絢爛多彩、意義深刻的故事以及故事中這些豐滿全面的人物角色。Aloy的內心性格是複雜的,因爲她經歷了太多不幸;但她那種溫柔的力量以及敏感的內心是我在主題曲中想要傳達的。

這個主題曲原本是爲電子娛樂展會的預告片所創作,所以要想將它勾畫展現出來就應該把它推向遊戲的高潮……但是Guerrilla工作室很快意識到,把這種情感放在主選單背景樂中營造的效果也很好。我們之前很長一段時間認定它就應該放在主題曲裏,而我也理所當然地爲主選單背景樂尋找其他音樂素材,但當我們發現人們對它在主選單背景樂中的表現報以喜愛之情以後,我們決定不再繼續犯傻試圖找別的音樂素材替代它了。

Lucas van Tol:我還記得剛開始我們對Aloy’s的主題曲還不太有把握——因爲它太與衆不同,太直白坦率了。儘管我們都很喜歡這首曲子,但是“玩家”是不是也喜歡我們不知道。那時的我非常需要在這個方面學習更多,我從中明白了——別去做“玩家喜愛的”東西,因爲根本沒有這種東西存在;我們只要聽從第一感覺便好——你覺得行得通就做下去,這便是Joris秉持的做事原則。

我們所有人最後都愛上了Julie Elven的聲音,她的聲音似乎成爲了Aloy的伴隨旋律,就好像每次Aloy在情感上有所經歷的時候Julie都在那裏支持着她一樣。遊戲結尾是我最喜歡的部分,我覺得是因爲我體驗到Joris和Julie所帶領的一段美好旅程在那裏落下了帷幕,也因爲Aloy的主題曲同那一刻的所有其他旋律都那樣美好地結束了。

這裏的遊戲配樂跟你們之前的音樂作品風格存在一些偏差,在這樣一個如此獨特而廣闊的世界裏,創作性詮釋空間也更加廣闊。你們覺得給遊戲配樂同你之前的音樂創作有何不同之處?

The Fight:我們很幸運能在如此多樣化的項目裏創作。在我們開始《地平線:空之黎明》的配樂創作前我們剛爲充滿黑暗幽閉恐怖氣氛的《異形:隔離(Alien:Isolation)》做好配音,但是巧的是兩款遊戲都是有關女主角獨自行走在尋母之路上的故事。

在爲《地平線》做配樂的同時我們還爲第四頻道關於精神障礙兒童的紀錄片做着背景音樂。儘管這些都是互不相同的項目,但終究我們所做的都是音樂創作,所以我們一如既往地好好坐下,拿起樂器然後開始彈奏創作。

Joris de Man:《地平線》在很多程度上都是非常大的挑戰——我們之前有過和Guerrilla遊戲工作室在《殺戮地帶》系列遊戲上的合作經歷,這款遊戲的配樂必須符合它的激烈遊戲玩法,要成爲好似一場大型現場交響樂團所演奏出對聽衆形成聽覺衝擊的音樂,而這種旋律和聲音的強烈是《地平線》遙不可及的。

《地平線》的配樂方式非常不同,我得讓自己儘可能地把《地平線》在差距甚遠的節奏和強度上把主題曲和背景音樂寫得簡單而有效果。而我們少數有限的的獨奏者和音效材料也無法再被分解解構來組成大量的音樂內容,這就是我們所面臨的挑戰。

有時這真的很讓人頭疼,會讓我處在以個非常不舒服的地帶,但是我很享受越過這個獨特的風景地帶的經歷,最後到達了大型傳統的作曲方式下所無法到達的彼岸。

Horizon Zero Dawn(from gamasutra.com)

Horizon Zero Dawn(from gamasutra.com)

Lucas van Tol:這是我的第一個作爲項目監製的工作——幸運的是我能夠得到這個很棒的團隊、製作人和Sony的同僚們的鼎力相助。不過我還是有過一些遊戲配音經驗的——我誒《殺戮地帶》2、3和暗影地帶都配過樂,所以我對這個流程以及Joris的作品都非常的熟悉。
但是我們在《地平線》中想要一些全新的東西。我對於讓Joris不得不踏入一個我們從未接觸過的領域後會發生的事非常感興趣。

確實“出事”了——他不但搞定了遊戲風格,還無意中爲我們需要的海量音樂內容提供了一個解決方法。他的最初的作品非常豐滿有內容。但我很快就意識到,儘管音樂再美,如果一直聽,聽得多了也會疲憊。

所以我就要取得這些音樂的所有來源,並且開始從這些來源中創造出更多新的音樂內容。我們經常會發現如果選對了音樂來源可以組合成聽起來完全不同的曲子。作爲額外獎勵,我們現在有了能大放異彩或說是小有成效的背景音樂了——突然之間,一切就都那麼自然地運轉起來了。

… 接着最後.

Joris de Man: 這是一個很好的例子——在音樂的過程中,隨着時間的推移,一些音樂逐漸發展起來。

首先是開場曲——我們在第一張唱片盤上有一個叫做Papoose的demo,那也是爲開場動畫而作的原始demo,它只是腳本中的一小個部分。很明顯,一旦場景根據故事情節接連起來並做成動畫時,那節奏和氛圍完全不同,不過從主題上看來我認爲這裏有些許音樂內容效果不錯。你會在最後的序幕部分的音樂小片段中也聽到部分這裏的旋律。

其次,我和The Flight組合在一些音樂片段上的合作——我用鋼琴彈出的曲子初稿,然後the Flight組合根據它創作個出一首完整的曲子。我覺得能聽到我們按照各自不同方式所創作的聲音和作品;以及能聽出這些聲音是如何發揮我們之間不同優勢——這是非常有趣的事。

Lucas van Tol:有一點值得注意的趣事就是:我們的作曲家同時也爲我們的音樂片段做起了片段捕捉——他們就是Meridian的Joe、Alexis和Niels,就像諾拉節上的牧師和敲鼓三人組一樣——我們把音樂集合起來演奏,他們則將捕捉的片段同步進去。

說到Meridan的音樂組合,還有一個與之有關的有趣故事。我們最開始所面對是三種不同的樂器演奏概念。我們對他們最後發出的聲音和演奏方式完全沒有頭緒。所以我們讓The Flight用“推銷”的方式來讓我們去了解——做一個Youtube的小型教學視頻來給我們展示這些樂器是如何演奏的。

他們很好地完成了這個任務,視頻做的既有娛樂性又有信息呈遞性,也是從那時起,我們知道了,我們要面對的是Kuna Bass、Braumdrum和 Iron Pendulum這三種樂器。

The Flight: 當我們一羣人去做音樂時我們總覺得音樂是最棒的。在《地平線:零之黎明》中,在和Joris、Niels以及贊爆了的Guerrilla音頻團隊的合作中,我感覺非常太奇妙了。我們所有人都爲能在這個我們覺得是美麗而真正獨特的遊戲中創作而感到萬分驕傲。

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Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the most interesting games of 2017, certainly, and possibly of the last few years. So much went in to establishing the world that Aloy and the Nora inhabit that every single conceivable nuance was crafted with meticulous care and attention.

One such area of the game was the game’s music. We asked a few questions to the teams behind the soundscape – composer/production duo The Flight, Ivor Norvello award winning composer Joris de Man and music supervisor at Guerrilla, Lucas van Tol.

What you’re about to read is a real deep dive in to the process of not only scoring a game but also how collaberative teams and studios come to make decisions, how The Flight made YouTube videos to show the motion capture artists how to play the instruments in the game and the story behind Aloy’s Theme. There may be mild spoilers ahead so you have been warned.

How did you identify the three pillars of the game to represent musically – machines, tribes, and nature?

The Flight: It wasn’t so much a matter of us identifying the three pillars of the game; these were explained to us by Guerilla on day one. It was ours and Joris’ job to translate these into the musical sound of the game. We focused on the nature of the world first, a beautiful place full of colour and space, you can hear this in a lot of the exploration music.

The machines are the dark side and most contact with them is when you are fighting, so we needed this music to have a hi-tech, metallic edge. The tribes were humans, some of them quite primitive and naive, some more advanced. We tried to make their music reflect their level of advancement at the same time as keeping it all quite organic sounding.

The juxtaposition of the lush world, hi-tech machines and primitive people is what made this game such an exciting prospect.

Joris de Man: This was one of the challenges the composing team faced, and that we spent a fair bit of time figuring out, both musically and sonically.

The machine world was the easiest: cold, mechanical textures using circuit bent synths, glitching and stretching, and metallic overtones that were achieved running percussive loops through impulse responses of iron and metal objects being struck.

With the tribes, the first thing we thought of is how tribal people would play music – it’s likely that the first things they would do is hit stuff, blow on it or use their voice, so those are ideas we explored. But it was also clear that as this world features never-before-seen tribes after humankind is more or less ‘restarted’, that we couldn’t approach instruments in a traditional way.

Guerrilla made clear we should steer away from any music or style of playing that would pull it towards any particular ethnicity, so instead we looked at playing instruments in different ways – cellos with plectrums and the back of the bow, bowed guitars and piano strings, that sort of thing.

Soundwise, Lucas van Tol (music supervisor) also suggested we’d go for a much smaller and more intimate sound, and a bit less polished, as opposed to the big blockbuster sound that some games go for, with focus on solo Instruments and ‘found sound’, rather than bigger ensembles.

Last but not least, I knew Guerrilla wasn’t overly keen on flutes, especially high ones (as far back as the first few Killzones I’d always have to turn the flutes and piccolos down in my demos!), so instead I looked for the lowest flute I could find; a Contrabass Flute. Even though it’s a metallic instrument, it sounds quite tribal and has this wonderfully deep and raspy tone that breaks up in a really interesting way when overblown. So those elements took care of the tribes’ pillar.

Nature was arguably the easiest – distant pads and ambiences, and wide, spread out chords seemed to work well. I also created a pad sound by sampling myself blowing really softly on a Thai bamboo flute, so that it barely created a pitch, but with lots of air. That was put into Kontakt and Omnisphere so that it could be played as a pad sound and in the latter, granulated to create more textures.

Lucas van Tol: Long before we approached Joris and The Flight, a short document was put together. Sort of a recipe list of things that Mathijs de Jonge, our game director, and the sound team wanted to focus on. Part of that list were those three pillars. We quite literally translated that to robots -> electronic, tribes -> rough, unpolished sounding music with simple instruments and nature -> organic, lush sounding elements. What that meant exactely, was what we wanted the composers to find out through a music test. Joris and The Flight came up with solutions that seemed to ‘click’.

Once you found these inspirations, how did this dictate what instruments to use in the score, and at what points?

The Flight: We talked in detail to Lucas at Guerrilla, who already had strong ideas about instrumentation and feel. We discussed Aloy, the world she lives in and the story path that she follows. As the world was split into zones for each of the tribes, we thought about what instruments may be found in each of them in order to give each one its own aural stamp.

We tried to use existing instruments in different ways, almost imagining how they would have been played by people just rediscovering them. One of our key sounds were bowed resonator guitars layered up with different sizes of harmonicas. We called this our ‘Horizon orchestra’!

Joris de Man: The palette on my music settled on analog synths, cello, contrabass flute, found sound and Circle Percussion, who Niels van der Leest (diegetic composer) had introduced to us. The final piece of the puzzle was Julie Elven, who, after the first E3 trailer’s music, received such an amazing response, became more or less the musical voice of Aloy.

So for the cutscenes, if the scenes signaled an emotional turn for Aloy, her voice and permutations of Aloy’s Theme (as heard on the main menu) seemed like a good choice.

Anything action-based benefited from Circle Percussion, as that would give you an instant aggressive and tribal sound, and if the development of the story focused on the machine world or technology of ‘the old ones’ (the previous civilisation), circuit bend or glitched analog synths were used.

Lucas van Tol: In the early stages of Horizon’s development, I asked Niels van der Leest, someone I had met a couple of months earlier and a professional perccusionist and game composer, to put together a presentation about tribal instruments. We knew where our game would be set approximately, and we had a bit of information about our tribes. By combining that information, you could thus extract what kind of materials tribes would have to their disposal and how they would play that.

For instance, the Nora have very basic musical knowledge, so their music had to be relatively simple. The Carja were much more sophisticated so we could put entire choir pieces there, for instance. By using Circle Percussion, a Dutch epic drums theatre group, we could combine all kinds of drumming sounds in our diegetic music as well as in our soundtrack – and all composers could ‘use’ Niels, who used to be part of Circle Percussion, to record live percussion tracks.

The score at times feels like it’s referencing the in-game past and a measure of sorrow, whilst also keeping a harder, more action filled pace. How did you balance this?

Joris de Man: Part of this was handled in the cutscenes, where there was much more room for thematic development. The past, the meaning of Horizon Zero Dawn and Aloy’s backstory is a vital part of the storyline, so there was plenty of scope to explore that musically and I really enjoyed writing thematic material for that, with motifs I could reuse in different situations.

But the balance between action and more ambient scoring during the game was also largely dictated by the various regions and the type of encounters.

Lucas did an excellent job describing the various regions to us, the tribes that inhabited them and how they differed. Some tribes had not yet gotten into metal forging, and so focused on leather and wood, whereas others were more advanced, so the music needed to reflect that.

Lucas van Tol: What worked really well is that we talked a lot with all our composers. We sent over as much information as we could. Entire tribe guides, playthroughs, artwork… I have a desk in the building where the game is actually developed. I see the game slowly coming together.

That is information that an external composer unfortunately doesn’t have. So a big part of the supervision role is to make sure they get as much information as possible. To feel as much as a part of our team as we can. The more the composers understand the game and the story, the more easily they can play with that and find the nuances in that. And from my side, I knew how and where I wanted to script the music in and how its transitions should work. So in the end, the composers didn’t have to worry about where the music should go or how it should work technically, I was able to brief them on that quite clearly so that they could focus on writing the actual music.

The Flight: The main thing for us was keeping a sense of loneliness. Aloy is alone on a quest to discover her mother and her origins. She has so much she doesn’t understand, and much hardships along the way. This game is not just a story game though, there is a lot of action too, and thus a lot of more uptempo music. The balance between the two wasn’t really our remit – it is down to the arc of the story and the game designers. We just needed to make sure that the two sides worked together to create a coherent sonic experience.

Aloy’s theme has a bittersweet tone with a progressively busier and busier crescendo. How did you approach composing for her character?

Joris de Man: I was lucky that John Gonzalez, the lead writer, created such a wonderfully rich and deep story, with well-rounded characters. Aloy is a complex character, who meets much adversity throughout her story arc; but she has this gentle strength and sensitivity that I wanted to portray in the theme.

The main theme was originally created for the first E3 trailer, and so to work to picture it needed to build to a crescendo…but Guerrilla soon realised that it would work well as a main menu theme also. For the longest time it was considered placeholder, with me potentially writing something else for the main menu, but seeing how people responded to it and how well it set the tone, it would have been foolish to try and replace it.

Lucas van Tol: I remember that initially we were a little bit unsure about Aloy’s Theme. It was so different, and so outspoken. We loved it, but would ‘the players’ like it as well? That was a big learning moment for me. Don’t make anything for ‘the players’, there is no such thing. Make something that intuitively you think works, and that is what Joris did.

We all fell in love with Julie Elven’s voice, and it sort of transitioned into the idea that Julie would become Aloy’s musical voice. Any time something emotional happens to Aloy, Julie will be there to support her. The epilogue track is one of my favorites, and I really think it is because Joris and Julie have taken you on a journey that concludes there. It’s because of Aloy’s Theme and all those other pieces that that moment lands so well.

This score sees a bit of a departure from your previous works in being such a unique and vast world that’s a lot more open to creative interpretation. How do you feel this has differed from your previous work in approaching scoring the game?

The Flight: We are lucky to have worked on such varied projects. Before we started Horizon Zero Dawn we had just completed the score for Alien: Isolation, which is dark, claustrophobic and pretty terrifying, but also coincidentally a story about a lone woman searching for her mother.

Whilst working on Horizon Zero Dawn we also scored a Channel 4 documentary series about children with mental health disorders. Though these are all very different projects, in the end we are just writing music, we still usually sit down, pick up an instrument and start playing.

Joris de Man:Horizon Zero Dawn was hugely challenging on many levels – having had history with Guerrilla Games on the Killzone franchise, where the music had to match the intense gameplay and was an aural assault on the listener with a massive live symphony orchestra, Horizon Zero Dawn couldn’t have been further away from that type of scoring and sound.

It required a very different approach, and I had to allow myself to write simple, effective themes and background music that had a very different pace and intensity. The palette too, couldn’t be further apart, with just a few soloists and found sounds, so the challenge was to do a lot with relatively little, and allow the music to breathe without needing to take centre stage.

At times it was quite challenging and a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I relished the opportunity of sonically traversing this unique landscape, and ended up in places I wouldn’t have had if we’d taken a more traditional, blockbuster-style approach.

Lucas van Tol: This was my first project supervising the music – luckily I had a lot of help from the sound team and our producers, and people within Sony. However, I did integrate the music for Killzone 2, 3 and Shadow Fall, so I was pretty familiar with the process and Joris his work.

But we wanted something completely new here. I was interested in seeing what would happen if we would force Joris to go into a direction he had never been in, at least not for Guerrilla, to see what would happen.

A couple of things happened. He nailed the style, but he also accidently provided a solution for the huge amount of music content we wanted to have. His initial pieces were very rich, very full. I soon realized that although it was beautiful, it would be too much to hear all the time.

So instead I asked for all the stems of the songs, and we started to create more content out of these stems. Often we would find entirely different sounding songs by choosing the right stems. As a bonus, we now had a musical soundscape that could take the spotlight or kind of linger somewhere in the background. There suddenly was a natural flow that worked really well.

… And Finally.

Joris de Man: There’s a nice example on the soundtrack of how, during the course of the game, some of the music developed over time.

The first is the Prologue – there’s a demo on the first disc called Papoose that was the original demo for the opening cutscene, composed to just a section from the script. It became clear, once the scene was storyboarded and put into an early animatic, that the pace and vibe was quite different, but thematically there were a few bits in there I thought worked well. You’ll hear some of those bits (like the main flute melody) back in little snippets in the final Prologue piece.

Secondly, The Flight and I collaborated on a few pieces, which started as a piano sketch from myself that the Flight worked into a full production. I thought it was really interesting to hear our different approaches to sound and production and how it played to our different strengths.

Lucas van Tol: A fun thing to note is that our composers also did the motion capture for our diegetic music vignettes. The three musicians in Meridian are Joe, Alexis and Niels, as are the priests and the drumming trio at the Nora festival. We played the music on set and they synced their mocap to it.

Talking about the music group in Meridan, there’s also a fun story about that. We originally were confronted with three concept art pieces of instruments. We had no idea what they would sound like or how they would be played. So we approached The Flight with the question if they could ‘sell’ those instruments to us, to make a little Youtube tutorial video to show us what these instruments were about.

They did an excellent job, the video was both entertaining and informing, and from that point on we knew we were dealing with a Kuna Bass, a Braumdrum and an Iron Pendulum.(source:develop online