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March 2016

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Page 42 of 51 41 POST MARCH 2016 performed by Rachel Mellis. The bansuri blends with soaring strings to drive home the feeling that the player is nearing the end of the journey. Overall, the track is more euphoric and upbeat than the regular in-game exploration music. "It's the one time where music dominates the gen- eral landscape to remind the player that they are now fully powered up. However, once Ori reaches the next milestone, which is a short distance away, the track never plays again. This adds to the uniqueness of the moment." "Light of Nibel," one of the last tracks Coker wrote for the game, is full of beau- tiful vocals, with up to six layers of singer Aeralie Brighton's voice. It's supported by strings that play a simple, ascend- ing chord sequence. Coker's aim was to create a rich, dense, harmonious track that was also as simple and relatable as Ori himself. "I regard 'End Credits' music in this game as part of the narrative. It gives time to allow the player to reflect on what they just experienced. It's nice to keep them in the zone for a bit longer," he says. In addition to composing the music, Coker also handled the notation for all the different instruments, and the orchestration. He recorded two ses- sions with a live orchestra in the repur- posed-church environment of Studio A at Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios. The majority of the cues were performed by a small chamber group that consisted of 20 strings, one flute, one clarinet, one oboe and a piano. A larger 56-piece orchestra was used for the bigger, more-dramatic cues. One of Coker's challenges on the score was to devise a way to add momentum to the music without adding big percussion. He also chose to steer clear of stereo- typical string ostinatos. Coker's solution was to employ a multitude of different pulsing tuned percussion instruments, plucked instruments, various pianos, celestes, dulcitones and synth pulses. He created subtle yet constantly moving patterns that sit underneath the emotion- al orchestral layers in the mix. "I also have a lot of reversed sounds because there's something interesting that happens when you reverse repeated motifs," he says. His choice of synth, U-He's Zebra, is a favorite among film composers, such as Hans Zimmer, who used it on his Batman scores. "Zebra has a really lush, warm sound and it doesn't dominate the mix like some other synths. It sounds very rich." Since Coker was involved with Ori and the Blind Forest right from the begin- ning, the music, the art and the game were able to evolve together throughout the process. Coker feels that giving the composer the opportunity to start early can help shape the emotional experience of the game, which is especially crucial in a narrative-driven game. "I think you will find that the most successful single player narrative games also have successful soundtracks because the composer prob- ably came on quite early. That is basically what happened with Ori. By the time we got to the end, I had played the game for probably a thousand hours. Playing the game, and testing the music, and testing the music transitions helps you discover problems much more quickly, and the end result is going to be much more polished." THE WITCHER 3 CD Projekt's The Witcher 3 has been racking up 'Game of the Year' award wins, as well as numerous nominations and award wins for the score. It's won The Global Games Awards 2015: Best Audio, and IGN's Best of 2015: Best Original Music. Nominations include The Game Awards 2015: Best Score/Soundtrack, Game Revolution's Best of 2015 Awards — Best Soundtrack, D.I.C.E. Awards 2016 — Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition, and the upcoming 2016 SXSW Gaming Awards — Excellence in Musical Score. Composer Mikolai Stroinski (miko- and composer Marcin Przybyłowiczj, working with tracks and stems from Polish folk music band Percival, created roughly five hours of original music for The Witcher 3. The game is an open-world environment and players' choices alter the game's outcome, with a total of 36 possible endings. Since all those variations require music, CD Composer Gareth Coker spent four years developing the soundtrack for Ori and the Blind Forest. It features more than 120 cues.

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