Post Magazine

March 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 43 of 51 42 POST MARCH 2016 AUDIO FOR GAMES Projekt (the game development studio/ publisher) needed to get serious mile- age out of those five hours of score. By designating the stems of the composers' tracks as single layers in the game engine, CD Projekt was able to solo or combine layers in-game, increasing their number of musical options. "A lot of planning had to be done during pre-production and every- thing had to be established — all the ways in which a player can go and all of the possible solutions/resolutions of certain situations," says Stroinski. "By using the stems as layers, you have tons of music. For instance, from one combat track you can have smaller mixes play over a less important enemy and then the fuller mix would play over the more difficult enemy." All the music cues were written for particular locations. There are three huge worlds — Novigrad, Velen and Skellige Isles. The sound for each is distinct thanks to a set of rules governing instrumenta- tion. For example, the no-man's-land of Velen utilizes the Slavic folk sound. "It's very rough and unforgiving, so the music has to reflect that. Vocalists are singing with the 'white voice' deep-throat singing technique typical for Slavic folk mu- sic, where the attention is put more on the volume and piercing quality of the sound than on the color and articulation. For instruments in that location you have the kemenche, hurdy gurdy, fiddles and gusli lute. The singers from Percival were really adding to that as well. Instruments I had to stay away from for that location were Celtic sounds, which were reserved for Skellige Isles," explains Stroinski. Other unique instruments adding spice to The Witcher 3's score are a saz, yayli tambur and ghaychak. Stroinski's favorite track from The Witcher 3 is "Commanding the Fury." The track features multi-instrumentalist Amir Yaghmai playing the yayli tambur — an instrument that resembles an elongated banjo, which Yaghmai plays with a bow. "It sounds like a combination of a violin and heavy metal guitar. It made the whole track more interesting. It has an interesting energy to it. It's very unique," says Stroinski. To prevent cues from clashing, Stroinski says the decision was made to compose the entire soundtrack in the key of D Minor. Limiting the choice of key pushed the composers to be more creative in terms of tempo, instrumentation, harmony, melody and themes. One stipulation for tempo was making sure the exploration music in a particular location matched the tempo of that location's combat track. "Those two tracks had to work together and merge seamlessly in the sound en- gine," says Stroinski. While the folk music influence of Percival was important to the score's overall sound, it wasn't the only direction for the music. Stroinski says The Witcher 3 also needed a big orchestral sound. "I don't like to use the word 'Hollywood' because it can have negative connotations, but what I mean is big strings, horns and drums to match the world of Witcher and the big adventure he's going through. Percussion was actually one of those elements that we used to add this 'Hollywood' spice to the soundtrack, particularly during combat because they add momentum and energy," says Stroinski. Composers Mikolai Stroinski and Marcin Przybytowiczj worked with tracks and stems from Polish folk music band Percival to create roughly five hours of original music for The Witcher 3.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - March 2016