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View Full Version : Had a great first visit with Austin Wintory...



Arnie
05-06-2012, 01:15 PM
Austin came into town yesterday (Saturday) and we spent the entire day rapping about the game and how the underlying theme of the music would resonate with the story. He had some amazing ideas and we seemed to feed off each other really well. We cannot begin to tell you how excited we are to be working with this class act and it's all thanks to the backers at Kickstarter. Your game will be all the better for it. If you're a fan of really, really good music then be prepared to be very, very happy.
Skal!

JokerAR
05-06-2012, 02:16 PM
Very excited to hear what the Stoic team have chosen for the musical stylings- are we looking at ambient and atmospheric or more deliberately orchestral with themes, core riffs etc?

LoliSauce
05-06-2012, 02:57 PM
I tend to get involved more in music that takes a step away from the standard ambient background stuff. I like it when music takes a more active role. From some of the interviews, it sounds like that's already where it's headed.

stelly
05-06-2012, 03:27 PM
we cant wait for the finished product, from what we have heard in the updates the music sounds amazing :)

Stelly

Kimberly
05-06-2012, 04:00 PM
Err, Stelly, has part of the game music been in the updates? Please point me to that, because I simply must listen. :p

JokerAR
05-06-2012, 04:07 PM
I'd wondered about the violins in the last update video on the kickstarter page- a rough theme preview for the backers or just something appropriate sounding to accompany the video? I figured the latter but who knows?

stelly
05-06-2012, 04:32 PM
Coming to think about it your probably right, its far too soon to have anything in the game from the updates :)

Stelly

Arnie
05-06-2012, 04:59 PM
Austin has already done a first pass on the main theme that we're really excited about, but it's unfortunately too early to share.
The music from the main trailer and first Kickstarter video was by me and all the rest of the kickstarter video music was from other stuff Austin has done...but none of it is/was from The Banner Saga.
Can't wait to share it though!

Troll
05-06-2012, 06:03 PM
Can't wait to share it though!

Then pleaso do !:)
Music is good, games are good...but great music in a great game is greater.

ninnisinni
05-07-2012, 11:39 AM
Great news! I can't wait to hear the music he will make for this... oh, and it's Skl! :) (sorry, I'm a Swede, so I'm nit-picking a bit on stuff like that...)

Awintory
05-07-2012, 12:43 PM
Hey everyone! Austin Wintory here; just got my account fired up and Arnie told me about this post he made. So beyond happy to see you guys already enthusiastic, despite the incredible fear that automatically strikes into one's heart! But I can definitely echo the sentiments of Stoic in feeling that this is a great team. These guys are making the sort of game that I, as a gamer, would love on its own terms, regardless of my involvement. That was the case with Journey as well and so all over again I'm feeling a bit too lucky to describe.

And yes, the music used in the last couple Kickstarter videos were drawing excerpts from my album "Spirit of the Cosmos," which is on iTunes, etc. It's a fun album of big cinematic stuff, all performed by the Utah Symphony. I often get rather positive feedback on it, but I must admit that I actually am pretty embarrassed by it. It's all music I wrote when I was about 16 and I think the immaturity inherent in that shows itself off in droves. So, if you like the album, my many thanks! If you don,t, I don't blame you :)

Sorry for this being such a huge post ... but I wanted to also address the questions of musical style, etc. It's too early for us to open up on a lot of that, but for those who played Journey (or even flOw) will know, my attitude is "Do whatever is right." Sometimes the music needs to be very subtle (dare I say atmospheric?). Sometimes it needs to be very directly part of the experience, or indeed the core of the experience. How TBS will shake out between those two we shall see. The exciting thing, is that based on this weekend's visit with Stoic, the content the music is attached will be amazing regardless :)

jezzarisky
05-07-2012, 02:51 PM
Yeah Utah Symphony! :D

Kaffo
05-07-2012, 03:32 PM
I am ridculously excited to hear some more of Wintory's work. I wonder if he'll employ any scandinavia ethnic instruments or sami instruments. Or perhaps wider Northern European things or some chanting maybe? Whatever he comes up with I can't wait!

lamaz
05-07-2012, 03:37 PM
I am ridculously excited to hear some more of Wintory's work. I wonder if he'll employ any scandinavia ethnic instruments or sami instruments. Or perhaps wider Northern European things or some chanting maybe? Whatever he comes up with I can't wait!

I was just going to ask about this, too. Would be nice if there are at least some tunes with kind of Nordic vibe to them :) This was a really nice update! Hopefully we got more of these!

Awintory
05-07-2012, 03:45 PM
I am ridculously excited to hear some more of Wintory's work. I wonder if he'll employ any scandinavia ethnic instruments or sami instruments. Or perhaps wider Northern European things or some chanting maybe? Whatever he comes up with I can't wait!

We'll just have to wait and see :) Either way you're vote of confidence means a TON to me!

Kimberly
05-07-2012, 03:55 PM
Say, Mr. Wintory, is that your crest you've got as your avatar there? Because it is awesome!

Awintory
05-07-2012, 06:54 PM
Say, Mr. Wintory, is that your crest you've got as your avatar there? Because it is awesome!

I wish I could take credit but it was the wonderful minds of Stoic! :)

belamoor
05-07-2012, 07:17 PM
Sorry for this being such a huge post ... but I wanted to also address the questions of musical style, etc ...

Do addresses them as much as you feel like doing so. :) I can't speak for everybody, but i think it's incredibly cool for you guys to come and share stuff with us here on forums. I haven't come across your music as much (mostly from Stoic trailers cause i feel bad now,for listening to your other albums on youtube ;)), but from little i heard, i am actually pretty certain it will be great. Can't wait to hear what will you come up with for TBS.
Hope you'll have as much enjoyment composing as we listening to it. Cheers.
Edit By the way i do agree on the atmospheric vs active role of music. It believe it's a matter of good taste and creativeness in game experience composition.

lamaz
05-07-2012, 07:21 PM
What belamoor said :)

balnoisi
05-07-2012, 07:50 PM
nice to read from arnie and austin wintory themselves, it sure is great to read comments and opinions by the developers and to know a bit of their work.

about the soundtrack, it is a common opinion that a good soundtrack has to blend in the audiovisual experience so it's not noticed, and that it is wrong for it to steal too much attention from the viewer/gamer. but sometimes the opposite happens and it's not a fail but a win.

i was thinking about last year's game Bastion, and the fact that despite it being an average (yet very very pretty) hack-and-slash it's music stands out so much, it definitely does for good reasons (right now i can't think of any other game where it does so much, other than musical games). i don't remember the gameplay or the story, i remember the furious battle between its art and music for my attention. the music chenneled most of the emotions in the game and it even delivered some of the plot through the lyrics of a couple of key songs and it's recurrent melody.

i wonder if in the banner saga the composer will include a recurring musical theme or even will he dare a 3-chord song ? :p

and just in case for those of you who don't know that other little game's song i was talking about :

http://youtu.be/xiQoMzOpowA

John
05-07-2012, 09:32 PM
Enjoying the warm weather at Hotel San Jose!

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-X41eSqHWolI/T6iEeumak5I/AAAAAAABAbs/w2R_I5Ngeqw/s1364/IMG_20120505_191329.jpg

Suzie Q Sailaway
05-07-2012, 10:58 PM
There are so many things I'm excited about with the Banner Saga- Austin's music definitely ranks right up there with art style and story (the most important stuff :d). Thank you for the updates! :)

belamoor
05-07-2012, 11:38 PM
nice to read from arnie and austin wintory themselves, it sure is great to read comments and opinions by the developers and to know a bit of their work.

about the soundtrack, it is a common opinion that a good soundtrack has to blend in the audiovisual experience so it's not noticed, and that it is wrong for it to steal too much attention from the viewer/gamer. but sometimes the opposite happens and it's not a fail but a win.

i was thinking about last year's game Bastion, and the fact that despite it being an average (yet very very pretty) hack-and-slash it's music stands out so much, it definitely does for good reasons (right now i can't think of any other game where it does so much, other than musical games). i don't remember the gameplay or the story, i remember the furious battle between its art and music for my attention. the music chenneled most of the emotions in the game and it even delivered some of the plot through the lyrics of a couple of key songs and it's recurrent melody.

i wonder if in the banner saga the composer will include a recurring musical theme or even will he dare a 3-chord song ? :p

and just in case for those of you who don't know that other little game's song i was talking about :

http://youtu.be/xiQoMzOpowA

Yeah Bastion did a lot of cool things in that matter like literally telling story though music. Loved that moment, linked the song in "what do you listening to right now" kind of thread here. By no means it's a sin to "steal" viewer attention with a good, relevant song. :) I think that the unusual thing about the Bastion is that there were a lot of moments, where music is there to express the mood of story rather then the mood of gameplay even during gameplay. Plus the interaction of music with other game elements, like the narrator saying "And then... the kid heard something he hadn't heard in a long time..." and the song starts playing. The music blends into experience rather nicely. I guess it's kind of how things work in films where there is just story, whereas games are used to be centered around gameplay, but i am liking the change.

I do hope to see those kind of moments in TBS, as it's promising to have more than the average story focus.

Overall i think that themes of Bastion were generally more active due to it's hack'n'slash...ish nature. I mean things like ruining around, shooting and blowing stuff wont probably be main activity in TBS. Also probably more voice acting. So calmer, subtle music is also needed.

Phew, too much speculation for one post. :) I should go.

ricknbackr360
05-07-2012, 11:56 PM
I'll admit that when I got the update that Austin Wintory was doing the soundtrack it did nothing for me. I thought to myself, "Who's Austin Wintory and why should I care?" And since I kept hearing about Journey, and not having a PS3, I jumped onto YouTube to check out the game.

WOW. It kills me now that I can't play the game because I don't have the system, but I immediately bought the soundtrack because it's the next best thing. I had the album looping at home, in the car, and at work for a few days straight.

Yes. I'm excited.

No pressure.

:)

Troll
05-08-2012, 05:57 AM
@Austin :
Your music is really beautiful and hits just the right spot. I don't really know how to tell you how to express how I feel so I'll just tell you that once I listened to Journey's OST, I kept in running for a week everyday and it never got old, especially the last 2 tracks. Simply marvelous.


I too loved Bastion, be it the game or music, and Logan Cunningham has such a deep and perfect voidce it gave me shivers at first.
We need more games with music thought out and integrated in the game to increase immersion. Some games like The Elder Scrolls series have good music, but you don't get an immersive feeling that regularly in those games for example.

greategress
05-08-2012, 09:29 AM
Can't wait to hear this soundtrack. I'm a big fan of soundtracks for when I'm writing or running tabletop RPGs, and this one promises to be great for both!

rubyhope
05-09-2012, 09:20 PM
I have no doubt this music will be awesome

rubyhope
05-09-2012, 09:21 PM
Enjoying the warm weather at Hotel San Jose!

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-X41eSqHWolI/T6iEeumak5I/AAAAAAABAbs/w2R_I5Ngeqw/s1364/IMG_20120505_191329.jpg

Awesome stashe.....

Awintory
05-10-2012, 01:37 PM
Do addresses them as much as you feel like doing so. :) I can't speak for everybody, but i think it's incredibly cool for you guys to come and share stuff with us here on forums. I haven't come across your music as much (mostly from Stoic trailers cause i feel bad now,for listening to your other albums on youtube ;)), but from little i heard, i am actually pretty certain it will be great. Can't wait to hear what will you come up with for TBS.
Hope you'll have as much enjoyment composing as we listening to it. Cheers.
Edit By the way i do agree on the atmospheric vs active role of music. It believe it's a matter of good taste and creativeness in game experience composition.

Interacting with the community is a huge part of the joy of this job for me, so believe me that it's my pleasure to chat with you all and get to know you. Please always feel free to ask anything and I'll try to keep everyone updated on progress to the extent that I can!!

Awintory
05-10-2012, 01:38 PM
No pressure.

:)

None at all!

Awintory
05-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Very sneaky John! I didn't see you do this ... also was a fair number of drinks in by that point so I could probably have been looking at the camera and still not seen it ...

Product Placement
05-10-2012, 02:43 PM
oh, and it's Skl! :) (sorry, I'm a Swede, so I'm nit-picking a bit on stuff like that...)
And if you come to Iceland, it's "Skl". Not quite sure how you guys pronounce it but in Icelandic the "" part is pronounced like "ow" in English.

lamaz
05-10-2012, 06:12 PM
Interacting with the community is a huge part of the joy of this job for me, so believe me that it's my pleasure to chat with you all and get to know you. Please always feel free to ask anything and I'll try to keep everyone updated on progress to the extent that I can!!

I know this a quite a lot to ask, but could we get like a short video documentary about the work you do? Maybe showing the process with a commentary from you and the people involved? I have almost no idea how the music and sounds are incorporated in to the game, but I would love to find out.

Also, the Journey's soundtrack is great!

ninnisinni
05-11-2012, 04:18 AM
And if you come to Iceland, it's "Skl". Not quite sure how you guys pronounce it but in Icelandic the "" part is pronounced like "ow" in English.

We pronounce the "" about the same as the "au"-part in "gaul", so if you say Skl in Swedish pronounciation it would rhyme with the english word "call". Sorry for the messy explanation, hope you understood something from it... :D

Arnie
05-11-2012, 09:25 AM
Yes, my family is Danish and we grew up saying skal instead of cheers. Unfortunately I don't have fancy letters on my keyboard to pimp out the 'a' and I've gotten lazy copy/pasting it. :)
-Arnie

Awintory
05-11-2012, 01:09 PM
I know this a quite a lot to ask, but could we get like a short video documentary about the work you do? Maybe showing the process with a commentary from you and the people involved? I have almost no idea how the music and sounds are incorporated in to the game, but I would love to find out.

Specifically for Journey I don't have a doc like that prepared, though I imagine we'll be recording enough of the process on TBS in order to make one. In the past they've been made though. Check out this behind the scenes to my film Grace, which premiered at Sundance 3 years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KWUhK5zhZo

JokerAR
05-11-2012, 02:49 PM
It's encouraging to hear you reiterate your desire to be part of the project as a whole- and not just the musician on the outskirts. I'll look forward to any and all future music updates (I'd just about got used to the idea of the final kickstarter music being the Banner Saga theme and then I found I've all the anticipation to look forward to again!) - after all, I made to sure to back at a level that gets me the soundtrack for a reason!

lamaz
05-12-2012, 09:12 AM
Specifically for Journey I don't have a doc like that prepared, though I imagine we'll be recording enough of the process on TBS in order to make one. In the past they've been made though. Check out this behind the scenes to my film Grace, which premiered at Sundance 3 years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KWUhK5zhZo

Thank you, I will check this out.

ninnisinni
05-13-2012, 12:38 PM
Yes, my family is Danish and we grew up saying skal instead of cheers. Unfortunately I don't have fancy letters on my keyboard to pimp out the 'a' and I've gotten lazy copy/pasting it. :)
-Arnie

Ha, great to hear! So, do you actually know any danish? Unfortunately, spoken danish is too hard for most of us swedes to understand. We can however understand it pretty well when it's in written form. :)

Khar
05-14-2012, 08:37 AM
I'm looking forward to The Banner Saga's music so much after hearing Austin's wonderful work on Journey (an insta iTunes purchase).

Perhaps a middle ground between some more ambient atmospheric tracks and recognisable themes could be found.

While I really enjoyed Jeremy Soule's Skyrim soundtrack I can't recall the melodies without hearing the songs. If that makes sense! Even though I've played that game with the soundtrack on for over 150 hours I can't summon up how any of them go other than the main theme while I'm typing this.

Whereas 'hummable' themes (I recall Peter Jackson banging on about how he demanded that the LOTR soundtrack was hummable) can really add something to a game. Even after so many years since I first played the Ultima games I can recall every note of Stones like it was yesterday.

Cobra Williams
05-14-2012, 11:26 AM
I just wanted to pop by to say to Mr. Wintory that I'm glad that you're on board with The Banner Saga. I was going to buy it when it came out on release day (if it got good word of mouth, which I was sure it would :) ) But it was YOUR involvement in the project, as well as the fact you'd be getting to work with a full orchestra, that convinced me there was nothing more than an infintesimal chance this project would be anything short of awesome and so I immediately backed for all three installments of The Banner Saga and your soundtrack which is sure to be amazing :D.

Journey was an amazing, personal, glorius, and deeply spiritual experience for me. And I'm an atheist who normally looks down on talk of the spiritual :p. And your music was one of the key things that REALLY helped me get into the experience thatgamecompany was trying to make. Looking forward to the final product from both Stoic and you. :)

Awintory
05-16-2012, 10:21 AM
@Cobra - loved this post! You're far too kind but know that this means a lot to me. A non-religious, highly personalized spiritual experience was our highest goal for Journey. One we thought achieving would be next to impossible. Getting feedback of this sort is truly beyond meaningful ...

And yes, already in heaven working on TBS. Stoic is an awesome team, as is the sound team K-Pow!

balnoisi
05-16-2012, 07:37 PM
While I really enjoyed Jeremy Soule's Skyrim soundtrack I can't recall the melodies without hearing the songs. If that makes sense! Even though I've played that game with the soundtrack on for over 150 hours I can't summon up how any of them go other than the main theme while I'm typing this.

Whereas 'hummable' themes (I recall Peter Jackson banging on about how he demanded that the LOTR soundtrack was hummable) can really add something to a game. Even after so many years since I first played the Ultima games I can recall every note of Stones like it was yesterday.

yeah i don't remember skyrim's music neither. i guess it did it's part as a piece of the whole experience. i do remember the songs the bards sang, and i didn't like them. i didn't understand how anybody would ask the bards ingame to play those more than once.

also i understand this is not the place for everyone to pour their favorite soundtracks, and on a previous comment i talked about how Bastion's songs worked miracles for that game but if you excuse me i just remembered another one that struck me back then, and to this day : ben houge's work for Arcanum.

that was quite the game, and the beautiful music felt bigger than videogames (even if Arcanum is still one of the best computer rgps ever), it's the only videogame soundtrack i've listened to outside playing it's corresponding game.

probably the tracks i like the most :
arcanum caladon (http://youtu.be/Uxo28lYtHBc)
arcanum wilderness (http://youtu.be/dv95sMMEZnM)

consisted mostly of a string quartet that sounded so powerful. the qualities of an ensemble like that, playing the slightly sad, melancholic music of mr. houge (of whom i don't know any other works) = doing more with less, as opposed to the full orchestra and 2000 voices choir of skyrim or any other of those superproductions that end up sounding bland and indistinguishable from one another, very professional but unremarkable.

not that i complain about using such a wide range of instruments. but sometimes it looks as a show-off, like the guy that buys the sports car and then only drives it to the supermarket and back if you know what i mean.

again, not bitchin' here, just ramblin' :p i'm sure we're in safe hands with mr. wintory in charge of TBS music.

LoliSauce
05-16-2012, 08:00 PM
it's the only videogame soundtrack i've listened to outside playing it's corresponding game.

This little snippet completely sums up what separates a good game soundtrack from a great one for me. There are very few game soundtracks out there that I would listen to on a casual basis, and most of them either have vocals or are just really stand-out and take an active role in the experience. Obviously, most games need some amount of ambient background music that takes a passive role, but those kinds of songs will never make an impression on me.

JokerAR
05-17-2012, 12:44 AM
Say what you like about Skyrim's overall music- but they really succeeded in hitting a powerful and memorable main theme. When I first heard that in the trailers it really brought excitement as to what was to come.

Kaffo
05-17-2012, 05:51 AM
I've got say the Skyrim theme tune and this song (Don't listen if you haven't finished the game there's spoilers)(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2uyWOlKGcM) are both really powerful and awesome in my opinion. I also think ambiently this is very powerful. Really captures a sense of magesty: ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYjWRFkcJ5I)

I've listened to quite a lot of game soundtracks outside of the game- Witcher 2, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, loads.

I've got to say, the one game where the soundtrack (the main theme at least) was better than the actual game to the extent I still listen to it is Dungeon Siege- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsK4FZCGums

Illessa
05-17-2012, 12:43 PM
I've got to say, the one game where the soundtrack (the main theme at least) was better than the actual game to the extent I still listen to it is Dungeon Siege- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsK4FZCGums

Given your enjoyment of Elder Scrolls it's not surprising (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Soule#Video_games) :)

Game soundtracks are funny beasts when it comes to listening for enjoyment. For instance, two games whose music I really enjoy are Planescape: Torment and Grim Fandango, but they don't especially work for straight up listening. There are so many little melodies and things that are meant for looping or are incidental, that they just come across fragmentary and weird. But in context they work perfectly.

Then there are others where you assume they blended into the background, but the second you actually hear them out of context, you realise how much they stuck and what great pieces of music they are. I've had that happen a ton.

Anyway, for great game music work that hasn't already been mentioned, I feel obliged to point towards Peter McConnell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_McConnell#Discography) and Jared Emerson-Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Emerson-Johnson#Video_game_soundtracks)


consisted mostly of a string quartet that sounded so powerful. the qualities of an ensemble like that, playing the slightly sad, melancholic music of mr. houge (of whom i don't know any other works) = doing more with less, as opposed to the full orchestra and 2000 voices choir of skyrim or any other of those superproductions that end up sounding bland and indistinguishable from one another, very professional but unremarkable.

Funny you should say that, the very thing that I really love about Austin Wintory's work is I think he has an excellent knack for dynamics and the use of soloists. Out of interest, have you listened to the Journey soundtrack? There's a decent chunk of it here (http://soundcloud.com/awintory/sets/journey) if not.

Much as it was the huge orchestral sweep of the climax of Apotheosis that had me blubbing like a baby when I played it (actually, I lie, it was long before that, but that was the point at which I could barely see the screen anymore), what I love is that for every thrilling orchestral climax, there's a wonderful solo cello, harp, or flute section, where the orchestra is absent, replaced with electronic instruments, or provides a subtle ambient background. It really means that the game covers the full emotional range and the soundtrack really sticks with you.

I'm half tempted to go further into this, but this post is super-long already (not to mention I feel awkward with the man himself around ;))

JokerAR
05-17-2012, 02:24 PM
All this gushing over orchestral schores and none of us have mentioned the best game soundtrack to date- if the Banner Saga can come even close to Beyond Good and Evil in my eyes then I'll listen to it on repeat for a month!

Edit- and thanks for the soundlcoud link, I completed Journey in just the one sitting on release day and haven't yet gone back- so the score in the background will make my night's music!

Troll
05-19-2012, 02:51 PM
Game soundtracks are funny beasts when it comes to listening for enjoyment. For instance, two games whose music I really enjoy are Planescape: Torment and Grim Fandango, but they don't especially work for straight up listening. There are so many little melodies and things that are meant for looping or are incidental, that they just come across fragmentary and weird. But in context they work perfectly.

Then there are others where you assume they blended into the background, but the second you actually hear them out of context, you realise how much they stuck and what great pieces of music they are. I've had that happen a ton.


Yeah that is always something intriguing. Some game have music you may never listen to outside of it, but you'd never thing about changing it during the game.
And sometimes you have jewels that have blended so much in the game they're hidden.

Awintory
05-28-2012, 02:51 PM
I'm half tempted to go further into this, but this post is super-long already (not to mention I feel awkward with the man himself around ;))

I feel quite honored to receive such thoughtful words about my work on Journey!! And you absolutely nailed the goal, which was to create a real dynamic arc by not simply blaring out my full arsenal all the time. It's safe to say that design aesthetic will likely works its way into TBS as well :)

But most importantly, you've no need to feel any awkwardness! I love chatting with you (all!) and welcome any questions, feedback, suggestions, etc!

lamaz
06-04-2012, 07:05 AM
I recently purchased the new Humble Indie Bundle(V), which bundles a lot of great games that also have great music. I especially liked how Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP incorporated music in to the experience. Somewhere there was a description for this game that said "Experimental treatment for acute soul-sickness", which I felt sums up the experience quite well.

I would be so bold as to recommend to Mr. Wintory(and everyone else) to play through this game. I am confident it will at least cure your soul-sickness, if you happen to be suffering from one, but it might even offer you a different view point on how things can be done. My intention, however, is not to give advice on how to do your job :) Should you feel intrigued, you can get the game for cheap, or even free, from the http://www.humblebundle.com/.