Composers behind the soundtracks of two PlayStation 5 titles have shared some of their creative processes during development. PlayStation has amassed an arsenal of well-produced AAA games since the PS3, along with its suite of incredible music. Games such as Journey, Persona 5 or God of War are just a few that both gamers and music lovers alike have lauded for their soundtracks. Journey even earned a Grammy nomination.
This isn’t the first time that PlayStation has gone into detail about some of its exclusives either. In 2018, after the release of God of War, a nearly two-hour video dedicated to the creation of Kratos’s new adventure was posted to PlayStation’s YouTube channel. Similar videos about the creation of The Last of Us and other titles are present on the channel. Developer diaries have become some of the most interesting content from game devs, showing a glimpse into game development’s hectic and fast-changing world.
PlayStation Blog uploaded two stories about the creation of the soundtrack for Astro’s Playroom and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. In the post about Astro’s Playroom, composer Kenneth CM Young wrote about his work on creating the GPU Jungle theme and how it influenced the rest of the soundtrack for the game. Previously unheard versions of GPU Jungle in the post show where the main melody of the game was created and how varied the approach was to make the jungle come to life.
“When I was writing it I was thinking about the genius graphics coders I know or have worked with and wanted the lyrics to be something that they would recognize as being at least vaguely authentic. But I also knew it couldn’t just be a shopping list of rendering terminology because that’s not something most people can relate to. I’m not sure at what point I realized that the love song idea I had been exploring previously could be made to fit, but I do remember being excited about getting the lyrics to operate on multiple levels because that’s what chamfers the hard techy edges off and makes the song palatable.”
Joe Thwaites, composer for Sackboy: A Big Adventure, wrote about how the team approached jamming in as much music into the game as they did.
“It’s the biggest collection of music we’ve put together for a Sackboy title to date. The mix of composed and licensed music from a wildly eclectic selection of different artists and composers posed a unique challenge. How do we stitch all of the musical genres and styles together to give Sackboy a trademark sound? The answer: Sackboy needed a theme!”
In each of his previous adventures in the Little Big Planet series, Sackboy never had a theme song of his own. That may be the result of the game’s direction focusing on Sackboy as a conduit for the player’s imagination but never actually about him as a character. A Big Adventure changed that by expanding on the world of Sackboy and the other “Sack-people” throughout the game, giving the role of a hero to the stitch-bound character. Thwaites said that the composition of much of the music is from three main melodies. It seems it worked as the game earned a nomination for a BAFTA Game Award for Music.
As for Astro’s Playroom, the soundtrack is filled to the brim with character. Along with the other tracks, the GPU song really makes the game feel like a celebration of all things PlayStation while simultaneously singing praise for the future with PS5. It was a winning combination for sure, as many feel that more of Astro’s Playroom is needed. Unfortunately, it seems that may not happen with the downsizing of Sony’s Japan Studio.
Music in video games has unquestionably come a long way from the time of 8-bit chiptunes, even though many of those songs hold their own today as well. If these two PS5 exclusives are anything to go by for this next generation of games, the next few years should be exciting for music lovers AND video game fans.
Astro’s Playroom is exclusive to PS5, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure is available on PS5 and PS4.
Source: PlayStation Blog