Composing for Video Games

SoundTrack_Cologne 21:  Composing for Video Games

SoundTrack_Cologne 21: Composing for Video Games

Music in video games helps to build an atmosphere that fits the plot and genre of the game, helps to explain the story itself, and creates a more immersive experience in a non-linear environment. SoundTrack_Cologne dedicates in its 21st edition four panels to the experiences of renowned composers: Tom Salta, ASCAP award-winning and BAFTA-nominated, (Playerunknown's Battlegrounds); Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab, 2024 GRAMMY winners (Star Wars Jedi: Survivor), and Petri Alanko, three times BAFTA nominated (Alan Wake I and II), who have made their way in the growing video game industry.

Composing for Video Games

Wednesday 3 July 2024 · COMEDIA Theater, Probebühne
Moderator: Helge Borgarts

10:30 – 11:30
Tom Salta
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds · Deathloop
Workshop - Discussion

12:00 – 13:00
Stephen Barton & Gordy Haab
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (Grammy 2024)
Workshop - Discussion

14:30 – 15:30
Petri Alanko
Alan Wake I and II · Control
Workshop - Discussion

16:00 – 17:30
Tom Salta, Stephen Barton, Gordy Haab and Petri Alanko
Games Roundtable

 

Friday 5 July 2024 · COMEDIA Theater, Die Zwei
Moderator: Helge Borgarts

10:30 - 11:30
Austin Wintory
Journey · Assassin's Creed Syndicate
Case Study

Tom Salta

Tom Salta

ASCAP award-winning and BAFTA-nominated composer Tom Salta is one of the today's most prolific music artists/producers working in film, television, advertising, and video games. Renowned for crafting emotionally engaging soundtracks for multimedia, Salta has received widespread acclaim for his world-class produced hybrid scores such as Arkane Studios’ Deathloop, Machine Games’ Wolfenstein: Youngblood & Cyberpilot, Microsoft’s iconic Halo series (Best Original Soundtrack Award at Game Developers Conference), Ubisoft’s Red Steel (IGN Award for Best Original Score), Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon and H.A.W.X series, as well as the epic theme music for the record-breaking online multiplayer game Playerunkown's Battlegrounds, which has sold more than 75 million units with over 700 million players. 

Most recently, Salta scored to Red Barrels’ latest co-op multiplayer horror game, The Outlast Trials. The musical palette utilized in The Outlast Trials ranges from haunting orchestral compositions to the depths of dark organic and synthetic textures.

Red Barrel’s Audio Director, Francis Brus, says about Salta's work: "In the realm of horror, music is not just an accompaniment; it's the conductor of fear, the orchestrator of tension, and the unseen hand that grips our hearts in a symphony of terror. This unique soundtrack didn't just complement The Outlast Trials, but became an integral and unforgettable part of the bone-chilling odyssey into the terror that the game offers. Tom Salta's meticulous craftsmanship will deliver a sonic experience that heightens every emotion, from spine-tingling tension to heart-pounding suspense".

Stephen Barton

Stephen Barton

GRAMMY-winning and BAFTA-nominated composer Stephen Barton has left an indelible mark on the realms of film, television, and video games, boasting a prolific career that spans these diverse mediums. His remarkable contributions include composing for renowned projects such as Star Trek: Picard, all sixteen seasons of Apex Legends, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Multiversus, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, 12 Monkeys, and Unlocked, among numerous others. Barton's influence extends to the world of live service gaming, with titles like Apex and Multiversus.

Beyond composing, he actively explores spatial and immersive music for virtual, augmented, and extended reality, contributing his expertise to formats like Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D. He is a member of Abbey Road's Spatial Audio research group, the GRAMMY immersive audio committee, and consults major companies on immersive and binaural audio techniques for music.

In addition to his digital endeavors, Barton maintains an active presence as a conductor and pianist. Collaborating with prominent artists like Anthony Hopkins and performing with prestigious orchestras such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Gordy Haab

Gordy Haab

Gordy Haab is a GRAMMY-winning and BAFTA-nominated film, video game, and television composer. His most recent project is the Chinese blockbuster Fengshen - Creation of the Gods: Kingdom of Storms (Well Go USA). Haab is also well known for his music for AAA and AAAA video game titles including Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Star Wars: Squadrons, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Microsoft’s Halo Wars 2, and Star Wars: Battlefront I and II, among others.

In 2022, Haab was nominated for an International Film Music Critics award for his work on the feature film My Country, My Parents, and was bestowed the inaugural Music City Maestro Award by the Society of Composers and Lyricists for his ongoing support of the Nashville music and recording community. In October 2022, his music from Star Wars: Battlefront I and II was featured as part of DICE’s 30th-anniversary concert series and performed by the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.

In 2020, for the second time in three years, Haab won ASCAP’s Composers Choice award for Video Game Composer of the Year. He also took home the inaugural Society of Composers and Lyricists Award for Best Interactive Score, and Music of the Year at the 18th annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which he co-wrote with composer Stephen Barton.

Petri Alanko

Petri Alanko

Alanko (aka Lowland) is a three-time BAFTA-nominated Finnish composer, musician and producer who creates deeply emotional soundscapes for visual media, including games, television and movies. His dynamic repertoire ranges from the haunting orchestral/electronic scores for Remedy Entertainment’s psycho-thriller, Alan Wake, to the thematic hybrid works of action blockbuster Quantum Break and the complex musical landscape of Control featuring a twisted and ominous electronic sci-fi score for Remedy’s cinematic triumph. Alanko’s latest musical project was composing the score for Remedy’s supernatural horror sequel, Alan Wake II, released in 2023.

As an artist and performer, Alanko has toured extensively with popular Finnish bands including keyboards for Neon 2, recorded the albums, Classical Trancelations 1 and 2 (under his Lowland moniker) and performed Classical Trancelations In Concert at the Helsinki Festival. Previously Alanko collaborated with the symphonic metal band Nightwish composing the sophisticated classical arrangements for Imaginaerum, based on their hit album. Since 2018, Alanko has also held the role of Audio Director at Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE’s radio department. Other upcoming projects include scoring assignments for Space X and Paris Fashion Week as well as Classical Trancelations 3, currently in pre-production.

Austin Wintory

Austin Wintory

Three-time Grammy-nominated and 2-time BAFTA winning composer Austin Wintory has worked on a wide variety of titles spanning games, film, TV and the concert hall.

Most known for his work on the PS3 game Journey, his other games include Assassin's Creed Syndicate, The Banner Saga trilogy, ABZU, The Pathless, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, LEGO Fortnite, the interactive musical Stray Gods and many others. He scored over 60 feature films, and regularly has his music performed around the world (often conducting himself).

Prior collaborations include the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic in London, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony in Washington DC, the San Francisco Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Melbourne and Queensland Symphonies of Australia, and many others.

He's also an active podcaster, co-hosting Play Watch Listen and Brushes and Keys, and periodically guest hosting the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science's Game Maker's Notebook.

Accreditations

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