Says Broomhall: ‘You have to deliver the music in a sophisticated way – for instance branching segments of score or cross fading layers of alternative music variants, and cueing stings to play on top – so-called interactive music.’ Pemberton elaborates: ‘The most important thing is the player experience.
With a movie you see it once or buy it on DVD and watch it two or three times. But with a game, it’s played hundreds or thousands of times so the music has to stand up to that scrutiny.’ Giving an insight into some of the technical wizardry that games developers are working on, Chris Mann says: ‘I worked with a company called frontier developments experimenting with granular technology. The cues were produced in small chunks, maybe just a few bars at a time. So you author things in a way that allows for a music score to be adaptive. It can be very complex.’
With billions of dollars at stake, games companies invest heavily in their products and the levels of marketing and press coverage that a new release can generate are having knock-on benefits. one of the biggest games publishers is Electronic Arts, whose worldwide Executive of Music, Steve Schnur, claims record labels have begun scheduling album launches around a band’s inclusion in a game because of the massive exposure it will provide. ‘Less than 10 years ago, video games were barely on the industry’s radar as a medium for breaking new bands. But what used to be a basic licensing relationship between labels and game developers is now a series of co-marketing ventures and partnerships,’ he says. ‘Today, record companies are launching artists’ entire careers around their inclusion in a top-selling title like Madden NFL, FIFA or Need For Speed. Radio is adding songs based on a band’s inclusion in these games. Video channels are creating their playlists based on videogame soundtracks. Every sports league is using our music selections to guide their future marketing. Who understands this better than anyone? The artists and composers, who instantly see, hear and feel the international impact of their music in our games. No other medium can come close to what we’ve accomplished. We’ve re-written the rules and re-wired the culture. And we’re just getting started.’
With competition to break into composing for games getting fiercer, how should authors secure some of these plums for themselves? ‘The likes of Facebook and Linkedin are really good in helping win work, but it’s important to go to development conferences so you can find out what companies are working onand what opportunities exist elsewhere,’ suggests de Man.
Elsaesser says: ‘My advice would be to make sure you have a demo reel online so you can put your best work out there. There are lots of developers needing music, from small indie companies to the big conglomerates who might have teams of hundreds working on their triple-A titles. it’s vital to know what kind of games a developer makes though, so you can pitch appropriately.’ He concludes: ‘Games have gone from a niche to the situation now when most homes have some sort of console. And with the advent of the iPhone and other smart phones, the demand for music in games is growing. it’s an exciting time.’