When the game evolved from a bunch of colorful chips to circus folk, so did the background music.
For the prototype of Gamma IV we used a demo that Jacob H. made to show the capabilities of the Thor synth. The electric and frenetic style of the music matched the aesthetic and gameplay prototype quite well.
But it had nothing to do with the circus aesthetic or the gameplay that evolved from it.
New music for the new game
We started our journey looking for music at some royalty free sites. We listened to different music genres and a myriad of instruments trying to find the appropriate style for the new aesthetic, but in the end it was the music from Emir Kusturica, gypsy and polkas that felt right at home.
After a while we started thinking of making an original soundtrack, so we contacted a good friend of us Juan I. Rivero (Juani). He did not have previous experience composing music for games, but he is immensely talented and has made a ton of arrangements for Uruguayan musicians. So we talked to him about the game and invited him to participate.
We started commissioning just one song. This was the e-mail:
These are the requirements:
- Background music for for the second world “Strength”
- Duration: 1:30 minutes, loopable
- Intro for the beginning of the level: 10 secs
- The mix must sound ok with and without headphones on an iPad.
Emotionally, the game speaks about the feelings of the artist on the night before the premiere. The stress, insecurities, the mental preparation, a desire for personal fulfillment and hope. There is no need to be sad or nostalgic.
The characters never stop, so we want to put across the concept that motion is continuous, permanent and unstoppable. This is also reinforced by the train journey and his world of cyclical and repetitive sounds.
The “Strength” or “Force” world is the most tense of the whole trip, where the use of force seems to be the only recourse. Fire, metal and the beasts are elements of this world. Competition against the other characters is central.
After a couple of weeks he sent us this:
We immediately fell in love with it.
As the remaining worlds and aesthetics were defined, we asked for a theme for each one: Skill, Wisdom and Reflection.
Final background music
This is the background music for each one of the worlds (Skill, Strength, Wisdom & Reflection):
As someone noticed, the first mockup was finally used in the last world: Reflection
The map, where you select the level to play, offers a pause in the frenzy of the game, a sharp contrast with the gameplay. We asked more help from Juani and showed him the beginning of the song "La fiesta de los muertos" as a reference.
Here is the background music Juani made for the map:
Mastering and equalization
Finally we went to Esteban Grille's studio to equalize and master all the tracks.
Esteban and Juani mastering the themes
We spent a couple of days listening to each of the songs with iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, trying to reach a mix were all the songs sounded similar and there were no notable differences between the instruments.
We hope you enjoy it and don’t mute it ;)