How is music for online games produced?

We can all agree that good gameplay and an engrossing story make a game great, but what makes a game memorable is its music. When we think about some great games that we used to play, we remember them together with their music. Sometimes a theme song is all we need to hear to remember a certain game. I believe that every gamer in the world who hears the song “Go Go Go” from the album “The Immortals” immediately thinks of the game Mortal Kombat.

In the process of creating a game, music comes the last after all other things have been finished. Game music is composed and produced by independent artists. These artists are professional composers, songwriters and musicians, and usually they are not part of the original team that created the game.

The production of game music consists of three stages.

Stage 1

At the first stage, the artist needs to get acquainted with the game. The artist learns about the story, the hero’s personality, motivations and plans, as well as about other game characters. Then the artist studies the game environment and the overall gameplay.

This step is very important when producing game music, because if it is skipped, you could get a farm simulation game with horror music.

Stage 2

Once all this information is gathered, the artist reaches the second stage of the production of game music. At this stage, the music producer decides the tune that will capture the spirit of the game characters and their surroundings. For example, the music of the game “God of War” represents Kratos’s age, wisdom, power and masculinity. The producer of this music, Bear McCreary, regards the first three notes as the most important, which is not surprising since old games, such as “Super Mario” or “The Legend of Zelda” had very simple yet catchy music. If you remember, these games had only one melody throughout the entire level.

Stage 3

In the final stage, the artist enriches the basic tune, turning it from memorable into beautiful. In many cases, whole orchestras are used for this task. After that the artist decides at what point in the game a specific tune will be used. In modern games, the tempo or the theme change at different points of the game, thus matching the flow of the game. For example, in the game “BlazeBlue: Cross Tag Battle”, the character named Yang changes the music by activating his special, which makes the battle more exciting.

Finally, game music is the only thing that doesn’t change from the game’s beta version until it’s release, so it has to be great right from the start.