We had a chance to throw a questions at film, game and general music composer, Joshua R. Mosley regarding his work on the recently released endless runner for mobile devices based on the movie from M. Night Shyamalan, After Earth. The game managed to score some favorable reviews from gamers and critics alike, and Mosley had the opportunity to score the music for the game. You can check out the interview below, where Joshua talks creative limits, inspiration from James Newton Howard and more.
Gaming Blend: It's interesting that you recently scored a movie based on a game (Mass Effect Paragon Lost) and now you've scored a game based on a movie (After Earth). Do you find it difficult sometimes having to switch up stylistic choices and continually refer to other works to establish a consistency with the sound or is it all just a welcomed part of the creative process?
Joshua Mosley: Working both on Mass Effect: Paragon Lost and After Earth: The Mobile game were such great experiences. I had so much fun and learned a lot. It was very much a welcomed part of the process to refer to and study the established music works of both these brands. In these two cases it was my job to keep consistent and stay "on brand" musically, so as to serve the prospective universes and stories correctly. I was able to study what James Newton Howard did on After Earth before the film came out, and also what the previous composers did on the Mass Effect series of games. I truly enjoyed it and it was an honor to work on the same brands that some of my favorite composers also worked on.
Gaming Blend: For some projects I imagine it's necessary to really pay homage to the original composer or keep certain themes the same. With After Earth for mobile devices were there any requirements from Sony or Overbook to ensure that the music matched up with what James Newton Howard had done for the film?
Joshua: As I mentioned previously, I was fortunate to be able to hear and study what James Newton Howard wrote for the film. It was tremendously helpful and influential. I love the textures and colors that he created, and knew that I would defintiely use those in the game score as well. James always does amazing work and I new I had to 'rise to the occasion' to keep the same level of musical quality in the game as it is in the film. It was great be inspired by such amazing work and to bring my 'voice' to the score as well.
Gaming Blend: Speaking of the film... how much influence did the movie's story or action play in working out the soundtrack for the game? Or was it one of those scenarios where the music was crafted based more-so on the gameplay and the unique adventure that Reliance Games created?
Joshua: There are definitely similarities between the film and the game. As you said, Reliance created a unique adventure game with lots of action and surprises. The music definitely parallels the film's score in many way but also lends to the constant driving action of the game.
Gaming Blend: Following up on the last question, when you're making games for a mobile title what sort of resources are you working with? Does the development or publishing studio provide tools or do they kind of leave you with your own devices and a set budget?
Joshua: Apart from the space restrictions for adding audio content you can approach a mobile title like you would most any other game, and thats what I did. I was really motivated by the story and the beautiful visuals of the game. I stared by developing the theme and went on to flush out the main title. From there I wrote a cue for each level and later recorded some live percussion and wind instruments.
Gaming Blend: The After Earth mobile game has received quite a bit of positive feedback both from users and critics for being a pretty good title. With another notch of success under your belt, do you have any other upcoming projects in the works that you can talk about or are you going to take it easy for a bit?
Joshua: Yes, I am very happy that this title has been well received. I really enjoyed the music I got to write for it. As for the next project on the table, I recently finished a really great - and very smart short film with Rihanna's video director. You should start seeing and hearing about it in the near future. I am also working on a very fun project with a well-known team here in LA. Can't say much more. As far as taking it easy, I'm looking forward to a bit of vacation this summer, so that will be nice!
Our thanks to Mosley for answering our questions. You can check out the After Earth game over on the iTunes app store. For more info on Joshua's work feel free to visit his official website