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THQ may have delayed Darksiders II by a few months but that doesn't mean they stopped promoting the game, in fact they're doing quite the opposite. Due out this August, Darksiders II follows the journey of Death during the tumultuous fallout from a pre-apocalypse. Veteran composer Jesper Kyd sheds some light on what gamers can expect from the soundtrack for the upcoming action title.
Comic book writer and creative director for Darksiders II, Joe Madureira, also had a few words to share in light of having Kyd on board the crew, saying..."The work that Jesper has done on the Darksiders II soundtrack is truly inspiring. He captured the essence of the universe so well, in fact, that I listen to the tracks while I’m working to get myself in the right frame of mind.”
Interspersed throughout the interview you can also listen to exclusive tracks from the upcoming DSII soundtrack below, including the tracks "Demon Realm" and "Into Eternity". Check it out.
Gaming Blend: What's the starting point for your process when working on music, for instance what's the first thing you do when you're sitting down to make a theme for a game like Darksiders II?
Jesper Kyd: It’s been a few years since my last fantasy score and Darksiders II is only my second fantasy soundtrack. So a lot of ideas came instantly. I am accustomed to mixing different styles of music and the Celtic fantasy music was a lot of fun to work on. I recorded everything from bag pipes to Celtic vocals. The various Realms in the game include: Death Plains, Demon Realm, Angel Realm and Earth. The Makers and Angel Realms include music such as “Into Eternity”. The other half of the score is much darker and includes music which has a lot of depth, atmosphere and melody but with a darker approach. For this part of the score I blended unusual instruments such as old organs, spring reverbs, space echoes, analog delays etc.
Gaming Blend: So did you see the task as taking over for Cris Velasco, Mike Reagan and Scott Morton as trying to carry on what they established or was it more like having an opportunity to expand Darksiders, musically, into a new direction?
Jesper: Vigil was looking for a new sound, something unique that would help set the atmosphere in Darksiders II apart from other fantasy-inspired games. I haven’t listened to the DS1 soundtrack, since I didn’t want any unconscious elements to sneak into the score from DS1. The Darksiders II score includes music inspired by the locations, the mythology behind the realms as well as the settings and gameplay specific music.
Gaming Blend: Was it something special or unique about Darksiders II that drew you to the project?
Jesper: I was drawn to the setting first and foremost. Writing a score for the realm of the after-life, from Heaven to Hell and everything in-between, was very appealing to me. For this score, I was able to go beyond our world and into the eternal realms of what could happen after death. Also, I felt the unique look and art style of the game allowed me the creative freedom to push the music into entirely new directions.
Gaming Blend: We've been given access to a few sample tracks and one of them really stands out, the song 'Into Eternity'. Is there any way you could give us any hints on how this song came to be and what the context is in relation to how it's used in the game?
Jesper: This piece is created for the race called The Makers. They are one of the oldest races in the Darksiders universe and built many of the realms you visit in the game. With this race, being as old as creation itself, there was something eternal about them that I wanted to capture. The Makers’ music has Celtic influences as well, something that will be more apparent in other Makers tracks.
Gaming Blend: Were there any characters or particular moments in the game that you were especially drawn to that helped make it easier for you to come up with certain themes in Darksiders II?
Jesper: It was clear from the beginning that Vigil was not simply looking for themes to accompany Death on his journey. Instead they were looking to create a distinct identity for each of the different realms. So my research for this project was more of a soul-searching approach, since each person will have their own personal idea about life after death, heaven and hell etc. I did not want to be inspired by specific art or stories since it could end up giving the score a specific religious undertone. There was more of a personal journey involved with this score.
Gaming Blend: Have you had any talks with THQ or Vigil to possibly reprise your role as composer for any additional Darksiders games?
Jesper: I had a blast working with Vigil and THQ. They really understood what is required to achieve a unique music score. I would love to work with them again – at this point it’s too early in the process, let’s release Darksiders II first.
Our thanks to Jesper Kyd and Joe Madureira for chatting up the Darksiders II soundtrack. You can learn more about Jesper Kyd and his music over at his Official Website, and we'll keep you posted on when you can get your hands on the official Darksiders II soundtrack.