If you were itching for more info from the first part of the Greg Edmonson interview, the composer of Uncharted 3, then you can catch the rest of the detailed interview right here. Find out about Greg’s thoughts on the Uncharted movie, as well as influences from Firefly and how Nathan Fillion's Mal Reynolds and Nathan Drake share a vital commonality in their character development.
Gaming Blend: Speaking of upcoming projects…is it too soon to ask about Uncharted 4?
Greg: You know, you can never talk about those things and it’s early days in all honesty. Listen, they just barely finished…it’s going to take them a while to recuperate. I mean, Naughty Dog worked itself to the edge of exhaustion like you’ve never seen, trying to make it all and get it done.
I would love to do some other video game projects; we’ve had feelers from a couple and we’ll kind of have to see where it goes. But again, I think that the video game market is maybe the most exciting market that exists right now, for a couple of reasons. Film, we know…we know how to do film, it’s been around for a while. We know how to do television; it’s been around for a while. But video games are changing so fast they’re becoming more and more human, more and more emotional.
Every two years you look and you go ‘boy this is not anywhere close to where it was two years ago’. So I think that there is an excitement about the video game market because nobody really knows where it’s going. It’s just changing so quickly. And the engines are just becoming more and more sophisticated and the people making the games are becoming more and more sophisticated. So they’re telling stories they couldn’t tell a couple of years ago. So it’s an interesting place to be.
I would be happy, in all honesty, working on any project where I’m having a good time and where I’m working with people that I like and people that are creative and they make it fun…then I’m onboard with it and good to go.
Greg: Well it depends on the project. I just love a story that’s well told. I love stories that have emotion and I love stories that have clever writing. Where people don’t say what they mean and mean what they don’t say. I’ll give you an example -- I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Firefly TV show -- there’s a scene in Firefly where Mal Reynolds, the Captain of the ship is introducing Inara, who in essence is a prostitute, but it’s a sanctioned form of work. And so he’s introducing her and he goes, “…and this is our whore.” But that’s not what he means. What he means is ‘I love her so much I wish she wouldn’t do this’. But he couldn’t say it because to say it made him vulnerable.
There’s a certain connection between Firefly and Uncharted…you have the same type of hero. You have a guy who will maybe brag about stuff but also he doesn’t want to be vulnerable but he is vulnerable. He’s going to do the wrong thing sometimes but he’s always going to do the right thing in the end. Those kinds of characters are so much fun to work with. They’re so much fun to write music for. It just makes it fun.
So if I could find a project with characters like that then we’re lucky with Firefly and Uncharted, because for years now I’ve been able to work with those kind of characters. They just make it so fun and if you have really good actors. They’re the ones who bring the characters to life and make you realize that what they’re saying is not what they mean.
Gaming Blend: It’s funny you should mention Firefly because a lot of people also mentioned the similarities between Nathan Drake and Nathan Fillion’s portrayal of the captain on Firefly. Is that one of the reasons you were attracted to the Uncharted series?
Greg: I can’t say that I didn’t find it attractive because I did find it attractive. I think what really drew me to the series was Amy Hennig who is such a genius. Because even when I started we didn’t know how that was going to play out. But Nolan North does such a good job of bringing Nathan Drake to life and Nathan Fillion did such a good job of bringing Mal Reynolds to life. I know that I find those type of characters really, really attractive and fun to write music to.
Gaming Blend: There are a couple of tracks by Azam Ali and Clint Bajakian (I don’t think I pronounced their names right)…how did those come about?
Greg: Yeah, well -- by the way it’s Azam (Az-ahm) Ali -- and I used her vocals in many of my cues, but for those cues it was basically when Nate was tripping and had to be completely deconstructed and sound warped.
Azam’s husband and Jonathan Mayer at Sony just went ahead and did those cues on their own, which was fine because my plate was very full. Clint Bajakian was one of the executives at Sony and he always writes these moods, so what he did was he took my themes and he rewrote some cues…but they were just to set the moods in the desert.
Gaming Blend: Yeah the Rub’ Al Khali was some great stuff but it sounded very different from the rest of the soundtrack.
Greg: It’s a whole different sound, especially Azam and her husband and Jonathan. It’s a whole different sound. It’s a lot closer to an ethnic sound. It’s smaller, but it’s more driven by ethnic instruments and Azam’s vocals so it was just more along those lines. And since my plate was full trying to do the big action stuff we thought the contrast might be interesting.
Gaming Blend: You mention the plate being full and that kind of reminds me of what Michael McCann mentioned about the Deus Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack…that after he was done scoring it he just took some time off to recuperate from the experience. Would you hop right back into a new project if it presented itself or would you need a little time off to unwind?
Greg: I got to tell ya, it does take it out of you. When you’re finished it’s nice to say that if the phone doesn’t ring for a few weeks, that’ll be fine. But we’ll just have to see.
Once something lands on your plate it’s always fun to work. And you’re lucky in this business if you’re working. So you never want to turn it down. But it is exhausting…it just is. So it’s good to take some time off to recharge your batteries because it’s a lot of work writing all of that music for a big orchestra…it’s a lot of work.
Gaming Blend: Well, Uncharted 3 has already sold several million copies and it’s a huge success. It’s also a really great game. It’s more cinematic and engaging than most other summer blockbusters I’ve seen in the past couple of years. So thanks for taking the time out to answer the questions. Really appreciate it.
Greg: Well thank you, sir. Thanks for having me.