Gamespot scored an interview with Russell Brower [Blizzard Entertainment Director of Audio/Video] to explore his career background and get a feel of what it was for him to compose for the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty RTS game.
Those who didn’t have the fortune of acquiring a Starcraft II Collector’s Edition and didn’t watch the Behind the Scenes DVD, here is a good recap of some of the elements explained there by Russell. One example he talks about is the dobro and harmonica soundtrack associated with Jim Raynor at the Joe Ray’s Cantina in Mar Sara. It’s definitely a good soundtrack giving Raynor’s background a old-western cowboy vibe.
|Gamespot: How do you approach individual themes for characters?
Russell Brower: It’s contextual. I think one of the keys is to have a theme that is malleable that you can shape. I think the best thing I can give you is an example for Jim Raynor. When I sat down to write his theme, the first piece of cinematic footage I saw was where he became reunited with Tychus Findlay at the bar. And just given the nature of it…and they weren’t quite sure what to make of each other after so many years, I went with a fairly traditional Western sound with a dobro and a harmonica. But I wanted the melody to be able to be reused later in another context, and so even though at the moment I was writing for dobro and harmonica, I was imagining in my mind what it would sound like if it were an orchestra.
And so later, when the melodies become associated with Jim Raynor, and we’re talking moments when maybe he’s making a stirring a speech trying to engender hope and perseverance for the troops he’s with, then the theme is being replayed now with an orchestra. And then I start pulling my favorite French horns out of the bag and having that melody soar in that way. And even though it’s the same notes, it hits you at a different level.
One of the best moments in recording Starcraft II was when we got to hear that. I’ve been insisting to the cinematic director that this was going to work for so long…that what they heard on harmonica was going to work in orchestra. When we finally got to hear it…you know once in awhile you get that moment when the hair stands up in the back of your neck and you know you’ve struck a chord…if you’ll pardon the pun, it was a blast. I think flexibility, malleability…so that the melody can be associated with the character and follow them throughout their changes in fortune, and mood is very important I think.