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MRH: You said that you were brought in quite early and had about 2 months worth of conversations, and I wonder if that’s part of the game maker’s design, where they just want to make sure that musically, just like with the special effects, everything is going on track?


MW: It varies from game to game. On Twisted Metal in particular, this game has been in development for a very long time. (I think it’s been over 2 years). I’m hoping I get my facts straight [but] Twisted Metal was the first PlayStation-exclusive franchise game… I think now it’s something like 10 years later and they’re rebooting and re-launching the whole thing. The characters are the same, but the look and the feel are different, and it’s utilizing the latest game engines.

I had come in when they were well along in the game play part of it and were just starting the cinematic portion of it… They usually dig into [the cut scenes] once the game play bugs have been worked out and tested really well. You’ll usually write in spurts, then give the music to the developers who put it in the game and see how it works, and it comes back… and as you go through it you refine whatever the sound is or the theme. I would say in the grand scheme of the game, I was the last person on the music end to get involved, but even then, for me it was still on and off probably over a period of 4-5 months.


MRH: Are the cinematic scenes basically the action set-pieces or are they the transition stuff when you from different levels?


MW: Yeah, they’re the transition stuff. These are more stylish and detailed and refined than just about any game I’ve ever seen… They used live actors, and then sort of painted over it, and the finished effect is very, very dramatic; it’s very compelling, and it’s something that I got to see evolve over 2 months while I was working on the music.


MRH: I guess what’s pretty satisfying for a composer now is that with the variety of stuff that you can do, whether in films, different genres, and videogames, you’re probably seeing not just more of the technology being applied towards the making of these things but it’s like an education for you because as it becomes more intricate it also becomes more fascinating.


MW: Absolutely. Games are just as valid an avenue for a composer now as any other medium. In some cases the scope of games is bigger than some feature films. There are games like Skyrim or Gears of War or Assassins Creed where they have 90-100 mins. or more of orchestral music in these games, and they’re big orchestras and big choirs, and all performed with live musicians.

It just depends on the game itself, but it can be as daunting or sometimes more daunting, in terms of scale or scope, than even a feature film. They don’t have any boundaries; if they want a certain kind of sound, they’re going to figure out a way to pull that off no matter how weird or how big it is, and it’s gone way beyond what people used to think were just writing all these little loops that would play successively. Music has become in some games dynamic, where it actually morphs as the game evolves: each time you play through the game, you get a different musical experience.


MRH: My next to last question is regarding the musicians. Your score has some really intense sounds and I wonder if you had to look for specific musicians, particularly guitarists?


MW: No, I did everything myself! Part of the fun for me was being able to come up with everything, coming up with noises, especially in the case of Sweet Tooth, the iconic clown character in the game who everybody really knows. He’s this huge, muscular dude who wears this very bizarre clown mask and carries this huge, homemade knife around, and he’s a very daunting character.

Everything musical about him is kind of chaotic and industrial and dissonant and heavy. The music morphs from very metallic, industrial type music to kind of aleatoric orchestral music, then to what I like to call music design, where I’m taking sounds from the environment and then putting them into ProTools and sometimes giving them pitch or tone, and then using those as the actual instruments, and mashing it all together in one piece of music.



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