It's been a while since we last checked in with composer Daniel Sadowski, but we're back with a second glimpse into the creation of Heroes of Skyrealm's distinctive orchestral score. In today's video, he's joined by orchestrator Tim Huling, the Northwest Sinfonia and Chorale (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Dragon Age: Origins, and more), and a crack team of sound engineers – all critical to bringing his compositions to life.
As Heroes of Skyrealm moves towards release, the official Heroes of Skyrealm OST will be right there with it – so stay tuned to find out how you can get your hands on the complete album!
What sort of challenges did you face composing for Heroes of Skyrealm?
Daniel Sadowski: Writing music for games is a lot more technical than you might think. Sometimes I’m like “…this piece is perfect, you cannot change a note.” And [Mechanist] is like, well there are these numbers we have to hit, so we gotta change this and this and I’m like “Aww, what are you doing?!”
But you know there’s a lot more to music than sounding good –there’s all this research and science behind the music and all the art assets of the game, helping make it more effective. Like, there are certain sounds we have to strike within the first 30 seconds of a player opening the game, then the first minute, then the first 2 minutes.
There are certain durations and loops the music has to do to fit into the gameplay so it moves at the same pace as the story. And all these little metrics actually affect player retention, reduce player fatigue, increase the excitement and atmosphere, and so on. We had to redo certain compositions over and over to hit all those targets. [But] when the science of game design goes hand in hand with a beautiful score, then everyone wins, and most importantly people remember it.
…We definitely spent time and money on directions that didn’t work. But in doing that we collect all these little fragments that can work, and later we can weave them back together. So nothing is really wasted, we just have to be willing to explore in different directions to know what’s possible and what isn’t.