I’m a big fan of video game music, and I follow the different composers and see who’s up to what.
Kain made a good point that it is good to get new names out there for composing. And I actually agree on this, and think that it might be a good thing to have Soule out and new faces in. But it still stands that their sampling needs to be higher quality (it’ll cost Anet a few thousand dollars, but big deal) and I think it would be beneficial for them to up their game in orchestration, instead of relying on film scoring tricks and clichés to create atmosphere. (Example: four repeating, dramatic chords over and over again, with strings playing a repeating, cyclical pattern on top for half a minute. Soule did this as well, but usually with decent taste. Not all the time, but most of the time.)
One of my favorite composers is Jeremy Soule. He has a huge résumé, with games such the Knights of the Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls, and Guild Wars under his belt. His music characterized by rich musical texture, high quality sampling and mixing, lush melodies, and simple, but effective, harmony.
The original Guild Wars had him on as the composer for the entire ride of three campaigns and an expansion. He also composed the original release soundtrack for Guild Wars 2. Although his music can be seen as somewhat samey after a while – he’s kind of a one trick pony as far as aesthetic – but the aesthetic he puts out is at least high in quality and is highly atmospheric. And nobody else sounds like him, so while he may have only one sound, that sound is his sound.
Why I bring this up is because the new music since the initial release – so the music that has been composed and mixed for the living world – is obviously not by Jeremy Soule. The only distinctive melodies are the ones taken from the tracks he already composed, the sampling is of horribly noticeable lower quality, and the aesthetic is derivative from game soundtracks and film soundtracks everywhere. There are a few gems here and there, but for the most part the soundtrack I find to be bland and lacking when compared to the sound of the soundtracks by Soule. I don’t know who the composer is, but he needs, first of all, to buy better woodwind samples at the very least (or just don’t use them) and then write better melodies.
Compare this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7dHRaBIE-Y
I mean, can you hear it? I know some people like the new tracks, but it is indisputable that the quality has severely suffered. The first example sounded trite, like a cheap track composed for some children’s show. The second one, by Soule, has a richness and a nobility to it that gave the world of Tyria a life that the new tracks can’t compare with. Their vapid quality leaves a hole in their world that I’m sorry to see go. I know I compared apples and oranges between the two tracks, but go listen to the entire Jeremy Soule playlist, and then go listen to any of the new music to hear what I’m talking about. When the new soundtracks try to sound epic (like some of the Scarlet release tracks) it usually relies on cliché Hans Zimmer-esque tools-of-the-trade technique to achieve it’s result.
I don’t know if Soul was cut from it for budget constraints or if he just stepped down from the position, but I’m sorry to see him go. And if there is any way to bring him back, then that needs to happen.
That is all.
(edited by Tai Kratos.3247)