[Blog] Music in Skullforge: The Hunt

People contact me regularly about working on music for the game. It’s probably the most common request I get e-mails about. With this in mind, I wanted to take a couple of moments to talk a little bit about the music style I am going with in the game. The first thing is that, from the beginning, I had decided to avoid a lot of things that were typical of fantasy games. We wanted to do a UI that was a mix of modern and fantasy elements. We also wanted the music to be more modern than your typical fantasy tracks. I wanted the game to “feel” modern with a fantasy skin thrown over it.

What this means is that getting the right style to fit with the game has been pretty difficult. Most gamers and musicians are used to the fantasy style and that kind of makes it difficult for them to get the sound right. It’s an understandable thing. If you’ve played RPGs for a long time, then there’s a certain feel we’ve come to expect for this kind of game and big name RPGs such as Final Fantasy, Skyrim, and Dragon Quest help to define the genre musically.

My feeling about the Skullforge series is that it’s about a woman who is “out of time”. By that, I mean she feels like she doesn’t fit within her own timeline. Had she been born in our current society, she would probably fit in much better. Because of this, I wanted the music and overall themes to fit that aspect of the character. The original sound I wanted was something along the lines of Alice In Chains or Metallica. Something hard and oppressive. However, when I was placing those tracks into the game, it felt a little too hard. I had to re-evaluate what I wanted and remembered a track done by Alexander Brandon which I felt was an awesome track that fit what I was trying to do. Unfortunately, my meager budget couldn’t afford Alexander Brandon, but that was the direction I wanted to go in.

I used this same example on our Kickstarter page last year. It’s an interesting style that has a little new age feel to it, but it’s a lot softer than my original vision. Of course, not every track needs to be as soft, but I do want the general tone and theme to be there.

I have noticed that this sound is/was pretty common with those who worked on the old MODs back in the 90s. At one point in my life I spent a lot of time listening to MODs on a regular basis. If you get a chance, you should hit up the MOD Archive and listen to some of the old Scream Tracker MODs from back in the day. There’s a lot of amazing stuff there. Perhaps this sound doesn’t mesh well with our more modern sensibilities, but this is the direction I want to go with Skullforge.

The trick for musicians is trying to get that sound right. Since we started working on Skullforge last year, we haven’t had much success in finding the right person to pull it off. Not that it really matters as our meager budget can’t afford most people anyway.

Music is such an important aspect of any game as it sets the mood and tone of a scene and this will be the case in Skullforge: The Hunt as well. I admit that budget constraints will keep the soundtrack from being as unique as I’d like, however, we hope that it will be interesting in any case.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact us or chat with us via Twitter. Have a great day.