Game Music

BlizzCon 2009: StarCraft II is Sounding Pretty Good!

August 24, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook BlizzCon 2009: StarCraft II is Sounding Pretty Good!on Twitter

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since BlizzCon 2008. The Blizzard sound team has certainly accomplished a lot, however, including live rock recording sessions and orchestral sessions at the Skywalker Ranch for the 2010 release of StarCraft II.

We had the opportunity to check out a bit of the single-player campaign and hear one theme from each race in the skirmish mode, and I’m quite impressed with what they’ve done. With Glenn Stafford and a host of live players handling the Terran, Derek Duke on the Zerg, and Russell Brower on the Protoss, I think you should rest assured that they’re on to something here.

Read our impressions of the game and the various themes from the BlizzCon 2009 build after the jump.

Interestingly, in terms of gameplay, players will be treated to a point-and-click adventure format as the central hub in StarCraft II. It’s definitely more story driven, as you’re free to explore the ship’s bridge, cantina, and armory, interacting with characters and items as you move between the areas. When you want to get to the core RTS gameplay, you simply access the map found in the bridge to find out what the next objective is, and deploy. When you finally deploy, you’ll find yourself right at home with the game, as it’s not drastically different from the original StarCraft (but it sure looks beautiful). I did appreciate the ease of assigning groups of units to the number keys, and the ability to have large numbers of units in one group.

In terms of music, the cantina was pretty awesome. There’s a jukebox found here that cranks out some gritty space western turns, which are apparently recorded sessions from friends and family of Blizzard staff. It was definitely cool to see something so interactive with original music that really fit the vibe of the game.

So, on to the core themes! I’ll start with the Terran, which is being handled by Glenn Stafford. First and foremost, the track we heard references one of the old Terran themes from the original StarCraft, immediately hitting you with the nostalgia factor, but the live instruments really lend the piece a polished edge. It sounds great with its new age/rock style, and gets a nice groove going. I think you’re going to really dig it.

I had trouble with the Zerg. I’m not the best StarCraft player, but I got it handed to me when I was playing. The music, composed by Derek Duke, is exactly what you’d expect. It open with a deep, bassy synth, and there are repetitive synth elements that really drive home the “colony”-like nature of the Zerg. Interestingly, and this is the case for all the themes, the music tends to fade in and out, leaving you with moments of silence here and there that really makes the music more noticeable when it is playing.

While I love what they’ve done with the Terran, I think I’m most impressed with the Protoss, composed by Russell Brower. It works in some choral elements, and sounds completely angelic, like a spiritual chant. There are some phasing synths that gives the piece an “alien” sound, and the floating flute melody was quite beautiful. Brower has gone a great job capturing the dignity of the Protoss with this piece.

The game’s menu theme is also a throw-back to the old StarCraft, sounding similar in terms of composition, but featuring mechanical whirs and clicks along with what sounds to be live orchestra and choir to breathe new life into the piece. Also, as an aside, the voice acting is great, and doesn’t sound forced and generic at all.

I am certainly impressed with everything I’ve heard in StarCraft II thus far. I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for the final builds of the respective games, and this is definitely going to make for a great soundtrack release. I imagine the first “chapter” will be released before next year’s BlizzCon, so be sure to watch for updates to catch a listen of the game’s music, as you’re probably going to like what you hear.

Are you looking forward to the release of StarCraft II in 2010? Any thoughts regarding how the music is shaping up thus far?

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