Game Music

E3 2011: Skyrim’s Soundtrack is as Beautiful as Expected

June 15, 2011 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook E3 2011: Skyrim’s Soundtrack is as Beautiful as Expectedon Twitter

While Skyrim wasn’t playable at on the show floor here at E3, Bethesda was showing guests a demonstration of what the game can do throughout the day, and what we saw was quite incredible. It has everything from a brand new game engine to tweaks and modifications to the interface to make the game more accessible along with a brand new score by Jeremy Soule.

We heard a number of pieces from the game during the demonstration, and also got a feel for the game’s sound design, and on top of being one of my most anticipated games of the year, it’s also one of my most anticipated soundtracks.

Find out what we heard in our preview after the jump.

The demo we were shown started off in a snowy forest at the base of a large mountain. As the character made his way through the forest, we heard soft, sweeping strings with emotional swells that were epic yet serene. They matched the cold and lonely landscape perfectly, and true to Jeremy Soule’s reputation for getting the most out of his proprietary sample libraries, I thought I was listening to a live orchestra throughout.

From there, the character was approached by a pack of wolves, and there was a seamless transition into a bombastic battle theme. I have to say that the string stabs and bombardment of percussion are typical of Soule’s Elder Scrolls battle themes, I did enjoy the addition ethnic woodwinds to add some distinction.

When reaching the logging town of Riverwood, we were treated to a sweet and whimsical composition comprised of strings and bells, having a light and airy atmosphere for the sleepy town.  From there, we traveled to the site of a massive Nordic ruin (one of 150 hand-crafted dungeons in the game) that was used to worship dragons, and a dragon did indeed appear.  During this section and another dragon battle later in the demo, the music shifted into a powerful orchestral track featuring a choir, highlighting the intensity of the action.  The dragon battles act as boss battles in a way, and even with a leveled up character, it looked like the dragons were dishing out a lot of punishment.

A lot of the sound design elements were quite noticeable as well.  From the gruesome crushing of bones and breaking of skin when hitting monsters to the Earth-shattering stomps when a dragon landed on the ground, there was a lot to draw you into the game.  Even more, on top of the magic system in the game (no levitation, I’m told), there will be a ‘Shout’ system where players can master the language of dragons and string together power phrases to add various bonuses to their characters.  These shouts are in fact actual words that are shouted, each with their own distinct sound and meaning, which I thought was pretty cool.

I’m excited to hear all of the music Jeremy Soule is writing for the game.  From the sounds of it, there should be a lot, and I’m liking how things are shaping up thus far.  It won’t be too long before the game’s available (November 11, 2011), so watch for more news about the game and its soundtrack in coming months.

What do you think of Jeremy Soule’s work on The Elder Scrolls, and what are you hoping to hear in Skyrim later this year?

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