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Game Music

Preview: A Boy and His Blob Composer and Director Interview

Preview: A Boy and His Blob Composer and Director Interview

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We have a rare treat today. I was super excited when I heard that A Boy and His Blob was in development, and when the introductory interview in Nintendo Power mentioned that Daniel Sadowski would be the title’s composer, I had to get in touch with him right away. For those who aren’t familiar, he’s a super-talented electronic and hip-hop producer with a number of game and film credits to his name. You may also remember his name from the Best of the Best, Volume 1 album, where his track “Retro Bitz 2070″ happened to be one of my favorites.

So, we’ve got composer Daniel Sadowski and director Sean Velasco from Way Forward to share their thoughts about the original A Boy and His Blob, how Daniel came to work on the project, what their goals are for the game’s audio, and their progress so far with the game’s music. The music is approximately 80% done at this point, and Sadowski is already talking iTunes, so this is definitely one to watch out for!

Read our preview interview with Daniel Sadowski and Sean Velasco after the jump.

OSV: Well, I’ll start by saying I’m surprised that this franchise is being revived. It looks absolutely amazing, and when I heard that you were writing the music, I had talk to you about it! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. Daniel, please tell us how you came to work on this project.
Daniel Sadowski, Composer: First off, thank you for having me on OSV. It’s a pleasure to speak with you about the game. As for how I got involved with the game, last September to October, Sean Velasco, the Director on the project got a hold of me and asked if I would like to submit a demo for a “certain” game. He had heard some of my music, and although the style that he had heard was not quite as “sweet” as what they were looking for, I think he still liked my style and thought that I could nail it. So I did a demo, and it turned out awesome, and here we are today.

I would also like to say that I believe in fate, and how there is a grand design to everything, and at that time, I was praying please bring me a game that I can do that is heart felt, more personal, and challenging at the same time, and the next day, I guess my prayers were answered, because that’s when Sean contacted me. I was also asked to do a couple more game titles at that time, but I wasn’t really into the games being offered to me, so I turned down a couple of jobs. It was good to take on a project that is more personal like this. So, yeah, that’s how it happened, and I really would like to thank Sean Velasco for sensing my passion for the project. I called him like 5 minutes after I found out that it was A Boy And His Blob, and I was like, “I have to do this!” I know that he really wanted people on the game that were fans of the original title as well.

OSV: My past experience with your music was through the Best of the Best, Volume 1 game music arrange album, where you had a track “inspired” by Roboblitz. I also know you’re a hip-hop and electronic music producer, so I’m curious about your approach to A Boy and his Blob. What is it going to sound like?
Sadowski: Well it’s not hip hop inspired, I can assure you of that! Just like every other composer, we don’t like to get type cast to a certain style of music or anything. I have done many projects ranging from orchestral to more synthesized scores, and also have done most genres ranging from a space sci-fi game to a western railroad game. So, I mean maybe we tend to drift towards a certain style throughout our career, but I know most composers are very capable of tackling many different styles of music, and I mean, it’s way more interesting and challenging to get different types of projects.

As for the sound direction that I decided to take with ABAHB, I really tried to take in what the game was. The game is based on a classic title, it has a very whimsical amazing art style, and it is an emotional adventure story. With all of those elements, and with reading the game documents, and revisiting the old game, I created a very unique sound for ABAHB and the worlds that encompass the game. If I really had to dissect what that natural sound became, I would say it is a mix of dramatic film score music, Japanese influenced video game music, a tad of a retro sounding vibe, and then my natural style mixed in throughout the entire score. So you are kind of injecting these elements from the things that you love, and are naturally part of who you are as a composer. As this process of creativity is going on though, you don’t really think about it, it just happens.

OSV: It’s obvious that nostalgia is going to play a huge role in this game. Will we be hearing any references to the original A Boy and His Blob music? I know there wasn’t a whole lot to work with… and there were some questionable Indiana Jones references in terms of the music and even the game’s logo, but what can we expect?
Sadowski: That’s funny that you should say that about the whole Indiana Jones sound. I guess Indiana Jones music = adventure music. In the same way that the game itself has small references to the original, I think I tried to take the same approach with the music. This is a fresh, new game that is a new retelling of the story, and it is not a remake, so the music mirrors that quality. There will definitely be some music that will bring you back to the classic game, so we definitely have the whole nostalgia meter cranked up, don’t worry about that. But in general the music is a whole new approach for a whole new era.

OSV: I was hoping the director could elaborate on his goals for the game’s sound. What were you looking to do with the game’s music, and how did Daniel fit the bill when it came time to select a composer? Do you see the music as an important component of the game?
Sean Velasco, Director: Many times during the development of a game, the music is left until the last minute. With A Boy and His Blob, we knew that the score would be important from the beginning. We wanted a score that had adventure and action, but also heartwarming friendship and tenderness. We began scouting for talent that could deliver an orchestral score with its own quirky charm, and Daniel stood out from the crowd. His music had the soft feel and warm sensibilities that we were going for. This excellent score has really helped to tie together the vision of the game. In a great game, the art, music, and design all influence one another, and that has certainly happened on A Boy and His Blob!

OSV: Daniel, are you handling any of the sound design, or are you primarily involved with writing music? Are you able to say at this time how much you’ll be writing, and is it too early to be talking about an iTunes release?
Sadowski: I am only handling the role of composer. I am writing “more than” 40 minutes of music. The developer (Way Forward) and publisher (Majesco Entertainment) really love the way the score has turned out, and they are talking about doing an iTunes release, so I will keep my fingers crossed and hopefully that will happen, but it’s up to the publisher. I would also at this time like to compliment Way Forward and Sean for being awesome at communicating what they needed for the game. Those guys are truly great game creators, and they understand how music plays a major role in video games.

OSV: Perhaps Sean would like to comment on the game’s progress so far and how the music is fitting among the gorgeous visuals and other components of the game. Does the music have the team excited? Do you have any interesting stories to tell about your interactions with Daniel and if the score has been shaping up to meet your (and hopefully the fans’!) expectations?
Velasco: The music is an integral part of any game experience. If it’s repetitive or grating, it can kill the pleasure of the game quickly. However, a great score can make even an average game enjoyable! There are many soundtracks to game that I enjoy as much as the games themselves.

Happily, with A Boy and His Blob, fantastic design is married with a fantastic score. The music fits perfectly with the visuals and the intangible feel of the gameplay. Whenever the game is played, the music is always positively received. The score has blown away everyone on the dev team, and I’m sure all players will agree.
My favorite thing about Daniel is his passion to deliver the best. His excitement for each new piece of music trumps the last, and he is obsessed with constantly tweaking the aural experience. His attention to detail matches our philosophy for A Boy and His Blob, and as a result, I believe we have accomplished something very special.

OSV: Daniel, while I realize you might not be able to say, as it might give away information as to the development of the game, are you able to tell us approximately how far along you are with the game’s music? Are you satisfied with what you’ve been able to create up until now?
Sadowski: I am approximately about 80 percent finished with the score. I am very satisfied and happy with all of the results. It’s been a challenging, fun, and creative dream to work on this game, and the music and game itself shows that all the people involved have a lot of love and passion for the franchise.

OSV: Have there been unique challenges associated with writing music for a game that references a 20 year old title? Do you have any interesting stories about A Boy and his Blob that you’d like to share?
Sadowski: Of course when you are revisiting a classic title, at times you feel like you are walking on egg shells, as far as choosing certain music styles. At the same time, we re creating a new game for a new generation of players, so there was freedom to come up with new musical sounds and ideas to represent the amazing worlds within ABAHB.

As for any stories, at the time that I started the game, I had just had my first child, so this game means even more to me to be able to do something like this that will live on forever, and that my son can soon enjoy. Also, I wanted to let everyone know that I am just as big of a fan of the game as everyone else. At times I have to pinch myself to make sure that I’m not dreaming with being able to work on ABAHB. There is something very special about games like this that are more art, story, and drama, and I think people miss these types of games. I believe that ABAHB will introduce current gamers to a very special type of game, and also please all of the hardcore fans.

OSV: Thank you both for speaking with us. We’re looking forward to hearing more about the game in the near future.

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