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OSV Composer of the Year Award 2010: Garry Schyman

January 28, 2011 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook OSV Composer of the Year Award 2010: Garry Schymanon Twitter

What an amazing year 2010 was for the world of game music! It may very well have been the best yet. I speak for everyone here at OSV when I say that picking our favorite scores was among the most agonizing decisions we had made in recent memory. Though picking out the best score is an incredibly difficult experiment in subjective reasoning, picking out the best composer of the year proved to be slightly more concrete as evidenced by an uncharacteristic unanimous approval.

Many composers this year had runaway scores that were simply spectacular and came, seemingly, out of nowhere [I’m looking at you, Alanko (Alan Wake), SoulEye (VVVVVV), and Scott Morgan (Darksiders) – just to name a few!]. Mainstays like the great Russell Brower pumped out two glorious scores in StarCraft II and the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion. But, as is often the case, one horse seems to catch his stride with a bit more gusto and, when the dust settles, shows itself to be the winner.

For our first Composer of the Year Award, OSV is proud to present the award to the great Garry Schyman. Not only did Schyman compose three of the most complex, interesting, haunting, and – when the situation called for it – moving scores of in Dante’s Inferno, Bioshock 2, and Front Mission Evolved but he also tackled two of the most daunting game subjects.

First, Schyman took us back to Rapture to inject our minds with Adam yet again. This score is far from a rehashing of the original. It is a musical lesson on how to create the ultimate “sequel score.” Friends in the gaming press community were not very kind to the news of a sequel to Bioshock, in particular one being developed by a different team. 2K Marin’s choice to keep Schyman proved to be inspired and helped to shape a surprisingly competent and subtly brilliant sequel which enjoyed tremendous critical success.

Then, Garry Schyman led us straight into Hell.

To create a score that helps paint a picture of Hell sounds like the most disturbing and undesirable of commissions I could ever imagine. Apparently, our man of the hour disagreed and did so with gracious aplomb. Gracious in the sense that instead of just giving us the madness and disgusting nature of Dante’s/Visceral’s vision of Hell, he showed us the sick order of the nine circles of Hell through strict rhythmic structure and unsettling melodies.

It is also particularly notable that both of these masterful scores were for games that – quite frankly – many in the gaming press opposed. Bioshock 2 was the sequel many did not think could work, and Dante’s Inferno faced the seemingly impossible task of turning a horrific poem into an action game. It is more than safe to say that both games exceeded expectations critically and financially, and Mr. Garry Schyman’s haunting scores did more than their fair share to make it happen.

Congratulations to Garry. We look forward to more of his work in 2011 and beyond!

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