Development Update #14: Music & Soundtrack!
Greetings, my name is Leonard Hummer and I am the composer for Sanctum 2.
When I began to work on the soundtrack for Sanctum 2, I felt that it was a natural step in my creative process. Back when I started composing electronic pieces on my computer 15 years ago, I always found myself creating soundscapes and themes rather than traditional songs. I've always found it important to at least try to paint a scenery inside the listeners head, and most of the things I composed was basically soundtracks to motion pictures and games that didn’t exist. So when people asked me what kind of music I made, instead of talking about different genres I described the mood and environment I tried to capture. To me that's what makes music so interesting and powerful, the whole concept of an album or soundtrack and its ability to trigger a wide range of emotions inside the listener.
The music in Sanctum 2 is no exception. You will not experience catchy hit songs with sing along melodies but rather soundscapes made specifically to enhance all the other elements that makes the world of Sanctum what it is. From the beginning I felt that the keyword was balance. To find the perfect blend between sound and visual experience was the most important part in the working process. Needless to say, creating a game as big as Sanctum 2 is not a one man project. There are several talents involved in the development and I spent a lot of time trying to make the music fit into the atmosphere without distracting the player. There were technical aspects to take into consideration as well. I did not want to have sounds with too much of a high or low frequency since that would interfere with the sound effects in an undesirable way, and the mixing was made so even the harder sounds felt at least a little bit soft in the listeners ears. Trust me, the shattering explosions when you trigger your cannon fighting for survival, or the noise that some of your enemies lets out when they're getting near is enough for your auditory perception.
In each area there are two types of music. At first you will hear the main theme for the respective area while you're planning your strategy, building towers and just enjoying the scenery. Secondly, once you engage in battle, the music will change into something more up tempo and intense while still containing some elements of the previous track. Since I have been working a lot with crafting smooth transitions between my compositions in the past, that was my intention for this soundtrack as well. After all, you're still in the same environment once the fight begins, it's just that you might not be able to enjoy the beautiful nature as much when there are pissed of aliens everywhere trying to reduce you to a wet spot on the ground. So to help build up your courage and dexterity, the music bridges over to a more rhythm oriented and fast paced arrangement, all while maintaining more or less what defines the specific area you're in. There is of course exceptions to this pattern, when you reach an encounter out of the ordinary, I assure you that it's something you will notice in the music in one way or the other.
The result is something I feel really proud of, something that I believe captures the mood and atmosphere of the world in Sanctum 2. I hope you feel the same. May your future endeavours be successful and filled with joy and prosperity, because we're in for a great ride!
Best of luck.
Below is a preview of the track Rocky Fields (Build Phase)