Music is such a powerful tool for driving emotion, more so than art, dialogue or plot. So it makes sense that it should be part of the creative process from the start. Like every other aspect of the game we wanted to find a style that felt interesting and different in Hellblade. The style of music says a lot about your game. A big orchestral score is probably the default choice for a lot of games and movies. It suggests a particular kind of product: the big Hollywood blockbuster experience. That is not what Hellblade is about.
Another obvious choice is to focus on the setting, which in our game is a clash of Celtic and Viking cultures. We felt that a traditional Celtic sound would put a cultural barrier between you and Senua and would make it harder for the player to embody her journey. As for the Viking side, who knows what music would have sounded like in 700AD Norway?
Rather than focusing on setting, the music should tell a story. Hellblade is about Senua’s melancholic journey into a strange land to fight a hellish clan of Vikings. Any number of style choices could tell that story. In the end it comes down to personal preference and practical reality. And we do like it dark.
When choosing a partner to create such an important part of the Hellblade experience, the musician had to be on the same page. You need a level of innate understanding that allows you both to push and explore beyond the basic needs. Ninja Theory and in particular Hellblade’s Creative Director, Tameem Antoniades, has this with Andy LePlegua.
In this new development diary video, the latest in our open development series, we explain how Andy became involved in Hellblade, the approach we’re taking to the creation of the game’s soundscape and also give you a first listen to some of Hellblade’s music.
For now, we’ll get back to creating the best game experience we can. We’re hard at work putting together a section of the game for the first Hellblade gameplay reveal. You can follow the Hellblade journey and let us know what you think of development so far by following us on Twitter, Facebook and at www.hellblade.com.