Behind the Game Music | Zentragal and Icegrip Centaur Theme Song
Music in video games is crucial in creating an immersive gameplay experience. In Depths of Erendorn, we have ensured that there is a strong relationship between the environments, the characters and the game music. Every sound component of every character theme song has been carefully composed in order to make our multiplayer dungeon crawler as immersive as possible. Today, we want to give you a sneak peek into the theme songs of two of our notorious characters: the Zentragals and the Icegrip Centaurs.
The Zentragals’ Main Theme Song
When writing the character theme song for Erendorn’s dark magic users, the Zentragals, our composer wanted to capture their sinister mood by creating a similarly disquieting soundscape.
If you’re not up-to-date with all the races of Erendorn yet, the Zentragals are a species of humanoid spiders who live in underground hollows known as broods. While not necessarily evil, the Zentragals possess deceptive and destructive abilities that are rooted in void magic. It is their proclivity for dark sorcery that inspired our composer to create a sound aesthetic that felt uneasy and foreboding.
The chonguri is a plucked stringed instrument of Georgian descent. This rare chordophone was chosen as the main instrument for this character theme song because its raw and imperfect sound resonates with the Zentragals’ shadowy and lawless world. As a rare and primitive instrument, the chonguri is also used to add uniqueness to the character theme song.
Accompanying the unpolished sound of the chonguri is an array of classic instruments including the trombone, tuba and cello. But it is the presence of the viola that creates a uniquely warm yet dark timbre. Our composer chose the viola because it is an incredibly versatile instrument that has an inherently sombre and forbidding tone.
In the Zentragals’ character theme song, the viola works with the other instruments to create a contrasting texture and sound. As the chonguri and viola work together to establish a somewhat chaotic and sinister world, so does the rising brass work with the viola to counterbalance this with a warm overtone. Our composer did this because although the Zentragals delve heavily into void magic, they are not innately evil and are even playable characters in the game. The warmth brought by the viola and brass helps to show this juxtaposition to the listener.
Singers in the Theme Song
Our composer used two singers in the Zentragals’ character theme song. The first was a soprano singer whose vocal line became the theme song’s main motif, and the use of a female voice also tied in nicely with the matriarchal society led by this race. As well as this, our composer chose a soprano vocalist so that they stood out from the lower notes of the theme song, reinforcing the contrast between light and dark.
If you listen closely, there is actually a second singer in the Zentragals’ theme song who is chanting an ancient pagan obliteration spell. This spell is historically rooted in dark magic and while its presence in the theme song is very subtle, it is an addition that really speaks to the Zentragals’ nature.
The Icegrip Centaurs’ Main Theme Song
In Erendorn, the Icegrip Centaurs are some of the most psychotic and maniacal creatures to ever exist. They hold mass tortures in their camp, which is decorated with the carcasses of all their past victims. These creatures are merciless abusers whose appetite for killing can never be sated. The sheer malevolence of the Icegrip Centaurs is reflected in their character theme song, which includes contributions from a barbarian choir, a hurdy-gurdy and a large percussion ensemble.
Our composer included a barbarian choir in this character theme song in order to make it feel as though the listener is the one tied up in the Icegrip Centaurs’ torture camp. During recording, the barbarian choir were encouraged to prowl around the microphone so that their voices would pan around the listener. In the theme song, this makes it sound as though you are really being circled by a group of intimidating, ruthless enemies.
The hurdy-gurdy was used in this character theme song in order to create an extra level of discomfort. It plays a single dissonant note throughout the piece and this atonal sound helps to unsettle the listener even more as the barbarian choir continues to surround them and the background noises begin to gain prominence.
Our composer added background screams and breathing to the Icegrip Centaur theme song in order to replicate the environment that a victim would find themself in. While the screams start off quite subtle, towards the end they enter the foreground of the piece as the song culminates in what is suggested to be a mass torture. The breathing in the piece was recorded through a rotary speaker which makes it sound as though something is emerging from the shadows, taunting the listener with its sinister breath.
When it came to percussion, our composer decided to use a large drum ensemble in order to match the chaos of the Icegrip Centaur camp. Large pieces of percussion also create a feeling of uneasiness as they prevent the listener from relaxing. Instead, they are another component of this soundscape that helps bring this terrifying environment to life.
Unlike the Zentragal theme song, it was important for our composer to successfully show the lack of emotional depth that the Icegrip Centaurs have. This is why the instruments used in the piece have an overall atonal sound. If our composer had chosen to create a strong melody, the theme song would have been too evocative and also would have negated the sense of discomfort, impending doom and intimidation that our composer aimed to convey.
Each character theme song was recorded with a live orchestra and various techniques were used in order to ensure that the correct atmosphere was being created. If you want to hear what our composer has to say about these awesome pieces of music, then stay tuned to our social media channels where we will be releasing an exclusive behind the scenes interview with him.