It appears as if online game music continues to develop and attain new heights with every passing 12 months. Unbelievable soundtracks are now not restricted to huge price range titles and the work of long-established names, because the Indie area and the expansion of instruments and information has launched a contemporary technology of composers. One instance is Daniel Olsén, who was a part of a gifted group that made waves with Simogo’s 2019 ‘Pop Album Video Sport’, Sayonara Wild Hearts.
In some respects that recreation, and its artistic course of, had been reasonably distinctive. Olsén’s journey to that undertaking can also be fascinating, as his profession within the online game business started as an artist and animator; the transition to music, bringing a passion ahead to turn into an occupation, came about over quite a few years. He labored on 12 months Stroll, an interesting recreation some could bear in mind from the Wii U, and Olsén additionally delivered incredible music and audio design extra just lately in The Gardens Between.
We spoke with him about his profession to this point, and the distinctive experiences in engaged on the soundtrack for Sayonara Wild Hearts.
Nintendo Life: To begin with, are you able to discuss a bit about your early days in recreation growth, and your preliminary transition into audio design and music?
Daniel Olsén: I truly began out as a 2D/3D artist and animator, and had been doing it for a number of years in numerous corporations. Music was simply one thing I did at dwelling—I used to be additionally a part of a band on the time.
Ultimately, the corporate I used to be working at wanted music and I simply requested if I might do it. From then, I step by step moved increasingly more in direction of making solely music.
Amongst your earliest recreation initiatives in audio design, is there a recreation that felt like a significant breakthrough to your profession and ability set?
As a result of we’re Swedish, the tradition, tales, and feeling of Swedish melancholia is ingrained in us.
One specifically can be ilomilo by Southend Interactive. That was the primary time I labored on solely audio in a recreation, so I had much more devoted time to work on it as a substitute of it simply being a aspect undertaking. It was positively a development expertise for me.
How did you come to be concerned in 12 months Stroll, your first undertaking with Simogo, and what had been a very powerful components of that have?
On the time, I used to be working at a tech firm and missed working in video games. In the future, my former Southend Interactive colleague Simon Flesser contacted me, and requested if I needed to jot down music for a brand new Simogo title. So due to 12 months Stroll I began working in recreation music once more and it additionally started my collaboration with Simogo.
Is there an added sense of duty when a recreation like 12 months Stroll focuses on conventional people tales, with the cultural relevance that brings?
As a result of we’re Swedish, the tradition, tales, and feeling of Swedish melancholia is ingrained in us. I bear in mind considering again to melodies I heard when rising up out within the nation. So that you simply know when it feels proper. In the long run, we didn’t should strive arduous to keep up the “folkiness”. As an alternative, we might give attention to telling a narrative and perhaps ‘stretch’ what may very well be accepted as conventional.
Numerous our readers could have additionally heard your work in The Gardens Between; are you able to discuss a bit in regards to the highlights of that undertaking, out of your perspective?
I actually loved engaged on that recreation, and with that group. It was a brand new expertise to return right into a undertaking at such a late stage—music was already there and work on sound results had begun. It’s arduous to be assured if you choose up the place somebody left off so at first, I used to be extra cautious than I might be in any other case. Then, the group informed me The Gardens Between was impressed by 12 months Stroll, and so they had been glad to have me there which gave me extra confidence to only work the way in which I normally do.
It was a really satisfying undertaking to work on, from a growth perspective. Due to the linear stage design, the sound results had been designed in a linear method as nicely—just like Sayonara Wild Hearts in some methods. As an alternative of issues occurring at random, the whole lot was deliberate out so that the majority sounds may very well be designed for one particular second. From an audio perspective, it was extra within the model of a film or cutscene reasonably than a recreation.
A few of your most up-to-date work was with Simogo, as soon as once more, in audio design and the soundtrack for Sayonara Wild Hearts; are you able to discuss a bit in regards to the collaborative course of of manufacturing a ‘pop album online game’, and the way these processes maybe differed out of your earlier work?
It was positively extra of a problem for the reason that music was a significant focus of the sport, heart stage. Due to that, there was this sense of getting to make the music extra accessible and never too summary.
Course of-wise, I had by no means labored in a collaboration like that earlier than: first receiving a music, with guitar and vocals, from Jonathan Eng, after which turning it into an digital piece with Linnea Olsson redoing the vocals. It was utterly new for me however total the songs felt “greater” than something I might do alone. I believe everybody on the group grew immensely throughout this undertaking.
Course of-wise, I had by no means labored in a collaboration like that earlier than… I believe everybody on the group grew immensely throughout this undertaking.
We discover it fascinating that if you first play levels they’re in standard segmented ranges, with the choice to play the expertise as an ‘album’ being unlockable. Was it tempting to have the ‘Album’ playthrough out there proper from the beginning? Does the album strategy change the texture of a playthrough, in your opinion?
This was positively a tough determination; all the way in which to the top of the undertaking, we had been going backwards and forwards on whether or not we should always begin with solely album mode and unlock the singles or vice versa. Personally, album
mode provides me extra of a nostalgic feeling. Once I was younger, I might all the time lay down with headphones, take a look at the paintings or shut my eyes, and hear by an entire album after I simply purchased it. That sense of
experiencing the entire thing directly is particular—artists normally take time to select the best order of songs so that you’ve got a way of story, stream, and development. In the long run although, it felt proper to go together with singles first as a result of it might ease the participant into the sport as a substitute of getting a one-hour problem immediately.
The soundtrack of Sayonara Wild Hearts, mixed in fact with the sport itself, earned lots of consideration. What was the largest alternative or spotlight for you in engaged on the sport?
My favourite factor was going out and performing the music; I did two DJ units which I actually loved. However the spotlight was the discharge social gathering in Malmö. Linnea and I did a set collectively whereas Simon was enjoying by
the sport on the projector behind us. It simply felt extraordinarily good and memorable.
As you focus in your subsequent initiatives, what are your broad artistic aims as your profession progresses?
An important factor is that I wish to benefit from the initiatives I’m engaged on. It might appear apparent, but when it’s not enjoyable or sparking my artistic aspect, I’d as nicely work on one thing else. Second, I wish to continue to grow as a composer. There may be a lot to be taught, and there are such a lot of areas I nonetheless really feel like a complete newbie.
With the position and significance of music and audio design in video games persevering with to develop, what do you hope to see on this space over the subsequent few years?
Sport composers are in lots of instances undervalued within the business, in my view. I do know many profitable composers that aren’t getting the pay they deserve and battle to make a dwelling. I additionally hope we are able to see extra studios usher in composers to work on video games from the beginning, and be part of the entire undertaking total.
We would wish to thank Daniel Olsén for his time. Ensure take a look at the opposite Nintendo Life VGM Fest articles in our season of music-focused interviews and options.