Arena of Valor: Working on the Sound of the Game
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Arena of Valor: Working on the Sound of the Game
5 June, 2018

Matthew Carl Earl gave a little talk on the way he’s been working on the music for Arena of Valor.

How much of an opportunity do you get to play Arena of Valor before you composed the music for the game?

It will depend entirely on when in the process I am involved. Some of the first AoV cues I started writing were before there was ever a playable game. Though now that it is out I can play it as much as I want and I’m still working on new music.

Mostly though, I am working from a video capture of the gameplay in question that needs music.

Also, with Arena of Valor being an international release of the previously released game Honor of Kings, I was able to look to that gameplay for inspiration.

When scoring a game as massive as Arena of Valor, what was one of the very first things you did when you began work on the project

Usually for very large projects in terms of the amount of music I like to work backward in a way. Starting with more incidental scenes, that way I start to discover ideas and themes for things in the game that I can utilize when I come back to the main theme and other more important cues.

In the case of Arena of Valor, which really doesn’t have a crazy amount of in-game music, I was able to start right off with the main theme and some additional menu tracks. Then I moved to focus more on gameplay music utilizing the ideas established in the main theme. 

Were you involved with the sound effects too or do you just stick to scoring?

I used to do a lot more sound design work years ago, but I’m now pretty much all music. Though I am for sure still involved conceptually with our sound designers and I’ll work with our team to make sure the music and sound blend together nicely.

Have there been any times when your music has inspired the developers to alter any mechanics or gameplay decisions?  

Anytime we have a cool idea that involves audio we will try to sell our clients on it in hopes we can make it happen, sometimes it just can’t happen because of technical restraints and time, but other times we have been able to change things in support of the audio and that’s an awesome feeling.

One of the cool things about working as part of an audio team is we can often take charge of setting up some cool audio scenes on our own. Sometimes the music will inspire the way a scene should sound, and sometimes the sound will inspire the music. And with the help of middleware like Wwise and our technical sound designer, Nick Tomassetti, we can do some pretty cool things on our end without needing to drastically alter the gameplay.

What games have you personally been playing lately? Which game scores have caught your attention this year? 

I’m playing a couple different things right now. God of War 4, Far Cry 5, and Battlefield 1 are my current list. The God of War 4 score I thought was really special. There are a couple really simple themes that get a lot of mileage and are used to great effect. And that men’s chorus, damn. So good.

Matthew Carl Earl, Video Game Composer 

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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